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edtech connection blog

Boise State offers new dimension to Mountain West hoop tourney

The Mountain West Conference Basketball Championship Tournaments will feature new competitors when the games begin tomorrow and continue through Saturday, March 8-10.

In addition to men’s and women’s basketball teams from every university in the league, collegiate esports teams from Boise State and the University of Nevada-Reno will compete in the first-ever Mountain West eSports Showdown.  Edtech faculty members Chris Haskell and Brett Shelton elevated esports from club competitions to official varsity status at Boise State. The College of Education and the College of Innovation and Design also jumped on board to support the effort. , Haskell and Shelton were instrumental in creating the esports presence at the Mountain West Basketball Championships

The MW eSports Showdown will feature matches in League of Legends, Rocket League, and Overwatch. Boise State and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas are the only Mountain West schools to compete in this inaugural league championship for esports.

Teams of 15 players will participate in show matches, or exhibitions, from 4-7 p.m. on March 8 and from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on March 9 in the Strip View Pavilion inside the Thomas and Mack Center. Admission to the show matches is free for ticketholders to the MW Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships. The show matches are a great way for fans to learn more about esports.

The MW eSports Showdown Main Event will kick off at 9 a.m. on March 10 inside Cox Pavilion. Tickets are $10 (plus UNLV Tickets handling fees), on sale now at the Thomas and Mack Center box office in Las Vegas or online.

The Show Matches and Main Event will also be broadcast live via the Mountain West eSports Twitch page at Twitch is a live-streaming video platform owned by Twitch Interactive, a subsidiary of The site focuses primarily on video game live-streaming, including broadcasts of esports competitions. Twitch has more than 100 million monthly unique users and 2.2 million monthly broadcasters. Follow Boise State esports at eSports and Broncos Twitch.

Esports is enjoying explosive growth in popularity around the world — particularly among younger demographic groups – and research suggests as many as 150 million enthusiasts around the globe regularly participate in esports, in which championship events attract sellout crowds to large sporting arenas in the United States and beyond, and industry experts predict the esports economy will grow to more than $650 million in 2018.

Boise State and UNLV were selected to participate in the inaugural MW eSports Showdown based upon the current organization and development of their esports programs. Boise State University esports is the first varsity competitive gaming team sponsored by a Mountain West institution. The program hosts nearly 60 varsity student e-athletes competing in five game titles. An additional 240 students compete for the school at the club level in other game titles. Boise State is building the largest gaming facility in college esports with a 100-seat Battleground training center, broadcast facility, and spectator arena for live weekly matches.

UNLV’s collegiate esports organization—8-Bit—represents the Rebels at national esports competitions. Founded in 2012, the club-level team competes in five game titles and is an officially recognized organization in the Riot Games Collegiate Program and a partner of the TeSPA network. 8-Bit is one of the largest student organizations on campus, with former members going on to compete professionally. In addition to its competitive esports team, UNLV has one of the nation’s only academic programs for students combining the art, science and business of esports. UNLV is a founding member of the Nevada Esports Alliance, further positioning the state as a global esports hub and UNLV as a research leader.

The UNLV eSports program is led by Robert Rippee, Director of the Hospitality Lab and eSports Lab at the International Gaming Institute. Follow UNLV eSports at .


Hsu, Ching, former student publish on maker-tech

Yu-Chang Hsu and Yu-Hui Ching, associate professors, and Sally Baldwin, a recent graduate from the educational technology doctoral program, published an article titled “Physical Computing for STEAM Education: Maker-Educators’ Experiences in an Online Graduate Course” in the “Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching.”

Their research explored how K-16 educators learned physical computing and developed as maker-educators in an online graduate course. With peer support and instructor guidance, these educators designed maker projects using Scratch and Makey Makey, and developed educational maker proposals with plans of teaching the topics of their choice in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) through physical computing. Educators were positive about the real-world impact of their course maker projects and experiences, and highly valued the support and sense of maker community in this online course.

Hsu teaches his maker-tech course, EDTECH 538 (formerly 597), in spring semester and summer term.

Lowenthal, friends plan to stuff the Big Apple with research, perspective



EdTech’s Patrick Lowenthal will present a prodigious amount of research next month at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in New York. City.

