Thoughts, writing & snippets

Marguerite Koole, PhD

Word Cloud from Recent Literature on Makerspaces

mkoole, · Categories: Educational technology

Makerspace Word Cloud

Identity Accelerator #12: The Balloon Exercise

mkoole, · Categories: Educational technology, Identity, Teaching

Introduction

This activity was originally conceptualized as a face-to-face, whiteboard activity: The Magic Balloon.

The basic idea is that there are two groups of students in the class. One must protect the balloon; the other will try to pop the balloon.

Modalities

 

Preparation and instructor responsibilities

  1. The instructor draws a balloon on the whiteboard screen.
  2. The instructor divides the participants into two groups
    • Group 1 – protect the balloon
    • Group 2 – pop the balloon
  3. Group 2 goes first and must draw something on screen that they can use to pop the balloon (for example, a pin).
  4. Group 1 responds by drawing something to prevent the pin from popping the balloon.
  5. The groups take turns.
  6. After 5 minutes or so, end the activity. (Set a time limit at the beginning.)
  7. Debrief: review the methods of each group. If possible connect the exercise to notions of creativity, problem solving, thinking outside the box, or something related to the class.

 

Comments

I tried this at the beginning of an instructional design class. The students enjoyed the activity; it was a fun way to start the class. I was able to connect it to the notion of creativity and problem solving in the context of instructional design. For other course topics, connecting the activity might be challenging.

Rating

3.5/5 stars

Note: for an introduction to identity accelerators for online teaching and learning visit this entry

Identity Accelerator #9, #10, and #11: Ways to Engage in the First Five Minutes

mkoole, · Categories: Educational technology, Identity, Teaching

Introduction

These three ideas arrived in my email in-box this morning: Three Focusing Activities to Engage Students in the First Five Minutes of Class (Faculty Focus: Higher Ed Teaching Strategies from Magna Publications).

As learners arrive for your synchronous discussion, they often need to check their technology by running audio and video wizards. Time can flit away. For those who are ready, you can offer some activities that will help to focus and set the tone for the session. You might even offer some content review activities.

The article by Faculty Focus is focused on the flipped classroom. But, the three activities can apply equally to online classrooms.

  1. The looping Slide Deck – Trivia questions, pictures, quick facts.
  2. Ordering exercise – List of steps or items to be put into order.
  3. Draw something together – Suggest drawings related to the lesson/course.

 

Modalities

 

Preparation and instructor responsibilities

  1. The Looping Slide Deck
    • In Blackboard Collaborate, Adobe Connect, and similar synchronous tools, it might be challenging to get the pictures to loop automatically. However, you could place one picture on each page of the whiteboard along with instructions for the learners to manually advance through the pictures.
    • A question or comment could accompany each picture.
    • Tell the learners that they can start anywhere so as to avoid creating stress for those who join later.
    • Ask the learners to place their answers and/or thoughts into the text space OR draw and write on the whiteboard pages.
    • Debrief
  2. Ordering Exercise
    • Can be placed on a single whiteboard page.
    • Ask the participants to text their suggestions for the “best” order and why.
    • Allow the learners to use the chat tool or write on the whiteboard page.
    • Debrief: Explore the learners preferences for the ordering of the items in the list.
  1. Draw Something Together
    • Type what you want the students to draw. (Choose something
    • Tell them they must draw a single thing rather than multiple small drawings.
    • Debrief: Ask what they intended to draw; ask what emerged.

 

Comments

These are easy activities to set up. If the prompts are chosen carefully, the initial five minutes can be made more useful and meaningful rather than the usual set-up chaos we sometimes experience.

Rating

4/5 stars

Note: for an introduction to identity accelerators for online teaching and learning visit this entry

Nifty Word Cloud

mkoole, · Categories: Mobile learning, Uncategorized

Made with NVivo 11 for Mac.

Word cloud

Identity Accelerator #8: Easter Egg Hunt

mkoole, · Categories: Educational technology, Identity, Teaching

Introduction

When a new semester begins, the students know the drill . . . “Update your biography. Post your introductory message in the Welcome Forum. Read your classmates’ introductory messages. Make a pleasant comment on each introductory message.” There is nothing wrong with that process except that it is the same for every class. So, here is a little twist on it.

Image of an egg in an egg cup

Ask your students to put and “Easter egg” in their biography. An Easter egg, in digital terms, is a hidden treasure. They can choose anything. They could embed an image, a video, a lie, something true-but-unbelievable, something wonderful, etc. The students can be sneaky and post information in white font on a white background. They can add tiny links to videos or multimedia. The task is to read each others’ biographies and find the Easter egg is: what is that special thing that has been embedded in the message?

Modalities

 

Preparation

 

Instructor responsibilities

 

Comments

I have done variations on this exercise in which I have asked the students to complete their biographies in the learning management system. Then, I told them to post something contradictory in their welcome messages. It’s a great way to ask the students to more deeply examine each other’s identities.

