Archive for the ‘TLDA’ Category

MCC TaLDA Workshop – May 2012


I’m pleased to announce that we’re going to start offering a “Tech Bootcamp” for non-math faculty.  Our first offering of the MCC TaLDA Workshop (Teaching & Learning in the Digital Age) will be in May 2012.  Registration opens today!

The MCC TaLDA Workshop is a week-long immersion in Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age for College faculty from all disciplines. This workshop is modeled after the MCC Math & Technology Workshop, which MCC has hosted for four years now. Over time, this workshop has been dubbed “Technology Bootcamp” by its participants. Participants come from all over the country to get an “upgrade” to their technology skills as they relate to teachinging and learning in the college setting.

Participants go home armed not only with new technology skills, but also software and hardware to help them on their journey, all provided by donations from our commercial sponsors. Participants in the 2012 Workshop will receive the latest versions of Camtasia Studio, SnagIt, and a 1-year subscription to Mindomo.  Thanks to TechSmith and Mindomo for being sponsors of the 2012 MCC TaLDA Workshop!

Organizers and presenters at the workshop donate their time for a “good cause” – that is, we hope that participants will go back to their own schools and wider educational communities and spread what they have learned. The 2012 Workshop will be facilitated by Maria Andersen and Barry Dahl (see Workshop Staff page for more info). Both have considerable experience in the realm of leveraging technology for learning, and are invited to speak and conduct workshops at many national events.

The TaLDA Workshop will be May 7-11, 2012 in Muskegon, Michigan. There are 40 spaces for participants, so register as soon as possible if you’d like to attend. For the first month, only one participant per college will be accepted.

Register here! 

Math and physical science faculty (those subjects that involve a lot of equations and graphs) should consider the MCC Math & Tech Workshop instead (August 2012).

Oh … and did I mention? Muskegon has a beautiful beach!

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Math Technology to Engage, Delight, and Excite


Back in May 2010 I presented a keynote at the MAA-Michigan meeting in Ypsilanti.  Even though it sounds like it’s about math, it’s really more about a philosophy of using technology to engage students.  Yes, the examples are in the context of math, but if you’re involved with educational technology in any way, I think much of the talk is applicable to all subjects.

We’re in a recession and so is your department budget.  Luckily for you, there are lots of great programs and web resources that you can use to teach math, and most of these are free.  Use the resources in this presentation to tackle the technology problems that haunt you and capture the attention of your math classes with interactive demonstrations and relevant web content.

Here is the video, audio, and slides from my keynote talk “Math Technology to Engage, Delight, and Excite” from the MAA-Michigan meeting in May 2010.  There is also an iPad/iPod-friendly version here.

In case you’re wondering, the PIP video was recorded from a Flip Video camera that was affixed to one of the seats in the auditorium with masking tape.  It’s not elegant, but it works.

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Levers of Change in Higher Education


Here’s the latest Prezi on Levers of Change in Higher Education.

We’ve seen many major industries undergo dramatic change in the last decade (i.e. manufacturing, newspapers, and customer service).  While education seems “untouchable” to those within the system, there are many “levers of change” that have the potential for dramatic restructuring of higher education as well.  Online courses, adaptive computer assessment systems, open-source textbooks, edupunks, pay-by-the-month degrees, … these are just some of the levers that are prying at the corners of higher education.  In this presentation I will identify many of the levers of change that have the potential to shift higher education, resources to learn more about these, and a few scenarios that describe some of the possible futures of higher education. You can also watch the video of the live presentation here.

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How do WE learn?


As adults, we learn in many different ways.  If you’re a teacher or an instructor, how many of these ways do you use with your students?
  • Practicing / Repeating
  • Reading
  • Internet
  • Discussing
  • Experiencing
  • Thinking / Reflecting
  • Experimenting / Playing
  • Academic
  • Creating
  • Hearing or seeing

This was one small piece of a keynote that I did in Scottsdale, AZ called Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age

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Record with a Document Camera and a Flip


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In my Math for Elementary Teachers (MathET) course, we do a lot of work with math manipulatives, puzzles, and games of various sorts.  Some of this work can be done with virtual manipulatives, but only if all the students have a computer too.  As a result, we do a lot of classroom work with old-fashioned hands-on math manipulatives, and I demonstrate using a document camera.

Since the beginning of Fall semester, I’ve been trying to figure out how to record these hands-on demonstrations to put in the online course shell, but the best I could figure out was to hold my little Flip video camcorder with my left hand while I write and rearrange the board with my right hand. (Note that there is not room on the document camera station for a tripod.)  Unfortunately, this results in a shaky video, it is tiring, and it’s hard to do everything with one hand.

After doing this for about six months, on Monday I had this flash of insight (one of those ideas where you wonder why it took that long to have the idea).  I was considering the idea of using masking tape to affix the Flip to the Doc Camera during class (which wouldn’t work because of the need to press the on/off button) … and I realized that I had a very simple solution in my pocket.

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Here’s a closeup:

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This works surprisingly well.  The top and the bottom of the viewing area are a bit cut off, but with a little experimenting, and knowledge of where the working area is, this is a surprisingly slick and cheap way to record.  I also recommend having a mini-whiteboard so that you can circle items, write notes, and generally “mark up” the viewing area without doing any damage to your document camera.  The glare off the whiteboard does create a slight glare spot on the image, but it’s much easier than using sheet after sheet of paper (picking up the manipulatives between each sheet of paper).

