Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Flipping the Classroom- Variations on a Theme

There has been a great deal of discussion on the concept of "flipping the classroom." In some circles, a flipped classroom refers to the pedagogy of the class whereby the traditional teaching model and the time it takes place, is switched or reversed.  What traditionally occurred in the lecture, may in fact occur outside of class perhaps through web streaming or accessing on-line resources for the course.

Another definition of a flipped classroom could be the orientation of the classroom, where the location of the faculty member (or student) at the front of the class and been reserved or changed.  In this case the traditional front-of-the-class lecture has been changed to the middle,back, or side of the classroom. Perhaps even a student or group could become presenters of the lecture.

Another variation of this flipped classroom theme, is a combination of both pedagogical methods and learning space orientation.  One intriguing example is utilizing a collaborative furniture arrangement by Steelcase called the media:scape.  This system promotes collaboration with two screen monitors that allow participants to share computer screens.  In this example, this system was simultaneously connected to a SMARTboard to share a Skype conversation with a Rhodesian national.  By changing and combining a learning space, an entirely different set of options is presented to both the faculty member, and the student.  

The class can watch an event on all the screens.  Later students at the media:scape could collaborate in a small group setting, independent of the class utilizing the SMARTBoard technology.  The key in using the concept of a flipped classroom is to prepare the teaching and learning curriculum and experience beforehand.  EDUCAUSE states in its document, "Things You Should Know About "Flipped Classrooms," the importance of understanding that the "model puts more of the responsibility for learning on the shoulders of students while giving them greater impetus to experiment." This is not only true for the students, but also for the faculty and teacher of the curriculum.  While many rooms on universities and colleges have traditional classrooms equipped with educational technologies, there are a growing number of learning spaces which are experimenting with the concept of flipping the teaching and learning.  It is important to understand that there variations in when we begin thinking about flipping classrooms, and that there are many factors and influences that need to be considered before innovating the teaching and learning process. Thinking outside the box can yield many innovating concepts originating from a main theme.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Engaging Students In Learning Through Social Media

[photo by Austen Keller]
It is readily acknowledged that students are active users of social media. However, research has also shown the majority of students use social media for personal reasons, rather than for academic needs.  In many academic circles, more discussion centers around the concern of faculty "friending" potential students or students attempting to "friend" faculty members.  These issues seem to focus more on the policies of the potential impropriety of  social media communication, rather than concentrating on how social media tools can be used to enrich and engage students and faculty in the teaching and learning process.

Cristin Cesar learns how social media is used in politics
and human interest stories. [photo by Matt Davis]
One method to create more awareness of the potential of social media tools, is to demonstrate their use in communicating "real world examples" in classroom lectures.  This is exactly the strategy employed in a series of lectures for Communications Studies classes at UW-La Crosse.  Faculty member, Pamela Morris, invited me into two of her classes to show how social media can: motivate the base, affect author attribution, disseminate information quickly, distribute fact and fiction, and how it can reinforce or change opinions.
Breanna Levine listens on how social media was used in
Wisconsin politics throughout 2011. [photo by Austen Keller]
By utilizing citizen reporting via CNN iReports, students could see how stories can be quickly disseminated and amplified through social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Results could be analyzed through analytical data. Students learned that iReporting can reach a wide variety of people worldwide in a matter of hours.  While they understand that social media can transmit information quickly, students had no idea just how fast these tools could distribute messages, either as fact or fiction.

[photo by Peiqing (Shine) Chen]
Each class seemed extremely engaged in seeing and discussing actual stories and footage of current news events.  Some students learned that the media can present the news in a biased manner. They also thought more deeply about the importance of watching viewpoints from both sides of an issue. Whether the story has a political story line, or is more of a human interest story, the key to engagement is to personalize the experience so that the audience can more readily connect.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Social Media- Making Teaching and Learning Authentic

On location with the President-November 3, 2012
Since 2011, I have been covering and researching the effects of social media, particularly in the environment of politics.  Throughout the 2012 political season, I have been focusing more intently on the Presidential campaign, and how social media is utilized to disseminate and distribute content and multimedia to the world.  The speed of which social media can move can be blazingly fast.  Not only fact can facts be quickly disseminated, but so can fictional content.
To make teaching and learning more relevant or authentic, as educators we can utilize and better understand the uses of social media to present "real world digital stories" to further engage students in the learning process.  To actively engage both students and faculty can create a more collaborative learning environment.

