30 Day Learning ChallengeBook writingCurious DavidSelf Publishing

(Mis)Adventures with LinkedIn Learning

As I get closer to showing students how to (self) publish a book, I am reviewing resources that I have used in the past. The technology and tools change so quickly. My two “bibles” for the moment (hard copy) are Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch’s APE: How to Publish a Book and Chris McMullen’s Volumes 1 and 2 A Detailed Guide to Self-publishing with Amazon and Other Online BookSellers. I have the most experience using Amazon’s CreateSpace software though now and again I am tempted to use Lulu.com –in large part because I have seen what Jane Hart has been able to do with it in publishing her Modern Professional Learners book.

Since I just finished introducing my students to LinkedIn, I thought that I should revisit its “InLearning” resource (formerly Lynda.com) to investigate what l might learn there. I was underwhelmed.

The screen cast below (7 minutes) documents my discoveries there.

Learning from this experience, I further documented needs for improvement of this resource in a LinkedIn article I wrote and posted last night.

 

 

Curious David

Book-Writing With Students

Book Promo

My students and I are in the process of writing about Brain Fitness Training. This book-writing task necessitates, among other things, considerable collaborative writing and sharing in addition to mastery of some technology learning tools which I have introduced them to. Without any instruction from me they have been using Google Drive, which according to Jane Hart’s annual survey is the top educational technology tool of 2017. Because I have not used it for a while (since I last authored a book with students),  I was contemplating writing a short piece (or screen cast) about how to use LinkedIn Learning (and five ways that it could be improved). In particular, I was going to use as an example my evaluating the many LinkedIn Learning programs that deal with Google Apps.

However, I strongly believe in the ideas of Jane Hart about the need to become a Modern Professional Learner.

It dawned on me that rather than my sitting down and watching several video lessons I could instead ask the (student) experts to mentor me. I am quite pleased by the result which Tia, one of my research assistants documented.

Here is Alex Fuhr’s 6 Minute Guide to Google Drive 

Agingbook writing with studentsbrain fitness trainingCarroll University USACurious David

Brain Fitness Training: Fact vs. Fiction

 

There is much interest today in using technology to improve one’s brain power,  one’s health, and one’s well-being. Take a moment to conduct an online search on the topics of “brain fitness for seniors,” “brain fitness games,” “brain fitness apps, “and “brain training.” You’ll  be overwhelmed with the number of results. Unfortunately the social media and advertising claims are far removed from the science upon which legitimate claims can be made. How can one decide which claims are “snake oil,” which represent vaporware, and which are based upon  well-done research? Which programs are merely entertainment? Which make false or unverifiable claims? Which claims are patently wrong? Are there some vaild brain training interventions that are appropriate and proven effective for special populations? How can one protect or improve one’s brain heath?

In part because a number of Carroll alumni have been actively involved in research involving aging and memory (e.g. Michelle Braun, John DenBoer and Mark Klinger), and in part because I am approaching the age of 70, I’ve taken an increased interest in memory research.  I’ve always been fascinated by the too much-neglected research of Harvard’s Ellen Langer exploring concepts of mindfulness and mindlessness. I found especially fascinating her book Counterclockwise, though I am still skeptical about its implications for age reversal. [There IS empirical evidence (needful of replication and extension) that subjective perceptions of age can be affected by the mere process of measuring variables related to aging].

A day doesn’t pass when I am not flooded with emails about  “brain fitness training opportunities” that I am implored to explore.  Brain U Online gives me a friendly reminder of the availability of a brain training session invitation.  Blinkist suggests that I read a synopsis of the book Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect your Brain for Life.  I am alerted that Episode #4 (of 10) “Six ‘Brain Hacks’ to Enrich Your Brain” from a gohibrow.com course awaits my viewing.  An interesting NPR story invites me to explore the brain-enhancing benefits of bilingual education. I receive an invitation to take an AARP approved  (and United Health Care supported)Life Reimagined”  free online course on “Brain Power: How to Improve Your Brain Health” taught by Wendy Suzuki, Ph.D.  Posit Science urges me to become a “Smart Cookie” by joining their “…unique braining program … which unlike others… is backed by more than 100 published scientific papers”… I think that I’ll send them all  a copy of the recent review of brain training  research  n Psychological Science in the Public Interest (here is the link).

How does one separate the wheat from the chaff of these claims? Which avenues are promising and which are merely advertising promises? Will I really get smarter with five-minute lessons delivered to my inbox every morning? Do I want to? Would I be well-served by following my heart and attempting to (re) learn long forgotten Spanish? Would I be better served by exercising more? Learning how to play an instrument? Should I become involved in creating an Elder hostel educational experiences? So many questions. What fun to begin systematically answering them with talented students, data, and critical thinking.

Meet my Fall  2017 Carroll University student research seminar team. Jeff, Alexis, Sami, Abbey, Antonio, Nathan, Alex, Alex, and Ricky.

We have begun developing answers to questions such as these and are in the process of writing a short book sharing our findings. What questions would you like us to answer? Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

alumniCurious DavidStrategic Planning Data Resources

Strategic Plan Data Mining 101

What might prove useful resources to (re)visit as Carroll begins a Strategic Planning Process? Payscale.com’s recent release College/University ROI data base (see below) reminded me of the value of being aware of such resources and of the importance of understanding their value, their assumptions, their limitations, and their potential uses and misuses. Below are a few of my favorite data resources. What have I missed?

  1.  Payscale.com’s recent release of 2017 College/University ROI data base
  2. CollegeScoreCard (click on link and try it) wonderfully introduces an important trend toward TRUE TRANSPARENCY in data sharing and a very useful interactive data base for comparing schools
  3. the UW Accountability Dashboard similarly exemplifies this healthy trend.
  4. College Results Online is  such a gem in the rough.
  5. Chronicle of .Higher Education (I pay for premium access.)

  6. AAUP Salary Data: Source: Chronicle of Higher Education

  7. Executive Compensation at Private Colleges: Source: Chronicle of Higher Education

  8. IPEDS (individual institutions and comparisons

  9. Here is a link to the U.S. Department of Education’s  data base “trove” that drives its data base.  

  10. And if you work dig deeply enough, you can even find historical data on one’s own institution

30 Day Learning ChallengeCurious David

What have you learned today?

Lots of (re)learning in my near future as I upgrade my Macs to High Sierra. More learning of an additional kind is occurring in my life as my students and I closely examine the efficacy of brain-training software. In that endeavor I am revisiting some data analysis procedures I haven’t had a need to use in a few decades! And today, while proctoring an exam, I learned from my students a feature of their calculators I did not know.

I enjoy being ignorant in the sense of the original Latin ignorare of “to not know”. Not knowing invites learning, and I find the process of learning exhilarating. Thank you, Howland High Latin teacher Mrs. Bode, for developing in me a love of words and of languages. Because of you I have become quite a wordsmith.

This is Day 5 of my 30 Day Learning Challenge created by Jane Hart. I always find “courses” created by her well-designed, making thoughtful use of materials she has collected, vetted, improved, and shared across the years. I am particularly impressed at how she somehow is able to add a personalized factor, reacting to comments and mentoring. Truly inspiring and worthy of emulation. Thank you, Jane Hart, for over a decade of teaching me. I look forward to your imminent publication of Top Learning Tools 2017.

 

 

And of course, I have the dogs as my teachers. Perhaps they can teach me their platform sailing skills.

 

 

30 Day Learning ChallengeCurious David

Choosing the Appropriate Technology Learning Tool: Thoughts from a Decade Ago

 

 

 

I am revisiting the 200 blog pieces I’ve written or co-written the past 11 years. The thoughts below still accurately reflect how I shall proceed when Jane Hart releases her Top Learning Tools list next week.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time the past few days thinking through how best and how quickly to proceed in bringing into my classroom the right balance of elearning tools. Just now I have finished examining Jane Hart’s recent overhauling, updating, and reorganizing of her 2010 Learning Tools Directory. More specifically, I have gone through Jane’s category of “instructional tools” identifying which showed promise of immediate use to me. My admittedly idiosyncratic “screening criteria” included the following:

  1. Do I already have the software? Alas in my frenzied attempt to know about such tools I have too often acquired a tool and then never deeply explored its utility.
  2. Does it have a quizzing/testing component? I want to be able better to give students prompt, reasonably personalized and reasonably detailed feedback.
  3. Is the tool free (or, if not, does the cost offset the costs of free software)? I don’t have time to spend with buggy or poorly documented software.
  4. Will, in my professional judgment, the tool truly allow me to teach better or in new ways or will it only provide students with a fun experience? Though there is a place for fun in learning, I am interested in more than entertainment.
  5. Is the tool hosted? Since I move back and forth between a Windows and a Mac environment (and because my personal machines are often more advanced than those available to employees at work) it is important that something I develop be easily portable and accessible for student use.
  6. Will I (and my students) be able to master the tool quickly and use it immediately? I want to avoid frustrating my students with a steep tool-learning curve unless I judge that frustration is a necessary or inevitable component to mastery.

 

AgingCurious David

We All have Pieces of the Puzzle—and the Potential for Making New Pieces to Create New Pictures.

I have very few spare minutes today. With aging comes an increased awareness of the fact that I no longer can successfully delude myself about my ability to multi task (see this link). Fortunately I can count upon my trustworthy student research team and student research assistants to get things done in an excellent and timely fashion. They make me look better than I am. As I learned today, I also can learn so much from my former students. As I have shared several times in articles on LinkedIn, there are a multitude of under recognized learning opportunities and resources within one’s workplace (see my thoughts by clicking this link). We all have pieces of a solution to puzzling problems.

My research team is sharpening their learning tools – and their minds— on the purported efficacy of “brain-training” programs (click here for more).  Do they work? What are appropriate indices for assessing improvements? What claims do companies make for products related to brain training? How good are the studies cited? Are there differences in effectiveness as a function of age, expectations, or health of the customer?

During our first week together we have focused on team-building, assessing current critical reading skill abilities, and identifying what technology learning skills are most likely to advance our success. My research team created a Facebook group to facilitate communication among us. I would have chosen differently based upon my familiarity with the visionary work the past decade of Jane Hart identifying Top Learning Tools (click here for more about this). But I have already learned much about the strengths and weaknesses of this Facebook as a group communication tool.Nonetheless,  I can learn much from those like my talented students whom I mentor .

Having identified several individuals knowledgable about brain-training interventions and aging (all Carroll graduates!), we soon will be drawing upon their expertise (and their generosity) via Skype interactions. (Thank you in advance, John and Michelle). Though I have used Skype in the past to communicate with educators in Lithuania and Turkey, with former students and friends in Nicaragua and England, and with a nephew and his beautiful family in Switzerland, I am well aware that Skype is an evolving tool. My learning never ends. Also, there are numerous alternative tools which can accomplish the same communication goal (click here for some examples). Also, I have Skyped across a number of machines (Mac, iPad, PC, and phone) and Skype ids! Hence, I posted on Facebook a request for help from individuals who might be willing to help me practice Skype. That you, members of my extended Carroll Facebook community.

