Category: Blogging

BloggingControlling TechnologyCurious DavidJane Hart's Top 100 Learning ToolsPersonal Learning Environments

Retooling and Sharpening my Technology Learning Tools – Without Injury

This is that interesting time of the academic year when I am trying to bring the semester to a soft-landing and concomitantly prepare for  the fall semester. This summer I hope to revisit several books that have especially informed me about uses of digital tools for teaching—especially  Michelle Pacansky-Brock’s Best Practices for Teaching with Emerging Technologies, Susan Manning and Kevin E. Johnson’s The Technology Toolbelt for Teaching, Steve Johnson’s Digital Tools for Teaching, and Julie Lindsay and Vicki A. Davis’ inspirational Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds: Move to Global Collaboration One Step at a Time.

The writings of Alec Couros through his informative Becoming a Networked Learner and Curtis J. Bonk have impacted  how I teach, how I learn, and how I “reach out” to others  via social media. The challenge continues how  to find balance between tool use and being controlled or constrained rather than enabled by the tool.

I see that Jane Hart has opened nominations for her 8th annual Top-Tools-for-Learning  List.  I think I’ll withhold my vote until early this fall so that I have more time  to better answer the following critical questions:

  1. Which of these tools will enhance my research and my communication capabilities?
  2. Which of these tools do I want all my students to know how to use? (Which, on the other hand,  are better suited for my  advanced research assistants?)
  3. Which of these tools will be around in four years?
  4. Which of these tools serve me best when I am engaged in my role as partner of Schneider Consulting?
  5. Among subsets of tool types, which best serve my needs?
  6. How much learning time do I or my students need to invest to use these tools?
  7. How portable are these tools across the browsers I most frequently use?
  8. How portable are these tools across the hardware and different operating systems I most frequently use?
  9. How much of the attractiveness of these tools to me is simply due to their “wow factor” and the fun they engender?
  10. Will mastering this tool increase the likelihood of my becoming a more effective teacher or enhance my ability to learn.

 

 

AppsBloggingCarroll University USAControlling TechnologyCurious David

Preliminary Personal Responses to the 2014 Higher Education Edition Horizon Report

Though I won’t have time until this summer to deeply explore the 2014 Horizon Report which I alluded to in an earlier post, I wanted to share some initial reactions here:

  1. I concur with the Report’s assertion of the growing ubiquity of social media. The challenge for me is to find the right balance between the kinds of deep thinking which I believe “more traditional teaching methods” correctly implemented can foster and an ability to capitalize on the enabling capabilities of social media for producing, communicating,creating, and collaborating.  I don’t find that my present institution has the appropriate classroom infra-structure for leveraging these social media tools within the physical classroom and traditional class-room meeting time.
  2. I agree with the Report’s suggestion that that it is inevitable that higher education must allow and facilitate an integration of online, hybrid, and collaborative learning.
  3. Though I have always been interested in “adaptive” learning and personalizing the learning  environment, I find the promises of “an emerging science of learning analytics” overblown, premature, and creepy in terms of degrees of invasion of privacy.
  4. I applaud and embrace the identified trend of students as creators rather than merely as consumers though I would urge that one not lose sight of the importance of quality control of their products.
  5. I concur that the time is ripe for university programs to support aggressively “agile, lean  startup models” that promote a culture of innovation in a more wide-spread, cost-effective way as long as there are built in assessment procedures which validly document the weaknesses and strengths of these (maybe) new approaches. Too often I have seen institutions chase after the latest educational fad and fail to benefit from organizational memory of prior, similar failed ventures.
  6. For me, online learning is a useful complement rather than a viable alternative to most forms of face-to-face learning. As I’ve written earlier, I regularly and increasingly use “nontraditional” learning tools to supplement my personal professional development and my digital literacy. I am still sorting out, however,  how to embed and assess that literacy among my students.  In what venues I should foster those kinds of skills and intrude them to top learning tools. I am increasing wary of a “digital divide” that ironically exists between K-12 and higher education instructors with the latter—and their students—being the more deficient!

What do you think? I’m also interested in readers’ suggestions about what I should write:

BloggingCarroll ReflectionsCarroll University USACurious DavidLearning Maps

Dr. David’s Neighborhood: Angela and David Explore Edynco

AngelaandDavid

Introduction to Edynco—and research assistant Angela: Click me.

