Authoring, ED 659

Working on this was surprising and rewarding. I initially, was concerned that I had nothing to say.  Likewise, I stumbled out of the gate with some of the ebook publishing products. I did a bit of online searching and discovered PressBook a product in the family of WordPress.  It is cloud-based and subscription based. The user interface is nearly identical to WordPress content management, and so for me, there were just some particulars to learn but an easy transition.

That as well framed the question: what if I use my WordPress content to develop a book.  That lead to some toggling back and forth between browser windows and wholesale copy and paste. I was surprised to find both a start of a book in the content and curiosity and desire to work on the project even beyond this assignment.

The web version of the work done thus far is linked, here:

Cover

I exported the book in both .mobi format and .pdf to see how the publishing would handle the videos that the book draws on heavily. Alas, I was deeply disappointed.  Neither embeds the videos nor even creates an image placeholder. Also, WordPress will not upload .mobi files as they potentially represent a security risk. The first link is a zipped directory with the .mobi data, the second an old school .pdf..

Hyperlinked-Life-Homo-Ludens-1512230334

Hyperlinked-Life-Homo-Ludens-1512230588

So, for my purposes and the content of my book leaving the book in WordPress, or the online PressBook makes sense since the material is mostly derived from online sources. PressBook is a great tool nonetheless.  My project doesn’t fit well with the publishing capabilities of that tool, but a book driven by more static content would be fine in that environment. Whether my book works ideally in this environment I found learning the tool and working with the content to be inspiring and thought-provoking. As I mentioned I was unsure I had a book in me or my content so that discovery was rewarding.

Current Topic Seven, ED 650

Facebook as an LMS

Miron, E., & Ravid, G. (2015). Facebook groups as an academic teaching aid: case study and recommendations for educators. Educational Technology & Society, (4), 371.

The first point the authors develop is the difference between open online education and, what they call, walled garden solutions the standard learning management systems, BlackBoard, for example. The next insight they offer is the difference between cooperative and collaborative learning.

Collaborative learning is a personal philosophy, not just a classroom technique. It suggests a way of dealing with people which respects and highlights individual group members’ abilities and contributions. There is a sharing of authority and acceptance of responsibility among group members for the group’s actions. Cooperative learning is defined by a set of processes which help people interact together in order to accomplish a specific goal or develop an end product, which is usually content specific. Cooperative system is more directive than a collaborative system of governance and closely controlled by the teachers.

The differences in these two approaches collaborative and open online education are the foundations on which they build their case study of using Facebook groups in online instruction.

The use of Facebook informal learning consists of the following:

  • Creating a Timeline or Facebook Group to support the teaching of any curriculum subject.
  • Creating a space and platform for homework and revision resources.
  • Running debates on topical issues and hot issues in the media.
  • Peer tutoring and support.
  • A research tool to post, share ideas, videos, and resources.

It is striking that the authors have to make an argument for open education, for collaborative learning and for going where people prefer to be. Higher education was, of course, the only game in town for decades. However, since the 1980’s, that monopoly has eroded. For, profit higher education was the first place I saw a threat to the classic private/public college model. Distance education (audio and teleconference technology) in rural states was the next turn that signaled significantly. Then in the late 1990’s online school began to flourish. Finally, the national and state budget crisis for public higher education was a severe change in the landscape. Along with this came the scrutiny of politicians and citizens as to the effectiveness and productivity of higher education. In the 1960’s the call for “relevance” was aimed at social and moral agenda, in the 21st century ROI has been added to the list of criticisms. As well, the credentialing role of higher education has eroded over the last 40-50 years.

What if we explore the claim that open, collaborative, customer-centered online education is the only way higher education will reclaim any authority. What if we extend that to public K-12 school as well? I might complicate that as well because I still see a place for face-to-face cohorts. In part, this is important because in the workplace we routinely switch between face-to-face and online collaboration and work.

From my colleagues in K-12, I have heard concerns about open online education. The interests include, that student’s work is entirely in the public eye, because on the internet the persistence of artifacts is beyond control, and because online bullies or predators might victimize students. I think these concerns are valid especially, for kids K-6. Therefore, if I soften my claim and we keep our K-6 curriculum and online experience in the walled garden, we begin to transition middle-schoolers between environments and with many conversations about digital citizenship, and online security. Then, during 9-12 grades, we operate nearly entirely in the open, collaborative, and social online environment.

From my colleagues in higher education I have heard concerns as well, frankly, none of which hold water. Their syllabus and curriculum are not proprietary, nor original, and MIT’s move to publish all course materials online renders that conceit moot. Adult learners collaborate and communicate online extensively in every other aspect of their lives and work, higher education’s slowness to the realization reflects only on higher education. Higher education has celebrated peer review for decades, and well the peer review online is just as brutal, efficient and public as well, so fools are fools in public. Collaboration is the name of the game in many disciplines as well as all workplaces, so the vestiges of scholarship that depend on the cloistered researcher are, well all gone. Perhaps the hardest transition I have seen in higher education is to a customer-centered approach, we have long deluded ourselves with the conceit that we know best and certainly better than our customers – alas, that we alone suffer from that delusion.

