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Registration for Spring 2019 classes started on October 29th at 8:00 am MT.  Try to register as close to that date as possible. Classes fill up fast!

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Learning: It’s All About the Connections

By Jackie Gerstein

Jackie Gerstein

Dr. Jackie Gerstein


I’ve written about connections before in It’s All About Connection.

Today, though, I was thinking about all of the connections important for learning. Connection has a lot of meanings and connotations:

Connection Image

Here are some of the connections I thought of that can/should be part of both formal and informal education:

Read the full article online

College eSports – What you need to know

By Brett and Chris,

EdTech faculty write a handbook for peers interested in starting competitive gaming on campus.

EdTech Department Chair Brett Shelton and Associate Professor Chris Haskell are releasing a new book called College Esports: What you need to know.

The book—written as a conversation with succinct end-of-chapter summaries—is intended to be a guide for university personnel interested in creating intercollegiate eSports teams.

Chapters include Navigating the University Space, Leadership and Organization, Tournaments and Participation, Creating the Team, and Responsibilities and the Future.
The free, 160-page book will be available soon on Amazon and at the Apple Store or it is free to download now at https://esports.boisestate.edu/

Opinion: Essential indicators for success in online schools

By Kerry Rice

Kerry Rice

Dr. Kerry Rice

It has been only 20 years since the Internet became widely used. In that time, K-12 online schools have emerged across the U.S. giving families additional school options to consider—especially in states like Michigan, Florida, Idaho and Georgia, which have been leaders in innovation and growth.
Families today consider online learning for a variety of reasons—among them, the flexibility, safety and variety of curriculum available. As online schools continue to grow, a critical element of that growth must be keeping a close eye on the early indicators of student success.
It’s no secret virtual schools function differently from traditional public schools. For that reason, virtual schools have unique challenges that must be considered to make sure the students they serve are met with an environment conducive to their academic and personal growth.
After more than a decade of research in the space, I’ve learned there are a few key indicators of student success in online learning:

• Student-to-Student Interaction: A sense of community is essential in creating the trusting environment needed to support the learning process. This need is especially critical given the unique nature of the online classroom. Though students may not be face-to-face with their peers, teachers can foster student interaction through lively discussions, use of microphones and cameras, and opportunities to connect outside of topic material. These interactions can lead to a world of feedback, debate and student-driven instruction. While many online schools, like Lighthouse Connections Academy, slated to open its virtual doors in the fall, offer in-person opportunities for student interaction, schools also need to encourage student-to-student interaction in the online setting.

• Consistent Engagement: Success in online learning consists of a complex set of factors. It cannot simply be determined by the number of hours spent online. Instead, our research has shown that success is contingent on how consistently a student logs in. Online schools strive to improve attendance in many of the same ways brick and mortar schools do: through engaging with parents, having teachers call for regular check-ins, and leveraging available tools to remind students to access lessons online. Online schools can also personalize content based on student interests, which further encourages consistent engagement.

• Social Interaction: Face-to-face interaction, whether student-to-student or between teachers and students, bridges online connections and can help facilitate engagement. Online schools that create opportunities throughout the year for students to meet in-person are more likely to meet socialization needs, which can, in turn, improve academic outcomes.

As online learning continues to grow, we, as education experts must continue to utilize available research and information to adapt and evolve to improve student outcomes. We must work together as a community to call for continued research as well as transparent and equitable accountability systems for all types of educational environments, so families might choose what’s best-suited to meet their needs. When we do, our schools and the learners we serve will be better for it.
Kerry Rice is a Professor in the Department of Educational Technology at Boise State University, and board member of Lighthouse Connections Academy.

Need Assistance or Advice ? We’re here to help

By Kellie Branson, Academic Advisor.

Kellie Branson

Kellie Branson

EdTech advisors provide on-going advising from enrollment to graduation.  Our advisors are available to meet with all prospective and currently enrolled students by phone, email or video chat.

We offer the following:

  • Pre-admissions advising, program planning and program admission assistance.
  • Assistance with course selection and program planning.
  • Act as a liaison between university departments and EdTech students.
  • Information about university resources and departments.
  • Communication to students about new upcoming courses, deadlines and more.
  • Track student progress while enrolled in the program.
  • Make follow-up contact as needed with students.
  • Act as a liaison between students and department faculty.
  • Maintain student confidentiality.
  • Support and assistance to students with appeals and requests for consideration as needed.
  • Explain graduate college and university policies and procedures.
  • Assist students with process of preparing to graduate.

Click this link for information on how to reach us.   Advisors are also available to respond to quick questions via instant chat on our home page .

Taking a Stitch With Teaching

By Dr. Candace McGregor

McGregor quiltI love quilting! I spend hundreds of hours dreaming, planning, shopping, designing, measuring, calculating, cutting, and connecting. I look at what others do, follow the experts, seek advice, follow my gut, try, fail and try again.

