How many of you brought a smartphone or iPad or some other kind of tablet with you today? Great! Please take out your phones and iPads, and turn the volume off so we aren’t disrupted. During this session, we are going to play with some of the tools we talk about, so you’ll get some hands-on time. If you did not bring a gadget, sidle up to a partner and ask them to share during those parts of the session. A copy of today’s presentation is available <on the WordPress blog>, along with notes and links to all of the resources I discuss today. You have access to it all, so you can jot down notes selectively without missing anything. I’ll try to address your questions as we go. Feel free to add questions to this Google Doc: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1VGLAns585xyZZ_P8WjVduNWZIBjlEUTeMDqBiKaC-cg/edit?usp=sharingIt’s a public document, so you shouldn’t need any login info to access it.
While you are connecting, I’m just going to run through a quick intro of why I am here. These are the results of the survey you completed. As expected, you all use email. But the majority of you also use a tablet, use some type of social media, and attend webinars. The majority of you use every one of these “regularly.”
And, you like your technology. The majority of you planned to bring a smartphone or tablet with you today. This lines up with what you tell me about your students. Most of them bring devices to your classes. People like their technology. People like their devices. And yet…
When it comes to what you use in the classroom, 80% of you stick with PowerPoint and paper handouts. These survey results tell me a couple of things. When it comes to adopting new technologies, most of you are majority adopters, maybe with some early adopters and late adopters mixed in. But you aren’t laggards, waiting for the return of the telegraph. You’re picking up new skills and new tech habits that match your surrounding environment. But you’re aren’t bringing these new skills into the classroom, even though you recognize that your students also bring these skills to class. This is what I want to address today. There’s a big disconnect here, and it feeds that feeling that what you learn in the classroom doesn’t really apply in the real world. There are lot of simple, inexpensive ways to connect the classroom to the real world using the devices that surround us.
What is this session all about? Today, we are going to talk about some simple, practical (and mostly free) ways to incorporate technology into your classroom. We are going to touch on adult learning styles, but I have no intention of hashing out academic learning theories. We are going to run through a couple of tech processes; some of them you may be familiar with already. Ideally, I would like everyone to walk away with three action items: Try one structural change in your next class to increase student engagementTry one new tool Try using one familiar tool in a new way
First, let’s think a little about adult learners. There are a lot of theories out there on learning styles, for children as well as adults. Oodles of expensive studies have researched, poked, and prodded the issue. While we’ll touch on some of those topics today, I’m not here to teach you academic theories and recite research data. I simply want to frame a bit of the conversation as it applies to these new technologies. Compared to children, adults are self-directed. They control their own learning. Simulations, role-playing, and case studies are particularly effective with adults. Solving immediate problems is always important. When working with adults, the instructor becomes more of a resource and less of a lecturer.
In a classroom of children where an adult stands up at the front, there is a clear hierarchy that says the adult has something to provide and the children are to absorb what is being handed down. In a room full of professional adults, with a professional adult at the front, the difference is less pronounced. All of a sudden, you need to justify yourself. Why does your content matter? Why should they listen to you? How will the information you have to share benefit them?
Your job as a teacher shifts from handing out information to facilitating information exchanges. The more you try to assert yourself as lecturer of pupils, the more they shut down. Establishing a peer relationship right off the bat can go a long way. Technology is beautifully poised to bridge the gap between traditional classroom management and an evolved adult-oriented structure.
You all teach adults and are probably familiar with these ideas already. But there are some interesting trends that are changing the core of education and pushing these considerations to center stage. To frame our discussions for the rest of the presentation, I’d like to take a step back and look at the big picture. Advanced technologies have changed how we eat, play, sleep, and think. They have also changed how we learn, adapt, and educate. This is more than adding PowerPoint to your classrooms or installing whiteboard screens. There are fundamental shifts occurring in education. It is being driven not by new, flashy tools for the classroom, but by the need for students to learn how to operate in this new technologically-driven society.
Let’s start with an example. In school, you were probably taught to learn information. Sounds pretty basic, I know. But think about how the world has changed in the last ten to twenty years. When I was in school, if I needed to learn about Mars, I might find a book at the library using those handy dandy card catalogues- you know, the kind with actual cards. I might ask a teacher, or check an encyclopedia. I would likely find the same handful of facts in all of these sources- the distance between Mars and Earth, the average temperature, named after the Roman god of war. Yes, the sources of information were limited, but that’s not all. There was simply less information.
What happens now if you want to learn about Mars? You might start with a Google search for “mars”, which returns over 1 billion results. You could watch a full 3D animation of the Curiosity rover, and read endless articles about the preparation and landing of the rover. You could learn not only about Mars’ current geology, but the historical geological record starting 4.5 billion years ago. Spinning 3D models, orbit patterns, distance photos, close-up images, details on the soil’s ability to hold atmospheric water content… the sheer scale of information in existence is mind-boggling.
What does this mean to us? There is simply too much information out there for students to learn it all. Educational focus is shifting from learning to navigating. Taking notes used to be a tool used for memorization. People often remember things better simply because they write them down. When the goal is memorization, taking written notes on paper makes a lot of sense. For students today, however, the goal has changed. Students are not trying to memorize data- there is simply too much of it. Students navigate and organize information. They figure out how it applies, and then put it somewhere they will remember to look for it.
Students don’t start with an encyclopedia; they start with a Google search. This means they need an additional skill – the ability to distinguish quality sources from questionable sources. The walls of the classroom don’t have to keep students penned in. They create slideshows to upload to Slideshare for public viewing and commentary. They join live Google video meetings with National Geographic deep sea divers exploring lost relics. They are participating in real world problem-solving and having real impact. They take video, edit it, upload it to YouTube, and gauge its popularity by viewings. They debate over a point with friends, use their smartphone to pull up the answer on Wikipedia, and follow a trail of links that leads them deeper and deeper into the material they’re interested in. And most of these activities are not a part of any actual class. This is how people are choosing to use their time – constantly learning, making, investigating, and contributing.
Now take these students, sit them down in room where everyone faces the same direction, take away all of their resources that they rely on to navigate the world every day, and try to get them to memorize facts. If you thought this seemed like a waste of time when you were in school, imagine what it feels like now! The skills that it takes to thrive in this world have changed. Having some background knowledge is important, but it’s more important to be able to find, evaluate, and corral new information. There is so much content to digest that memorizing even a percent of it is overwhelming. It is more important to successfully categorize it and know how to refer to it when you need to apply it. The underlying goals of education are changing, and these advanced skills require new educational models. There’s another foundational change happening as well.