Despite my criticism, despite my frustration, I hesitate to participate in Facebook groups as an LMS. And the reasons are mostly personal. I only just a year ago set up a Facebook profile and that only to manage ads. As well, I recall conversations among librarians at my previous job talking about the “creepy treehouse” effect of inserting ourselves into a social moment for business or educational purposes.

And so in the end, while I love the work of this essay I am left with no single solution to open, collaborative, customer-centered online education. And I think that that is a really good thing. Because when teaching imagines it has found the single right answer it has instead found one more mechanical, industrial, institution centered, heavy-handed approach to schooling that misses the mark of learning entirely.

Final Project, ED 650

Distance Delivery of Student Services

Executive Summary:

Bristol Bay Campus, in fulfillment of Title III grant objectives, is charged with delivering Student Services to the four main hubs in the Bristol Bay region. This proposal is for the purchase, setup, distribution, and usage of iPads in two remote villages: New Stuyahok and Togiak. They will serve as our pilot sites. The iPads will be configured with files, bookmarks, and applications which support Student Services functions (e.g., course applications, financial aid, career and academic advising, etc.), as well as resources that help student retention and program completion. Established audio conference communication protocols will be used to guide and communicate with the iPad users. While this pilot is focused on Student Services, there is potential for similarly configured devices to be used for instructional purposes.

BBC:

Bristol Bay Campus (BBC) is a rural campus located in Dillingham, Alaska. The school is under the umbrella of University of Alaska – Fairbanks College of Rural and Community Development. It specializes in applied science and vocational programs. Most courses are offered online. BBC’s service region extends from Bristol Bay to the Aleutian-Pribilof region covering more than 100,000 square miles.

Rationale:

Online learning is increasing, and for locations with reliable, fast internet it is both a strategic and tactical move that all educators need to be making. However, in rural southwest Alaska internet is constrained both in bandwidth and by cost. Nevertheless, given the vastness of our geographic service area and the sparseness of our population density, educators have to take distance delivery seriously. Likewise, we need to explore delivering Student Services to remote locations throughout our regions. Moreover, we have Title III grant objectives that this project addresses. Specifically, the goals include deployment of technology and the recruitment of cohorts in hub communities. An essential aim of Title III grant projects is that the plans are sustainable after the grant is fulfilled. iPads are particularly useful because they are portable and can be operated online or be set up with files and used offline. Since the students are required to interact with online interfaces like Google Apps, UA Online, and BlackBoard this versatility is essential. One of the grant objectives speaks to using technology in the rural communities. Facebook analytics shows that our customers predominately use mobile devices to interact with our online content. Accordingly, iPads are a small reach from smartphones. We anticipate the use of these devices, because of their ubiquity, will be transparent and require little instruction. Exploring distance delivery strategies such as deploying iPads and using existing audio conference lines to coach and advise remote learners on student service topics is more viable than flying personnel to remote locations. Moreover, it avoids – or at least offers – an alternative to slow and expensive internet.

Literature:

Ally, M., Balaji, V., Abdelbaki, A., & Cheng, R. (2017). Use of Tablet Computers to Improve Access to Education in a Remote Location. Journal Of Learning For Development, 4(2), 221-228.

Ally et al. touch on issues relevant to us here in Southwest Alaska. Their project was conducted in Swat, Pakistan. Like us, they needed to expose learners to devices and technology. However, unlike us, internet access was non-existent. They used an Aptus server to support the tablets. These servers simulate an online experience and provide access to open educational resources. The devices are cheap at $100 – $150. Learners can use phones, tablets, or computers in conjunction with it and become familiar with tools and skills relevant to the broader online environment.

The Aptus model is a concept that occurred to me when I was visiting St. Paul, Pribilof Islands. Their internet service is through cellular service. However, in the town, a fiber optic network has been constructed, so the local area network is quite good. Indeed, one of the pastimes is playing console games. It may be worth exploring  what kind of learning resources we could set up and deliver locally through their local network

Saorin, J. L., Torre, J. L., Martín, N., & Carbonell, C. (2013). Education Working Group Management using Digital Tablets. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences, 93(3rd World Conference on Learning, Teaching and Educational Leadership), 1569-1573. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.10.083

Education Working Group Management using Digital Tablets is several years old. However,  like the first article, it is focused on specific technology. In this case, the study examines the use of applications in service of building students teamwork skills. The class, the authors, concentrated on was a college entry-level engineering course. The projects student groups selected varied widely, but, the instructors standardized the tools and the methods they used to manage and monitor the groups.

Cloud ComputingManaging The ClassworkStudents Collaborative WorkTablet Access To A Computer
 Dropbox

SkyDrive
Google Drive
4Sync
SugarSync
Box

 TeacherKit

Teacher Tool
Teacher Assistant
Teacher Aide Pro
Visual GradeBook

 Notability

New Notes
Notes Plus
Note Taker HD

 LogMeIn

Team Viewer
Jump Desktop
RDP remote desktop

This article offered some very concrete solutions for configuring a tablet for group work. The remote login app provided a fruitful solution which may have application in our rural sites.

Managing iPads Inventory:

Part of this proposal is to review and learn about configuring, controlling access to settings and proxy server settings, as well as pushing applications and updates to the devices. We will explore the requirements of bulk purchasing, licensing of iPad applications, and the setup of customized printing based on each Center’s network and printers. Tools and plans for mobile device management (e.g., Apple Device Enrollment Program, Apple Configurator) offer device enrollment, configuration, setup, and assignment. Also, a plan for routine system and file updates will be implemented. 

