Advice CALLum by Mark Garton

Again, we have a delightful post from Mark Garton. I think a lot about my colleagues that haven’t quite embraced technology in teaching in the same way that I have, and he gives us some insight into his experience. It helps me to understand other people’s perspectives and challenges, which encourages me to be a kinder, more understanding person. And, if nothing else, it allows me to focus my work on what my coworkers need rather than assuming what is needed.

Mark has a few other posts he’s done for me that you can check out here.

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Intellectual Property – Is It Yours or Mine?

This is a bit of — not exactly sure what to call this — would like to call it a breath of fresh air, but it’s going to be somewhat closer to a reference page rather than the research reviews I usually do. While it happens to be the bane of my existence, since I work with so many different types of media, properly citing my sources is something I work very hard to get right. However, I have the same attitude about citing sources that I take about doing my taxes; I do my conscientious best, but I know in my heart they’re totally screwed up anyway.

What I want to make clear is that just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s yours, and if you put an uncited photo in your Power Point presentation that’s exactly what you’re saying. It makes me quite crazy when I see a professor doing presentations without citing their photos. I’m sure you see this all the time because I do too.

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Idiomatic Implementation of Technology – The Obstacles

Now we have a plan, which I am extremely excited about (see post Technology Professional Development Isn’t for Cowards). But what do we do with it? We want to implement it, of course. However, there are obstacles. Since our previous author has given us an excellent plan, Tilak has also been thoughtful to anticipate some of these obstacles. Still, I’m a woman with a plan, and I’m sticking to it, I always say. (Note: I never say this. As a matter of fact, I may actually be mixing metaphors here. Regardless, if we don’t think carefully about these issues, it’s like swimming upstream without a paddle.)

But wait! Those obstacles. The bumps in the road will give us problems if we don’t address them. As an ESL instructor, I knew that I couldn’t prevent my students from learning if I tried. I could basically do no harm, and my students were going to learn English do matter what I did. That unique situation seems to apply to very few disciplines, and I’m sure that it does not apply to technology integration. While there is value in adhering to a plan, it’s also important to not remain so rigid we miss the opportunity for growth and also create more obstacles along the way. Because really, we don’t want to bite off more sliced bread than we can chew.

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Technology Professional Development Isn’t for Cowards

Ok, let’s talk professional development with technology – I’m looking at you my future employer! I’m just not sure what to say about the structure of professional development, never mind the specific focus on technology. My experience in higher ed is that there isn’t much structure to PD. I have been lucky to get funds to work on this, but I’m pretty motivated when it comes to expanding my knowledge of my field. I have never worked in the development side, though. I’ve only been on the teachin’ side.

However, the idea of a structured plan just plain makes me giddy. Structure, organization, planning? What more could a girl want? With this new article titled, “Professional Development of Teachers and Effective Technology Use” (2014) Tilak Kumar Sharma gives us something to work with. Our author has some insightful ideas. Many points that are made support our teachers with more time and resources, rather dumping more free work on them.

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When Technology Happens To You — Learning Tech is a Process

The main idea that I picked up from my most recent research article “Educational Technology is a Process” (2013) by Rachel Ellaway is that learning technology and refining it for teaching, is, exactly what the author says, a process. But I’m pretty sure I could make an argument that everything is a process. Learning is a process, training for that marathon is a process, eating a pint of Talenti mint chip gelato is a process. It’s all a process.

This topic interested me because I have some friends that have no confidence in their technology skills. But you don’t pick these things up overnight. I spent several years in a program of study to have a better understanding of how best to use technology in my teaching. And even though Ellaway writes about educational technology in medical education, I believe the core principle is the same: learning about using technology in teaching is a process.

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Neuromyths — The Urban Legends of Classroom Teaching (Science, People!!!)

I’m pretty sure that most of us in higher ed have left lecture teaching behind a long time ago. As an ESL instructor working with language, we are taught to use a variety of mediums to teach language. We often get students out of their seats, use video to supplement instruction on a particular topic and encourage use of the language more than anything else. We use multiple forms in instruction to engage the various types of learning styles. To explore some common ideas about this, try the poll below.



Multiple learning styles. I have heard that so often — WE have heard that so often — that you would be considered out of touch if that method wasn’t safely packed away with your other teaching techniques in your teacher toolkit. However, there is no evidence that there is any such thing as multiple learning styles. That’s right. One of your techniques that you use without thinking has no evidence in the research.

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My Life (aka my cell phone)

If you could use a mobile phone in your classroom, how would you use it? If you have used a phone in your teaching, was it helpful? Did it encourage engagement? If you teach in a traditional college classroom, then there is a good chance that it did.

I find it hard taking phones in the classroom seriously. They’re so attached to the social realm of people’s lives that it feels like I’m trying to appease the masses if I try and use mobile technology in class. I did try a couple of times though without a lot of thought about genuinely constructive use. My attempts have been more of the throw-it-out-there-and-see-if-it-flies variety.

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Weather Fronts by Mark Garton

Hello folks. This week we have a really delightful post from Mark again. He’s got a totally different approach to this writing than I do with mine, so the change, I’m sure, is refreshing. The only bad part is that he is making the rest of us (read: me) look bad. I can say that at least my writing has more typos, so if we’re going for quantity then I win on that count.

If you’d like to read more of his posts for me, you can see them here:

Lessons Learned, Lesson Taught Part 1

Lessons Learned, Lessons Taught Part 2


Weather Fronts


We hear this a lot: “Know your students.” This typically means that we need to know about our students’ learning styles and strategies, and it can be extended to include their particular interests and motivations for learning. When we know our students – and when our students know us, I’d add – there are some fairly obvious benefits for everyone concerned, but upon further reflection some relevant questions come to mind: Beyond what I’ve mentioned above, how much can we really know about our students? How much should we know?

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This post is not about cheating in the classroom. It’s about me cheating here, but just a bit. If you didn’t already know, I just finished my M.A. in Educational Technology from Michigan State University. I loved it. I loved the work. I loved learning about technology. I just loved it.

For the end of the program we are required to take a capstone class. The bulk of the class is basically a portfolio of our best work. And to fill in some time while I’m enjoying the holidays, I’m going to to include my portfolio here. However, because this isn’t a real post, I promise to write about portfolios at some time in the near future. (I would also love suggestions. If you have something you would like to know more about, please, please post in the comments.) Happy Holidays!

Suzanne Reinhardt – Educational Technologist

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Assessments or Facebook? Decisions, Decisions

Who would have known that the subject of assessments wasn’t boring? It sounds dreadful, doesn’t it? A whole class all about testing. I hated tests, I was crappy at tests, and as a grade school student, I failed many, many tests. I pretty much avoided assessments as a class as long as I could, until it was required of me in my very last semester at Michigan State. Then came the light.

I came to understand that assessments are about structuring your lessons and teaching so that students are learning effectively. A large part of that is awareness of where your students are in their learning process and using that information to adjust your teaching accordingly. Assessments are more about the process of learning than about gathering information for grades. And I love that.

The effective part steps in when you use assessments to give students more information about their work that they will hopefully use. This comes in the form of feedback of some sort. I know that the teachers reading this are familiar with quality, effective assessment, but a refresher never hurt anyone. And for those of you that aren’t teachers, it’s always something good to know.

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