In capturing fleeting historic moments and using social media to communicate them, can bring an entirely new and authentic learning experience to the classroom as well as to the public. As one blogger commented about my work, Jim is using social media to document "history in real time."

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Global Influence of Social Media in Politics and in Our Lives

Photo of Jim Jorstad and group after lecture
Jim Jorstad [right] addresses a group after his lecture on social media.
{photo courtesy-Larry Sleznikow}
A live streamed webcast was broadcast from the campus of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse on the evening of October 29th. The lecture was entitled, "The Global Influence of Social Media in Politics and in Our Lives." The presentation explained how Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have dramatically changed the political landscape as well as our personal lives.  Through an insightful documentation of politics in Wisconsin since 2011, through the national political scene of 2012, the interactive program showcased a long series of historical events through social media and citizen reporting.  Using CNN iReports as the framework, the audience saw first hand photo-journalistic reports of the Wisconsin Recall, the presidential and senate races, and a variety of human interest stories.

The lecture was streamed live on Mediasite and Live Polling was used to measure the political demographics of the audience, as well as gauging the audience's perceptions in regards to how specific media outlets may or may not be biased in their news reporting. The event was carried on Twitter at #GlobalSocMedia

You can view the presentation by clicking on the image.

Some key takeaways when effectively utilizing social media include:

1) use relevant images and video to document authentic events.
2) use analytics to track dissemination and distribution.
3) use social media to tell personal and relevant stories
4) use social media to engage faculty and students
5) go global with your social media story
6) go local with your social media story 

Live Polling was used in this presentation.  You may be part of the poll, or view the responses by clicking here:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Social Media in the Fast Lane- Tech in 20

On September 7, 2012 I spoke at Tech in 20, an annual event held at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and sponsored by Information Technology Services. The premise of the event is to hold concurrent technology-related mini workshops that are 20 minutes or less in length. It forces the speakers to be concise and precise on their respective topics, and also provides the attendees the chance to see a wide variety of sessions in a short period of time. The goal of Tech in 20 is to "wet the appetite of faculty and staff" to see the "what ifs" of technology, and hopeful motivate them to seek out more detailed information and seminars provided by ITS. 

Following the Tech in 20 theme, my mini session was entitled, "Better than 20mph- In the Fast Lane with Social Media."  I focused on how social media can be used to make teaching and learning more engaging and authentic.  It also can serve to help faculty connect with other scholars and professionals worldwide to share ideas and research.

There were six important take aways for the audience:

1) Use relevant images and video to document authentic events.
2) Use analytics to track dissemination and distribution.
3) Use social media to tell personal and relevant stories.
4) Use social media to engage faculty and students.
5) Go local when using social media.
6) Go global when using social media.

I highlighted the value of using YouTube, Tweetdeck, and citizen journalism through CNN iReporting. Featuring real world examples combined with effective strategies and methodologies dramatically can show the true reach and dissemination of social media.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Making Learning Authentic Through Social and Rich Media—Reenergizing Your Classroom

photo by K.Rees
At the 14th Annual UW-La Crosse Conference on Teaching and Learning, one of the core topics focused on how we can engage students into the curriculum by making learning more authentic. The premise here is to find how social and rich media can be used as tools to accomplish this engagement, and in the process- reenergize the classroom.

Information technologies and social media are intertwined in the fabric of our daily lives. In teaching students, we look for strategies to keep them engaged in the learning process.  Perhaps we can integrate our technology tools into the teaching and learning process to make learning more authentic and relevant.  In this presentation faculty learned innovative strategies to incorporate social and rich media into virtually any discipline.  This interactive session opened new vistas to reenergize faculty, their students, and the classroom experience.