The main thrust of this initiative is focused on delivering Student Services, particularly Career and Academic Advising, to the rural areas and Centers of BBC’s catchment area. A secondary benefit is that the project will serve as a pilot for learning both the back office aspect of mobile device management and the front end use. As our learning curve accelerates, BBC will expand its delivery of instruction using iPads.

Selecting applications for the iPad will be an essential task. We will need to review specific applications developed for the University of Alaska Fairbanks such as UAF Mobile and MappostUAF. Broadening the search applications like BlackBoard Collaborate Mobile and Careers360 will need to be evaluated. A systematic search for applications will be conducted. Since both IOS and Android operating systems are represented in our analytics, we will have to limit our selections to apps that function on both devices. Screen captures of routine online interactions, UA Online, and BlackBoard, will be created, saved in pdf format, and then saved to the devices. Video or audio files used as tutorial resources will likewise need to be selected or designed and loaded. Browsers will need a standard set of both academic and student service resources.

Each location will need a secure place to store the devices and a method for checking them in and out. Cases to protect the tablets and additional power adapters need to be researched and provided with the iPads.  Both stand-alone Bluetooth keyboards and integrated keyboard cases need to be investigated as keyboards significantly increase the utility of tablets.

Implementation:

In the original project charter, it was proposed that five iPads be configured for each location.  A Career and Academic Advisor would use the existing and relatively reliable audio-conference system to call and chat with cohort members and to coach use of the iPads and the relevant resources.

Our service area includes two distinctly different kinds of communities: remote villages as already discussed, and larger more accessible and better-serviced communities (Dillingham, King Salmon, and Unalaska).  It is conceivable that two tablet configurations might be needed, but we already anticipate technical difficulty with setting up and maintaining iPads. Consequently, at this time the focus will be on a single configuration aimed at remote communities.

This fall BBC administrators made site visits to New Stuyahok and Togiak. BBC has operated Centers in these villages for many years. BBC has a new Director and several new staff members, so these site visits were mostly reconnaissance. Both communities struggle with expensive, slow, and unreliable phone and internet service. Likewise, there seem to be similar patterns in the market niches:  traditional secondary school students, high school dropouts due to significant high school dropout rates, and adult/vocation learners. There are many differences between the communities as well, and a single recipe for Center operations is not recommended.

After the initial proposal, two opportunities have been uncovered. First, the school district that manages schools in both communities has sophisticated teleconference equipment available in each. This equipment is underutilized and frequently available. We are in preliminary discussions on ways to collaborate and to deliver Career and Academic Advising through this medium. It seems reasonable that mentoring through tablet devices might be more comfortable with a video display of the facilitator. Some experimentation might be conducted comparing the experience with the audio-conference technology with the teleconference.

The discovery of the Aptus Server has also impacted the direction of this project. Conversations with University of Alaska Fairbanks’ eLearning program and Office of Information and Technology (OIT) indicate interest and direction for such an initiative. In effect, this is a local area wireless network that can be used to deliver educational materials to local mobile devices. It might be said to simulate the internet in a limited way. An Aptus server could combine nicely with the iPad deployment and create a more productive environment. The value of this configuration extends outside of the classroom to the ubiquitous smartphones in the community. Along with resources like Khan Academy videos and Wikipedia articles, the server comes with WordPress and Moodle installations. A setting for interactive distance education is created, and that likely opens up many doors for instruction in both Career and Academic Advising and the delivery of college course content.

If Aptus Servers are deployed, then the iPads can be used as connected devices. Being able to deliver Moodle, for example, means that a very different approach to content and device management can be taken. The tablets can be left configured for factory default, and the custom content can be stored on the server instead.

Evaluation:

Because we are talking about cohorts of five or smaller, and because we are struggling with slow and unreliable internet at the remote locations, it seems reasonable to create a paper and pencil questionnaire about customer satisfaction with the devices and the content. These could be mailed or faxed back to BBC main campus and then input into a Google Form for reporting. Where the aim is to approach this as a pilot with subsequent additional rollouts, we anticipate ironing out the bugs and unintended consequences before scaling up. Another aspect of evaluation speaks to grant objectives. These include:

Objective 1.3.2 Establish student cohorts in each of the four regional hubs and provide one annual cohort retreat per hub. (Bristol Bay region)

In the case of objective 2.1.1, the technology supports student, advisor and instructor interaction not just annually, but frequently. And, Regular and effective communications are key aspects for successful cohorts.

Objective 2.1.1 Increase student access to cutting-edge technologies that will open up new career pathways through technology upgrades to the main campus and three village learning centers. (Bristol Bay region)

While iPads and the technology discussed here are not exactly cutting edge, the configurations proposed are innovative as place-specific solutions. Perhaps a way forward is to be cognizant of the need to address topics like eye-controlled technology, designer antibiotics, ingestible robots, smart clothing, and the like and to build that into coursework.

Objective 2.2.2 Increase the utilization of telepresence room and other technologies by 10 percent each year in educational delivery, student support, conferences, workshops, and community events. (Bristol Bay region)

Working with Southwest Regional School District to utilize their teleconference equipment in each village school speaks directly to this grant objective. It remains to craft a curriculum and tactics for presentation appropriate for the medium. 

