As I continue to “declutter,” refocus, and wind up and wind down, I (re)discovered over 50 screen casts my students and I made and stored on Vimeo or YouTube. At the time I just was learning about Jane Hart’s technology learning tools, and I was experimenting with screen casting as a teaching/learning tool. Here is a hodgepodge of those earlier productions that might be of interest to alumni or, especially, to former and present student assistants. I may use the footage in an e-book examining the relative strengths and weaknesses of iMovie, Capto, Screenflow, Camtasia and “TOBenamed later”.
Robin the Newf taught me so much—as does Leo the Great.
I see that I have 101 drafts of unpublished posts in my WordPress account!
And there are quite a few unfinished LinkedIn articles I’ve been meaning to write. And that fiction piece about a small Midwestern College. And that neglected history of Carroll that has been too long ignored…
My Mac Desktop is (for me) relatively uncluttered with just one important reading task awaiting me –carefully reading and putting into action the wisdom of my mentor across the Pond of 10 years Jane Hart. And I really would like to
start finish those student-written guides to Internet Learning Tools whose production died when I failed to receive Crowd-funding. Perhaps I should use Kick-starter?
Having successfully winnowed my Mac apps at a faster rate than I added them, I still have far more than I actually NEED if I stay on course for when I plan to leave academe.
So much unfinished business–and miles to go before I sleep (I wouldn’t want it to be otherwise). Still, time to prioritize my remaining precious döstädning time.
“Have students changed since I was there?” I am often asked by alumni. Of course they are different in terms of their life experiences shaped by national and international events, what is taught and not taught in high schools and in the home–and how they learn. Still, the major differences I notice are that my students are younger and younger–even the “nontraditional” ones! To better understand why I need only look in a mirror or at my photo in 1977 when I first set foot on the campus:)
Today is a Commencement for me of sorts I am fully situated into my new (temporary) office–other than sorting through boxes. A used bookstore is only a few steps from where I park my car in front of the Art gallery entrance. How delightful to walk past art galleries, photography labs, and beautiful creations of Carroll faculty and students. The chapel (usually empty) is peaceful. The ambiance surrounding my new office (and my new office neighbors) may well lend itself to enhancing creativity in my remaining work. In January I have agreed to be part of a Saskia de Rooy’s insightful sculpture project: sculpture portrait project.
“Congratulations! You have been nominated to participate as a model for (in)sight: a portrait project.
This is a campus wide project where students and faculty nominated individuals who they believed have an interesting story to tell. This means that someone at Carroll admires YOU and wants other to hear your story. Only 50 models were accepted and you are one of them! We hope you will consider participating in this exciting project.
What do models have to do?
· Attend an art class on both January 30 and February 1 (time options below)
· Be interviewed by a Carroll student
· Be portrayed in a painting or sculpture
· Have your visual and written portraits in a campus art show in April”
I wonder if the artist likes dogs?
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.
- “Brain Training” is a huge and growing industry with very expensive market research reports! Like this one:
- There exist a number of excellent, current, science-based guides to maintaining cognitive fitness and brain health (e.g. this one).
- There exist excellent scholarly reviews of the efficacy of “brain fitness” programs (e.g. this one).
- 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.)
- 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.
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.
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
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!
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?
- Payscale.com’s recent release of 2017 College/University ROI data base
- 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
- the UW Accountability Dashboard similarly exemplifies this healthy trend.
- College Results Online is such a gem in the rough.
Chronicle of .Higher Education (I pay for premium access.)
AAUP Salary Data: Source: Chronicle of Higher Education
Executive Compensation at Private Colleges: Source: Chronicle of Higher Education
IPEDS (individual institutions and comparisons
Here is a link to the U.S. Department of Education’s data base “trove” that drives its data base.
And if you work dig deeply enough, you can even find historical data on one’s own institution.
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.