With all of this content available, learning becomes student-centric. If I want to learn French, I don’t need to enroll in a French class with a French-speaking instructor. I can download a language app like DuoLingo and learn it as a game. I can join a French-learner’s meet-up group in my city and speak with other learners at all different levels. I can find French instructional videos on YouTube, purchase Rosetta stone, check out Pimsleur CDs from the library, download flashcards, print off learning aids… If I want to learn French, I have my choice of learning methodologies and instructors. Once upon a time, there was a single instructor and all the students needed to learn in the way that instructor taught. Now, as a student, I can cherry-pick the best of the best instruction in a blended format that is tailored to my preferred learning style.
These two foundational shifts – learning how to navigate information rather than memorize it and the ability to create a student-centric environment, are resulting in some new educational models. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
In the traditional classroom, students show up. Teacher lectures. Just before the bell rings, Teacher says “complete questions 1-10 from the unit’s check your understanding section.” Student goes home, looks at question 2 and gets stuck. Now, if this is an elementary student with an engaged parent at home, the student asks for help, gets it, and moves on. But if this is an older student whose parents never finished high school, or a student whose house is empty, or if this is a college student or an adult learner, there is no one to answer their question. Student skips number 2, moves on to number 3, gets stuck again and quits for the night. They show up to the next class without their homework done. All the other students hand theirs in, Teacher starts lecturing on the next subject, and right before the bell rings assigns questions 11-20 as homework. Flipped classrooms take advantage of new technologies to address this problem. Here’s what it looks like. Just before the bell rings, Teacher says “watch the unit 3 video before the next class.” Student logs in to the class’s YouTube channel from their smartphone or tablet or computer and watch a recording of the teacher’s lecture. If they miss something, they can re-watch it. If they are a slow note-taker, they can pause the video as often as necessary until they get it. Students show up to class. Teacher says “let’s all do questions 1-10 of the check your understanding section.” Student gets stuck and asks for help and receives it. Or students are already assigned to groups that work together. Or Teacher assigns a more interesting challenging project altogether because that is easier to do in a flipped classroom. Students watch the lectures as their homework, and do their application work in the classroom when help is available. Students who struggle can receive individualized attention during the class period.
This is a very powerful idea that is made practical now that instructors can cheaply and easily record their own lectures and broadcast them to students. Most students, especially in college, already have access to a device that can play the videos. The challenge is ensuring every student has equal access to an appropriate device. Let’s take this one step further. It’s simple, cheap, and easy to digitally record lectures and publish them online. Say a professor at Stanford University teaching Artificial Intelligence records all of his lectures at the beginning of the term and uploads them online. He also preps all of his homework assignments, discussion points, etc and uploads those as well so students can have access to them at any time. Why should this quality education be restricted to the handful of students that are able to get into and afford Stanford University? The digital nature of the instruction means it can be easily re-deployed to any student with internet access. Witness the birth of MOOCs.
MOOCs, Massive Open Online Courses, leverage technology’s ability to replicate as a way to offer education to the masses. Hundreds of students, or in the case of the Artificial Intelligence example, 160,000 students, can all enroll in the same free course, access all the lectures, activities, and complete the entire course for free. MOOCs are having a powerful impact for a couple of reasons. As college tuition is sky-rocketing, people are seeking cheaper ways to gain an education and most MOOCS (at the moment) are free. I think the more powerful change is taking class lectures off the pedestal. In a world where content is everywhere, a class lecture is simply one more way to receive content, placed on an equal footing with reading an article, listening to an audio clip, or finding a YouTube video on the same topic. There is a big mentality shift here. By placing class lectures as just one more way of receiving information, we go back to that student-centric shift I mentioned earlier. Students can cherry-pick their favorite ways of learning new info. It places more pressure on live class instructors. Instructors need to do more than lecture to stay relevant. Lectures can be easily commoditized and distributed. Instructors need to re-evaluate what they bring to the table that goes beyond delivering content.
MOOCs have challenges. Although they are courses offered online, they are distinctly different from online courses. An online course is strategically created to keep all students connected and engaged, with regular interaction to reinforce learning and make sure all students are on the right track. MOOCs are mostly just live classes placed online. At the moment, most of them are not taking advantage of all the research and instructional design advancements that are going into real online courses. Without this, their true learning outcomes are difficult to measure and their completion rates are extremely low, about 3-5%. Students who struggle or who are only partially engaged frequently pull out. But what about those students who do finish? They’ve essentially completed a full Stanford-quality course, but without receiving any credit for it. But shouldn’t it count for something? And now that I mention it, what about everything else people learn? As people find new ways to grow their skills and ensure their own employability, we need new ways to quantify and recognize skills and abilities that people have learned over time. This information matters to employers, but there are few widely-accepted methods of communicating our expertise to the world. Resumes are easily embellished, so we rely on letters of reference and phone calls to previous employers. But we can do better.
Badges are an exciting new development in education. Born from the need for a better method of recognizing, qualifying, and valuing real evidence of individual performance ability, badges blend the best of credentialing with the simplicity of gaming. When I complete a MOOC on Architectural History, I may not receive 3 credits from Stanford, but I could receive a badge that says I successfully created an architectural design that blended architectural standards from four distinct eras, correctly classified architectural features based on their region, era, and materials, and connected structural changes with the changes in building technologies over time. Doesn’t this tell you more about my ability than 3 credits in a course called Architectural History anyway? Major players like Microsoft and Google are jumping on the badge bandwagon. With Mozilla creating an OpenBadges standard, it seems quite possible that badges will be the new common currency for credentials. Currently you can earn a variety of badges in different fields, although they are most commonly available in the technology world. The idea is still in its infancy, but is gaining momentum daily.
As I mentioned earlier, the big shifts are not huge IT budgets paying for shiny new equipment. It’s more structural than that. I share this information with you today not because you need to start creating MOOCs or offering badges, but so that you stay on track with how education is evolving and can adapt your techniques to stay relevant. We are all here because we want to have an impact. But if we teach in a bubble, and let the world evolve around us, we lost touch. This is why, on that survey we sent out, I asked how long it has been since you were active in real estate. It’s not a good thing or a bad thing, but if it has been more than 3-5 years for the majority of the class, then there are some new standards in operating that you may not have worked with before. I’m currently buying a house. I have never driven to my agent’s office. I sign all my paperwork at home, online, using Authentisign. Her next steps are all laid out for her in her transaction management software so she is instantly aware when everyone has signed and official copies of the agreements are automatically sent to all parties’ email seconds later. I’ve never even met our mortgage guy, and we’re ¾ of the way through the process. This is the new standard for working with people in their 30s or younger. Staying relevant as an educator doesn’t mean you need to learn how to use transaction management software or Authentisign. It does mean you need to recognize that your students are trying to thrive under new circumstances and allow them enough freedom to operate in the way that works best for them.