Conclusion:

The discovery of the Aptus Server has opened up some exciting and interesting ways to develop what was a bland approach to a problem. As well negotiating with Southwest Regional School District to use their teleconference equipment to coaching and advising adds significantly to the potential for success in deploying and using iPads for distance delivery of student services. Conversations with UAF OIT and eLearning need to be had yet so that the server is secure and configured according to UAF guidelines. Nonetheless in concept this approach seems viable for rural southwestern Alaska villages.

References:

Ally, M., Balaji, V., Abdelbaki, A., & Cheng, R. (2017). Use of Tablet Computers to Improve Access to Education in a Remote Location. Journal Of Learning For Development, 4(2), 221-228.

Saorin, J. L., Torre, J. L., Martín, N., & Carbonell, C. (2013). Education Working Group Management using Digital Tablets. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences, 93(3rd World Conference on Learning, Teaching and Educational Leadership), 1569-1573. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.10.083

 

Current Topic Six, ED 650

In turn, this Current Topic is aimed at doing a quick dive into a literature review for my project proposal. I am again interested in very recent research. This is not meant to be an exhaustive literature review. Rather it is a survey too quickly take the pulse.

Fortunately, Ally et al. in their essay Use of Tablet Computer to Improve Access to Education in a Remote Location, touch on issues relevant to us here in Southwest Alaska. Their project was conducted in Swat, Pakistan. Like us, they needed to expose learners to devices and technology, however, internet access was non-existent. They used an Aptus server to support the tablets. These servers simulate an online experience and provide access to open educational resources. The devices are cheap at $100. Learners can use tablets or computers in conjunction with it and become familiar with devices and skills relevant to the broader online environment.

The Aptus model is ironically a concept that occurred to me when I was in St. Paul, Pribilof Islands. Their internet service is through cellular service. However, in the town, a fiber optic network has been constructed so the local area network is quite good. Indeed, one of the pass times is playing console games. I wondered what kind of learning resources we could set up and deliver locally through their local network.

This particular project aimed at high school age learners. The content was different for each grade. The approach was blended aimed at getting the learners to work independently and or collaboratively as a peer group. The pre-test revealed that nearly 80% of the cohort had no previous experience with devices or online learning. The pre-and post-test showed significant improvements. In a sense, this research tells us a lot of what we know about learners using online resources.  What is interesting is the proof of concept that we might be able to make more of here in remote, rural Alaska.

The second article, “Mobile-Assisted Seamless Learning Activities in Higher Distance Education” is much more focused on the effective pedagogical use of mobile devices in distance presentation of higher education. Mobile technologies included smart-phones, tablets, and laptops.  Flipping the classroom and creating synchronous online cohort meetings we also key to the study. The author adopts and builds on a six-part theoretical model.

  1. formal and informal learning
  2. personal and social learning
  3. learning across time
  4. learning across location
  5. ubiquitous knowledge access
  6. physical and digital spaces

The study cohort was vocational teachers working on certification. The cohort was just forty so difficult to generalize from. The researcher reported on technical difficulties with the “e-meeting” system where video and audio connections were unreliable and required much troubleshooting and user training. Again the results are somewhat to be expected as we know already that when done will online learning, with the added convenience of ubiquitous devices and access, can be a powerful learning experience.

The third article, “Education Working Group Management using Digital Tablets” is several years old. However, it like the first article is focused on specific technology. In this case, the study examines the use of applications in service of building students teamwork skills. The course the authors focused on was a college entry-level engineering course. The projects students selected as groups varied widely, however, the instructors standardized the tools used the methods they used to manage and monitor the groups.

The authors reviewed six cloud computing tools,

  • Dropbox
  • SkyDrive
  • Google Drive
  • 4Sync
  • SugarSync
  • Box

The selected Dropbox for the purposes of their teaching. For managing the classwork they selected TeacherKit from among several:

  • Teacher Tool
  • Teacher Assistant
  • Teacher Aide Pro
  • Visual GradeBook

For monitoring students collaborative work they used Notability and reviewed:

  • New Notes
  • Notes Plus
  • Not Taker HD

Because some of the software for the projects could not be run on tablets they also managed tablet access to a computer where the needed software could be run. They selected LogMeIn:

  • Team Viewer
  • Jump Desktop
  • RDP remote desktop

So, despite this article being four years old, it offered some very concrete solutions for configuring a tablet for group work. The remote login app as well offers a fruitful solution which may have application in our rural site.

 

References

Ally, M., Balaji, V., Abdelbaki, A., & Cheng, R. (2017). Use of Tablet Computers to Improve Access to Education in a Remote Location. Journal Of Learning For Development4(2), 221-228.

Mobile-Assisted Seamless Learning Activities in Higher Distance Education. (2017). International Journal of Higher Education, (3), 70. doi:10.5430/ijhe.v6n3p70

Saorin, J. L., Torre, J. L., Martín, N., & Carbonell, C. (2013). Education Working Group Management using Digital Tablets. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences93(3rd World Conference on Learning, Teaching and Educational Leadership), 1569-1573. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.10.083

 

Current Topic Five, ED 650

In effect, I wanted to write a similar essay as my Current Topic 4, except I changed the source material. Previously, I conducted an open Google Search. For this piece, I searched Rasmusson Library article database. I limited to conference proceedings in the advanced search. My thought being that this would be as current as the popular literature on the web, however, it would be more scholarly. I found two conference papers from 2017.

