This will be my new virtual home. Why?
Archives of my postings related to the topic of keeping students engaged and motivated are listed below.
For up-to-date postings, I'll see you
over at my new "Learning Ecosystems" blog!
Low Tolerance for Boredom
Classroom advice: Turned-off devices equals turned-off children
New book: Digital Storytelling Guide for Educators
Teaching with Digital Images: Acquire, Analyze, Create, Communicate
Generation Bored! Why We are Boring Our Students and How We Can Stop?
"Popcasting!" Using Podcasts and Pop Culture to Motivate and Inspire Learners
YES Prep Makes Learning Relevant
iPods And Educational Applications Have Minnesota Students Giddy About Learning
If you want to engage students, have them get into digital storytelling -- have them create things and then watch their level of engagement rise!
Create teams of students whereby some are song writers/audio specialists, others write the scripts, others act out these scripts, others create/paint/sketch the graphics, others shoot video, while others produce/coordinate the production of these projects, etc.
...and choose relevant, real-world projects/subjects.
Engagement v. Empowerment -- Some Early Thoughts...
Related item/idea -- create skit / short film using stop-motion animation:
Engaging Students with Engaging Tools
Blended Learning Provides New Models for Engaging Students
Listen to a Recorded Webinar or Download a Paper
Fix Boring Schools, Not Kids Who Are Bored
How could we use this technology within education?
Can gaming change education? - Meris Stansbury, eSchool News
Teen Content Creators
Richard Hake: Student engagement
Engagement and Recall: The Power of Storytelling in Presentations
Getting to Know GarageBand
Notschool.net is "a proven successful alternative to traditional education"
[webinar] Engaging Students In and Outside the Classroom with Interactive Digital Solutions
More EngagedEngaged or Confused?
Technology in classroom is perfect for engaging students, expert says
Tools of Engagement: Technologies and Strategies for All Learning Styles
Related item from Binge Thinking re: cognitive engagement
Learning with Digital Games
One-to-One Laptop Computing Works- But You Have to Use Authentic Assessment to Truly Understand That
CMU project could change how students use web-based courses (pg 13 of 30)
Classrooms are Awesome
How to Keep Kids Engaged in Class
Networked Multitouch Desks: Teacher/Student Features
This concept of having networking multitouch desks is incredibly powerful. I consider this to be one of the most potentially-engaging ideas/directions that I've seen in a while. Why? Because it bridges the online world with the face-2-face world while also allowing networking and group work within a classroom.
Video's Objective Eye Helps Educators Evaluate Their Habits
Engagement and Quality Work
Another Dean of Academic Engagement
The Evidence on Online Education: It’s the Design, Not the Medium
Engaging eLearning Essentials: Five Secrets and Three Surprises
Designing Choreographies for the "New Economy of Attention"
Attention and distraction
Engaging students in multimedia-mediated Constructivist learning – Students’
New Technology Supporting Informal Learning
Comment from George Siemens re: above posting by Stephen Downes
Tune In April 20: Solutions in Action Series--Reaching and Engaging Today's Learners
Our brilliant kids are bored
This is what concerns me the most about the next few years...students from K-20 may become less engaged unless we change things up. We may need to provide more engaging, multimedia-based, interactive, online-based materials that give students more control and more choices.
Hyper and Deep Attention: The Generational Divide in Cognitive Modes
Prezi.com Learn Prezi
Caspian Learning; Game Based Learning 2009
Student Engagement and Technology in the Classroom
Podcast: Morris W. Beverage Jr. - Today's Clash of Cultures on Campuses and the Role IT Needs to Play
Immunization for an Uninteresting Curriculum Found at the iSchool
10 Commandments of Lecturing
NCTE defines writing for the 21st century
Director of Digital Engagement
Using photography to engage students
MAthematics more engaging with computers
Engaging the Digital Generation -- from Creating a New Vision for
Public Education in Texas
Learning Futures: Next Practice in Learning and Teaching
Purdue Center For Serious Games Opening
Academia tackles the future
Engage and prepare students
Engage! Is All About Immersive & Engaging
Engaging Kids | Engaging Youth | Virtual Goods and Gifts
Attention 102: Attention Is A Market Place
The Future - The Era of Engagement
The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything
The Le@rning Federation
Apple Keynote...no...not that one
A Journey into Time Immemorial
New Westwood online teaching program to aid ‘at-risk’ students 12/28/08
David Yaskin at Bb World 08
The Future - The Era of Engagement
Minding the Engagement Gap
The Future of Online Learning: Ten Years On
School districts, colleges and universities throughout the world need to be careful with the number of monkeys being placed on the backs of their teachers and faculty members. The other day I was reading a posting about the "solution" to having K-12 teachers be more effective at integrating technologies into their classrooms. The solution was to offer more training, especially sustained training. To me, this isn't the solution. Many teachers and professors did not grow up with these technologies...my concern with this approach is that I wonder how long before many of these same folks:
- Feel overwhelmed or frustrated?
