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Gerstein creates a fuller framework for maker education




If the maker movement is totally Greek in your mind, you’re not far off, according to Jackie Gerstein, an adjunct instructor in Boise State’s EdTech master’s program.

In a recent blog, she explains the three-fold function of Greek thought as it relates to maker education.

Theoria–contemplation, speculation, looking at things and, perhaps, seeing them in new and different ways.
Poïesis –which means to make, and
Praxis–according to Wikipedia–is the process by which a theory, lesson, or skill is enacted, embodied, or realized.

My focus fractured briefly and I couldn’t help but think of these words through the lens of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Theoria (contemplation) could be analysis. Poiesis (to make) could be application, and praxis could be synthesis, the design aspect of creation. Maker Tech, as in Bloom’s Taxonomy, you’ll notice, focuses on higher-order thinking.

I encourage you to read Gerstein’s blog—called A Fuller Framework for Maker Education—in which she says that all of this theoria (minus my cognitive jump to Bloom) led her “to think about how this would translate into a full spectrum of making in the context of maker educator. Having such a framework would help insure that learning from the making experience is more robust, not left up to chance.”

Then she outlines the elements of a fuller spectrum or framework. I will provide the headings to picque your interest and then you can and should follow the link to read the details.

—Play, Tinkering, Experimentation
—Framing or Frontloading the Making Experience
—Mindful and Intentional Making
—Observing and Reflecting Upon Results
—Critical Awareness and Analysis
—Sharing to Elicit Broader Connections and Change

Find the details of Gerstein’s maker framework, and a cool graphic illustration, at .

Research shows course-development rubrics vary widely





Most higher education assessment tools that are intended to guide the creation of quality online courses do not address all of the commonly accepted seven points of good practice, according to EdTech Assistant Professor Jesus Trespalacios and doctoral student Sally Baldwin, who presented their research in Las Vegas last week at the annual conference of the Association for Educational Communication and Technology (AECT).

Using Arthur Chickering and Zelda Gamson’s well known and widely accepted Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education as a framework, Trespalacios and Baldwin analyzed course assessment rubrics from 34 higher education institutions to see how well they aligned with the seven principles. Their findings are interesting.

Of those studied, only the course-development guidelines published by Southern Polytechnic State University aligned with all seven of the principles.

Their research also disclosed that only:
89%  of rubrics assess student-faculty contact,
75%  encourage cooperation among students,
57%  encourage active learning,
36%  encourage respect for diverse talents and ways of learning,
29%  required prompt feedback,
14%  noted high expectations, and
4%  included students’ projected time on task.

Professor and student will lead discussion at AECT

Collaboration among faculty members—whether local, national, or international—is becoming more important because unique skills and abilities are seldom situated in a single place.

That’s the topic of a round table discussion led by EdTech Professor Kerry Rice and doctoral student Lori Glaeser this week at the annual conference of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) in Las Vegas.

And because great distances sometimes separate colleagues, they will focus on Virtual Communities of Practice (VCoP), which are informal groups of colleagues bound together by shared expertise or interest. Communities of practice, virtual or not, help members achieve common goals through collaboration, sharing, and learning.

In their AECT session this week, Rice and Glaeser will highlight their research and experiences during an international conference and summer institute held at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Poland and will focus on the following discussion questions:

–How do I establish an international connection and with whom?
–How do I make the transition from collegial communication to visiting scholar?
–What challenges should I expect along the way?
–What are the rewards and benefits of an international exchange?
–How do I establish and sustain global collaborations and knowledge sharing?

Rice and Glaeser are among 10 Boise State graduate students and 12 faculty members presenting at AECT-2016 in Las Vegas this week.

How to create deeper learning in teacher professional development

Allison Hall's profile photo

Allison Hall

Boise State EdTech doctoral student Allison Hall will explain at AECT-2016 how modern teaching methods—such as Technology-Enhanced Learning, Blended Learning, Authentic Learning, Personalized Learning, Collaborative Learning, and Deeper Learning—can be arranged in a spectrum of increasing complexity to personalize professional learning.

She is one of 10 Boise State graduate students and 12 faculty members expected to make presentations to the nation’s educators at the Association for Educational Communication and Technology (AECT) this week in Las Vegas.