Pistoljevic, N. and Hulusic, V. (2017) An interactive E-book with an educational game for children with developmental disorders: A pilot user study. (2017). 2017 9th International Conference on Virtual Worlds and Games for Serious Applications (VS-Games), Virtual Worlds and Games for Serious Applications (VS-Games), 2017 9th International Conference on, 87. doi:10.1109/VS-GAMES.2017.8056575

Salama, G., Scanlon, S., and Ahmed, B., (2017) An evaluation of the flipped classroom format in a first-year introductory engineering course. (2017). 2017 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), 2017 IEEE, 367. doi:10.1109/EDUCON.2017.7942874

The technology in both is pretty yesterday, e-books, and nor is the practice of gamification or flipped classrooms in any way new. So, these conference papers, in that way at least are similar to the popular literature. Indeed, the topics are sharply focused in a way that the popular literature is not.

The project the first conference paper reported on: “The main objective of this project was to develop an interactive educational e-book for early childhood stimulation and to evaluate its effectiveness on learning numbers, colors, novel vocabulary, identification, counting and responding to inference questions (Pistoljevic and Hulusic, 2017).” The researchers were trying to intervene early with children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and positively impact learning demonstrated through the transfer of knowledge or skills to new media or environments.  They built game elements into the e-book. This particular paper aimed to explore the game element of the e-book. As can be imagined the methodology was fairly complex as were the reliability observations. This paper reports on the results from observing ten pre-school age children.  “The results from the pilot study showed that this and similar computer game-based environments, when designed properly, could be used for fast and effective skills development and knowledge acquisition (Pistoljevic and Hulusic, 2017).”

For me, the interesting element of this study is the positive impact for children diagnosed with ASD. It is easy to sit and watch anyone, play a computer game and develop skills relevant to playing other computer games, i.e., to see transferability of skills and knowledge. More interesting is transferring skills and knowledge to different environments. Our common sense observations of young people playing games are not enough then. I think this is a critical nuance when thinking about technology in the classroom and online education. How do we create parallel testing/performance environments that show the application of skills and knowledge in other contexts?

Turning to the second conference paper, we see that it too is an extension of research underway. In this case, the researchers extended their questions from a single section of the course as “flipped” to flipping the entire course. The course is an introductory engineering course that covers broadly fundamental skills: “…programming, engineering design, project management, statistics, dimensions and conversions, technical representation of data and engineering ethics (Salama, Scanlon, and Ahmed, 2017).” Salama et al. define their project in this way:

In this study, we used the collected data to answer the following research questions:
1) Will students have similar usage patterns when the flipped classroom is used in the whole course?
2) Can improvements in student performance with the flipped classroom be similarly replicated with a new cohort of students?
3) Will students have similar perceptions of the flipped classroom when it is extended to the whole course? (2017)

Our authors end up, saying: “In conclusion, the results presented in this paper support our previous results that the flipped classroom can be effective in improving the learning experience of the students in this introductory engineering course (Salama, Scanlon, and Ahmed, 2017).” Given that we have been flipping classrooms for a long time, in my memory nearly twenty years, I find myself more interested in the e-learning module development, methods and results sections of this paper. First, the e-learning development:

The modules thus included
􀁸 Interactive slides summarizing key relevant concepts
􀁸 Simple animations to present more detailed explanations of difficult concepts or examples
􀁸 Randomized and time limited assessments of varying formats including: true/false, multiple choice, multiple responses, fill in the blank, drag and drop etc (Salama et al., 2017)

So it is very cool that they did this, however, none of this is bleeding edge instructional design or technology.  And I mean no disrespect to the authors in saying this, rather, my concern is more broadly about education on the cutting edge of technology. The work of the authors is good and genuine and beneficial to the students. When we review the methods and the results the students themselves tell us so.

In the end, I think we have to go to the independent learners themselves to get closer to bleeding edge technologies. Perhaps we just cannot find it in schools and classrooms? I have beaten John Seeley Brown’s example of the pro-surfers to death, alas. I have as well beaten the example of YouTube entrepreneurs to death. Perhaps the other place to go is the elite educational institutions because they have the deep pockets and they employ tenure as it was meant originally to protect failure and risk-taking rather than status-quo and mediocrity. MIT, RPI, Harvard, certainly it feels galling to drop those names, but perhaps state universities are too embroiled in politics and economics to actually be sites of innovation.  And then we turn to K-12 public education, individual teachers are super-heroes/heroines but bound and gagged by budgets and learning outcomes and standardized testing.

