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Friesen to speak on Dewey and more at AERA


EdTech Professor Norm Friesen will participate in three presentations in San Antonio, Texas, this week at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association.

Friesen will present his first paper—ICT of Learning and Instruction at the University Level—in the International Session on Societal Challenges and Educational Research, which is co-located with AERA.

In that paper and the following discussion, Friesen will focus on two trends that continue to dominate educational technology research and practice at American universities. The first of these is associated with the terms “big data” and “learning analytics,” and promises to provide students with automated feedback on their overall academic performance and their progress in specific courses.

The second trend that he will discuss is the long-anticipated switch from print-based textbooks to digital materials for study and instruction. Last year, for the first time, large American publishers, such as McGraw-Hill, earned more from digital than print offerings, a shift that is occurring simultaneously with the disaggregation of textbook contents into smaller units for study and instruction.

In the main event, Friesen will present a paper on John Dewey’s Media Theory Reconstructed and will lead discussion afterward.

In addition to being an educational reformer and philosopher nonpareil, John Dewey also theorized media and communication. For example, Marshall McLuhan once characterized Dewey as “surf-boarding along on the new electronic wave [that] … has now rolled right over this age.” Dewey himself repeatedly referenced “the radio, the railway, telephone, telegraph” as developments that rendered “social life … almost completely changed.” This paper undertakes a reconstruction of Dewey’s theory of communication and media, particularly as it relates to education, scholarship and democracy. Friesen’s paper concludes that despite its moments of ambivalence, Dewey’s theory of media and communication in education remains both current and compelling.

Friesen’s final paper presentation at this year’s conference is entitled The Pedagogical Relation (1927–2015): The History of a Traveling Concept.

The pedagogical relation, the idea of a special, emotionally-charged relationship between teacher and child, has long been a central theme in interpretive studies of education. Speaking more broadly, concern with “student-teacher relations” and “pedagogies of relation” is also common across educational discourses. German educationist Herman Nohl was the first to define the phrase “pedagogical relation” in 1926. Others have followed, with Max van Manen introducing the concept into English some 65 years later. However, the travel and evolution of this notion has not been systematically examined. In his paper and presentation, Friesen inaugurates this task by viewing the pedagogical relation as a “travelling concept,” one that originated in the European human sciences and has proven particularly adaptable to today’s focus on otherness and discontinuity.

Experimental course offered this fall


An experimental course in instructional development will be offered this fall.

Associate Professor Patrick Lowenthal is both the architect and instructor of EDTECH 597—Rapid Course Development, which was created for modern instructional designers (and other educators) whose job descriptions require them to combine design with courseware implementation.

Experimental means the course will be offered one to three times to see how much student interest it generates.

Self-paced tutorials are a common form of learning. In this course, students will learn how to use industry leading rapid authoring tools as they design and develop self-paced online learning modules.

There are no formal prerequisites, but Lowenthal recommends that students complete the following foundational courses before taking this course.

—EDTECH 502: Creating Educational Websites,
—EDTECH 503: Instructional Design, and
—EDTECH 512: Online Course Design.

EDTECH 597—Rapid Course Development—joins three thematically related courses: Instructional Design, Online Course Design, and Quest-Based Learning Design.

​Fall registration is now open, so use class number 76260 to register for this fall course.​

Instructional design job announced

Glori Hinck’s former employer was very pleased with her enhanced abilities after earning her master’s and doctorate from Boise State EdTech.

Hinck left Northwest Health Sciences University in Bloomington, Minnesota, last year to take a position at St. Thomas University. NHSU wants to fill her old job, so the university contacted her and asked if she could post the job announcement at Boise State. I guess NHSU wanted another well-prepared instructional designer.

We’re happy to help. Here it is:

Position Information:

The Instructional Designer is a new position that provides leadership and expertise for Northwestern Health Sciences University’s online and blended educational delivery initiatives.  In particular, the Instructional Designer will collaborate with faculty and staff to establish definitions, guidelines and standards for online and blended learning.  The Designer will also develop and provide faculty and staff training and onboarding as well as providing group and individualized instructional design consultation and assistance.  This person will also help faculty and staff to identify appropriate technologies needed to accomplish desired learning outcomes while increasing student learning, success and engagement.

Position Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree or master’s degree required
  • Doctoral or professional degree preferred
  • 3-5 years of experience in online instructional and curriculum design or related field.
  • Demonstrated expertise with learning management systems (particularly Moodle), instructional design, and learning theories.
  • Strongly prefer experience that includes developing online or blended learning initiatives in higher education.
  • Prior work experience in higher education required.

