Tag: Carroll University USA

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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!

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!

 

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!

 

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And So It Begins….

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I usually arrive on campus to an empty parking lot. Today was no exception despite the road construction, school buses, and famous Waukesha trains.

The construction workers are already hard at work completing the new science building. New students adorned in their new tee shirts are exploring the campus making sure that they can find their classrooms.

An early morning phone call to ITS is quite successful both in resolving some traditional first of semester computer issues and in renewing some friendships. Daniel will be starting his 20th year here. Chris is a Carroll graduate. Both exemplify the authenticity in my belief that Carroll Cares.

Much mundane to accomplish today before the Cubs game. I hope to get a lot of serious writing done this year, but that block of time will not be available today.

Several of my student assistants have threatened promised to stop by. As I’ve written many times I’ve been blessed across the years with over 50 superb student assistants. It is fun and rewarding learning together. They keep me young(er). Tomorrow, rain or shine, I’ll answer the call of the bagpiper as the new freshman class is introduced to the Carroll academic world.

Thanks to all you alumni for sharing via LinkedIn and Facebook your responses to my earlier blog posts of this year. It’s nice knowing that I have a reader or two:)

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BooksCurious DavidSummer

Welcome Back into My Life, Carroll!

I’m sitting in my office going through the usual re-entry rituals at the beginning of my almost 39th year of teaching here. My friend and colleague, Phil Krejcarek teasingly reminded me yesterday that he started a semester before me. Our esteemed colleague Gary Olsen started here in 1975.

I smile at the usual beginning of semester chaos. Passwords that don’t work (or I have forgotten); printers that need to be reconfigured because of upgrades; a necessary visit to the book store to make sure that my texts are in.

Today is Move-in Day for freshmen. I read in the Waukesha Freeman that Carroll is expecting 58 international students from 25 different countries bringing the total of international students to 97.

I choose to exclude Carroll from my summer life as much as I can responsibly can and devote my time to family relationships, reading, and being outdoors. Among my favorite “good reads” this year were the following:

  • Umberto Eco’s The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
  • Paul Silvia’s How to Write a Lot.
  • Evan Kindley’s Questionnaire
  • Julie Lindsay’s The Global Educator
  • J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  • Jeff VanderMer’s The Big Book of Science Fiction
  • Neal T. Jones’ A Book of Days for the Literary Year.
  • The Annotated Alice
  • Viet Than Nguyen’s The Sympathizer
  • Ayad Akhtar’s American Dervish
  • Ken Liu’s The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
  • Ethan Canin’s A Doubter’s Almanac
  • Sharon Guskin’s The Forgetting Time
  • Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
  • Charlie Jane Anders’ All the Birds in the Sky
  • Brian Crane’s 25 Years of Pickles
  • Ivan Doig’s Last Bus to Wisdom

I’ll be giving away all these books to interested students. What books would you recommend?

I also have seriously explored this summer some software tools to facilitate my goals for writing more and giving students opportunities to publish.

This will be an interesting transition year. A nationwide search for a new Carroll President; a Psychology Program Review; personal decisions. But for today, a few meetings and then still time to play at North Lake and continue learning from Leo the Great.

Learning from Leo

Learning from Leo

 

D.

 

 

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Rediscovering Apps Buried on My Laptop

Cluttered Desktop

In preparation for contributing my suggestions to Jane Hart for her “Top 100 Tools for Learning” list  I am systematically examining (and in many cases rediscovering:)) apps on my MacBook Pro.  Jane will be organizing her report into three broad categories of learning tools.

  1. Top 100 Tools for Education – for use in schools, colleges, universities
  2. Top 100 Tools for Workplace Learning – for use in training, for performance support, social collaboration, etc.
  3. Top 100 Tools for Personal & Professional Learning – for self-organized learning.

My (re)discovery for today is 1Password. It continues to serve me well, especially as I am starting to have difficulty remembering passwords!