Yesterday I practiced Skyping within my office suite with one of my research assistants (who playfully morphed into a space alien) –and I learned how to morph into a frog. Thank you, Tia! Now if I can only figure out how to turn off those camera effects:)

It dawned upon me at 5:30 this morning that there probably are excellent Skype tutorials available to me on the dramatically improved LinkedIn Premium account I have invested in (Thank you, CEO of LinkedIn Jeff W.). I was correct. However, as I was about to invest an hour of my precious time going through an excellent tutorial there, a former student—Luis (now in Virginia) reached out to me via Skype with an invitation to join him in a Skype session. We systematically reviewed and discovered capabilities of Skype I need to know.  Thank you, Luis, for providing me with just in time learning.

Today I met with a very precocious first year student whom I first met when I interviewed her two years ago. Her mother and Aunt are both Carroll alumni. She taught me a lot even in my first sustained interaction. Thank you Deborah and Meredith for sending her my way.

Learning never ends. Don’t overlook the tremendous learning resources available to you by your reaching out to your employees, former students, and colleagues. Think outside your title and and outside your role.

 

 

 

 

 

AppsCurious David

Building Student Research Teams

 

Though I failed to get the crowd funding I sought last year (described in an earlier post) I am delighted to report that I have been blessed to have 10 very bright, eager to learn students in my Research Seminar. Without doubt  their research will  advance some of the accomplishments I hope to achieve before my leaving Carroll. Some of what I am incorporating into this seminar —e.g. giving students numerous opportunities to self-publish—  is described in several earlier blogs like this one and this reflection. As we enter our 2nd week of learning together I begun introducing students to technology learning tools (e.g. WordPress, Diigo, SurveyMonkey, and Skype) and my 68-year-old thinking about memory and aging. Thank you, Jane Hart, for your introducing me to these tools 11 years ago.

My student co-researchers are responsible for taking much of the initiative in making this course successful–and for teaching me. Below is a description of Abbey S.’s and Alex F.’s creation of a Facebook Messenger group for our research team. In the next few weeks we shall be Skyping with some Carroll alumni who are knowledgable about our research topic (“Brain Training”). Do let us know if you are interested in following us, supporting our efforts, or contributing to our learning.

Effectiveness of Facebook Messenger as a Communication Tool

By Abbey Schwoerer and Alex Fuhr

In our Psychology Research Seminar this semester, we were given the task of coming up with a user-friendly, easily accessible communication tool for the class to use. What we needed was a platform that could be accessed free of charge, and allowed us to send pictures, links, and word messages. We wanted to use a tool which was generally familiar to our classmates and translated easily to different technological devices.  Our final solution to this problem was to use Facebook Messenger or simply called “Messenger”.

What is Facebook Messenger?

Facebook Messenger is an instant messaging application of Facebook.  It allows the user to have a private conversation with other Facebook users.  To use Messenger, you must have a Facebook account on facebook.com. There is a newer feature which allows you to message other Facebook users without being their friend, although the other user will need to accept your request to chat with them.  You can create one-on-one chats, or chats with multiple members called “group chats”.  It is equivalent to texting, but without having to exchange phone numbers with others.  You can access Facebook Messenger through the Facebook website or as a downloadable application on your smart phone.

Why use Facebook Messenger over other communication tools?

This versatility of the tool is what drew us to use it for classroom purposes.  Unlike most team chat applications, Messenger is free to use; even so, it still provides the most important functions that most of the paid apps have.  Messenger allows you to send word messages, voice messages, pictures, videos, polls, plans, games, locations, payments, links, emoji’s and GIF’s. The interface looks a slight bit different depending on if you are using a computer or a phone, but each allow you to perform the same functions.  It also allows you to connect to other websites to share media from them to a conversation.  Some websites include the musical application Spotify, KAYAK travel planner, and The Wall Street Journal news website.

How do you use Facebook Messenger?

To use Messenger on your computer, log in to the Facebook website and on the blue bar at the top of the screen, towards the right-hand side you will see a black and white version of the picture above.  You can also access it on the left-hand side of the page.  Click on this and it will show you all recent conversations you have had on Messenger.  You can also start a new conversation by clicking the blue words which read “New Message”.  Once you click on a conversation, it will open a chat box on the lower right portion of your screen and you can continue or begin to converse with a friend.  Other than simply messaging, you can voice call and video chat with others.  To modify the chat, you can click on the gear button labeled “options”.  You can change the color of the chat, send files, and many other functions.  If you desire to search for a picture or an article within the chat, you must enter the application through the button on the left-hand side of your home page.  This will pull up your conversations in a different format.  On the left of the new screen will be your conversations and on the right, once you click on a conversation, will be the “Search in Conversation” option.  The class may need to use this once the conversation becomes larger and longer.

To use Messenger on your phone, you need to download the Messenger application.  It will look like the picture above.  You can see all your recent message conversations when you open the application.  Once you click on a conversation, you can perform the same actions as on the computer.  To create a new message, you will click on the square with a pencil in the upper right-hand corner.  If you allow it, the application will send you notifications when you get a new message.  A downfall of using Messenger on your phone is you cannot search for an item within your conversation.

In summary, the multitude of applications this tool provides makes it a viable medium for our communication needs in Research Seminar.  We have already begun to use software and it seems to be running smoothly.  We look forward to the new possibilities this communication tool will provide for us this semester!

alumniCurious DavidDay 1

Day 1 (Professor’s Perspective) September 2017


Even after almost 40 years of teaching at Carroll, the first day of class is anxiety-arousing, pressured, critical, and rewarding. As a youth, I was so anxious about giving oral presentations that I fainted when I participated in my first school debate. I had a similar melt-down during the oral component of my graduate school general qualifying examinations in Social Psychology at Ohio State. With experience and a few set backs I’ve learned to over learn and to reframe (attribute) the performance anxiety I inevitably am experiencing into excitement for the task at hand. Sometimes I whistle a happy tune! Click that link and you’ll receive that sage advice from someone who sings better than I. 🙂

These academic first days of the semester pressures I feel are primarily situational nuisances : making sure that my syllabi and handouts are up-to-date, proof-read, and sufficient in number; visiting the classrooms ahead of time to better guarantee that there are enough seats and that the computer equipment works; thinking through how to handle disruptive classroom situations in particular classroom environments; and of course trying to respond in timely fashion to the myriad course-related emails. [Note the irony that I just now am posting this blog post due to first-semester busyness!].

For me the first class meetings are vital for relationship and credibility building—for getting to know my students, creating shared and appropriate expectations, and establishing standards for both students and for me.

This semester I am teaching two sections of PSY 205 “Statistics and Experimental Design” (and its two labs) and PSY492, a Research Seminar focusing on the topic of brain-training software.

Based on 1) student evaluations, 2) what my students demonstrate that they can do at semester’s end, 3) how I feel every time I teach it, and 4) feedback I get from alumni  “Statistics and Experimental Design ” is without doubt my best taught course. Among the challenges in teaching such a class successfully are the attitudes that some students bring (“I hate math”; “I don’t do well in math”; “I’m afraid”), weaknesses in students’ fundamental computational skills, and their inexperience with my strongly believed outlook that statistics (and data analysis) is a tool, a language and a way of thinking. Here are some reflections I shared a few years ago about teaching the course.  How amusing that even in that class, the one in which I am most confident and comfortable, I missed seeing the dog who was present!

Was my failure to notice canine Kia (whom I had met numerous times and who was even featured in a local newspaper story) an example of what Daniel Simons calls Inattentional blindness? Or was my attentional oversight/ blindness due to my being used to always having a canine companion near me, under me or underfoot?

 

I’m quite excited about teaching the Research Seminar PSY492. Every day we meet there will be opportunities for data analysis, critical reading, reflective writing, and discussion related to the course’s topic. Relationship building is easier here since I already know all 10 students.

Let Week Two Commence!!

AgingCognitive TrainingCurious David

Thanks for the Memories

 

I’m looking forward to returning to the classroom this week.  I’m particularly excited about what we may be able to accomplish in my research seminar with the ten students enrolled. The first two weeks will be baseline assessments of my students’ research skills. Reading (the novel, Still Alice—-and watching the movie; published journal articles–exemplary and poor research; popularized science articles), writing (blog pieces with me; self-published books; grant proposals); review (statistics and experimental design–designing DOABLE studies for every design that I teach in my book), and much development of thinking skills

Here are some earlier blogs I wrote as my thoughts began to focus on the topic I want to pursue “Brain Fitness Training Programs. I hope to tap into the knowledge of several Carroll graduates who share these interests.

Can one teach this old dog new tricks?

Is my old brain fit to be tied?

We’ll even tackle Tom Brady’s just gone public cerebral work out!

Time to discuss my plans for the course with Leo as we go for our pre-bedtime walk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

alumniApp GenerationCurious DavidResearch Seminar

Top Ten Learning Tools to Be Used in My Research Seminar

The deadline is approaching for participating in Jane Hart’s 2017 survey of Top 10 Learning Tools. My nominations this year reflect the tools I am using (or will be teaching) in a Research Seminar dealing with “Brain Fitness Training ” software.

  1. SurveyMonkey. Using SurveyMonkey I have already sent my 10 students a survey assessing their baseline familiarity with technology learning tools, their past research experience, and their career plans. I also use this tool in my consulting work with Schneider Consulting. Here are some of my earlier thoughts about SurveyMonkey.
  2. WordPress. I enjoy blogging, and I have found that my students can develop a love or respect for writing by being taught how to use this tool. Here is an example of some WordPress writing by two of my last year’s research assistants.
  3. Diigo. The research that I do with students very much requires teamwork and sharing of information. I find Diigo a handy resource for sharing bookmarks and I am impressed at how it has improved across the years. I have already created a Diigo group Brain Fitness Training: Exploring the validity of claims about brain fitness software and brain training apps and added 20 resources. Let me know if you’d like to be invited to contribute to its development.
  4. SPSS. This is still the major data analysis software I use and teach. Mastery of it has helped my students get jobs and scholarships.
  5. ScreenFlow. We may have reason to make screencasts. My students and I often use it to create lessons for other students.
  6. Quizlet. I’m going to experiment with students’ developing their own tests to assess material that they need to memorize.
  7. Google Drive. My students find this very useful for collaboration.
  8. Createspace. This is my current favorite tool for self-publication of books.
  9. Linkedin. Not all my students will (immediately) go on to graduate school. I am very impressed at recent improvements in LinkedIn.
  10. Skype. No doubt we shall need to communicate with other researchers throughout the country or the world (e.g. at the University College Groningen).

 

AppsCurious David

Peeking Out of My Invisibility Cloak: My Research Assistants Evaluate Quizlet

Sharpening and trying out learning tools for 2017 (tonight I tried learning Spanish with Babbel:)), I came across a blog post written by my student assistants that somehow never got posted! Tia and Lizzie will be back in a few weeks to begin their senior years at Carroll. Alison will be starting graduate school. Here is what they so well wrote.

Tia’s Perspective:

Quizlet is a very helpful tool when it comes to studying. Quizlet has many different learning tools which can help each individual learner be successful. When you first start with Quizlet, you must create an account, which is free. As a student you have the option to create your own flash cards, or even use flashcards your professor has created.  Within Quizlet, there are four main components for any teacher or student who is creating flashcards. They are the speller, learn, space race, and test options. The speller option gives you a definition and from that you must type in the correct answer. If you do not spell the term correctly, you get the flash card wrong, and it will be put back in the stack for you to try again. The learn option helps you remember the word associated with the definition and is normally done at your own pace and not timed like some of the other options. The space race option is a timed game when defining the definitions in your flash card set. The test option is a multiple choice or matching section of all your flash cards in a certain set. My personal favorite is the matching and multiple choice option because it simulates an actual exam.