References

Pistoljevic, N. and Hulusic, V. (2017) An interactive E-book with an educational game for children with developmental disorders: A pilot user study. (2017). 2017 9th International Conference on Virtual Worlds and Games for Serious Applications (VS-Games), Virtual Worlds and Games for Serious Applications (VS-Games), 2017 9th International Conference on, 87. doi:10.1109/VS-GAMES.2017.8056575

Salama, G., Scanlon, S., and Ahmed, B., (2017) An evaluation of the flipped classroom format in a first-year introductory engineering course. (2017). 2017 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), 2017 IEEE, 367. doi:10.1109/EDUCON.2017.7942874

Current Topic Four, ED 650

I am intrigued to read survey articles that discuss this year’s trends in education, or business. Mostly I am left feeling disappointed. I feel disappointed in several ways usually, first, is that the obvious is frequently stated, second, the nerdiest and intriguing topics avoided, and finally, little is said about a mindset that visions a different future.  A Google Search on this year’s trends resulted in many articles. In Technology that will Shape Education in 2017, we hear from Low, about eight directions:

  1. Virtual Reality
  2. Augmented Reality
  3. Learn from Anywhere, Teach from Anywhere Mobile Devices
  4. Collaboration Technology
  5. Gamification
  6. Coding
  7. Evolving Learning Spaces and Styles
  8. The Maker Movement

Many schools, libraries, and nonprofit centers are already deeply involved with the “maker movement.” Schools in rural Alaska, serving villages of 400 people have “fablabs, ” and the kids are using them on a daily basis.  So hardly cutting edge technology.

Jones, by contrast, calls out the cost, danger, and impracticality as reasons indeed “cutting edge” technology will not be in the classroom this year.

Some of the newest inventions that are finding success in medicine, science, engineering, and technology are not likely to be teaching aids soon. Some technologies–such as nanobots, quantum electronics, molecular sensors, and universal translator devices–may have teaching benefits but are too costly and impractical for schools to own. New inventions in the worlds of DNA hacking, cyber warfare, drone engineering, and many of the other technologies frequently in the news will likely stay out of the classroom in the near future for their dangerous possibilities.

His list: Google Drive, MOOCs, and 3D printing seem far more likely and equally tame as some that Low lists.  So this creates an exciting criterion for sorting through Low’s list. So, Virtual Reality is too expensive and experimental; Augmented reality is just not there yet. My post Augmented Reality explores some of this more deeply. All of the rest of Low’s list is very yesterday, like Jones three most likely.

So, instead, I want to look at Jone’s list of unlikely technologies. It makes no sense that drones will not be in the classroom soon. Why not? Every YouTube content creator has one. Hacking is probably just banal and belongs on yesterday list. A Google Search on Cybersecurity summer camps reveals a host of programs aimed at 7-12 graders.  For example, the NSA offers the GenCyber Program as one example of its ubiquity. Even those technologies that are indeed out of reach for practical classroom experimentation are probably precisely the ones that teachers should be exploring with students. Since those will be accessible and ripe for use for this cohort at their graduation. I am routinely struck by the truism that we are preparing people for jobs that do not exist yet.

What if instead of asking “what are the cutting edge classroom technologies?” We propose instead just about future trends in technology.

Infographic: A Timeline of Future Technology
My daughter did work on Carbon Sequestering in both here Chemistry and Engineering programs. It makes perfect sense to me that K-12 students should be learning about these technologies that we are at early stages on. Both because it inspires curiosity and excitement and because it creates a curriculum of practical need. If a youngster is excited about Cabon Sequestering, then many of the fundamentals of Chemistry, Biology, and of Engineering a situated in a context and motivated by a personal curiosity as is entirely normal my daughters’ interests have turned to other topics, and we would expect young people still in K-12 to have several turns of curiosity. But in truth that is a good thing and a way to cover many technologies and subjects. It is also an essential technique of the futurist of sampling and scenario building. We likely need to think more deeply about how we raise a generation with the skill set of futurists considering along with technical skills for making and doing. Of course, the weakness and the superficiality of my survey here are that I am ignoring the burden of State and Federal learning outcomes and as well local social reactionism. These constraining factors loom large in the minds of educators, teachers, and administrators, alas. This crucial limiting factor is aimed precisely at status quo and the stability of business as usual. And this in a country that prides itself on entrepreneurial thinking.  Perhaps then entrepreneurship like technological innovation is being learned somewhere else then schools?

References

 

Jones, George (2017, January 16, 2017). Classroom Technology: What’s New For 2017? Retrieved November 9, 2017, from http://www.edudemic.com/classroom-technology-in-2017/

Low, Mei Lin (2017, 15 March 2017). Technology That Will Shape Education in  2017. [Weblog]. Retrieved November 9, 2017, from    https://www.educationtechnologysolutions.com.au/2017/03/technology-will-shape-education-2017/

ED 659, Screencasting Assignment

Jon B. a case study, a YouTube, content creator. Blog posts where I write about Jon B.

The (Creative) Commons

Theoretical run-up on Elements of Digital Storytelling

Initial Exploration of Structures and Boundaries in Creating a Web Presence

I am not in love with what I have produced here. I tried to use Screencastify and just got annoyed. So, since I have Camtasia on my work machine I just fired it up and started recording. My first attempt was merely with an oral narrative, see the Gold Glove recording below. I then redid this Jon B. recording with the inset reaction camera. Technically, these both are Screencast recordings. However, aside from the topic, I am uninspired with my use of the technology.

Gold Glove, a case study, of a YouTube, content creator. Blog posts where I write about Gold Glove.

Exploring Digital Citizenship

Initial Exploration of Structures and Boundaries in Creating a Web Presence

I don’t recall what free Screencast program I used to create the following video. However, I think my storytelling is better and overall this is a better use of technology to aid in telling the story. The pacing on this is languid, and that is a flaw.