Blended, personalized, and deeper learning are terms that are used interchangeably by some and have commonalities, including the potential to provide collaborative and authentic learning opportunities. However, upon examining the characteristics of these trends, there appears to be increasing complexity from blended to personalized to deeper learning. This progression has the potential to help acclimate teacher and student comfort levels to technology-rich, student-driven learning environments. While some may feel comfortable diving into the deeper learning end of the spectrum, blended learning can help the trepidatious to begin.

As teacher and student’s knowledge of technology and resources, metacognitive abilities, and confidence increases, the somewhat hierarchical nature evolves into a symbiotic relationship of learning.

She will begin her presentation with an introduction to the dichotomy we often encounter between teacher technological experience and the level of integration that is being expected of them. The challenge of teacher-educators is to come up with creative solutions to help teachers understand the why and how of technology integration in ways that don’t overwhelm and frustrate them.

Hall will support her remarks with examples taken from her experience as a teacher-educator in an Arizona preK-12 district of 64,000 students and 3,700 teachers.

How one teacher found the code for incredible success



Tucked away in a corner of Laurel High School in a couple of storage rooms turned into computer labs, Michael Hines is training the next generation of information technology workers.

You could do this.  Read on.

In one room, three students sketch out programming code on a piece of paper. In the next, four students huddle around a smartboard and configure a computer network to connect Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia.

“So you all made a server? You all trying to be lazy, man,” Hines says to the group of students, all laughing now. “No, that’s okay. Because when someone else has trouble with it, you’re going to show them how to put the server in there.”

Over the past 12 years, Hines has prepared more than 150 juniors and seniors for computer networking certification exams and careers in information technology through Laurel High’s Cisco Networking Academy. The curriculum and learning platform for the program is provided by Cisco, one of the largest computer networking companies in the world.

“I wish I could get them earlier, because the world is IT,” Hines said. “Take the Internet away, everything shuts down.”

Cisco recently awarded Laurel High a $10,000 grant in recognition of Hines and his students’ accomplishments.

“In the past five years we’ve had everybody pass,” Hines said, referring to the certification exams. “It’s almost unbelievable.”

That would be very cool.

In 2015, one of Hines’s seniors received the highest score in the country — 986 out of 1,000 — on her CCENT exam, an entry-level Cisco certification. She and her teacher were invited to a black tie event for chief executive officers of various information technology companies, and they both met the head of Cisco.

This spring another of Hines’s students received the second-highest score in the country on the test.

What prevents you from similar success? Preparation, Probably.

Take our networking course (EDTECH 552) and any (OR ALL) of our coding-centric courses :
EDTECH 502  Creating Educational Websites—90 percent coding.
EDTECH 534  Mobile App Design—90 percent coding.
EDTECH 536  Digital Game Design for K-12 Classrooms—85 percent coding.
EDTECH 511  Interactive Courseware Design (digital animation)–60-70 percent coding.
EDTECH 597  Maker Tech: Hybrid Computing and Tinkering for STEAM Education—60 percent coding.
EDTECH 597  Autonomous Robotics—40-45 percent coding.
EDTECH 564  Gamified Augmented Reality—under development.
EDTECH 565  Advanced Educational Game Design—under development.

“I’m the guy who’s fortunate, because I got some kids who really want to learn, who take it seriously and make it easy for me to come to work every day and do what I do,” Hines said.

No question about it. That would be great.

Hines teaches his students through a combination of lessons, simulated projects and group work, but also with field trips to technology companies and competitions.

Except for the field trips, that is exactly how we teach our courses.

No matter what he is teaching, Hines said that he makes sure all of his students are on the same page.

“I tell them you can’t advance until everyone’s there, so they’re all helping each other,” he said.

Students from Laurel High and other high schools in Prince George’s County are invited to apply to the Cisco Academy during their sophomore year for participation in their junior and senior years.

About 100 applications are received every year, Hines said, and around 20 students are accepted via a lottery process. Seventy to 80 percent of those students are from Laurel and the remainder come from other schools in the northern part of the county and are bused to Laurel High.

Can you imagine having so much demand for your courses that the school has to use a lottery for admission?

Suitland High School offers a Cisco Networking Academy for students in the southern part of the county.

The students in Laurel High’s Cisco program spend 90 minutes every day with Hines and are expected to maintain an attendance rate of at least 94 percent.

That is not generally an issue, Hines said. He sometimes has to kick students out so that they go to their other classes, and students often come in during their lunch break to work on their projects or get extra help.

