Tag Archives: Education

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    Lectures in the field

    Category:Instructional TechnologyTags : 
    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAUBAAAAJGRiMjYwNzM1LTAyMzAtNGIwOS04ZTllLTE1ZjViODFkODg2MQ Lectures in the field

    Lectures in the field and the use of social media as a learning tool


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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

     

    ____________________________________________________

    Designing in the Digital Age

    __________________________

    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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    Turning 18 – Looking Forward To That Day

    Category:EducationTags : 

    Turning 18 – Looking Forward To That Day. Turning 18 is a milestone in any young person’s lifetime. It is a time of celebration and joy. You will have met one of the longest challenges we adults face, K-12 education. You will be able to mark that off your bucket list as DONE! However, the road doesn’t end there. Neither does your bucket list.

    GRADUATION! Turning 18 – Looking Forward To That Day.

    That list branches off instead. There are so many more roads to travel. Picking that next road right out of high school is often the one that will truly lead us to that person we will eventually become someday. It will be that road that is one of the first adult crossroads you will encounter in your lifetime. Not the last, far from it, but maybe one of the most transformational ones.

    I just went to my 40-year class reunion. Talk about a time warp! Wow! Nevertheless, getting the chance to listen to many of them talk about the paths they had been on over the years was enjoyable. There were a number of successful people in the group, a few sad moments as I learned of those that had passed away, and a few ho-hums. Some never left our hometown, yet here we are; just glad to be back, for this one special day. Together we have one connection, one bond – our youth. We didn’t stop being friends because we went to college, or started working – we were still bonded. Bonded in those friendship sealed years ago.

    Looking back at all those goals we set.

    College is a very short educational journey that helps set us up for the right path – and encourages us to choose better directions for ourselves and our future families. This is a decision that is NOT solely guided by our parents or our peers (friends). They aren’t going to take the tests for us, or turn the corners of pages either – that is left up to us. Only we, ourselves, can make those decisions, and take those actions. It’s a decision we choose for ourselves based on goals we set in K-12. Just having a “goal” back then, that was the first step in our journey. We didn’t know then what we were creating. We were creating our own futures.

    We were creating our own futures

    The time you will spend in college is very short, even if you ultimately go for a master’s degree or higher. When it is over, you will wish those college days were back!

    I get it – not everyone wants to go to college

    I understand that some are just work bound. They can’t wait. There is too much going on in their own heads to spend time in the classroom. To those, I say “good luck”. I’ve known many successful individuals who opted to not go to college, and they have done very well. There are others who are still not getting started in college or work. If you still can’t get started – go back to school! I do not care how old you are, or where you are in your life. Do it for you. Education will change you – for the better. Maybe it’s a certificate program, a construction trade training, associates, or 3-month training. Whatever – just do it for you.

    So much fun to look forward too.

    Did you know that most people develop many of their lifelong friendships while in college? It’s true. Those people, friends, your working network will be established while in college. It was true for me too.

    The things you will be able to do while in college should both astound you and inspire you. There are so many events and fun happenings on campus. I wonder sometimes how much work goes into just keeping events going. There are lots of activities you can get involved in. You just have to be willing to participate.

    Career minded

    AAMAAQDGAAgAAQAAAAAAAAt4AAAAJDM2YTcxMzNjLTIyMDUtNDNmYy05ZjhlLTkyY2EyYzBiZDVkMA Turning 18 – Looking Forward To That Day

    The best time of your life will be while you are in college. You will be free to be that person you always thought was hiding under the surface. It’s an exciting time! Yes, there is homework – but its more directed toward your career now. That’s the difference.

    The educational experience while in college isn’t like high school. There is freedom on the campus’. It’s the freedom you have been looking for. It’s the freedom to become that person you always wanted to be. Chances are, you may even meet your lifelong partner there. That isn’t such a bad thought when you think about it. Having someone who is just as likeminded as you are about their goals – is a win-win for your both your futures. Think about it.

    Letting go – beyond high school

    Anyone who keeps you from your goal is not your real friend. Your real friends will encourage you to get your education and reach your goals. Go to college, or technical training, and have some fun while you are young! Those college years are the best years of your life – don’t let anyone steal that from you.

    Hopefully, many of your friends will go to college as well! You should encourage them.

    College is a well laid out path. A good path. A fun path. Who doesn’t like fun?