Photo on 8-31-16 at 9.23 PM

Carroll calls me back tomorrow. Quite a changed place since I entered Carroll-land in 1977.

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Exceeding my Expectations: My Students Explore Book Writing

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Throughout the 2015-2016 school year, we four undergraduate research assistants in “Dr. Simpson’s Neighborhood” have been familiarizing ourselves with several different learning tools described on Jane Hart’s Top 100 Learning Tools List. As we read about and played with each tool, we wrote blog posts using  WordPress to let the world know more about the features, benefits, tips, and drawbacks of each learning tool based upon our personal experiences. As these blogs were being published throughout the fall semester, Dr. Simpson suggested OUR writing our own book about how the tools can facilitate learning in the classroom and business world. We responded to this challenge with both trepidation and zeal! 

We took each of the blog posts previously written and compiled them into one large Microsoft Word document. Then, over the course of about two months, we carefully went through each blog post. We improved the writing, further developed ideas, updated our learnings, corrected errors, added pictures, and temporarily removed hypertext links. We divided the learning tools we examined into 5 chapters: Video Editing Software, Social Network/Interactive Networking Tools, Note Taking Tools, Data Collecting Tools, and Presentation/Sharing Tools. We added screenshots for examples and created potential cover pages for the book. We decided upon a basic layout: an introduction at the beginning of each chapter, a reasonably detailed description of each learning tool, and an explanation of how the tool is useful in business and educational settings.

(Alison Lehman) Converting our short, to the point blog posts to a book format was no small task. Creating a book took a lot of planning, coordination between team members, additional investigation into the learning tools, and large amounts of time to create, write, coordinate and edit our thoughts and experiences. Initially our idea was “simply” to convert each WordPress blog onto Google Docs so that each team member had access to the book-in-progress no matter where they were. This decision was vital to a successful workflow of communication.  We could leave notes for one another on the Google sheet, see what each other had been working on, and be aware of what still needed to be completed. When the WordPress blogs were converted into the Google Doc, I had naively assumed that a lot of the information we had previously written would be easily ported into the book. However, varying writing styles and incomplete information did not easily lend themselves to a smooth transition into a book. Consequently, we chose almost to completely scrap the original posts and start anew. In hindsight this decision was a blessing in disguise because it gave us an opportunity to rethink our ideas, add important details, include updated information and impose a common, improved format from the bottom up. Since we were not producing short blogs anymore, a lot more research went into investigating how to use the tools, what the tools were most useful for, and the utility of these learning tools in the classroom and business environments. Though the discussion of each learning tool examined was primarily written by one or two individuals together, but each was then edited and read and reread by each individual of the research team. Creating a book taught us all about proper planning, how essential clear communication is between members, how to incorporate  the ideas and thoughts of each member, and how to establish and maintain a realistic timeline for completing a managable task. Our ideas were continually being improved and applied to better enhance the effectiveness of our collaborative first book-writing efforts. With the final product being steps away from completion, I am proud for all time, effort, and resources that were dedicated in creating a book of this kind. I look forward to the future projects and goals the research team will accomplish together. When a great group of minds come together, there is nothing that can stand in the way of their success and ambitions.

(Arianna) Until writing our own book, I had never appreciated the time and effort that goes into writing. The need to sit down and carefully read and reread and reread again every page trying not to miss a single typo or spelling error and making sure all of the tenses match up is daunting but necessary.  However, after about ten proofreads and several edits to the document, we were able to publish our hard work.

