Classroom Tech: When Less is More

» 21 January 2015 » In Ed Tech, Publishing, Social Web, Students, Web 2.0 » No Comments

up-tech-talkI recently was a guest on the UP Tech Talk Podcast produced by University of Portland’s Academic Technology Services and hosted by Maria Erb (Instructional Designer) and Sam Williams (Dir of Academic Tech Services). Kudos for the great ATS podcast studio!

We had a lively 18 minute discussion about my UP social studies methods class and technology’s role in instructional design - it opened like this …

What's the least amount of technology you could use to get the job done.

Maria: Peter, so glad to have you on the podcast. We just had a great conversation ... you managed to rattle off probably half a dozen Web 2.0 tools that you're using just like you were a fish swimming in water; it just seems so easy and natural for you. I'm just wondering, how do you go about choosing which tools you're going to use for these great projects that you're working on? What piques your interest?

Peter: I think it really begins with seeing yourself as a designer of a learning experience. You work with the tools you have and with the setting you have. You've got X number of students; you're meeting once a week; you've got three hours with them. You think about the instructional goals that you want to achieve, and then from there, you say, okay, so what kind of tools are out there. For example, there was a situation where I wanted them to collaborate and design some lessons. I wanted them to be able to share their work with one another and be able to comment on it. I also think it's important that there always be a public product, because I think we find our students producing content for their instructor as opposed to … which is kind of a ritualized thing as opposed to real-world content.

And ended with this exchange ... 

Sam: Are there any words of wisdom around it's not about the technology that you could leave us at the end of this podcast?

Peter: I would say the big question is what's the least amount of technology you could use to get the job done. Taking something and making it prettier by putting it on a white board when you could have written it up on the chalk board really doesn't get you anywhere. I think that the transformative part of technology is getting it in the hands of the students so that they can research and create and produce in ways you couldn't do without it. For me, those are the essential elements that I'm looking at, not simply just something that's a bright shiny object.

Text transcript (word file) | Show notes and links | Podcast at iTunes: #12

The University of Portland uses the SmartEval system to gather student feedback on courses and faculty. Here’s a few comments from my UP students that are relevant to this podcast:

  • Peter challenged us to think and be designers of curriculum, instead of just lecturers. We learned how to get students working and thinking critically in the classroom.
  • I liked that the focus of the class was on making a product.
  • He also showed us how to move from the lecture mode to engaging students as architects in their own learning process.
  • Very well connected with other educators on Twitter. He has promoted every student in the class using his connections to help us build professional connections and build a professional online presence.

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Get the Word Out: A Social Media Case Study

» 10 September 2014 » In Ed Tech, History / DBQ's, Social Web, Strategies » No Comments

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Here’s a brief case study in how use social media to showcase your work and create a professional learning network.

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#edcampPDX Back2School Edition: Twitter Archive

» 16 August 2014 » In Events, PD, Social Web, Teachers » No Comments

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We just completed our 10th edcampPDX – a chance to get pumped up for the new school year, network and share new ideas with our colleagues. Here’s our Twitter Storify archive. Check back for updates as attendees have time to reflect and tweet on the awesomeness we shared. We have lots of great resources.

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Boston Bombings: Close Reading A Media Frenzy

» 26 April 2013 » In Commentary, Literacy, Social Web, Strategies » No Comments

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Here’s a suggestion for high school teachers. Postpone a lesson you had planned for next week and use the time to explore the cacophonous infosphere spawned by the apprehension of the suspects in the Boston bombings. If that media circus tells us anything, it’s that we need a lesson in digital hygiene and responsible use.

It’s also a good chance for students to hone their close reading skills. The events should be fresh in everyone’s mind. Ask students to reflect back on network news and social media coverage of the manhunt using these three critical thinking prompts: What did it say? How did it say it? What’s it mean to me?

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#Watertown #MITShooting: Unfiltered News vs Speculation

» 19 April 2013 » In Commentary, Social Web, Visualizations » No Comments

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This morning, Twitter broke the story of the events in Watertown MA. Following the hashtags #Watertown and #MITShooting, I selected a few of the early tweets for a Storify. Twitter scooped the major news organizations, but are we ready to curate our own news?

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Curating the Backchannel at the 3rd edcampPDX

» 04 February 2012 » In Events, PD, Social Web, Teachers, Visualizations » No Comments

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The 3rd edcampPDX is being held Feb 4, 2012 at Catlin Gabel School in Portland Oregon. This Storify serves as a permanent archive of the event’s social media backchannel. I’m following the hashtag #edcampPDX.
An edcamp is a unconference-style day of professional development organized and given by the local participants. It’s free, democratic, participant-driven professional development. Great teachers, interesting conversations and an excellent chance to network.

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Join Portland Educators at edCampPDX – February 4, 2012

» 19 January 2012 » In Events, PD, Teachers » No Comments

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Calling all educators from the Pacific NW. Join us in Portland on February 4, for the third edcampPDX – free, democratic, participant-driven professional development. It’s an unconference built on collaboration and dialogue, not keynotes. As one participant from a past edcamp tweeted “#EdcampPDX what an incredible day! I’m ready for September.”

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Following the Backchannel at the 2nd edcampPDX

» 11 November 2011 » In Events, PD, Social Web, Teachers, Visualizations » No Comments

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An edcamp is a unconference-style day of professional development organized and given by the local participants. The 2nd edcampPDX was held 11/11/11 at La Salle Catholic College Preparatory in Portland Oregon. This Storify serves as a permanent archive of the event’s social media backchannel. I’m following the hashtag #edcampPDX.

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edcampPDX 2 – Educators’ Unconference – Portland, Oregon

» 21 October 2011 » In Events, PD, Teachers » No Comments

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Calling all educators from the Pacific NW. Join us in Portland on Nov 11th, for the second edcampPDX – free, democratic, participant-driven professional development. It’s an unconference built on collaboration and dialogue, not keynotes. As one participant from the August edcamp tweeted “#EdcampPDX what an incredible day! I’m ready for September.”

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Following the Backchannel at edcampPDX

» 18 August 2011 » In Events, Social Web, Teachers, Visualizations » 1 Comment

edcampPDX

edcampPDX is free, democratic, participant-driven professional development. It’s an unconference built on collaboration and dialogue, not keynotes. I’m at the edcamp and documenting the event via the hashtag #edcampPDX. This Storify will remain as an artifact long after the tweetstream moves on.

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