Students need less focus on memorizing information and more experience navigating, qualifying, and applying the content. How can we help students learn these skills? Are we pointing them toward quality resources? Are we creating mobile-friendly strategies that make the best use of tools that students are already carrying around with them? It’s a new student-centric world. Are we delivering content in multiple formats so students can select the method that works best for them? Are we recognizing that learning occurs through multiple venues and valuing this education? What are instructors bringing to the live classroom experience? Is it simply a lecture, or do we bring more to the table? Are we helping students apply the content, connect the content to their everyday actions, incorporate the content into real world scenarios? How are we evaluating student abilities? Are classes resulting in improved performance? How do we know? What sort of outcome-based measuring could we add to ensure that time spent learning results in the behavior changes you hoped for? We’re going to look at a few solutions to these structural changes later today.
First, I want to tell you a bit about my start down the technology path. Once upon a time (well, in college), I was recruited into a tech support job position. In the words of my boss at the time, “I have a room full of brilliant techies, but none of them can explain technology to the people who come to us for help.” He assured me he could teach me the technical end of things, but he wasn’t able to teach me the ability to explain it simply and patiently to people. That was the skill he was hiring me for. I loved this job, and I had no idea how profoundly it would impact my future. I learned how to learn new technology. Almost every program we used back then is now obsolete, but that’s irrelevant. I learned how to learn the new ones. I also learned I was not a techie, or at least not the kind I worked with. I felt, and I still feel, that Technology should make life simpler. Most techies didn’t share this philosophy with me. They liked new gadgets and new programs specifically because they were complicated. They loved the challenge. I once asked the guys I worked with a question about video editing. They recommended I try the new video editor that came with 20 different ways to contort the audio feed to create your own special effects. I just wanted to piece together a home movie and cut out the 3 seconds where my thumb was covering the camera.
I look for technology that is simple, intuitive, and whenever possible, free. In this session, we are not going to be talking about the newest, coolest, most expensive new programs, gadgets, and buzzwords. We will be covering some basic tools that have been around awhile, that you may have used before, that can be incorporated into your classes with minimal risk and hassle. First, let me share a couple of tips I learned working with the IT guys. When technology is making life more complicated, this is usually due to one of two reasons: I am using the wrong tool, or I am using the right tool incorrectly.
Start with the right tool. What is the right tool? It is the most basic tool that will accomplish what you need to accomplish. If you need to crop a photo and email it to your mother, you probably should not be using Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop is capable of cropping a photo, but by the time you figured out how to open the photo and crop it, you have stumbled through a maze of unnecessarily complicated steps. If you start with a program like Google’s free photo editor, Picassa, you open the photo, crop it, and email it to Mom in minutes. So how do you find the right tools? I love the review blogs. “Top 10 survey creators.” “Top 10 apps for teachers.” Many bloggers have deals that reward them for highlighting the benefits of some specific software, so I try to avoid the blogs that are completely centered on one piece of software. I look for the ones that compare the pros and cons of multiple programs, so I can select which features I care about and decide how much I’m willing to pay for them. Use the tool correctly. Whenever I download a new program, I take the tour. Three minutes of watching someone else use the tool correctly while they are explaining it to me saves me hours of frustration and headaches. Often, watching a tour shows me that this is not actually the right tool like I thought it was, and I go back to finding the right tool. With a few exceptions, user guides are generally written by the very IT guys I used to work with. Brilliant people, who may not be able to explain things to us laymen very well. Asking friends can help, but quite honestly, I usually start with YouTube. I go to YouTube.com, and search for something like “how to create survey on survey monkey” or “how to connect wireless printer”. I find that starting with the words “how to” eliminates a lot of videos on people trying to sell me a wireless printer or QR code software, and directs me immediately to the tutorials I am looking for. Simple tools used correctly can be very powerful, so let’s talk about how we can use them in a classroom. Next up, we’re going to talk about specific tools.
Why do we use PowerPoint? I’m happy to tell you why I personally use PowerPoint—it means I don’t have to memorize 4 hrs worth of content and I have prompts on screen to keep me on track. Most shared computers have some version of Microsoft Office on them, so if my laptop were to fall into a pool, I could pretty easily pull up my presentation on a borrowed computer. It’s familiar. It’s easy. I think these are all very legitimate reasons to use PowerPoint.That said, PowerPoint is boring. Heading… bullets. Heading…bullets. Heading…bullets. For the first 3-5 slides, the bullets may help you zone in on the key points I’m trying to make, but you’ll tune out quickly thereafter if I stick with pattern. So, let’s assume we use PowerPoint as a memory prompt. I’m inclined to think that is the number one reason that the program stays as popular as it does. If this is your primary reason, there are some pretty great alternatives out there that serve just as well for keeping your presentation on track while spicing it up a bit.
http://prezi.com/wb0d2qdqvn1u/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copySo, let’s assume we use PowerPoint as a memory prompt. I’m inclined to think that is the number one reason that the program stays as popular as it does. If this is your primary reason, there are some pretty great alternatives out there that serve just as well for keeping your presentation on track while spicing it up a bit. Prezi is one of the most common ones. It’s simple, intuitive, and free. It’s a beautiful tool for visually compelling presentations. One of my favorite aspects of Prezi is the reliance on themes. Spicing up dry content can be a challenge. Sometimes I’ll start the course design process at the Prezi website. A good visual can help me reframe my boring legal update into a space exploration metaphor or a detective story. There are a couple of considerations for Prezi. Prezi is internet-based, meaning your presentation doesn’t live on your computer, but out there on a cloud in cyberspace somewhere. If you teach in a building that always has WiFi available, then you’re fine. If you change locations, and internet access is not guaranteed, you do have the option of downloading the full presentation to your computer (I recommend doing this regardless of internet connection, just in case.) And here’s a lesson I learned the hard way. I was presenting using Prezi at a hotel. I already checked that my iPad got a solid WiFi signal. Someone else’s computer was hooked up to the projector, so I was supposed to just pull up my presentation from their computer. I could login to Prezi and find my presentation, but it wouldn’t play. After a few minutes, the IT guy’s best guess was that the hotel blocked some types of ports which prevented the program from working. (I still don’t really know what that means.) If I had been using my own laptop, I would have been able to pull up my downloaded version, but I didn’t have time to re-adjust the whole setup. Instead, I ended up holding my iPad as my own prompt and no one got to see my flashy presentation. So, moral of the story is… Prezi is cool. It is minimal risk to execute if you take the right precautions – use your own computer and present from your downloaded version or use it in a location you are very familiar with and can count on a solid WiFi connection.
