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What are some innovative ways that I can use technology in my classroom?

For Interdisciplinary Endeavors


Student Enagement -- a special edition of Educause Quarterly

-- from Educause Quarterly

Building Online Social Communities with Social Media

In and Out of the Classroom

Tech Tools for Faculty Innovation


Create a skit / short movie using stop-motion animation:
We are an online filmmaking community devoted to the art of stop-motion animation. Most of our films, sometimes called brickfilms or LEGO movies, are created using LEGO® and other plastic brick building toys. In addition to an active community forum for filmmakers, this site is home to an ever-growing directory of films submitted by our users.


Related item for all classrooms at Calvin --> Smart Classroom of the Future -- from Daniel S. Christian


  • Flexible, movable, adjustable tables -- for easy, quick reconfigurations of a room -- perhaps even multiple times within the same class period
  • Comfortable chairs on wheels -- for easy, quick reconfigurations of a room -- perhaps even multiple times within the same class period
  • Puck-like devices -- like those featured in Steelcase's Media:Scape product -- would allow for a student to plug in a variety of devices and "play" them for the class
  • Multi-touch, wall-sized "monitors" / "displays"
  • Pan-Tilt-Zoom cameras -- controllable via the web even -- that can be used for web-based collaboration

Example Scenarios:

  • Scenario 1:
    I'm a student at Table #4. I want to show my project to the class. I click on the puck-like device that I've hooked up my laptop to...and because the professor has approved it, I am able to instantly start showing/playing my presentation up on one of the wall-sized monitors (some of which are multi-touch boards). Check out the puck-like device from Steelcase's Media:Scape product.
  • Scenario #2:
    I'm a Music Major at Table #3. I want to play a piece from my recent recital that I had recorded and is now on my iPod. I hook up my iPod to the puck-like device and then I click on the puck to let the rest of the class listen to me version of Bach's Concerto Op. 13 No. 2.
  • Scenario #3:
    I am the professor and I want to bring in a class from Italy. I use a web-based videoconferencing product to show the other class on one or more of the wall-sized "displays".

Click on this image to see a potential Smart Classroom of the future.

Enlarge image of:
"Vision of a Smart Classroom of the Future"


[Idea from] HEC and iTunes U expand access to information [June 2009] -- published by HEC / edited by WordAppeal

With the upcoming launch on iTunes U, HEC is reinventing how business schools deliver course content and interact with Internet users. More than 200 universities around the world have embraced Apple's mobile learning platform since its debut in 2007. HEC is the first business school to participate in the project [emphasis DSC], joining the ranks of leading universities such as Stanford, Oxford and MIT.
She says one teacher noticed that each year his MBA students would ask the same questions after his end-of-course summary, so he made a podcast of recurring questions and answers. After encouraging students to come up with new questions, he is now recording responses to those in an effort to compile a video archive of questions and answers.

The Google Jockey -- from Free Technology for Teachers
As I Tweeted last week, every time I read The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education I get an idea that I can apply to my classroom instruction. Today, while reading The World Is Open I came across the idea for having a "Google Jockey" in my classroom. The idea is that you have one student in the room who is responsible for looking up terms or phrases that come up during the course of classroom discussion. Like everyone else, I've had students Googling terms informally as they came up in the course of the class, but I had not thought of formally assigning one student to be the "head Googler" for the day. All of my students will have netbooks starting next month and the "Google Jockey" is a term that I plan to add to my students' vernacular. Combining the use of a back channel along with a Google Jockey could become a good avenue for drilling deeper into the content of the day's lesson.

From DSC:
Nice way of blending the online and face-to-face worlds!

When I shared this article/posting with the T&L Digital Studio Staff, one of the students replied:

Interesting to note that a number of my upper-level media studies classes have inadvertently created Google Jockeys (although to be more accurate, more often than not it was a Wikipedia jockey). This was especially useful when the prof would bring up some example that he or she couldn't quite remember, and someone would elaborate on it, often bringing fresh and interesting insights into the discussion.

Blended learning

Get Ready for ArtTech -- from by Matthew Gryczan
As visitors of ArtPrize in Grand Rapids will soon discover, amazing things happen when art teams up with technology.  So get ready to strap on your personal jetpack because the future arrives next week, when you can become part of artwork as well as view it. There will be opportunities to see yourself flow like sparkling water in a stream, admire artwork created with the help of robotics, and view the work of artists whose palettes come from computer displays.  You can even let your fingers act like paint brushes on a 24-square-foot electronic canvas at what may be the nation's largest demonstration of multi-touch technology.