    Other specialized skills/knowledge:

  • Fully knowledgeable in online learning pedagogy, instructional design, adult learning principles, course management software (i.e.. Moodle), and other instructional software tools.
  • Ability to provide instructional, curriculum, and technical design consulting services to faculty
  • Efficient working on multiple instructional design and related projects concurrently.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, problem solving skills, interpersonal skills, and the ability to communicate effectively with stakeholders to ensure a high degree of understanding and transparency of the online and hybrid course design and development process.
  • Excellent project management, presentation, and the ability to execute a variety of plans at multiple levels.

They should go on to the website and submit through the HR website for career opportunities.

Patricia M. Casello-Maddox, DC, MBA, MOM
Associate Provost
Northwestern Health Sciences University
2501 W. 84th Street
Bloomington, MN 55431
Office: 952-888-4777 x202

Trespalacios co-authors chapter on testing games


EdTech Assistant Professor Jesus Trespalacios has published a book chapter on pre-release testing of educational games. Three co-authors are former colleagues at New Mexico State University.

The chapter focuses on the logistical issues that can make formative testing problematic, such as locating qualified testers and finding the best location and equipment for the right type of testing. In addition, learning games—also called educational, serious, or transformational games—present additional challenges to user testing.

But developers and researchers at New Mexico State University have created a unique program to combat these problems.

Researchers offer ongoing, year-around game design think tanks in which testers participate in activities to build their reviewing skills, test games regularly during the design process, engage in a variety of feedback methods, and gain valuable media skills. Through this Learning Games Lab model, professional game developers have easy access to testers at any stage of game development and can build their design intuition through frequent contact with members of the target audience.

The case study that Trespalacios and colleagues describe in the book chapter looks at how the Learning Games Lab operates, including processes for recruiting subjects, collecting data, and sharing that data with that data with the development team.

Here’s how to learn more:

Chamberlin, B., Trespalacios, J., Smith, A., & Coles, M. (2016). User testing in the learning games lab: successful strategies for gaining access to testers and getting valuable feedback. In M. A. Garcia-Ruiz (Ed.), Games User Research: A Case Study Approach (pp. 55-76). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Gerstein to present twice at ISTE


EdTech’s Jackie Gerstein will offer two sessions at this summer’s ISTE conference in San Antonio.

Her first session is a pre-conference all-day workshop on Sunday. In A Framework for Maker Education: Frontloading and Reflecting on Maker Experiences (WF107), will learn that frameworks help ensure that for maker activities lead to meaningful learning. Educators who attend this premium workshop will directly experience frameworking by participating in several cycles of frontloading or framing the activities, doing maker activities, and reflecting on them using several types of technology-enhanced methods.

To learn more about this seven-hour workshop, go to:

On the following day (Monday, June 26, 11:30 am–12:30 pm), Gerstein and colleague Barbara Bray will present on Design Thinking and Universal Design for Learning for Makerspaces, STEM, and STEAM.

This session provides practical strategies for teachers to redesign their classroom to encourage innovative activities around STEM and STEAM. In the process, teachers will learn how to encourage students’ voice and choice around the design and resources available for makerspace in their classroom.

To learn more about this session, go to:

EdTech duo examines storytelling in online courses

EdTech doctoral student Sally Baldwin and Yu-Hui Ching, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Technology, published an article entitled “Interactive Storytelling: Opportunities for Online Course Design” in TechTrends.

The article details how compelling interactive stories can be used to get and keep learners’ interest in online courses. Interactive storytelling presents information in a manner that involves learners by allowing them to connect with the content. Incorporating interactive storytelling into online education offers the potential to increase student interest and knowledge retention. 

Interactive storytelling also allows learners to create a personalized experience. By analyzing examples of interactive stories, they identified five features of interactive storytelling: dynamic presentation, data visualization, multisensory media, interactivity and narration. They explain each feature, and its educational benefits, with illustrations provided from five interactive storytelling examples. They also discuss the implications of interactive storytelling for online course design.

EdTech grad wins presidential award for teaching math

2010 EdTech grad Michael Spock

We just learned that EdTech alumnus Michael Spock earned the presidential award for mathematics education last fall. The photo above and the story below are credited to Mike Wolanin and Kaitlyn Evener of The Republic newspaper in Columbus, Indiana.

Columbus North High School mathematics teacher Mike Spock recently received the highest award available to high school math teachers in the country, but he said he sees it as a challenge to keep improving rather than a sign to stick with the status quo.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Technology (PAEMST) is the highest award available for primary, intermediate and secondary school teachers to date, according the award website. It is given to two teachers — one science and one math — every year from each state, and rotates between kindergarten through sixth-grade or seventh- through 12th-grade teachers.