I told the same story as the first two screencasts, but I experimented with tools and techniques in making this one that make the viewing a little more dynamic a little more interesting.

On the whole, I am concluding that I have a learning curve that is still steep and rising when it comes to making screencasts. I’ve struggled in the past trying to use free versions of the software. Using Camtasia again involved challenges and frustrations however the experience of the technology was better than with other products. I believe as well that a step by step sequence or a clear storyline makes for a better cast. The conceptual discussion just doesn’t work very well, at least at my skill level.

Project Proposal, ED 650

iPad Distance Delivery of Student Services

Executive Summary:

Bristol Bay Campus in fulfillment of Title III grant objectives is charged with delivering Student Services to the four main hubs in the Bristol Bay region. This proposal is for the purchase, setup, distribution, and usage of iPads in Dillingham, King Salmon, New Stuyahok, and Togiak. The iPads will be configured with files, bookmarks, and applications which support Student Services functions (e.g.,  course applications, financial aid, career and academic advising, etc.), as well as resources that help student retention and program completion. Established audio conference communication protocols will be used to guide and communicate with the iPad users. While this pilot is focused on Student Services, it is a small reach to imagine using similarly configured devices

BBC:

Bristol Bay Campus is a rural campus located in Dillingham, Alaska.  The campus is under the umbrella of University of Alaska – Fairbanks College of Rural and Community Development. It specializes in applied science and vocational programs. Most courses are offered online. BBC’s service region extends from Bristol Bay to the Aleutian-Pribilof region covering more than 100,000 square miles.

Rationale:

Online learning is in ascendance and for locations with reliable, fast internet that is both a strategic and tactical move that all educators need to be making. However, in rural southwest Alaska internet is constrained both in bandwidth and in the amount of data. It is also prohibitively expensive and unreliable. Nevertheless, given the vastness of our geographic service area and the thinness of our population density educators have to take distance delivery seriously. BBC has a reliable infrastructure of audio conference lines.  By augmenting audio delivery with iPads, we can efficiently provide Student Services to remote locations throughout our regions. Moreover, we have Title III grant objectives that this project addresses.  Specifically, the objectives include deployment of technology and the recruitment of cohorts in hub communities.  An important aim of Title III grants projects that are sustainable after the grant is fulfilled. Deploying iPads and using existing audio conference lines to coach and advise remote learners on student service topics is more viable than flying personnel to remote locations.   And it avoids – or at least offers – an alternative to the conundrum of the slow and expensive internet.

Implementation:

It is proposed that five iPads be configured for each location. Each location will need a secure place to store the devices and a method for checking in and out. Cases to protect the devices and additional power adapters will be provided with the devices. Also, a plan for regular system and file updates will be implemented.

iPads are particularly useful because, first their portability, as well they can operate online or be set up with files and used offline. Since the students are required to interact with online interfaces, like Google Apps, UA Online, and BlackBoard this versatility is essential.

Screen captures of routine online interactions, UA Online, BlackBoard, will be created, saved in pdf format, and then saved to the devices. Similarly, video or audio files used as tutorial resources will likewise need to be selected or created and loaded. Browsers will need a standard set of both academic and student service resources.

One of the grant objectives speaks to using technology in the rural communities. Facebook analytics shows that our customers predominately use mobile devices to interact with our page. Accordingly, iPads are a small reach from iPhones and Android. Hopefully, our use of these devices, because of their ubiquity, will be transparent and require little instruction.

Managing iPads Inventory:

Part of this proposal is to review and learn about configuring, controlling access to settings, and proxy server settings as well as pushing applications and updates to the devices. We will explore the requirements of bulk purchasing, licensing of iPad applications, and the setup of customized printing based on each Center’s network and printers. Tools and plans for mobile device management (e.g., Apple Device Enrollment Program, Apple Configurator) offers device enrollment, configuration, set up, and assignment. The main thrust of this initiative is focused on delivering Student Services, particularly Career and Academic Advising to the rural areas and Centers of BBC’s catchment area.  A secondary benefit is that the project will serve as a pilot for learning both the back office aspect of mobile device management and the front end use.  As our learning curve accelerates, BBC will expand its delivery of instruction using iPads.

Screen Capture, ED 659

In this document, I drafted and illustrated directions for using GIMP to edit images. The same tasks I described doing with Photoshop in the photography unit for this course.

Screen Capture Assignment

To create this screen capture, I went old school and used the Print Screen key, Paint, and MS Publisher to layout the document.

The download time and volume on SnagIt killed the motivation to use that tool. As well that I was past due on the assignment caused me to go with efficiency.

Whatever my shortcomings in making a screen capture I do encourage folks to explore GIMP it is an outstanding photo editing program.

https://www.gimp.org/

It is different from Photoshop obviously for patent and copyright reasons. That means you have to Google and YouTube how to’s because it is different, but it is full-featured and robust in its own right.

Current Topic Three, ED 650

Chapter 6

Indeed, for a moment the bedlam of “learning styles” chatter caught my attention. However, I did struggle with the exclusiveness of some of the categorizations. Also, that I am not a teacher allowed me some distance from the theorizing. I find our author’s suspicion and criticism of learning styles to be refreshing. “Moreover, their review shows that it is more important that the mode of instruction matches the nature of the subject being taught, visual instruction for geometry and geography, verbal for poetry, and so on. When instructional style matches the nature of the content, all learn better regardless of their differing preferences for how the material is taught (146).” I think this is what I was intuitively resonating within the “learning style” discussion; I recalled my struggle as a learner in school being taught with mismatched instructional methods. Mismatched instruction is different from learners having different styles of learning necessarily.

