(Finally) Finishing That Post

I just published a blog post that was started back in June 2016. Originally I was writing a long, detailed guide about how to integrate websites into Canvas after I’d used this tool in a training course I facilitated back in May 2016.

But my writing during the summer stopped when I attended a conference and my grandmother passed away during my travels. It was hard to motivate myself to continue writing this post because Grandmommy had just started reading my blog and learned how to comment on my blog. In other words, all the posts I was working on at that time were not visited again.

Until now.

I’ve started combing through the content I was writing last summer to see if there’s anything that needs to be resurrected. The post I just finished has been hanging over my head for a long time and I’m happy to have it (finally) published. I hope my words can do some good and provide instructors with more tools and valuable use cases for technologies in the classroom.

Really that’s all I wanted to share. It took a while, but in finishing that post I’ve made it over that writing block.

The featured image is provided CC0 by Jake Thacker via Unsplash.

iPadpaloozaOU Proposal

I am looking forward to iPadpaloozaOU this fall! iPadpaloozaOU is a local conference being cohosted by the Gaylord College of Journalism and the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at the University of Oklahoma and is being organized by my friend and colleague, Anne Beck. What sets this conference apart for me is that it seeks to engage both pre-service teachers and K12 educators from around the state. This opportunity to engage both education students and teachers in iPad edtech is part of the reason I wanted to submit a proposal. And of course, anything related to mobile device productivity invigorates my passion in edtech!

While I was brainstorming topics I wanted to submit to iPadpaloozaOU, I kept coming back to some of the professional development I have done with mobile devices and blogging. Having focused on socioeconomic accessibility of mobile devices and equipping students as creators over the last year, these  subjects are close to my heart. Eventually, I decided engaging participants in these topics would be best in a workshop format and this led me to submit the following proposal:

Session Title

Student Creators: Cultivating Success & Amplifying Voices with Mobile Blogging

Session Description

Mobile blogging can be used inside the classroom to increase student engagement. This workshop seeks to both raise awareness of the variety of applications of blogging in the classroom and provide hands-on guidance demonstrating the ease of blogging from a smartphone or tablet. Working in small groups and using personal mobile devices, participants will experience how blogging can be seen as an equalizing technology in a classroom by allowing all students a voice.  Both traditional writing and student engagement are transformed with the utilization of cameras, touch screens, and the streamlined app workflows of mobile devices. As we demonstrate the practicality of mobile blogging, participants will also discuss how blogging can be used to increase understanding to yield student success. Between applications in the classroom, research, and academia more broadly, this professional development workshop aims to provide a comprehensive look at what it means to blog in the context of cultivating student success. For more information about mobile blogging and scholarship and to preview this workshop’s content, visit mbs.keeganslw.net.

Workshop Technology

Assuming my proposal gets accepted, one thing I am looking forward to is introducing a blogging workflow I started using this week. It entails having individuals submit posts to a WordPress website without the need for an account. This workflow will allow me to engage participants at iPadpaloozaOU in blogging without any required setup. In other words, I am looking forward to demonstrating how a “low barrier to entry” technology can be used to engage students. If you want to see what this workflow looks like in practice, check out the Canvas course I am running this week over Mobile Blogging & Scholarship.

If you are interested in submitting a proposal to iPadpalooza, there is still time! You must submit here by June 1st.

The featured image is provided CC0 by Timothy Muza via Unsplash.

How to Blog, Develop Curriculum, Microblog, & Discuss in 50 Minutes

Last Friday I had the pleasure to present at OU’s 5th annual Academic Technology Expo with John Stewart. Since our “presentation” was more of a hands-on workshop, titled Mobile Blogging, Scholarship, and Cultivating Student Success, we had participants blog, develop curriculum, microblog and discuss applications of mobile blogging in their classrooms. It was phenomenal, and here’s how we accomplished everything in 50 minutes:

Minutes 0-10

First, John and I started with a Paper Tweet microblogging exercise, asking participants to name and describe their favorite classroom activity in 140 characters or less. Individuals shared some of their examples before we engaged them in a followup discussion.

