Active Teaching Lab: Faculty Development in Educational Technology

In Fall of 2014, I wasn’t sure the idea would make it beyond a semester, but five semesters, 80 Labs, and some ~1300 participants later, I’m pleased to report that this idea of a collaboration between the UW-Madison Teaching Academy, where I’m an Executive Committee member, and the Division of Information Technology’s Department of Academic Technology, where I work, is successful. What it is Each week during academic semesters, the Active Teaching Lab invites an instructor to come share a Continue reading

Google Docs: Embedding Tricks for Canvas (and other systems)

there’s the official way to publish google Docs, and it works with various degrees of success. Depending on the system, it may strip out width and height defaults, or other small details that make the content look good. I’d like to share some alternate methods.   This is Monday’s schedule for a course design bootcamp I help run, and here’s the HTML iframe embed code: <iframe src=”” width=”100%” height=”1200″></iframe> Ignoring that, for this post in WordPress, I changed the width Continue reading

Blending Active Learning with Twitter

As some of you know, I have been using Twitter the past 2 years in my CP125 (and have had several instructor consultations. Twitter shows some promise for blended and active learning (constructive) to crowd-source (student-source?) content application and knowledge construction. WHO TWEETS? Although not everyone has a Twitter account, all of my Fall 2013 Freshmen students had a Twitter account, and 18 of 24 of my Fall 2014 Freshmen students had one. Everyone had Facebook, but using it for Continue reading

Connect Wisconsin MOOC!

I’d like to see a Connect Wisconsin! MOOC that leverages the already-EI-funded mobile research tool with a campaign of quests led by UW-Madison student researchers (essentially undergraduate course leaders), where some quests are seeded, and some are solicited and chosen by popular vote (Reddit-style), and then citizens across the state use our new mobile research platform to collect data and document the issues (and potential solutions). Results are tagged, geo-coded, and given peer feedback. Essentially, this would be an exercise in sharing with Continue reading

Situating Mobile Learning

Presentation/workshop for EDUCAUSE Connect Chicago, March 18, 2014. Abstract: Educators know that learning happens best when learners are motivated and supported, so how can we support learning activities where students use the technology at their disposal? Our faculty used mobile and web technologies to create interactive tours and collaborative field research for students to engage with content situated in authentic contexts. Building on this experience, the Mobile Learning Incubator has been evaluating the integration of game elements into newer field research Continue reading

OK, Blended Learning — How about Blended Teaching?

I’m a conscientious teacher. I work pretty hard to ensure that learning activities are driven foremost by learning goals, and I work pretty hard to avoid “easy-for-me; crappy-for-student” learning activities, where they spit back content in multiple choice tests. But there’s no denying that I get really tired doing it this way. And there’s no denying that I mess up from time to time. And sometimes I really long for the simplicity and clarity that quantitative, multiple-choice assessment offers in spades. Continue reading

Teaching Academy 2014 Winter Retreat

Teaching Academy 2014 Winter Retreat on January 17: Rethinking Effective Learning and Teaching Engagement (RELATE) Register here. Campus conversation is building around engaging and improving effective teaching on campus. Be a part of the conversation! Join us for our annual winter retreat on Friday, January 17, 2014, from 8:30–12:30 in Varsity Hall II, Union South Over the course of the morning, we will RELATE our successes and failures around improving teaching, and discuss learning, reshaping and promoting effective teaching on campus. Retreat 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

Making Knowledge: 3D Printing and Learning

With stories like: Lab Equipment Made With 3-D Printers Could Cut Costs by 97%, and videos like Will Minecraft and Makerbot Usher in the Post-Scarcity Economy? I’m wondering what 3D printers can bring to the classroom teaching environment (educational concepts, teaching materials, etc.) My colleague, Dan LaValley, at UW–Madison’s Digital Media Center has been watching this for awhile, and actually made a few video interviews way back in 2004: Dr. Michelle Harris talks about teaching molecular structure with 3D models. Muhammed Farhoud, a student Continue reading

Games and Gamification Slides here

Ryan Martinez and I had the honor of presenting our first ever webinar presentation for THE HORIZON REPORT IN ACTION: EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES TODAY AND TOMORROW webinar on March 27th. The webinar had over 800 people signed up for it, with eight speakers. The facilitator, Marc Hoit, described was “the most complicated of these I’ve been involved in.” There were, of course, issues with audio, slide syncing, etc. Still, it was quite an experience, and Ryan and I got to talk about Continue reading