He and co-authors Laurie Cavey, Michele Carney, Jason Libberton, and Tatia Totorica will present on Preparing secondary mathematics teachers using video cases of student thinking with a focus on functional reasoning.

Then he and EdTech Associate Chair Chareen Snelson will present In Search of a Better Understanding of Social Presence: An Investigation into how Researchers Define Social Presence. 

Lowenthal teams up with EdTech doctoral graduate Glori Hinck and EdTech colleagues Kerry Rice and Ross Perkins on Quality Assurance in Online MBA Programs: An Investigation of Key Stakeholder Perceptions.

Finally, he and Joanie Dunlap of the University of Colorado-Denver present on Teaching Online: An analysis of online educators’ lessons learned designing and facilitating online courses. 

Boise State splits spring commencement

Growing numbers of graduates and guests at spring commencement have prompted Boise State University to host two separate commencement celebrations inside Taco Bell Arena on May 5. Tickets will not be required.

The first celebration will be at 9:30 a.m. for graduates from Business and Economics, Engineering and Health Sciences.

The second celebration at 3:30 p.m. is for graduates from the College of Education, College of Arts and Sciences and School of Public Service.

A student speaker will be chosen for each ceremony and receptions will follow each ceremony in the Student Union Building.

The courses, they are a changin’

Boise State’s EdTech Department has announced three changes for existing courses.

Maker Tech: Hybrid Computing and Tinkering for STEAM Education has altered its name and has a new catalog number. The new title is Maker Tech: Physical Computing for STEAM Education and the catalog number has changed from EDTECH 597 to EDTECH 538. The course will be offered spring and summer.

EDTECH 522 — Online Teaching for Adult Learners will be offered fall and spring only, starting in fall 2018. We will still offer this course in summer 2018 during the 2nd 7-week session as planned.

EDTECH 523 — Advanced Online and Blended Teaching will be offered in both fall and spring semesters, starting in fall 2018.

In EDTECH 538, you  will analyze, make, and apply maker tech for teaching and learning contexts. Leverage the power of programming and tinker with digital and physical artifacts for learning/practicing/applying knowledge in science, technology, art, engineering, and mathematics (STEAM).”
In this course, you will explore and develop your own maker projects. You will utilize intuitive block-based programming tools to create games, science simulations, music instruments, art projects that interact with circuits, everyday objects, and hardware. You will experience computational thinking such as procedural abstraction and algorithmic thinking, and unleash your creativity while experimenting with hybrid projects of digital and physical objects. You will also create instructional units that integrate your own maker projects for your context of teaching.

EDTECH 522 emphasizes andragogy and best practice in online teaching, analyzing online teaching tools, planning, facilitating, and assessing collaborative and interactive e-learning experiences, and gaining practical experience teaching online. Boise State EdTech was one of the first programs in the nation to teach educators how to teach effectively online.

EDTECH 523 utilizes a project-based approach that emphasizes content-specific instructional strategies, improved communication, assessment, and evaluation of quality learning experiences in technology-supported online and blended instruction. Experience with web-based conference tools recommended. Project required.

The heading on this blog is an adaptation of Bob Dylan’s 1964 pop hit title, The Times, They Are a Changin’.

Want a new life? Alaska teaching job awaits


EdTech master’s grad Luke Meinert wrote overnight and said he has a job opening in his district on July 1.

He’s looking for an online teacher who can teach multiple subjects, but he would prefer someone who can qualify for a secondary math or science endorsement. He also wants demonstrated proficiency in designing online courses.

The Yukon-Keokuk School District’s ten village schools are located along the Yukon, Koyukuk and Tanana river systems, a geographic area larger than the state of Washington (encompassing about 65,000 square miles of territory). More than 98% of the district’s 315 river school students are Alaska Native (Athabascan). The district also sponsors a statewide correspondence program called Raven Homeschool. There are approximately 1,500 students enrolled in Raven during the 2015-2016 school year. District-wide, YKSD serves over 1,400 full-time students.

Here’s a link to the abbreviated job announcement. For a more information, click on the link in the lower right corner of the announcement.

Check out the school district at .

When the lucky applicant meets Luke Meinert for the first time, the Davenport, Iowa, native will likely extend his hand for a firm shake and say, “Enaa neenyo.” I’m glad you came.