http://youtu.be/HAG_47G_7N4Powtoonis another free program that is quick to learn. The first time you login, a 2-min video will show you all the tools to get you started. Here’s an example of a PowToon I created in under 30 min. <Create PowToon>The very design of PowToon forces you to rethink your content presentation. There’s no heading…bullets…heading…bullets drudgery happening here. Animations work best with scenarios, and people connect with scenarios far better than bullets. By choosing a program that challenges your content delivery method, you spark a new storytelling focus in your presentation. What happens to your PowToon after you create it? With the free version, you can automatically upload it to YouTube. If you have a blog or website, you can get copy the embed code and paste it into your site so that it can play from there. If you want to download a copy of your video so you can play it from your computer, however, you need to pay for a subscription. For a one-month subscription, it costs about $80 (or $30 a month if you sign up for a full year.) Since this is a bit of a hassle, I recommend using the free version of PowToon either as supplemental material posted online or using it only when you can depend on quality internet access in your building.
iMindMap is another program that forces you to rethink the delivery structure of your content. The visual layout of mind maps helps your students visualize how seemingly disconnected pieces fit together. This works particularly well with abstract concepts that resist being forced into scenarios. I’ve created a MindMap of the resources covered during this presentation. Let’s take a look at it in presentation form: <Open MindMap presentation>They also turn into really sharp looking handouts. There are quite a few free apps that create mind maps. I use MindMeister on my iPad. My favorite mind map software is iMindMap. They have a free version, and let you try out their advanced version for a month. After a month, I was so hooked on their really awesome tools, like the single button that you click that adjusts your map so everything is equidistant and nothing looks crowded, that I was willing to pay for. I think it’s the most expensive piece of software I’ve ever purchased at $250, and it’s my absolute favorite piece of software. My recommendation, of course, is to try the free versions. If you love mind mapping and find, like I do, that the process helps structure your thoughts in a way that nothing else can, and you rely on the mind mapping as your primary tool, then maybe consider forking out the cash for this. Otherwise, the free options will probably suffice.
I mentioned earlier that I like technology that is simple, intuitive, free, and in classrooms, it must come with minimal risk to execute and minimal hassle to set up. Some of these options come with some execution risk and a bit of hassle. If you’re tech savvy and can handle these issues on the fly, go for it. If you have nightmares of standing in front of a group of people trying to get your tech running, or the idea of having to wing it keeps you up at night, if minimal risk and minimal hassle are the top criteria you use to select your technology… then stick with PowerPoint. That’s the decision I made for this workshop. I’m presenting on 4 different islands, each time in a building I’ve never been to before which may or may not have WiFi and I may or may not be using my own computer. PowerPoint all the way. It’s a safe choice.But if you make this choice, then I would challenge you to use it differently. Abandon their templates and their heading…bullets…heading simplicity. Play with Prezi or PowToon or MindMap to launch yourself out of bullet-delivery mode and into storytelling mode. Design your course to work in Prezi, and then build a PowerPoint that follows your more engaging storytelling design. Add just enough prompts to keep your content on track and skip all the excess text. Don’t use PowerPoint as a CYA tool to cover write out everything you forget. Use it as a prop built into the storytelling experience. All of these tools relate to content delivery. From our earlier discussion on trends in education, the content itself is only part of the issue. Student engagement and the whole classroom experience is changing as well. We’ll look at that next.
Provide ResourcesAdults are self-directed learners. I can give you a handout and direct you to the second paragraph on page 4. If you are really interested in this class, you will probably follow along. If you are only here because you need to fulfill this course as part of your commission’s requirements, chances of you bothering to read the paragraph are much slimmer. But people like their gadgets. They like to play with their toys. They like being in control of their environment. Flipsnack is one really simple way to give students a bit more control while keeping them engaged. Flipsnack is pretty cool. You can upload a pdf and turn it into a really snazzy looking flipbook. I’ve created one here: <Create Flipsnack book and adjust directions below>You can use Flipsnack as a way to further engage students by putting your presentation in their hands and allowing them track with you. Here’s how I created this Flipsnack book. I created my standard PowerPoint presentation with my speech in the notes section. I turned this into a pdf using ScanSoft PDF creator. I uploaded the PDF to the Flipsnack website. I checked the box that enabled your ability to search this book for keywords. I tinkered a bit with the look of the book and clicked publish. That’s it. It’s that easy. How many of you have the ability to create a PDF right now? Okay, this is really a case of “you get what you pay for.” For $50, you can buy Nuance PDF creator, which allows you to create PDFs, swap out pages, insert pages, or take PDFs and convert them into word documents. If you prefer a free option, there are oodles of them out there. ScanSoft PDF is the one I use. In effect, it acts like a printer. Whenever I want to print something, I can select “ScanSoft PDF” as my printer, and instead of printing it turns it into a PDF. I do this for all my online shopping receipts and anything else where I want a hard copy on file. I just don’t actually create the hard copy, but save the file to my computer instead. A simple PDF creator like this is great for creating handouts and resources to publish online. Here’s the “get what you pay for part.” Free programs like ScanSoft can take a Word doc and turn it into a PDF, but if you want to reverse that and turn a PDF into a Word doc, you need to pay for some software. Also, ScanSoft and the other freebies tend to install “companion” software, like a special search toolbar. They sometimes come with pop-ups and other really annoying things that I hate. But the convenience is worth it to me because I use the feature all the time. Just make sure you read what you’re installing and if, during installation, you have the option of unchecking the “special features” that come with the program, do it.
Let’s go back to that idea of student-centric learning. Adults resist being spoon-fed and often prefer self-directed learning. This is one of the fun parts about working with adults. They choose what to look into, what to pay attention to. Yes, they need to learn about the new disclosure law. But is it really important that they learn it solely from your PowerPoint slide? Could they also learn by reading the law itself? Glancing through the local association’s summary of the impact on the law? Looking at a well-constructed blog post that discusses the pros and cons of the law? Let’s revisit the role of an instructor. There is no scarcity of information out there. If you are teaching a course on writing good CMAs, students can find information on CMAs from a thousand different sources in a hundred different formats. The information is available. Your role as facilitator is to share it. Direct your students to the best sources, and let them investigate these sources while you talk about them.
Have you ever made a statement during a course and had a student correct you because they looked it up on Wikipedia and Wikipedia said something different? Yeah, that’s obnoxious. But it’s also a good sign. It means your student was engaged and seeking out resources on their own. Wouldn’t it be better, though, if they were checking your accuracy against higher quality resources? Perhaps the same ones you referenced when creating your course? Do it. Pick some method of social media that you like. Okay, full disclosure here. Theoretically, Twitter should be the ideal platform to do this with, except I just cannot get myself to like Twitter. I know how it’s supposed to work, I have an account, and I hate it. I also don’t feel bad about hating it. There are enough options out there that I don’t need to like them all, even if they are super popular. But, if you’re a Twitter fan, then use Twitter to do this because it will work really well. I’m going to go with the social media that I personally like, Google+ and Pinterest. LinkedIn or Wordpress would work well here, as would Pocket, Reddit, and any number of websites that allow you to save and share content. Okay, here’s the theory. I do a lot of research. While I’m reading articles, I stumble across things that I’m going to want to find later. Once upon a time, this meant I would print it off, file it in a folder, and save it in drawer for that hypothetical day in the future when I will hypothetically remember that I found it, that I saved it, and where I filed it. Social media offers a better way. When I find an insightful blog post or pertinent journal article, I share it on my social media site. In this case, my Google+ account. To do this, I downloaded a free little program that stuck a Google+ button on my browser. This enables me to instantly share any website I like directly to my Google+ account.
