Active Teaching Lab

This past Spring, with the wonderful support of DoIT Academic Technology and the Teaching Academy, I launched a series of Active Teaching Labs — low-commitment, structured explorations of cool teaching tools and techniques to teach more effectively. The response to them was very positive. GOAL: Capacity Building at faculty level; create deeply-embodied and socially-playful environments & experiences for learners — Lure with low-risk involvement. Inspire with stories. Motivate with hands-on success. SUCCESS: Because it is a safe & playful, low-risk environment where faculty are Continue reading

Popular Science and the Impact of Trolling

THIS:   It’s exceptionally sad to me to see a 141 year old magazine, Popular Science, shutting off commenting on its website because the effect that trolling comments is actually having on shaping people’s opinions about the issues presented.    People still fear trolls. Or, at least, they avoid them. Maybe cross the river at other bridges, or decide not to cross the river at all?   It is precisely this type of story that motivates me to implement activities such as Continue reading

Collaborative (T)role-driven Reading Responses

This semester, I’m teaching a “tech-enhanced” first year experience class at UW-Madison. Part of it will include collaborative work in Google Docs. But I’d like to make collaboration mean more than “let’s be nice and help each other by agreeing with each other” — so I’m going to try to facilitate mean-spirited arguments in Google Docs by having the students take on roles. Here’s how I’m explaining it in the syllabus. For the four weeks when we have articles and Continue reading

Backwards Design

When educators talk about “Learning Design” or “Design in Learning” they are typically talking about Pedagogy. The “Backwards Design” documents and sites I’ve been looking at lately are actually great examples of what higher ed has done forever: focusing on the pedagogical end of the teaching/learning scale — instructors designing for students. They typically don’t really address the andragogical side — design done by learners to more deeply situate their learning in practice (and Communities of Practice). This is not to say that it’s Continue reading

Game Frame for Learning (ARIS)

I’ve been researching different aspects of GPS-enhanced place-based learning since 2004, and creating mobile, place-based learning games and experiences since 2005. Since meeting with the initial ARIS developers in 2008, and  joining the project full-time (2009), I’ve been pushing for easier access and general-use capabilities — to make the entry point as broadly accessible as possible. In 2009, I got a copy of Victoria Rydberg’s Hands On Earth Math and immediately saw that as a worked example of content that could be ported Continue reading

2011 Horizon Report

The new Horizon Report has been out for a few days. The Six Technologies are no surprise to those of us who have been advocating and developing mobile learning practices and tools. They are: mobile computing open content electronic books simple augmented reality gesture-based computing visual data analysis If these look at all familiar, it may be because you are already using them via your smartphone. They are all  fiercely personal, socially connecting, and deeply embodied. The iPhone and iPad has Continue reading

Crowdsourcing Learning (HSN model)

Where do your ideas for curriculum come from? HSN (yes, that one) is partnering with Quirky in an experiment to crowdsource the development of new products. Not surprisingly, the idea is aligned with the Internet-ushered-in shift that is turning consumers into creators — of content (blogs, forums, Wikipedia, etc.), of media (YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, SoundCloud, etc.), and now actual physical products (etsy, threadless, and now HSN). Some teachers have been doing this for years by asking their students to dig Continue reading

GLS Conference Announced

The University of Wisconsin–Madison is excited to announce the Games+Learning+Society (GLS) Conference 7.0 to be held June 15–17, 2011 at the Memorial Union on campus. Session Submissions are due by Monday, 7 March 2011. The GLS Conference is the premier event in the field of videogames and learning. Now in its seventh year, this grass roots “indie” event is evolving to include innovative content formats and new programming. And after waiting lists for registration in past years, we’re now finally Continue reading

Linearity ≠ Learning (and Math)

Good Video Games. Is not what this post is about, but I want to plant that sentence in your head as you read this post about Learning Activities Math. I got terribly bored with learning Math in my sophomore year of High School. I did well enough in it, but was just too bored to continue. For years I blamed the monotone-but-kindly teacher who taught it for causing me to not take him the year after, but let me use this Continue reading

Sweet Media Assignments!

A very talented YouTube user from Hawaii named historyteacher has her students rewrite the lyrics of popular songs to reflect lessons from world history. Cool, right? It requires them to research a topic identify key points find a song whose lyrics “fit” a few of the key points adapt other key points into lyrics to fit the song This alone is pretty powerful learning. But historyteacher doesn’t stop there. She’s a talented singer, has a penchant for costumes, and has Continue reading

Copyright* Needs to Die

In Wednesday’s edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education, there was a great article called “Professors Publish Guide to Copyright Issues of Multimedia Projects” with a link to a thoughtful and thought-provoking paper that examined Copyright and Web 2.0. It’s worth a read because it presents a number of common scenarios and breaks down how copyright and “fair use” standards may or may not apply to each. Here’s the citation and link: McGrail, E, & McGrail, J. P. (2010). Copying Continue reading

Google Docs for Education

Three recent announcements position Google Docs to be the Big App On Campus. Building off the amazingly improved Collaborative Editing features (which I’ve used for conference proposals, papers, and website text design), these could transform note-taking, sharing, and student groupwork. Mobile Editing: For iPad, iPhone, and Android devices, being unable to even create and edit Google Docs has been a major missing feature — let alone being able to collaborate with others on that document. Imagine, for a moment what Continue reading

Google Docs Storyboard template

Wanted to see how this looks embedded. It’s a storyboard template that I designed in Google Docs. I chose Google Docs for it because of Google Doc’s collaboration feature, which has become *really amazing* — if you haven’t tried collaborating on Google Docs lately (it used to sorta suck), you should try it now!

Xtranormal LMS vs. PLE

This was highlighted on Stephen’s Web the other day, and I thought it was two things: 1) a cool use of Xtranormal; and 2) a nice discussion of the differences between a Learning Management System (like D2L), and a Personal Learning Environment. Here it is: The oddly-compelling thing, for me, about Xtranormal is its weird out-of-context-ness. Usually. The stage and voices often have little or nothing to do with the content of the dialogue. So in this case, with both Continue reading

GLS-ES Digital Storytelling Workshop

Chris Blakesley and I are running a 2-hour Digital Storytelling workshop this afternoon at the GLS-Educator Symposium. If all goes well with my new Google Docs WordPress plugin, a Google Document with resources and examples should show up below… if not, it’s here. I’ll keep it editable by everyone in the world until it gets spammed. [gview file=””]

Collins GLS keynote

For those of you who werent able to get to this mornings keynote by Alan Collins, here are most of his slides (in text form, and can I just say that I type waaay faster on the iPad than I do on a laptop because of Apples super-smart autocorrect. Thanks Apple!) (though I wish I could do bullets better…) Alan calls himself a Neanderthal academic (traditional, old school) who’s stepping out of his cave and observing what’s going on around Continue reading

Let’s Change Education

I’ve been trying to say this for a number of years. Here’s another shot at expressing my message, using a “start with the Why?” approach. Why. I want to change formal education from an institution primarily built around the administration and tracking of students, to one built around the personal and unique interests of each student. One that allows for the creation of natural communities of practice/affinity rather than of “classes” based on what instructors and institutions feel can/should be Continue reading

Mobile Learning

Yesterday I presented to the University of Wisconsin System’s Learning Technology Development Council on Mobile Learning, and how the university-style of instruction must change to adapt to the style of learning that mobile technologies have made common-place. A few key points: With 24/7 access to trusted sources of information in their pockets, students no longer need to have information imparted to them. Instead, they need teachers to help them  filter out the good from the bad (determine quality) see the relevance of Continue reading