Get ready for ArtTech

3 Creative Ways to Empower Your Learners -- from The Rapid e-Learning Blog
...So why not get your learners involved in the teaching? Here are a few ideas:

  • Assign a video project. Video cameras like the Flip & Kodak Zi6 are relatively inexpensive and easy to use.  The cameras even come with simple editing tools. Have your learners shoot quick videos that can easily be added to a web page or rapid elearning product. 
  • Build a rapid elearning module. Using a form-based application like Engage makes it easy to create simple multimedia projects.  The goal isn’t that these are crafted by trained instructional designers.  So don’t expect the world’s best elearning, but don’t be surprised by what some people can produce.  Not having to do the multimedia programming frees them up to focus on the teaching part of the part. Set some stipulations for what they have to cover; and then let the content research and production process become their learning experience. 
  • Leverage social media online. There are a lot of free tools online that help you create content.  I’ve been playing with Dipity for a family history project.  Something like this could work for your learners.  Screenr is also an easy application for your learners to share information, especially something like how to use a software application or navigate a web site.  Below is an example from another site, VuVox, where I quickly created a demo using content from my blog.

Beethoven’s 5th: The Animated Score -- from Open Culture by Dan Colman

Put together videos like those from -- and please give them the credit if you use their techniques/types of props; for example: see Stock Markets In Plain English


Wow! What an "Innovative Use of Technology!"


Innovative use of technology -- from
This clip of Kseniya Simonova from “Ukraine’s Got Talent” is absolutely phenomenal. Simonova ultimately won the competition, and in my view it’s clear why she did. The description on the embedded YouTube clip indicates she “uses a giant light box, dramatic music, imagination and “sand painting” skills to interpret Germany’s invasion and occupation of Ukraine during WWII.”


Sounds good: Quicker, better assessment using audio feedback -- from JISC by Kerry Down
Download the full report. Building on very small-scale work using MP3 files for summative feedback on one programme, this project widened the focus to both formative and summative feedback in various disciplines at different educational levels. The experimentation included delivering digital sound files containing feedback to students via a virtual learning environment, email and mobile devices such as widely-available MP3 players.

Taking Cues from K-12 -- from MPB Reflections (21st century teaching & learning) by Michelle Pacansky-Brock
This is an example of a collaborative, active learning activity in which students created content using VoiceThread to learn about the experiences of Japanese Americans who were imprisoned in internment camps following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. The video below introduces you to the process of learning as an active, collaborative and interdisciplinary process, engaging young minds with older generations of individuals who really lived through the experiences of a war torn country divided by feelings of racial segregation. In the end, students learn and the world is enriched through their own contribution -- a VoiceThread available online. My hope here is that colleges and universities will see the potential for integrating this model of pedagogy into learning in our own classrooms (virtual or not). These are our students of tomorrow.

From DSC:
Here's another great example of an interdisciplinary project-- includes SME's, researchers, writers, singers, musicians, videographics, designers and more!

Mad Avenue Bllues: The Year the Media Died

From DSC: Here's another great example of an interdisciplinary project!

The Multi-Touch 360 Project:
Building a Hemispherical Multi-Touch Screen for Interactive Art Installations

From DSC: Good example of an interdisciplinary assignment!

The Machine is Us/ing Us - Dance Mix -- from Digital Ethnography by Prof Wesch

See this article/posting.

Start a debate on "Create Debate"


Awesome Paper and Stop Motion Music Video -- from CommonCraft, by Lee Lefever

From DSC:
Another good example of a cross-disciplinary assignment:

Art | Music | Communications Video | Communications Writing/Scripting | Other

Check out this video from Rex the Dog

Check out this video from Rex the Dog

From DSC:
Good example of an interdisciplinary assignment!
Tell some physics, engineering, comm studies folks, etc. to create this and put it on a website for others to enjoy!



PhET: Free online physics, chemistry, biology, earth science and math simulations -- from the Univ. of Colorado at Boulder

Also see their page at:

From DSC -- Web-based Choir Rehearsals

Create a web-based interface that uses/controls the playing back of up to 6 tracks in Garageband:

  1. Soprano only part
  2. Alto only part
  3. Tenor only part
  4. Bass only part
  5. All vocal parts
  6. Accompaniment

So as an example, as a tenor, I would first start practicing by listening to the tenor only part. Then I might want to add the bass part...then perhaps add the accompaniment track...then listen to all vocal tracks with the accompaniment track to put it all together.