When I was in high school my teacher in my College Credit Human Anatomy and Physiology class created flashcards for all her students. The flash cards that helped me the most were with pictures of certain types of cells and what they were called on the back. This really helped with lab practicals when you had to look inside the microscope and recall what the cell was called. By playing the matching game option on Quizlet, it effectively prepared me for the exam, rather than me just staring at my lab manual trying to memorize the different features of each cell. I remember more by being quizzed in part by learning from my mistakes. Quizlet identifies which flashcards you do not understand, and then you can focus on these flash cards until you master them. At Carroll, when I was taking my Anatomy and Physiology class, I reused the flashcards my professor in high school created for me. With Quizlet, you have access to any flash cards on the website as long as the publisher makes them public. Quizlet is a very useful study tool for all types of learners, as well as saves the environment by using no paper when creating these flash cards.

Lizzy’s Perspective:

I agree with Tia in that Quizlet is a very helpful tool when it does come to studying for an exam, a test, or a quiz. Dr. Simpson gave us a link (an example is here) in his Statistics and Experimental Design class telling us that those were the terms we were going to need to know for our exam. I looked them over and they were very useful in the sense of not having to make my own cards, but instead using the ones on Quizlet to study the terms. The Quizlet tool helped me figure out which terms I didn’t know and which terms I really did know. Quizlet is a very useful learning tool and very convenient to use.

Alison’s Perspective:

I have always been a big fan of using the old flashcard method for studying for my classes but slowly I have been turning my study habits over to the internet. For my Spanish classes, other students in previous Spanish classes from around the United States have posted their vocabulary, grammar, and cultural sections on Quizlet. This allows my classmates and myself the opportunity to use these Quizlet flashcards to help prepare for our tests and final exams. It is convenient because I can access these Quizlets on multiple devices any time that I may have during the day.

My nursing major friends find Quizlet convenient when preparing for large final exams. These exams usually include many nursing terms, so one of the students will make a Quizlet with all of the vocabulary and then share the Quizlet with the rest of the class. This allows all the students to benefit from having access to Quizlet to help them study for their exams.

Lizzy and Alison made two quick Quizlets to test out some of the features. One Quizlet was about the top learning tools that our research team has written about in previous blogs and the other Quizlet was about some quick facts about Carroll University. Let’s see how well YOU do!

Carroll ReflectionsCarroll University USACommencementCurious DavidGraduation

Dear 2017 Carroll University Graduate…

Dear 2017 Carroll University Graduate…

Now is a good time to gather together some last thoughts about and for you. Because of my age seniority good looks  length of time at Carroll and rank of Full Professor, I march at the front of the line at Commencement (following Faculty Marshall Gary Olsen). That gives me an ideal seating position for seeing and hearing speakers, but forces me to be on my best behavior (awake, disconnected from my Ipad, resisting wearing my Brewers’ or Carroll College hats).

For those of you I have met, I have done my best to teach you well but I am only human. Every student I teach is different, special, and teaches me.  You have enriched my life, and I welcome the opportunity as you become alumni to continue and perhaps to even expand upon our relationships. Thanks for the lessons.

Many people (family, staff, faculty, administrators, and trustees)  have worked very hard, in addition to you, to try to provide you with the best education that Carroll can provide both within and outside of the classroom. I often think that we ought to set aside a time for recognizing those unsung “guardian angels” who have done their best to make Carroll a caring community and a better place.  I urge that as time and circumstances allow join them in giving back (without expectation of receiving “convocation points”) your time, wisdom, networking resources, prospective student recommendations, and examples of skills or values developed here at Carroll that have served you well.

Give Carroll its due credit when it has earned it, but also offer constructive criticism when the institution has failed to meet your expectations for it. Seek out opportunities to do “a” right thing. Use your mind to think carefully and critically, but don’t forget that there are indeed many times when it is appropriate to follow one’s heart. I envy your youth and the many opportunities that lie ahead of you to share your talents and to make the world a better place. Stay in touch. Oh, yes… Here is a final exam.

With many fond memories, David Simpson, Professor of Psychology

 

 

Curious David

Reflections on the Purpose and Value of Final Exams

 

Two books to read laid out before me: David Pogue’s Essential Tips and Shortcuts (That No One Bothers to Show You) for Simplifying the Technology in Your Life and Jocelyn K. Glei’s Unsubscribe: How to Kill email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions, and Get Real work Done. Each lends themselves to reading and learning when one has short “down times” for learning.

I should be finishing the grading of the exam I gave yesterday while I proctor the exam I am now giving. Yesterday Leo the Grading Dog and I devoted five hours to the uncompleted task–and decided that we needed sleep to continue. I playfully attempted to engage former students on Facebook in a crowdsourcing grading “experiment.” Alas, a lot of LOL’s. About as successful as my tabled crowdfunding proposal:).

Instead, I am reviewing all my past WordPress posts, Tweets, and Facebook Photos as I plan for major projects next semester. I am contemplating pulling all that material together in a “Best of Curious David” e-book. I hope to engage in extensive self-publishing with students, teach a research seminar dealing with “brain fitness/training” apps and interventions, and pull together 40 years of Carroll-related archival documents that really should not be forgotten. My physical office environment could be challenging as the Rankin Hall reconstruction begins–necessitating a moving from the office.

Here are some previous (unedited–I have not checked the links’ viability) musings about final exams. Clearly the fact that I pondered these questions before suggests that I still haven’t come up with a clear answer–yet I see value comprehensive, multifaceted finals despite the costs of time to grade them.

 

Final Reflections on Final Exams  Dec 20, 2009 Read More

alumniCurious David

Thank you, Graduating Carroll Seniors: Flashbacks and Flash Forwards

The closer I get to retirement, the more meaningful Carroll graduations, past traditions, and the relationships I have formed with students become. Carroll has changed greatly since I wrote the message to seniors below. Baccalaureate is now at 5:00 Saturday evening without Faculty regalia; Commencement is now at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. The physical appearance of Carroll continues to change daily with new buildings. Soon there will be a transition of Carroll Presidents–I have personally known five of them since I arrived in February of 1978. Emeriti faculty look younger to me every day:).

My feelings about my overall Carroll experience haven’t changed from what I wrote five years ago (or how I felt almost forty years ago) so I re-share them here–with a few photos since then!

As is my habit of the past 35 years, I am sitting in my office on this Sunday morning of Commencement, reflecting. I drive in early to ensure getting a parking place before the proud families start arriving. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, babies, babies-soon-to-join-the world—-the campus explodes with sounds, colors, emotions, and celebratory chaos. Often I walk around campus taking photos (or accepting an invitation to be photographed).

My emotions are mixed–not unlike that of the soon-to-be-graduates. Joy–sorrow–elation–sadness–weariness–rejuvenation. At the end of a long the day sometime around 4:30 –emptiness, and some poignant, positive residual reminders. I often tease my graduating research assistants that upon their exit from campus I “exorcise” our shared office space to better allow me to adjust to the temporary emotional vacuum caused by their absence from “Dr. David’s Neighborhood.” When you graduate, you remain in my memories as I have come to know you–and forever at that age! Forever young.

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I can hear chapel bells. Soon I’ll hear the chimes of the campus hymn and that of the alma mater. At 10:00 I’ll attend the Baccalaureate ceremony marching in wearing my cap and gown. According to the “certificate of appreciation” I recently received this is my 35th year of service to the institution.  I’ll immediately follow Provost Passaro, and Dean Byler into the auditorium. Sitting in the front row has its liabilities as I’ll feel that I must behave uncharacteristically well-mannered!

Booked

Each Carroll Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremony is special to me just as is each student whom I have gotten to know.  I have chosen (or been called) to teach and to learn and though they (you) may not realize it, I truly do learn so much from my students and from the challenges of trying to teach them well.

Thank you, graduating seniors past and present (and for a few ever so short more years future) for all YOU have taught me. Put to good use your many talents, your energy, your playfulness, your empathy, your resilience and your creative ideas to make the world a better place. Come to appreciate (as I did upon graduating from Oberlin College in 1971) that you have been privileged to receive a good education due not only to your own sacrifices and hard work but also to the many members of the larger community whom you may never have met or whom you took for granted–Board Members, Administration, Staff, Faculty, Physical Plant Staff, and Alumni–who deeply care about you.

The bells call me. And I have promises to keep…

——-Simply David

    Alison prepares for her presentation in Spanish.

Amy and David

 

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Five Fact Checking Resources I Too Often Need to Consult

Though fact checking will not save us from fake news (see this thoughtful link), I find the following five resources useful in helping me decide how much credibility to give potential influencers who cite “facts.”

  1.  The Annenberg Public Policy Center
  2. US Politics
  3. Washington Post’s The Truth Behind the Rhetoric
  4. Poynter International Fact Checking
  5. Snopes: Urban Legends and Internet Rumors

Happy Debunking!

Curious David

Google Search Revisited: Discovering Additional Capabilities of Learning Technology Tools That I Thought I Had Mastered

I try to protect some daily time for learning something new. Surprisingly, sometimes that involves (re)discovering features of technology learning tools that I didn’t realize (or forgot) existed. Perhaps these features didn’t exist at the time I first “mastered” the tool—technology tools evolve.  Perhaps, on the other hand,  the (re)discovered features didn’t address my needs at the time—my needs change.

Google scares me—perhaps because of my reading of The Circle. But I find myself more and more using a variety of Google apps. In fact, I am considering creating a course just addressing all the Google applications—and their weaknesses.

How well do you know how to use Google search? How well do you know how and when to use Google Scholar? Are you familiar with the support that Google itself gives? Have you discovered the excellent guides developed by Librarians? Someone is always sharing additional less well-known features that might prove useful for finding information more efficiently.

I plan to incorporate a number of Google search challenges based on the links above into my Fall classes—especially into my research seminar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curious David

April 18, 2017: Winding Up, Winding Down

I try to build into my working day an opportunity just to “check in” and touch base with my student research assistants. This is the time of the year with myriad forces buffeting the campus. Alison is working on her Celebrate Carroll presentation for tomorrow. Lizzie  will be journeying to Chicago on Thursday to accompany colleague Peggy Kasimatis making a poster presentation at the Midwestern Psychological Association in Chicago. Tia and I discuss the important role she and Lizzie will play in my life in the Fall as my senior research assistants. Arianna and I discuss the kinds of things I need to address in a letter of support to Marquette University for a job there while she is a graduate student.

Lots of Facebook contact today from former students, faculty, and friends reminding me that I am getting old-ER. Commencement, as has always been the case for me here, will be on Mothers’ Day. Soon the sound of bagpipes will sound.

 

 

 

Curious David

Bon APPetit

What are your favorite apps? Which do you no longer use?

FacebookLinkedInTwitter

Facebook and LinkedIn: Complementary Tools

Though Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have different original purposes, they continue to become more like each other. Still, I find that I can use them to serve complementary purposes. In the screencast that follows I try to show those similarities and differences. This is a draft of thoughts for a future student/faculty book.