Horizon Report Webinar March 27, 12-1pm

I’d like to invite you all to view the Horizon Report webinar. UW-Madison’s own Ryan Martinez and I will be presenting on and discussing Games and Gamification. Click here to register. The Horizon Report in Action: Emerging Technologies Today and Tomorrow Date: March 27, 2013 Time: 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. CST; convert to your time zone Speakers: Malcolm Brown, Director, EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, EDUCAUSE Veronica Diaz, Associate Director, EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, EDUCAUSE John Martin, Learning Technologies Consultant, University of Wisconsin-Madison Ryan Martinez, Graduate Student/Instructor, University of Continue reading

What’s next in Learning

We have reached the point where there are enough low-entry-bar tech tools to allow the computer/mobile/etc to move from being tools of consumption (and transmission-based learning) to tools of creation (and design-based learning).   Between low-cost apps for tablets and mobile device, the ability to document our own lives with GPS-tagged notes and media, a consumer-based trend of sharing (and remix), and “build-your-own” games such as Minecraft, we have all the ingredients to finally take advantage of a design-based form Continue reading

Facebook Widget in D2L

John Thomson recently sent me this article, on Blended Learning environments: Using Social networking sites to enhance the first year experience, by Joshua McCarthy, and asked about my experiences integrating Facebook in the class I’m teaching this Fall. If you don’t want to read the article, here’s an excerpt from the discussion to contextualize: The benefits of the blended learning spaces included face to face discussions: “the assessment allowed us to converse with others in class and form connections that Continue reading

An app to promote good studenting

Just read an article in Slate called Digital Jiminy Crickets about apps that help you be more ethical, do what you  need to do — all those things that we mean  to do, but need a nudge to actually do. Capitalizing on three inter-related movements—nudging, the quantified self, and gamification—the good-behavior layer pinpoints our mental and emotional weaknesses and steers us away from temptations that compromise long-term success. One example, they give is Gym-Pact, which “rewards” you with cash that you and other users Continue reading

Mobile and High Impact Practices

Mobile and High Impact Practices Many of LEAP’s high impact practices overlap with the essential learning outcomes, and mobile can address them in similar fashion. A mobile tour of the campus can orient new students, but a collaborative game-based mobile activity can provide students with both orientation and exploratory adventures (Common Intellectual Experiences) that connect them to both the campus and others in their cohort. First-Year Seminars and Experiences that incorporate multiple mobile field trips can greatly enhance student connection Continue reading

Mobile and Essential Learning Outcomes

Mobile and Essential Learning Outcomes. I’ve been thinking about AAC&U’s Essential Learning Outcomes, and how mobile might address them. Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World: Mobile devices allow engagement with content beyond the classroom. With devices in their pockets, they can explore their local communities in order to address issues that affect the global world. They can collect scientific and cultural data that affects their local communities, and work with that very authentic, very situated data, in Continue reading

Educational Innovations and Mobile

Mobile and Educational Innovation A teaching and learning strategy that leverages students’ own existing devices and practices would cost the university less in terms of providing equipment (they already have it) and training (they already know how to use it). Students currently effectively need a desktop — and increasingly a laptop — computer to “do college” because there is little support for learning on their less-expensive mobile devices. If students had, for example, lower cost, lightweight, tablet computers that had Continue reading

What is “Mobile Learning”?

Kudos to Connie Malamed for one of the most broad-but-concise article I’ve read on the unique opportunities that learning with the current crop of mobile devices offers. Without connecting to any specific programs or lists, it deftly covers many of the points I’ve been trying to make in a much longer piece that I’m working on. Connie answers “What’s different about Mobile Learning” with the following eight short sub-headings and brief explanations. Mobile is: Supportive Collaborative Gestural Learner-centric Informal Contextual User-Generated Fun Continue reading

Ed Innovations: talent tree

SYNTHESIS/BACKPACK IDEA: A few themes jumped out at me in today’s Educational Innovation session: Partnerships that build on strengths, where one unit’s strengths and energy can complement another’s (Tom in Folklore and Mary in Comp Lit) Institutes that can house specialized, interdisciplinary paths (Greg in Nelson Institute) Modularizations and certifications, where departments can host smaller, more specialized sessions (Gale in Nursing, and Judith in Slavic Languages) What is the other side of that coin? Can we do this with students as well? In a specialized Continue reading