Category: technology tools

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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!

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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?

 

 

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Using Internet Tools to Maximize My Effectiveness Inside and Outside the Classroom

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Earlier this morning I had a team meeting with two of my student research assistants before leaving for an off-campus meeting with my Schneider Consulting business partners, Jane and Greg Schneider. I gave these two student assistants three assignments (with the additional task of passing on these assignments to their remaining two team members who were scheduled to arrive at noon):

  1. Develop for me a blog piece that evaluates the usefulness of  VoiceThread for us.
  2. Think through ways we should participate in February 24th’s World Read Aloud Day.
  3. Continue working on the ebooks we plan to publish in Kindle Format using Amazon’s Kindle Direct software. I am delighted that as I write this blog piece this evening all assignments were completed.

I praised them for the consistent excellence they were demonstrating in their work with me. In part, our success at working so well together is because we have developed certain habits that facilitate communication and work flow:

  • Documenting the day’s work in a Day One journal application.
  • Saving the day’s work on Google Drive where we all share access and editing privileges.
  • Demonstrating the right balance between solving problems on their own with creative “workarounds” or insights and knowing when to seek my assistance.
  • Learning together, using what we learn, and sharing it with others.
  • Making time for reflection, celebration, and having fun.  I’m still laughing at the delightful reading that Alison and Lizzy shared with me today via a screen cast in a draft of a blog.

When Ariana and Tia ran into a bottleneck today which they could not circumvent, they promptly communicated the problem to me via email sending a screen cast documenting which computer they were using and exactly what problem they were having. Consequently, I was not only able to recommend a solution to the problem but I was also able to share the screen cast with one of my business partners and teach her about screencasting. How lucky I am to have the opportunity to work with, develop, and learn from such talented students.

Allow me to introduce one of my consulting partners, Jane Schneider, in her screen casting debut using Voilá. Today I introduced her to WordPress and to a WordPress guide my students are developing. I hope that Jane, Greg and I from time to time can  share with interested readers some of the work that our team does together.



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Rediscovering VoiceThread

 

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I continue to be alerted to so many good ideas via my the personal learning resources on my twitter feed. Today I was reminded of the valuable potential of a learning tool I abandoned  and  hadn’t used for several years, Voice Thread. Here is a VoiceThread that I made in 2012 with my student research team precious memories of an early S-TEAM.

I am particularly intrigued by VoiceThread’s call for participation in “World Read Aloud Day.” THE reading event described reminds me of the wonderful work that Eric Whitacre has done with virtual global choirs. Skype provides a similar opportunity with a chance to interact with authors. Ann Morgan provides a cosmopolitan view of potential readings both for adults and for children.

 

Annie (1)I plan to participate and would be delighted if you did, too, and sent me a link to your shared reading. Books (reading) can indeed change the world. This I believe.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am now invite their feedback and yours.

 

 

 

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Why Twitter is Rising in Importance in My Personal Learning Program

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to protect myself against Internet Distractions.


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

I continue to experiment with my “best” course to make it better by finding the right balance of technology-assisted and personally- delivered instruction. I have been pleased at the helpfulness, useful feedback and receptiveness of students as we “experiment.”

I just made a Screenflow screencast of what I taught in lab this week (using SPSS to create a scatterplot, calculate Pearson’s r, and do simple linear regression).

This time I published it on YouTube rather than on Vimeo.

I also, in response to student feedback, created some Quizlet study materials. Click the Quizlet link to try them.

A next step will be to involve students in the creation of such materials—rather than my doing so. That may wait until next year, however, since I want to  introduce this year’s students to instruction in using Survey Monkey survey creation software.

Please go here to evaluate the video shown above

It would be fun to teach an entire course on these topics.

 

 

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Too Many Terrific Tempting Apps

The transition to OS-X Yosemite seems to have resulted in minimum messups. A few incompatibility issues but none that warranted my reverting back to an earlier version. I really would do myself a service by committing to one browser (I favor Chrome) and a manageable number of regularly used browser extensions (say, 7 to 9 so that I would remember what they do!). In addition, I need to resist adding applications just because they are free and neat. Alternatively, since I seem to collect laptops and tablets, perhaps I should devote each to a different browser and sets of applications and extensions. Perhaps in the summer—though summer is a time to be outside.

I’m going through my applications that begin with “T” as a sip a cup of tea. I just rediscovered “Tapedeck” which I had forgotten about until recently the creators contacted me with news that they were thinking of revising it.

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On Engaging Students (Part 2): Adventures with StarQuiz and SPSS


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Good recent research suggests that repeated testing enhances learning. How can I best incorporate those important findings into my courses? As a beginning, I have revisited a piece of software,StarQuiz, (originally developed by a high school student) that has proven useful and reliable since I discovered it about 10 years ago. There is something comforting about using a piece of software for almost 15 years and across many evolving operating systems without a glitch.

I am considering incorporating it into my PSY205 “Statistics and Experimental Design Course” —if the students can demonstrate to methat it enhances their mastery of the course’s material. I welcome student feedback—and suggestions from other readers of software they consider better.

To try it enter your name—you need not enter your email address. If a “David” has already tried it, enter a different name (e.g. Voldemoort).

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Here is a link to one of the two practice tests I shared with students in my class today. I encouraged students to collaborate, use notes, and be mutually supportive of each other in the process.

Here is a link to a second example which I introduced in my class.

And here is a review of SPSS (with bloopers!) Keep those constructive comments coming

                     (and you international viewers, I welcome your comments, too).

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Random Thoughts (Teaching Tools Used)

Continuing my reflections on cascading into the classroom technology learning tools I’ve explored the past 7 years thanks to influence of Jane Hart

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A wonderful tool for teaching about random sampling and random assignment is available through the generosity of Scott Plous who created the invaluable online resource Social Psychology Network. I introduce students to Research Randomizer in my Psychology 205 “Statistics and Experimental Design” course where I require that they go through the excellent online tutorials.  I often have students subsequently draw random samples from my class list who are the designated students-to-be-called-upon for the day. I see Research randomizer as a valuable teaching tool in almost any course where students and faculty are interested in an easy to use, valid, way of drawing random samples or to randomly assign participants to conditions. Much superior to drawing mixed numbers from my hat!

Here is a brief screencast one of my research assistants and i made illustrating how I introduce Research randomizer to my PSY 205 students.

Random Thoughts from David Simpson on Vimeo.