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Archive for the ‘Teaching Technologies’ Category

Using Games to Engage Learners

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Have you thought about using games as part of your teaching strategy?  “Games, Gamification, and the Quest for Learner Engagement” is an interesting article by Karl M. Kapp that discusses the advantages and drawbacks of games in instructional settings.  The article defines “gamification” as “the solution for incorporating the engaging aspects of games into the larger curriculum of an organization is the application of the concept of gamification. Gamification is using game-based mechanics, aesthetics, and game thinking to engage people, motivate action, promote learning, and solve problems.”   He points out that games give students the “freedom to fail” as well as building interest.

Building games can be time consuming and difficult, but one possibility is to use an online Game Builder to experiment with using games as a teaching activity.  One example is available at WISC-Online.



Join Us for An Online Class: “Teaching with Technology”

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Join us for an online class taught from July 23 – August 27, 2012: “Teaching with Technology: Tips, Techniques and Tools”!

In this class, you will learn about using technology tools for teaching distance learning courses. We will discuss options and best practices for asynchronous and synchronous distance classes, as well as “blended” classes that offer both in-person and online options. Adult learning principles will be reviewed. We will examine and discuss examples of software and website tools in teaching.

The class is taught “asynchronously” using the Moodle course management system, so you can complete the classwork at a time convenient for you. Allow approximately 2 hours per week for independent classwork. There are 4 weeks of assignments, readings, and discussions, with the 5th week saved for a “catch-up” week. Upon completion of the class you will receive 8 MLA CE credits.

The class is free and open to residents of the U.S. Class enrollment is limited, so we do ask that you check your schedule to be sure you have time to complete the class.

To register:

The New Digital Divide: Effective or ineffective searcher

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Google has a new site called Google Search Education. You can watch a two minute video to learn about the impetus for the site:

The site includes a number of hour long recordings called Live Trainings on topics such as, Power Searching, Modern Search Literacy, and Using Google Scholar. A tip from the site: learn to narrow your search results by domain: search term Replace search term with your own search term and retrieve results from .edu sites.

Sit Back and Let your App do the Work

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

SaveMeeting is an app that records meetings on iPhone and Android devices. The app allows you to record the audio of your meetings, transcribe the audio, and share the recordings and transcriptions with others. Free (1000 minutes of audio) and paid versions are available. Works with a PC as well. Coming soon: SaveMeeting for iPad and Blackberry.

Save now, read later.

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Pocket is a freely available App for iPad and iPhone. Similar to bookmarking a web page, but you don’t need an Internet connection to view the contents. Use Pocket when you discover an interesting article, video or web page, but don’t have time to view it. Once it’s in Pocket, it’s on your phone, tablet, or computer. You can read an article during a flight, see a web page while you wait in line, or watch a video while relaxing at home; all without an Internet connection.

Online Infographics Tools

Friday, May 11th, 2012

“Infographics” or “information graphics” represent data, information, or knowledge in a visually appealing format.  Infographics include attractive images to represent ideas, and may also include data visualizations.  Two free online tools can help create infographics: and (currently in beta). also lets users share their infographics, so you can explore the visualizations that others have created. has a number of pre-made themes and pre-made design elements, so you don’t have to start from scratch to build an infographic.

SlideDog: Multimedia Presentation Player

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Do you give presentations using PowerPoint, Word and PDFs? Do you sometimes need to show multiple file types during one particular presentation? If you answered yes to these questions, then SlideDog may work for you. SlideDog lets you add your presentation files to a “playlist” where you can just click on the file name to move between files. When you click, the file changes and the audience will not see the behind-the-scenes change between programs.

SlideDog is currently in Beta and it requires a (free) download.

Follow this link to read more about SlideDog and to give it a try:

Ideas for Interactive Activities

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Recently, I attended a webinar led by the “train the trainer” company Bob Pike. The topic of the webinar was “Dealing with Difficult Participants,” but also included some information about training in general. Over the next few blog posts I’ll report on interesting ideas discussed in the webinar.

The webinar leader listed a number of interactive activities to help keep students engaged and encourage participation.  A few that caught my attention were:

  1. Fill in the blanks:  provide a handout with course notes, but leave some important words blank.  The students fill those in during the presentation.  Students don’t have to try to scribble notes of every word you are saying, but filling in the blanks will help them retain what they learn because they are writing something down.
  2. “Teach backs”:  students teach what they have just learned to another student.
  3. Top 10 Lists
  4. Card sorting
  5. “Gallery walks”:   students review posters on a wall; see this page from Central Michigan University for a description.

SmartPhone as a Recording Device

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Save meeting

This app allows you to record the audio of your meetings or classes, transcribe the audio, and share the recordings and transcriptions with others.

Currently available for iPhone & Android.

The app is free to download. There are both free and premium service options.

Many Eyes

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Do you have data that you want to make more visually appealing to the audience? IBM has a free site that helps you transform columns of numbers into interactive charts and graphs. Free to register and use.