“Why blog?” and “Why blog using a mobile device?” were the initial questions we posed to the group. And with each inquiry, John and I wanted to establish reasons why instructors might employ blogging and mobile blogging in their classrooms.

Minutes 10-30

Next, John and I asked participants to take their favorite classroom activity—the one from their Paper Tweet—and modify this activity to include a blogging component. We requested participants record these responses as a blog post to let them experience the nuances of writing a post. In other words, we were asking participants to develop curriculum while simultaneously documenting this content as blog posts.

This exercise was the primary logistical challenge of our workshop. For individuals that had their own blog, we encouraged them to use their own digital space to publish responses. For other, John and I brought several tablets to be used to accomplish this task. Following several minutes of collaborative and individual curriculum development, we heard many excellent classroom activities that now included new blogging components.

For example, some responses included having students blog about articles they had to research for assignments. Other examples included having students respond to photographs as blog posts or “live tweeting” during classroom presentations. All that too say, there were several, viable new pieces of curriculum that were outlined and shared in this short period of time.

Minutes 30-45

At this point, John and I led more discussion about mobile blogging. We wanted to know what participants had to say about “how the nature of an assignment is changed when blogging is introduced?” and “how could student success be determined as a blog?” These are a few of the questions that we used to develop the concept of how mobile blogging could be applied in a classroom.

Minutes 45-50

Lastly, John and I spent a few minutes presenting our thoughts on Mobile Blogging. Some of which included:

Reflection

Overall, this experience was excellent. Many participants where introduced to mobile blogging and experiencing it for the first time, while others had attended related training.  During our workshop, John and I wanted to make sure everyone got to discuss mobile blogging applications in the classroom and generate a piece of curriculum that could be used in their courses. We designed this workshop to be hands-on and give participants an opportunity to produce something valuable—and to accomplish all this in 50 minutes was an exciting challenge!

What’s In Store for Spring 2016?

I am really looking forward to the trainings and presentations for the upcoming semester. In particular, I am excited about hosting GOBLIN for the first time (more details below). In addition to GOBLIN, here’s a list of trainings I am offering this semester through CTE (descriptions, schedules, and sign-up links provided where available):

Mobile Blogging & Scholarship

MBS Blog Image

Mobile Blogging & Scholarship (MBS) is about teaching the nature of blogging from a mobile device. Starting with tablet fundamentals and progressing through blogging elements including text, video, and graphics, participants will experience and demonstrate their understanding of each of these topics. In particular, attention will be given to instructional and professional use-cases of mobile blogging to provide participants with content that will be immediately applicable.

A couple days ago, I finished facilitating Mobile Blogging & Scholarship for the 3rd time! I had an awesome group of faculty who where fun to work with and gave me some great feedback on this professional development.

Schedule: January 11 & 12

Academic Technology Expo

Blog Image Banner 3

Academic Technology Expo (ATE) is tomorrow! This year, John Stewart and myself will be presenting over Mobile Blogging, Scholarship, & Cultivating Student Success. Our presentation will be hands-on and center around discussion and interaction. So, come prepared to participate! 🙂

Schedule: January 15 @ 10:00AM

OU Create Training

OU Create Blog Image

OU Create Training, like previous semesters, will take place multiple times during the semester. Each session will be dedicated to getting participants setup within create.ou.edu and on their way to producing their own website. Specifically, users will be introduced to domains, cPanel, and installing and using WordPress on their OU Create space. Each of these trainings is identical and I suggest attending only one.

Schedule:
January 20 @ 9:00AM
January 27 @ 1:00PM
February 5 @ 9:00AM
March 23 @ 1:00PM (Online)

GOBLIN

GOBLIN

Games Offer Bold Learning Insights Nowadays (GOBLIN) is an interactive adventure game that is, first and foremost, a vehicle to experientially teach pedagogical concepts. GOBLIN aims to synergistically combine professional development, storytelling, and a role-playing game into a memorable, engaging learning experience for instructors. Over the course of GOBLIN, topics ranging from scaffolding and overcoming failure to team-based learning, game-based learning, and gamification will be discussed and experienced firsthand.