EdTech’s Haskell quoted in Arbiter article on esports


Boise State’s student newspaper, The Arbiter, published an article yesterday (Jan. 23-2018) on the esports program, led by EdTech’s Chris Haskell and Brett Shelton.  Here’s the article.

By: Daniel Gardner and Tylor Sorensen

Starting in the fall of 2017, Chris Haskell and Brett Shelton made a vision their reality with the creation of the Boise State Broncos Varsity Esports program. At the beginning of the school year the program had a massive search for talent, locating students who play League of Legends, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm and Rocket League. This search has lead to five full teams that have already started competing in various matches.

Chris Haskell, professor of educational technology and now facilitator of the teams, is the mastermind behind the project. Haskell’s facilitating has given the students brand new experiences that they wouldn’t have imagined, including being able to work with professional players online who are acting as coaches, playing in competitive games that are broadcasted online and lastly being a member of a brand new team on campus that has caught the attention of news outlets such as ESPN.

“Looking at other schools involved and popularity of the games I believe this is going to become a big thing in the coming years, almost as big as football and basketball,” Haskel said. “You realize that every once in awhile there is a ‘gold rush’ moment and you should go all in, and this is one of those times.”

Starting their practices 9 a.m., the program has practice four days a week for three hours a day. The program’s practice facility can be found in the Education building. Upon stepping inside, a person finds themselves wrapped up in the world of gaming. The room is filled with computers set up to play the various games the program offers. On a typical Thursday at 9 in the morning the room is already filled with 14 League of Lsegends players waiting to meet up online with one of their coaches who lives in Australia.

Derrek Bryant, a sophomore communications major and member of the League of Legends team, finds time to practice with the team, focus on his school work and play and additional four to five hours of League of Legends a day to keep his skills fresh.

“I have always been good at video games,” Bryant said. “I would always finish the game either the day or a few days after I get a single player game, but with League of Legends, you will continue to learn; even though I have played it for five to six years, I am still learning new things.”

With the goal in mind of getting the players to learn new things within the game, Haskell knew he needed to work directly with the players’ coaches, which also allows him to fall back into the position of facilitator. Scheduling games for the teams and just being around in the background at competitions, giving them casual friendly reminders of what the coaches taught them. As many of the players in their specific game have more experience than Haskell, he knew that finding coaches was crucial to team success.

The experience of the players can be seen in Rocket League captain Issiac Torrero. Torrero, a sophomore GIMM major, has over 1,000 lifetime hours logged into Rocket League. Torrero expressed his happiness about being a member of this program and discussed how, when he came to Boise State, he would not have imagined that he would be a member of one of their sports programs.

“I’m very thankful that Chris and Brett were able to start this, and it is really cool that I am able to participate,” Torrero said.

E-sports enters second week of the season

Boise State e-sports plays its second week of seasonal play today (Wednesday, Jan 17) beginning at 4:30 Mountain Time. Boise State plays Nevada in Rocket League, the University of Jamestown in Overwatch, and New Mexico State in League of Legends.

In the season debut last week, Boise State lost to Nevada in League of Legends and to Massachusetts Overwatch powerhouse Worcester Polytechnic Institute, which placed fifth in the national finals last year.

A committee of Boise State faculty is developing the Idaho high school e-sports tournament planned for late April. The Idaho High School Athletics Association does not yet recognize e-sports, so the tournament is entirely a Boise State initiative.

Amy doesn’t let distance or disability dampen her commencement

We received an inspirational email over the Christmas holiday. It was from one of our master’s graduates, Amy Lomellini of New York, who could not attend commencement. In 2015, Amy became paralyzed with a neuromuscular disease, but she decided not to let it hold her back, so she began her first MET course right out of the hospital while mostly bed-bound and recovering. Who knew? She didn’t tell everyone or make excuses.

Amy is still in a wheelchair and fighting back. She couldn’t physically attend graduation in the spring, so she ordered the cap and gown and had her own ceremony in her living room. Ironically, she had been involved in disability education for several years before it affected her personally, but, as you can imagine, this ordeal opened a whole new perspective for her.

After graduation, Amy got a new job as an instructional designer. Here is her email.


