Tag Archives: Education

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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.


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    On the ledge

    Category:EducationTags : 

     On the ledge – Overcoming fears


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    Basic Education – DeLorean Style

    Category:EducationTags : 
    m Basic Education – DeLorean Style

    Basic Education – DeLorean Style


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    Mad and Weird Science

    Category:EducationTags : 
    scott Mad and Weird Science

    The Way Forward Starts Here - What Went Right

    Let's face it, unless you add some type of entertainment into your science lesson, students are going to wane on you. There are a a lot of unique science-related games and sims out there .   You can find more on Edtechteacher .  They have a great list of programs and informative content to keep the busiest of students motivated and engaged.

    Adults too.

    Trying to stay on top of the latest trends in science and mathematics is never-ending.   MIT  has a great listing of courses to help keep the old brain frisky to learn.  There are other free online science courses being offered at a number of different universities across the country.  I was surprised to see my own stomping grounds  Utah State University,  on the list.

    Terminology  - say what?

    I was split-teaching between the high school and the middle school science departments last week.   I am not a science major by no means - but I like science.  So filling in for that department is always fun for me.  Just picking up the books and observing the surroundings is fascinating.  I probably couldn't give you an on the spot review of meiosis vs. mitosis, but I get the concepts.   If you can get your students to understand the concepts, you are halfway there.  By the end of the week, I had the terms down to a science (pun intended).

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAPfAAAAJGI2Y2RkODAxLTA0NzAtNDI4YS1hZWYyLTAyYmM0MGNlZTNlOQ-1-214x300 Mad and Weird ScienceSurprisingly there are still a lot of people who envision Science as some stale environment where everyone is wearing white lab coats, donning four-inch thick-rimmed glasses, while gawking into microscopes and filling Petri-dishes.   Nothing could be farther from the truth.   Believe it or not, learning about the elements can be an adventure all by itself.  Terminology must be taught.  In order to effectively teach science requires a teacher who can get into the hands-on-teaching aspects, and inspire students to pull up their sleeves and get their hands dirty!

    Science 101!  

    The lesson we were involved with at the high school had to deal with agriculture science and the nutrients in domestic animal feed.  Yep, we were learning about all things "Cow". That included elements going into the cow, chewing the cud, and the final excrement process.  I can assure you those students will never forget the lesson on "Cows".  Nor shall I!  Luckily, for this lesson, there was no hands-on contact with any part of the "Cow".  AAEAAQAAAAAAAATDAAAAJDgxNWFhNGMzLTQ4ZjAtNDEzOS1iYWQxLTZjMTVhMTA3YmIwNA-300x225 Mad and Weird Science

    Cleaning the guinea cage and feeding Mom.

    Somewhere between "Cow" intestines, and gut, there were other classroom duties that needed tending to.  In the back of the classroom were three furry little guinea pigs.  Butter who is the fat one, and two others who were not hurting in the fat department.  Sorry, I'm not discriminating due to Butter's size, she was just the most lovable.  There was also an oversized fish tank with one slightly older goldfish named "Mom".  One of my duties for the week was to feed and tend the living quarters of these highly sensitive but not so rare creatures.

    I quickly delegated the task of guinea pig cage cleaner to one particular student.  He promptly re-delegated the guinea pig cage clean up duties to two other students, who expressed their concern with him dealing with the animals.  He was forthright in his duties of feeding Mom.  However, it did require that we strain the excess goldfish flakes from the tank.  He dumped a 1/4 of the bottle into the tank.  We moved on from there.

    When in doubt stick in a movie!

    The Lecture

    While I don't mind ditto sheets for teaching, there is a lot to be said for leaving the answers for one to be able to teach on the topic.  With a 47 question and answer session in front of me, I spent the better part of three hours researching and preparing for a life science lecture to help the students with an introductory chapter.  Mind you, I'm no science major, so they only got what I was able to research (they aced the quiz that week).  There was another science teacher in the room adjacent to me, so I was able to get some of the simpler concepts out of the way, thanks to her help.  I made my classroom about the students and included them in the research.  Kids who had never raised their hands in this class before - started taking the lead.

    Yes, I opted for a movie one day.  But not completely.  I only did a 12 minute movie, and then I took the challenge - I taught science.  Students who didn't have a clue about science, nor were they willing to sit still in class for 10 minutes,  were writing for me!  They were writing and taking notes, they were asking questions.  The kid who over fed Mom, was my main bright and shining star!   His grade just hit a D I am sure (that would be passing).  He was proud to turn in the 47 questionnaire with all the answers. He exclaimed, I know what "CHONS" stands for!

    Together, I took those students  on a science journey - one that gave them a glimpse of what real MAD COW science really looks like.  It was WEIRD.  They liked WEIRD.  But they learnt that science has value, and that their thoughts matter, no matter how MAD or WEIRD those thoughts may be.

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAj6AAAAJGQyNzZjNzA2LTM4ZDMtNGU4My1hZDhjLWEyNmRmNGM1YjEyZQ-300x156 Mad and Weird Science

    If you don't remember  the elements of CHONS from your science years, go look them up.  It's a challenge!  Better yet, create your own puzzle and give it out to your staff  or students to solve.  CHONS has  to do with "Cow", and the nutrients "Cow's" need.

     Middle School

    If you can image 25 to 30 students all between the ages of 12 and 13, each  given a laptop, and told to write about an animal of their choice; hope to God that the choice is not a "Cow".

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAQcAAAAJGVkZWYxMTdlLTJjYmUtNGJjMS04ZDM1LWIxZDdjMTk1YjJlMg-300x195 Mad and Weird ScienceThere are animals I didn't know existed.  But these kids found them.  Just to keep it interesting here is a list of 22 strange animals you probably didn't know existed.  One student chose an animal that was akin to a jack rabbit, because it was her real life name.  For the life of me, I can't remember the students name, so I just call her jack rabbit - and she laughs.   What parent names their child after a rabbit?  Hers!

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAj6AAAAJGMwMDk3NTdlLTAwYWMtNGUwOC05NmM2LTk5MmYwMzNkMTEwNw-300x200 Mad and Weird ScienceComputer technology has come a long way in the halls of education.  These 7th grade students were easily navigating online power point  programming, and linking web addresses for citings and other research materials.  Embedding images in my day weren't taught until I was in college!  Students today are so digitally savvy it is almost bionically creepy.  WEIRD MAD science.

    Where they lack in -  is research. Their peers of the past had more find tuned research abilities.

    Pre-test - whose the real scientists in the group?

    I did give a pretest quiz to the 7th graders.  It was one of those quizzes where you had to look up the answers in the book.  That was a sleeper assignment.  I decided to make it a winner take all event, and hand out treats to those who could answer the questions verbally.  But first they had to do the following:

    1.  Research the topic

    2. They had to spell the word to the class

    3. Read the definition to the class

    Since it was all open book, it allowed those students who weren't hard core academic's to get involved!  They were!   Students after my own heart.

    Science technology has grown over the years.   So have students, in how they learn and acquire science knowledge.  They aren't going to just answer  ditto sheets  and have that  become the building blocks of knowledge.  Who teaches that way anymore?    Actually, I would personally like to burn all ditto sheets as a rebellious protest!  Let them learn "Cow".   Hands on!

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAARuAAAAJGMxZDIxMzJlLTNkOWUtNDk3YS1hMzRjLWUyMDk2ZmJiMTIzYg-300x169 Mad and Weird Science