Report from the 1st TaLDA Workshop

During the 2nd week of May, a group of faculty and instructional designers gathered for the first ever TaLDA Workshop at Muskegon Community College. TaLDA = Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age. This was a workshop inspired from the success of the annual Math & Technology Workshop, but designed for faculty and staff from any discipline. This year, instructional designers and distance ed coordinators joined faculty who teach Theater, Humanities, Psychology, Education, Library Sciences, Information Literacy, and Computer Information Systems joined to create a truly unique and fun week of technology experiences.

This was a tech conference unlike most any other. There was laughing, dancing, and even some crying. [Note: The crying was tears of joy.]

The TaLDA workshop is designed to layer on technology skills as the week progresses.  Participants must attend for the whole week – there’s no picking and choosing.  From years of experience, I can tell you that we all have gaps in our knowledge base, and the more of these gaps that get filled, the better our technology experiences will be.

View our FlickR Photostream from TaLDA 2012

Some of the topics at TaLDA included:

  • HTML Basics (so you can do a little bit of hacking when a website or course page doesn’t behave)
  • Jing (for sharing images or video on both the student and instructor side)
  • Search tips, browser tips and online bookmarking (aka “The Secret Technology Club”)
  • Web Tools for Enhancing Online Courses (see mindmap by following link)
  • Data visualizations
  • Building your own web presence (primarily LinkedIn and Google Sites)
  • Using digital mindmaps to organize and retrieve information
  • Online learning design
  • Social media for learning and for educational use (primarily Twitter and Facebook)
  • Presentation design
  • Copyright and Copyleft
  • Using SnagIt to create any image you can imagine
  • Synchronous Communications (SAVI = synchronous audio visual interactions)
  • Using Camtasia Studio to edit and produce videos
  • Mobile and Tablet Apps for learning and professional use
  • Using games to teach/learn concepts
  • Finding and using Classroom Response Questions
  • Wolfram Alpha Workshop (trust me, it’s not just for math folks)
  • Google Docs, Forms, etc.
  • Organize Your Digital Self

The big surprise (for everyone, including me) was the great joy we found in using Instructure Canvas (an LMS that is about 15 months old now).  The operative word of TaLDA turned out to be “gobsmacked” as in “we were all gobsmacked when we discovered that there is an LMS that is intuitive and easy to use from both the student and teacher side.”

Click on the image of the infographic to enlarge.

One of the participants (Christopher) created a great “infographic” to demonstrate the great power to misuse infographics.  It cracked us all up, and so I share it here.

Also, it’s true. There was dancing.  At some point, we decided that every mouse action should have a dance move, and the rest is history.  Yeah, there’s a video of the silliness that ensued too.

I’m not sure if we’ll do this again at MCC as the timing seemed to be bad for many potential participants, but we have to run these things between semesters to get lab space.  However, TaLDA can definitely be taken on the road, so let me know if you want one in your neck of the woods.

Also, I have to say a HUGE Thank You to our sponsors for this year’s workshop: Muskegon Community College, TechSmith, and Mindomo – we’re truly grateful for your continued support!

Update: Oh my gosh! How could I possibly forget about thanking Anna?  Anna was a godsend!  Couldn’t have done it without her.  I wish I could just keep her around all the time!

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MCC TaLDA Workshop – May 2012

I’m pleased to announce that we’re going to start offering a “Tech Bootcamp” for non-math faculty.  Our first offering of the MCC TaLDA Workshop (Teaching & Learning in the Digital Age) will be in May 2012.  Registration opens today!

The MCC TaLDA Workshop is a week-long immersion in Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age for College faculty from all disciplines. This workshop is modeled after the MCC Math & Technology Workshop, which MCC has hosted for four years now. Over time, this workshop has been dubbed “Technology Bootcamp” by its participants. Participants come from all over the country to get an “upgrade” to their technology skills as they relate to teachinging and learning in the college setting.

Participants go home armed not only with new technology skills, but also software and hardware to help them on their journey, all provided by donations from our commercial sponsors. Participants in the 2012 Workshop will receive the latest versions of Camtasia Studio, SnagIt, and a 1-year subscription to Mindomo.  Thanks to TechSmith and Mindomo for being sponsors of the 2012 MCC TaLDA Workshop!

Organizers and presenters at the workshop donate their time for a “good cause” – that is, we hope that participants will go back to their own schools and wider educational communities and spread what they have learned. The 2012 Workshop will be facilitated by Maria Andersen and Barry Dahl (see Workshop Staff page for more info). Both have considerable experience in the realm of leveraging technology for learning, and are invited to speak and conduct workshops at many national events.

The TaLDA Workshop will be May 7-11, 2012 in Muskegon, Michigan. There are 40 spaces for participants, so register as soon as possible if you’d like to attend. For the first month, only one participant per college will be accepted.

Register here! 

Math and physical science faculty (those subjects that involve a lot of equations and graphs) should consider the MCC Math & Tech Workshop instead (August 2012).

Oh … and did I mention? Muskegon has a beautiful beach!

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Carnival of Math: Mindmap Edition

Okay, okay … the Carnival of Math is late.  Sorry Mike!

