Teaching Tools: SPSS, InStat, StarQuiz, Camtasia, and Research Randomizer.



I am moving towards requiring that all my students demonstrate to me minimal mastery of the use of the technology-based teaching and learning tools I introduce into the classroom (e.g. Quizlet,  Starquiz). My esteemed student research students do the pilot work.

I asked Tia and Arianna to show me that they could use Camtasia to create a screencast of how to access two statistical packages I introduce in PSY205 (InStat  and SPSS) and one piece of software (research randomizer) that allows students to perform random assignment and random sampling.

Take a look:

I now will assess whether each of my forty-four students can access these tools (based on Tia and Arianna’s lessons) and use them to enhance their learning. Here is a benchmark for what they should know.

Posted in Carroll University, Carroll University USA, Curious David, Jane Hart's Top 100 Learning Tools, PSY205 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

15 Minutes in My Digital Life As a Professor

Cap and Gown

I’ve been so busy lately that yesterday I almost didn’t have time to change out of my academic regalia before beginning my PSY205 Statistics and Experimental Design course. Thanks to Jenny Percy for capturing this “precious moment”.

My social media day usually begins at 5:30 a.m. with a quick look at my Carroll email, my Twitter feed, my Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. If I see an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education or Inside Higher Education worth sharing, I pass it on to  Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook followers. My restricted “Twitter feed” often appears on the left of the window of applications I am using like this WordPress software.

Here is what I mean (courtesy of my Snagit capturing software and Screencast.com).

Click me: 

Twitter primarily serves me as a personal professional development tool. Facebook is a rich source for my staying in touch with alumni (NO, Kim and Ryan, I DO NOT WANT a party in 2019). LinkedIn has proven to be a wonderful way to reconnect and stay connected to Alumni —So great reconnecting with you recently, Dave Verban!—, Members of the Board of Trustees, and Schneider Consulting Clients.

Time to meet with my colleague and FB “friend” Peggy Kasimatis.


Posted in Carroll Reflections, Carroll University USA, Curious David, Jane Hart's Top 100 Learning Tools, Miscellaneous | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Student-Generated WordPress Tutorial for My Carroll Students


Recently there has been a campus-wide discussion about the need to include writing experiences across the curriculum and across a student’s learning years here. I’ve become a strong believer in giving students opportunities to use blogging software and to give them mentored practice in writing thoughtful, civil  responses online to articles which are published online.

I asked two of my research assistants (Alison and Lizzy) , before I left today, to create for me a screencast tutorial using the Camtasia software they just had learned about a basic student guide about how to use WordPress. In their guide they show how to create an account, how to follow someone else’s blog pieces, and some of the many capabilities of WordPress.

I am quite impressed how on short notice, with no supervision from me, they were able to exceed my high expectations. How fortunate I have been across the years from my first student assistant, Larry Jost, until now to work closely with such wonderful fellow learners!

Here is Alison and Lizzy’s tutorial:

Any comments or feedback would be much appreciated.



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Changes: How much tinkering should one do with a course that seems to work well?


Carroll has become a special place to me. I have been influenced greatly by its students, faculty, staff, administration, and alumni. By its traditions, theater productions and its music.

There are lots of changes these days occurring at Carroll. Some of them are physical, others organizational. Some things never change (read between the lines:); some things never should change.

I asked research assistants Alison and Lizzy to document some of the physical changes. Here is what they produced:

I continue to experiment with my “best” course (Statistics and Experimental Design) to make it better by finding the right balance of technology-assisted and personally- delivered instruction. Here is how I have taught it in the past. I have been pleased at the helpfulness, useful feedback and receptiveness of students past and present as I experiment.

This semester I was influenced in what did the during the  first week of class by a Chronicle of Higher Education thought piece about making best use of the first class day.

I began the class wanting to test the sound systems so I shared this amazing tribute to David Bowie:


Instead of calling out the class list to take attendance I give a quiz every day with immediate feedback which goes into a student portfolio. I also call upon a random group of students (selected by students using random sampling software to select the lucky students). Two students won free copies of my workbook!

Since then I have introduced them to SPSS and InStat (i.e. that the latter software exists) and to Survey Monkey.

Here is something Lizzy and Alison produced illustrating one of these tools:

I have also shown them Quizlet, started urging them to read germane articles from the Chronicle of Higher Education, and attempted to alert them to ethical issues about research by sharing lessons I have learned from Diederik Stapel.

To date, I seem to have highly engaged students learning and eager to learn. The first exam is February 10.

I am now invite their feedback and yours.




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Winding Up—Winding Down

With baseball season approaching (and a vague but definite retirement date in sight of no later than May, 2019), it is time to focus on accomplishing a number of things in the near future. One goal is to better master the capabilities of WordPress.  A good way to do that is to write a lot. I’ll be experimenting with different WordPress “themes” (and different widgets). I welcome your feedback or advice.

I also want to master creating screencasts and to “publish” electronically some studen-written guides to the use of internet learning tools. I envision continuing to write, to teach, and to learn even after I formally leave “Carroll Land”.

I’m discovering that one can indeed teach an “old dog” new tricks:


This semester I have much more time to reflect, to learn, and to finish tasks (some of which I began up to 10 years ago!) because my Research Seminar was canceled for not having at least 10 students. Hence, I am teaching only one class PSY205 (two sections) with its two laboratories. Fortunately I have four VERY good student research assistants who are willing to learn with me so we’ll have fun, learn much, and be productive. Right now two of them (Arianna and tia) are next door preparing a Camtasia Studio screencast. Let’s see what they have produced. What I am sharing below is TOTALLY their “production” after my giving them guidelines of what I wanted. I am impressed.

We’ll see what the other two team members can do when they come in shortly.

As always your feedback is welcome.

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What Do my Students Do in My Absence (Part 2): Lizzy and Tia’s Take on Voila

Voila_Capture 2016-01-22_10-54-52_AM


Voila is a great screen casting software that can be downloaded on your iMac, iPhone, and iPad. Since Evernote is getting rid of the software, Skitch, this new feature was created in place of it with more features that are very beneficial.

When using this app you are able to take a screen shot of your full home screen, or capture a certain section of your home screen with the different screen shot tools. You are also able to overlap multiple screenshots in the software as well. In addition, if you would like to record your voice or anything on the computer while using the device you are able to do a recording. After you have taken the recording, it will open up in Voila and you can trim your new video and have the recording play over the screen casting. One flaw of Voila, is that you must download an additional app to have noise with your recording. You also need to export your recording to an app like Imovie to complete and edit your recording. Here is an example of our research team using Voila and Imovie to show people how to use Survey Monkey.


Voila allows you to edit your screen shots in multiple different ways. Some really nice features that Skitch doesn’t have is that you are able to add stickers to your screen shots as well as add a spotlight to a certain part of the screen shot. The spotlight helps a section you select stand out and blur out the rest of the background of the screen shot as much as you would like. Another feature that you are able to do that Skitch can’t is blur out in different ways. You can do motion blurs, the static blur, a pixelated blur, and etc. Also, there are different kinds of arrows you can use in Voila to lead someone from one spot of your screen cast to another to show them instructions, like where to go from point A to point B, and etc. Voila allows you to marquee the pictures as well. This means that with any of the shapes they have or what you create, you are able to put that shape on a certain part of the screen shot and duplicate it. So that part you’ve chosen can be more bolded, or put in another screen shot. Below is an example of the different effects and borders that Voila has available to us.

Voila_Capture 2016-01-21_09-27-43_AM

In Voila, you can paint the background of your screen shots so they are in a different color other then the default gray. Also, you are able to change the color of every option that you use besides the blurs. So, you can change the color of the arrows, the background, the stamps, and etc. In addition to changing the color of the background, you can change the outlining of the background. So, instead of just having a straight outline around your picture, you are able to have a different look such as dashes.

However, Voila still has the same great features Skitch does. You are still able to put a text box in different shapes on your screen shot, so that you can write something that you may want to specify. Also, you are able to change the coloring of the text if need be. If you rather not type in the text box, but still want to write on the screen shot, then you are able to use the pencil feature and use free hand on your screen shot. Voila does not have the highlighting feature, but that is why they have the new spot light feature.

In Voila you can create shapes or add certain shapes in the picture that you are able to write text in. You are able to change the coloring of the outside of them which will not change the text that you type on the inside of the text box. Also, there is a feature called, Callout. This feature is one that has more text boxes in different shapes, but it also includes certain memes that you can put in your screen cast as well.

Another fun feature Voila has is the ability to take screen shots of any website directly through the application. This is efficient to all users since you do not have to leave the application to complete your desired task. Also, you are able to import your own photos from iPhoto and edit them with Voila. Once you are done editing your desired photos, you can then import them back into your photo library. Here is an example of a screenshot taken directly through Voila, and then edited after the screenshot was taken.

Voila_Capture 2016-01-21_11-14-56_AM

Overall, Voila has many new features and old features that Skitch once had. Voila seems to be more user friendly, as well as having more options for editing and screen casting purposes.




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What do my research students do in my absence? Exploring Camtasia

IMG_0015Despite the semester only being a month old, I have been unusually busy with other Carroll matters at times when I ordinarily would be working side-by-side with my research assistants. Fortunately, they are reliable, competent, and motivated enough to delight me with independent work. I assigned to several of them the task of investigating the relative strengths and weaknesses of several kinds of screen-casting software. Here is what they produced as part of an e-book project we are about to engage in.

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A Student’s Guide to Paper.li: Arianna’s Experience

DSCN9015We are currently examining different content curation services as to their strengths, weaknesses, ease of use, and usefulness to students. A very good guide to content curation developed by others can be found here:

Paper.li is a content curation service that quickly creates a newspaper-like publication for you. To start you simply create an account through Facebook, Twitter, or email. I would recommend investing in a “Pro account” because it allows you more options, such as advertisement-free newspapers. To begin creating your newspaper you can search keywords and Paper.li will automatically retrieve articles, videos, and photos from Twitter, Google+, and RSS feeds that are related to the topic you have selected. You can also find your own content. To do this you simply go to settings and drag the blue “Paper.li” button to your “favorites bar”. When you find an article you like you click on the Paper.li bookmarklet and select which newspaper to add the article to.

Once Paper.li has completed its retrieval for you, you can edit the layout and the title. You can delete any content you dislike or find irrelevant and you can add pictures and colors to the background to help liven up your newspaper. Upon the completion of your adjustments, you can select whether or not Paper.li should automatically publish each newspaper you create or whether you would like to save them as drafts until you feel the paper is sufficiently developed. You can also choose how often the Paper.li retrieves updates. You could update your paper each day, or less frequently. This allows for your subscribers to be reading the most up to date material on your topic.

Once you have decided your newspaper is complete and ready for publication, you can share it across several social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and you can email it to individuals. These same options are also available for each article within your newspaper. This feature allows you to promote your newspaper further and increases the likelihood of gaining subscribers. Subscribers are those who are allowed access to your newspapers. You also have the ability to control who can and cannot be a subscriber to your newspapers. Therefore, if you have a newspaper that is strictly for the workplace, you can customize that paper so only select individuals can view it.

