First day of class!

Hello everyone,

Welcome to the Spring 2014 semester. We here at Learning Technology Services hope that your classes get off to a great start. If you have not seen it yet, be sure to watch the first LTN show of the year. It gives you some start of semester reminders and features an interview with Simulation and Game Development professor Dr. Farhad Javidi. Today we had hoped to bring you a special episode summarizing the State of Digital Learning, but we still have some work to do on the presentation. There is a lot going on with educational technology. Stay tuned for that, we should have it to you soon, and it will be worth the wait.

NC3ADL Makes Distance Learning Fun in Raleigh

NC3ADL is an educational non-profit organization whose focus is on the advancement of distance learning in North Carolina. Membership is open to all persons interested in supporting and promoting Distance Learning in the North Carolina Community College System. This year’s conference, held 9/29-10/1, featured over 90 presentations and more than 25 vendors, along with breakfasts, two evening social events, and luncheons with special speakers and door prizes! The NC3ADL’s organizational focus is about networking, connecting with peers within the state of North Carolina. It provides its members with several ways to network and learn from each other.

This a photograph of the the statue of Sir Walter Raliegh standing in front of the Raliegh Convention Center with a banner and a fake iPad tablet, which as fallen off his hand and sits at the base of the sculpture. The banner has the NC3 ADL logo on a white background.

Conference banner and fallen iPad provided by NC3 staff. Photo by D. Michael, Jr.

I WON an insulated cup! Thank you ASU!

Starting on the first day, the NC3ADL conference in Raleigh was very informative. The sessions began Sunday afternoon and I attended a session titled ‘Exploring Web 2.0 Tools to Build Collaboration” which was led by Bethany Smith from NCSU (Director of METRC: Media and Education Technology Resource Center for the College of Education). She talked about the practice of teachers using technology tools in such a fashion that they seem to disappear during in the process of teaching.  One tool Bethany suggested we use was VoiceThread.  This tool allows uses to set up their collaboration environment with visual and video uploads. These uploads can be used as a commentary or content for a student group projects.  VoiceThread use to have a free account for teachers with a class load of 50.  Currently, there is still a free account, however the number of students you can have in a class is has gone down to a limit of five.

Of course, every conference has vendors and so did the NC3ADL. One vendor that stood out of the crowd was Mindjet.  Mindjet is a is a virtual whiteboard, collaboration & project management suite for everyone on your team. I envisioned this software as a resourceful tool that could be used for teaching students how to map their trail of thoughts. What I am talking about is called mind mapping. This method is not new to education but recently has been rediscovered by some teachers on our campus. Mindjet does a great job of creating a map of thinking paths. It also links, related artifacts at each sector or though junctures and related objects such as images, video and text. How we manage our thinking process is very important when it comes to achieving deeper learning. This software can be made to illustrate how you think naturally and it creates a visual document that organizes your thoughts more efficiently. I made the comment to the Mindjet speaker and vendor, Sean Mitton, that “the program creates the image of what you are thinking.” However, you get to rearrange and create better internal markers and it confirms with the external visualization of thoughts you see mapped. This set of thinking tasks makes information organization and cognitive searching faster.” When you research the net about this product you will find that Mindjet has merged with Spigit a company that is a leader in Social Innovation. The company’s focus helps organizations to unleash the creativity of employees, customers and partners to find trans-formative ideas that drive growth

Picture of the the inside of the Raleigh Convention Center. This image shows four medium gray concrete columns angled at about 85 degress supporting a wall of sectioned windows, who are also at that same angle.

Picture of the the inside of the Raleigh Convention Center. Photograph by D. Michael, Jr.

