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NPS and Gamification

Last weekend I visited Bryce Canyon National Park and Cedar Breaks National Monument for a 3-day digital detox. [Yes, believe it or not, I can put away the Interwebs for 3 whole days.] While hiking in Bryce Canyon, I stumbled across a bit of gamification of the hiking trails called Hike the Hoodoos Challenge. With all the hype about digital badges and gamification lately, I can’t help but wonder why the NPS doesn’t take this a step further and develop a digital mobile game where you can earn activity badges in all the National Parks and Monuments by hiking...

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Canvas Network Social Media Course

I’ve been working hard on developing an open course for Canvas Network on Social Media. The course is now live and publicly visible. This means you can see all the content pages and modules (but not the discussions or announcements). If you’d like to take a peek, visit Social Media on Canvas Network. Here’s a preview of what you’ll see: Possibly Related Posts: Elaborations for Creative Thinking in STEM What should K-12 teachers be learning about technology? The Road Back to Higher Education 10 Books to Push Your Thinking about Learning Design University of Copenhagen...

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Reason to Calculate the Vertex

If you ever needed a REASON to calculate the highest point of a parabola that opens downward, here’s one. Possibly Related Posts: Elaborations for Creative Thinking in STEM What should K-12 teachers be learning about technology? The Road Back to Higher Education 10 Books to Push Your Thinking about Learning Design University of Copenhagen...

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Keeping the Same Instructor

Question: Why do we design all the learning for a course (i.e. the syllabus) before we every meet a single student?  Answer: Because there’s no alternative.  At least, not for those of us in Higher Ed. When you really stop and think about it, does it make ANY sense to design the syllabus before meeting your students?  I’ve been noticing that school systems that get good learning results have an interesting common characteristic. The instructors stay with the same students for several years.  They learn how their students learn best and design the learning to suit their needs.  There is an excellent article in Smithsonian called, Why are Finland’s Schools Successful? Finland is now considered, by international exam comparisons, to be one of the best in the world.  There are many reasons why Finnish students are so successful, but I’d venture a guess that at least one key is instructors taking the time to get to know their students learning quirks (knowing they will be teaching them for several years).  The ability to flex the curriculum as needed, knowing that extra time spent this year can be made up next year when students are better prepared, is invaluable. In U.S. higher education, especially in the first two years of courses, we rarely see our students more than once.  We certainly can’t depend on seeing our students the next semester...

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Elephant in the Room: Captioning Math Videos

[Just in case there is any doubt, the opinions on this blog are always my own and not the opinions of my college.] For the last several years I’ve been watching the conversations about accessibility issues on Listservs, online groups, and blogs and I’ve been receiving emails from instructors living in California about their “video captioning situation.”  The situation is that many instructors in California believe that they are not allowed to post any material (required or supplemental) in a digital environment unless it is made fully accessible for the blind and hearing-impaired.  We could argue whether they are correct or not [personally, I think the California interpretation is a stretch], but the truth is that nobody really knows until the ADA Law [Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act] as it is interpreted in California is challenged in the legal system.  Well, now it appears that North Carolina may be trying to endorse the same sort of “mandate for accessibility” of digital materials too and this has reopened this issue.  It is an issue that has been described by a colleague of mine at another college as the “elephant in the room.” Many of us want to make our lessons and lectures available to students outside of class.  The question … do you have to caption all the videos when you do this?  Ideally, software would exist to auto-caption...

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