One limitation of Paper.li is that each newspaper you create must be upgraded to Pro. Another limitation is that Paper.li occasionally does not find any content to publish. Therefore, some days your newspaper will be full of articles, videos, and images, and other days it will be a blank slate. A third problem I found occurred when creating my own newspaper. On Thursday I manually added all of my own content to a newspaper. Monday the paper had updated and but had only had two videos in it— supplying next to no news to subscribers. It seems as though we are not the only ones who struggle to actualize the potential of Paper.li as 2015 is the first time in six years that the site did not make Jane Hart’s Top 100 tools for learning.

Despite the flaws I’ve noted (which may be due to my inexperience with the tool)  one very nice feature of Paper.li is that they have a video tutorials for just about every question a person could have. These videos exhibit step-by-step instructions on how to complete a tasks. Another beneficial aspect of Paper.li is the timely manner in which their customer service responds to assist your needs. Paper.li has considerable potential as a curating tool. However, it needs some major improvements.

Contact us if you’d like to see one off our early productions.

We welcome any feedback or learning from your experiences with Paper.li.

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What Good Books Have You Read This Year?


“What good books have you read this year?” recently asked my former student and fellow bibliophile, Susan Gusho recently on FaceBook. Susan, who like so many former students, continues to influence me in what I read and how I teach. Though I do not read as much or as widely as colleagues like Hugo Hartig, who since retiring, has often shared his annual reading list on FaceBook, I try to read books for pleasure on a regular basis.

Here are books I have read this year that were well worth my reading:

  • David Mitchell’s Slade House: A Novel
  • Lauren Groff’s Fate and Furies: A Novel
  • Robert Galbraith’s (aka JK Rowling) Career of Evil (Comoran Strike)
  • Carroll Colleague John Garrison’s Glass (Object Lessons)
  • Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem and The Dark Forest. Alas, I must wait until August for the translation of the third part of this science fiction trilogy.
  • Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman: A Novel
  • Steven Jarvis’ Death and Mr. Pickwick: A Novel
  • Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves: A Novel
  • Ann Morgan’s The World Between Two Covers: Reading the Globe 
  • Naomi S. Baron’s Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World.
  • Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven.
  • Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See (Thank you, sister-in-law Becky O’Connor for giving this to me—and for instilling the love of reading in children and adults).
  • Kazuo Ishhiguro’s The Buried Giant
  • Sian Beilock’s How the Body Knows Its Mind: The Surprising Power of the Physical Environment to Influence How You Think and Feel. 

On my short list of books to read (or finish) over the holiday break—I don my invisibility cloak from Carroll on December 18 until January 19)—- are the following:

  • Brian Selznicks The Marvels
  • Mark R. Schwen’s Leading Lives that Matter: What We Should Do and Who We Should Be.
  • Douglas Rushkoff’s Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now (Thank you, Davis Endries, for calling my attention to this book.)
  • Jonathan Franzen’s Purity: A Novel
  • Oliver Burkeman’s The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking. (Thank you, David Lewis for alerting me to this gem).
  • Martin James’s A Brief History of Seven Killings. (Thank you, Susan Gusho, for sharing from Kansas your book recommendations. You know what I will like.)
  • Maria Konnikova’s The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It Every Time.
  • Roger Angell’s This Old Man: All in Pieces
  • Joan Hustace Walker’s Great Pyrenees (Complete Pet Owners Manuals) (Recommended by Leo The Great)


Recommend to me some good books and prove to me that I have a reader or two:)

Happy Holidays.

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Why Twitter is Rising in Importance in My Personal Learning Program

DSCN8780It’s my research day. I just helped Leo the Great Pyr onto his Central Bark Doggie Day Care bus


and had a team meeting with Lizzy and Alison, two of my student research assistants. Before I gave them research assignments, I shared with them my Christmas ritual of opening up Jacquie Lawson’s marvelous Advent Calendar App. Thank you, Jacquie, for giving us reasons to smile and be in awe.

While we are working I receive a Facebook communication (and feedback) that Katerina and Tim Miklos, now in England, enjoyed the wedding video that Alison produced with Imovie as one of her research projects with me on Tuesday. I hope in the near future to research and develop with my students global communication tools such as Skype by communicating with Katerina in England, Ben in Hungary, Maren in Madagascar, Andrew in Switzerland, and Hersonia in Mexico. Who else abroad is willing to help us learn together?

I’m monitoring my Twitter feed as I write this blog piece and find 10 ideas, resources, and thought-leaders worth following. The dross is outweighed by the nuggets as I refine my Twitter filters and make better use of Twitter applications. I still am not quite ready to explore Twitter Chats. Just because a technology learning tool HAS capabilities, doesn’t mean that I need them –or that I should change my teaching to accommodate them.

Thank you Teri Johnson and Jane Hart for firmly but gently nudging me into exploring the use of Twitter.

Here are 10 tweets that informed me or guided my personal learning today:

  1. I see that Maria Konnikova has a new book out in January. She writes so well about psychology and pseudo science. I preorder the book and send her a brief note. Thank you, Maria, for your clear thinking, your lucid writing, and your thought-provoking ideas.
  2. Alec Couros recommends a Ted Talk about “Where Good Ideas Come From.” If I can find time, I’ll take a look at that before teaching my research Seminar. Thank you, Alec, for the inspiration.
  3. The indefatigable Richard Byrne alerts me to some free Technology Tools for Teachers.
  4. While I am data mining resources from K-12 I take a quick glance at my Edutopia feed.
  5. A colleague on LinkedIn suggests reposts an article about skills every young professional should have. I see value in sharing this with my advisees.  Thank you, Rebecca!
  6. I see a Mac 911 MacWorld piece about how to incorporate special characters into documents. I’ll need this as i try blog pieces in different language. I snag it (oops, gotta be careful. I own that App and I am starting to use my Dictation software as I write blogs).
  7. Richard Kiker’s use of Paper.li motivates me to return to exploring its utility as a curating tool. I assign that protect to Arianna.
  8. I am reminded and convinced that it is important that I incorporate thinking about climate change—and doing something about it into my life.
  9. I take a quick look at a recent EverNote blog post since I continue to struggle with most best to master its features.
  10. I glance at recent posts from LifeHacker—always fun to read and read one about how there just doesn’t seem to be enough time.

YIKES! Tempus fugit (or as Mrs. Bode, my Howland  High School Latin teacher often punned, Time fidgets!)

Time to protect myself against Internet Distractions.

Posted in App Generation, Apps, Curious David, Global Education, Jane Hart's Top 100 Learning Tools, Personal Learning Tools, Research Assistants, technology tools, Twitter, Web 2.0 Tools | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Banishing Computer Clutter (Part 1)

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 3.41.27 PM

I am about to go through all the different applications that I have on this Mac and attempt to winnow them. Then, I need to do the same for all my other machines. Yes, I have done this before and yes I have written about it before (e.g. here). Appluenza is difficult to extinguish!

I call up 1-Password. Increasingly I am relying on such software to avoid the    F-word–the forgetting that seems to be an increasing concomitant of aging.  I am much more interested  nowadays in software or research claiming to enhance, protect, and expand memory. Fortunately this old man can find inspiring older role models in individuals like Roger Angell and his marvelous new book.

I load an application from hell. I bought this particular MAC software several years ago to convert videos to the many different formats existing.  Alas it won’t accept the registration code which somehow is encrypted in a fashion that doesn’t allow cut and paste and which consists of a long string of numbers, letters and hieroglyphics. Customer support is a series of FAQs that don’t address my needs. Humbug. Trash it along with another app that I never have used.

I discover several Apps built into the Mac whose existence I did not know or whose function I never realized. Embarrassing. Annoying. Wasteful. More to learn.

I load my Day One “journaling” software to record my progress. The newly downloaded voice dictation software works pretty well with it. I have all my student assistants using a shared Day One app to help us co-ordinate our work efforts.

And suddenly I am distracted by my Comic Life 3 software!

Time for a Thanksgiving holiday break and playing with the grand-nieces and grand-nephews!

Comic 1








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Revisiting Mac Dictation Software — and Giving Thanks for Friendships

P1050795Across the years I have tried dictation software with mixed results. Oddly enough I was testing this kind of teaching/learning tool  (but in the company of a different dog) six years ago on this date!

Here are some of my earlier misadventures—they still make me laugh!

Right now I am using Nuance’s new Mac upgrade of Dragon Dictate to “write” this short blog.  My motivation needing to assist my business partner Greg Schneider install the software on his machine. Greg is quite facile with earlier versions of this tool. I am so blessed to have him as a friend, business partner, confidante, and annual fishing partner.

Perhaps dictation software tools will overcome my handicap of not being able to type!

Stay tuned for my adventures and misadventures with dictation software —and some initially very short blogs!
And Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate this American holiday.

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Revisiting Curation Software: A Student Guide to the Basics of Scoop.it


Dog tired as I try to bring the semester to a soft landing, I rely more and more on my student assistants to provide support in my research efforts.

I invited student research assistants Alison and Arianna to investigate the usefulness of Scoop.it.” as a teaching/learning tool. Here are their preliminary thoughts.

Scoop.it is a curating media web tool that allows individuals to find content for any topic imaginable. From these topics, it then creates an organized online magazine format. The components of Scoop.it are users, topics, and scoops. The potential users are anybody that has a Scoop.it account and can share articles about any topic. The topics can consist of anything, your favorite sport, a paper for school, current news events, and multiple endless possibilities. The scoops are the articles that are stored under the topic board/page for that specific topic. The free account for Scoop.it allows users to create two topic boards, connect two social media accounts, and scoop 10 articles a day.

To create a topic, one selects the “create a topic” button that is located on the user’s profile page. Once the button is selected, Scoop.it will then prompt you to fill out information about your topic. One inserts the name of the topic, selects the language, and then inserts a couple of key words about the topic. Inserting these key words allows Scoop.it to search for content that may be germane to your topic.

To find content yourself, a search bar in the top right corner allows one to type in keywords. The search will then produce three tabs related to the keywords; posts, topics, and users. The posts tab finds articles and content that is related to the keywords that were searched. Based on the keywords, topic boards that are created by other users will also be pulled up. If one wishes, one can follow a topic board which is then added automatically to one’s “follow” list. By following a topic board, one will be notified of the new content the user scoops into that topic board.

The topic board is a page that displays all of the curated content on the selected topic. In an organized fashion, the topic board arranges all the content you selected for that specific topic. By default, the content and articles are published in chronological order on the topic board.

When one finds an article that they want to scoop into their particular topic board, there is a scoop.it button on the article. This button allows one to select which curated topic board to add the scoop in, add additional text to the article, share this article with other social media sites, select a schedule of publication for the article, and add tags to the article.

Scoop.it allows individuals to share scoops with other social media sites without publishing the scoop under one of their topic boards. On the bottom right of a scoop is an arrow button that give you options of your other social media platforms to share the article with. Some versions of Scoop.it also provide the embedding code to include in  a blog piece or to a website.

For convenience, Scoop.it has a web based platform and an app for mobile devices which syncs everything automatically across devices and platforms (e.g. desktop, iPad, iPhone, and Android).