“Long story short, Mr. Hines is a great teacher,” said senior Jordan Philp. “He makes everything understandable — not easy, but understandable. He’s the main reason that all of us passed the [certification] test. And that was the goal that the class was going for: 100 percent passing rate.”

Senior Duong Truong said that their teacher came in over the summer to give his students extra help in preparation for their certification exam.

“I needed help, like a lot. I honestly doubted myself with the CCENT exam,” she said. “I thought I would get the lowest score, but I ended up getting the second-highest [in my class]. It’s because of those cram sessions with Mr. Hines in the summer.”

Truong applied to the Cisco Academy because she didn’t know what else to do, she said, but now she couldn’t imagine her high school life without it.

She has had the opportunity to attend various technology conferences and conventions geared toward women, and plans to study computer science in college.

Senior Solape Olaniyan transferred from Parkdale High School to Laurel High to participate in the Cisco Academy because he has loved working with computers ever since he “was little,” he said.

“It’s been great. I’ve had a lot of hands-on activities on stuff that I actually like to do,” he said. “A lot of opportunities opened up for me because this is also like a college class.”

Olaniyan passed his certification exam and is currently interning as an information technology consultant at a small business-IT consulting firm in Silver Spring.

He will be given full-time work there when he graduates in the spring, he said.

“Most of my peers start off with fast food restaurant jobs, but I was able to get my start in the field that I actually like, so that was a blessing for me,” he said. “I cherish that.”


SOURCE:, which reprinted it from the Laurel, Maryland, Leader. It was written by the newspaper’s staff writer, Lisa Philip.

EdTech professor co-edits book on flipped classrooms

EdTech Associate Professor Ross Perkins has co-edited a soon-to-be-released book called The Flipped College Classroom: Conceptualized and Re-Conceptualized.

The book provides a descriptive, progressive narrative on the flipped classroom including its history, connection to theory, structure, and strategies for implementation. It also answers important questions to consider when evaluating the purpose and effectiveness of flipping. The book also highlights case studies of flipped higher education classrooms within five different subject areas. Each case study is similarly structured to highlight the reasons behind flipping, principles guiding flipped instructions, strategies used, and lessons learned. The appendix contains lesson plans, course schedules, and descriptions of specific activities.

Perkins’ co-authors are Lucy Santos Green and Jennifer Banas.

Green is an assistant professor in the Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development at Georgia Southern University and Banas is an assistant professor in the College of Education at Northeastern Illinois University.

EdTech doc student featured on Linkedin today

NOTE: Linkedin’s spotlighted articles are fluid, here today and gone tomorrow, so we’ve reprinted Eric Hawkinson’s comments.

Lessons on Mixed Reality Design from Pokemon Go

Thanks to the popularity of Pokemon Go, augmented reality is now in the vocabulary of everyone with a smartphone. The application overtook Twitter in daily active users just a week after it was launched. Since then Pokemon GO has been hemorrhaging users very fast, millions per week. The reason for the craze and subsequent decline is quite telling for how ready we are to accept AR into our lives and how ready the technology is for mass adoption.

Very high technical back-end hurdles

First of all, even though I might have a good amount of criticism about this game, it is a technical achievement on an epic scale. The game play is so simple it can be deceiving how technically demanding it is to have this running as smooth as it is. Here are just some of the reasons that the game is a technical marvel.

You’ll only need data of the entire world to start

(image: Nintendo Main Headquarters in Kyoto, Japan seen on Pokemon Go map — player Tidehawk) This game needs a map of the entire world. That isn’t so hard, but then you have to populate it with millions of pokestops and gyms. Where should those go? How would you select them? You might think that they were crowdsourced, entered into the game by users. You would be right, but not by Pokemon Go users. The stops and gyms were already in place even before the beta was released. Think about the hours it would take to enter all those locations, they each have geo-location data, descriptions and pictures. You might guess that they were created by an algorithm, some super Watson type system collecting and sorting though billions of pictures with attached data on the web, that would be wrong. No AI at work here, so if they were manually selected, it would take a very large team years to input and verify all of these locations, heck Google is still trying to get streetview data for much of the world. Even a powerhouse like Niantic and Nintendo would wince at the time and money that would need to be invested to do this. But the smart people at Google were able to get all of this information, not with streetview cars or satellite images, but crowdfunded from another AR game, called Ingress.

