Category Archives: Instructional Technology

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    Edutainment – a Virtual World

    Category:Instructional TechnologyTags : 
    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAJ6AAAAJGE2NjAxZGVlLTIwZmMtNGVhZS1iMjhlLWEyM2I0ODEyYTljNw Edutainment - a Virtual World

    Edutainment - a Virtual World

    It might be interesting to see a virtual avatar of the instructor popping in and out like the Cheshire cat giving minimal guidance where appropriate.AAEAAQAAAAAAAAG1AAAAJGNiOTg2ZjI3LTlmNmItNGY0NS04ZmU2LWNhNDU1NDIzZGU4Ng Edutainment - a Virtual WorldThe tangible benefits of this type of environment can be many. The environment can be set up to allow learners to go back or retrace their steps in a process of discovery to correct an error or go to a higher level.

    The course would have to be relevant and provide a level of entertainment to keep student motivated and engaged. Not all content has to be entertaining in the real world.

    So is there a stimuli balance?

    Are students becoming overly stimulated with technology?

    As far as edutainment being a legitimate philosophy, yes I feel it could be in certain instances. At the same time, it is a gimmick that will have insurmountable rip-offs trying to support their claims just to gain money. Assessment is the key to the legitimacy. Students will have to show a level of aptitude and accomplish set goals. But the goals need to be justifiable and open to assessment and change.

    With Multi User Virtual Environments MUVEs/Second Life (sometimes called virtual worlds), the idea that one can create their own environment that fits AAEAAQAAAAAAAAMyAAAAJDcxNjNiNjZlLWViNjEtNDZjNy04MTQwLWY4NWY5MjJmZjY0Nw Edutainment - a Virtual Worldtheir needs and future needs is an exciting field. However, I do see where it could be negatively used, for instance in “bullying”, or cyber stalking in ways unimaginable; the risk of loss of privacy are high in the virtual environments.

    We have to keep pedagogy as our principal focus rather than technologies. It is how you use technology that matters.


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    How Technologically Savvy is your Instructor?

    How Technologically Savvy is your Instructor?

    Category:Instructional TechnologyTags : 
    How Technologically is Savvy your Instructor?

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    Technology integration into the classroom now and into the future

    Technology integration into the classroom now and into the future

    Category:Instructional TechnologyTags : 

    Technology integration into the classroom now and into the future

    #BringItOn”

    I was standing outside the middle school talking with the technology guy for both the middle school and the high school a while back. Really great guy, family man, well respected for his work with the school district. We were discussing the issue of Bringing Your Own Devices (BOD) to school,  and how that would affect, not just the lives of the students, but his IT department, and all the teachers at both schools. While I am tremendously happy for our district, I also understand the challenges we face with technology.

    New Technology and Education

    New technology creates volumes of work for those in IT, as well as for teachers, and administrators on tightly held budgets. How can we really gauge eLearning or mLearning (Mobile Learning) when technology doesn’t have a consistency plan? We can develop plans, but technology doesn’t seem to have any boundaries. How do you strategically plan for technology? You can equipment your labs with the latest computers and software, but technology shifts almost monthly.  Once you plug it into the wall, it’s on the road to obsolete.

    We can develop plans, but technology doesn’t seem to have any boundaries.

    There are some key strategic questions you have to ask when you begin to prepare to integrate technology into your educational setting and/or any organization.

    1. How can educators ensure reasonable access for all students or employees? Not everyone can afford it.
    2. Will the wide variety of devices create a problem with consistency? It would be important to do research beyond specific brands.
    3. Ongoing discussions have occurred over the “digital divide”. Is this still an issue or is it narrowing?
    4. To avoid distractions from things such as social media and texting, would different types of mobile devices be more effective for use in the classroom setting?
    5. How can research keep up with the ever-changing world of devices and applications?
    6. When the novelty of using mobile technology begins to wear off, will student and employee engagement still be higher for the m-learning group?
    7. What are best practices for Twitter usage in a classroom?
    8. What external factors (age, gender, socioeconomic class, culture, religion, etc.) affect the usefulness of mobile learning?
    9. What situations is mobile learning least-suited for?
    10. How will the role of the teacher change as mobile learning increases?
    11. What changes will be made in teacher education to prepare them to facilitate mobile learning?

    Everyone needs to be connected

    It’s no secret that I used to work for a university, and one of my many hats that I wore had to deal with helping students get onto the wireless system. It was a small 5% or less of what I did. At the maximum level, I also helped troubleshoot nearly 82 computers throughout the complex. Between myself and the campus help desk, and UEN engineers, we muddled through a number of challenges daily.