There is an education version of Scoop.it that allows for  30 co-curators or groups to collaborate on a project.  One is able to search for topics that may aid in papers, research projects, and class presentations. Teachers can create topic boards for a class and attach additional readings of articles that may enhance understanding of the material for the students. It can be used in conjunction with other learning tools such as SlideShare and PowerPoint.

We welcome any feedback or experience with Scoop.it.

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Leveraging My Technology Learning Tools


I am sandwiching in (actually eating donuts!) some brief writing time between my two labs for Statistics and Experimental Design (PSY205). The students seem to have indeed come in prepared, having looked at the screen cast I had made using Screenflow for them about how to do a two-way, between subjects ANOVA with SPSS. One of my students offered to use Quizlet to make a review for their fellow students of the “language of statistics.”

Student research assistant Alison has been at work in my office since 8:00 updating our Macs with the new WordPress app. With no formal direction from me, she has reviewed our latest blogs, given thought as to how we can (and if we should) move up in the “elearning feeds ratings” and investigated how to use CreateSpace for the book we shall be writing together. I alert her to several more tools i want her and my other three student assistants to explore: Scoop.it, Paper.li, and either Feedly or Inoreader. She bounces the idea off me of my mentoring a Carroll Pioneer Scholar research program about technology learning tools.

I check my Twitter feed and discover  Much Ado about Nothing brouhaha among Wikipedia editors. That might make my colleague and Shakespearean scholar  (and Object Lesson author) John Garrison laugh. I share it with John. Time to head back to teaching my 2nd lab. Technology CAN be a tool as long as I don’t allow it to control me.

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“Don’t be who ISIS wants you to be”: Bloggers on Paris and Beirut

Others can better express these things than I. Hence, the repost of these important ideas:

Bloggers in France, Lebanon, and beyond share their stories, analyses, and art after a week of violence.

Source: “Don’t be who ISIS wants you to be”: Bloggers on Paris and Beirut

We need to reaffirm our humanity and  rediscover our common purpose.

  • Don’t worry about doing THE Right Thing, but do A right thing.
  • Live, Love, Learn, and ——Give.
  • Be Good (for Goodness’ Sake).
  • Be Nice to your Brother and Sister.
  • Be Patient.
  • Be Kind
  • Be Giving.
  • Be Forgiving.
  • Be of Good Cheer.
  • Be You.
  • Be—–


  • Let it Be.

Posted in Blogging, Carroll University USA, compassion, Cultural Universals, Curious David, Global Education, International, Unifying Global Causes | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Student Guide to EverNote’s Skitch Feature


A new learning tool that Dr. Simpson introduced us to recently is Skitch. From what we have discovered so exploring the capabilities of this app it is very useful for easily creating visual aids. You can take a screenshot or upload an image you already have. One can either take a screenshot of the entire screen (full-screen) or  select what part of the screen will be in the screenshot (screen snapshot). You can edit the picture by adding arrows, highlighting, and adding annotations.Text boxes can be added to the images for further explanation. One can also add ovals, circles, or squares on the image to emphasize where you wish the reader to focus. The pixilate feature on Skitch allows one to blur out sections of the image. One can also use the “marker tool” to draw lines, words, or shapes on top of the image. The highlighter tool  allows one to call attention to the main points of the image. Words that are highlighted will not be covered up by the highlighter but rather will be emphasized. Moreover, the highlighter, marker, text, and shapes can be customized with different colors, including red, yellow, blue, green, white, black, pink, orange, or even a customized color.

Once one has completed the image, the file can be saved in multiple formats including JPG, Skitch JPG, PNG, PNG Skitch, TIFF, GIF, BMD, and PDF. One can also share their image on social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr. In addition the image can also be saved to your computer, your Evernotes, or emailed to other individuals.

Here is a video that was created by Evernote illustrating some of the features we described above that one can use with Skitch.


We are in the process of making our own more detailed Skitch and Evernote student guide which will be included in our forthcoming e-book. Do let us know if you would be interested in it.

We would appreciate any feedback from personal experiences using Skitch or Evernote.

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Glassy-Eyed from Bombardment by Buzzwords


Just finished reading an eclectic, creative book from the Bloombury Literary Studies  “Object Lessons” series by colleague John Garrison about Glass. I always enjoy reading things written by individuals who write better than I, see things which I don’t, and who alter my myopic perspective.

John’s “object lesson” for some reason triggered my thinking again about (over) use of platitudes in higher education such as “transparency,” “engagement”, “empowerment,” and “moving forward.”  I have ranted about this before in the context of my perceptions about over zealous “branding.” Maybe my hypersensitivity (?) to these issues is caused by the joy of knowing people like John and poet BJ Best who remind me of the beauty of language. Maybe I just am in need of the forthcoming Thanksgiving family celebration.

Buzzword bingo anyone?

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What Technology Learning Tools Should an Undergraduate Know? Alison Explores LinkedIn


Rapidly growing and expanding, LinkedIn is a social network for professional collaboration that facilitates connecting with classmates, faculty, and colleagues. Users create an online profile and can provide as much information about themselves as they see pertinent. To this profile, users can add “connections” to other individuals and build their online social network. LinkedIn creates a profile comprised of an individual’s professional history, education, and achievements. Similar to a resume but in an online format, this allows other individuals to review your professional endeavors. Through LinkedIn, users potentially are more able to find jobs, locate other individuals in their field of study, and discover business and volunteer opportunities.

Individuals are able to build their image in their professional field by constructing and maintaining professional relationships. Especially for college students looking for connections in the real world, LinkedIn is a valuable tool for individuals searching for internships or for positions in one’s desired career path or to make connections with other individuals who may give them advice or guidance for their future.

To create a LinkedIn profile, an individual can go to the LinkedIn website and create their profile with an email address and password. An individual is then prompted to insert information about themselves such as a brief autobiography, past education experience, and professional work history. Additionally, individuals can enter volunteer experiences or organizations they care about, organizations they are affiliated with, certifications they have received, and a listing of their personal skills. LinkedIn will then organize all of the information onto a profile page. The user can customize where each section of information will fall (e.g. either at the top of the profile or lower down). Other individuals can also endorse the skills you have listed on your profile. This feature is a quick way for connections to validate that the individual is well qualified in the skills they have listed.

One should make a concerted effort to complete as much of their profile as possible. This includes adding a professional profile picture of oneself and even, if one chooses, adding a cover photo that will be displayed behind the profile. LinkedIn provides multiple sections of personal information that allow individuals to demonstrate and expand on who they are. Some of these sections are education, contact information, professional industry, volunteer experiences, and certifications. Completing all the LinkedIn sections both allows one to keep track of their experiences and accomplishments in their life and also helps showcase these talents and skills to other individuals. But remember, do not just throw down quick information to complete each section. Instead, think strategically about word choice and the way you want to communicate your information to others.

Once the profile is up and running, it is time to make connections. By adding connections with other individuals, others will be able to see and explore your profile. What kinds of connections should you make? Some individuals add anyone to increase their connection numbers.  Others prefer to make connections only with individuals whom they personally know. The answer is really what you plan to do with these connections. If one simply has hundreds of connections but does not take advantage of what these connections could offer, it defeats the purpose. Connections help individuals stay in contact with old classmates, colleagues or friends, make professional connections for future jobs, receive advice from others in their field of study, explore connections of friends, and share information among groups. With the email address used to create a LinkedIn profile, LinkedIn will automatically suggest connections to individuals in your email list who have a LinkedIn account with that email. One can also look for connections by searching for their name, a company name, a specific industry, or a school name to make further connections. There are so many benefits that LinkedIn provides, but it is up to the individual to leverage how best to take advantage of these features.

LinkedIn also allows individuals to create a custom URL to their profile. The URL that comes with a profile is normally a group of random letters and numbers. In just a couple minutes, one can create a custom URL, such as their name. If the name is already taken, one can try to add a middle initial or add their middle name completely.

One way to get involved in LinkedIn is through groups. Individuals can join professional groups which share information, share advice among members, and post or search for jobs. Groups allow individuals to communicate between one another and to expand their knowledge. It is a great way to meet new individuals and make new connections. Anyone with a LinkedIn profile can create a group that can be customized to the topic they are interested in.

LinkedIn provides a free service but it also has an option for individuals to pay for more features. For college students, the free version of LinkedIn is a great way to put together an online resume but also get a start in exploring the professional world for after graduation.

What are your personal experiences with LinkedIn?

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Controlling my APPetite…

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Too many APPS. Too little time to master them. I’ve struggled with this issue before.

Here (read me) and here and here and here:). I decided to consult with some members of what Howard Gardiner referred to as the “APP Generation”. Here is what several of them told me are “must-have” apps for college/university students.

Tia writes :

As a college student, having access to multiple apps on my smart phone helps make me a more efficient learner by staying organized. The apps I use academically are Gmail, Safari, Notepad, and Calendar. Each of these apps helps me stay on top of all my homework with the heavy course load I have this semester. I use my Gmail frequently on my smart phone because it is faster to check my email from here rather than logging on to my laptop and waiting for the slow Carroll wifi to start up. Instead of a five to seven minute process, I can have my email checked within seconds of opening the app. When I am not able to use my laptop, the Safari app is very convenient when I need to Google a quick question I have. Also, I use the Notepad app when I do not have a pencil or my agenda book to write down my assignments or meetings I have with my professors. This helps me to remain organized and on top of all my assignments, especially now with a month left in the semester. Lastly, I use the Calendar app to put in important dates such as exam dates, final exam dates, or study sessions for a certain course. All of these keep me organized, and I always have them in the palm of my hand.

As a college student, the social life is just as important as the academic life. Some apps I use when I am not studying are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. All of these apps help me stay connected with my friends from other schools, my friends at Carroll, as well as my family members all over the United States. Having multiple forms of staying in contact with these people helps with maintaining social supports, which is extremely important towards the end of the semester when stress is at an all time high. One more app I use is Two-Dots, which is just a random game. It’s a puzzle game kind of like Candy Crush. I play this game in between studying different material to give my mind a little break.

All in all, these are the apps I use on a day to day basis to stay caught up with my social life as well as staying organized academically.

Arianna tells me:

Much like most 20 year olds, I have a smartphone. With a smartphone comes several apps, but which of those apps are a must have? And which must have apps are we missing out on, requiring us to download?

Well, in my opinion, there are eight must have apps. Those apps include Gmail, Reminders, Notes, Safari, Calculator, Find iPhone, Maps, and Camera. As a college student having my Gmail and student email linked straight to my cell phone is a necessity. It allows me to easily stay in contact with professors and students, never showing up to a canceled class, easily noting changes to the syllabus, or getting missed information. Reminders and Notes have saved my life on a number of occasions. I tend to forget things rather often, and rather quickly, thus, being able to set a reminder for a day, a week, or a month from now and being able to create to do lists or grocery lists right on my cell phone has changed my life. I doubt I am alone when I say there are times I cannot think of a word or need information quickly but am on the run, well, that is where Safari comes in use. Being able to quickly surf the internet wherever I am has brought ease to my day to day life. I am able to quickly google anything I would like, especially useful when I am doing my homework far from a computer and need to research a topic or look up an unfamiliar word. The fifth App I find to be a must have is the Calculator. Although most of us can do basic mathematical operations, it is very nice to take the lazy route and calculate out things such as tip money, how much money you will be making this month, or the discounted price that will be applied to the bill you have from shopping online. Find iPhone is an app I have not yet had to use, knock on wood, but I see the potential it has. Should someone be missing, should someone’s iOS device/Mac be stolen, or should you just have misplaced your iPhone, Find iPhone uses remote location-tracking to locate them. Maps, much like the Calculator, is not entirely necessary if you prefer the old school way of paper maps. However, unfamiliar with such resources, I whole heartedly approved of the Maps app. In fact, my first few times driving to and from Carroll University I had to use Maps in order to ensure I would not get lost. In my opinion, if you are alone, Maps is a safer way to travel than a paper map, as Siri will tell you exactly when to turn, which exits to take, and so on, without you ever having to take your eyes off of the road. The last app I find to fall under the “must have” category is the Camera. Recently I traveled to Italy and, of course, I brought my cell phone. Having a feature like the Camera directly on my cell phone made it so I had one less thing to carry on all of my excursions, rather nice when you are backpacking for 10+ miles a day.