I also attended another exciting session led by Tonya Riney, instructional designer from Gilford Tech. She introduced ‘TitanEval’ an online course assessment tool. This tool is simple and makes the process of online course evaluation easy. The TitanEval process has several layers of assessment: 1) Self-assessment, 2) Peer-assessment and 3) Administrator assessment. Each layer provides metrics to assist with tooling or retooling an online course to work more effectively. The self-assessments layer offers a clear view of what the instructor thinks about their own best practices in contrast to what the minimum school standards for a successful online course. The Peer assessment layer provides peer to peer feedback. Finally, the Administrator assessment layer provides level setting and clarity for the entire evaluation process. It also provides clear final directives regarding the improvement of an instructor’s online course. This tool takes away any personalization and provides anonymity for evaluators. It also leaves enough creative room to encourage course individuality without sacrificing course outcomes. I was left with the impression that the school did not want to ‘rubber stamp’ or make their online courses all alike. There were so many good sessions to attend. I look forward to next year’s conference.

The Gamification of Fair Play

When we think of modern tools for learning we might reach for the usual, books, videos and Google. However, ‘gamification‘ has found a way to teach an entire course by offering challenges to collect items of knowledge that will lead the main hero to achieving his quest. The game Fair Play is a notable example in the world of gamification and it was created by the UW Madison Games+Learning+Society or GLS. The GLS examines the purpose and contribution of video games in education. They are a collective group of researchers, game developers, and government/industry leaders who investigate how games operate, transform learning, and affect society. Fair Play is a game that teaches a person how to live socially in another person’s life. Not quite as drastic an experiment as ‘Black Like Me‘ author John Howard Griffin’s but the concept is similar.

In the Mashable article “Is Gamification Just a Fad?”  there was an important quote about the use of game theory in education from Charles Duhigg’s, author of “The Power of Habit”. He said:“The key to gamification is turning extrinsic rewards to intrinsic rewards. Eating a cookie when you finish your homework might encourage your good behavior, but when you run out of cookies, you might find that you enjoyed finishing homework early and continue to do so regardless of cookies.”

So, I began the game, of which Fair Play provides easy instruction to downloading the game driver. You must to install the game drive first. After, reading the game objectives, game play and control instructions I was able to complete two chapters or levels. I did not want to stop but the storyline and the quest for materials, i.e., Jamal’s Curriculum Vitae, was so interesting that it made me curious about the next steps.  I wanted Jamal to win and to gain the support he needed to become a college professor. The system of rewards in this game are found in a deeper purpose than badges or coins. In the game of Fair Play your quest is to become a professor but you must first make it through the gauntlet of unfairness, socialization and responsibility in the land of academia and campus community social circles. Most students may not have experienced these moments of opportunity in their lives. This game reminds you recognize the gift of opportunity, and to not to take lightly gifts of opportunity even in the face of adversity. It also teaches you that if there is adversity then there is also opportunity.

The location software, Foursquare use to offer rewards or badges for being the king or queen of a particular location. By checking in a room or place before anyone else on a daily basis you become the leader and this bestows you with badges. Foursquare, is rethinking badges as a reward system. What is rewarding about Fair Play is the console set up that includes notes, tasks, almanac and other tools which help to remind or reference your experiences which helps your journey to progress.

Knowing how to win means knowing how to play the game in this academic world of graduate school.  In real life, many of the tools one might use in this game to resolve a dispute will not work.

You have to think your way through by learning bias concepts, socialization techniques and professional organization methods of your references. I have to say this game does cause you to recall memories of experiencing past bias and it also makes you question if you could have handled those past encounters better. Recall is apart of effective learning but so is responding appropriately to each situation we encounter. What we do with our knowledge separates us from others. The visual landscape of each scene is taken from the campus streets at the University of Wisconsin, in Madison, Wisconsin. For me, a graduate of UW, the game does trigger some moments where I experienced bias and also opportunity. Gamification is a learning method that would fit most learner target markets. However, I am not sure if target groups that represent the very old or very young would have enough patience or socialization skill development to play this game. This learning game is perfect for ages 9-12 and up. After playing Fair Play for two chapters,

I starting wishing I could add to the game a consequence for overt acts of bias and rewards for those of kindness. Navigating around social obstacles by avoiding the problems is a talent one needs to develop.  I had a hard time supporting the bias behaviors of perpetrators in the game, by allowing them to remain in a position of power.  I think I will complete the entire game before solidifying my judgment.  Maybe at the end of the game Jamal will take the place of the professor that rejected him or we will see in the game, the local newspaper release an article that shows acts of justice against previous bias.