Let’s say I know that I’m going to be putting on a workshop on a certain topic, let’s say—oh I don’t know-- technology in the classroom. When I get ready to create my presentation, I’m going to want to find all these relevant resources. It would be really handy if I could just search for everything related to that topic. If, as I share them on Google+, I consistently label them “Technology in the Classroom”, then I’ll be able to do exactly this. I can go to my Google+ site, search for my label, and I’ll automatically filter out all the unrelated articles. But it doesn’t work exactly perfectly. I pull up everything related to Technology in the Classroom, but also everything that includes the word technology or classroom. What I really need is a coded label, something that would only come up as a search result if someone specifically labeled it for the sake of easy searching. How about technologyintheclassroom, all squished together with no spaces. It’s highly unlikely this will show up in an article. Just to be sure, let’s add a symbol that clearly indicates that this is my label to be used for searching and is not just some bad typing. Let’s add the number symbol, also known as the hash sign. #technologyintheclassroom.This is a hashtag.Even if the term is unfamiliar to you, you’ve probably seen these popping up all over. If you’re a Twitter fan, you are intimately involved with hashtags. But it’s not just a Twitter thing. You can use hashtags any time you want to code something for yourself for easy retrieval at a later date. I love simple tech, and this is a beautiful example of that. It’s a very clean idea, and it’s sheer simplicity makes it so powerful.
So let’s build on this idea. During my research for this workshop, I created the hashtag #technologyintheclassroom so that I could easily find the relevant resources later. But hey, this is social media. Let’s make it social. You all have access to my Google+ account. You can find me here: https://plus.google.com/113537280177917162397 or search for my name: Alycea Snyder. Do a search for #technologyintheclassroom. There you go. You now have access to a long list of resources I referenced while putting together this workshop. It was no extra work on my part to share my resources with you. I just needed to tell you what hashtag would yield the right results. <Add this hashtag to sources>Okay, let’s take this idea a bit further. You are now looking at all the resources that I personally compiled that relate to technology in the classroom. Why stop there? There are many other people compiling similar resources on the same topic. What if we all used the same hashtag so that when someone did a search, the results were comprehensive? Take a look at the other hashtags already associated with an article that you find relevant. Some frequent ones I see are #Edtech, #Classroom, #Education, #edtrends. In Google+, you can click on these hashtags to see all the other posts that have the same hashtag assigned.
When deciding what to call your own special label, you may want to use one that already exists so you can expand your results. Or, you may want to make yours extra unique so that you don’t get any of those extra results. For example, my research pertains to a specific workshop. I could created a hashtag like #HI2013IDW. Then, only instructors attending the HI instructor development workshop in 2013 would really care about it. Except…Here’s a new trend that’s happening. Suppose there is an awesome conference you want to go but it doesn’t work with your schedule or its too expensive. Conferences now generally come with a pre-determined hashtag similar to #HI2013IDW. Everyone who is tweeting about the conference, sharing their insights on their blogs, posting articles they heard about during the conference, or making any comments at all about the conference are all using the same hashtag. If you know what this hashtag is, you can participate vicariously through the people attending the conference live. You can read their insights, follow their links, and take away some of the best content by following their posts. This is called the Backchannel. It’s a growing trend, specifically for the technical elite. The last couple conferences I attended had specific staff members dedicated to following the backchannel and curating the best content under a more specific hashtag so you could directly filter down to only the content that someone has designated as insightful. If you’re a Twitter buff, you’ll love this. The NAR conference in San Francisco this year starts November 8. I went to Twitter and searched for “NAR Conference” and found the hashtag #narannual. During the NAR conference, search whatever social media site you like best for this hashtag and see what comes up. You may be surprised at the depth of connection find using such a simple tool.
Let’s apply the same general idea to Pinterest. Download the little “Pin It” button for your browser. Now every time you find a website you like and want to save for later, click the Pin It button. You can create a specific digital bulletin board for each course or topic or audience – whatever organizational method works best for you. In this case, I wanted a bulletin board I could specifically share with the fabulous instructors attending this workshop, so I titled mine HI IDW 2013.
It doesn’t really matter which social media platform you choose. The underlying structure remains the same. Corral all of your resources into one location where people can easily find them, give them the hashtag or search term or bulletin board name so they know where to look, and ta-da. Students are now empowered to drive their own learning. Remember when we said there is too much information out there to expect people to memorize stuff? Here’s one solution. Work with them, teach them how to navigate. Be the quality source for resources for them in the future. I’m going to keep using the hashtag #technologyintheclassroom as I find new resources even after I’m done with this workshop. Feel free to keep looking to my Google+ page for updates in the future. And provide your students with that same service. They’ll start referencing more reputable sources than About.com and Wikipedia if you show them where to find them. I hear resistance to this idea. Instructors like to be in complete control of their environment under the misconception that this means they are directing student focus. Let’s be really honest here. Do you think it works?
Okay, how many of you have had this student in your course? When you see this student at the back of your classroom, what do you think she is doing? The gut reaction from many teachers is “slacking off.” I want to challenge this gut reaction. Yes, she might be playing angry birds, but is that any different than doodling in the margins?
There is something to be said for a quiet library-like atmosphere that allows complete concentration. But there is also legitimacy in the busy, lively atmosphere that real estate agents thrive in. Truly extroverted people are energized by activity. Flipping through Facebook posts of their friends can spark their brains, keep them engaged, and make them feel connected. The library atmosphere is generally not the locale of choice for adult learners. People bring their laptops to coffee shops for the background buzz and energy that they feed off of. I learned years ago that I retain more if my hands and eyes also have something to focus on. In classrooms, I take notes; I doodle. At work, I juggle multiple activities all of the time. At home, I juggle more. In class, my natural inclination is to continue to work on multiple things the whole time. If the instructor does not provide me with anything else to focus on, I’ll probably find something on my own (and it’s not likely to be related to the class). Real estate agents are accustomed to handling multiple requests, and reducing their speed to library-friendly can quickly put them to sleep.
People like their technology. People like playing with gadgets. So give them something to play with. Instructors are taught to provide handouts, right? Something that people can refer to in the future? It’s good in theory, but what happens to the majority of the papers you receive at classes? I have no idea where mine are. But that’s because, when I want to know something, I don’t dig through files looking for a piece of paper I received at a class three years ago. I Google it. And so does everyone else. If you really want to provide a valuable take-away from your course, provide them with references they really will use in the future. That means resources that are digital and searchable. And let students access those resources while they are in the classroom. Let them tweet it with their own hashtag or pin it to their own Pinterest board in the moment while they are thinking about it. Taking their phones away simply hampers their ability to integrate the new information into their lives. This is a big hurdle to jump. We’ve been taught for decades that the pose of an engaged student is sitting straight, pencil in hand, eyes forward. I think we’ve missed the boat here. Let’s look at an example.