    The hardest part of BOD, and administering access is that there are so many different types of devices. Students have presented computers to me that was almost archaic. I’ve seen some pretty sweet devices too – ones that I would love to own. The high school and middle school would see the same. Once you open the door to BOD – you will have to accommodate all devices, within reason of course.

    I have to say my favorite departments to work with were IT and UEN, at the university level. They have a thankless job some days. Other days they are everyone’s hero. They were always my hero’s. Somedays I kick myself for never having applied to UEN. Working with such highly specialized technicians and engineers was rewarding.

    Looking at the problems

    Here is the problem that I see. While IT usually has their hands full with a host of projects and fixes, most are not going to have the time to help students, staff and/or guests gain access to their wireless systems, nor offer technical support at the door. You have to have someone on site who can help those individuals who can’t access your wireless system, or need special help with software required by the institution or organization. It’s a troubleshooting job, not at all similar to an online helpdesk. These people are face-to-face.

    While there may be extra hard wired computers in the labs for students to use, when it comes to software and what each student MUST have to accomplish their assignments – that is where it gets a little tricky. Not every student will have the same software needs. Not every teacher will use the same software. You wouldn’t want a teacher using GPS software worrying about their students only having access to software that a marketing student would need.

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAj1AAAAJDU0NWI4YzljLTFjOWMtNDQyMy05M2ViLTE4Yzk0ODZkMzY3MA Technology integration into the classroom now and into the future

    You can say you only have X or O software available for everyone to use, but when you begin talking about Adobe, Indesign, GPS, and other software – you run into bigger issues. A big example of an another major issue is licensing for all the software each instructor will need. If a student is required to have the software and it isn’t provided on the school computers – you WILL accommodate that students need and troubleshoot their access into your network. If the student is required to purchase software or rent it, you have to at least allow them access to your network.

    Anytime you upgrade a computer system, you should be thinking about training and hiring new staff too. Be thinking about this as you develop your long range plans for:

    • upgrading your computer software, and providing technical support.
    •  adjust your projected budgeting for new equipment & networking,  as well as the impact the change will have on your employees.
    • project how it will be implemented, with periodic evaluations and assessments on the finished product (technology is a change beast)

    A little good news

    Most wireless systems have an online dashboard for administrators so that they can add and drop computers easily just by knowing the IP and MAC addresses. The MAC address is a unique address for a specific computer. What is nice with the BOD system is that the person who generally monitors this online system can add and delete computers online, from anywhere. I would get phone calls after hours from the evening staff requesting help with a student’s computer.  I simply log into the online system and “issue solved”.

    The dashboard also allows you to set reminders to check for computers that are about to run out of their allotted connection time (365 days for students, 7 days for quests), and even add the IP and Mac Address along with the person information. Since I also advised students, I knew their class schedules, and I would automatically extend their time so they had a seamless experience.

    Oh, lets upgrade! What does that really mean? 

    Administrators are the worst when it comes to IT and wireless communications. They know a lot, but they really don’t get involved with the hands-on operational part of technology.  They don’t always have the insight for the long term difficulties that comes along with technology. They don’t get into the ends and outs of computers, nor the networks. Just so long as it works, that is all that really matters to them. When it doesn’t work – that seems to be when they really listen.

    Well, listen…..

    If you are going to incorporate new technology in your organizational structure, factor in potential new staff and/or additional man hours. You’re going to need it.

    You need people on site!

    Staffing also includes teachers and IT staff. Professional development for all distance and non-distance educators needs to go beyond the basics. All beliefs and values aside – some educators really do need to go back to school themselves (PhD’s, EdD’s, etc). Institutions of education cannot expect its instructors to teach over a technology medium, nor operate new technology, that they themselves struggle with. Teacher readiness may be more than just “being ready”.

    If an instructor doesn’t have those lifelong learning skills either from prior education or learned through continuing professional development, they probably won’t appreciate the benefits derived from the use of technology in the classroom.

    The changing classroom environment

    Adults still tend to think of a classroom with walls, desks, and a teacher who will lead them in a face-to-face learning environment. With the increase of technology in the classroom, the definition of a traditional classroom is evolving. Teachers have more access to online teaching tools and grading books that help to free up their time for more core curriculum planning.

    The modern curriculum is being redesigned to incorporate further blended learning environments for the student. With the use of online technology, instructors can offer a student a variety of instructional methods for learning. One day a student may be in the classroom listening to a lecture, the next day they may out in the field, doing surveys or working on experiments. The next day after that, they may be doing course work online.  These new blended environments give both the instructor and the student opportunity to utilize the best of many educational methods – traditional, online, and self-directed learning.