Spock said he was surprised and happy to receive the award.

“It’s exciting to have that happen,” he added.

Spock learned that he was the Hoosier mathematics winner a week-and-a-half into this school year, that he would fly to Washington, D.C., three weeks later for the awards ceremony and also would receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.

Some of Spock’s prize money already has gone toward items in his computer science class and the chess club.

Spock’s wife Lisa and their 5-year-old daughter Emma accompanied him on the trip Sept. 7 to 10. While Emma and Lisa experienced the history and bustle of Washington, Spock’s days began at 7 a.m. and were filled with learning of another sort.

“One of the best things was getting to meet all the teachers and hear their ideas. And some of the best ideas I came back with were just what other teachers in other states are doing,” Spock said.

Another highlight, he said, was a session on mathematical modeling, a type of teaching he is a fan of and employs in his classrooms. The model allows students to create multiple possible answers and models to solve problems. For example, a weather forecast is a useful model in daily life, and while the model is never perfect it is used every day to solve a problem, Spock said.

Spock said he isn’t sure if his use of mathematical modeling helped him win or if it was his active learning style — which allows students think and communicate about math continuously — or if it is his attitude that mistakes can equal knowledge.

“I try to establish an atmosphere where it’s OK and expected to make mistakes because that’s where the best learning comes from,” he said.

Upon nomination, Spock began the application process, which included videotaping an entire class lesson and writing a 12-page reflection of his work. Spock said the process was helpful as he delved into his teaching and found things he wanted to do better that he would never have noticed otherwise.

Dale Nowlin, mathematics chair at Columbus North and the 1991 winner of the award, said he nominated Spock mainly because he does great things to help both students and teachers. In his letter to the PAEMST selection committee, Nowlin commented on Spock’s creativity in the classroom.

“I am constantly impressed with his creativity in designing lessons, his focus on making sense of mathematics in context, his positive and encouraging attitude and his willingness to work with students in the classroom and outside of the classroom,” Nowlin said in his nomination letter.

The result, Nowlin said, has been students who not only learn but are inspired. Nowlin also mentioned in the letter that Spock’s AP Statistics students earn scores that are “significantly above state and national averages.”

Three Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. teachers — all nominated by Nowlin — were finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Technology. The other two were Brad Branham, a math teacher at North, and Allison White, a math teacher at Northside Middle School.

“I get to work with amazing teachers in the math department. I think we’ve got excellent faculty and administration here at the high school that supports us, so it promotes innovation and keeping up with investments in education,” he said.

EdTech chair featured in magazine article

EdTech Chair Brett Shelton was featured in a multi-page article published in the latest version of FOCUS, a magazine about the best of Boise State.

The article also presents some interesting comments by one of our doctoral students who is an professor of education at a midwest college.

Click on the photo below to see the entire article.

Wired for Success

EdTech Business Manager Wins an Award

Megan DuPre with her campus-wide award for simplifying processes.

EdTech Business Manager Megan Dupre recently won an award for developing an efficient way to train faculty and staff on complicated new processes of obtaining travel authorizations and reporting expenses.

DuPre’s process saves paper and reduces time involved in getting approval for travel and expenses.

The award was presented at the university’s inaugural Process Improvement Symposium which attracted staff and faculty from 40 departments across campus.

Other departments won awards for:

  • Identifying keepers of complicated systems knowledge and creating their own inhouse training, instead of relying on university trainers,
  • Cost-saving ways to clean floors and white boards,
  • Streamlining ways to use newly implemented financial charts of account, and
  • Creating a secure share-drive for electronic files and allowing digital receipt collection for expense reports.

Going where no audience has gone before

Dr. Haskell shown speaking in an auditorium.

Dr. Chris Haskell speaking at a previous Google summit
–In his Star Fleet officer’s uniform, of course.

EdTech Assistant Professor Chris Haskell will deliver the keynote address Feb. 18 and 19 at the Carson City Summit in Carson City, Nevada, one of 164 regional Google events worldwide.

In his Star Trek officer’s uniform or not, Haskell’s upbeat TED-style delivery will neither look nor sound like a typical keynote speaker.

He will tell his audience of several hundred Nevada teachers that their dreams of a technologically driven world were originally manifest in the popular media of the past five decades. In fact, a detailed look back shows far more connection between science fiction and science fact than previously considered, especially as it relates to education.

And if you see him in Carson City, be sure to address him as Ensign Haskell. He’ll love it.