Students need to organize, store, and reference information rather than memorize it. What does this mean for educators? Well, we need to re-define what it means to learn. You may have seen this image of Bloom’s taxonomy of learning domains before. Let’s say agents working with short sale buyers have an additional disclosure form they must use. In a quiet room with all gadgets put away, you introduce a new required disclosure form in the short sale process. You tell students that a new disclosure form is required and they heard you. <highlight Knowledge.> You handout paper copies of the form and explain the information. You ask them if they understand all the required components of the form, and being such attentive students, they all nod.<highlight Comprehension.> You might bring up a discussion of why it was needed, and toss in a case study to reinforce the form’s necessity. <highlight Analysis.> All eyes are on you, and most of the students jotted down something in their notes. You can feel confident that your class learned this information… right? Sure. But let’s try the other method. In a room full of students with thumbs flying and fingers clicking annoyingly on their gadgets, you introduce a new required disclosure form in the short sale process. Students find the link on your WordPress blog, and pull up a copy of the form on their phone. They open a PDF editor and add a comment to the form to remind them that the “brokerage contact information” field should include both a phone number and an email address. <Highlight Comprehension>Agents are unlikely to memorize all of the steps involved in handling a short sale from start to finish. But that’s okay- They aren’t relying on memory. When they hear about a new step in this process, they save a copy of the blank form in their Google Docs folder with all of the other short sale forms. <Highlight Application> They open their to-do list template in their transaction management software to add the step to the process. Someone asks “Do we need to get this signed before the buyer makes an offer, or before we even show the house to them?” <Highlight Synthesis> Someone else argues that, even though they should, not everyone puts “short sale - subject to lender’s approval” in the MLS listing. Would we get in trouble for showing someone a short sale house prior to delivering this disclosure, if though we don’t even know it’s a short sale? <Highlight Evaluation> Would you agree that this sounds like quality learning? From the instructor perspective at the front of this classroom, you know what this looks like? Yup. Her. I would argue that the students in this scenario not only learned the material, but learned it better than the classic model, even though they tinkered with their gadgets the whole time.
This is an educator’s dream! You don’t have to deliver information, and hope it sticks long enough to be applied. Students can incorporate your material into their real lives in real time. The tools to learn hands-on are already in their hands. There is a lot of expensive technology out there to help direct students’ attention to the content, like those clickers that students can us to answer questions and the computer summarizes the answers and puts them on the screen. While they are kinda cool, they often focus on the knowledge and comprehension levels of learning. Analysis, synthesis, and evaluation occur more easily in context. Technology has provided real estate agents with the ability to work from anywhere. For educators, the result is awesome. Students can apply what they learn in real time, from the classroom, while you are teaching it. If you present information in a way that supports immediate application – providing digital copies of handouts, linking to additional resources, encouraging them to take a moment now to add the new step to their process – you direct student focus to what really matters: integration of the material.
I’ve been talking at you awhile, and I’m interested in hearing some of your ideas. We’ve covered some ways in which we can use new technologies to deliver content better. Now I’d like to spend some time thinking about how we can use technology to ramp up student participation. Let’s break into groups of 3 to 4 people and compile some ideas around this. (If there are enough tablets/laptops in the room and there is WiFi, pull up the shared Google Doc.) https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nB2mHGAJaziB3SVQEdisRR24sC2wDPXuUR-Feil4O1U/edit?usp=sharing<Share ideas, discuss pros and cons, document on Google Doc.> <Create an in-class survey?>
Let’s talk a bit about this GoogleDoc. How many of you have used Google Docs before? Google Docs are neat for a number of reasons, but here’s the biggest one. Many people can be editing the same document at the same time and Google can handle it. It’s pretty slick for group projects like this one. Compare this to the traditional method for group brainstorming sessions like this. Instructor divides students into groups, one person per group takes notes. Class gathers as one again and each group spokesperson reads off their notes. Instructor might write down all the ideas on the whiteboard as they go. A couple of diligent students copy down everything the instructor writes, but most just watch.There are a couple of differences in the Google Doc method. The first one is obvious. Rather than notes being written on the whiteboard, they are stored digitally in a location that students have access to. Students can copy, paste, save, and store these anywhere they want. That’s a surface change, though, and it’s the underlying structural change about this that I really like. It goes back to control over environment. Let’s say I am one of the quiet students in the traditional classroom. Don’t laugh – it’s not that far of a stretch. In my group, I may share some of my ideas verbally, but maybe not. And if I do, the spokesperson for my group may not be patient enough to let me get my whole idea out. They may just jot down a couple of key words but miss my main idea. When the spokesperson shares our ideas, it’s clear they really didn’t understand mine. And then the instructor further interprets it, also not what I meant to say. And I’m one of the quiet ones. I’m not going to pipe up and correct them. In this digital environment, however, everyone with a device has a voice. Perhaps one person in the group is typing, but they could just as easily pass a tablet around so everyone adds their own idea in their own words. Or I could just pull up my smartphone and add my own thoughts without ever speaking a word. Students can provide as little or as much detail as they want to make sure they get their point across. There’s a generational thing happening here. Millennials are used to having a voice, whether they are outspoken or shy. Super-verbal students still dominate the classroom discussion, but that’s about the only place. When moved to an online world, the quieter shyer students contribute equally. Moreover, these are often the students that tune out the live classroom because they are the ones who are pushed out of the class discussions. They are often more comfortable in a venue like Google Docs where they can take their time and share their whole idea without getting interrupted. The rest of the world has evolved to make a place for these quieter folks and they get equal billing in the digital world. It’s time for the classroom environment to catch on.
Let’s talk a bit about using an iPad as a presentation tool. I’m going to focus solely on iPads for the moment. I don’t know how this works for Nexus or other Android-based tablets, but it’s a less common conversation so I’m guessing iPads are further along the path here.