During the session, CNN iReports were utilized as one tool to immerse faculty into relevant stories, and both faculty and students were encouraged to write photojournalistic stories that could be shared worldwide.  I demonstrated the power of social media and citizen reporting by showcasing political topics, human interest stories, and on the U.S. Drought of 2012.  A CNN series of stories on the drought illustrated the power of personalizing the social media message. The key to the story's success was to focus more than on the drought, but how it affects people and their lives. Another example of iReporting featured a story of how faculty and students at Illinois College wrote their first iReport, and how they learned to "Bring the World into Focus."
As part of the session, a Twitter hashtag #UWLTLC12 was used.  Bob Hoar, a UW-L faculty member was tweeting during the session.  In addition, other attending faculty and staff also tweeted to create a "community of collaboration."  I pointed out that using software like Tweetdeck, allows you to follow multiple topical streams of tweets, but also provides you links to information at a moment's notice. 

Other tools that were discussed included web streaming with Mediasite, utilizing Facebook, and YouTube. The session concluded with reminding the audience that social media can: motivate and engage "the base", accelerate the speed of dissemination, disseminate fact or fiction, affect the attribution of the author, reinforce, influence and change opinion, and most importantly make learning more relevant and authentic.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Creating Engaging Curriculum with Technology

Creating curriculum with appropriate and effective technology can help make lectures more engaging for students.  In Part 2 of a session at UW-Platteville's Technology Academy, faculty learned more about using YouTube, Twitter, CNN iReporting, and PowerPoint to create materials that help re-energize curriculum and lectures. A variety of videos were utilized to explain how a segment can encourage discussion during a class, and to also to acknowledge the technology challenges for faculty, staff, and students.

After explaining the strategies and methods relating to social media and instructional technology, each workshop participant was challenged to create an engaging PowerPoint with supplied still images and video about the drought of 2012.  Faculty members were challenged to use best practices in developing their PowerPoint, which also included a YouTube link.  Attendees were from a wide variety of disciplines including: Agriculture, Math, Biology, English, and Art. At the conclusion of the session, several faculty were asked to present their PowerPoint to the group.

In the end, faculty learned how to select appropriate technology tools, how to utilize social media, and how to create a PowerPoint in a short period of time in regardless of what discipline is being taught. The Technology Academy is a good way to engage faculty, and to present strategies to promote the  "what ifs" of technology use in making teaching and learning relevant, authentic, and engaging.

Technology Academy Brings Faculty Closer to Technology

As part of a two-day institute, faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville are learning strategies and methodologies to effectively integrate technology into their curriculum. My morning session was entitled, "Engaging Faculty and Students with Technology:Making Learning Authentic."  In this segment I showcased how social media can be effectively utilized in engaging both faculty and students in the process of creating original content and stories.  Through the use of CNN iReporting, faculty learned how social media can be "history in real time."

By capturing real life in personalized stories, attendees learned how social media can bring information and messages to a global audience.  We think of social media as moving very quickly.  In reality, it moves quicker than many of us think, or know.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Engaging Learning Through Social Media

In July, during a two-day institute in , funded through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, faculty at Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL learned how social media can be seen as “history in real time.” I spoke to the faculty on how they can use social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and CNN iReports to help to engage students, and to make their curriculum more authentic and relevant.

During one of the sessions, faculty (and student assistants) learned how to create CNN iReports and upload their stories.  Within a hour, one faculty member already uploaded his story. That evening, faculty members were filling reports as late as 2:00am in the morning. The next day, 4 faculty members and one student had their iReports "vetted" by CNN iReport producers in Atlanta.  

In the end, faculty learned first hand how social media can be used to engage students into the teaching and learning process.  You can link to the CNN iReport on this experience by clicking here. 

The workshop was held in an innovative learning space in the library which provided rear screen projection, coupled with an innovative windowed design that doubled as a writing surface.  The motif of the classroom blends the old historical architecture from the campus beginnings in 1828, with the technology of today's "flipped classroom" philosophy.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Social Media, Mediasite, and Politics

The UNLEASH 2012 International Conference was held in Madison, Wisconsin May 7-9th, bringing Mediasite experts and end users  together.  I had the opportunity to present a keynote address entitled, "Social Media, Mediasite, and Politics."  The presentation explained how social media has influenced and reinforced political viewpoints since February of 2011.  Attendees present at the  the conference, and on-line were from throughout the United States, Japan, Netherlands, Australia, and many other countries. The event brings a wide diversity of web streaming experts, technical, and practioners together.