For me, these are must have apps, but, depending on the person and his or her day to day life, must have apps could vary wildly. So what are your must-halves?

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Top 100 Learning Tools 2015 Redux: My Student Research Team’s Perspective

Group Photo

After learning more about the Top 100 Learning Tools by Jane Hart, we decided to revisit them from the perspectives of how we have been using the tools in our lives or how our opinions have changed about some of them.

One of the tools we looked at was Twitter. With our research team, we debated how Twitter was a useful tool for learning and what unique features Twitter offered. One of our research team members, Arianna, did a screen flow tutorial on how to create and what one can do with a Twitter account. (Click here for Arianna’s tutorial of Twitter.) Arianna explained to us the features of Twitter that she uses in her life. For example, she would use hashtags for specific groups or classes in school to communicate between one another. Also, she liked the feature of being updated with news stories from around the world to stay connected. We are learning more about the features of Twitter and how this tool impacts the lives of many individuals, but we have not yet implemented Twitter into our daily lives.

Another tool that we have been using on a consistent basis is WordPress. Through Dr. Simpson, our research team has been getting more experience with the its many components. WordPress offers a variety of features that are easy to use and it allows one easily to construct an eye-appealing website. Some of the features we find especially enjoyable are the ability to add pictures or videos to blog posts to create a visually appealing blog piece or to add additional information. WordPress has a simple format which makes it easy to locate many features such as adjusting font text or size, adding media, making the blog post private or public, and adding tags to a piece. Hyperlinks can also be added to the text on a blog piece to take the reader to an additional website. Hyperlinks can take the reader to a previous blog piece or to any website on the internet. Through working with Dr. Simpson, we have the opportunity to work with WordPress on a weekly basis and continue to find new features and improve our WordPress skills. (Click here for our initial thoughts about WordPress.)

One tool that we have explored and thoroughly enjoyed is iMovie. iMovie allows one to create a video of video clips, images, or audio recordings. Through iMovie, one can add sound to the video, such as music, a voice recording, or sound effects. An effect can also be used to fade out the end of the sound. Pictures can also be added into iMovie that can then be displayed over the video. This allows the audience to hear the video that is being played but see the image. The length of the view time of the image can be adjusted, and once the image is done being displayed, the audience will once again see the video. Some other features of iMovie include adding title slides into the video, inserting transitions from one clip to the next, and adding an end/credit slides. These credit slides can also be added on top of the videos so that the video shows with text. One can share your iMovie to YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. We  find iMovie to be a useful tool and we plan on using this tool for school projects, presentations, and for our research team. (Click here to see our quick tutorial on how to use iMovie).

A 3rd tool we recently have been learning and trying out ourselves is Evernote. Evernote allows you to create notes on your phone, computer, tablet or any device that can connect to the internet. These notes can be easily shared among these multiple devices so one can pick up where they left off on any of their devices. Even when not connected to Wifi, one can create and edit notes that will be synced automatically among all their devices once the device is connected again to Wifi. One feature of Evernote is making a notebook for a specific topic where one can store multiple notes and files under that topic. Evernote is useful when it comes to making to do lists for groceries, assignments, and setting reminders. Also, Evernote allows you to send pictures, notes, voice audios, and links to other individuals through a chat option. Content from multiple sources, such as web articles, photos, video, or notes can be saved in one place. This creates an easy way to save information in one folder instead of having the content in multiple locations. Evernote seems quite useful in the work setting for saving and sharing documents for collaborations and assignments with other members. We have downloaded the Evernote app for our phones and have been using the tool to share documents and ideas between members of the research team.  (Click here to see our Preliminary thoughts on Evernote).

Tia has extensive experience using Google Drive. Here are her thoughts she shared about it based on her experience before she journeyed off to participate in NCAA soccer competition.

I have been using Google Drive since I was in middle school. From the beginning I knew this would be a great collaborative site. Even in middle school, we often used the presentation slides. The best feature about Google Drive, is that you can share it with as many people as you would like to help contribute to creating a finished presentation. It helps accommodate everyone’s’ busy schedules and creates the flexibility for all members to be able to work on the project when it is convenient for yourself. Another cool feature in Google Drive is that there are chat windows under each of your projects. This creates a team atmosphere when finalizing a presentation or even a group essay. By being able to chat without interrupting the actual information you are presenting, it creates a lesser chance of accidentally deleting vital information. Google drive has a security system on your documents. There are different options you can choose when sharing a certain document. You can both share it to someone and have them be able to edit whatever they want, or share it with someone as a read-only copy. Google Drive can also keep you very organized under your email account. You can also access any of your files and folders where ever you are, as long as you have Wi-Fi.

Google Drive is very similar to any of the Microsoft Word applications. The benefit of Google Drive is the ability to work with multiple people on multiple different computers at one singular time. A few things I never knew about Google Drive were you can share a document you create up to any social media site. Google Drive can also be changed into 65 different languages. There is also an activity bar where you can search and see how many times you or your coworkers have edited a specific Google document or slides presentations. One thing that I do not like about Google Drive is that it does not always have the correct formatting for you to accomplish APA or MLA formatting. Many times, even this year in college, I have gotten points marked off on a paper submitted through Google Drive due to having the incorrect indentations while citing sources. If I was using an actual Word Document, I could have easily bypassed this problem. With Google Drive, you just have to be more cautious when it comes to formatting. Even though Google Drive has many nice accessories, I would rather use a Word Document.

We are thinking of either writing a short book (Kindle version) or creating a mini-online course about how students can use these tools. Let us know if you might be interested in joining or contributing. We’d welcome learning from your experiences with these learning tools.

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The Sounds of Carroll University

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Dr. Simpson had the thought of making a video on the unique sounds of Carroll University. Alison and Lizzy decided to walk around campus taking recordings of sounds and pictures of the scenes. They decided to share  their pictures and recordings using iMovie. Here is the video that they made.

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PIO Sports Preview: David and Tia Try Out Mom’s Old IMac

Today Dr. Simpson and I had a chance to play around with his mother’s old IMac desktop computer, which we refer to as Pat after his mother. Our objective today was to see if Pat would benefit our research team even though some of the apps are outdated. As we were testing different apps, we came across one called QuickTime. This app’s primary purpose is to create, watch, and store videos. We thought it would be fun to create a short video, to prove its future usefulness to our research team.

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Preliminary Thoughts on Evernote from Alison and Lizzy’s Perspective

One of the Top 100 Learning Tools from Jane Hart that the research team wanted to learn more information about was Evernote. Each person individually made their own account to learn more about Evernote and share information.

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From what we have explored on Evernote so far, one can make to-do lists and gather information from classes, work life, or any other activities in a single folder. Evernote also allows individuals to attach photos or audio recordings to notes and share these files among colleagues, family, friends, or classmates. In Evernote, groups can also be created with other individuals to allow sharing between groups of messages, links, notes, or audio recordings. Using Evernote, one can take photos, record audio messages, set reminders, and send text messages. Evernote can also be accessed on any device. One is also able to create notes, take photos, or record audio messages without the need of Wi-Fi. Once the individual is reconnected to Wi-Fi, all the files will be synced to the notes and accessible on any device. Here is a link that we found with some helpful information to be a “master” of Evernote.

Evernote allows the ease of communication between individuals. For example, the research team has a group started on Evernote to collaborate information between one another. We can share photos, audio recordings, send messages, or share notes between one another. Evernote also allows individuals to set reminders for themselves, this can come in handy for meetings, classes, or sports practices. Reminders can also be synced to their calendar on their smart phone or the computer’s calendar. From our perspective, Evernote seems to provide easy access to its multiple features which are useful in our case with sharing documents between our research group of five individuals. On the other hand, we do not see using Evernote for our own personal use outside of the research team. Most of our notes from classes are hand written, we use other software programs to collaborate with partners on projects, and when composing videos or taking photos, we like to use editing software to edit our clips before doing anything with them.

Here are our preliminary thoughts on Evernote and we would love any feedback on how Evernote has impacted your lives in any shape or form.

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What is the Role of a Faculty Adviser?

DSCN8480I’ve been reflecting lately on my role as faculty adviser to undergraduates here at Carroll and about those faculty who played such a crucial role in that capacity for me. Without doubt their influence shaped how and why I relate to students and former students as I do.

At Oberlin College my most influential adviser was Ralph H. Turner. Ralph, the first faculty member to invite me to address him by his first name, somehow was able to provide me the right balance of challenge and support I needed both inside and outside the classroom. I fondly and respectfully remember him as intellectually curious, patient, playful, kind, and unusually generous in his time with me. Indeed he was willing to stay in touch with me even across the years that I was continuing my education at The Ohio State University. Thank you, Ralph.

I was blessed with a similar and even deeper rich and enduring relationship at Ohio State with Tom Ostrom, who was my adviser, research collaborator, mentor, friend, and role model until the day of his untimely death. Tom provided emotional support for me while I struggled with the likelihood of being pulled out of graduate school to be sent to Vietnam, listened to me as I sorted out my thoughts about getting married, wrote me a teasing letter about a study I should do if I ended up in jail, guided me in the transition from the intense research world of Ohio State to my current home at Carroll and inspired me to share with others my love of learning. His wisdom, lust for life, optimism, sense of humor, firmness, and candor still guide and humble me.

Both individuals so impacted my life in so many ways. I draw upon their wisdom each time I am interacting with a student in an advising capacity or with my student research assistants. Advising is much more than helping students make the transition from high school, providing advice in course selection, or giving guidance in deciding whether there is an afterlife after graduating from Carroll. The lessons taught me by Ralph and Tom aren’t and can’t be learned from adviser training workshops.

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Alison and Lizzy’s Adventures with iMovie

Over the past couple of weeks, we have explored different short videos on how to create an iMovie. After watching these videos, we decided to give iMovie a try of our own. Our first video was a short and sweet film of us talking about one of Jane Hart’s Top 100 Learning Tools, iMovie. We were able to film on the computer using Photo Booth, than export the clip into iMovie. Some of the special effects we used were adding transitions between the movie clips, inserting a title slide and even adding some soft background music. One of the additional effects we found interesting was adding a photo into the video and still being able to hear the video sound playing while the photo was showing. Check out our first iMovie video here.