Fair Play has inspired me, and I look forward to learning more about gamification in education.

iOS7 for iPad is Close to Heaven

The new iOS7 upgrade is visually appealing and works very fast on our CPCC network. Typically, when major visual changes are made to a OS there is chaos across the land. However, the iOS7 update is very appealing and ergonomically easy to navigate. You may need to re-acclimate yourself to the new typeface (Helvetica Neue Light) used throughout. Neue enhances layouts with clean lines and a strong sense of modern organization.

Regarding the affect iOS7 has on updates and load time, I had 51 updates waiting (and you too may also have that many waiting). I decided to update them all at once, just to see if I could crash the system but no such luck. The system moved through updates with speed and accuracy. Another change you will notice is the dock, which is activated by the ‘four finger up-swipe’. This action now shows the corresponding window to the application above the ‘film strip’ of apps (see illustration below). Click on the large window and you are quickly transported inside your application, which is very convenient.

The calendar layout is also well designed from both a layout and design fundamentals point of view. The two column design in the calendar ‘day’ window mode provides all the information you need to see your event details. When you open a folder you will see a set of nine apps. When you click on the folder the window zoom in close-up and reveals the nine apps. When you see an app with a blue dot in the name field it means that app has been updated.  There is an app icon layout limit of nine for each folder which shows all nine at once. However, the folder can contain more and the rest of the apps are hidden on other pages. To reveal these hidden apps just swipe left or right. Opening Facebook, when you access it for the first time after the update, you will notice a delay in loading but be patient.

You may also have to reset your ZAGG Bluetooth keyboard. When connecting, turn off then turn on the Bluetooth setting and your device will appear in the general setting bluetooth window. I tried ‘paring’ then turning on and off the keyboard and the spinning hyphens of wait ( unofficially I call SHOW) kept spinning. I will play with the iOS7 system over the weekend but so far I am enjoying all the pluses from the new iOS7 graphic changes. You should too. This event should make up for  IKEA disowning ‘Futura’ as their main typeface change. I know…I should find my quiet space and just let it go. Let it go…man!

Slideshark Swims Effortlessly Through Presentations

Recently, I gave a presentation to the Paralegal staff at the Cato campus, on how to use Google Docs and Slideshark. The crowd favorite of the two applications was Slideshark because I was able to show how you can walk around the classroom and control a PowerPoint presentation at the podium using data projector.  What is great about Slideshark the ease in setup, the ergonomic app design and it is FREE. The free version will only allow a limited amount of logins.  Here is the best way to test out Slideshark on your iPad:

The Setup

  1. Download the Slideshark app to your iPad or tablet.
  2. Open a browser and go to SlideShark.com and sign up for the Slideshark service.
  3. Upload a PowerPoint presentation from your desktop or cloud storage. You will have to give Slideshark access to Google Drive, Dropbox, Skydrive, Box or a Sharefile account on a tablet.
  4. Go back to the iPad app and launch.

 

Control Setup

  1. In app window, in the bottom left corner there are four graphic buttons.
  2. Click the first one, i.e., ‘the remote control’ and make sure the setting is ‘on’. (you may not need)
  3. Click the second one, i.e., ‘broadcasting control’ and then click the ‘broadcast button’.I suggest that you input a security code (ex:111) if you want to control when you release your presentation to students.  When class starts give the code to students when the time is right. (This works for those with paid monthly service)
  4. Write a message in the ‘meeting information’ field to prepare students for what they are about to view. Make your message brief.
  5. Click ‘Start Broadcasting’ button.
  6. The window will change and show that you are broadcasting your presentation.