Here I use Camtasia3 Mac with Iglasses and a Yeti mike. I am almost ready for a comparison of Camtasia, Screenflow, and Capto.

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Preview of Things to Come: “Brain Fitness” Research

This morning I sandwiched in a bit of very preliminary background work for my Fall Semester Research Seminar (assuming I get the minimum enrollment!). I’ve been too busy today to see if I’ve got the students!

I asked Alison to document my efforts as we try out different cameras and different screen casting software. Later I interviewed her about her Carroll experiences. Stay tuned!

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Senior Reflections: Alison and David

This year’s Carroll Campus-wide year-long theme was “Citizenship” so I thought it might be appropriate to share this discussion between two “senior citizens”:).  Alison is one of my two graduating senior research assistants. She will be attending graduate school at Illinois State in the Fall.

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Ten things that you should know about …

As a writing “warm up” for the Student Guides to Internet Learning Tools that my students are going to be writing and publishing, I asked Tia and Arianna today to list for me 10 things that every student should know about Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. [The links at the bottom of this post connect to blog pieces I have written earlier about these tools.]

Here is what they shared about Facebook and LinkedIn. I find their recommendations interesting and potentially of value to an older audience unfamiliar with these applications.

I intend for our first Guide to be about LinkedIn. Stay tuned.

10 Things about Facebook you should know:

1.     You can unfollow someone on Facebook without unfriending them.

2.     Anything you share or post on your wall can be seen by anyone unless you change your privacy settings.

3.     Any time you tag someone in a post via comment all your friends will be able to see it.

4.     You can see what is “trending” so you can stay up on current events.

5.     You can create private or public events on Facebook where you can select which friends to invite.

6.     Facebook is a good way to keep up with family members who you do not get to see very often by posting family pictures and posting statuses about what you have been up to.

7.    Facebook tells you when it is someone’s birthday.

8.     It is a resource that future employers may look at during the application process, so be mindful of what you post.

9.     You can use Facebook messenger for in

individualized messages, group messages, as well as posting videos about your day. You can also play games through the application on your phone such as basketball or soccer.

10.      You can like pages on Facebook that interest you, so whenever that page posts something you will see it on your newsfeed. Also, you can have private groups to send out notifications about events (e.g. Tia’s Soccer team)

10 Things you should know about Twitter: 

1.     You only have 140 characters to write in each “Tweet”.

2.     You can create a single question survey per tweet.

3.     Make your account private, which only allows people who have access to follow you to see what you post.

4.     When on private, you can reject or accept new followers.

5.     Depending on the pages you follow, it can help you stay up on current events.

6.     There is also an explore category that allows you to see what is trending, current events, and the most popular hashtags.

7.     You can share pictures and videos.

8.     You can share as much or as little information about yourself as you would like, such as adding a bio to your profile, displaying your birthday, or even disclosing your location.

9.     On the app, you can have several accounts synced to your phone. For example, if you have a professional and personal account, you can have immediate access to both right on the app within your phone.

10.     Within the app, there is a night mode option. This causes layout of Twitter to be a dark grey/black color so it is not as bright on your eyes.

 

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Denizens of Dr. David’s Neighborhood: Lizzie

Returning to my office two of my student research assistants were “at their work stations.” One was engaged in an animated phone conversation in Spanish with someone in Honduras. She has the difficult choice this weekend of choosing among three graduate school acceptances. Hasta luego, we have a brief team meeting where I update them on present and future projects (CrowdFunding proposal for extending their book publishing capabilities; a grant to fund brain fitness training research in the fall). I indicate that I also want to make a screen cast of each of them before Tuesday. Both Alison and Lizzie are very facile with technology learning tools such as iMovie. I share with them that I soon am going to need to find some new student assistants. THEY know best what goes on in Dr. Simpson’s Neighborhood, so they will do my “vetting.”

I ask Lizzie to share her experiences as my research assistant.

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Shared Reflections With a Graduating Senior

What has kept me here almost forty years is not the buildings but the traditions, the faculty, staff, administrative, and trustee friendships–and the students. I asked one of my graduating senior research assistants to stop by and to spontaneously share some of her Carroll reflections. I promised to be well-behaved—i.e. no funny hats and unusually quiet:)

She laughed. She knows me well.

Arianna will be leaving me for graduate study at Marquette University in the Fall.

We recorded this from my MacBook Pro using the Capto screen casting software.

Team2016b

 

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Ruminations: CrowdFunding, Student Book-writing, and Grant-writing

 

I had a few “extra minutes” at work today for reflection. I’m awaiting (dis)approval of seeking Crowdfunding financial support to expand my students’ capabilities to self publish books. I am also writing a few small grants to fund some modest research comparing several different “brain fitness” programs (e.g. BrainHD and Lumosity).

Just for fun I chose to document my rambling ruminations by creating a screencast. I still find Screenflow easier for me to use than Capto or Camtasia. I favor using Skitch for Screenshots from my Mac. It is indeed hard to teach an old dogged professor new tricks (or to discard old tools).

In the screen cast below I am thinking out loud as I experiment with the camera software (iglasses)  and the microphone (a Yeti).  I am leaning towards using both for our next Student Guides to Internet Learning Tools (if funded). The first volumes of the new works will most likely focus on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Screencasting tools. Oops, time to go for a walk with my canine companion!

AgingalumniCarroll ReflectionsCarroll University USACurious David

Can my old brain be (re)trained?

There are buildings on campus whose cornerstone bears a date before my birth. My father-in-law walked in some of these very buildings in 1936. Voorhees Hall was a women’s dorm when Walt walked this campus.

So many memories. Some converge; some change. Some researchers argue that memories change every time that they are retrieved.

With age comes my increased interest in the inevitable aging process. At one time or another I have written over 80 blog pieces (or drafts) about relationships between aging and memory.

Here are a few: (Clicking on all the links in each and viewing their contents might be a valuable brain fitness exercise!):)

  1. Thanks for the memories!
  2. I’m not sure that you will remember me but…
  3. Brain fitness training (Part 1)
  4. Brain fitness training (Part 2)

After consulting with my four student research assistants, I’ve decided to focus my Fall semester research seminar on the topic of “brain fitness”—fact and fad.  I am particularly intrigued by the promises of the program “BrainHQ.” Time to don my skeptical thinking cap:

 

Carroll ReflectionsCommencement

In My Role as Professor I Wear Many Hats…

In my role as professor I wear many hats: teacher, researcher, mentor, coach. Sometimes, I confess, things can get kind of silly in Dr. David’s Neighborhood particularly around the Ides of March.

March Madness of campus life is in full bloom. Midterms; academic advising; students learning the outcomes of interviews. I asked two of my senior undergraduate research assistants to share their thoughts about interviews they recently had. Both of these talented students were accepted into graduate school for next year. I asked them to share with me how they had prepared for their interviews, what they experienced, and advice they would give to others. Here are their reflections on the interview process they experienced. Clearly I’ll need to change my ways before I job hunt–and perhaps don a different hat!

Alison: 

Preparing for an interview:

  • Dress to impress: It goes without saying that when you look your best, you feel your best. With that being said however, always wear something that you feel comfortable and confident in. If you are not comfortable with the clothing you are wearing, you will be constantly adjusting your clothing or distracted from the itchy sensation of your top. Always dress your best, but wear clothing that lets your personality shine and that does not distract you from your interview.
  • Keep going: As human beings we often make mistakes, it is part of our human nature. When interviewing, do not become distraught or overly concerned about stumbling over words, about saying the “right” word, or about forgetting to explain a detail about your qualifications. The beauty of life is that it keeps moving. Learn from your mistakes, but realize that graduate schools know that we are all human, and they watch how we pick ourselves up and continue on.
  • Prepare a question: To show engagement, graduate schools are looking for students who ask questions. Questions can be as simple as how many students are admitted into the program or as complex as asking about the curriculum of the school. In all situations, always have a question prepared to show interest and preparedness for the graduate program.
  • Engage students and faculty: Some graduate schools hold group interview days for all possible candidates to attend. While students want to make a good impression on the faculty, the graduate school is also looking at how well you interact and connect with other students. Because most graduate programs accept a small group of students, it is important that those students work well together and encourage one another during their studies. So, while it is important to engage faculty, make sure you are also interacting with other candidates.

Arianna:

As a senior in college planning to go on to graduate school, I have been preparing for interviews for many months now. Unfortunately, I have found that the best way to prepare for an interview is to experience an interview. Luckily, at Carroll University we have Career Services, so I was able to do a mock interview before my actual interview. Some students even do two or three mock interviews. This helped me more than words can express. The woman who worked with me made sure my responses sounded polished yet genuine, and she taught me interview techniques that I would not have known otherwise such as tying my answers back to the school. Despite having this practice, I was still nervous. But remember that nerves are good! They show you that you truly care, and they give you a little extra push to do better. Beyond this, I also made sure to do my research. Make sure you know the program and the school you are interviewing with. Lastly, have questions! I cannot stress that enough. I was told to make sure I had questions to ask, and I wrote all of my questions down beforehand and brought them with me in a pad folio. Interviewers notice this.

All of this preparation was beneficial to me, yes. Many of the basic questions “why this school?” “tell me about you” were asked. However, make sure to do more research on your program and common questions for your program. This is something I wish I had practiced more. Another thing I wish that I had remembered was that they brought me there for a reason.  Clearly they liked something about my application. So, when you are at an interview, remember to be yourself and prove to them you belong there. Throughout my group interview, I forgot to remind myself of this, and I started to compare myself to the other individuals interviewing with me. As hard as it is, DO NOT DO THAT. You will only psych yourself out and only hurt yourself. Also, dress well. If you do not own a suit and tie, buy one. If you do not own dress pants and a blazer, buy one. That is money well spent. Lastly, breathe. Again, they brought you there for a reason, so just breathe and do your best.

I am starting to hear bagpipes in my dreams. I shall miss these two students as they move on. Thank you A. and A. for putting up with my clowning around with you in Dr. David’s Neighborhood! You have taught me far more than you can imagine and I look forward to following your career trajectory.

 

Curious David

Am I ready for Facebook Live or for Creating a Free “go-@gohighbrow.com” Course?

 I’m moving in the direction of trying some Facebook live broadcasting. Time to review what we’ve learned about screen casting and discover how the process has advanced since we last wrote this:

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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: ScreenFlowVoila, 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.

Curious David

Re-discovering YouTube as a Teaching/Learning Tool

Tonight I am “rediscovering” teaching/learning tools: specifically Skitch (for screenshots and annotating screenshots, Screenflow for screencasting, and YouTube).

How do you use YouTube? How might it serve as a learning resource in your job? What are its unrecognized or under-utilized capabilities? Here is what student research assistant Lizzie wrote when I asked her how she used it.

Uses of YouTube

YouTube is an internet source that has multiple uses. Personally, I use YouTube a lot when I am working at Dr. Simpson’s office for background music. YouTube does not only have music on their site, but educational videos, silly videos, podcasts, etc. Since my time being here at Carroll University, I have had multiple professors’ post YouTube links in their slide shows and assign YouTube videos as assignments for student’s to watch at home. When I struggle using a certain software, I am able to go to YouTube and search what I am looking for in the search bar. Multiple videos will pop up on the screen that go through step-by-step instructions on how to do the task I am looking for.