Since we had a basic understanding of iMovie, we decided to construct a quick tutorial on using the basic functions of iMovie to help our fellow research assistants or anyone looking for quick helpful tips. During our clip, we explained step by step how to import the video, edit the video, and finally publish one’s finished masterpiece.

One of our fellow research assistants, Arianna, created a blog post on the basics of Twitter. She did a recording on ScreenFlow showing step by step how to set up an account and the features that come along with a Twitter account. We then uploaded the ScreenFlow recording into iMovie and further edited the clip there so we could publish a short edited how to video about Twitter. Check out the edited Arianna’s Student Guide to Twitter here.

Another one of our fellow classmates, Luis, is a fluent speaker of the Spanish language. Alison filmed a short clip on Dr. Simpson and Luis talking about some of Luis’s goals after college and also his work he does at the Milwaukee healthcare clinic. We uploaded the file off of Dr. Simpson’s Nikon camera and edited the video using iMovie. iMovie allowed us to edit out any mistakes that were made while filming the video and create an appealing short video. Check out the piece with Dr. Simpson and Luis here.

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Arianna’s Student Guide to Twitter

I’ve invited (required) my student research assistants to choose a technology learning tool and to write for me a “guide-book” explaining how the tool is useful to them as students. The guide-book must include hypertext links, a video, cross-reference some of my blog posts about these topics, and be germane to undergraduate students. Here is the first of this series. I am pleased and amazed by what they can do when given the opportunity. As always, feedback from the Internet community is welcomed.

—DS (AKA DumbleDave)

Social media is everywhere. Young, old, it does not matter, each of us seems to be involved in social media in one way or another.
So what about those of us who are not too familiar with certain social media tools such as Twitter? Well, I am here to help.

No, I am most certainly not a Twitter expert, as I only joined per the request of a friend, but I do know enough to get around. To start, you need to go to Twitter and sign up to create your own account. In creating your account you will have to decide on a Twitter handle (the name that comes after the @) and a display name (typically just your name). You can also add things such as your bio, where you are from, and your birthday. I, personally, try to avoid that sort of thing. Once you have those things completed, you can add an avi (your profile picture) and a header photo, but neither is required. Then, if you choose, you can make your profile private. A private profile simply means people must request your permission to follow you, cannot retweet you, and that people whom you do not approve to follow you cannot see any of your tweets, favorites, or pictures. Now that you have your profile up and running with as much, or as little, information about yourself as you would like, you can begin to follow people. Following people allows you to see what they are tweeting, whom they are following/who is following them, and what they are favoriting. Generally the people you follow are your friends, celebs you admire, newspapers or news stations you like, and so on. However following is not limited to just that, you can follow anyone in the world, really allowing people to expand their knowledge of current events and get connected with people they otherwise might never get connected with. Once you have followed a person, if they know you, they will typically follow you in return, giving them access to your tweets, favorites, pictures, and information.

Now that you are all set up with a profile, following a few individuals, and hopefully have a few followers of your own you can begin tweeting. Tweeting allows people to express what is on their mind, to tell their followers what they are doing, and further their knowledge. You also have the ability to respond to other people’s tweets. You are not limited to just words: tweets can also consist of pictures or videos. Once you have tweeted,  people have a few different options with that tweet.  Assuming your profile is not private, they can favorite your tweet (communicating that  they like it), they can retweet tweet, or they can respond to it. You have all of these same options with other people’s tweets as well.

One really nice feature of Twitter is hashtags. When you tweet you can use a hashtag (or several hashtags) anywhere in that tweet and it will automatically generate a link that allows you to see every other recent tweet that was made using that same hashtag. This allows you to see what topics are trending—thus keeping you caught up on news and current events around the world. Hashtags might be used in a classroom setting. Professors might give their students a hashtag to use, allowing students from different sections of the course, and even students who are not in the course, to see what each other is saying. This usage in a classroom setting might lead students to generate ideas off of one another and help assist each other’s learning and success. In a recent update Twitter added a new feature called moments. Moments are like hashtags in that they let you see  news, sports and entertainment and fun things that are being tweeted about as well.

One downside to Twitter, however, is the character limitation constraint. Tweets can contain no more than 140 characters, making rather thoughtful, grammatically correct tweets next to impossible. Dr. Simpson, who also disliked the 140 character limit and was initially slightly hesitant to the embrace the idea of Twitter shared his thoughts about Twitter here. Despite this limitation, I still find Twitter a fun and easy way to stay connected with people both near and far, to get your daily dose of news, and maybe even get a laugh at some of the memes circling the internet like this!.

Now that you have a Twitter account and some basic knowledge of the tool itself,  I suggest just playing around and familiarizing yourself with it and seeing what you like and do not like and how it can be of beneficial to you. That is the way in which I learned all of my tips and tricks to Twitter.

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Cascading Technology Learning Tools Into the Classroom: Student Authored Guides

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Inspired by the release of Jane Hart’s latest 2015 Learning Tool Guidebook (well worth the purchase and careful reading), my students and I are in the process of writing Student Guides to the tools THEY find of most value at this point in their lives. Initially we’ll release them as blog posts. We welcome feedback. At the end of this semester we hope to bundle them together and post them as a Kindle-formatted e-book using a program like CreateSpace.

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Mapping New Directions for the Writings of Curious David: Winding Up or Winding Down?

David Simpson Teaching 1

Leo at Central Bark Day 1

Now that I’ve returned to writing this blog with some regularity, I’ve begun to have a sense of the directions I hope to take it—or it to take me. My present thoughts are to write more regularly, to do more collaborative writing with students (my students write so well—here are Arianna’s thoughts on “engagement”), and occasionally to write a lengthy Chronicle of Higher Education or New York Times quality thought piece (such as a response to this interesting survey about “faculty engagement“).

I have just finished rereading Janet Majure’s wonderful Teach Yourself Visually WordPress, and have benefited much from studying online WordPress instructional resources.   Consequently, I feel I now have an ability to master and manage this WordPress.com blogging software.

Some of my most creative bursts of ideas are engendered after extensive manual labor cutting grass, chain-sawing, picking apples, walking the dog and being engaged in other outdoor physical or recreational activity at North Lake.I’m thinking that one distinct thread of writing I want to explore will deal with technology applications to higher education. Another will have the theme of “David in Carroll Land” (perhaps co-authored with invited students, alumni, or other members of the Carroll family). A third will deal with whatever comes to mind (as has been in the past). A fourth focus will deal with contemporary or local issues, and a fifth will just be intended to provoke thinking—perhaps though parody.

I welcome any reader feedback about these new directions. Am I being too ambitious? Will I have any readers? Is this a positive direction to go—or is it, in fact, directionless?

Blogs post topics  that I’ve been considering writing about in the near future include:

  • How can students best be served by academic advising?
  • My last lecture (things I would finally say)
  • Thank you, Diederik Stapel, for the lessons you taught me by your dishonesty.
  • Global Education
  • My most (in)formative learning experiences
  • Lessons learned from my dogs
  • (Oh) Dear Carroll Alumni
  • On Immortality
  • Time
  • How technology distances/enables/empowers/enslaves us
  • Reaching out, reaching within
  • How to kill a college
  • Loss of innocence
  • Kindness
  • The psychology of … (curiosity, religion)
  • Why I don’t give a Twit
  • Where do writing ideas come from?
  • What I wanna be when I grow up?
  • Distinguishing Science from Pseudo Science
  • Language—Leaving no Rosetta stone unturned
  • What is meant by “engaged: faculty and students?

Which of these, dear reader would you like to see and, hopefully, discuss? I welcome your input, encouragement, and assistance.

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Further Exploration of Top 100 Learning Tools: Alison and Lizzy’s Perspective

Team photo

Dr. Simpson wanted us to go through Jane Hart’s Best of Breed (subsets of the Top 100 leaning tools) looking at ten tools we would like to learn about or learn better.

The first tool we looked at was under the category Blogging and Website Tools. The tool we would like to learn better is WordPress. We feel this tool is very beneficial because it would allow us better to collaborate and we can review multiple drafts created. Also, it publishes your writing into a neat looking format.

Under the category Quizzing, Survey, and Data Collection Tools we thought that SurveyMonkey and Quizlet would be very useful to learn more about. Quizlet allows teachers to create study guides online to actively engage students in learning. Students can also create an online study guide tailored to their idiosyncratic needs. SurveyMonkey is very useful and easy to use when needing to collect data or information. If you are in a club at your school, wanting to evaluate a teacher (or the school itself) SurveyMonkey is a good choice.

Further examination of Google Slides and PowerPoint, under the category Presentation Tools could provide useful information in the techniques of creating and making presentations. Most people don’t know all the features of these two tools nor the proper techniques to make an effective presentation. Google Slides and PowerPoint are very similar.  However, Google Slides allows you to share your presentation with others who are able to edit it also. (Don MacMillan has created a “must see” guide about PowerPoint use).

A fourth tool we looked at was under the category Video Hosting and Editing Tools. The tools we thought would be especially beneficial to learn are iMovie and MovieMaker, two similar editing softwares but the former is for a Mac and the latter for a PC. These editing tools allow you to create video presentations, but offer many unique features to aid in creating special effects, voiceovers, and multiple other editing features.

The video below is one that we made to try and test out our skills using iMovie after having watched this tutorial by Katy Poult.

Skype, under the category Webinar/Meeting Tools, allows people to close the distance gap to communicate all over the world with other individuals. Also, a lot of employers use it to hold job interviews, conferences, or meetings. It would be really beneficial to learn all the unique features it has to offer and the proper etiquette for Skype.

In the category File Sharing Platforms, we thought Dropbox would be a useful tool to learn more about. On Dropbox, you can create grocery lists, graphs, and can access them on any device. We do not know much about Dropbox, but it seems to be a very useful tool to learn more about for school and our personal lives.

Microsoft Excel, under the category Spreadsheeting Tools is a very common tool that most people should learn more about. Excel has so many features which people don’t know about that could be very useful for school and work. Excel allows people to compute formulas, create tables, and make graphs. (Here is a tutorial of some Excel features by Dennis Taylor).

Gmail, under the category Email Clients, is a very popular tool at Carroll, but there are many features that you are able to do on it that we were unaware of. One is the capability to chat with friends or colleagues and to put your daily events on a calendar that sends reminders. Also, Gmail has a sophisticated spam filter. Gmail also offers many apps that you can download on your device from your Gmail account.

The ninth tool we would like to learn more about in the category Search and Research Tools, called Google Scholar. This allows you to do more school related research with more reliable resources for your data. It also has a lot of filters that helps you narrow down to find exactly what you are looking for. It is beneficial for anyone to learn how to do a more professional search and is a good starting point to figure out what to be searching for.

The tool we would like to learn more about the most is the tool LinkedIn, under the category Public Social Networks. LinkedIn is a professional social gathering website where individuals can post their professional accomplishments, experiences, and volunteer activities. LinkedIn is an interactive website that compiles one’s resume and professional activities. Individuals can possibly get future jobs or future connections that will be beneficial to them in the future. Also, it would be very convenient to know the do’s and don’ts of creating a strong, successful LinkedIn profile.


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Lionizing (and Suppressing Thoughts of Polar Bears)


I’ve been thinking a lot about lions lately. Lions are so prevalent in art and literature across time and across cultures.