Can you imagine how helpful this would be to a choir in rehearsing?

For example Calvin College could create the tracks for some of the finest choral music in the world...then make them available via various channels.


From DSC -- A new kind of player piano!

Along these lines, use engineers, musicians, graphic designers, videograpers, writers/editors, and others to create a new type of player piano -- that would have a video interface whereby one could hear and actually see how a song was supposed to be played...then play it oneself. The layers of video could be overlayed and turned on or off at will. Something like this is developing, but in a different application:

Innovid Launches New Form Of Video Advertising: The Clickable Canvas -- from TechCrunch by Erick Schonfeld



For Various Disciplines

Engaging students in video production and movie making in the classroom

  • Can gaming change education? - Meris Stansbury, eSchool News -- item and quote below from Ray Schroeder
    As video games continue to permeate our culture, schools and students are increasingly interested in using video games for learning. This interest has prompted universities and neurologists to explore what makes a successful educational game, what the current barriers to adoption are, and how gaming as a whole affects the brain. According to a recent paper by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), games, when developed correctly and used appropriately, can engage players in learning that is specifically applicable to school curriculum—and teachers can leverage the learning in these games without disrupting the worlds of either "play" or school.

  • See this article/posting

  • Use AR Sights -- from iLearn Technology

    What it is: Augmented Reality, how cool is that technology? Dialing up the awesome factor a couple of notches is AR Sights. AR Sights is a company who makes it possible to view Google Earth right in a web browser and then zoom into places of interest (Pyramids, Eiffel Tower, etc) and take a look at them augmented reality style. 

  • Search for high-end simulations/games such as this one:

Example of an excellent simulation

  • Ideas That Work in College Teaching -- from Teaching Professor by Maryellen Weimer

  • The Online Learning Idea Book: 95 Proven Ways to Enhance Technology-Based and Blended Learning -- by Patti Shank

  • Have your class do a VoiceThread! Wow!
    Talk about WORLDWIDE collaboration...AND the use of digital audio, video, etc. Go to VoiceThread > Browse > and search for Classroom 2.0. I mention this one because it's a good example of worldwide communication and collaboration. Search for topics that you are interested in. Develop your network. You can use audio only, video and audio, or the written word to comment on something.

    Worldwide communication and collaboration -- and the use of engaging digital audio and video.

  • Use Skype (free if all sites using Skype), Elluminate's VROOM (up to 3 sites free!) or WebEx Meeting Center ($$) to bring in an outside speaker. Here's an example for Music:

    • Bringing Composers into Classrooms Through Skype -- from (8/27/08)
      Two Pennsylvania teaching colleagues with an interest in music and technology are bringing remote experts into classrooms at almost no cost, using Skype's free videoconferencing technology.

  • Role-playing -- capture via video and put video on either Discussion Boards in a particular class in KV or within the Content System on KV if you want to use it again or have others access it

  • Use Google Earth


Google Earth Blog -- from a blog about everything Google.

Google Earth Blog

Earth Swoop


Here's an example of Wes Fryer's class on Moodle:

Wes Fryer's Exploring the Biblical World Through Google Earth

Here's an example of using Google Earth with literature-- a site called Google Lit Trips:

Google Lit Trips

Google Earth User Guide | Google Earth Tutorial |

  • Web hunts / field trips

  • Review a web site's content

  • Create a music video or song w/ the lyrics containing some of the key content of the relevant topic -- Example here.

  • Online case studies

  • Use diagnostic surveys -- available within your Course's Control Panel in KnightVision -- to determine what skills students need to acquire or improve

  • Create your own Cell Phone Radio Show...or just hear your favorite podcast on your cell

  • Teaching Tips -- from the Association for Psychological Science (previously the American Psychological Society)

  • Experiment with PageFlakes to see how many relevant sites/info/different perspectives you can bring onto 1 screen; for example, here is USC's Writing Program built using PageFlakes. From DSC: Mashups, PageFlakes, Ubiquity...hmmm...seems like interesting, powerful ways to provide various resources/perspectives on a subject...we may be seeing much more of this sort of thing.

  • Jog The Web -- from Digital Learning Resources - Four Fun Websites, by Jim Hollis (8/27/08)
    "Jog the Web is a web-based tool that allows anyone to create a synchronous guide to a series of websites."

    Jog the Web -- lead people through various websites.