I also love teaching! I spend hundreds of hours doing exactly the same tasks!

The more I quilt, the more I teach, the more the two loves of my life are connected. Each is filled with joy, creativity, collaboration, individual achievement, hard work, frustration, self criticism, failure, embarrassment, realization, and the elation that something you created uniquely for another was embraced as a part of their life experience.

And technology plays an integral role in both. Quilters daily see new tools, refinements to old ones, and an abundance of gadgets promising to revolutionize the industry. We have come a long way from that pioneer woman in the sod house hand stitching each seam to my digitized long-arm quilter with computerized design stitcher. Just as the classroom slate is now an interactive whiteboard board, the one-room schoolhouse is globally connected. But the technology, for both passions, is only effective if driven by the human heart and hand.

At the soul of both quilting and teaching, we see the commonalities.
We learn by doing–
The work creates a state of flow–
Each requires the intimacy of intellect, emotions and the body–
Both will cause reflective and critical self feedback–
The results are an unrivaled joy.

Tweeting the night away: Using Twitter to enhance social presence

By Patrick Lowenthal and Joni Dunlap

Patrick Lowenthal

Dr. Patrick Lowenthal

To be truly effective, online learning must facilitate the social process of learning. This involves providing space and opportunities for students and faculty to engage in social activities. Although learning management systems offer several tools that support social learning and student engagement, the scope, structure, and functionality of those tools can inhibit and restrain just-in-time social connections and interactions. In this teaching tip, we describe our use of Twitter to encourage freeflowing just-in-time interactions and how these interactions can enhance social presence in online courses. We then describe instructional benefits of Twitter, and conclude with guidelines for incorporating Twitter in online courses.
Joanna C. Dunlap PhD is an associate professor of learning design and technology in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver. Joni’s teaching and research interests focus on the use of sociocultural instructional approaches to enhance students’ learning and experience in postsecondary settings. Recently her work in this area has revolved around digital / online teaching and learning, creative design practices, and faculty development. Email: joni.dunlap@ucdenver.edu
Read the full article online

Are you Curious about the EDTECH 513 Multimedia course?

By: Diane Hall, Ed.D.

Diane Hall

Dr. Diane Hall

Have you been curious about the EDTECH 513 Multimedia course? Is it for you? I highly recommend it, not just because I have taught it many semesters, but because it is a course that I wish had been available when I was earning my degrees. You get to be creative and craft projects you can use in your own classrooms or jobs.

Dr. Barbara Schroeder has done a great job designing the course and tweaks it each semester to keep it fresh and relevant. You will learn how to apply the principles of multimedia learning to your projects. There are meaningful class discussions about the principles as well.

All the multimedia tools used are either free or have a free trial. This is nice because you learn inexpensive ways to use multimedia, which can be just as effective in e-learning as the pricier counterparts.

The text for this course is one of the best I have seen. Authors Clark and Mayer do a good job of presenting multimedia principles in a clear and engaging way. This is not a “dry” text. It offers practical suggestions with research to back them up.  Take a look: e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning, 3rd Edition

Course Projects:

  • Sketchnotes – a fun way to create a visual story by using drawings or apps. (Example)
  • Haiku Deck – a powerful, yet simple presentation tool that you could use with your students. (Example)
  • Narrated Presentation – a collaborative presentation using Google Slides or other presentation software. (Example)
  • Digital Story – using a combination of narration, graphics, and video to teach a lesson. (Example)
  • Worked Example – using a screen recording tool of your choice to make a tutorial (preferably one that you can use in your classroom).  (Example)

We hope to see you in EDTECH 513 Multimedia!

The Most Incredibly Fun Course You Will Ever Take- EdTech 502

Lora Evanouski

Lora Evanouski

BY LORA EVANOUSKI

As an instructor, I often get questions about what exactly is EdTech 502. I immediately reply, “The most incredibly fun course you will ever take!”  You will locate, retrieve, and evaluate information found on the Internet as well as design and produce instructional web pages using a combination of software and HTML5/XHTML/CSS.  You will apply appropriate instructional strategies and models to the design of digital curriculum. In essence, you will learn the basics of how to create educational websites using HTML/CSS and manipulate images through Photoshop.

In this course, you will build 11 websites. We start with a very basic site called plain 502 and culminate your learning with a WebQuest. The WebQuest applies all learned concepts from the entire course. You learn best practices of delivering online content such as linking within your site, adding documents available for downloads, using lists to organize content, and web accessibility or how to structure a website so a screen reader can process the content. You will also learn fantastic instructional methods of creating/delivering content such as the jigsaw method, virtual field trips, webquest, and mobile learning.