Lions are in the news today: I just read about the Copenhagen controversy concerning dissection as an educational tool. Not to long ago was the controversy about the  killing of Cecil. Two weeks ago I attended Benjamin Scheuer’s Milwaukee Repertory’s performance of “The Lion”. The songs follow me.


Such a majestic feline:



And now I have Leo in my life, presently lying near me in his dog bed. Perhaps he is dreaming about his first day at Doggy Day Care where he had this photo taken. My lion sleeps tonight.

Leo at Central Bark Day 1

Getting him out of my mind is like suppressing thoughts of polar bears!.

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¿Puedo aprender más español?: Aventuras de un viejo profesor de psicología

As I have written elsewhere, I have a long fascination with language and language learning and find very useful the compilations that Jane Hart makes of language learning resources. I continue to be wary of language translation software though it seems to becoming better and better. On my short list is to investigate Duolingo.

A student (Luis E.) recently shared with me some preliminary results of some research he is doing as part of an internship in Milwaukee. He showed me a survey which he had designed and a web page he had created that clearly showed evidence of his talent, his potential, and some possible ways we could learn together—and I could learn from him.

Finally I might have an excuse to see whether there are any traces of the Spanish I learned at Howland High School and the 24 credit hours of Spanish earned at Oberlin College and Guanajuato, Mexico.

Doy la bienvenida a tus comentarios — especialmente aquellos de ustedes que hablan español!

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Preliminary Thoughts on Jane Hart’s 2015 List of Top 100 Learning Tools

She’s done it again! My revered “across the pond” virtual mentor and friend Jane Hart has recently shared her compilation of Top Learning Tools. I still struggle with how best to use these tools in the classroom, in my own personal learning development, and in my consulting business.

This year the Top 10 Tools on Jane’s list are:

  1. Twitter
  2. YouTube
  3. Google Search
  4. Google Docs/Drive
  5. PowerPoint
  6. Dropbox
  7. Facebook
  8. WordPress
  9. Skype
  10. Evernote

I have asked two of my talented student research assistants, Alison and Lizzy, to take a look at this list and let me know a) whether they are familiar with them, b) whether they thought these particular tools be useful to them as students or in the future in the workplace, and c) how best they could be taught (e.g. in the classroom, as a special course, or on their own). Here are their thoughtful responses.

From a student’s perspective, we focused our thinking on  which tools we have personal experience and which tools work best in the classroom environment.

Neither of us has used Twitter before, but we know something about it from our peers and from Dr. Simpson. For students between the ages of 15 to 22, we see Twitter as a personal filter of their thoughts and ideas not related to academics. We see older individuals with more experience using Twitter to share and connect ideas about the news, business, and educational works.

YouTube proves to be useful and frequently used in the classroom setting. Students are able to bring video examples into the classroom to share with students. Our teachers also assign students additional out of classroom work to watch videos that pertain to class to aid in understanding or classroom discussions.

Personally, we use Google search on a day to day basis as a starting tool to begin any kind of investigation. Google is useful for any student or teacher wanting more information on any topic imaginable.

When doing a presentation or group collaboration, one of the best tools to use is Google Docs/Drive. This software allows individuals to be working from multiple computers and locations and share automatically the material they are working on together. It is also very useful that Google Docs/Drive will automatically save your information and allows one to pull it up on any computer connected to the internet. We believe that Google Docs/Drive should be more cascaded into the classroom due to its usefulness in group collaborations and projects.

PowerPoint is a useful tool that aids in following along when teachers are giving class presentations or lectures. Teachers often assign students presentations using that software. However, students do not take full advantage of all the features of PowerPoint or do not understand how to properly present using PowerPoint. From our personal experience, most students in the classroom tend to just read off the slides or put together slides loaded with complete sentences that are hard to read and follow along with. PowerPoint workshops would be useful to have students reach their full potential while presenting with PowerPoint. Here is a workshop recommended by Dr. Simpson click me: LOL.

While neither of us have experience with Dropbox, we both agree that Dropbox seems to be a useful tool that could aid the classroom setting. Dropbox would be a good tool because files can be easily saved and accessed on any device. Both of us in the future want to further explore the features of Dropbox.

Facebook is a great tool to stay connected in the lives of classmates or individuals that live far away. The group chat option provides to be useful when scheduling meetings between groups, sharing information, or making plans in general. Personally, we don’t see it as a top tool for learning because of how much it is advertised and used as to express everyday thoughts, not related to academic purposes.

Prior to working with Dr. Simpson, neither of us had experience working on WordPress. From using WordPress with Dr. Simpson both of us have grown in our knowledge of WordPress but also our appreciation of the software. WordPress would be useful in the classroom environment to aid in easy access to multiple features. Students would be allowed to add videos, add links to outside sources, compose their own works, and comment and interact between one another.

When wanting to interact face to face with individuals across the globe or even a short distance away, Skype helps solve this barrier. By using Skype, employers can conduct interviews with applicants across the country for possible positions. Also, Skype can be used in the classroom to have guest speakers present their ideas to the class without having to be physically present. Skype also has the unique feature that allows for Skype conversations between more than one individual at a time, kind of like a group video chat.

Neither of us has experience using Evernote. Once again, this is a software that we would like to explore more in our futures and see how we can incorporate it into our academic and personal lives.

In conclusion, these Top 10 Tools for Learning are all good resources each in their own unique way. Although we have more experience with some tools than others, these are our thoughts and applications to how we see these tools working in our learning environment.

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Learning by Teaching: Alison’s and Lizzy’s Guide to Using SPSS Data Analysis for Simple Linear Regression

DSCN8480One of the many lessons I’ve learned from many years of teaching is how much I learn through the act of teaching. It recently occurred to me that one way to facilitate my students’ learning of statistics is to position them to teach it. Below is a video created by two of my students illustrating how to use and interpret SPSS’s procedures for creating a scatter plot, calculating Pearson’s r, and, if warranted, performing a simple linear regression. Here is what they wrote and did:


This video was designed to help demonstrate an SPSS analysis for a simple linear regression. This video helps to show the steps to obtain an analysis of data, but the steps are also printed below for further assistance.

Step 1) Enter the names of the data into the variable view. For our data, the first name is Global Awareness which is the “independent variable” while the second name is “Satisfaction” which is the dependent variable. The data will come up automatically as numeric, but change the decimals to 0. Once complete hit the data view.

Step 2) Enter data under the appropriate name.

Step 3) To see if several of Pearson r’s assumptions are met  first create a scatter plot. To create the scatter plot, go underneath graphs, legacy dialogues, and then click on scatter/dot. Then a pop up menu will appear and select simple scatterplot, which is the first option. Then SPSS will ask you for the x and y axis. The X is the independent variable while the Y is the dependent variable.

Step 4) When the scatter plot appears, notice the  direction (positive or negative), the strength of the scatter plot, and if the scatter plot is linear. If the scatter plot is linear, calculate Pearson’s r.

Step 5) To calculate Pearson’s r, go under Analyze, Correlate, than select bi-variate, and a pop up menu will ask you for the independent and dependent variable. Make sure the Pearson box is selected as well as the two tailed box.

Step 6) To calculate the linear regression, go under Analyze, Regression, and select linear. A pop up menu will ask for the independent and dependent variable.

To understand the data:

Pearson’s r indicates how strong the two variables are correlated.

r squared is the coefficient of determination which communicates how much of the Y variable is explainable by knowing the X variable.

The standard error of estimate is the range around a predicted score within which you are sure with a specified degree of certainty that the predicted score will indeed fall.

Underneath the coefficients table in the B column, one is able to see the y predicted equation (Ypredicted = Bx + A). B is going to be the next to the independent variable while the A is going to be next to the constant.


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Meet My New Carroll Student Research Team (Part 1)


Alison Lehman

A Look Back at the Once Unknown

As time flies by, I am going into my third year at Carroll University. If you would have asked me four years ago if I would be at the place I am today or doing what I am today, I would have said no way. I could never have imagined that I would be so involved in campus life and extracurricular activities. I find myself finally reaching outside my comfort zone and pushing myself to reach new limits and loving every minute of it. Looking back at where it all started in my senior year of high school, I could not be more blessed to have the pieces fall into place along with all the opportunities and experiences I have encountered up to this point.

As a senior in high school, my norm was to arrive home and find up to five new college informational flyers daily, further confusing my college search. The flyers just seemed to keep pouring in and even consumed an entire corner of my bedroom. Yet, I continually pushed off the college search because I became overwhelmed with deciding the fate of my career. How could an 18 year old truly know what they wanted for their future?

As the school year came to a close and time was running out, I made the decision to attend Lawrence University and play on their volleyball team. Carroll University and St Norbert’s were leading contenders but Lawrence swayed my decision because I could continue to play the sport I loved. Looking back, a sport was a foolish deciding factor but that is what it had boiled down to. The love of the game motivated me but as my first trimester came to a close, I knew I was not in the right school. Feeling out of place and lost, I was no longer set on Lawrence and I decided to transfer into a school that was close to my family and focus solely on academics. My search lead me back to Carroll University, which has a central location to my home, beautiful architecture and buildings, and respectable academic programs.

Transferring into Carroll halfway through my freshman year, I was like a fish out of water. I tried to find my calling by attending all my classes, making some friends along the way, and even sticking to a gym routine but I still did not entirely blend in and fit into Carroll. The end of my sophomore was when I started to feel like I was branching outside my comfort zone that had held me back so many times in my past. The writing center had open positions and I took a bold step forward and applied. This job strengthened my desire to work with other individuals from various backgrounds in my future. Some other extracurricular clubs I became involved with were psychology club and Psi Chi. Through these activities, I was able to make connections with other students and faculty and further push myself into trying new activities outside my comfort zone. Slowly but surely, I was learning to stand up for myself and not hold myself back from opportunities that I was surrounded by.

Going into my junior year I became even more involved in out of school activities. I continued working for the writing center, obtained a job tutoring a student in English, joined Habitat for Humanity, and was fortunate with the opportunity to work for Dr. Simpson. Even though I am constantly on the move and running from place to place, I could not imagine my life any other way. Looking back, I have had countless opportunities come knocking on my door. As a senior in high school, I could never have guessed I would be so consumed by school, extracurricular actives, and jobs that are guiding me to better understand who I am and what I want to be doing in my future.

I have spent countless late nights researching jobs, masters programs, internship ideas and countless more trying to grasp some grain of knowledge or direction. My career path after Carroll has many opportunities and possible directions. Part of me is pulled toward areas of social work, industrial and organization psychology or research programs in psychology; as I plan to pursue at least a master’s degree. Since I am also minoring in Spanish, I would love to further explore the Spanish language and culture and incorporate that into my future in any way possible.

As I look back on my life and how it has shaped me into the individual I am today, I cannot help but wonder what direction my life will take me in another five years. With all of the opportunities I have encountered to date and the individuals that have touched my life, it motivates me to push my limits and reach for the stars even in times of confusion and self-discovery. I need to not hold back but immerse myself into the opportunities that surround me.

