Technology for Educators

April 10, 2009

Welcome!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sue Frantz @ 6:16 pm

Let me start with my ‘blog goal’ and a little bio.

I have a minor addiction to new technology.  But not just any technology.  I’m looking for technology (ideally, free) that either makes my job easier or makes it easier for my students to learn.

Yes, I have students. I started teaching college students in Kansas as a grad student back in 1989, and I’m still teaching college students, but now in the beautiful Pacific Northwest at Highline Community College.  If you’ve ever flown into Seattle, you’ve likely flown over my campus.

The tools I’ll be talking about aren’t always ones I’ve tried with my classes.  I don’t believe in using new technology just for the sake of using new technology.  It has to serve a pedagogical purpose.  But just because a tool doesn’t work for what I’m trying to accomplish doesn’t mean it’s not useful for someone else.  For example, psychology is my area, so I don’t have much need for math tools that can handle calculus, but when I come across such tools, I’ll be sure to fill you in.

Some of the technologies I’ll discuss are well-established tools.  Others are hot off the press; so hot, that they may still be in beta testing.  Although, keep in mind that Google Docs and Gmail are both, technically, still in beta testing.   ‘Beta testing’ has more meaning in some circles than others.

Your comments are most welcome!  If you’ve tried some of the technologies mentioned in this blog, let me know how they worked for you.  If you’re trying to solve a particular pedagogical issue and are having trouble finding the right tool, let me know.  If you come across a new tool that you think should get an airing here, let me know.

With that as a quick introduction, let’s get to the content!

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10 Comments »

  1. Sue,
    Love all the information. I can’t imagine how much time it takes you to put all of this together, but we teachers profit from it.

    Do you have any thoughts about whether Classroom Presenter might work in an online scenario?

    Beth

    Comment by Beth Benoit — April 16, 2009 @ 4:41 pm | Reply

  2. Sue,
    Do you think Classroom Presenter might work for a Psychology class?

    Comment by Beth Benoit — April 16, 2009 @ 5:16 pm | Reply

    • Thanks for the question, Beth!

      Absolutely, it does work for Psychology! I’m using it Intro Psych right now.

      I like being able to write directly on the slides (much more easily than I can with PowerPoint). I like being able to project a blank slide to write on. I like the easy, non-linear navigation. Just being able to jump from a slide at the beginning to a slide at the end without having to manage menus — and to do it behind the scenes. All the students see is one slide, then another slide.

      As for the student-side, they love having the slides where they can type on them. More and more of my students are coming in with laptops, and as far as I can tell, they’re on task. By having course content on their screens, including my edits, and being able to navigate through my slides on their own, my guess is that they’re less likely to wander off to check facebook. They already have a lot happening on their screens — there’s no need to go elsewhere to be engaged.

      Once I have a critical mass of students with laptops, say 25% of the class, I’m ready to put them to use. For instance, operant conditioning is coming up. I have a list of examples of schedules of reinforcement. I’m going to put them into groups of 4 (at least one laptop per group) and have them discuss them, then mark which is which. When they’re done, I’m going to have them send me the slide, and then we’ll talk about them. For classical conditioning, here’s an example, get into groups and identify the UCS, UCR, CS, and CR, then send me the slide. They get the benefit of hashing it out with each other, and I get the benefit of seeing whether or not they’re getting it. Immediately.

      Of course the activities aren’t new. I could have always had them do this. But it takes time to track which groups are done and which aren’t. It takes time for each group to report out. Here I get feedback from all of the groups immediately.

      It truly has me rethinking how I teach my class.

      Comment by Sue Frantz — April 16, 2009 @ 5:38 pm | Reply

  3. Thanks Beth! Some posts take more time than others, but it’s all fun. =) I especially like hearing that you find the information helpful. That makes writing the next post all the easier!

    As for Classroom Presenter and teaching online… interesting question. My gut reaction says no, and here’s why. The real strengths of the program are the immediate interactivity with the students and the ability to save the file after you’re done marking it up. All it gives the students is an html file, so without any voice-over, there’s nothing there that PowerPoint doesn’t already provide.

    I have a blog in the queue that will cover creating mini-lectures with programs like Camtasia ($$) and Jing (free). I think those are much better suited for delivering lecture-type content to an online audience (or lecture supplements for students in face-to-face classes). For instance, see the quickie video I did on how neurons work (for Intro Psych): http://flightline.highline.edu/sfrantz/syllabi/lectures/bio.htm. I used Camtasia to record PowerPoint for that one.

    Did that answer your question? Or were thinking of some other way of using Classroom Presenter in an online environment?

    Comment by Sue Frantz — April 16, 2009 @ 5:23 pm | Reply

  4. How about for an online psychology class? I have an Intro, Abnormal and Social class. Hmmm…a challenge?

    Comment by Beth Benoit — April 16, 2009 @ 5:55 pm | Reply

  5. Oh, dear, you DID address my online query. Sorry! I should stop “interrupting” and start reading!!

    Comment by Beth Benoit — April 16, 2009 @ 5:57 pm | Reply

  6. I’m a bit tech-challenged. What’s Classroom Presenter?

    Comment by Julie Penley — April 21, 2009 @ 3:45 pm | Reply

  7. Oops, nevermind. I’m a bit slow in reading through the blog and see that Sue’s addressed this already in another page. See how desperately I need this service? 🙂

    Comment by Julie Penley — April 21, 2009 @ 3:46 pm | Reply

    • Hey, all questions welcome! Even if they’re answered elsewhere. 🙂

      Comment by Sue Frantz — April 21, 2009 @ 4:02 pm | Reply


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