  • Go to International Edubloggers Directory and see what others in the world of education are doing

  • Check out NoteMesh -- my thanks to Daniel Laninga in the T&L Digital Studio for this link
    NoteMesh is a free service that allows college students in the same classes to share notes with each other. It works by creating a wiki for individual classes that users can edit. Users are free to post their own lecture notes or contribute to existing lecture notes. The idea is that users in the same class can collaboratively create a definitive source for lecture notes. To learn more, take the tour.

  • Have your students use Flashcard -- my thanks to Daniel Laninga in the T&L Digital Studio for this link
    Get pre-made flashcards for numerous subjects.

  • Have your students use blogs to keep online journals throughout your class -- to write about what your class is reading and discussing. 


Presentation --> Interactive ---> Generative


Ways to use a wiki -- from Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer
In my presentation “Get Wiki with It” today at EncycloMedia 2008 in Oklahoma City, session participants brainstormed different ways educators can and are using wikis to support learning inside and outside the classroom. This was our list:

    1. List of favorite RSS feeds -- faculty or students
    2. Publish schedules and calendars and have students use the wiki to sign up for open times; such as office hours
    3. Connect with parents through publishing student work
    4. Homework groups (ask questions)
    5. Share lesson plans/syllabi with other profs
    6. In lieu of a faculty meeting
    7. Write a new song collaboratively, brainstorm ideas
    8. Put websites for articles students need to read, and then discuss it together online
    9. Post homework assignments and makeup work for absent students
    10. Collaborative projects with other classrooms in the US or outside the US
    11. Book reviews
    12. Journaling
    13. Study guides for a test
    14. Presentations
    15. Collaboration to plan fundraisers or other activities
    16. Literature response podcasting or video publishing
    17. Book talks
    18. Literature circle
    19. Posting projects


The Art of Learning Better: 101 Tips to Find and Fit Your Learning Style -- from


Enhancing Document Camera Use -- from Miguel Guhlin

Enhancing Document Camera Use

Also see:
100 Ideas for Data Projectors and Document Cameras
From the Umatilla-Morrow Education Service District


New technologies, new pedagogies: Mobile learning in higher education

Jan Herrington, Anthony Herrington, Jessica Mantei, Ian Olney and Brian Ferry (editors), New technologies, new pedagogies: Mobile learning in higher education, Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong, 2009, 138p.
ISBN: 978-1-74128-169-9 (online). Complete book available here.








Also see my Nursing page




Business & Economics

Use/create/reference blogs (example below):
Blogging through the economics crisis – from Liberal Education Today by Bryan Alexander
One economist is revising his academic practice by blogging about it.  Simon Johnson, who teaches at MIT’s Sloan School, explains that he uses his site to ground his exploration of the crisis in economics. I now try to run everything I do, from classroom materials to op eds to technical papers, through my website, Baseline Scenario. This serves partly as a way to make explicit links between these various activities, but it also opens up both the MIT classroom to anyone interested, anywhere in the world, at the same time as allowing outside voices — from the experienced and savvy community that regularly comments on the blog — into our MIT face-to-face discussions.

Business & Economics Classes Can Go Mobile with Projects -- from Toy to Tool: Cell Phones in Learning

Simulations/role-playing from Enspire Learning:

Example of an excellent simulation


Check out 100+ FREE Websites for Learning about Business -- from Jane Hart
The websites in the list cover all aspects of business - strategy, management, leadership, marketing, finance, accounting, economics, as well as business skills. A range of sites are included, suitable for both business studies education, workplace learning, and for educators, learners and managers alike. The sites include both formal and informal learning resources - games, podcasts, blogs, videos, books, PDFs, as well as online courses, communities and other general resources.

Also see my Business & Economics page





Also see my Chemistry page




IBM's Innov8

INNOV8 is an interactive, 3-D business simulator designed to teach the fundamentals of business process management and bridge the gap in understanding between business leaders and IT teams in an organization. This type of serious gaming - simulations which have the look and feel of a game but correspond to non-game events or processes such as business operations - has emerged as a successful method to train students and employees and accelerate the development of new skills.



Follow several blogs/articles related to the changes going on within journalism. Some of these include:

How an old guy saved online music journalism -- from Wired (UK) by Warren Ellis

Which brings me around to what Morley is doing today instead of The South Bank Show. Given that print is apparently dead, or at least not paying much, Morley is putting on his own show via the good offices of the Observer Music Monthly. Buried in the OMM's web presence, once a month, is a multimedia presentation by Morley. Not just a music column, but video of the interviews he conducted in support of the month's subject or theme, music files, filmed performances, and, most unsettlingly, a Flash file that places an immense screen-filling Morley as rambling disco ringmaster. In this way, he surrounds a subject in a manner that music journalists normally just don't get to do. It is still music journalism, even as it's a music performance show and arts show.