There’s a really beautiful image in my head about how this works. I ditch the bulky laptop from my travel bag and load my presentation materials onto my iPad. During a class, I freely wander the room, using my iPad to mirror that presentation and act as a remote to control what the audience sees on the projector. The image is HD crisp and clear, just like it looks on my iPad. It’s a nice image, right? Technically this is all possible today. So why don’t we see more of it? Because in reality, it’s not that easy yet. In this scenario, I am controlling my presentation from my iPad. This is easily done through an app like Keynote, Apple’s answer to PowerPoint. For 99 cents, you can download the Keynote Remote app to your iPhone or iPad, which allows you to use your phone or tablet as remote control to operate your slides. But how does your iPad talk to the projector? Most people who are currently doing this are connecting their iPad to their Mac laptop using Bluetooth. This means they are traveling with both the iPad and the laptop. They connect their Mac directly to the projector. The Keynote Remote app controls the presentation on the laptop, and the laptop is connected to the projector. If you have a Mac laptop and this is appealing, you can do it. If you want to leave the laptop at home and operate solely off the iPad, you need something that makes the iPad talk to the projector. Older projectors require a VGA plug-in, which is the same plug-in that connects your monitor to your desktop computer. You can buy a VGA adapter for your iPad for $30. This allows you to project whatever is on your iPad onto the screen. But VGA adapters are not HD and you will lose resolution when you connect it to this older projector. And now you are tethered to the projector by your VGA adapter, so you lose that mobility to wander the room. In theory, you could set up your iPhone as a remote to control your iPad, but I’ve never tried it and can’t seem to find many people who have. Newer projectors have HDMI capability. This is a different shape plug-in that retains the HD crisp picture on the projection. You can buy an HDMI adapter for $40. Again, you are now tethered to the projector. How do you know whether the projector will require an HDMI or VGA adapter? Most projectors have VGA capabilities, and only the newer ones have HDMI, so VGA is your best bet. Plus, due to the wiring setup, even when new projectors are available, often a VGA plug-in is the only option without climbing a ladder to the ceiling and plugging the HDMI cord directly into the suspended projector. What about Apple TVs and Airplay? Apple TVs are popping up in boardrooms as replacements for projectors, and there’s something to be optimistic about here. You should be able to mirror what you see on your iPad to what is shown on the Apple TV. This works. But the iPad doesn’t talk directly to the Apple TV. You once again need an adapter, called an AirPort Express, which costs $100. This adapter enables a function called AirPlay. However, everything broadcast over AirPlay is being sent via WiFi, not Bluetooth. This means you need a strong wireless internet signal or nothing will show up on your screen. It’s a pretty slick setup for your home, or for a cutting edge office meeting space. As an educator, I think using my iPad as my sole source for presentations is a ways off yet. When it comes to minimal risk, I’m hesitant to put my full faith in someone else’s wireless internet capabilities. There are rumors that Apple was creating an upgrade that could work without WiFi, but I couldn’t find anything that said it had happened. There are wireless VGA adapters that clock in around $150. If you scan the forums, lots of people talk about them, but they have hit and miss reviews. Here’s the takeaway message – running your presentation off of an iPad is, in my opinion, still a bit too messy and risky for me to attempt it. But I bet in two years that will have changed. Does that mean we should write iPads and tablets off out of our toolkit for the next two years? Absolutely not. While they aren’t yet ideal as a group presentation tool, they are still a valid teaching tool. They may not be ideal for connecting to projectors yet, but that’s all related to content delivery and, as we’ve been discussing, there are so many other aspects of a live class. If you take the iPad out of the instructor’s hands and put it into students’ hands, a whole world of opportunity opens up. It goes back to that core idea from the very beginning. Listening to a lecture is not the only way to learn, and a device in every pocket opens up the possibilities.
The next concept goes back to that idea of what it means to really learn material. The focus of a lot of education has moved from memorizing information to being able to find, sort, and apply the correct bit of information when it’s needed. Supporting future learning, therefore, is not about shoveling more information at students, but helping them identify, streamline, and prioritize the information that’s already being blasted at them. Here’s the best part. This doesn’t have to be any extra work. Remember when we were researching our course and we created specific hashtags so that we could find our own research materials, and then share those materials with our students? This is the same idea, extended after the classroom. Let’s say I regularly teach courses on timeshares. Every time I see an article I like or a relevant case study, I’m going to add my own little hashtag #timeshare and repost it to my favorite social media site, let’s say Pinterest. Students who attend my classes have connected with me on Pinterest and perhaps started following my “Timeshare” board. That connection didn’t go away when the course ended. In six months, when I find another great resource about timeshares, I’m going to pin it to my Pinterest Timeshare board and label it with the hashtag #timeshare. If students chose to follow this board, the next time they login to Pinterest this new pin will show up for them. Or, three months down the road, when they are dealing with an issue similar to one I described in the class, they can go to Pinterest and search for the #timeshare hashtag and pull up the resources from that class.
This doesn’t have to be a social media thing. If you prefer, you could use your regular blog as the location where you post everything related to your course research. Wordpress is public, so you don’t have to worry about students needing accounts with Wordpress to view your blog. This has the added benefit of making your blog more active, which may help you come up in more Google searches as an expert in a specific topic if that is part of how you market yourself. If a student remembers that you were the instructor, they could Google you, find your blog, and find the resources. I presented a session similar to this one at a REEA conference and I created an example WordPress site. You can view that here: http://alyceasnyder.wordpress.com/Remember, though, that it’s a student-centric world now, with one student and many instructors. It’s far more likely that a student will remember that they heard something about a timeshare, and forget where they heard it from. They are more likely to think of the hashtag #timeshare than to remember your name or your blog location. There are pros and cons to both approaches, and it largely comes down to what you are most comfortable with.
There are additional ways to support long-term recall of your course content. How many of you practice delivering your course content? I was a speech and drama dork in high school, so this is a standard piece of prep work for me. Perhaps you can make these practice sessions pull double duty. Remember that idea of a flipped classroom, where instructors record their presentation for students to watch at home before coming to the classroom? If you’re already practicing your presentations anyway, then you could record them as well. Audacity is a free, simple tool that can record your audio. <Open audacity>It’s capable of fulfilling all your basic editing needs and is laid out in a really intuitive format. If you record yourself as you practice, you receive the benefit of hearing it played back so you can polish your presentation skills. When you are done, you can export your recording as an MP3 file and upload it to your WordPress blog or your website. Label it with a hashtag and share it with your students to refer to in the future if they want to revisit something you said during class. Present Me records more than your audio. You can record your video, or your slides with your audio, or both. Educators can have 10 free recordings per month. <Create presentme><Open presentme>If you are interested in seeing the final product of this, I used Present Me to record a session for Florida real estate educators last week. You can see it here: <insert link>.
We’ve covered a lot of big ideas so far, and I mentioned a list of programs, tools, and techniques. I’d like to take a few minutes now to delve deeper into a couple of ideas that you want more information about. As a group, let’s decide the top 2 or 3 processes you would like me to demonstrate in detail, and we’ll run through all of the steps right now. Let’s do this using SurveyMonkey. I’ve created a survey that you can access here: <create survey><insert survey link>Please take a look at the list of demonstrations we could run through and check the top 2 that you would to see in detail today. After you have done that, look around the room and find someone to share your device with so they can vote as well. I have my iPad up here and anyone is welcome to use that to vote as well.