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How to give a (good) webinar


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If you’ve been to two webinars, chances are you’ve seen at least one that was not very engaging.  I don’t mean to pick just on webinars – chances are if you’ve been to two conference presentations, you’ve seen one there too.  However, most people won’t walk out of a boring conference presentation.  In a webinar, participants can remain “in the virtual room” without actually being anywhere near the computer or presentation.  As a webinar presenter, how do you ensure you don’t end up speaking to a ghost crowd?

If you’re going to give a good webinar, you first need to make sure that you actually design your presentation for the webinar format (don’t plan to just do the same presentation that you normally run in person).  You need to know what kinds of tools are usually available in the webinar platforms, and how to keep the audience engaged when you’re missing those facial cues you normally get from a live in-person audience.

Presentation design is a whole other topic in itself (I taught a 9-hour course in digital presentation design last fall), but I can help a bit with the details of how to redesign for a webinar format and how to be prepared for all the details.

I wrote an article for eLearn Magazine (just published today) called Tips for Effective Webinars.  In it I go through a “Before, During, and After” set of tips for giving a good, effective, and engaging webinar.

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Here’s topics list for the tips that appear in the article:

  • Recording and distribution
  • Presentation design
  • Engage often
  • Animation
  • Hyperlinks
  • Video clips
  • Trial run
  • Arrive early
  • Clear directions
  • Desktop sharing
  • Webcam sharing
  • The echo
  • After the Webinar

Head over to the full-text of the article Tips for Effective Webinars at eLearn Magazine.  When I gave my first webinar, the folks at the UW Extension office were nice enough to give me some training and advice, but not every new webinar presenter gets that.  So please, forward the article to anyone you know that could use a little training on how to give an effective webinar.

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How to Grade a Student Blog


tlda_blog_buttonLast semester I began using learning blogs as one of the assignments for Math for Elementary Teachers.  It was the first time I have ever used blogs as a graded student learning assessment, and I didn’t really know what to expect out of the students.  Would they all have created blogs before? [no]  Would they understand intuitively how to make hyperlinks, load in images, and embed videos? [no, no, and no] Would they write naturally in a conversational tone (in the style of most blogs)? [yes]  Would they make their blog posts two or three times a week (as directed) or would they cram them all in during the last couple days? [some of both]

Overall, I was thrilled with the results.  The students reflected on their learning, both in class and out of class.  They found and shared games, videos, articles, and vocabulary sites that they found on the web.  Some of them acted as a class reporter, summarizing what was covered in class each day (with their own personalities coming through).  Before you read the rest of this post, you might want to browse a few of their blogs to get an idea of the variety or writing and styles.

So let’s just say that this first time using blogs was a learning experience for both my students and for me.  I drafted a rubric for grading the blogs, and stuck to it all semester.  However, I realized that both the clarity of the assignment and the specificity of the rubric needed to be improved for “Round Two” (starting next week).

During the last round of blog grading, I revised my old rubric to try and tighten up the quality of the results.  Here are the specifics of the assignment now.

Set up a blog using Blogger or WordPress.  You should make at least six blog posts of at least two paragraphs each, using appropriate spelling and grammar.  The mathematics in your posts should be correct.  Blog posts should focus on what you have learned, what you’ve struggled with, or what you’ve found to help you learn.  Posts can discuss learning in class or out of class, but must relate to the current topics we are covering in the unit.  You should not refer to specific chapter or section numbers in your blog posts, and if you mention an activity from class, please use enough detail that a 3rd party reader would understand it.  Here are some specific details:

  • Blog posts should be spaced apart (not all at the last minute).
  • Your blog should include an appropriate  title (not just Maria’s Blog)
  • Your blog should include a profile (picture and brief bio). This can be fictional if need be.
  • Your blog should contain a “blogroll” with five of your favorite educational blogs.
  • Your blog should contain a list of tagged topics or categories.
  • Your blog should contain four images (or embedded videos) and should contain at least six links to web resources that you’ve found yourself.
  • Links to web resources should be properly “clickable” within the text of the post (not just a pasted URL).
  • Each post should be tagged with appropriate keywords.
  • You should make at least six comments on the blog posts of other students.

I think that the nature of the blog (what to write about) needs to stay as open as possible, but the fine detail of the assignments is difficult to assess if the quality of blogs varies wildly.   If you choose to try an assignment like this, I highly recommend a table-style rubric (like the one below) to keep track of where you are assigning points.

learn_via_blog_rubricI also found it helpful to use a screen-capture program (I used Jing and SnagIt) to make grading comments about specific blog posts (because, of course, you should not comment those in on a public blog site).

One last tip:  About halfway to the deadline, I give every student feedback on how they are doing so far.  I gently remind them about details that they might have forgotten so that they have time to correct or regroup.  I’ve found this results in immediate improvement in the blogs and is well worth the effort.  I use quick 1-3 minute Jing videos to give the feedback most of the time.

Note: You can see the rest of the learning projects and a “big picture” idea of how I fit all this in (timewise) by reading Transforming Math for Elementary Ed.

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