YouTube is useful for posting videos as well. Dr. Simpson has posted videos in the past with his student research assistants and discussing certain issues. I have had to watch podcast of others on YouTube that are discussing a certain issue we are dealing with in class or about a certain software we are trying to use, such as SPSS. In class presentations, 90% of the time students are required to post a visual image or video in their slides. YouTube is very useful in this circumstance. One is able to find certain media coverage of an issue on YouTube as well as scenes from past TV shows, news broadcasts, radio shows, etc. A great example of how YouTube is useful in my field, psychology, is research. YouTube has multiple videos of famous studies that have been done in the past, such as Pavlov’s, Little Albert, and the Bobo Doll study. All these videos are accessible to people, like us, on YouTube.

YouTube is a great source, not only for education, but also for others to express themselves. There are many podcasts on YouTube of people’s life stories. Some of them involve people dealing with issues such as cancer and mental health problems. However, there are podcasts of people discussing their experience sky diving, cliff jumping, in a different city, making covers of songs, etc. People in the 21st century are becoming “YouTube famous” because of their podcasts on YouTube. Many famous singers like, Justin Bieber, became famous by starting on YouTube and working their way up. In addition, people will post weekly podcast updates of their lives on YouTube and have millions of fans because of this method. An example is a couple named, Cole and Savannah, who have a YouTube channel and post videos every other week of what is happening in their lives.

YouTube is an amazing media source. YouTube allows one to find what music they are interested in, express talents that they want to show the world, show others their life stories, gives education to people, helps people stay up to date on certain issues going on in the world, etc. I would highly recommend YouTube as a source that everyone should look into and explore the different options that it has to offer the public.

 

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Favorite Apps of My Student Research Assistants (Part 1)

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Apps I use as a College Student – Lizzy Hoehnke

Pinterest:

Pros: Allows one to find new and creative recipes, crafts, fashion ideas, hair ideas, make up tutorials, cleaning ideas, etc. They offer the websites and allows one to save it to their profile and in a certain sub category for future use. In addition, it helps someone find deals on items that could be costly, such as bridesmaid dresses, shoes, flowers, craft supplies, etc. People are able to connect with others as well as that; they may or may not know and be able to see their pages (if not on a privacy setting) for ideas and to see their interest.

Con: Some of the posts that are still up on the site are not available anymore for others to use or have become extinct.

Snapchat:

Pros: There are different filters that one is able to use on their photos to show more colors, in black and white, or add where they are from, the time, etc. Snapchat allows people to add filters on their faces of possibly being a dog, a hamster, an old person, with a flower crown, with a lot of makeup, etc. One is able to use these filters with friends as well. People are able to message each other over the app as well as send past pictures they have taken and video chat each other. Another feature, is that Snapchat has a memories folder at the bottom of the app that saves all the pictures or videos you have taken on the app. One is able to delete the memory if they wish or save it to their pictures on their phone settings. Also, if a person wants to screen shot a picture on someone else’s story of them and that friend so they are able to keep it for themselves, they are able to do so.

Cons: Past messages people send to others will delete instantly, so if one forgets what they had said then they will have to ask the other person what they had said or try to remember. In addition, the video chat aspect of the app is difficult to work and takes time to understand it.

Facebook:

Pros: People are able to make many connection with others, get news updates on what is going on in the world, see stories of what is happening in people’s personal lives, see photos and updates as well as add your own photos and updates. One is able to post on people’s profiles, comment on people’s post, like, love, laugh, cry, etc. at other people’s videos and pictures. Able to connect with people from their past as well as people from across the world. Allowed to tag people in a post that makes you think of somebody.

Con: have to upload another app that allows one to message people. It takes up space on your phone, which causes you to have less storage for other apps.

Instagram:

Pros: People are able to cross-reference their post from Instagram to Facebook, Twitter, etc. Instagram allows people to add more filters on their pictures and update the lighting, color contrast, etc. Able to tag people in photos as well as others. Are able to add websites onto your pictures and add stories that allow people to swipe up and go to a different page, such as YouTube. Able to message others and cross-reference a picture on Instagram or a meme.

Cons: Are only able to upload pictures.

Associated Mobile Banking:

Pros: Do not have to go to the bank to check my balance, able to make transfers on my phone, able to call customer care right away and are able to deposit checks off the app, and paying your credit card balance.

Cons: are not able to deposit money on the app, so still have to go to the bank or an ATM of theirs now to deposit cash.

Marcus Movie App:

Pros: Allows me to see what movies are out for the next few days, see the pre sales of the movie before driving all the way there and finding out it is sold out, seeing what the movie times are for the day to plan accordingly with your day, and are able to buy the tickets online if needed.

Cons: are not able to use special passes through the app if you have a free movie pass or something of that source.

Yahoo Mail App:

Pros: Allows me to see my emails right away without logging in to the website. Able to delete emails or star emails right away that I need. Able to move my emails to folders very easily and see updates if needed.

Cons: Slow when deleting emails and sometimes will not refresh.

Carroll ReflectionsCarroll University USACurious DavidJournalingtechnology tools

Journaling as a Daily Writing Activity

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While cleaning the office today I came across my journal notes from when I still was a graduate student at Ohio State.  I had just returned from a two-day job interview at then-named Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Much has changed since then! I continue working against changing too much too quickly.

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I still use and keep journals now–some paper and pencil— though I now do most journaling using software dedicated to that function. Though I have explored the utility of many apps, my personal preference at the moment is DayOne.

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I particularly use journaling to follow the recommendations of Jane Hart on the value (I would argue, the necessity) of reflecting on my work day accomplishments and failures and for short and long-term goal setting. This was one of many lessons I learned from Jane this past year.  I encourage my students and clients to create regular times for written reflection.

What journaling software do you use? Why?

 

 

alumniCarroll ReflectionsCurious DavidJane Hart's Top 100 Learning ToolsWriting

Why Write?

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At the beginning of the 2016-2017 academic year I indicated to my Chair, Dean, and Provost that I wanted to write a lot this year—especially with students.  I reaffirmed that intention (to an international audience!) in an individual learning plan I was “required” to share while participating in Jane Hart’s “Supporting Everyday Workplace Learning” workshop. david-simpsons-individual-learning-plan

I shared eight lessons that I learned in that workshop with my LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Yammer, and WordPress audiences in this blog piece.

Three individuals have had a major influence on my writing since my joining the Carroll community in 1978. Carroll colleague Jim Vopat taught a course entitled “Why Write” that I had an opportunity to visit.Thank you, Jim Vopat, for giving me direction.

An influential present Carroll colleague BJ Best continues to successfully engage students in writing both by regularly modeling it and by the creation of an online, student-centered journal, Portage Magazine.  Thank you, BJ, for all you have shared—including students eager to learn. I can’t wait to entwine myself in the writing of that long threatened promised adventure stories about David in Carroll-Land.

For the past decade I have followed with interest and admiration the blogging and developments in thinking of Jane Hart about uses of technology tools to enhance learning.  Motivated by her initial contributions, I created a first-year seminar course based on her top twenty-five tools. More recently, my students have begun writing and publishing books about the learning tools they found of most value. We are in the process of seeking financial support to expand that effort. Thank you, Jane Hart, for your fellowship, mentorship, and friendship across the ocean.

My introduction to blogging tools reinvigorated my personal interest in writing.  It enhanced my judgment of the importance and value of including writing exercises in my classes. I am convinced that properly taught, introduced and regularly used, blogging and micro-blogging tools can enhance a student’s civic responsibilities (e.g. writing a thoughtful response to a New York Times online article or to a local paper—rather than merely clicking the “like” button). They can be used to improve students’ writing and enjoyment of writing, and can expand their knowledge about “publishing” and making the blogosphere and the world a better place.

BlinkistCurious DavidHumormyth of multi-tasking

Professor Hypocrite: Heal Thyself:)

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Hhhh. There is some merit in the arguments made in that book I “read” on Blinkist. I think that I’d better view, review, read, and heed the following science-based advice about the myths of multitasking.

Curious David

A Benevolent Curmudgeon Reflects Some More on LinkedIn: Revised and Revisited

 

David (AKA The Benevolent Curmudgeon):

dscn4331In several prior posts about my experiences with LinkedIn, I have pondered and sought advice about how  I —with one foot in academe and the other in the business world—might most profit from and contribute to LinkedIn. Thanks to those of you who have made constructive suggestions. Since those postings, I have joined several linked in groups.  I have explored many of LinkedIn’s (continually evolving) premium features such as “learning”( aka Lynda.com). I have examined the usefulness of SlideShare (here is an example of its value in a recent posting there by Jane Hart). I have participated in some LinkedIn surveys of the “LinkedIn Premium Insiders Community” (and found them far too generic).

Which of these features do you use? Which features have I failed to discover? How do you keep up with a constantly changing interface? I realize that one way to answer these questions is for me to systematically go through all menus (especially the privacy controls).

To be fair, I have benefitted by selectively and systematically expanding my network.  I have discovered a few “Influencers” worth my following and learning from. I have also learned how to subscribe to RSS feeds which enhance my personal learning plan. I have  explored using hashtags for my postings, and I am making more time to read and to respond thoughtfully to a number of thoughtful posts and comments (far too many comments are snarky but that is opportunity cost).

I have found particularly enlightening the good work of Maya Pope-Chappell, Education and Millennial Editor of LinkedIn. She writes well, has championed efforts to encourage cross-fertilization of ideas from higher education and the business world and has increased opportunities (and recognition) for involvement by college students. [See, for example, her screencast targeted for college and university students about how to write for LinkedIn]. I urge that “older” (more experienced) LinkedIn users recognize that this incoming work force can serve a valuable mentoring function for you if you tap into their knowledge of how to use social learning tools to supplement or to replace more formal, traditional formal training programs.

Things I dislike about LinkedIn:

  • I still find the “post publishing platform” primitive and user-unfriendly. It is far inferior and far less intuitive to that of WordPress (though far superior to Yammer’s). My work-around has been to write LinkedIn blog pieces targeted for a LinkedIn audience on another platform and then migrate them into the LinkedIn editor after proof-reading.
  • I find many of the articles posted in LinkedIn far two “formulaic” for my taste: Promises of THE “seven”proven ways to increase my (fill in the buzzword). [I’ve ranted written about my love distaste  thoughts about “buzzwords” here and here.] I prefer substance to platitudes or bullet-points (but that may be due to the academic world I inhabit).
  • I get annoyed by my inability to read some articles  unless I turn off my ad blockers, “white list” the target website, or switch to another computer for which I have not turned on ad-blockers.

What suggestions do you have that might enhance the value of LinkedIn to me? Or, (as some have suggested) do am I a stranger in a strange land and I not belong on this network?

For a refreshingly “non peevish” take on LinkedIn, I invited about a year ago one of my research assistants, Alison Lehman who is quite knowledgable about LinkedIn (she wrote about it in her first book) to share her perspectives about it. Even as she approaches the time of her university graduation in May of 2017, she is most enthusiastic about it. I continue to learn from her!