Niantic, when still a part of Google launched Ingress in 2012. And the game called for users to decide into two factions and find/protect/hack ‘portals’. Over the course of the game users registered millions of locations around the world like statues, signposts, and here in Japan a ton of shrines. It took years to collect and define the database of locations that were then copied into Pokemon Go. Not to mention refining the back end business model of getting businesses to pay to be locations, a model which Pokemon is now enjoying as well.

Smaller developers will have to get creative

So if you think you are going make a Pokemon Go clone in your basement, we have already found one huge challenge for you, log millions of world locations or hack Niantic’s database.

Another big lesson related to these locations is even with the database of locations in hand. There is a full time staff working on removing or adding locations due to a whole host of issues. The popularity of Pokemon Go is drawing people into private property, having people simply go where they shouldn’t. One story of a young girl finding a dead body, and others arrested for hopping fences at private golf resorts. These are all issues of incorporating the real world into your game, and it is messy, just like the real world.

Business Models of AR Messing w/ Good Game Design Mechanics

I hinted at a business model, and there are lessons here as well. There are opportunities all over here. And not just for making money, in my AR learning environments I designed there are all types of benefits and challenges of having people move about in the world and being able to track them. Businesses pay to draw you in, all McDonald’s in Japan are either Pokestops or Gyms, and they paid good money for it. The question/issue I have with this is if McDonald’s is getting data on visitors that interact with the pokestops or Gyms. I’d want to see that data if I were McDonald’s, and that makes YOUR geo-location data, YOUR whereabouts a commodity. Not just to customers or even potential ones, but any business owner who wants to buy information on foot-traffic.

This is a huge issue in the design of educational AR games. It is against many school districts policy to collect student geo-location data, if they don’t have such polices yet, they will just as soon as they get all this explained to them. I will say that handled safely, this data can be a great benefit to teachers and parents, but there is much to sort out to get there.

So you have millions of locations, billions of pokemon migrating around the world, millions of users interacting with them. You are also tracking all of these data points as they move, collecting massive amounts of data. The server farms are looking safe for business if these games are to continue to trend, there is just so much happening off device.

Hype speaks volumes, but expectations not met

In my estimation, the Pokemon Go hit phenomenon was due to two factors, the market power of the Pokemon brand and the over promise of AR technology. A new Pokemon game is going to sell big in almost any iteration. But the marketers saw a potential in the idea of catching Pokemon in the real world and ran with it. Getting ads like the following. [See ]

You see, the brand has a great following, and this video oversells the current state of the technology by far. It is a great example of the hype cycle of emerging technologies.

You can see augmented reality listed as still in a downturn into a trough of disillusionment. I would argue, for many reasons that that downturn still has more down before up. But the Pokemon crowd was marketed in good timing and with great enthusiasm. So we got our AR phenomenon, but a phenomenon of hype, not acceptance or useful implementation.

Next iterations up to the hype?

So it is my opinion that it was the promise of the technology coupled with the love of the Pokemon franchise that lead to this phenomenon. So when is the technology expected to live up to these expectations? Well, in part thanks to Pokemon GO, those expectations have been lowered, if not slightly. But the next wave of hardware just on the horizon is set to give AR a big help in delivering the experiences we want. You see, AR has many levels and ways of augmenting reality. Pokemon GO relies mostly on GPS data, and some from the motion and directional sensors in your phone. But to really augment what you see around you, you need to utilize the objects and people around you in meaningful ways. I have been thinking about how to catorize AR and one of the most helpful ways to me is by what device is data being used to augment your surroundings.

*Detailed discussion published at:  Augmented Reality Enhanced Materials Design for Language Learning

That is where computer vision software coupled with stereoscopic cameras come in. The ability for your phone to know the geometry of a room, to recognize a desk, to judge distances, and to be able to pinpoint your location down to the meter, all will give developers the ability to really mix the digital and real worlds. We will start seeing hardware, first in the form on smartphones equipped with dual cameras and special processors made to crunch the math required for computer vision algorithms. Lenovo will have one on the market in Fall 2016.

Look for great real world apps for these phones already out. One of them can measure objects for you, another can render 3d models on your home interior. A Pokemon GO clone that utilizes these technologies may be something that really mixes realities. But it will still need better game design, social features, perhaps a compelling story, any of these things that Pokemon GO lacks.