I resonated with the turn to “intelligence” and particularly Stenberg’s analytical, practical, and creative model (150). Interestingly, our cultural moment has the IQ test to capture analytical ability, but not an equivalent for estimating practical and creative intelligence we kind of fly by the seat of our pants when estimating these, and perhaps with 20/20 hindsight. Warren Buffet we surmise could score well with practical intelligence, and “the artist formerly known as Prince” on creative intelligence. I also resonated with the examples of practical intelligence, Kenyan herbal medicine, as being suggestive of some of the phenomena we see in rural Alaska. Many young men do better with snow machines, four-wheelers, hunting, and fishing than the classroom. Conversely, many young women do better with computers, writing, and the work of the office comparatively displaying a higher analytic ability. As our authors mention, the family situation may explain children of different families excelling in different areas. But, in Alaska, we need the same family situation to interpret the various gender expressions. Schools seem to reinforce these by passing women through and preventing men. But, is this cast in concrete?

Dynamic testing is a tool to identify which intelligence(s) are lagging strikes me as a far more valuable diagnostic than learning that I am in the 95 percentile for verbal and written skills or 75th for math and analytics. Alas, what is unclear to me is that we have well-developed techniques for developing practical or creative intelligence? School just does not seem the place to remedy shortcomings in those intelligences, at least not as we have it configured currently.

Structure Building

Indeed, this is a strategy that I engage in as I map out mental models of known content. I try to find that fine line where I have stripped away everything but the essential elements versus the moment where I have torn away one feature too much, and the model falls apart. I learned the core elements of the piece stripped away, and I discovered the function in the model. I have as well learned to test my models in different situations this also reveals when I have stripped away too much or a flaw in the knowledge itself and then I engage in the creative process of grafting on an element, sometimes this is elegant more often a kludge until I find something better. Moreover, this is the third aspect of my structure building, the provisional quality of the builds.

Rule Learner

I tend as well to be a “rule learner” though again my rules are provisional and modifiable as I encounter exceptions. Trying to hold in memory all of the possible examples or counterexamples has felt too cumbersome to me. The efficiency of structures and rules has informed my learning.

Chapter 7

I have to say that this section was positively inspirational and I rarely enthuse like that. The chapter is lengthy and offers many examples. However, I like the pithy conclusion.

  • effortful learning changes the brain
  • growth mindset
  • self-discipline
  • grit
  • persistence
  • conscious mnemonic devices

Chapter 8

Is a summary of the entire book as such it works as a handy annotated table of contents. Also, they offer case studies of leaning and the importance of learning beyond school, business, professions, and so on with applications of their concepts. This book has an extensive bibliography and a useful index. Yes, it is written by scholars, but for a popular audience, so the style is accessible while still being credible and rigorous.

This graduate degree has been a long haul for me. Unfortunately here at the end, it has collided with job changes and relocation. So a lot of the shine has worn off for me. However, this book is quite inspirational. I have always prided myself on being a life-long learner and have been pretty good at it. However, I see in this text ways to become better and a bit of a prompt to do so and follow through. I am intrigued as well as I achieve late-middle age with practicing the memory techniques. Neuroplasticity and neurogenerativity are intriguing concepts to an old-dog wanting too learn new tricks.

I recall as a college student feeling cross as I learned some of these techniques the hard way and wishing that someone would just teach them in K-12. As a graduate student and teaching assistant, I recall trying to work some of that into the sections of English 101; I was teaching. As my life took turns away from being a teacher, I thought less about these topics as they applied to others and mostly focused on my learning for my purposes. My learning to learn was jump-started when my son started taking karate and jujitsu Dad joined in to support kid-grit and keep him engaged with activities rather than starting and quitting. And as well since I had to drive it gave me something to do rather than just sit and wait. There are physical mnemonics that martial arts create for memorizing patterns of movements and techniques. As well, there is a similarity between forms that create efficiencies in learning. As well interleaving, effortful learning, and a growth mindset are all regular parts of martial arts practice. I hadn’t made the full-circle connection and brought those techniques back to other types of learning, and in this our text is brilliant.

I had a fascinating conversation with a LEAN Process Engineer working creating standard work for Hospital Operating Rooms. She described how washing the room had been standardized so that when a second person entered the room, they could tell at a glance where the cleaning was at and could pick up and get to work. Likewise standardizing the room setup and equipment needs with “pick cards.” The thing that was impressive for me was the insight that our book was about individual learning/recall, the LEAN engineer was about group learning/recall. Much of the techniques in our text are about making our learning standard work, making systematic and methodical. My learning, however, is an internal process and self-referential, standard work in a workplace necessarily needs communication whether it is the location of a cleaner in a room, or, the same “pick card” for the same procedure. Again the exponential challenge of group learning and recall and at times the profound urgency of getting it right, surgery or space launch.

References

Brown, P. C., H.L. Roediger, and M.A. McDaniel (2014). Make it stick: the science of successful learning. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press