    IT has the responsibility to service all these ever changing environments. It’s not a matter of just deciding to install new equipment or software. Unless IT, teachers, and administrations are all working together in the planning and design stages, there really can’t be an assessment stage. You need those assessment stages.

    Understand this when it comes to technology and education

    The impact of technology is directing instruction away from a teacher based learning experience, toward a student lead experience assisted by media.

    Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences (ITLS) is a universal phenomenon, offering educational technology that has the ability to reach immense audiences globally, and obviously, students are by far the largest users of that product

     

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    Designing in the Digital Age

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    The “As Usual” series

    Content creator & writer, blogger, social and digital media advocate. JB was born with a passion for writing and instructional design. JB is the owner of Radcliff Design.


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    Cell Phones & The Pre-Selfie Era

    Category:Instructional TechnologyTags : 

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAWZAAAAJDA4ODllYzA4LWNjZjItNDhjYy1hNzdiLTExOWZlYmEzOTBhZA Cell Phones & The Pre-Selfie Era

    Cell Phones & The Pre-Selfie Era – Welcoming In The New Millennials

    I walked into the junior high classroom this morning, and it was chatty as normal, similar to  the beginning of any class. It’s a very open environment, and the culture of the students says, “this is our space“.

    Students were discussing the latest news in spirit activities, while others were trying to decide if lunch was going to be edible.   Picking up on that conversation,  that gave me the heads up that I better head across the street during my free hour and grab some food.  I’ve eaten the food at all the schools, and I’m not a fan.  I know the lunch people do the best they can, but…..

    While waiting for the class to settle down, I notice there is one major difference that is genuinely unique at the  junior high level compared to the high school.  Students are not hunched over, looking into their cell phones .  I know they have them somewhere.  But I don’t even  see them during recess, or lunch hour, or in the halls – nada, zip.   I like to call this age group, the pre-selfie era – Junior High. 

    This is the Pre-Selfie Era

    While I can’t speak for other school districts, I can for my own.  It’s refreshing to know your students are engaging with you, and the message is getting across to them.  Not having  a cell phone on your person may sound archaic to some. But growing up without one was a  far better world to have been in.

    Before I continue, I just want to stress that I’m not looking to verbally beat up on the high school environment, teachers or students.  I actually do have to give kudo’s to all those teachers at my local high school. During testing last week, I walked past a number of classrooms and quietly observed  the back roll of each room.  While I did spot a few students with their cell phones conveniently concealed – for the most part their classroom environments were all “engaged”.

    ENTER THE NEW MILLENNIALS

    How did the new millennials  arrive at where they are today?

    What individual traits do millennials all have?  Technology  is one trait that most of them posse, and that is THE big one.  But at what age do new millennials come out of their social shell’s? When does technology become a changing force, and who is guiding that change?

    Communication and collaboration in the classroom mean a lot to both students and teachers.  If you lose those valuable tool, you could lose a whole generation.

    Dumbing down a whole generation in  the Selfie Era

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAidAAAAJGViMmIyYTA0LTY2MGEtNDdlMi1iYWYxLWRlMjJmNTJjNjRjMw-300x200 Cell Phones & The Pre-Selfie Era
    There is software available that can block out all cell phone usage inside of a  school.  I’ve walked into those zones before.

      Egad! So this is what it feels like to lose all communication to the outside world.

    Some people have a real addiction to high stress (drama), and a cell phone can really feed into  that addiction. While I am not a millennial,  I was technologically inspired, starting in the early 80’s.  I guess I am one of those types, like a millennial – but not a millennial. You know the kind, a type A, workaholic, social introvert.  WAIT!  No, not me…

    It almost sounds like 8th grade was the turning point,  even for me.  Landlines were being replaced with wireless phones, and all communication was  accelerating.   Computers were becoming the norm in every school, and inside most homes.

    It’s 8th Grade All Over Again

    In 2016,  8th grade students are very much coming into their own little worlds.  Once they transfer to 9th grade, that little world can be rewarded through the socially acceptable right of passage known as – learning the selfie rules.

    At least on a superficial scale,  learning the selfie rules  has its rewards.    Students quickly learn that selfies and student group shots during class have their social rewards.  The reward is not academical I assure you.  But it is rewarding on the social scale, and as a narcissistic pacifier to those who may struggle  already with  self-esteem issues.