Review of Edynco by Angela Wong

Things I really like: Edynco is a multi-feature learning tool for educators. Created in Slovenia two years ago, this tool provides easy-to-use templates for creating learning maps. The creators of the software are  quick to distinguish between mind maps, which are usually used for brainstorming and planning, and learning maps. Reminiscent of Prezi [which I, DS, personally find dazzlingly distracting].  Edynco’s setup is different because its learning maps allow for additional media, clarity, discussion and communication between educator and student, and numerous kinds of interaction. The blended learning method style is intended to help anyone who wants to educate others. Overall, Edynco is well-thought out with a beautiful design.

Areas in need of improvement. There are a few areas that still need improvement. Throughout the website, users will find quite a few spelling and grammatical errors.  ESL users in particular may suffer from these translation errors. Users unfamiliar with dynamic technologies may too quickly become overwhelmed. For better UI, the learning map module should integrate a “snap to grid feature” (as illustrated on Microsoft, Adobe, and LucidPress software). Lastly, the tutorial that automatically pops up every time when entering a learning map is slightly annoying, as it can be accessed anytime.

Despite these minor and relatively unimportant flaws, Edynco is incredibly sleek and promising. The user is not left wanting for a “share” feature to post on social media. Edynco also has an export to computer feature that is inaccessible to non-subscribers. The interface is dynamic, responsive, and relatively easy-to-use. In addition to the learning map software, all users have access to additional content, including micro-lectures, quizzes, videos, images, audio, and more- all of which can be seamlessly added to the user’s customizable learning map. The developers have left room for expansion to release even more educational tools and are to be praised for the present wonderful-work-in-progress.  Educators and students alike should be excited for this beta software to go live—and in the interim, to try it and to provide constructive feedback for improvement.

Here is an example of a learning map which  Angela created using Eydynco: Angela’s example of Iranian Women in Film.

App GenerationAppsBloggingBoosting Brain PowerCarroll Reflections

Where does the time go? Oh!

Gert and DavidMonday…

A typical whirlwind day. Arrive at the office by 7:15, but no time to flirt with Gert (pictured above)  because I needed to establish work assignments for the student assistants before they came in. Maybe I should make  time to explore the new free for teachers accounts of Basecamp. Wednesday will be the 2nd Exam in PSY205.

I had a good but too brief Skype session with Inci Aslan for updates on her Rainbow Kids project in Turkey. Must make the time for a more leisurely follow up.

I’ve been using Skype A LOT lately now that I have mastered some software (Pamela and CallNote)  that lets me easily record the conversations for later study. Recently it has proven invaluable as I attempted to mentor an undergraduate at another institution seeking advice about a survey she was conducting in Argentina.

I brief follow-up regarding several students’ letters of recommendations. Two students delightfully inform me that they have been invited for interviews (at Marquette and Illinois State, respectively). Then it is (past) time to submit a PsyCRITIQUES revision of the most interesting, provocative book I have reviewed in the past seven years. Meanwhile, my Research seminar students experience first hand the purported advantages of brain training software. There are so many claims made on the Internet and in the media in general (Science News, NPR, ABC News) about such “programs like Lumosity and Positscience.  Finally, I join my research students for a brief review of SPSS.  Here is YOUR chance to see how much statistics and experimental design you recall from when YOU took my course:). Try me . Hee, hee.

I was generally pleased with the quality of the surveys they developed using our new Gold Survey Monkey account.

So much to teach. So much to learn. So much research which could/should be done.  So much to share. But the clock is winding down…

RSEARCH SEMINAR

Wednesday…

… And now it is two days later. Time to take stock while I proctor two consecutive exams for the next five hours. The book review revision was accepted for publication and forwarded to the American Psychological Association. I hope that my citation of Jane Hart’s seminal work will introduce her to a broad audience of psychology technological learning neophytes who might benefit from all she has taught me. Thank you again, inspirational Virtual Friend and Mentor.

