How To Teach EdTech to Future Teachers

» 19 October 2016 » In Ed Tech, Teachers » 5 Comments

ccc-typing-classI've been asked to pilot a new edtech class this spring for undergraduate ed majors in University of Portland's School of Education. I'm still in the brainstorm phase and I thought I'd like to share some of my initial thinking. 

First off  - a few things that I don't want to do:

  • Oversell edtech. Too often educators try to force the latest edtech tool into the classroom because they think it's cooler. Faster. Shinier. 
  • Focus on teaching apps. Oh how I hated being forced to sit in a computer lab and suffer though PowerPoint professional development as a teacher. When I need students to use a specific app, I typically create a YouTube channel of short screencast how-tos. Or students can use the University's Lynda account for more.
  • Take sides in the platform / device religious wars. These students will end up teaching in different settings, each with it's own unique edtech landscape. They'll need to be able to use what ever they find in their placements.

Instead I'd like to first "teach" adaptability - the mindset that's helped me navigate the ever-changing edtech environment since I began my career in the early '70s - an era of filmstrip projectors, 16mm movies and ditto machines. I've always thought first about my instructional goals, then tried to leverage whatever resources I could find to reach them. That calls for flexibility and a willingness to figure things out on your own. I couldn't wait around for some school-sponsored PD. 

A second, equally important goal would be to teach critical evaluation of the intersection of good instruction and technologies. A good teacher is skeptical, always re-assessing what's working and what's not. That's especially important in the dynamic edtech world.

I envision a problem-based approach where I layout a series instructional challenges (opportunities?) and invite student teams to come back with a plan for achieving the goal using as much or as little technology as they saw fit. They would be expected to find a way to share their work in or out of class (why not flip that as well?) We would then go though a group evaluation, reflecting on what worked and what didn't. Was the juice worth the squeeze? Move on to the next instuctional challenge. Reflect, rinse, repeat.

Here's how I thought I might open my first class:  "Good instructional often begins with a pre-assessment. This is an edtech class, so as a starting point we need to get sense of where everyone resides on edtech landscape."

  • What would be useful to know? 
  • How should we gather that info? 
  • How do we store and share (represent) what we find out? 
  • Would any digital technologies be useful in this task? If so, which ones? 
  • How do we set that up so that your peers can be successful participants?

Brainstorm over: Any thoughts on this approach? Anyone else out there teaching an edtech course and care to share?

Image Credit: Civilian Conservation Corps, Third Corps Area, typing class with W.P.A. instructor ca. 1933
National Archives and Records Administration Identifier: 197144

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Tell Then and Now Image Stories with JuxtaposeJS

» 19 September 2016 » In Ed Tech, History / DBQ's, How To » No Comments


Here’s how to use JuxtaposeJS – a new free web-based “storytelling” tool. Compare two images to create then/now stories showing changes over time. My step-by-step workflow incorporates free Google tools.

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Free Multicultural Alaska History Series

» 11 July 2016 » In Ed Tech, History / DBQ's, Publishing, Students » No Comments


Our new student-designed Alaska history and culture iBook series is now available free at iTunes. Also available as free static pdf files.

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Save Instructional Time with Screencasts

» 27 June 2016 » In Ed Tech, Strategies, Web 2.0 » 2 Comments


By making a few screencasts, I freed up hours of class time for student interaction and production. Here’s workflow, how-to videos, student products.

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Exploring History: 13 Document-Based Lessons

» 15 December 2015 » In Ed Tech, History / DBQ's, Publishing » No Comments


Thirteen engaging US and World history lessons and historic documents empower students to be the historian in the classroom. Free at iTunes and as a downloadable PDF.

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Japantown History Awarded “Best Textbook” & “Best Widget”

» 08 October 2015 » In Ed Tech, History / DBQ's, Publishing » No Comments


My iBook “Portland’s Japantown Revealed” won two awards at the international iBooks Author Conference. The book’s “Portland Revealed” widgets allow the reader to blend historic and contemporary photographs and explore the story of Portland’s “Nihonmachi” (Japantown) – a once vibrant community that disappeared with the forced removal and incarceration of its citizens. Download free at iTunes.

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PD Should Model What You Want To See in the Classroom

» 05 August 2015 » In Ed Tech, History / DBQ's, How To, PD, Projects, Publishing, Teachers » 1 Comment


Here’s how a Library of Congress-funded PD session incorporated flipped/ blended learning, PBL, collaborative Google tools. Free iBook and PDF for download with all course content and showcase iBook “The Student As Historian ~ Teaching with Primary Sources from the Library of Congress”

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Flip PD with Versal and Create More Collaboration Time

» 01 July 2015 » In Ed Tech, History / DBQ's, How To, Teachers, Web 2.0 » No Comments


Here’s how I used Versal (a free LMS) to flip a portion of my Library of Congress-funded summer teachers’ workshop.

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Teacher’s Guide to Ed Design

» 23 June 2015 » In Ed Tech, How To, Presentations » No Comments


I’m pleased to be presenting at the Devsigner Conference in Portland Ore June 27-28. My session will offer perspectives on designing engaging learning experiences that motivate students, provoke their reflections and monitor their progress as learners.

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How to Create Interactive eBooks with iBooks Author

» 29 April 2015 » In Ed Tech, How To, Presentations, Publishing » No Comments


I’m offering an iBooks Author training session for faculty at the University of Portland. Here’s two videos that demonstrate interactivity of iBA widgets and how easy it is to input content into your iBook.

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