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.

GOBLIN as Open Educational Resource (OER)

This post is written by guest blogger John Stewart. John is the Assistant Director of Digital Learning at the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of Oklahoma and my collaborator on GOBLIN.

While the thought of gamifying an entire class or even elements of a class will be daunting for many, GOBLIN also includes more universal and applicable concepts.  Well designed games introduce game mechanics and then increase the difficulty of tasks to encourage mastery of those mechanics.  They encourage team work, challenging players to combine the strengths and overcome the weaknesses of team members. They allow you to lose and to learn from that failure to improve.  By adapting these lessons for the classroom, we seek to improve student engagement and help students master the skills to succeed in college.

We hope that the design of GOBLIN will be more entertaining and provide better transference of skills than traditional lecture- or seminar-based workshops. The whole point of the project is to think about how we can create more active and engaging environments that motivate students to learn.

Open content was key in building this project.  The most visible example of open content in GOBLIN is the integration of artwork from Glitch the Game. When the game was discontinued in 2012, the programming team at Tiny Speck (many of whom served as the developmental team for the giant communication app Slack) released both the game code and the creative assets as open content in the public domain.  This meant that we could use any assets from Glitch to develop GOBLIN.

The ability to repurpose this artwork from the public domain inspired our storylines and allowed us to focus on developing game mechanics and instructional content.  All of this would not have been possible without the availability of high quality open content. For this we are grateful to Glitch creators.

We also drew on other open content resources including pixabay.com, a repository for open source artwork was phenomenal for acquiring content. Unsplash is another fantastic source for high-resolution, breathtaking photographs that can be freely used.

All of these resources hold a special place in our hearts, because they are aligned with personal philosophies on educational materials: open access content is best.  While, we intend to run this series as often as we can find interested folks to participate, we hope to reach a far larger audience outside the campus of OU by offering the website as an open educational resource.

We encourage anyone visiting the site to run their own versions of Goblin by using the site or by building and improving their own forked version.  To that end, we have used the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license throughout the site to assure users that they are welcome to use and adapt any material presented as long as they attribute it and don’t charge money for it.  Let us know if you want help in playing the game, using the resources, or adapting the workshops in whatever way suits you best.

We encourage you to consider sharing your next project as an open piece of content. Together, we can build even greater projects with the option to iterate and grow from other pieces of content.

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!

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. 🙂

Paper Tweet Activity

Recently I led an educational technology workshop at Youth Workers Academy, and one of the technologies I covered in this training was social media. To engage participants with Twitter, I had everyone research what the Bible says about poverty and paraphrase their findings into 140 characters—with the intention these contributions could be tweeted to the world. However, I wasn’t sure how may people would be interested and willing, let alone have an active twitter account, to participate in this activity.

Therefore, I created an analogous Paper Tweet to achieve the functionality of a normal tweet while decreasing the barrier for participation.

When using Twitter as the paraphrasing platform, offering both paper and normal tweet options ensured everyone got to participate in this activity. Besides the instructional benefits related to paraphrasing, the accessibility of the Paper Tweet made this workshop activity a success!

The Paper Tweet document – use and share:

Paper Tweet Activity