 

Rating

4.5/5 stars

Note: for an introduction to identity accelerators for online teaching and learning visit this entry.

Identity Accelerator #7: The Virtual Nod

mkoole, · Categories: Educational technology, Identity, Teaching

Introduction

Having moved from Athabasca University (AU) to the University of Saskatchewan (UofS), I have had to switch learning management systems (LMSs). At AU, I used Moodle. Here at the UofS, I use Blackboard. There are a few Moodle plugins that I miss. The Moodle plugin that I miss the most is Marginalia (http://webmarginalia.net/). Marginalia is an annotations tool that allows students and instructors to highlight segments of each others’ discussion forum messages and write notes. The annotations can be private or public.

In a face-to-face classroom and, to an extent, in synchronous online conferencing environments, we can indicate agreement, disagreement, attentiveness, boredom, acknowledgment, and a multitude of other messages through body language. We often look at each other when talking and nod in some fashion. In an asynchronous, online environment, we cannot easily know when others are reading our messages, whether others are engaged with our comments, whether or not they agree or disagree with our opinions. When we read others’ responses to our messages, we can begin to decipher their level of interest. But, if no one replies there is simply no ready indication of interest. (An instructor can review the log files to see who has read what, but normally log files are not usually available to students.)

Marginalia allows instructors and students to give each other a “virtual nod”. As an instructor, I used to use it heavily to highlight interesting, fun, and substantive comments from the students. Without it, I often use the reply feature—which can make the discussions grow in length. Before with Marginalia, I would end a discussion and provide a link to a summary page that Marginalia automatically produced. Without Marginalia, right now, I do the summaries manually.

Students can also use Marginalia. Their use of it would help them to communicate to their level of interest. During a discussion, they can curate interesting ideas and quotes from their classmates. And, after the discussion has ended, they can more easily review what their classmates have said. This serves not only an academic purpose, but also an identity-development purpose. Students can find evidence of whose comments they tend to annotate the most. And, if the annotations are public, students can also see who annotates their own contributions. This can add extra identity, status or bonding dimensions to the development of community.

Modalities

 

Preparation

 

Instructor responsibilities

 

Comments

Absolutely 5 full stars. I have asked our administrators to look into adding an annotations tool to our LMS. When teaching at AU, the students consistently commented on how much they appreciated the annotations summaries.

 

 

Note: for an introduction to identity accelerators for online teaching and learning visit this entry.

Identity Accelerator #6: Present Yourself Using a Digital Poster

mkoole, · Categories: Educational technology, Identity, Teaching

Introduction

Full credit to one of my Master of Education students, Nazreen Beaulieu, for telling me about this one! I learn so much from my students.

The idea is to ask students to create a digital poster that incorporates 10 adjectives that they would use to describe themselves. The title of the poster is “I am . . .” The students are also encouraged to use a metaphor such as “life is a dance”, or “life is a rollercoaster”. The images, videos, sounds, and animations that the students choose correspond to the adjectives and should fit into the chosen theme.

By asking the students to express themselves in this way, they share conceptions of themselves. They can express their sense of humour, creativity, emotional states, and interests.

This activity can be used as an icebreaker to facilitate community development.

Modalities

Asynchronous

Primarily working via a learning management system, I find that it is easier to do this asynchronously. The students can take a few days to learn the software and compose their posters. The instructor and students can share links to their digital posters (or upload if sufficient bandwidth). Then, they can comment on each others’ posters in a text discussion. Nazreen’s class used VoiceThread (http://voicethread.com/) to comment on each other’s posters. This allowed them to listen to each other rather than simply relying on text.

Synchronous

It is possible for the students to share their digital posters synchronously. Then, you can bring them together in a synchronous discussion area (Adobe Connect, Big Blue Button, Blackboard Collaborate, etc.) to discuss their impressions of each others’ posters.

Preparation & instructions

 

Instructor Responsibilities

 

Comments

According to Nazreen, there are some advantages and disadvantages to the use of digital posters (face-to-face environment):

I taught mostly synchronous high school classes and a big motivator was turning the whiteboard over to the students for the opening 10 minutes of class. Some doodled, some shared memes while other just chatted. Having access to the whiteboard gave them a sense of ownership though that I think was important not only to build community but also to keep them engaged.”

“Bandwidth always proved to be a nagging culprit and resistor to equality. For those with high-speed internet, audio and video led to the creation of some awesome vines embedded in their glogs while others had to make do with just pictures.”

Rating

I haven’t tried this yet, but I would love to!

 

Note

Note: for an introduction to identity accelerators for online teaching and learning visit this entry.

 Thank you, Nazreen!