    Some little-trivia about college:

    • 54% of students live at home for the first year while attending college (free food | free rent)
    • The closer you live to campus, the more successful you will be in college
    • Many students don’t even have a car or a computer. They use public transportation and computer labs on campus
    • Meet their lifelong friends and/or partner while attending college
    • Launch some of the most successful careers through networks you build during your college years. Use those networks years after you have left college
    • Make better lifelong decisions | you become better long-term thinkers
    • Enjoy your social life more
    • Are more productive workers | learn discipline
    • Have more money (to buy things like new cars)
    • Family relationships are better – because “YOU” matter in the decision-making process (you have a say)
    • Travel more in the summer when you learn about new places and events
    • Social experiences are more enriched (games and activities) It’s huge at college
    • If you work and go to college – you are amongst 70 or more% of those attending. If you are taking a full load, don’t work any more than 20 hours if you can. I understand that isn’t always the case – but shoot for that number if you can (20 hours). Many college students work on campus, doing campus jobs
    • Internships are available to help place you in jobs outside of campus that meet your degree requirements. So be looking for those opportunities

    The number one thing to remember when you walk into your college or university is that “they were expecting you”! They were expecting you, and you are accepted there with all your faults, dreams, and aspirations. They will help mold you, and fold you into the person you will become.

    At the crossroad. Examples of friends

    Are you a real friend? Then encourage your friends to follow their dreams. Not your dreams – but their dreams. If you do this, you may end up one of those lifelong friendships I spoke about above. Your friend will remember your encouragement to do the right thing. They hopefully should also encourage you to follow your dreams, but regardless, they have to follow the path that leads toward their goals. If they want to be a teacher – their teaching skills are needed now. There is a young student in their future who needs your friend now. So you will be encouraging not only your friend, but helping someone else you don’t even know.

    The reunion

    At your 40-year class reunion remember that you got there because someone in the crowd told you “Follow your Dreams”. That is your lifelong friend. Greet them with open arms, friendship, and love.

    For Taylor. Follow your dreams! Go Mavericks!

    A Maverick!


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    USU Alumni

    Instructional Technology & Learning Sciences- USU Alumni

    Category:EducationTags : 

    I received this great email from my alumni today ..

    I just had to share a blast from the past. When I started out on my own educational journey, I was having, way to much fun. ITLS was the best degree experience ever. Because of this wonderful experience, I have even toyed around with the idea of continuing along those lines with a higher degree (EdD or PhD).

    Just for kicks and giggles!

    Please share!

    A letter from Andy Walker

    Hello, this is Andy Walker, Department Head of the ITLS Department at USU. I need your help (and it’s not even money!) After modernizing our curriculum and energizing our student association we are on the hunt for our next generation of future Alumni. We all have someone in our lives (maybe a family member, a friend, or a co-worker) who we know would make a really good instructional designer, technology specialist, corporate trainer, game or simulation designer, project manager, chief learning officer, UX designer, Library Media Specialist or one of the many other career doors your degree has opened up for you. Maybe they are already working as an instructional designer, maybe they have a love for learning and have always wondered what it is you do for a living. Take some time to think about who is a good fit and either talk to them yourself, or send me their name and contact information () and I will reach out to them. Better yet, if they wind up applying, being accepted to and starting the program we will donate $200 (no cost to you) in your name to a scholarship pool for incoming students.

    What’s new in the department?

    • We have modernized our master’s curriculum (MA, MEd, and MS) after 1) checking with some of you about how you spend your professional time, 2) with our current students about what they like and want to see in classes and 3) with prospective employers about what they look for in a new hire. Students can complete these degrees by relocating to the Logan campus or online anywhere in the world. In fact our online degrees are extremely popular.

    • One example? We have expanded our already strong instructional design classes with a design thinking emphasis. Design thinking gives our students a chance to delve into user experience, interface design, and rapid prototyping. We have also expanded our research, evaluation, and assessment courses and added project management. Paired with our learning theory course and authentic project work throughout the curriculum, students walk away with a strong portfolio ready to advance their current careers or start new ones in the field.

    Do you have someone in mind? I hope so. I would love to talk with them personally (contact info below), or they could chat with our graduate program coordinator (Deidri Nelson, , 435-797-2694) about our degree programs and how to apply. We are accepting applications by December 8th for a Spring 2018 start or by April 1st for a Fall 2018 start.

    The market for students in our field has never been more competitive. At the same time our graduates have never been in higher demand. Thank you for once again making an important effort in giving back to USU in this important way.