Attendee Setup

  1. Next, input your email address in the ‘attendees’ field.  Click the field then fill in the email window fields and send. (this only your email address)
  2. Go to the email provider where you mailed your invitation and click on the link inside that email. However, make sure you are viewing this email message at the podium or laptop that is projecting your presentation. (the presentation will pop up in a new browser tab)
  3. Fill in the information and then click the ‘Join Meeting’ button. (a black window will appear as you wait for the presenation to begin on your podium/data projector)
  4. Go back to your iPad and you will notice your name is registered as the one and only attendee for the broadcast.
  5. You are now ready to launch your presentation on your iPad in the SlideShark app by clicking on the round ‘green’ button under your presentation above the broadcast/attendee pop up window.
  6. Start swiping your presentation left or right and you will notice on the podium the slides respond to your move

 

Tutorials:

Sometimes wirtten material is not enough to explain how software works. Slideshark offers video tutorials and PDF instruction downloads on the following topics:

For more information and tutorials go to:  https://www.slideshark.com/Help/Support-Center.aspx   Remember, Learning Technology Services would be happy to speak to your faculty or staff about SlideShark and other campus applications.  Please feel free to contact us.

Best regards,
Don

 

‘Campus Tour’ Comes to a Close

We just completed the first six campus, annual ‘Campus Tour’ for Learning Technology Services. Gary Ritter, ITS Faculty Liaison of Learning Technology Services,
and History Instructor
and I offered two professional development sessions at our campuses, i.e., “iPad Tablet Users Group” and ‘The State of Learning Technology”. We were also joined by David Kim, Associate VP for Technology and CIO, who gave a brief presentation on the upcoming ‘Data Center’ move for our Central Campus.

Gary Ritter, “State of Digital Learning”

Don Michael, Jr., “iPad /Tablet Users Group”

Branding and Banner advertisement for the ‘Campus Tour’:

Campus Tour Flyer:

Game Changers Challenges Higher Ed

I just downloaded a free book called ‘Game Changers” by Diana G. Oblinger, published by Educause.

I think the chapter on “IT Innovations and the Nontraditional Learner” makes several good points about how higher education should service students.  Testing students before they start class to see what they know is very smart. Some schools refuse to do this because of the fear that they will find out something about a student that requires help, which equates to money. The non-traditional learner has more world experiences in general. Denying credit for past learning is not a profitable venture in the end.

Another point discussed was the recognition of previous learning and student portfolio documentation. They mentioned the tendency for non-traditional learners to have the college credits at several institutions.  Also, many times those learning experiences are not given credit or transferred among colleges. It must be frustrating to have earned 140 credits and to only be allowed to graduate with 120. I like the discussion in the chapter about how web based programs are more likely to have an articulation agreement, thus making transfers easy for students.  If you want to read this free book “Game Changers” by Diana G. Oblinger here is the link:

Click this link to download

Welcome to Learning Technology Services, the blog

This is the offical logo for the LTS department.

Our department's new logo

It’s a week until the start of a new semester, and here at Learning Technology Services we’re hard at work getting ready. LTS is a division of ITS. Our role is to provide assistance with and instruction on the various technology tools used on Central Piedmont Community College’s campus. We have several projects going on to assist the our faculty, staff and students both in the classroom and beyond.
In addition to providing resources for our current technology assets, LTS also is always involved in the research and acquisition of new learning technologies. We’d love your help with this. If you are aware of any learning technologies that you feel would better our institution, send me an email and make me aware of the need.

Finally, LTS is currently involved in the third phase of an Apple iPad pilot, in which we’re experimenting with how iPad’s can benefit our community. It’s an exciting project that we will be engaged with throughout the fall.

Thanks for visiting! Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or recommendations for LTS or this blog.