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M.E.T. student wows judge in book awards

EdTech_Connection_Dec_2014EdTech master’s student Buffy Naillon made a big splash in the recent 23rd Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards, earning top scores in all six categories.
Naillon published her first novel, The Girl Who Fell into the Sky, last year at this time and it became an almost instant Amazon best-seller in the young adult market.

The story is a modern re-telling of King Thrushbeard, a European folktale in which a self-absorbed princess rejects all the suitors suggested by her father. When she turns her nose up at Thrushbeard, a handsome and rich young king, her father forces her to marry the next eligible bachelor who comes along, and that happens to be King Thrushbeard again, but this time clean-shaven and disguised as a penniless minstrel. In Naillon’s version, temperaments are reversed. The princess is a sympathetic teen and the kindly king-father character is an uncaring media mogul who uses her to manipulate ratings.

In the commentary section, the judge in the 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards, said “Very engaging start to the book, dropping us right in the middle of the action with total clarity that this is a reality show run by something of a despot, Clare’s father, who sees her as nothing more than a pawn in his quest for power. We hope from very early on that he gets his comeuppance, and we look for signs of it, just as we look for signs that Clare will be okay. We’re engaged and emotionally involved from the very start, a great writing feat by the author.

“Settings are rich in detail, dialogue is realistic and engaging, confrontations are tense and paced well (it’s a common mistake to rush through them, but author keeps us in the thick of them. Wisely done.) It’s a big book, so the risk of a lull in the middle is a particular possibility … but in this book, there is no lull. It stays exciting and emotional all the way through. Good work.”

And so we add our own commentary: Way to go, Buffy!

Boise State EdTech Profs Flood Indianapolis for AECT

Half of EdTech’s faculty members are in Indianapolis this week to present their expertise at the international conference of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT).

  • Master’s student Jennifer Rand and Assistant Professor Jesus Trespalacios will teach university professors from around the world about Guiding Peer-Questioning During Online Case-Based Discussions.
  • Trespalacios next teams up with colleague Ross Perkins, associate professor and director of Boise State EdTech’s doctoral program, when they speak on Exploring Relationships Between Sense of Community, Perceived Learning, and Achievement in an Online Course.
  • EdTech student Sally Baldwin will co-present with Associate Professor Yu-Chang Hsu and Assistant Professor Yu-Hui Ching. Their talk is entitled Efforts and Focus on Lifelong Learning in Developed Countries.
  • Hsu and Ching will also present A Review of Mobile Learning Models and Framework.
  • Patrick Lowenthal is scheduled to present on social presence in online teaching and learning. The title of his talk is In Search of a Better Understanding of Social Presence: An Investigation into How Researchers Define Social Presence.
  • Lowenthal and co-presenters Joanna Dunlap (University of Colorado-Denver) and Patricia Stitson (one of Dunlap’s graduate students) will speak on Creating an Intentional Web Presence: Strategies for Educational Technology Professionals.
  • Ching and EdTech Associate Professor Dazhi Yang and Professor Young Baek will present Enhancing Student Reflections in E-portfolios Using the TPACK Framework.
  • Ching and Hsu will present on Developing Online Teaching Expertise: Prospective Online Teachers’ Reflection.
  • And Clinical Assistant Professor Chris Haskell is presenting on Implementing Open Badges in Three Preservice Teacher Education Programs: Challenges, Lessons, and Opportunities with colleagues Daniel Randall and Richard West of Brigham Young University and Timothy Newby of Purdue.
  • Professor and Department Chair Brett Shelton and Professor Andy Hung will join a panel discussion with colleagues from Harvard, Penn State, Texas-Rio Grande Valley, Northern Arizona, Central Florida, and Anadolu University (Turkey) to discuss: Who am I? Quantified Self in Related-to-Learning Analytics, Wearable, and Mobile Technologies.

Register now for new robotics elective

EdTech Professor Young Baek will offer a new course, Autonomous Robotics for Teaching and Learning, in the spring of 2016.

Baek has taught robotics in his on-campus summer camps for junior and senior high school students, but this is the first time the department has offered a robotics course for teachers.

The three-credit elective introduces methods for integrating robotics technologies into K-12 classroom

settings. Participants will learn basic concepts of robotics as they build and program an educational robot. Class members will discuss and share ways of using robotics in various academic subjects, such as math, physics, science, and computer programming. Baek’s students will get hands-on experience by assembling robot models and programming them.

Prerequisite knowledge in video production and web development is needed because students will keep a digital learning journal throughout the course.

Registration for spring semester opened on Monday, Nov. 2.

Hsu, Ching publish articles on STEM and online feedback

Two refereed manuscripts by EdTech’s Yu-Chang Hsu and Yu-Hui Ching have been accepted for publication.

Exploring learners’ interpersonal beliefs and generated feedback in an online role-playing feedback activity will be published in The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. The second article—co-written with six others—is called, Am I a STEM Professional? The Development and Results of a Measure of STEM Student Professional Identity and will be published in Studies in Higher Education.

Hsu and Ching will present Mobile Apps for Older Adults: Health, Learning, and Living at the upcoming Elearn Conference with doctoral student Sally Baldwin.

How to improve wifi performance

Thanks to Comcast for its 10 Commandments for improved wifi performance. I’ll summarize.
As you probably know, high-frequency radio waves (think FM compared to AM) don’t bend around
objects very well. Wifi routers are miniature radio towers that broadcast high-frequency radio signals
which your devices translate into audio and video.

So, it stands to reason that your router should be placed high in the room with few obstructions. Wifi
signals can go through walls, but signal strength is reduced, which is why large buildings, such as hotels,
have multiple wifi outlets. Placing it near an electronics device, such as a television, microwave, or
telephone may also degrade performance. And for goodness sake, don’t stack stuff on it. The router can
over-heat and turn itself off.

Students named teachers of the year

EdTech doc student Mary Alice Hudson was named the 2015 Teacher of the Year for Cape Fear Elementary School in ender County, North Carolina.

Master of EdTech student Dann Mosteller is competing for Texas Teacher of the Year after being named teacher of he year for his school and district in Fort Worth.

Doctoral student invited to present at Asian conferences

TedXEdTech doctoral student Eric Hawkinson spoke with a few colleagues at the Asian Conference on International Development and Education and they were so impressed, they invited him to be a featured presenter at the Asian Conference on Technology in the Classroom, held in Kobe, Japan, at the end of May.
Hawkinson also hosted a full-day session for the IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality in Fukuoka, Japan, Sept. 29 through Oct. 3. Conference coordinators reached out to him because they wanted to see how AR is being used and implemented in education. He and colleagues showed and discussed student projects in augmented reality.
Hawkinson is director of interactives at TEDxKyoto.