    All the best to you,

    Andy

    * 435-797-2614 * Department Head and Associate Professor

    www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-walker-in-logan

    ___________________________________

    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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    Making The Grade- It's Crunch Time!

    Making The Grade – It’s Crunch Time!

    Category:EducationTags : 

    Making The Grade – It’s Crunch Time!

    Making the Grade – It’s Crunch Time! Anyone who has spent much time at all in education might understand the term Death-Bed Repentance.  I had another teacher spell that statement out for me this week as we were trying to motivate our one shared student to get his work done.  Death-bed repentance, or simply stated:

    • – those last minute adjustments to assignments
    • -picking up on any  late work
    • -actually showing up to class instead of just leaving your recorder there
    • -cramming information into our brains for quick purging

    Loans and scholarships are all on the line now, and for a fraction of the time, all life stops in the fast lane.  It’s death-bed repentance time – we are making the grade baby!

    Making the  grade baby!

    I’m just as guilty as the next student, at least in my undergrad days I was; not so much through my masters.  Taking our bodies and minds to the level of non-functioning, just for a little alphabetic character on a piece of paper – it’s insanity.

    a Making The Grade - It's Crunch Time!What makes us do that to ourselves?   Unconsciously or consciously we fought sleep – up until  2:00 a.m. or later – if we slept at all.  We then drug our unhappy selves to class at the butt crack of dawn.  We lived for that college life-  Right?

    We lived for college life!

    I’m a distracted learner through and through.  I can sit in the middle of a room with nothing to do, and I will still be able to distract myself.   I don’t need any outside help to do that either.   If I have assignments in front of me, I will toss and turn any number of concepts around in my mind, making great strides – at least until I see something shiny on the floor.   Focus? What focus? For a few moment’s I am in mental bliss, at least until  I return to the task at hand – namely homework.

    Something shiny on the floor

    I am in the mindset of believing that maybe I am normal after all.  I watch my 9th and 10th- grade students struggling with the same issues I had (and still do).  Sitting in a hard chair with nothing in front of you but a cold table is really not anyone’s idea of a  warm and fuzzy experience.  I am the one with the soft chair, not them.  My experience is different of course.

    The best advice I could give to any teacher new or old –  is to build in distractions.  Don’t wait for your students to find distractive measures themselves, build those key distractive breaks into your curriculum.   Twenty minutes of study equals 5 to 10 minutes of light to mild distraction.  It could still be a learning distraction – just something different, or on a related topic.

    Some would ask how I would assess this distractive learning paradigm.  I look at this way.  If students who do not normally turn in assignments or have at least a passing GPA- all of a sudden start looking like the average student – guess what?  You get to go to the front of the class!

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAWPAAAAJGI0NDgwZTJmLWRlNDgtNDFkMS04MTI1LTU4NzNmNzA5OTk1ZQ Making The Grade - It's Crunch Time!Then comes the question, what about those students who can’t refocus?  Or those students who are already self-lead learners and like peace and quiet.  What I have done with my students is to switch out the quiet time with bird sounds, ocean and/or anything peaceful found in nature.  I have obtained good reaction from both pairs of students.   Any group is going to be dynamically different.  You just have to find the right built-in distractions without losing the motivational aspects of learning.

    Sounds are a good distraction, but so are those upbeat pieces of information that help students readjust, recenter, and perform better.  Types of distractive information might include:

    • -Word of the Day
    • -Piecewise brain twister
    • -Notice of an upcoming celebration on how well they have performed
    • -Or just something fun that is about them, and something they take to heart.

    The human mind can learn more than one thing at a time.  If you allow your brain short breaks from the tedious routines of study, it tends to reflect better on items it has just learned.  Use pre-designed breaks as a scaffolding tool for learning.   This following statement is a no-brainer statement – I understand.   But, you retain more when you aren’t stressing out over a problem.

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAATzAAAAJDNmODUxMTM2LTMyZTMtNDQ3Yy1iOWFiLTVjOGYzNTE0ODc2Yg Making The Grade - It's Crunch Time!

    Experiment with this distractive styles of learning.  If you are already in a quagmire wondering how to motivate your students – this might be a helpful resource.  Back away from the idea that you have to stain and look like a zombie to be successful in your studies.  Look at something shiny on the floor, and then come back to your primary focus.  Come back gently.   The problem isn’t going to go away, but if you allow your brain a short power break, you might find you come back with a solution.   Solutions are always much better than problems anyways.

    Good luck.  I wish all educators success as they venture into the “new”.

    Making the Grade Baby!

    __________________________

    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.