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Alison wrote …

“Rapidly growing and expanding, LinkedIn is an online, social networking site for individuals to connect with other professionals and post their professional accomplishments, experiences, and volunteer activities. With the technological advances that exist today, employers are not only looking at an individual’s hard copy resume but they are also turning to LinkedIn to put a face to the name, as well as seeing how the individual presents themselves online. LinkedIn is an interactive website to compile education history, past experiences, skills, interests, completed projects, and various other professional expertise; pretty much an online resume for others to see. With connecting and providing experiences, this opens the door to future jobs and valuable professional relationships. Creating a LinkedIn profile can help grow connections in the business world and displays qualifications and experience for jobs.

Getting Started:

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, information can be entered about volunteer experiences or  organizations’ they care about, institutions they are affiliated with, certifications received, and a list of personal skills. LinkedIn will then organize all of the information into an organized profile page. The user can customize where each section of information will fall (e.g. either at the top of the profile or farther 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.

Users are able to create an online profile with as much professional information about themselves as they see pertinent. LinkedIn creates a profile composed of an individual’s professional history, education, and achievements. Similar to a resume, but in an online format, LinkedIn allows other individuals to review your professional endeavors and education. Through LinkedIn, users potentially are more able to find jobs, locate other individuals in their field of study, and discover business and volunteer opportunities. Especially for college students, LinkedIn can be a viable way to make professional connections, search for internships or positions in one’s desired career path, and make connections with other professionals who can give valuable advice or guidance for the future.

Getting the most out of LinkedIn:

The feature that most individuals see on LinkedIn is your picture, name, and professional headline. Since most attention is placed on these three elements, they should be strategically created to help emphasize your field of study and strengths. While a professional headshot is ideal, professional photographers can be expensive to hire. The LinkedIn picture does not need to be taken by a professional but it should be a professional-looking headshot. The professional headline should be crafted to include keywords related to your field of study/work. These keywords can help other professionals find your profile and explore your experiences and strengths. This 120 character opportunity can be used as a mini pitch to quickly showcase your area of expertise and skill set.

Since LinkedIn allows users to compile a profile with sections ranging from education experience, publications, projects, interests, and many more, as much of the profile should be filled out as possible to utilize the ability to display abilities and interests to other professionals. Putting skills and accomplishments on LinkedIn is a way for others to recognize your strengths and reach out when jobs or projects seem relevant. Some of these sections include adding a professional profile picture of oneself and even, if one chooses, adding a cover photo that will be displayed behind the profile. With the ability to include summaries, experiences, and educational history, these allow the user to demonstrate and expand on their qualifications and professional achievements. Some of these sections are education, contact information, professional industry, volunteer experiences, and certifications. Completing all the LinkedIn sections allows individuals to both 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. When adding connections,  some individuals add anyone to increase their connection numbers.  Others prefer to make connections only with individuals whom they personally know. 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, 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 similar email. One can also look for connections by searching for their name, a company name, a specific industry, or a school name. 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 of minutes, one can create a custom URL, such as his/her name. If the name is already taken, one can try to add a middle initial or add his/her middle name completely. Also, one way to get involved on LinkedIn is through groups. Individuals can join professional groups which share information or 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 exploring the professional world for after graduation.

LinkedIn for Carroll University Students:

In addition, LinkedIn has a feature called “find alumni”. This feature allows one to look for alumni that attended their same university. After selecting this tab, a page is brought up with all the alumni and that can be sorted by their college concentrations, current area living, interests, skills or current job placement.  This feature allows one to see where your peers are currently living in the world and how they are using their skills in their career paths. Also, individuals can look at other professionals’ profiles to get tips and advice on opportunities alumni pursued to obtain jobs or even possible organizations to could work for. The find alumni tools is a great starting point to explore possible career options, connect with alumni that share similar interests, or get inspiration for volunteer activities or clubs to join while still at the university.

LinkedIn is very beneficial for business purposes. One may want to find a job sooner than the usual applying to multiple different places. One is able to put just his/her information out on this website and have others looking for them. Their information is on there just as if their resume would be. People are able to look up certain students, adults, business partners, etc. on LinkedIn and possibly find someone they could potentially hire for a position they have opening for at their business. Also, LinkedIn is very useful in connecting with others you may have known from a past job experience, high school, college, etc.”

What advise would you give Alison and my other students —soon about to enter the work force —about how they will be using or should be using LinkedIn? What features of it are they likely to learn about only while on the job? How will there world change in terms of access and use of social media tools?

Carroll UniversityCarroll University USACurious DavidJane Hart's Top 100 Learning ToolsPSY205

Psychology 205 Resources: Quizlet, StarQuiz, Research Randomizer, and SPSS.

I have come to believe that a syllabus should be a dynamic learning tool. To that end on the first day of class I randomly select some students to download my syllabus. Using the classroom projection system, they explore in the syllabus embedded links to such things as a paper I wrote about how I teach and they begin using a tool (Research Randomizer) for drawing random samples and for randomly assigning participants to conditions.

Here is the syllabus I use in my PSY205 “Statistics and Experimental Design Course.”

my.carrollu.edu

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How useful do you find these links? How might they be improved?

I am moving towards requiring that all my students demonstrate to me minimal mastery of my technology enhanced teaching and the learning tools which I introduce into the classroom.

Here is an example of a Quizlet benchmark: Example 1: Quizlet.

Here are two examples of StarQuiz benchmarks:  Example 1:  Starquiz  and Example 2:  StarQuiz.

How helpful are these links? How might they be improved?

I also am increasingly incorporating screencasts made by me (or by my students) into the class as additional instructional support—especially as I teach SPSS. Though I realize that there are an abundance of such resources on YouTube (and even on LinkedIn!), I still see some value in my personally producing them (or having my students do so).

Here are some screen casts that Simpson research assistants Tia and Ariana made for me to demonstrate their mastery of using screen casting software tools:

And here is one of my SPSS screen casts made at home with the help of Leo the Dog:

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Should I continue to produce these even though their production quality may not be “professional”?

 

 


brain fitnessCurious DavidForgettingMemory

Brain Fitness Training (Revisited): Part 2

dscn4331First cup of coffee at 5:00 this morning. My mind drifts to yesterday when standing in line to pick up a Walgreen’s prescription I observed the woman ahead of me challenged at the task of recalling the last four digits of her phone number and by the request that she use a key pad to enter the four digits.  Will that be me in a few years? Is that me now? What was that password again?

I no sooner write a blog piece about memory failure and about brain fitness training and I am inundated with emails about the topic. Am I paranoid? Or is Big Brother, Google,Siri or some Cookie Monster watching me?:)  I’ve explored that topic before in another blog piece. This deluge of emails reminds me of the time I was investigating subliminal perception claims and my beloved canine companion dog, Robin the Newf, started receiving snail mail about cassette tapes that promised subliminal messages which could improve her self-esteem, memory and libido.

Robin the Newf

A glance at my email suggests a number of “brain fitness training” opportunities. A Brain U Online gives me a friendly reminder of the availability of a brain training session invitation.  I receive an invitation from Blinkist suggesting that I read a synopsis (hmm–Wordpress originally wrote the word “synapse” for me—-spooky) of the book Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect your Brain for Life.  I am alerted in another email that Episode #4 (of 10) “Six ‘Brain Hacks’ to Enrich Your Brain” from a gohibrow.com course awaits.  An interesting NPR story invites me to explore the brain enhancing benefits of bilingual education. I receive an invitation to take an AARP approved “Life Reimagined”  (and United Health Care supported) free online course on “Brain Power: How to Improve Your Brain Health” taught by Wendy Suzuki, Ph.D. There is ad from Posit Science to  become a “Smart Cookie” ( there is that Cookie Monster again!) by joining their “…unique braining program … which unlike others… is backed by more than 100 published scientific papers”… I think that I’ll send them as a holiday gift a copy of the most recent review in Psychological Science in the Public Interest whose link I included in my earlier post.

How does one separate the wheat from the chaff of these claims? Which avenues are promising and which are merely advertising promises. Will I really get smarter with five-minute lessons delivered to my inbox every morning? Do i want to? Would I be well-served by following my heart and attempting to (re) learn long forgotten Spanish? Should I become involved in creating Elder hostel educational experiences? Maybe I should learn to play the piano like my great grand nephew Cole! So many questions. What fun to try answering them with students, seniors, data, and critical thinking over the next few years. Stay tuned.

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Curious DavidMemory

The Zeigarnik Effect Revisited—and Preliminary Questions about Brain Fitness Training Programs

dscn4331So much unfinished business. I see that I have 83 drafts of unfinished blog posts. Some of that writing looks like the ideas are still worth developing. Other drafts I have no recall of having written! Clearly it is time either to delete them or to bring the ideas to fruition as I wind up and wind down my teaching career.

Unfinished tasks (and miles to grow (sic.)  before I sleep) : In November 2009 I wrote this draft about the Zeigarnik effect:

“I was first introduced to the Zeigarnik effect (people typically recalling interrupted tasks better than their recalling completed ones) by my first Oberlin College Introductory Psychology professor, Celeste McCollough. My participation in her visual perception studies of the “McCollough effect” formally introduced me to the science of psychology. I remember being both amused and fascinated by Professor McCollough’s sharing an anecdote where she intentionally used the Zeigarnik phenomenon as a motivator for her to resume working on manuscripts that she was writing for publication. I find it curious how a phenomenon such as the Zeigarnik effect can be discovered, experimentally investigated, popularized, misrepresented, forgotten, and rediscovered.”

I was able to use that anecdote in a review I completed yesterday of Bob Cialdini’s newest book Pre-suasion. Equally important, I was able to use that Zeigarnik tension to motivate me to complete the revisions suggested by my editor and to successfully have the review accepted for publication. Thanks to my research assistant Lizzie H. for her able last minute editorial assistance.

One common theme among my unfinished work is the tensions I feel between rigorous, experimental psychological science and well-intentioned attempts to popularize psychological findings. How can one avoid avoiding overstatement and misrepresentation?  Why is there such a disconnect between what is popularized (or advertised) and what empirical evidence actually shows? Across the past fifty years I’ve seen oversimplification and misrepresentation of research investigating learning styles, mindfulness, subliminal perception, and most recently brain fitness training.

I’ve taken an increased interest lately in memory research—in part because a number of Carroll alumni have been actively involved in that area (e.g. Michelle Braun, John DenBoer and Mark Klinger). I’ve always been fascinated by the too much neglected research of Ellen Langer’s exploring concepts of mindfulness and mindlessness—as she uses the terms. I found fascinating her book Counterclockwise, though I am still struggling with believing its implications of age-reversal. Still, there IS empirical evidence (needful of replication and extension) that subjective perceptions of age can be affected by the mere process of measuring variables related to aging. This merits further study. Perhaps because I just recently read that the CEO of Evernote wants me to be able to remember everything, I’ve been thinking a lot about elephants lately (maybe that is because of the recent election) and about Jorge Luis Borges‘ Funes Memorius and about those Seven Sins of Memory outlined by Psychologist Daniel Schacter. One of the down-sides  joys of being liberally educated is that one sees interconnections among seemingly disparate things.

Based upon my thinking about the links above, I’m convinced that I don’t want a perfect memory—nor do I want technological tools for remembering everything. Still, as I grow older I am increasingly sensitive to issues of memory loss. I am haunted by the descriptions of  dementia so graphically and accurately described in Walter Mosely’s novel The Last Days of Ptolemy GreyHere is an interview with that author.

There is so much hype interest today in using technology to improve one’s brain power,  health and well-being. Try, for example, doing an online search on “brain fitness.”