(Lizzy) Well, writing this book was definitely an eye opening experience for myself. I had never once thought I would have the opportunity to write a book, much less publish one for others to enjoy. I did not know how much work goes into writing a book until we had to be a team and work together on creating this book. We had to combine all of our different writing styles together and blogs that were almost done to blogs that needed a lot more work. We had to write about applications that seemed so basic to us, but were actually a lot more detailed than we thought. I know while writing the Excel piece that I had no idea all that could be done with this learning tool until I started to use it for some of my classes and explore the different features it has to offer.  I had no idea for more than half of these applications all that they could do. Personally, I now use some of these tools on a daily basis and i can envision singing them at work, at school, and for future purposes. I have gotten so much better at writing because of Alison and her helping me have a better writing style and teaching me to watch my grammar better. Also, I have never been so open and excited to learn about internet tools that are so useful and that everyone can have access to till I started working with Alison, Arianna, and Tia. We all have come together and given each other different perspectives on our idea of the book, how to write it, what to include, how these tools can benefit others and in what ways. It was such a great experience. It took a lot of time, but was most definitely worth it for the end result and the great feeling of accomplishment all of us get to share together, including Dr. Simpson. Without Dr. Simpson helping us as a team to give us the resources, the challenges, and the time to write these blogs and experience these tools, we never would have had this great opportunity. I have made closer friendships with these beautiful ladies because of writing this book together and getting to know each other. We all have such different ways of thinking and different perspectives on how we interrupt certain situations or applications and it is really cool how we can all combine our ideas together to make our first book and for us to grow as partners in the workplace and grow a friendship outside of it. This book I believe also improved our relationship with Dr. Simpson because of the collaborating we all needed to do to get to where we are now as a team. We can only grow from here and I can not wait to experience this journey with each of my teammates!


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On “Flow,” “Presence,” “Self-Actualization” and Constructive Mania

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I seem to be having an unusually productive day today. I am in a state of “Flow, “Presence,—self-actualization? I seem to be fully charged even though Leo the Great

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and I went outside at 2:00 a.m. and awakened together at 5:00 a.m. I wish I could identify why!:)

Perhaps it is due to my having a large amount of reasonably uninterrupted time.  Each interruption that occurred was a positive experience. Four students came by the office for some additional help before the exam. Four students walked away seemingly more knowledgeable and more confident. A gem of a student assistant came by to squeeze in an hour’s work,in her busy schedule, and we discussed the next steps of our book. She and the other three talented students are working so well together—- and with me–challenging and supporting each other. They continually delight, refresh, and invigorate me as we learn, laugh, and grow together.

My personal software and learning tools are for the moment working flawlessly across the many different platforms (Mac OS X  11 .3 and Windows 7) and browsers (Safari, Chrome, Firefox) that I use on a daily basis. My student research team alluded to above skillfully shares their work with me via Google Drive and I move and “sync my work across Google Drive, DropBox, EverNote, and my journaling software DayOne.

We’ve arranged for tomorrow two Skype sessions–one session with a dear friend in London (or are you in Bavaria or Kurgan at the moment???) and another in Hungary. I renewed my Skype accounts. Feel free to Skype me at professordsimpson but I need to know of your intent in advance. I still have a “day job.”

On days like this I love being a professor. I’ll miss this.

Time to head home and be walked by the dog.


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Curious David Revisits His Global Outreach Attempts

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It’s past time for a more systematic global outreach by me and my students. Today I met briefly with some visitors from China. I wished them a Happy New Year of the Monkey. Then I began setting up some “Skype” dates with family and friends in London, Madagascar, Hungary, and Switzerland. I’d love to reconnect with Reidar (are you in Norway or Spain?), Inci (are you still teaching in Turkey?), Irma (we’ve lost touch since our conversations from beautiful Lithuania), Simone in Costa Rica, Anna in Kenya and Miguel Luis in La Mancha, Spain—his blog is marvelous. If you would put me in touch with your Antarctica bride’s maid friend, Emily, I would have reached out to all continents:).

Alison and Lizzy are focused on developing a student guide to Skype. Here are my latest marching orders to them:

Here is their draft in progress. How might it be improved?

Technology is continually improving and changing the way the world interacts with one another. Schools are starting to go from hard cover textbooks to textbooks that are completely online. Other resources that schools utilize are programs that allow students to continue practicing and understanding concepts through online homework and additional help online. Many schools, even at the elementary level, require students to have their own computer in the classroom. With this increase in the usage of technology, face-to-face interactions are suffering due to the ease of using email, cell phones, and social media sites to interact with one another.

