Interesting evening of “chat” with WordPress Happiness Engineers as I attempt to finalize moving my David-in-Carroll-land work and Curious-David-in_Carroll-land writings, photos, and videos to my CuriousDavidRedux venue. I do admire the patience, persistence, and expertise of such individuals. I developed similar admiration for my Wikipedia Fellows course instructors last semester.
It has been a challenging experience working across three different WordPress accounts with three different payment plans and different options. I plan to introduce my research students to some in-depth WordPress instruction in a few weeks.
Reading: I need tools that increases the likelihood of my being able to stay abreast of current events and aware of current research findings that I then can incorporate into my classes in an ongoing basis. Driving to school today while listening to NPR I was alerted to some research dealing with “nudging” individuals to buy more healthy foods by partitioning grocery carts. When my commute was temporarily blocked by a Waukesha train, I took the time to dictate into my cell phone that I should incorporate “nudging research” into my experimental social psychology class. I later added that particular NPR stream to my RSS reader/aggregator. Though I have tried Feedly, I am presently using Inoreader.
Arithmetic: Among the courses I teach is “Statistics and Experimental Design.” I am also a partner of a consulting firm with Gregory K. Schneider and Jane Schneider. For data analysis purposes I use (and teach) SPSS, the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences though I follow very closely the possibility of switching to something (which is as all encompassing but more user-friendly and which is open source) such as JASP. For conducting surveys I teach and use SurveyMonkey.
Testing/ Quizzing: I continue to search for the ideal Testing/Quizzing tool. Though I have examined ProProfs Quizmaker and Quizlet,
Screen Casting: Of the many screen casting tools I have explored, I keep coming back to using Screenflow though I am determined to give Camtasia (both Mac and PC versions) a thorough examination this academic year. I’ve been able to use such software to incorporate into my Statistics classes supplemental tutorials on the use of SPSS. I prefer using Vimeo to YouTube as an outlet for my video productions.
What tools do you use to augment YOUR learning capabilities? WHY do you favor them? What evidence do you have of their success—-or failure?
I notice that Twitter is number 5 among the Top Learning Tools of 2017 identified by Jane Hart. A number of years ago I was quite hesitant to use Twitter. My student assistants found little value in using it. They failed to see differences between it and, say, the “update function” of Facebook. I read two books about it, consulted several Carroll alumni who DO use it (thanks Chris G, Lori S, and Fred K.), and studied fellow academics’ twittering experiences documented in publications which I closely read and value. I objected to the Procrustean process of having my thoughts, ideas, and communications reduced to 140 characters or less (“thought bytes”). Also, I was petrified at my inability to decrease or at least slow down my communication and information acquisition activities. I very much need and treasure having time to reflect, to read, to assimilate, and to create. I am amused to see that I myself have tweeted more than 2100 times!
Since then, however, I have reconsidered Twitter as a learning tool. “To Twit or not to Twit?” for me is no longer the appropriate way to frame the issue. Rather, the questions for me are:
Under what circumstances might Twitter give me more successful ways of teaching?
How can I use Twitter to improve my ability to find answers to questions I am investigating?
How can I minimize the costs to me (time away from other things; wheat to chaff ratio) of my using Twitter?
How can I best manage the tool?
Today Twitter is an invaluable personal learning and communication resource that I have fine-tuned for my particular needs. Currently I choose to follow 78 “thought leaders” whom I very much admire. I am in the process of comparing several Twitter-management apps (e.g.Tweetbot) which show promise to help me optimize the efficiency of my use of the tool. Now I need to consider implementing more these Advanced Twitter Tips I encountered.
As I systematically revisit Jane Hart’s Top 100 Learning Tools List, I must confess that (like Adam Grant) I continue to discover new ways to maximize Twitter’s usefulness for me as a learning tool. Though I have no interest in becoming a Twitter Ninja:), I am delighted by the capabilities, for example, of creating lists of experts who regularly stream invaluable and current information on topics important to me (right now those topics are technology learning tools and global education).
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 some tweets that informed me or guided my personal learning.
I see that Maria Konnikova has a new book out 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.
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.
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:
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.
Does it have a quizzing/testing component? I want to be able better to give students prompt, reasonably personalized and reasonably detailed feedback.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
SPSS. This is still the major data analysis software I use and teach. Mastery of it has helped my students get jobs and scholarships.
ScreenFlow. We may have reason to make screencasts. My students and I often use it to create lessons for other students.
For the past 40 years I have taught a course called Statistics and Experimental Design required of Carroll Psychology majors. I summarized my teaching philosophy of this course in a 2014 Society for the Teaching of Psychology publication. As I complete my last year of teaching here, my students and I are interesting in “giving away” psychology. The following links provide ancillary materials for mastering my course (or a refresher for what my students might have forgotten).
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.
I love the sounds of a bustling campus – the chimes, physical plant staff changing shifts, the chattering of students as they discuss their athletic practices – though the predominant sounds this morning are those of the many construction workers trying to complete Rankin Hall’s renovation before classes begin. When completed, the renovated building will indeed be magnificent. Thanks to the many donors, some of whom have become my friends across the years.
Almost time to leave the new office and drive out to the Graduate Center for another morning of meetings dealing with implementation of Carroll’s new Strategic Plan and contributions the College of Arts and Sciences can make. It is interesting to reflect upon how much of my life has been spent in meetings. In retrospect, was that time well invested?
To prepare for my meeting I opened my newly purchased package of pencils.I try to find the right balance between high tech and low tech tools! Now if I can only remember how to sharpen them. I may have to consult the help desk.