Here are some specifics about the course:

  • Dreamweaver is our tool to create websites
  • We have a server that is used to house all your artifacts but you can use your own, and that is encouraged for those that reside outside of the US
  • Videos, Code Academy and books are used for learning – so you learn by doing!
  • The curriculum is “spiraled” so after you learn a concept, you will apply it again and again
  • We meet synchronously as a class throughout the semester as needed in either Adobe Connect or Google Meet.  The Adobe Connect meeting is recorded and then added into a discussion post in our class so all can access if you can’t attend the meeting. Here is a recording of a meeting with the spring 18 students: (The audio/video lasts 1 hour and 44 min.)

FAQs:

  • The books can be found online through BSU/Albertsons Library
  • Here is the course syllabus with textbooks listed.
  • The Non-Designer book can be purchased through Amazon or at our bookstore
  • If you can’t find the 4th edition, the 3rd edition will work perfectly
  • Code Academy is free and interactive – you earn badges for learning
  • Adobe has student pricing for Dreamweaver and Photoshop – just $19.99 a month, all you need is your student ID and email
  • 1-1 meetings through Google Meet are commonplace and are encouraged!
  • If you are not familiar with Dreamweaver and Photoshop, expect to spend more time learning in the first month of class
  • Online learning in general – set up a time schedule that you sit down and learn. Time management is important.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to complete your assignments – remember we are using technology

Here’s some cool designs by previous EdTech 502 students:
http://edtech2.boisestate.edu/brandiharris/502/webquest/start.html
http://edtech2.boisestate.edu/yibofan/502/jigsaw.html
http://edtech2.boisestate.edu/jasoncooper911/502/virtualtour/start.html
http://edtech2.boisestate.edu/billkern/

Elementary Social Entrepreneurship: A Perfect STEAM Lesson

Jackie Gerstein photo

Dr. Jackie Gerstein

BY JACKIE GERSTEIN

I am completing a social entrepreneurship unit with my gifted students, grades 2nd through 5th. It was one of my favorite units . . . ever, and from their reactions, I believe it was one of theirs, too. I call it a perfect STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) unit. The first part of this post explains some of the rationale for this project, and the second part describes the unit, itself.

Why a Unit on Social Entrepreneurship

First, I wanted my learners, who are from lower income families, to develop both an entrepreneur mindset and entrepreneur skills along with the creativity and innovation that comes with these skills.

Entrepreneurship education benefits students from all socioeconomic backgrounds because it teaches kids to think outside the box and nurtures unconventional talents and skills. Furthermore, it creates opportunity, ensures social justice, instills confidence and stimulates the economy. Because entrepreneurship can, and should, promote economic opportunity, it can serve as an agent of social justice. Furthermore, entrepreneurship has historically spurred minorities, women and immigrants to create better lives for themselves and their families.  (Why Schools Should Teach Entrepreneurship)

Second, not only did I want my learners to gain entrepreneur skills, I wanted them to experience the benefits of starting a company in order to raise money to give to a “cause” also known as a form of social entrepreneurship.

Not every child is temperamentally suited to be a social entrepreneur. Not every child is suited to be a scientist, mathematician, or artist. But elementary school-age kids do have the natural curiosity, imagination, drive, and ability to come up with innovative ways to change the world for the better. By exposing our kids to a variety of disciplines, including social entrepreneurship, we are teaching them they have what it takes to “be the change.” One well-known expert on social entrepreneurship, David Bornstein, puts it this way: Once an individual has experienced the power of social entrepreneurship, he or she will “never go back to being a passive actor in society.” (Young Kids Need to Learn About Social Entrepreneurship)

Third, this unit met my own criteria for an effective and powerful unit:

  • Instructional challenges are hands-on, experiential, and naturally engaging for learners.
  • Learning tasks are authentic, relevant, and promote life skills outside of the formal classroom.
  • The challenges are designed to be novel, and create excitement and joy for learners.
  • Learner choice and voice are valued.
  • Lessons address cross curricular standards. They are interdisciplinary (like life) where multiple, cross-curricular content areas are integrated into the instructional activities.
  • Learning activities get learners interested in and excited about a broad array of topics especially in the areas of science, engineering, math, language arts, and the arts.
  • Communication, collaboration, and problem solving are built into the learning process.
  • Reading and writing are integrated into the learning activities in the form of fun, interesting books and stories, and writing stories, narratives, journalistic reports.
  • Educational technology is incorporated with a focus on assisting with the learning activities not to learn technology just for the sake of learning it.
  • There is a natural building of social emotional skills – tolerance for frustration, expression of needs, working as a team.

Schedule of Learning Activities

Here was the schedule of learning activities I used for this unit:

  •  Introduction
    • Video
    • Online Games
    • Kidpreneurs
  • Market Survey – Google Form
  • Analyzing Results, Deciding of Products, Testing Products
  • Expense Sheet – Expenses and Assets
  • Business Plan
  • Promotional Flyer
  • Sales and Record Sheet

Introduction

Video. Learners were introduced to entrepreneurship with the following video:

Read the rest of this topic …

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