- Feel like they just don't have all of the tools and talents to do everything that's being asked of them? (and by the way, no one does!)
- Start to not want to go to work like they used to?
- Loose interest in teaching in this new "Information Age"?
Perhaps not everyone is as enamored with technology as those of us in the worlds of Instructional Technology / Instructional Design / IT / Systems / etc. So we need to find other solutions to the issue, as it seems like we are trying to put square pegs in round holes. It just doesn't work...and if it is forced to work, you end up shredding parts of the pegs in the process. As Covey (1990) would say, "Don't kill the Golden Goose".
No...to create and deliver engaging content will require TEAMS of people. If this can't work into the current educational systems of today, then the current systems need to change, not the other way around. This is not farfetched, as many of the technologies to allow this to occur are already in place.
PREDICTION: Even in 10-20 years, as the current students are graduating and moving into teaching jobs, they will still need TEAMS of people. They'll be able to wear a lot more hats that are currently being worn (only because they grew up with these technologies and don't need to be sold on the benefits of using them), but they won't be able to wear all of the required hats. No one has all the time, gifts and talents that are necessary.
Do you need some evidence of this? Look at the credits of a quality film -- educational or otherwise -- and you will see a looooooonnnnnggggg list of people who created that film --producers, directors, writers, actors/actresses, animators, audio engineers, videographers, etc. Eventually, as the bar continues to rise, teams of people will be needed in order to create engaging, multimedia-based, interactive content.
Listed below are the 4 main tracks listed below for next summer's NMC 2009 Conference -- can ANYONE know/do/implement all of this? And this is just a small fraction of all the potential topics that we could talk about!
Applications of Emerging Technologies
Digital Stories and New Approaches to Content
Tools and Techniques
Or take another example...
Do you think Joshua Thurbee (in this clip from brightstorm) did everything on his own to produce his courses?
The New Media Literacies
New Report Profiles Role of 'Visionary Administrators' in Bridging the Digital Disconnect in Schools
2008 National Survey of Student Engagement Results
Emerging Tech Challenges
What's at stake? How engaged students are in their learning!
Mashups, Remixes, and Video Culture: Engaging the YouTube Generation in the Classroom
The organization that the rest of higher ed should (or will) be concerned about is the one who can:
- Offer the same information in 4-5 different but engaging ways -- for example in a textual/graphical format, an audio-based format, a video-based format, and/or by using educational games and simulations
- Offer their courses at 1/2 off the normal price (which, therefore will probably be online as it is far less expensive to add some more servers than it is to build a whole new facility)
- Provide means to communicate to a "live person" in multiple ways on a 24x7x(close to)365 basis
- Meet the needs of the traditional and non-traditional student
Such an organization will be a tough foe to beat, but such an organization is coming...and it may be sooner than we think. To create effective online learning is expensive...but once you create it, you can offer it again and again and again and again...plus, the tools to communicate via web-based audio- and video-conferencing are already in place. The technology is here. Such an organization just needs to be built.
Up on the soapbox
My take on things? It’s not working. The whole educational system is quickly becoming outdated and unable to keep up with the quickening pace of change and the rising bar of students’ expectations. Speaking of expectations, we in the higher ed world have some expectations that are no longer feasible, given the changes that have been and still are occurring.
That is, colleges and universities expect their faculty members to:
- Know their disciplines
- Keep up with the latest news and developments within their disciplines
- Teach classes
- Meet with students to help them along with their learning as well as to advise them
- Create engaging content and exercises
- Adjust their courses for an ever-changing set of students (demographically-speaking)
- Develop fair, challenging and appropriate assessments
- Do their research
- Publish their findings
- Modify their courses along the way as necessary
- Manage TA's
- Chair departments
- Take part in various committees and projects
but also to
- Keep up with an ever-increasing pace of technological change; often this means trying to find the patience to listen to those pesky folks from IT knocking on the door again and probably thinking to themselves, "What is it this time?!" or "How long will this one last?!"
- Be interested in learning about, and then using, such technologies
- Find ways to meet rising student expectations while keeping students engaged and motivated to learn. This is not a small task! Students have increasingly grown up around a media-rich environment and are used to extremely well-done --but costly to produce -- media.
- Effectively implement teaching with technology into various teaching environments -- face-to-face, hybrid, or online classrooms and to do so with command of the various – and every changing – tools and technologies coming down the pike (here's just one illustration of that).
That is a lot to ask any one faculty member or teacher to do!
Not surprisingly, the majority of faculty members at colleges and universities are not able to do it all by themselves. Granted, there are some exceptions within higher ed as well as within the K-12 environment. For example, take the work being done by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams. These two chemistry teachers at Woodland Park High School in Colorado have turned the normal ways of teaching and learning on their heads by implementing technologies relating to podcasting. Now their students listen to their lectures at home and come prepared to do their hands-on work and ask questions in their face-to-face classrooms. Students are more in control of their learning this way, as they engage with the materials with a bit more flexibility in terms of control – doing so on their own schedules and terms. They can fast forward through the parts they already know, and replay parts of the lectures that they do not understand. If questions come up, they can ask their teachers in class; thus, maximizing the value of their face-to-face time.