To be quite blunt, this whole setup can be pretty distracting. There are some simple tricks you can use to keep your ideal learning environment, even with students typing, clicking, and swiping while you teach.
First, set the expectation. Tell students that smartphones and tablets are welcome, and request they turn off the volume to minimize distraction. Let them know that you have provided some digital resources for them if they prefer to use these over the paper handouts. Instruct them in finding the resources. Get the wireless password. Whenever you teach in a new building, ask your facilitator in advance if wireless internet access is available. If it requires a password, get it in advance and either add it to your first slide, or write in a whiteboard to allow students settling in to get connected. Reconsider your break times. If I am an agent waiting anxiously to hear whether or not my sellers are going to accept the offer, it’s going to be very difficult to keep me from checking my email. And when the email comes through saying “tell the buyers we’ll accept the offer”, I want to act on it. In a strict environment where the instructor has told me to put away all devices, guess what I am thinking about. The new disclosure form required of short sales? Not a chance. I am watching the clock, waiting for the next chance to check my email. Why do we take a 15-minute break every two hours? To accommodate the average size bladder and the time it takes to smoke a cigarette? Maybe we could factor in “email-checking time”. Offer a 5-minute break after one hour- long enough to check your email and send a text message- and a 10-minute break an hour later. Make sure everyone can participate. If you incorporate additional technologies- like texting in responses to a poll question- let students know they should partner up if they did not bring a phone with them today. If you offer online handouts, bring a couple of paper versions, or at the very least, something that helps them find your digital handouts later. Check the lights. Looking at a screen can be really harsh under those super-bright fluorescents. Often you can opt to turn on half of the lights at a time, which can help your screen-loving students stay focused and headache-free. Listen to what you say. This very basic suggestion may be one of the hardest to practice. Years of using PowerPoint has taught teachers that they don’t need to say everything out loud, because it is all right there on the screen for students to read themselves. Listen to a recording of most classrooms, and you hear a lot of “this, that, and here.” “This is the form that you use.” “Make sure that if you see damage like that, you ask the seller’s for details.” One of the biggest challenges for educators is accepting that students are looking down. Skipping over details while teaching can be a difficult habit to break. The first step is to eliminate those details from your actual slides- they don’t belong there anyway. The second step is to really listen to what you say. With or without a phone in their hands, there are many auditory learners depending on the words you say more than the words you show them on a screen. Make sure you are actually delivering the whole message out loud.“Use the ‘Buyers Short Sale Disclosure’ Form.”When it is important to actually see what is on the screen, say so. “If you ever see a water stain that looks like it seeped up from the floor – this image is a good example of what you are looking for - ask the sellers for details.”
Today’s session was tech-heavy so that I could share some demonstrations with you, although in practice you would never jump between 15 different programs during one class. Simpler is often better, and there are certain circumstances that really work better in old school fashion. Having WiFi access in a building makes a big difference. Without WiFi, students with smartphones will be able to access the internet, but most students with tablets and laptops will not be able to. If you regularly teach in locations that do not provide free wireless access, then tailor your technology to programs that work well with phones, like survey monkey. Reading long pdfs or completing mini essays will be difficult to do in a phone-only environment. If you are in a WiFi environment and most of your students show up with tablets or laptops, you have the freedom to abandon a lot of your presentation time and rely more heavily on students investigating resources on their own or in groups. If your wireless signal is unpredictable and your students are not-so-techie, you may want to stick with a more standard content delivery approach. If you teach pre-licensing, you may consider flipped classrooms. Record your lecture, require students to watch it at home, and spend course time answering questions and working through sticking points. Typically pre-licensing instructors require students to read the text book at home, and we all have a pretty good idea of how many students actually do that before showing up to class. You may see a drastic rise in “homework completion” if homework meant watching a video rather than reading a textbook. Flipped classrooms may work for pre-licensing, but they won’t work for CE. CE students are aware that CE courses do not come with homework, especially not homework they need to do in advance, and I think you’d have a hard time overcoming this hurdle. I recommend offering both digital and paper handouts. Some people say it’s a generational preference, although I’m inclined to think it’s more of a personality thing. Some students just like having something written in front of them. They never plan to refer to it again in the future, and they may just use it as a canvas for their doodles, but something about that piece of paper can help them focus their attention on the class discussion. While I strongly advocate offering digital handouts as well, I also see the value in offering a paper option.
At the start of our workshop, I hoped you would each walk away with three action items.Try one structural change in your next class to increase student engagement.Try one new tool. Try using one familiar tool in a new way.We have a few moments to go. I’d like to hear your thoughts on these. Does anyone have a structural change they plan to try or a tool they plan to use?
HI2013IDW Inviting Technology into the Classroom
into the Classroom
Hawaii 2013 Instructor Development Workshop
Take a moment to connect
Handout (PDF with live links)
Questions (Shared Google Doc)
Most of you use these regularly
Most of you planned to
bring a tablet or
Most of your students
or laptops to your
But in the classroom…
My goals for today
You leave with 3 action items
1. Try one structural change in your next class to
increase student engagement
2. Try one new tool
3. Use one familiar tool in a new way
Adults are self-directed
Solve immediate problems
The goal has changed
When the goal is memorization,
taking notes makes sense.
Now, students sift
and organize information.
This is how people
are choosing to
use their time
The skills to thrive have changed
Learning becomes student-centric
“Complete questions 1-10 from
the unit’s Check Your
“Watch the next lecture.”
Traditional Class Time
Flipped Class Time
“Sit quietly while I lecture.”
“Let’s apply the new information
as a group.”
Made possible because...
and cheap to digitally record lectures.
Why should quality education
Digital content is easily
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
A class lecture is simply one more way
to receive content.
MOOCs have challenges
Course offered online ≠ Online Course
New ways to quantify and
Common currency for credentials
• Offer experience navigating, qualifying, and
• Provide student-centric opportunities
• Evaluate the live classroom experience
• Recognize and value performance ability
How to Find and Select the Right
Technology for the Classroom
Once upon a time…
I was recruited into tech
I learned how to learn
I was not a techie...
make life simpler.
“I have a room full of
and not one of them
can help somebody
on the phone.”
I look for these…
(and whenever possible) Free
Technology in a classroom…
Minimal risk to execute
Minimal hassle to set up
The right tool, the right way
Choose the right tool
The most basic tool that will
accomplish what you need
Simple tools used
correctly can be
Use the tool correctly
Be the source
Structure matters more than the tool.
Energized by activity
Busy, lively atmosphere
Accustomed to multi-tasking
Love the background buzz
People like their gadgets
They rely on their
navigate this world.
Don’t take that away.
what it means
The tools to learn hands-on are
already in their hands.
Analysis, synthesis, and
evaluation occur more easily
Where should students focus?
On integration of the material