The Gardner and Davis book  is now “required reading” for all my friends, parents of friends, and “followers.” Here is a good synopsis (not mine) for those who, alas, don’t have the time to read it:)

David Simpson Teaching 1

BloggingControlling TechnologyCurious DavidPersonal Learning Tools

Reducing Internet Distractions to Focus on the Writing Task at Hand

 In response to my soliciting suggestions for improving my Experimental Social Psychology class last semester, one of my students suggested that …”if the class were to have many online assignments, I believe it would be extremely beneficially to teach students how to install software that temporarily restrains them from surfing distracting websites while studying. There are several free programs which can be easily set up in order to increase focus and productivity while completing online homework.” This got me reflecting on how the Internet has challenged my own ability to focus as I sit down tonight to read a book in preparation for reviewing it.  Here’s where my distractions led me before setting down! Thanks for the suggestion AW!

  1. Freedom
  2. 99U
  3. Profhacker
  4. Illusion of Internet Freedom
  5. Mashable
  6. Slate: Freedom from Distractions
  7. Make Use of: End of the Internet
  8. NY Times Your Brain on Computers
  9. That’s all folks!

Time to reflect upon all this and to read Howard Gardner and Katie Davis

The App Generation: How Today’s Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World.

BloggingCarroll University USACurious DavidJane Hart's Top 100 Learning Tools

Why Blog (Redux)?

I initially made a number of  many half-hearted attempts at blogging about seven years ago but didn’t seriously start using blogging tools until I was awarded an opportunity to become an online  “community blogger” as “Curious David” for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It was during that year that I  discovered the seminal technology tool dissemination work of  my “virtual” mentor the indefatigable, never seems to sleep Jane Hart.  Thank you, Jane, for your idealism, generosity, and persistence. I value your collegiality.

I was also  blessed to have a supportive editor who gave me free license to explore Web tools and to write about whatever I cared to. Given freedom to explore I rediscovered the joys and challenges of writing. The following year I was given the opportunity to teach a semester-long course on Web learning tools to 25 Carroll (then) College freshmen. Blogging was one tool I introduced to them.

One of the best books about the history of blogging I have read is Suzanne Stefanac’s dispatches from blogistan.: a travel guide for the modern blogger. Thoughtful,witty, pithy, practical,thought-provoking—it opened my mind to the value of blogging tools.

I have investigated the relative strengths and weaknesses of WordPress, TypePad, Edublogs, Blogger, and Tumblr. In part because of the beautiful and lucid book Teach Yourself Visually WordPress by Janet Majure —I find I prefer the printed copy to the Kindle version— I have decided to invest a good deal of time exploring what WordPress blogging tools allow me to do. WordPress.com itself provides so many rich learning resources.

As Suzanne Stefanac points out, some blogs are linkfests, others diaries, some serve as club houses, others as news rooms, still others as soapboxes. I blog when I feel I have something to say that might be of interest to others. I have an enduring interest in life-long learning and enjoy sharing what I learn.  I have no particular interest in having a large number of followers, but do I cross-post to Linked-in, Twitter, and Facebook because those are venues that allow me to stay in touch with friends, former students, and people I learn so much from. I welcome comments and feedback. In the past few years I’ve corresponded with  a large number of interesting individuals from acoss the world who have enriched my life and informed my teaching and learning.

Here are some topics I am thinking of exploring in the new future:

  • Time
  • Popularizing (psychological) science with integrity
  • Favorite Books–or bookmarks!
  • On the strangulating limits of (over) efficiency
  • Ten psychological findings that have impacted my life
  • On replication
  • Fraud in Psychology
  • Best Courses
  • Canine Companions
  • Creativity
  • Current topics in psychology

Pensive Robin

Robin the Newf – My Canine Confidante
*Steam
Two research assistants too-soon-to graduate
Newf Teacher
Explaining to Robin where Newfoundland is.
BloggingJane Hart's Top 100 Learning ToolsMiscellaneousWriting

Curious David Redux: Pioneering Web 2.0 Technology Tools Revisited

I’ve begun developing a presentation I’m scheduled to give on January 16 to Carroll faculty tentatively titled “Pioneering Web 2.0 Learning Tools with Carroll Students: Educational
Technology of the Future, Catching Up with What Fifth-Graders Already Know,
or Another Fad?”I hope to
share with interested members of the Carroll community some of the Web
2.0 learning tools and resources
that I have explored this past semester(Download FYS 100 Section U Syllabus – Dr, David Simpson Labor Day Version PDF with my students (who were especially playful with their photoshop skills).