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Retrospective Paean: Reflections on My First 32 Years of Teaching at Carroll – Aug 22, 2010

No longer can I ignore the emails from campus indicating that Fall semester will soon begin. Nor can I put off too much longer that manuscript review which is due September 3. Time to doff my invisibility cloak and return to campus rejuvenated, reinvigorated, enriched by extensive reading, and with a clear (closely guarded) plan of what I want to accomplish over the next five years. Invite me to coffee if you’d like to trade closely guarded secrets!

I did an unusually large amount of reading this summer—at least 20 novels including Stieg Larson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, Richard Russo’s Straight Man and his Empire Falls, Rebecca Newberg Goldstein’s 36 Arguments for the Existence of God, David Lodge’s Thinks; Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, Lesley Kagen’s Whistling in the Dark, Benjamin Taylor’s The Book of Getting Even, and Brady Udall’s magnificent The Lonely Polygamist. Among the nonfiction books I found especially interesting, provocative, or intellectully stimulating were Chris Anderson’s Free: The Future of A Radical Price, Nicoholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, and two books by social psychologist Ellen Langer, The Power of Mindful Learning and Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility. More about each of these good reads can be found elsewhere. What else should I read?

The other day I decided to read cover-to-cover and, yes, word-by word the official 2010 – 2011 Carroll University catalog. How things have changed since I joined the Carroll community! I wonder if I have changed to the same degree (but please don’t send me photos of me from 1977).

Of the 120 individuals listed as Carroll faculty for 2010 – 2011 (included are administrators and librarians with “faculty status”) I am now seventh-most senior in years of continuous service. Three of those faculty listed who are more senior than I plan to make 2010 – 2011 their last year here (or so I have been told). Almost half the faculty and most administrators have only been at Carroll since 2006.

It might make an interesting exercise in my statistics class to use this data (faculty colleague, academic degrees earned, institutions from which degrees were earned, years of continuous service, academic rank) to better see who we are and how we have changed. Hmm, carpe diem (seize the the teaching moment)—I think I may have developed the content of my first Lab in PSY205 “Statistics and Experimental Design” on September 1.

What are the responsibilities of a senior faculty, such as I, who is such an increasingly scarce commodity? I’ve seen far too many former colleagues across these 32 years at my stage of faculty development become bitter, angry, despondent, frustrated or exhausted, as they tried to do too much (serving on every committee and task force and accreditation visit) or resisted institutional change they found inappropriate. How can one protect the integrity of an institution one has grown to love, preserve traditions deserving of being kept, and be guided and anchored by the collective wisdom and core values of Carroll’s founders—and yet be open to new ideas and supportive of younger colleagues who need the opportunity to make mistakes and to have the same growth opportunities as did I?

In a week I’ll have an opportunity to have lunch with members of Carroll’s 25-year Club (faculty, staff, and emeriti) who have served Carroll for at least 25 years. I enjoy that annual celebration with these campus colleagues, faculty and non-faculty, who have been mentors, friends, teachers and role models to me. How many lives these dedicated individuals have affected—and continue to do so as they’ve shaped and lived core institutional values across the years and have produced a rich collective legacy of traditions, successes, failures, and reasons for celebration. How they have enriched my life and inspired me.


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Behind the Scenes: Vibrancy and Change on Campus

The sound of the bagpiper at Opening Convocation has almost settled. I’m proctoring the 2nd of two two-hours exams I am giving today—and reflecting as I begin teaching year number 38 at Carroll.

I first got into the habit of awakening at 5:30 am. and being on campus by 7:00 a.m. when I was Faculty and Assembly President.  The sun-rise colored, dewy campus is beautiful in the early morning and bustling with activity. The football team is often practicing. The physical plant staff are inspecting their hard work before heading to the Campus Center for some much needed and deserved coffee and heading home after an eight hour shift. In those earlier days of my Carroll experiences, I got to know many of our physical plant staff personally and friendships developed that continue today (Thank you Dennis W. and your Dad, “Ott”). I had a number of their children as students (thanks for sending Heather my way—and yes, you have reason to be proud that she graduated summa cum laude).  I  learned much from them about the challenges they faced in making the campus a welcoming, safe, environment conducive to working and learning. They play an especially vital role right now polishing the campus in anticipation of our imminent Home Coming weekend.

Of course, there are others on campus already. If I so wanted I could text John G. or many other colleagues to join me for a quick coffee and conversation—either now or later in the day. Some of my staff friends are already working in their offices.  Some are no longer here, having retired after more than 25 years of service. I miss Jean Olsen’s red car parked by Voorhees.

A stream of student nurses (identifiable by their uniforms) passes me as I walk up the hill from the theater building where I must park my car because of the new science building construction. Construction cranes tower above Rankin Hall and where Maxon Hall used to be. Hours ago the construction workers restarted their work from the day before. A chorus of their hammering accompanies me as I climb up the stairs to my office.

I send an email invitation to the daughter of one of my former students suggesting that she stop by and say hello. I promised her Mom (Kit V.) at an Admissions’ Day event that I would be an unobtrusive guardian angel for her daughter if she was attended Carroll. I give my research assistants (I am again blessed with talented youth) some unsupervised tasks to do for me and head off to my morning classes.

So much positive activity goes on “behind the scenes” and keeps me here. I have been afforded numerous on and off-campus and virtual interactions with Board of Trustee Members. Thank you trustees and former trustees Charmaine P., Cathy D., John R. and Jim S. for enlarging my perspectives about this institution which you love. I appreciate your support across the years that we have worked together. Thank you, PE MacAllister for your recent guidance about when I should retire.

Regular interactions with former and present students continue to enrich and inspire me. Michelle B. informs me that she just started a five-year position as an oral examiner for the ABPP neuropsychology boards and that she will soon start a position as a national advocacy liaison on behalf of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology. She will be starting the APA Women in psychology leadership training program in DC next month.

Current student Davis E. stops by to share an idea for an honor’s thesis for his English Communication major He modestly shares that he had recently published a Milwaukee Journal “article“. We make an appointment for him to teach me what he knows about EverNote. Once he has taught this Old Dog, I’ll probably add it to my list of learning technology tools I use.

Current student Kevin S. stops by to drop off a thank you letter for my Uncle James Stover for funding his summer research (which was recently recognized as best in its class). These two world-wise military veteran students enrich the campus and my life through their unique perspectives. Uncle Jim is so pleased by the return on his investment in Kevin that he decides to invest again, this time targeting deserving freshmen and sophomores. Fortunately we have many needy and deserving students who meet our criteria.

Thanks to all members of my extended Carroll Community for sharing, caring and daring to preserve the integrity of the institution while being aware of where there might be a need to change.

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Augmenting My Teaching Capabilities: Top Technology Learning Tools Revisited

Photo on 9-10-15 at 11.23 AM

Caveat Lector: This blog piece is laden with hypertext links that lead you to additional thoughts I have about these learning tools!

With the deadline for responding to Jane Hart’s annual list of top learning tools imminent, here are my present thoughts on my top technology learning tools:

Reading: I need tools that increases the likelihood of my being able to stay abreast of current events and aware of current research findings that I then can incorporate into my classes in an ongoing basis. Driving to school today while listening to NPR I was alerted to some research dealing with “nudging” individuals to buy more healthy foods by partitioning grocery carts. When my commute was temporarily blocked by a Waukesha train, I took the time to dictate into my cell phone that I should incorporate “nudging research” into my experimental social psychology class. I later added that particular NPR stream to my RSS reader/aggregator.  Though I have tried Feedly, I am presently using Inoreader.

I do a lot of online reading, (though I am convinced by Naomi Baron that the printed book has a bright future– Lego Ergo Sum) heeding and feeding my need to learn from Twitter (where I tend to follow a selective list of individuals who share or enlarge my interests), Facebook (where I maintain relationships with former students), and LinkedIn (which has some interesting capabilities for also keeping in touch with alumnae, Board of Trustees, and professional contacts).

Writing: I enjoy writing, and have investigated all of the writing tools on Jane’s list. I also have far-too-many writing (and other) apps on my far-too-many computers which I use across the day. My favorite journaling app of the moment is Day One. Its simplicity (and beauty) intrigues me and it motivates (nags) me to write. Of the six blogging pieces of software I have investigated I continue to use WordPress . It continues to teach me, and it gives me access to a number of individuals who write better than I. It is important to me that I learn from them. As I continue to try and reach out to non-English speaking audiences I am always looking for good language translation software that improves upon Google Translate.

Arithmetic: Among the courses I teach is “Statistics and Experimental Design.” I am also a partner of a consulting firm with Gregory K. Schneider and Jane Schneider. For data analysis purposes I use (and teach) SPSS, the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences though I follow very closely  the possibility of switching to something (which is as all encompassing but more user-friendly and which is open source) such as JASP.  For conducting surveys I teach and use SurveyMonkey.

Testing/ Quizzing: I continue to search for the ideal Testing/Quizzing tool. Though I have examined ProProfs Quizmaker and Quizlet, I still find of most value a much outdated but still reliably serving my needs software StarQuiz.

Screen Casting: Of the many screen casting tools I have explored, I keep coming back to using Screenflow though I am determined to give Camtasia (both Mac and PC versions) a thorough examination this academic year. I’ve been able to use such software to incorporate into my Statistics classes supplemental tutorials on the use of SPSS.  I prefer using Vimeo to YouTube as an outlet for my video productions.

Other Tools on my shortlist for mastering this academic year are Evernote, Imovie, and either Scoopit or Paperli.

What tools do you use to augment your teaching capabilities? What evidence do you have of their success—-or failure?

I welcome your thoughts.

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The Poetry of Teaching and Learning

I am blessed here at school with the opportunity to interact with a number of bright, creative, and fun to be with colleagues. Those interactions, whether in person or via social media, invariably both humble me and enrich me and my teaching. Today I shared with my students a poem written by Antler which my poet/author/Lego-fanatic/musician colleague BJ Best had shared  on his Face Book page not long ago when his son entered Kindergarten.

Antler (from his Selected Poems)

“Raising My Hand

One of the first things we learn in school is
if we know the answer to a question
We must raise our hand and be called on
before we can speak.
How strange it seemed to me then,
raising my hand to be called on,
How at first I just blurted out,
but that was not permitted.

How often I knew the answer
And the teacher (knowing I knew)
Called on others I knew (and she knew)
had it wrong!
How I’d stretch out my arm
as if it would break free
and shoot through the roof
like a rocket!
How I’d wave and groan and sigh,
Even hold my aching arm
with my other hand
Begging to be called on.
Please, me, I know the answer!
Almost leaping from my seat
hoping to hear my name.

Twenty-nine now, alone in the wilds,
Seated on some rocky outcrop
under all the stars,
I find myself raising my hand
as I did in first grade
Mimicking the excitement
and expectancy felt then.
No one calls on me
but the wind.”

My first week of teaching has been rewarding. Time to load the car before heading to North Lake for a swim.

I wish everyone in the USA an enjoyable Labor Day holiday.

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Razing the Bars (Wordplay continued)…

Shoveling Cleaning my office today I came across this history of the spell checker poem  “Candidate for a Pullet Surprise:”

“I have a spelling checker,

It came with my PC.