You’ll  be overwhelmed with the results though (hopefully) be underwhelmed by the validity of the claims. The challenge is to know how to decide which claims are “snake oil,” which represent vaporware, and which are truly science-based.  Consider these  Internet “tools” (none of which I am endorsing but each of which I am considering investigating with my students)  … and their promises and claims of success at improving one’s life

  1. lumosity.com
  2. happify.com
  3. learningrx.com
  4. brainhq.com

Which (if any) is based upon valid psychological science? Which is merely entertainment? Which make false or unverifiable claims? Which is patently wrong?

Do brain training programs really work?  A very thoughtful and thorough  scholarly review was recently completed which provides some useful caveats and preliminary answers. A shortened summary of that report can be found here and the complete article is here. A relatively recent citizen science project, the game “Stall Catchers” (found here) provides an interesting crowdsourcing avenue for conducting Alzheimer’s research (See EyesonALZ). I hope to share my answers to these questions. Hopefully these thoughts won’t merely end up in my draft pile!

 

Carroll University USACurious DavidcurmudgeonHumorSelf-help

Resolving Pet Peeves: Life is Short

 

dscn4774It so easy to allow pet peeves to distract one and to engender a foul mood. Let’s see if I can exorcise them by listing some recent annoyances and thinking through a resolution while I proctor an exam.

  1. Leo the Great (pictured above) barks incessantly whenever I give Siri a command or use the dictation mode of my computers. This is also a nuisance when I proofread out loud. Solutions: Remove the dog (though he can at times be so angelic); don’t dictate; accustom him to my talking to myself:)p1080672
  2. Faculty colleagues who teach (loudly) with their classroom door open. Solutions: Close my door; close their door; put on sound reduction headphones
  3. Individuals who don’t differentiate between the reply and the reply all command. Solution: Send them a gentle correction: “Did you realize that you shared that slanderous reply with the entire campus community?”:)
  4. Bombardment by Bombastic Buzzwords (I’ve twice ranted to my one reader in the blogosphere about this peeve: here and here.). Solution: Think of the buzzwords as a specialized language unique to that marketing/corporate culture; update the buzzword bingo software; create a buzzword translator.
  5. Hmmm. Maybe I need just to lighten up or to consult Alex Blackwell’s eight step approach to dealing with pet peeves found here. Or at least to contextualize the irritation like this.

Or unwinding by playing in a pile of leaves.dscn4611Or listening to a beautiful piano recital.dscn4779Or snuggling up with some grand-nieces and grand-nephews.Version 2

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Life is far too short to allow pet peeves to bother one disproportionately. Or as my dictation software once jabbered,”Hours longer we to bury was.” See the translation here:

 

 

 

Curious David

Ruminations on Gratitude: Saying, Giving, and Living Thanks

p1080771Our recent Thanksgiving holiday (a time of joy, happiness, good food, and playfulness) seems so long ago. Why is that? How can we celebrate year round and enlarge that celebration to embrace our common humanity across the globe?
I am giving an exam right now. After all, today is “Giving Tuesday.” You can read about its history here and about this year’s 2016 effort here. There are so many people and organizations in need across the world. How sad it is that we must market, self-promote and commercialize the act of giving rather than internalizing it as a joyful, daily activity. Thank you to my many global friends who strive to make the world a better place through their daily contributions. Here is my best effort to reach you in your native language!

A few years ago I considered (re)creating a course dealing with the topic of “Happiness.” Those thoughts can be found here. And here is a list of a number of “happiness experts.” Giving makes me happy. But I don’t give in order to be happy.

I think it would be be interesting to develop a course investigating gratitude. A lot of research in this area has already been done and is shared by Berkeley’s Greater Good organization. That link can be found here.

Time to collect exams! I give a 2nd exam in an hour. Their gift is that I shall have 40 exams to grade!

 

Carroll UniversityCommencementCurious DavidGlobalJane Hart's Top 100 Learning Tools

Workplace Learning : 8 Lessons Learned

dscn4331Reflections on what I learned from an eight-week online course with Jane Hart.

  1. I was introduced to Yammer as a learning tool–and found it lacking. Give a company Yammer and everything needs Yammering.:) You can find some of my thoughts about Yammer here.
  2. This was my first experience as a “student” with asynchronous, online learning. I found myself logging in daily to respond to (and learn from) others who were engaged in the many assigned, applied exercises at a different pace than I due to time constraints, time zones, and their job demands. Though I see the practicality of asynchronous online learning for some learners, I found it inefficient and frustrating for me personally.
  3. I came away with a better understanding of the requirements and challenges of creating, conducting, and participating this way–and very much admire and respect how Jane Hart, the workshop administrator, took the time to respond to us individually and collectively in timely fashion.
  4. I (virtually) met interacted with a number of bright, hard-working, interesting people passionate about improving the workplace learning environment from across the world–Ghana, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the USA. I admire their dedication to changing, expanding, and improving how individuals learn within the workplace environment. I am always humbled by the abilities of individuals, for whom English is not their native language, but who nonetheless succeed in mastering materials written in English. We learned together through sharing what we know (–and admitting what we didn’t know) and participating in guided, asynchronous learning experiences created by Jane Hart. Thanks in particular to Sharon Young, Martine Varney, Jennifer Russell, Sally Rhodes, Ivy Mawuko, Renate Aheimer, Catherine Shinners, Chris Coladonato, Carmen Ridaura, and Kristi Ivan for helping me better understand your corporate cultures, the challenges you face in championing new ways of learning, and the many times you made me think.
  5. I definitely exceeded my expected return in investment of the time and dollars I spent participating in this workshop IN LARGE PART as a function of the contributions of those people listed above.
  6. Being personally guided by Jane Hart through her Modern Workplace Learning: A Resource Book for L & D was invaluable. I look forward to the January revision—and participation in future workshops.
  7. I was introduced to or re-introduced to a number of learning tools—-among them PDFpenPro (that I used to annotate the online version of Jane’s book), Evernote (which still for me tries to do and claims to do too much), Grammarly (which allows me to circumvent SOME of the limitations of LinkedIn and Yammer), Pocket, DayOne, Dragon Professional dictation software and Blinkist.
  8. I came away with a better understanding of the challenges, opportunities, and untapped resources of workplace learning. Jane Hart continues to clarify my vision and expand my learning horizons in blog pieces like her recent contribution dealing with unlocking unused potential. I look forward to sharing these insights with my students as they enter the workforce, in LinkedIn posts,  and by my cascading this knowledge into my consulting work.

alumniClutterCurious DavidHappinessMeaning

Refocusing, Renewal, and “Hours longer we to bury was.”

 

Version 3Last night I took the time to wander and wonder outside our North Lake home with my camera taking pictures of the super moon.  The evening not only was beautiful but the act of having to focus and refocus my camera helped develop in me thoughts about the importance of focus and refocus in my life. Reflection and refocusing in one’s life for me is not only good but imperative.

I’m sitting at my desk for the moment between the time of administering two exams. How best should I use this “free” time? Too often I use the time to start yet another project. Instead this time I am reflecting.  I also am trying to dictate this blog piece using my Nuance Dragon Professional software. It surely has improved in terms of its accuracy and ease of use, and it is far past time for me to learn how to use it to my advantage.

Still, it has its limitations (or perhaps I still need to learn better its features).

“Hours longer we to bury was.”  That gibberish was what the software produced when I attempted to quote something I read in Latin almost 50 years ago:  “ars longa, vita brevis.” Art is long; life is short.

I had forgotten that the passage was originally attributed to Hippocrates. I embrace his  more complete quotation:

“Life is short,and art long,opportunity fleeting,experimentations perilous,and judgement difficult.”

So much to learn; so little time. So much beauty to discover and to appreciate.

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So many perilous experimentations to be risked in order to live more fully. So many difficult judgments to make. So many difficult conversations needed.  Yet, I continue to believe that I have been blessed by being given the opportunity to teach and to learn continuously.

Time to return to the classroom—renewed…

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Curious David

A Benevolent Curmudgeon and a Bright Emerging Star Reflect on LinkedIn: Revised

 

David (AKA The Benevolent Curmudgeon):

dscn4331In several prior posts about my experiences with LinkedIn, I have pondered and sought advice about how someone like me (with one foot in academe and the other in the business world) might most profit from and contribute to LinkedIn. Since those postings, I have joined several linked in groups, explored some of LinkedIn’s premium features such “learning”( aka Lynda.com), looked at the usefulness of SlideShare (here is a recent posting there by Jane Hart), participated in some LinkedIn surveys by becoming a member of the “LinkedIn Premium Insiders Community, selectively and systematically expanded my network, subscribed to RSS feeds, explored using hashtags for my postings, and read and responded to a number of posts. I have found particularly rewarding the good work of Maya Pope-Chappell, Education and millennial Editor of LinkedIn. She writes well and has championed efforts 1) to encourage cross-fertilization of ideas from higher education and the business world and 2) to increase opportunities for involvement by college students. See, for example, her Lynda.com screencast targeted for college and university students about how to write for LinkedIn.

Things I dislike about LinkedIn:

  • I still find the “post publishing platform” primitive and user-unfriendly—inferior to that of WordPress (though far superior to Yammer’s). My work-around has been to write LinkedIn blog pieces (targeted for a LinkedIn audience)


on another platform and then migrate them.

  • I find many of the articles far two “formulaic” for my taste: Promises of THE “seven”proven ways to increase my (fill in the buzzword). [I’ve ranted written about my love distaste  thoughts about “buzzwords” here and here.]
  • I get annoyed by my inability to read some articles that look interesting to me unless I turn off my ad blockers or “white list” the target website.

For a refreshingly “non peevish” take on LinkedIn, I invited one of my research assistants, Alison Lehman who is quite knowledgable about LinkedIn (she wrote about it in her first book) to share here present perspective about it. She is most enthusiastic about it even as she approaches the time of her university graduation. I, as always, learned a few things from her.

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Rapidly growing and expanding, LinkedIn is an online, social networking site for individuals to connect with other professionals and post their professional accomplishments, experiences, and volunteer activities. With the technological advances that exist today, employers are not only looking at an individual’s hard copy resume but they are also turning to LinkedIn to put a face to the name, as well as seeing how the individual presents themselves online. LinkedIn is an interactive website to compile education history, past experiences, skills, interests, completed projects, and various other professional expertise; pretty much an online resume for others to see. With connecting and providing experiences, this opens the door to future jobs and valuable professional relationships. Creating a LinkedIn profile can help grow connections in the business world and displays qualifications and experience for jobs.

Getting Started:

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, information can be entered about volunteer experiences or  organizations’ they care about, institutions they are affiliated with, certifications received, and a list of personal skills. LinkedIn will then organize all of the information into an organized profile page. The user can customize where each section of information will fall (e.g. either at the top of the profile or farther 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.

Users are able to create an online profile with as much professional information about themselves as they see pertinent. LinkedIn creates a profile composed of an individual’s professional history, education, and achievements. Similar to a resume, but in an online format, LinkedIn allows other individuals to review your professional endeavors and education. Through LinkedIn, users potentially are more able to find jobs, locate other individuals in their field of study, and discover business and volunteer opportunities. Especially for college students, LinkedIn can be a viable way to make professional connections, search for internships or positions in one’s desired career path, and make connections with other professionals who can give valuable advice or guidance for the future.