[12/17/09] Transliteration goes global -- from Google

Use Google Transliteration
Most of us use a keyboard to enter text; it's one of the most basic activities we perform on a computer. However even this simple activity can be cumbersome in many parts of the world. If you've ever tried to type in a non-Roman script using a Roman keyboard, you know that it can be difficult to do. Many of us at Google's Bangalore office experienced this problem firsthand. Roman keyboards are the norm in India, making it difficult to type in Indian languages. We decided to tackle this problem by making it very easy to type phonetically using Roman characters and we launched this service as Google Transliteration.

[12/14/09] Professors push foreign language to the next level - Alexa Sykes, the Pendulum -- item and quote below from Ray Schroeder

Imagine having the luxury of traveling to another country and experiencing the language and culture without the hassle of purchasing a plane ticket or checking luggage. This ideal situation is now possible with Digital Game-Based Learning and is helping foreign language students at Elon University experience the countries of the languages they are studying without ever leaving their computer chairs. According to David Neville, assistant professor of German and director of language learning technologies, Elon is the only university in the entire country that has begun to integrate DGBL into its foreign language curriculum.

[12/14/09] Digital Dialects - Activities for Learning 55+ Languages -- from Free Technology for Teachers

Plays / videos

  • Have students write a play in the language that they are studying
  • Have them then speak the language -- in rehearsals
  • Have them make very simple props and then record the play in the language they are studying
  • Have them record voiceovers if necessary (using Garageband for example)
  • Export the movie (iMovie) into a web-enabled format
  • Post the play on Blackboard/KnightVision's Content System, YouTube, and/or iTunes U

Here's an example from Herm DeVries' Dutch Class at Calvin College.


In-flight movies
These short videos (between 3-5 minutes long) contain images and scenes from a country or city and provide students will simple narration in the target language. They are particularly useful for "fantasy trips" - show them on the "plane" during the "flight"!

Beeline TV
Have students access and try to interpret languages from online-based TV stations from around the world

Use the International Children's Digital Foundations Library to have students read "entry-level"/basic books in other languages.
“The ICDL Foundation’s goal is to build a collection of books that represents outstanding historical and contemporary books from throughout the world.  Ultimately, the Foundation aspires to have every culture and language represented so that every child can know and appreciate the riches of children’s literature from the world community.” -- link from Teach Web 2.0 blog


Free Online Language Translation: Best Services To Translate Your Documents - Mini-Guide
-- from Robin Good

Free Online Language Translation

Google Translating 98% of the Internet's Languages
-- from WebProNews Feed by Chris Crum

Google says it can now translate between the languages read by 98% of Internet users with Google Translate. The total of languages is up to 41. The most recent additions include:

- Turkish
- Thai
- Hungarian
- Estonian
- Albanian
- Maltese
- Galician

Also see my Languages page





From DSC:
Wouldn't it be cool if...?

Looking at this video...

Wouldn't it be cool if students showed how they did a math problem -- even if such entries included many wrong and different answers? They could explain their thinking outloud while going through a problem. The teacher or professor could see where their thinking process was either right or went wrong...and could then address such items via electronic feedback (which would be accessible for all of the students to hear and see).

Perhaps the faculty member could even create such recordings, saying something like, "Here are some problems spots I've seen in the past." So a wiki-like piece but with the wrong answers...followed or preceeded by the right answer.

Are You a Math Genius? -- from Wolfram Blog by Ed Pegg Jr
Wolfram Research has worked with the CBS/Paramount show NUMB3RS since its first season. Now in the fifth season, it remains the most popular show of Friday nights. “The Math behind NUMB3RS” gives a more in-depth look at some of the mathematics in each episode. With season 5, we’ve added a math puzzle to go with each episode. Fifteen episodes into season 5, there are fifteen puzzles available..

From DSC:
So perhaps you too can find a way to wrap a story around the math...




Nursing / Medical







Also see my Physics page.




Start a debate on "Create Debate"


Google Earth

Exploring the Biblical World Through Google Earth -- from Wes Fryer

Google Earth ( is a free software program providing opportunities to explore our world via an interactive, 3D environment. In this class we will explore the Holy Land with Google Earth, discussing ways we can utilize this powerful, virtual environment to better understand the historical and contemporary context of the Bible and the life of Jesus.

Also see my Religion page