Being something of a nonconformist, I thought I’d try something completely different!  This month, the Carnival of Math is in the form of an Interactive Mindmap.  So you’ve never used a mindmap?  Watch the quick tutorial (no sound).

carnivalofmath2010_expended

Also, I’ve just thrown in my favorite posts from various math blogs that I read, so you may be surprised to see your own post in here!

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Tech Tools 2010

Today I was the keynote speaker for Tech Tools 2010 in Scottsdale AZ, which was really fun!

I survived the twitter backchannel (I “called out” the tweeters, according to @soul4real).  This seemed to work really well and I’ll write more about what I did later.  I also got “best dressed presenter ever” for wearing my magic doc martens with silver swirls.

techtools2010-poster

Here are the links to today’s presentations and resources.

GE Plug into the Smart Grid (Augmented Reality)

Teaching & Learning in the Digital Age Mindmap

Careers in the Future

Have PRIDE in what you TEACH. (What did you learn this month?)

Interdisciplinary Studies

Organize Your Digital Self  (Slides or Mindmap)

For future reference, you can find all of my mindmaps, slide decks, and past recorded webinars under Resources in the menu bar on the top of this blog.

Several of you asked this afternoon about the magnifying program I used to magnify web URLs.  It’s called Virtual Magnifying Glass (free, PC, Mac, or Linux).  If you teach anything from the Internet to a room full of people, you should consider using it!

I was also surprised to discover that many participants who are Second Life regulars had not read Neal Stephenson’s book Snow Crash.  Stephenson basically describes “Second Life” (called the metaverse) in Snow Crash, written in 1992.  So if you want to speculate about what Second Life will become, reading Snow Crash would be a good place to start!

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The Cohort Effect: Coming of Age in Academia

The non-italicized portions below are excerpted from portions of my dissertation-in-progress.  Just so we’re clear, the quoted material in this post is strictly copyrighted (not licensed under the CC for the rest of the blog).

There is little doubt that self-experience influences beliefs (Nespor, 1987 and Goodman, 1988 as cited by Pajares, 1992). Instructors’ self-experience regarding educational practice comes first from their own experiences as a student (e.g. how they experienced instruction from a students persepective), and second, from their experiences as a practitioner in the classroom (e.g. the outcomes they observed as a result of their instruction). Early experiences tend to form beliefs that are highly resistant to change (Pajares, 1992). These beliefs are so strong that people will go out of their way to avoid confronting contrary evidence or engage in discussion that might harm these beliefs (Pajares, 1992). Instructors may present particularly resilient educational beliefs they spent years experiencing the system of education and likely, and most had positive identification with education to be motivated to pursue a career in it (Pajares, 1992; Ginsburg and Newman, 1985).

There is some natural resistance to change as a result of the human aging process, but there is also evidence that the greatest resistance to change in academia seems to come from cohort effects (Lawrence & Blackburn, 1985). In the cohort effect, new propositions may be in conflict with the longstanding core beliefs of an individual, which formed during the time that they came of age in academia. Faculty careers are best explained by the cohort model – that is, “…professors who complete their graduate work and achieve tenure during the same historical era are enculturated with a particular set of values that remain constant over time” (Lawrence & Blackburn, 1985, p. 137). Further evidence of this can be found in the 2004-2005 HERI Faculty Survey, which found that there were considerable differences in the use of student-centered instruction versus teacher centered instruction across the different faculty career stages (see figure below). Early-career faculty were more likely to use a variety of student-centered instructional practices (i.e. group projects, student presentations, reflective writing) and advanced-career faculty were more likely to use extensive lecturing (Lindholm et al., 2005).

cohort-effect-heri

Recognizing that an instructor is most likely to change during the time they “come of age” in academia, many faculty development programs target brand-new faculty.  What follows are descriptions of two of the math-specific programs that are aimed at new faculty.

Project NeXT and Project ACCCESS are professional development programs, sponsored by MAA and AMATYC respectively, that focus on brand-new college math faculty. Project NeXT (New Experiences in Teaching) is for new or recent Ph.D.s and provides training on, among other things, improving the teaching and learning of mathematics (LaRose, 2009). Project ACCCESS (Advancing Community College Careers: Education, Scholarship, Service) is a mentoring and professional development initiative that was conceived originally as a version of Project NeXT for community college faculty. ACCCESS is now wholly administered by AMATYC, and its mission is “to provide experiences that will help new faculty become more effective teachers and active members of the broader mathematical community.” (Project ACCCESS website, 2009).

So, let’s be clear here.  I don’t think we use the cohort effect as an argument to give up on mid- and advanced-career faculty.  But given the cohort effect, it may be necessary to give experienced faculty an intense and lengthy experience that causes them to “come of age” again in academia.  For example, many participants in our week-long Math & Technology workshop have told us that they had forgotten what it was truly like to be in the student role.  After a week of being confronted with lots of new technology and experiencing learning in new (and much more active) ways, these faculty tell us they have fresh perspective on teaching and learning.  Will that translate into more student-centered instructional practices?  I have no idea.  But I’d like to see AMATYC and MAA create a professional development program for a cohort of experienced faculty every year, using the model already established for Project NeXT and ACCCESS.

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