Getting the most out of LinkedIn:

The feature that most individuals see on LinkedIn is your picture, name, and professional headline. Since most attention is placed on these three elements, they should be strategically created to help emphasize your field of study and strengths. While a professional headshot is ideal, professional photographers can be expensive to hire. The LinkedIn picture does not need to be taken by a professional but it should be a professional-looking headshot. The professional headline should be crafted to include keywords related to your field of study/work. These keywords can help other professionals find your profile and explore your experiences and strengths. This 120 character opportunity can be used as a mini pitch to quickly showcase your area of expertise and skill set.

Since LinkedIn allows users to compile a profile with sections ranging from education experience, publications, projects, interests, and many more, as much of the profile should be filled out as possible to utilize the ability to display abilities and interests to other professionals. Putting skills and accomplishments on LinkedIn is a way for others to recognize your strengths and reach out when jobs or projects seem relevant. Some of these sections include adding a professional profile picture of oneself and even, if one chooses, adding a cover photo that will be displayed behind the profile. With the ability to include summaries, experiences, and educational history, these allow the user to demonstrate and expand on their qualifications and professional achievements. Some of these sections are education, contact information, professional industry, volunteer experiences, and certifications. Completing all the LinkedIn sections allows individuals to both 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. When adding connections,  some individuals add anyone to increase their connection numbers.  Others prefer to make connections only with individuals whom they personally know. 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, 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 similar email. One can also look for connections by searching for their name, a company name, a specific industry, or a school name. 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 of minutes, one can create a custom URL, such as his/her name. If the name is already taken, one can try to add a middle initial or add his/her middle name completely. Also, one way to get involved on LinkedIn is through groups. Individuals can join professional groups which share information or 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 exploring the professional world for after graduation.

LinkedIn for Carroll University Students:

In addition, LinkedIn has a feature called “find alumni”. This feature allows one to look for alumni that attended their same university. After selecting this tab, a page is brought up with all the alumni and that can be sorted by their college concentrations, current area living, interests, skills or current job placement.  This feature allows one to see where your peers are currently living in the world and how they are using their skills in their career paths. Also, individuals can look at other professionals’ profiles to get tips and advice on opportunities alumni pursued to obtain jobs or even possible organizations to could work for. The find alumni tools is a great starting point to explore possible career options, connect with alumni that share similar interests, or get inspiration for volunteer activities or clubs to join while still at the university.

LinkedIn is very beneficial for business purposes. One may want to find a job sooner than the usual applying to multiple different places. One is able to put just his/her information out on this website and have others looking for them. Their information is on there just as if their resume would be. People are able to look up certain students, adults, business partners, etc. on LinkedIn and possibly find someone they could potentially hire for a position they have opening for at their business. Also, LinkedIn is very useful in connecting with others you may have known from a past job experience, high school, college, etc.

Curious David

Booked Until Mid January …

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Though good literature is timeless and much nonfiction is time-dependent, it would appear that my backlog of pleasure reading is in need of more time than the hour or so I devote to reading before falling asleep! Alas, this weekend is the annual University Lake barn sale where I habitually succumb to walking away with several grocery bags stuffed with even more to read.

Among the books (some of which are pictured above) I plan to have read before 2nd semester begins in mid January are the following:

  1. Charles Duhigg’s Smarter, Faster, Better: The Science of Being Productive in Life and Business and also his The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. I try to read things of this sort because of my partnership in Schneider Consulting and out of interest in writing something like this. Greg, Jane, and I keep talking about publishing some of our accumulated wisdom from consulting the past 30 years.
  2. Cixin Liu’s Death’s End. I read the first two books of this science fiction trilogy and have eagerly awaited more than a year for the translation  of the third volume. I try to read several works from global authors every year and at the time I read the first book, I was under the understanding the Carroll was expecting an influx of students from China.
  3. Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth. I admire and envy her way with words.
  4. Jonathan Safran Foer’s novels Here I Am and  Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I tonight will finish his creative first novel Everything Is Illuminated.
  5. Robert Sternberg’s What Universities Can Be: A New Model for Active Concerned Citizenship and Ethical Leadership.I’ve always admired Sternberg’s depth of thinking and once had the pleasure reviewing his book on research dealing with wisdom. This year Carroll’s overarching theme is “Citizenship.”
  6. The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu’s The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World. I deeply admire both men.
  7. Alan Moore’s Jerusalem.
  8. Maria Konnikova’s The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It Every Time. 
  9. Kennth Mikkelson’s (with whom I just connected on LinkedIn): The NeoGeneralist: Where You Go is Who You Are
  10. J. K. Rowling’s: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: A Screen Play

And of course, for the next six weeks I continue to read, learn from, and interact online with the author Jane Hart of MODERN WORKPLACE LEARNING: A RESOURCE BOOK FOR L&D. It is a fascinating and a very new reading experience for me to be interacting with the author and a number of fellow readers across the world as we read, discuss, and try to apply the ideas in her book. So much value is added to the printed copy I bought by my  also having an online copy which I can annotate, explore the links and references, and perhaps even through my participation “refresh” it with ideas.

Lego, ergo sum.



Curious David

What have I learned today? LESSONS FROM DR. SIMPSON’S NEIGHBORHOOD

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  • I can be amazingly productive and creative when I have protected time and when I disconnect from the computer!
  • Surrounding oneself with bright, playful younger team members in Dr. Simpson’s Neighborhood can result in major learning experiences. Reverse mentoring is highly rewarding.
  • Many of my better ideas are incubated while I am engaged in mundane, mindless activities such as cleaning my office. I also have excavated  rediscovered a number of useful learning tools (such as my Carroll COLLEGE pencils!)
  • I am learning many new things by interacting with fellow workplace workshop co-learners across the globe.
  • I have rediscovered the iPad App that allows me to see what time it is in Germany, Ghana, and the United Kingdom to increase the likelihood of a Skype/Facetime interaction with my newly discovered co-learners.
  • Today is “National Coffee Day!”
  • The analytic data on LinkedIn suggests that some of the things I post there there are actually viewed.
  • The music that my students listen to is not much different from what I used to listen to. Alas, Sir Paul’s voice did show some wear when I heard him this summer at Milwaukee’s Summerfest.
  • I am blessed with wonderful academic colleagues both within Psychology and University-wide.
  • There is so much more to learn. Maybe our emeritus Chairman of the Board is correct in his playful suggestion that I should continue to teach another 25 years. So much to learn. Therefore, one must capitalize on the many ways of learning.




Curious David

Applying Modern Workplace Learning Lessons

Throughout my almost four decades of teaching I have tried to build bridges. Bridges across the Kindergarten to Higher Education divide. Bridges among different global communities. Bridges between academic and corporate cultures. I’m now in the 2nd week of participating in a workshop led by The United Kingdon’s Jane Hart. The foundation of this workshop is her book Modern Workplace Learning: A resource book for L & D. How refreshing it is to interact with the author (whom I have admired and corresponded with for almost 10 years) and to develop learning relationships with individuals across the world. Based on things I’ve learned and reflected upon to date, I have “connected” with a workshop participant on LinkedIn, incorporated some of the exchanged ideas into my interactions with my student research team, and am having so much fun!

We are encouraged to keep learning logs this week and to share them with fellow workshop participants. One assignment also is to share a screenshot of our journal. One co-participant has already renewed my interest in revisiting EverNote (Thank you, Jennifer R!). Jane’s Chapter 34 whetted my curiosity to take a look at OneNote (though I’ll consult also with my student research team about its utility).

Here is brief screen cast created by student research (and author) Lizzie Hof how we use DayOne as a “learning log.”




Curious David

What are you reading today? What have you learned today? (Part 1)

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I’m proctoring my first two exams of the academic year (Statistics and Experimental Design) so I have a protected five hour block for reading and for writing. I’ll have another such window of opportunity while my wife is in the dentist’s office for an hour later today. My Ipad will accompany me there.

First I glance at my Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook accounts. Looks like it is time to refine my Twitter filters. Can it really be that I have created over 1500 Tweets??  Do I still want to follow Edward Snowden? Jane Hart? Time to winnow—or to destroy the evidence:) I’ll revisit whom and what I follow as my interests and needs change. I’ll have to refresh my memory on what I and my students have written about Twitter. I send myself a note about which articles I want to read in depth or to share.

I’ll seek some counsel from my student research team. They surprised me the other day by indicating that they found Twitter a useful tool that they would like to learn more about. I fire off an email to them and am pleased that three of them are already on-board awaiting assignments—at 8:15 a.m.

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Simpson Research Team 2016-2017

I peruse my email accounts briefly trying to identify what most deserves or needs my attention. I quickly visually scan  the online version of the Waukesha Freeman with special attention to articles about Carroll; the Milwaukee Journal business section; and the Chronicle of Higher Education. I am delighted and impressed to see a draft stored on Google drive of an article written by one of my research assistants since we checked in this morning.  It compares Skype and Face Time as communication tools.  Well done, Alison! It was no accident that these students wrote their first book last year with only the slightest supervision from me. It will be interesting to see if they accept my challenge about advancing to the next level in developing their talent.

Time for a coffee break and a team meeting. We briefly meet between exams. I share with them a few projects that I would welcome their involvement in, and I share what I have learned today while exploring LinkedIn and Yammer. I learn so much FROM them. I grab several manuscripts dealing with “brain training” to read while I proctor exam # 2. Several Carroll alumni researchers share my interest in this topic and I want to keep up with them. Learning never ends.

 

AgingCurious David

Sharpening My Brain

I’m looking forward later today to (virtually) participating in the 2017 SharpBrains Virtual Summit.  As I await its starting, I am flooded by emails from brain fitness companies. Lumosity claims to have “…adapted age-old-techniques of Mindfulness training into a series of easy-to-learn courses and activities.” I’ll learn more about that on Thursday from a Summit presentation. BrainHQ from Posit Science shares with me their latest claims. A new blog piece is published by Smartbrainaging.

I now am a subscriber to a number of very science-based brain health resources coming from Harvard Medical School and UC Berkeley,  I also now monitor National Institute of Aging clinical trial research. There are some intriguing ongoing randomized trials investigating cognitive, dietary and behavioral interventions (such as exercise programs) for mild cognitive impairment such as these.

I am looking forward to opportunities to interact at the summit with some of these CEO’s, entrepreneurs, and fellow investigators and to continue those relationships over the next few years.

My student research team has now spend a semester investigating brain fitness research claims. We are in the process of reflecting on what we have learned. Here are a few preliminary thoughts which will be expanded into a book.

 

  1. “Brain Training” is a huge and growing industry with very expensive market research reports! Like this one:
  2. There exist a number of excellent, current, science-based guides to maintaining cognitive fitness and brain health (e.g. this one).
  3. There exist excellent scholarly reviews of the efficacy of “brain fitness” programs (e.g. this one).
  4. Many cognitive training studies and brain training companies overpromise results, cite the same methodologically faulty studies, ignore best practice experimental designs (see point 2 above), and fail to take into consideration placebo effects (See this study.)
  5. Many helpful insights into memory loss can be gleaned from literature such as Lisa Genova’s Still Alice and other like works (Such as these).

Time to log into the summit. To paraphrase the proverb, all work and no play makes David a dull boy.

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