Identity Accelerator #5: Group Word Search

mkoole, · Categories: Educational technology, Identity, Teaching

 

Introduction

Last week we had another great ETAD Studio (#etadsi) at St. Paul’s College in Muenster, Saskatchewan. While there, someone (thanks, JR!) mentioned a couple of excellent books by Patti Shank:

Shank: Online Learning Idea Book (1st Edition)Shank, P. (2007). The online learning idea book: 95 proven ways to enhance technology-based and blended learning (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.ca/Online-Learning-Idea-Book-Volume/dp/0787981680

 

 

 

 

Shank: Online Learning Idea Book (2nd Edition)Shank, P. (2011). The online learning idea book: Proven ways to enhance technology-based and blended learning (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.ca/Online-Learning-Idea-Book-Volume/dp/0470472308/ref=dp_ob_title_bk

 

 

 

This ideas comes from Shank’s first edition. On page 173, Shank describes the use of a custom word search puzzle as a synchronous activity. (Shank indicates that the idea originates from Karen Hyder (managing director, Kaleidoscope Training and Consulting, Palmyra, NY).

In this activity, the students will see a word search puzzle on screen, and it is their job to locate the words. There are a number of ways that this task can be done so as to encourage collaboration and teamwork.

 

Modalities

Preparation

 

Instructor responsibilities

 

Comments

I am anxious to try this activity. It would help pass the time at the beginning of a session when participants are checking their audio settings and troubleshooting technical issues. By asking the students to work together in locating the words in the puzzle, it gives them an opportunity to interact in a goal-oriented way. Similarly, if a group of students is asked to collaborate to produce a word search puzzle, discuss their selections, and provide definitions prior to class, they once again have an opportunity to share ideas and get to know each other.

Rating

To be rated . . .

Note: for an introduction to identity accelerators for online teaching and learning visit this entry.

Identity Accelerator #4: Sorting Your Stuff [Intro to Thematic Coding in Qualitative Research]

mkoole, · Categories: Educational technology, Identity, Teaching · Tags: ,

 

Introduction

“Sorting your stuff” is a fun activity. It can lead so some personal revelations. What this activity involves is the participants emptying their handbags, book bags, backpacks, or other containers that they have with them. Then, they sort the objects into two or three categories and, in doing so, explain how they chose the categories into which they sorted the objects.

This is an activity that I have used in conducting workshops on phenomenography. But, recently at the 32nd Annual Qualitative Analysis Conference (2015), I noted that some professors* of qualitative research methods also use this activity to introduce basic thematic coding. It is, however, possible to use this activity simply as an “introductions and welcome” activity in a more general sense. For classes that are not related to qualitative research, facilitators can ask students to select object of different topics and themes.

 

Modalities

Preparation

 

Teacher responsibilities

 

Comments

I have had excellent success in using this activity for facilitating phenomenography workshops. However, it is important to remind students of qualitative research that they will more than likely be categorizing complex concepts. The use of simple manipulatives has its limitations. Therefore, I recommend this type of activity as a springboard. More in-depth discussions and activities are necessary in any instruction of qualitative thematic coding.

By asking the students to reach into their own handbags and backpacks, you are asking them to share some information about themselves. What we carry with us daily can provide insights into who we are as people. This activity can stimulate interesting and, at times, interesting discussions about what is important to us. I use “us” because the instructor should actively demonstrate and share alongside the students. In this way, this activity very much contributes to the acceleration of identities.

 

Rating 4.5 stars

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Note: for an introduction to identity accelerators for online teaching and learning visit this entry.

*Note: The speakers at the 32nd Annual Qualitative Analysis Conference who mentioned this technique were: Gail Lindsay (UOIT) and Jasna Schwind (Ryerson University).

Identity Accelerator #3: Mystery Guest

mkoole, · Categories: Educational technology, Identity, Teaching

 

Introduction

This activity is a based on the old Canadian TV series “Front Page Challenge”. According to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, this quiz show “featured four panelists, usually well-known journalists, who would ask yes-or-no questions in an attempt to correctly identify a mystery challenger connected to a front-page news item, as well as the news item itself. After the panelist had guessed correctly—or been stumped—they would proceed to interview the challenger”.

 

Naturally, this activity is ideal for social studies or political science classes. However, this idea can be used in nearly any class. In my case, for example, I would consider selecting someone who is an expert in instructional design or and educational learning theory.

 

Modalities

 

 

Preparation

 

 

Teacher responsibilities

 

Comments

Mystery Guest would be an ideal activity for beginning a unit on a specific topic. For example, if I were starting a research methodology unit on design-based research (DBR), I would consider inviting Dr. Terry Anderson to join the activity. Advance preparation (in collusion with the guest prior to the session) of interview questions/discussion would include topics such as

 

 

Rating

I would provide a rating of this activity, but I have yet to try it.

 

Note: for an introduction to identity accelerators for online teaching and learning visit this previous entry.