Find out more about Eric and his AR projects at —

What we learned in our best-and-worst teacher series


We learned more about reaching and teaching students from our best teachers, though Lora Evanouski learned what kind of teacher she did NOT want to become.

He was an English teacher whom she described as “cold” and “uninviting.” Students in EDTECH 504 would recognize his aloofness as being low in teacher presence.

But look at our reflections of our best teachers.

Mary Ann Parlin’s favorite teacher had a profound influence on her own scholarship and on the way she teaches.  Her teacher said, “Okay. Let’s back-up until we find some solid ground to stand on.” And then she proceeded to pull me forward and teach me what I didn’t know. To this day, whenever a class or a student is struggling with material, instructions, etc., I say, “Okay, let’s back-up until we find some solid ground to stand on.”

Diane Hall’s favorite teacher encouraged questions. He was accessible not only during class, but also through email and phone, and it was not unusual for students to call him at his home.

Paul Castelin’s senior English teacher was a strict taskmaster, but she not only expected the best from her students, she got it.

Candace McGregor’s principal demonstrated the genuine concern that troubled students need. A family crisis developed when she was in the first grade, so she was called to the office one day, where the principal—a large woman with a big heart—hugged her and told her that things would work out.

And finally, my own favorite elementary school teacher recognized that I would get no support at home, so she invited me to stay after school every night and do my homework while she graded papers. She helped me when I needed it, but I loved knowing that help was there, even when I didn’t need it.

Sometimes we forget that teaching is a human equation that requires at least as much emotional support, patience, and accessibility as it does information and skills.

Thanks to all who participated in our best-and-worst teacher series. Thanks for the reminders.

11th and final installment in our best-and-worst-teacher series

LORA EVANOUSKI is the training coordinator for a large, local school district and has taught EDTECH 502–Creating Educational Websites–since graduating from the EdTech master’s program in 2011.

Best—My experiences vary greatly throughout my lifelong learning journey.  In my high school calculus class, I was lucky to have a wonderful teacher who was engaged, energized and created new learning experiences for us.  He was a forward thinker, even way back in the early ‘80s.  He dared to introduce us to computer science and brought in his personal home computer.  He had built the computer from scratch and was very proud.  Yes, this computer was a big machine that wrote DOS.  We were all in awe.  He started a coding club and taught us how to program in DOS!  It was a fabulous, frustrating, engaging learning experience.  He introduced us to experiences I never dreamed of.  Instead of thinking of school as books, notes, tests or a flat two-dimensional vision with a beginning and ending point, I began to think of learning as never-ending, a journey with new experiences at every turn.

Worst—I was in my second year of college and taking my third core class of writing.  I had success in other writing courses throughout my higher learning because I enjoyed the process of learning how to express thoughts, ideas and creatively write.  However, the professor in this class was rather cold, uninviting, never left his seat at the front of the room (picture him lording over his minions), and picked on students who either did not understand how to sit and write an essay or who needed extra assistance with their writing skills.  His course was an exercise in dogged determination to finish the class, not to enjoy the learning.  As I made my way through that course, I was determined on what type of teacher/instructor I would NOT become.

10th in a series—This teacher expected the best and got it!



PAUL CASTELIN has been an EdTech advisor since 2005 and specializes in end-of-program assistance.

Best–Boise High School teacher of senior English, Inez Woesner. She was of the mindset that you would not reflect poorly on her teaching skills, but would leave her classroom knowing something! Heaven forbid that you forgot your homework because you’d be standing next to your desk explaining to her and the class your specific reasons for not getting it done. She was a strict taskmaster, but I loved the fact that she not only expected the best from each of us, she was able to extract it. I’ve never diagrammed more sentences and more complex sentences in my life! Whatever abilities that I have as a writer today, I owe in large part to her. R.I.P. Ms. Woesner.

Worst–A junior college instructor of geology. Geology was a favorite subject of mine, in which I ultimately majored as an undergraduate, but it was NOT due to this gentleman. I don’t know how he thought he could get away with it, but his strategy was to assign one chapter in the geology text to each of his pupils and had them present the material at a future date. Besides being petrified at standing before the class, most of us knew nothing about teaching and mostly just read the text and asked a few lame questions. It was a horrible experience. He was gone from the faculty by the next semester, due in large part, I’m sure, to our scathing evaluations. Whatever I learned, I learned because I was interested in the material in the book. He added nothing.