Tomorrow evening, we'll be sharing and celebrating the work of students in my class, Managing Educational Technology resources, with each other and with guests from the area. Instead of assigning a typical paper or, worse, giving a final exam, we chose to spend the last few weeks of class synthesizing and working towards some meaningful application of what was learned and experienced during the entire semester. Below are some of the ideas that will be shared:
Learning Space Design
A poorly designed physical school space hinders learning and communication of school’s brand. Based on research, a school’s physical space should stimulate learning, aid creativity, and reduce distraction. Besides being a supporting system for education, a school’s environment should also reflect its values. Our challenge is to redesign [a new school's] physical space based on its current learning space design problems.
“Virtual Empathy - Real Solutions”
It is a challenge to “teach” empathy and interpersonal skills, due to difficulties in delivering authentic social interactions in traditional secondary education classroom settings. How might we overcome the challenges in delivering opportunities for authentic social interactions, therefore allowing students to “practice” these skills? (i.e. interpersonal skills, social cues, empathy). We propose that virtual reality programs may be utilized to provide real-to-life opportunities to practice and develop these skills.
TC Course Enrollment
So many students are struggling every year to enroll in courses in CMLTD and some students also fail to register their favorite courses because of unfamiliarity. This website aims at providing information on courses, professors (including labs and centers they are leading), and program requirements for CMLTD students.
matchEd is an online platform that connects education students with in-service teachers and helps facilitate observations, student-teaching, and feedback.
Equipment and project outcomes can cause sensory and auditory distress. How might we adapt current Makerspaces so that they cater to a larger population of students with auditory and sensory processing challenges?
Mobile Innovation Lab
Mobile Innovation Lab is a traveling learning space that provides enriching 21st-century STEM learning experiences in a dynamic and interactive environment to underserved Native American students.
Steve and I had the privilege to be guests on Kelly Croy's Wired Educator Podcast, Episode 128.
My brother introduced me to this great word puzzle game updated each day by the New York Times. It's a fun, daily way, to exercise one's puzzle-solving aspect of the brain. There is no leaderboard and no reason to cheat or look up answers. The fulfillment comes from achieving the 'Genius' level each day for finding as many words as possible that use the center letter.
I want to share the Slack integrations that we use all the time at Explain Everything to move work forward, especially given our complex organization. We have multiple time zones, locations, and languages to manage with a company of only about 50 people. Two of these integrations are bots whose automated reporting keeps everyone up to speed, two of these initiate action action and response, and the last one is more of a treatment of an included feature than an integration.
Bot 1: Salesforce
Whenever a lead is added, a record updated, or even better, a deal closed, our Salesforce instance publishes a brief summary to the (private) channel where our customer-oriented conversations take place. It's a great way to be able to check in on activity and be informed of progress in key relationships.
Bot 2: Jira Cloud
We use Atlassian's Jira for many of our teams to keep track of tasks and also to clearly delineate the connections across teams towards product releases and updates. We set up dedicated channels just for the Jira Cloud bot to feed information into because we learned that we have so many updates happening that it can overwhelm a channel where other, more human, discussions are taking place.
Action 1: Polly
There are probably quite a few polling tools available for Slack - and Slack may have their own by now - but we have found Polly to be the one we use for everything from planning events to getting feedback on product designs.
Action 2: Explain Everything
Whenever we need to visualize a discussion we just jump into a collaborative whiteboard. We use Explain Everything's built in voice chat because it's right there and automatically kicks in, though I guess we could also use Slack's built-in chat too, especially if video was important.
Treatment: Add Reaction
The 'Add Reaction' button for Slack messages is useful to add some color and demonstrate engagement without needing to type anything. You can see it in the screenshots from the other integration examples. This is incredibly helpful for asynchronous discussions. At the leadership team level, we have a shared understanding to use certain reactions to indicate a state of a message having been 'read' though not necessarily agreed or disagreed to. This way, the author of the post can know if the message at the very least was seen since often in the course of a few hours, any channel can become a longer scroll of text. This is especially true when working in multiple time zones. The ones below are 'OK' ones to indicate this.
I had a great time being a judge for the final pitches from Teachers College Innovation Awards 2019 which took place at TC's Academic Festival. The entire event was a great celebration of the work happening across departments at the college, and my department (Math, Science, & Technology) hosted some great parts of the program, including the Innovation Awards.
The last time I looked deeply into setting up notifications in Google Sheets, the options were either unclear or required creating custom scripts. Now, granted, this may have been over 5 years ago. I developed other habits and routines in order to keep track of various collaborative sheets, including setting up those sheets as Startup tabs for my browser so I had a constant reminder to check on them.
A question came up last week that prompted me to look into it again and sure enough, Google has introduced a version of notifications that is user-subscription based. That means an individual has to opt in (the document owner can't force notifications on participants). If it's with a small enough group, though, it's not too much of an ask to request that folks enable notifications especially when one of the options is a daily digest.
I have been one of the lucky educators to experience TED Masterclass from its initial launch. I had been exploring the materials in small bursts, but over the weekend I spent a more significant portion of time not only watching the videos but thinking deeply about my responses to the generative questions and prompts included in the course. I'm still debating exactly how I will apply my learnings to something in the near term, but I will certainly incorporate the many practical tips and guides for general speaking, presenting, and sharing ideas.
While in Wrocław, Poland last week I had my first experience with an electric 'scooter' service where you download an app, scan a QR code, and rent a scooter on time-metered terms. Not having a helmet, I hedged towards the slow side of the speed range of this vehicle, and only rode it in a wide open square (late at night) to avoid injuring any poor bystanders.
It was a delightful experience - from first locating a scooter on a map, sending a 'ping' request so that the scooter would make itself easier to locate as you got closer, to riding around, and ultimately parking. When you park, you have to take a picture of the final place. However, as one of my colleagues pointed out, you never actually can reference your own picture or others' pictures when searching for a scooter. However in the Lime app, there is a 'game' where you can judge the parking excellence of others. It was suggested to me, and I agree, that this is probably around some AI training so that the application can suggest better parking guidance when someone finishes a ride (i.e. to not block an ADA accessible ramp, for example).
Maya Man, currently one of the “Fivers” of Google’s Creative Lab Five (NYC location) spoke to my students about the intersection of art and coding.
As part of what she shared, we did an activity using p5.js, a very accessible interface for programming (it’s either inspired by or built using the Processing language - I need to understand this relationship better).
One activity she introduced was to look at interesting artwork and then to try and reimagine it by coding drawing actions using Processing. This is meant to be a beginner’s foray into visual art created with code.
She set up a still life for inspiration, and the image above is the code and the outcome of the orange that I focused on.