    If you are on all the right social applications on your computer/phone, and you have a big enough friends list  – then you stand a better chance of fitting in with the selfie crowd.  Where you fit in, and how you are perceived by your peers, soon becomes part of your online virtual reality trip.  I use the word trip, because it is a trip.   Coming off of that trip  – that is not  fun.  The landing is often hard and punishing.

    There is a little light at the end of the tunnel.  Junior High reigns supreme when it comes to still having teachable moments that are in abundance.  At the high school level those teachable moments are being attacked daily by that  3 x 4 piece of  shiny technology,  vying for our students attention.

    PRE-SELFIES IN HIDING

    Standing outside the junior high during after school duties, I noted 3 out of 10 girls that popped out a cell phone, and nearly  1 out of 10 boys.  At least those were the ones not afraid to use their phones on campus, even after school was out.

    I’ve had  teachers vocally express their feelings about cell phones.

    •  Was the lesson plan worth it?
    • Did I get through to my  students?
    •  It is defeating when you have invested so much of your time and energy to be put on what amounts to, a commercial break for a classroom selfie.

    So what are we doing wrong at the high school  and junior high levels?  How did all these narcissistic selfie robots amass in such great numbers –  almost overnight?  Parents.  Yes, parents are mostly to blame.

    Settle Down!

    I’ve been one of those Parents, so don’t go off on me too hard just yet.  I have been one of the best helicopter parents of my generation.  At least until the powers that be discovered where my landing pad was located, and turned the lights out on me.

    It started in junior high.  I didn’t want anyone telling MY children they were insufficient in anything.   By the time by last child had gotten to the junior high level, she reigned supreme.  She had the grades, the looks, and the talent to do it all – and she did.  She wasn’t denied anything.  But, I wouldn’t allow her to be denied anything.  Then I did the thing, that  I as a teacher complain about the most.  I bought her a cell phone, and I got sucked into the millennial whine.

    I bought her a cell phone

    WHAT I LEARNED

    1. It’s $25 at the middle school to get your cell phone back, if you take it out where others can see it.
    2. The first selfie with friend in their bikini’s posted on Facebook, and that friend was gone (I was stupid and let her keep the phone).
    3. Competing with the cute boy from  school who also had a cell phone.  Family time became a chore, and grounding from the phone brought even more issues (Drama!  I hate you – you are ruining my life!) .
    4. By college she allowed her boyfriend (thank God he is gone) to rack up nearly $400 in cell phone charges.  Plus he wrecked two of her cars and …. let’s just say he is gone.

    The excuses that WE all make regarding our children having a cell phone is:

    I want them to get a hold of me if they need me.

    1. They are in a classroom filled with 30 other cell phones.
    2.  Plus the teacher has a cell phone,  and a landline on  her desk.  I think we have the “get a hold of me”  problem solved.

    Parents have become lazy.

    Parents rely on the cell phone to baby sit their kids.  A wonderful suggestion is to get in your car, drive across town and find out for yourself what your kids are doing.

    1. A phone call may be a temporary pacifier, but its virtual reality even to adults.  Kids still want their parents to care.
    2. Some even think that the more expensive the phone, the more protected the kid will be.  A $600 phone isn’t my idea of protection.

    The kid with the $600 iPhone.

    The amount of kids that walk around with electronics that even I couldn’t afford, makes me worry.  How hard of a landing are these kids going to take when big daddy or mommy bucks,  cuts them off?

    Virtual reality if used properly can be a great learning tool.  But with cell phones,  the verdict is still out.   At least  until some genius can develop specific games that actually help teach the academic core to our teenage students.

    Millennials and Their Kids, that is what I should of called this article.  But as I dug deeper into some of the issues, it really is a baby boomer issue.  We allowed our millennials to get away just about everything.

    I reflect on this paper, and I wonder if my youngest (now 27) will come at me to lock horns  and state the obvious.  Why I you mention at length in this short article the crutches of the argument mother? Do you know the rules? Are the rules only being taught to the students by students, or are manufacturers of technology writing the rules?  Are the parents and teachers being left out on purpose?  Parents and teachers, do you know the selfie rules?

     

    And for God’s sake mom, where did you dig up that old photo (she secretly loves the shot)?

     

    LOGOJPG2-300x300 Cell Phones & The Pre-Selfie Era

     

     

    Designing in the Digital Age

     

     

    #millennial #selfie #education #classroom #teenager

     

     

     

     


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    Does Facebook finally have enough emojis

    Category:Instructional TechnologyTags : 
    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAQbAAAAJDQzMzJjMDFmLWRhNTgtNDk5Ny04ZjY3LWFmMjY0YzhkODAwYQ Does Facebook finally have enough emojis