The remainder of GOBLIN is under wraps for a little while longer. John Stewart and I have been working on this training since last semester and plan to release more details soon!

Schedule: TBD (February - March)

Professional, Instructional, & Advanced Series

This semester, I will offer several series of trainings from various perspectives: professional uses, instructional uses, and advanced uses. Instructors may participate in one session from each topic or all three as desired. Each training will cover different information that is connected but not prerequisite. The following topics will be part of these three perspectives:

WordPress Training will be offered to supplement OU Create training. The Professional Use session will focus on e-portfolios and professional blogs. The Instructional Use session will cover engaging students with blogging. And the Advanced Use session will emphasize plugins and WordPress functionality.

Schedule:
January 20 @ 10:30AM (Professional Use)
January 27 @ 2:30PM (Instructional Use)
February 5 @ 10:30AM (Advanced Use)

Google Hangouts on Air Training, like the WordPress training, will be offered in three flavors. The Professional Use session will aim to provide participants with the knowledge to participate and host a Google Hangouts on Air. The Instructional Use session intends to teach participants how to utilize Google Hangouts on Air in the classroom, potentially as a solution to conduct online office hours, etc. Finally, the Advanced Use session will cover using some of the built in features of Google Hangouts on Air (Cameraman, Control Room, etc.) to demonstrate the full potential of this broadcasting tool.

Schedule: TBD (February - March)

Twitter Training will also benefit from three perspectives. The Professional Use session will focus on Twitter as a networking and communication tool. The Instructional Use session will emphasize how to incorporate Twitter into the classroom. And the Advanced Use session will introduce Twitter visualization like TAGSExplorer.

Schedule:
March 21 @ 1:00PM (Professional Use)
March 30 @ 9:00AM (Instructional Use)
April 8 @ 9:00AM (Advanced Use)

Summer Planning

After all of these trainings take place, I will shift my focus to summer (and likely fall) professional development planning. At the moment, I am considering a Faculty Learning Community that focuses on the skill required to participate in a professional development MOOC (such as CLMOOC), but nothing is finalized yet.

Regardless, 2016 is poised to be a very promising year and I am excited for everything to come!

Growing, Thankfully

I am thankful for many things in my life (wife, family, work, Star Wars, etc.). However, I want to write about two things that have been a significant part of my life over the last year.

Teaching

Some of the biggest projects I have been working on include a Mobile Blogging & Scholarship Workshop Series and a Lynda.com Course Integration Faculty Learning Community. Both of these were professional development programs that I got to design, build, and facilitate through my work at the Center for Teaching Excellence at OU.

And rather than outline the details of these projects, I want to express why I am grateful for them.

I am thankful because I love teaching and these trainings allow me to grow, refine, and practice my craft. I have taught high school chemistry and physics, english as a second language, and am now able to teach educational technology at OU. Each of these experiences have pushed me and my understanding of instruction to become a more effective educator. I am grateful for these opportunities.

Additionally, I have started creating web resources that accompany each of my trainings. These materials have been helpful to me, my students, and others individuals across campus (and the world). I am thankful I have been encouraged to develop resources that can easily be shared online because it is amplifying my impact as an Educational Technologist.

(I am currently building another professional development course with my colleague John Stewart. This project may be the biggest yet! If you are interested in what games have to teach us about learning, look for our training next semester!)

Japan

From September 2014 to March 2015, I got to live in Japan with my wife while she studied abroad. This experience was fantastic. Living in another country is one of the best ways to learn about life because it is a chance for exploration, reflection, and self-discovery.

I am thankful I got to live in Japan alongside my best friend—my wife. We were presented with everyday problems and experiences that have cultivated a deeper relationship between us. Not to mention, I feel more self-confident as a traveller.

If you are ever given the chance to live abroad, even for a short period of time, I highly encourage you to take the opportunity. There are no substitutes for such a learning experience.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

After reflecting today I realize I am grateful when I am given chances to grow and develop as a person or a professional. Also, I am thankful for Thanksgiving hamsters eating tiny pies. 🙂