It plane lee marks four my revue

Miss steaks aye can knot sea…”

I sometimes use it as a “screen” for hiring student assistants who can proofread carefully, spell, and have a good sense of humor. Sometimes I have them read it aloud or dictate it to a computer.



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School Tools (Revisited): or Razing the Bars

DSCN8122I confess that I am addicted to buying office and school supplies and have been since I was a first-grader. With the beginning of classes imminent (and the deadline for Jane Hart’s top  tools for learning survey on the horizon), it’s time to go to revisit my school toolbox. See Profhacker (and do a search for “tools”) for the preferred tools of younger and more digitally oriented colleagues.

Here are my top 10 tools NONTECHNOLOGY learning tools for razing the bars  (homophone intended—in fact I toyed with the idea of writing this blog piece entirely in homophones AND publishing an audio version!)—i.e. for liberating the potential of students and of me from barriers that impede learning:

  1. An assortment of number two pencils, plenty of erasers and some G2 bold thickness pens. (Yes, I COULD use a stylus with my Ipads).
  2. An assortment of high lighters. Yes, I am aware of the research about the efficacy of highlighting for studying.
  3. Moleskin-like notebooks. (Yes, I am aware of the online capabilities.)
  4. Small legal pads at each of my desks at home and at school.
  5. My Ipod nano and my Loksak splashsak fanny pack (like to listen to NPR and podcasts)
  6. A Dymo label maker and an assortment of paper file folders.
  7. A rolodex for keeping track of my myriad different web page and email logins
  8. Printed copies of books. See my PsycCRITIQUES review “Lego ergo sum”.
  9. Time protected against distractions, interruptions, and distractions. I prefer to use self-discipline to using electronic defenses against distractions.
  10. My mind (whose thinking ability is always in need of sharpening). Fortunately I have frequent stimulating interactions with faculty colleagues, trustee friends, alumni, and students—and you, my non RSS reader.

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Ten Resources for Contextualizing My Academic Institution’s Well Being


I am sitting in front of my Mac in the office listening to the hammering of destruction construction outside while I do the homework to ask intelligent, informed questions of President Hastad and our invited speaker. I am delighted to have just received a “check-in” from my research assistant Tia. Right now preparation for playing soccer (and staying healthy) should be her priority.

Just quickly reviewed this week’s Chronicle of Higher Education with particular focus on articles dealing with “discount rates” and enrollment trends. Usually the updated figures occur around October 1. Here are resources I draw upon to give me a context for trends in higher education. Several of them allow me to create my own comparison group data bases (e.g. for salaries and endowments).

Ten Resources for Putting Into Context My Academic Institution’s Well Being

  1. Oberlin Strategic Plan Reading List: Source: Web Page shared by David Simpson’s alma mater Oberlin College
  2. College and University Endowments: Source: Chronicle of Higher Education
  3. Tuition and Fees: Source: Chronicle of Higher Education
  4. AAUP Salary Data: Source: Chronicle of Higher Education
  5. Money Raised by Colleges, 2014 Fiscal Year: Source: Chronicle of Higher Education
  6. Almanac of Higher Education:  Source: Chronicle of Higher Education
  7. Student Data: Enrollment Trends: Source: Chronicle of Higher Education
  8. Executive Compensation at Private Colleges: Source: Chronicle of Higher Education
  9. IPEDS (individual institutions and comparisons)
  10. CUPA Surveys

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Almost Time to Change Out of My Invisibility Cloak

I see that Carroll University’s theme this year is “Change.” Here are some possible avenues to explore:

  1. Petitioning Change
  2. Climate Change
  3. Social Change
  4. Language Change
  5. LGBTU Creating Change
  6. Change Through Charitable Contributions
  7. Champions of Change
  8. Playing for Change
  9. Quotations
  10. Behavior Change


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On the Passing of the Newf …

Robin Arrives Robin Chow Time Robin with Mom Sheba

Lord Byron said it well …


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Two-way Between Subjects ANOVA Using SPSS (Part 1)

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Review of One-way Between Subjects ANOVA using SPSS

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Looking Backwards, Looking Forward



DO I HAVE A DEAL  DECAL FOR YOU! I just discovered several hundred decals that I must have obtained from our Alumni Office (when it was called that) when my students and I used to do surveys of Carroll COLLEGE alumni.  I consider these priceless memorabilia but I am willing to give them to any former Carroll student who wants one and is willing to share with me one “Carroll Moment”—a brief reflection (positive or negative) on this blog and who also will send to me a snail mail address (send it to my Carroll email address) so that I can in turn send you a decal! I’d love hearing from you. Send me a photo from your Carroll days, and I’ll send you two decals. Offer good until I run out.

Here are some “facts” about Carroll today.

Hope that you can share with me a Carroll Moment. Keep those Facebook, Twitter, and Linkin messages coming. It is fun to stay in touch!

101_0159 101_0157 2014RyanandPhoumany

David, Ralph, and Virginia

David, Ralph, and Virginia

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lisa arveson


Musings about Carroll College





Gert and David *Steam David Simpson Teaching 1 101_0159 101_0157 101_0133 S-TEAM

101_0157 101_0119 101_0103 101_0105 101_0097 Amy Jamie Copy of Liz S-TEAM

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t-Time: Three Short SPSS Screencasts for PSY 205


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In Search of the “Best” Screencasting Software



When I am especially busy, I encourage my student research team to use their creativity to surprise me. Here is their preliminary work for an ebook we are writing that will give student guides to software we are using. I am delighted by their work. For other guides to Screencasting tools see the excellent compilation by Richard Byrne and his Free Technology for Teachers blog.

Group Photo


As a student research team for Dr. Simpson we always try to find the best software to use on the task at hand  which allows us to be most efficient and successful. Here we are going to compare three different screencasting tools we have become familiar with over the past few weeks: ScreenFlow, Voila, and Camtasia. All have the same purpose, but have differences. Which screen casting tool is best for you depends on the type of screen cast you want to make.We will show you screen casting examples from each of the different softwares.

When we used Voila to create a tutorial on how to use SurveyMonkey, we realized we were missing some necessary additional software. Without the additional software we could not hear our voice recording in our video. As a work-around solution we converted our video into ScreenFlow. To resolve the problematic issue with Voila,  Tia, Arianna, and Dr. Simpson later downloaded the necessary additional software which automatically presented itself upon our request to record using a microphone. Once this software was installed we ran a trial video in order to ensure sound could be heard. Success, at last. Having discovered how to properly use Voila, Dr. Simpson asked his research team to make a video in order to compare Voila to the video made using ScreenFlow.

Voila is a great screen casting software that can be downloaded on your iMac, iPhone, and iPad. Since Evernote is getting rid of the software, Skitch, this new feature was created in place of it with more features that are very beneficial.

When using this app you are able to take a screen shot of your full home screen, or capture a certain section of your home screen with the different screen shot tools. You are also able to overlap multiple screenshots in the software as well. In addition, if you would like to record your voice or anything on the computer while using the device you are able to do a recording. After you have taken the recording, it will open up in Voila and you can trim your new video and have the recording play over the screen casting. One flaw of Voila, is that you must download an additional app to have noise with your recording. You also need to export your recording to an app like Imovie to complete and edit your recording.

Voila allows you to edit your screen shots in multiple different ways. Some really nice features that Skitch doesn’t have is that you are able to add stickers to your screen shots as well as add a spotlight to a certain part of the screen shot. The spotlight helps a section you select stand out and blur out the rest of the background of the screen shot as much as you would like. Another feature that you are able to do that Skitch can’t is blur out in different ways. You can do motion blurs, the static blur, a pixelated blur, and etc. Also, there are different kinds of arrows you can use in Voila to lead someone from one spot of your screen cast to another to show them instructions, like where to go from point A to point B, and etc. Voila allows you to marquee the pictures as well. This means that with any of the shapes they have or what you create, you are able to put that shape on a certain part of the screen shot and duplicate it. So that part you’ve chosen can be more bolded, or put in another screen shot. Below is an example of the different effects and borders that Voila has available to us.

Below is the video we started out by using Voila, but turned to using ScreenFlow.

ScreenFlow is one of the first screencasting tools we have used as a team since the the announcement of Skitch being discontinued.  ScreenFlow is the most simple screen casting tool out of the three when you are directly recording. When creating your screen cast, you can have as many or few screens open while you are recording. There are also options to have a window showing you creating your recording as well. ScreenFlow is primarily used for Mac users whereas Voila and Camtasia can be used on many different types of computers. The best way to start and end your videos in ScreenFlow is by using shortkeys, which holds true to Voila and Camtasia as well.

In addition, Voila has many perks to it. Instead of just creating screen casting recordings, you can also create snap shots of your screen. They have many editing options for both photos and videos. With your photos, you can edit both your screen shots as well as photos in your library. Voila has the best organization for your photos and screen casting videos you create. They have many folders you can organize your creations into with easy access to all. One cool thing you can do is while in Voila, there is a button where you can go on the web. In reality, you do not even need to leave the application to take screenshots of a certain webpage you would like to add to your screencast, which also helps maintaining organization.

Camtasia is more similiar to Voila in complexity of the software. While using Camtasia, it is more used for the video aspects of screen casting. You can add many different types of transitions or textboxes as you go. One cool thing with the different transitions is that you can have them fade in and out at any time frame in your screen cast. This helps create a more exciting and organized screen cast. One thing that Camtasia has that neither Voila or ScreenFlow has is the ability to layer both videos and pictures into one screen cast. Also, Camtasia is accessible on either Macs or PCs. Camtasia allows one to film a video using their software, which will then automatically be accessible to edit. One does not have to save the video and download it to another software to edit.

On the upper left hand side of Camtasia, there are the categories Media, Annotations, Transitions, and Animations. The Media button allows one to access all the videos filmed using Camtasia or download videos saved onto the computer. Under the Annotations tab, text bubbles, arrows, shapes, highlight, symbols, or keyboard keys are located and can be added to the video. Theses options come in multiple different colors which can be adjusted on the video to be different sizes and in different locations on the video. The Transitions tab allows one to add effects at the beginning or the end of a video. Animations can also be added to the video to zoom in or zoom out, fade in or out, tilt left or right, and even create a custom animation. As a side note, if one applies the zoom in feature, to return to the way the video was originally, a zoom out animation must be applied.

The other features that one can apply to the video are Video FX, Audio FX, Cursor FX, and Gesture FX. To change the color of the screen, add a glow to the screen, add a device frame around the video, and many more are features that are located under the Video FX tab. Audio FX allows one to change the volume of the video, the pitch, reduce the background noise, and change the speed of the clip. Cursor FX will highlight, magnify, or spotlight where the cursor is throughout the video. One can also highlight right or left clicks that are made using the computer mouse during the video. Under the Gesture FX tab, one can double tap, pinch, swipe, and tap certain areas during the video.

Each of these features can be customized to show up for different lengths and times throughout the video. Camtasia has two lines of recordings on the bottom lines to edit. The first line is the Webcam recording while the second line is the video of the screen. If you want to add an effect to the entire video, such as a transition, the effect needs to be added to both lines.

We would appreciate any feedback or personal experience using Camtasia or any video editing software.

Posted in App Generation, Camtasia, Curious David, Screencasting, Screenflow, Student research Team, Voila | Tagged | 1 Comment