This presentation provided a wide variety of examples of video journalism, social media, and CNN iReporting. The research study was conducted for over a 14 month period and looked into how social media can:

motivate and engage “the Base”
accelerate the speed of dissemination
disseminate fact or fiction
affect attribution of the author
reinforce, influence, or change opinion
make learning more relevant and authentic

During the session, attendees were virtually transported from La Crosse, Wisconsin, to Madison and throughout the globe merely through the mechanism of effective and timely social media. Attendees were challenged to engage themselves in both sides of an issues by checking multiple and conflicting points of view.  With mainstream media and social media, people must work much more diligently to determine what is fact vs. fiction. When "social media is history in real time" you must be fully engaged with the message and how it is communicated to you. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Social Media- "History in Real Time" for Students, Teachers, and You

At the 2012 EDUCAUSE Midwest Regional Conference in Chicago, an Experience IT Session was held to delve into the topic social media and how it can make learning more relevant for faculty and students. In this session, a series of presumptions were tested through a year long research study to see if social media can:

motivate and engage “the Base”
accelerate the speed of dissemination
disseminate fact or fiction
affect attribution of the author
reinforce, influence, or change opinion

In addition, the study looked into strategies and methods to make learning more relevant and engaging. By using social media tools such as Tweetdeck, YouTube, and CNN iReports, attendees learned how to bring real world political events into the classroom for discussion, evaluation, and research. Attendees across the Midwest were given the chance to see real life political events in Wisconsin to better understand the power, advantages, and dangers of social media. In addition. participants learned how to extend the use of social media into other academic disciplines.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tech Boot Camp @ EDUCAUSE Midwest Conference

At the EDUCAUSE Midwest 2012 Conference in Chicago, I participated in an unique segment called Tech Boot Camp. In this 90 minute event, presenters sit at a series of round tables and talk about their technology-related project which covers a broad spectrum on topics. Every 15 minutes or so, the viewers rotate to other tables to learn about a different topic. As the session description states, "In this session, you'll learn from colleagues about emerging tools and their potential applications on campus and in your professional life. Facilitators will be positioned at stations around the room, allowing you to experience one tool or to float between discussions." In the photo, I am collaborating with Beth Kirschner, Application Development Manager from the University of Michigan, on social and rich media. My topic was "Social Media in Real Time"- for Students, Teachers, and You. This was a very good opportunity to confer with colleagues on a more one-on-one basis through more in depth discussion. The full presentation on this topic was given to a wider audience as part of the Experience IT track for the conference.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Social Media and Politics

The 2012 EDUCAUSE West/Southwest Regional Conference was held in Portland. The event was very well organized and planned. The conference theme was "Engaging Everyone Effectively." A good number of sessions focused on the use of social media. In my presentation, "Engagement with Social Media in Politically Charged Times: Making Learning Relevant with Technology" we took a detailed looked how social media is reinforcing, influencing, or change our public perceptions of politics. The main focus was to consider strategies and methodologies to make student learning more relevant and engaging. Through a year long study, we are able to dramatically illustrate how faster social media messaging travels, and how we need to find ways to determine its accuracy and author attribution. The session was webcast on-line via Mediasite and is available for on demand viewing. For more web streamed resources on this topic, feel free to go to a related blog, Social Media and Politics.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Power of Social Media for Campus Initatives

On January 20, 2012 I had the opportunity to present a session on, "The Power of Social Media- and How to Use it Effectively. The session was presented to a planning group at UW-La Crosse who are considering a social media initative to explain key issue of a student referendum to fund a new student center. The session graphically illustrated how social media can affect political issues. This workshop took the social media strategies used in politics and applied them to a project to explain and obtain support for a new student center complex.

Some key decisions and outcomes from the workshop included the following:

1) when using Twitter- decide upon who approves the tweets.
2) consider what Facebook apps are most appropriate for this initative
3) consider using rich media within the social media framework
4) consider using an interactive blog to continue the social conversation
5) promote the work you are doing with social media, in traditional media such as campus newsletters, e-mails, and the local press.

As the 2011 ECAR study states, the overarchiving observation is that, "technology could be used more strategically to engage students in academic life." In this project, we will see if we can accomplish this goal.