Giving Thanks for What I’ve Learned and What the Future Holds

Amy Lomellini, MET ‘17
December 2017


This holiday season I am thankful for the knowledge and skills that I gained in Boise State’s Master of Educational Technology. Now that I am working as an instructional designer, I can truly see how all the pieces of the puzzle come together in real-world scenarios. When faculty ask about online learning and teaching possibilities, I can confidently speak to both theory and application and have the resources, knowledge, and skills to tackle challenges head on.


One of the most beneficial aspects of the program was the encouragement to tie our course projects to our current practice. For example, in the Multimedia course I used my graphic design skills and multimedia theory to create training documents and screencasts for projects I needed for work. After taking Internet for Educators, I redesigned my department’s website and increased unique views by 250% in one year. These achievements led to a promotion within my university while I was still in the program. As a Digital Media Producer, I used my newfound coding knowledge and further research to conduct an accessibility evaluation of the university’s website that identified and resolved potential barriers. I recently have taken my coding skills even further to learn how to design accessible online content for learners of all abilities.

The MET program reinforced that instructional design was where I really wanted to be. Just a few short months after I graduated in May 2017, my dream job as an Instructional Designer at a local college became available. I decided to apply but didn’t know what to expect because I had only graduated recently. For the interview, I was told that I would be required to present a portfolio of my work. I actually breathed a sigh of relief – which I later learned was not the reaction of most candidates! I was relieved because I had spent the previous semester cultivating exactly what they were asking for – my MET EdTech portfolio. All of my hard work prepared me to give a confident presentation that my hiring committee still talks about to this day. My preparation paid off and I got the job as an Instructional Designer.


Now that I have been on the job for a few months, I can see many of the aspects from the MET coming together in my daily practice. When I meet with faculty to explore the possibilities of online and blended learning, I have theoretical foundations and adult learning theories to ground my recommendations. I love the challenge of designing across disciplines for diverse students and faculty. Each day brings something new as I work with faculty to turn passion for their field into a quality learning experience for students. I often draw on my experience as a student in the MET for examples of well-designed and facilitated online courses. It is exceedingly rewarding to change reluctant faculty’s minds about online learning by showing them the endless possibilities of educational technology.

In addition to consultations, I also teach online and in-person faculty development courses and workshops about accessibility, course design, academic integrity, multimedia, Quality Management, and more. For these workshops, I draw on skills learned from the Multimedia and Graphic Design courses in the MET to create engaging presentations, learning activities, and take-away materials. Teaching these courses and workshops allows me to put the various strategies and skills learned from across the curriculum of the MET program into direct practice.

FUTURE: Leading the Accessibility Charge

I see accessibility as an incredibly important, and often overlooked, facet of educational technology and instructional design. I am furthering my work by spreading awareness and implementation of accessible design strategies in various capacities throughout the college. I hope to explore more about accessibility in educational technology through research in the EdD program at Boise State in the future.

EdTech applauds it summer graduates, too

Boise State EdTech graduated 40 master’s students at the end of summer term. The university does not conduct summer commencement exercises, so summer grads are allowed to walk in fall commencement and, in December, three of them did. But those unable to fly to Boise for commencement don’t always get the recognition and appreciation they deserve.

And that’s why the faculty and staff congratulate all of our summer graduates for a monumental accomplishment. We urge all of them to share their skills and knowledge with colleagues and become the teacher leaders they’re meant to be.

Here are our summer grads.

Jessica Allen, Megan Apgar, Marco Armienta, Brian Beck, Rebecca Beecher, Nick Boyce, Mary Carter, Scott Castro, Jennifer Classen, Fabio Cominotti, Katy Cooper, Julian Elorduy, Kristen Ferguson, Jessica Gake, Allyssa Gilin, Cynthia Goodwill, Katelyn Griffin, Mark Harmon, Kevin Higgins, Lisa Hoover, Damien Husen, Sean Kass, Benjamin Killam, Lindy Lee, Emily Loughlin, Joanne Matibag, Lisa McLeod, Sheri Nimmo, Russell North, Richard Place, Ariana Pyburn, Katie Schmoldt, Amy Spencer, Trevor Takayama, Megan Turner, Kari Vera, Judith Wilson, Jessie Wraichette, and Erika Zapata.

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