But overall, most teachers and faculty members are not technologically savvy enough to pull this off. It's not that they couldn't -- they are extremely bright people (and brighter than me that's for sure)! Yet the way most colleges and universities are set up, the expectations are that they will be able to do all of these things. Resources have been set up to help assist the faculty members, but lack of incentives as well as full job plates (as alluded to above) often keep faculty members on the sidelines here.
Meanwhile, some of the other relevant players -- such as those of us folks in the IT/technical areas -- are focused on sorting through the vast array of tools and technologies, separating the wheat from the chaff; and then trying to select, implement, train, and support the faculty members on the use of these technologies. We can not know the content of all of the disciplines that we support. So we are forced to become generalists, and generalists not only in technology, but also in areas that we get called into, such as: pedagogy, instructional design, graphic design, web design, systems administration, programming, copyright, interface design, media creation, plagiarism and many more systems-related projects.
So this is why I say that we need teams, as no one can do all the required pieces anymore!
So where does that leave us? It leaves us with change.
It leaves us with developing partnerships. It leaves us with inviting all of the necessary parties to the table (and making room for more parties as need be in the future). There are now many more seats to fill at the teaching and learning table. So some remodeling might be necessary to make room for some bigger tables.
It leaves us with faculty needing to let go of the steering wheels -- or at least allowing others to:
- Drive somewhere along the journey
- Relay directions from the passengers' front seat on which way the road is about to turn
- Bring up a Mapquest- or AAA-type of service to see where the road constructions are ahead
It leaves us with creating better standards for sharing information, so any content management system can access any other system or learning objects repository-- worldwide. That content needs to be accessible 24x7x365. It needs to be playable on PCs, Macs, mobile devices and hopefully on the next generation of mobile communication devices most likely to come our way within the next 1-2 years.
It leaves us with figuring out how to pay and protect the people who created the materials -- even if it's just pennies per access/download.
It means that more campuses will need to create collaborative spaces where teams of people can get together and create content that will be standards-based (and will hopefully be playable for more than the next 5 years). I recommend personnel with:
- Subject matter expertise
- Instructional design experience
- Digital storytelling skills (as people commit items to long-term memory via storytelling)
- Project management experience
- Graphic design backgrounds
- Web design skills
- Expertise in digital audio and/or digital video
- Programming skill
- Business relationship managements skills for working with other teams from publishers
Given the significant investments to create these sorts of teams and engaging content, a couple of key questions come up:
- How can we afford to do this?
I believe via the growth of consortiums and pooling our resources.
- How long will that content be "playable"?
Hmmm...I'm not sure...perhaps there will be groups devoted to converting learning objects from one format to another; sort of like taking media from an 8 track player to a cassette to a CD to a DVD to a...
It also leaves us with constantly scanning the future for what's coming down the pike -- using the tools that Gary Marx (2006) discusses in his book, Future Focused Leadership:
- A modified Delphi Process:
- Use groups of advisors/councils -- community leaders, gov’t, business, educators, etc.
- Tap into the genius of people; listen to people; incorporate their ideas (which increases ownership)
- Scenario planning, which includes:
- Looking at what we would like to have happen and then try to figure out how to create that future
- Looking at the plausible pictures of our futures, which makes the "elephants in the room" visible; helps us deal w/ those things we "just don’t talk about"
- Trend analysis
- Environmental scans
- PEST (political, economic, social, and technological factors) Analysis – or some prefer to say STEP Analysis
- STEEPV (social, technological, economic, environmental, political and values) Analysis
- STEEPED (social, technological, economic, environmental, political, educational, and demographic) Analysis
- Gap Analysis: What’s ideal? What’s reality? Where are we now? What do we need to do to get there?
- Root cause, defining moments, historical analysis
- Flexibility/innovation analysis
- SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) Analysis
- Stakeholder Analysis
- Competitive Analysis
When will things really change?
- When a Wal-Mart of education (or open education?) comes along and clobbers everyone else.
- When the boards convene only to see yet another year of shrinking enrollments, and the question moving more to the forefronts of their thinking, "Where are so many of the current students going to get their educations?!"
- When the pocketbooks get hit and tough budgetary conversations and decisions need to be made.
- When layoffs appear on the horizon...and then potentially the closing of one's doors. (Yeh, I know, we've heard it for the last 10 years that 1/2 of the universities and colleges won't be in existence anymore...well, that hasn't happened...but that doesn't mean it won't happen. In my career, which has been heavily involved with disruptive technologies, things just take time. Here at Calvin College, there are many things going for us, and numerous areas are going well here; so I'm not saying that the doors are going to close here. However, I can't say the same for all institutions of higher ed out there.)
Ok...I'll step down from my soapbox now...thanks for listening.
....and more in the archives: 2008 / 2007