Skype is a learning tool that utilizes the world of technology while also incorporating face-to-face interactions with other individuals across the world. In our scenario, Dr. Simpson has used Skype to interact with individuals from other countries for business and education purposes. Additionally, the student research team has interacted with Skype inside and outside of the classroom.

For example, Alison has used Skype in the classroom when teachers wanted to bring in guest speakers. Sometimes these speakers are unavailable to drive or fly to that specific location because they may live halfway across the world or do not have the resources to pay for the trip. By using Skype, guest speakers from Qatar, Africa, and different states were able to present and bring insightful information into the classroom.

From a business point of view, Skype can be used to hold group meetings. For example, if a group of individuals need to get together to interact about plans, presentation details, or other business related aspects, but cannot all be at the same place at the same time, Skype can provide the solution. Skype allows individuals to make group audio calls up to 25 individuals and video calls with up to 10 individuals from anywhere in the world. The video call option is limited though to 100 hours per month, 10 hours per day, and 4 hours per video chat.

Some of the platforms you can access Skype on are computers, cell phones, home phones, tablets, televisions, and video game systems. With having a free account from Skype, one can send messages to one another, simply make voice calls, or hold video chats with individuals from anywhere in the world. Also, one can use the option of screen sharing which allows one to view the other person’s screen. With the new chat feature on Skype, one is able to share files and photos. The files can also be shared while the video chatting feature is being used. With the free version of Skype, an individual can text mobile phones or call landline phones at reasonable rates. To pay for these additional rates, Skype allows one to pay through many different options that may be unique to each country.

To access more features, one can purchase Skype Business. The Skype Business rate starts at $2.00 a month per user. Some of the features of Skype Business that the free version is unable to access are that an individual can video chat with up to 250 people. Also, Skype Business allows you to schedule meetings outside of work in Outlook.

Through the technology of Skype, individuals are able to utilize Skype in the classroom, for personal use, and business.

GOTTA RUN TO GIVE MY FIRST EXAMS OF THE SEMESTER.

Anyone thoughts or experience with Skype would be much appreciated. Thank you.

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What Do my Students Do in My Absence (Part 2): Lizzy and Tia’s Take on Voila

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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. Here is an example of our research team using Voila and Imovie to show people how to use Survey Monkey.

 

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.

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In Voila, you can paint the background of your screen shots so they are in a different color other then the default gray. Also, you are able to change the color of every option that you use besides the blurs. So, you can change the color of the arrows, the background, the stamps, and etc. In addition to changing the color of the background, you can change the outlining of the background. So, instead of just having a straight outline around your picture, you are able to have a different look such as dashes.

However, Voila still has the same great features Skitch does. You are still able to put a text box in different shapes on your screen shot, so that you can write something that you may want to specify. Also, you are able to change the coloring of the text if need be. If you rather not type in the text box, but still want to write on the screen shot, then you are able to use the pencil feature and use free hand on your screen shot. Voila does not have the highlighting feature, but that is why they have the new spot light feature.

In Voila you can create shapes or add certain shapes in the picture that you are able to write text in. You are able to change the coloring of the outside of them which will not change the text that you type on the inside of the text box. Also, there is a feature called, Callout. This feature is one that has more text boxes in different shapes, but it also includes certain memes that you can put in your screen cast as well.

Another fun feature Voila has is the ability to take screen shots of any website directly through the application. This is efficient to all users since you do not have to leave the application to complete your desired task. Also, you are able to import your own photos from iPhoto and edit them with Voila. Once you are done editing your desired photos, you can then import them back into your photo library. Here is an example of a screenshot taken directly through Voila, and then edited after the screenshot was taken.

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Overall, Voila has many new features and old features that Skitch once had. Voila seems to be more user friendly, as well as having more options for editing and screen casting purposes.

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