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This blog was created to:
•• UPDATE interested parties on the latest developments and recent events here at the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology
•• DEMONSTRATE a blog and its possible uses for teaching and learning outcomes
•• INFORM BGSU faculty and teaching GAs of the most current workshop offerings, learning community activities & emerging pedagogies

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    As MasterCard(R) puts it so well, some things money just can't buy -- or shouldn't have to! When it comes to educational tools, we're just beginning to see companies, groups, organizations and individuals offer valuable resources at no financial cost. Call it open source, Web 2.0 or just plain old altruism, hopefully the "generosity" will continue bringing valuable tools to those that can put it to incredible educational use.

    Here are some wonderful FREE tools for teachers to use in pursuit of educational excellence (NOTE: all are cross-platform... Mac/PC... unless otherwise stated):

    Rubistar - Search for, create your own rubrics and save them online or download a copy
    PBL Checklists - Problem Based Learning checklists that can be used for many types of projects, but especially suited for PBL
    Zoomerang - One of many "free or fee" online survey creation and deployment tools; up to 100 responses and data stored for 10 days -- results can be copied/pasted into Word or Excel

    Picassa (WinXP only) - Similar to Apple's iPhoto, it's a wonderful tool to sort, touch-up and manage digital images
    Google Earth (now for both PC & Mac) - "Google Map on steroids"... Wonderful images from satellite pictures; often used on TV news stations
    Cmap Tools - Concept Mapping - on your own computer or via vast shared Cmap network
    Flickr - Create an image storage site or digital story on a given topic

    Audacity - Sound recording and editing
    PodOmatic - Online podcast creation or uploading and management/RSS
    Vodcaster - For publishing/RSS audio and video podcasts

    Please let us know if there are some we missed -- we'll continue to add to this post...

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    Stanford (First and most comprehensive)


    Case Western (new & growing soon)

    Radford (coming soon)

    More to come in the fall... supposedly a LOT more!

    It will be interesting to see how each university chooses to use and promote the use of their podcast portal site. As some of our other posts suggest, there are numerous uses of podcasting beyond a recorded lecture. It will be fun to watch the evolution of this process as it grows and teachers (many at student request) begin to value and use podcasts requiring higher levels of student engagement.

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    The Library of Congress Webcast Resources site
    is a wonderful resource for educators at any level that would like to add video resources to enhance a lesson or as an extension activity for students in many areas, including:

    Biography, History
    Culture, Performing Arts
    Poetry, Literature
    Science, Technology

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  • 05/09/06--06:38: Digital History Resources
  • Yet another website on U.S. history, but what a gold mine it is! Digital History is supported by the Department of History and the College of Education at the University of Houston as well as several other partners. The main selections include:

    Online textbook (American History)
    Primary Sources (documents) - searchable
    Ethnic Voices
    For Teachers (resources/lessons)
    Active Learning
    Interactive Timeline
    Visual History
    Virtual Exhibitions
    Special Topics
    History Reference Room

    From their "Credits" page:

    This Web site was designed and developed to support the teaching of American History in K-12 schools and colleges and is supported by the Department of History and the College of Education at the University of Houston.

    The materials on this Web site include a U.S. history textbook; over 400 annotated documents from the Gilder Lehrman Collection on deposit at the Pierpont Morgan Library, supplemented by primary sources on slavery, Mexican American, Asian American, and Native American history, and U.S. political, social, and legal history; succinct essays on the history of film, ethnicity, private life, and technology; multimedia exhibitions; and reference resources that include a database of annotated links, classroom handouts, chronologies, glossaries, an audio archive including speeches and book talks by historians, and a visual archive with hundreds of historical maps and images. The site's Ask the HyperHistorian feature allows users to pose questions to professional historians.

    Our website offers a variety of ways for students and teachers to actually do history. We have created 72 inquiry-based interactive modules that we call eXplorations. These modules provide extensive primary sources on such topics as Mexican, Tejano, and Texian perspectives on the battle of the Alamo; Franklin D. Roosevelt's decision to relocate Japanese Americans during World War II and the Lyndon B. Johnson's decision to escalate American involvement in the Vietnam War in 1964 and 1965; and children's perspectives on slavery, westward migration, and World War II.

    We also allow students and teachers to create multimedia American history exhibitions. These exhibitions can include historical images from our extensive database, which currently contains over 600 photographs, art works, and digitized letters. Users can easily incorporate their own text in their exhibitions. These presentations can be e-mailed, downloaded, or saved on our servers.

    Digital History offers many other ways to engage students in the study of history, from fact checks (multiple choice quizzes on every era of American history), to 19th century high school entrance examinations, a time machine, an interactive timeline that links to primary source documents, and a flash overview of American history.

    For teachers, we have created 24 learning modules, each of which includes a succinct historical overview; recommended documents, films, and historic images; and teaching resources including lesson plans,fact checks, and activities.

    The site also contains resource guides for 44 historical eras and topics. Each includes a historical overview, links to the relevant Digital History textbook chapters, bibliographies, classroom handouts, charts, chronologies, film guides,
    historic newspaper articles, primary source documents, lesson plans, historic maps, music, cartoons, quizzes, and images.

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  • 05/09/06--12:33: AudioBlogger Test Post
  • How cool is this -- no more typing needed (other than this part & the title)!

    this is an audio post - click to play

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    "Filter a website and you protect a student for a day. Educate
    students about online safety in a real world environment and you protect your child for a lifetime."

    ~Christopher Harris
    His Blog

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  • 05/17/06--07:57: Challenge to Educators
  • In the BG News Opinion article by Ryan Johnson, educators are prompted (no pun intended) to "drop memorization from tests."

    "From the mouths of babes..."

    This just shows the value of listening to students... especially those who are craving challenge to better prepare them for their future, rather than for our past.


    Pop quiz. What's the capital of Bolivia?

    While waiting for tardy clubs to show up to an orientation for Spring Fling last week, my roommate wondered aloud the same question.

    He was sure I would know the answer. I spent a semester in Bolivia's neighbor, Chile, and my concentration in my international studies major is Latin America.

    I didn't know it off the top of my head. Thirty years ago, I would have seemed unprepared and unknowledgeable. A fraud for saying I know about South America.

    Instead, I took out my Blackberry, went on Google, and came back with the answer 20 seconds later. (It's a trick question. Bolivia has two capitals, La Paz and Sucre.)

    It's a different world now. Memorization is a thing of the past. We have companies like Google, whose self-proclaimed mission is to "organize all of the world's information."

    Our heads can't compete. Even the best geographer in the world is no match for the CIA World Factbook online. Wikipedia now has more than 1 million articles. Bloglines indexes over 1 billion blog entries.

    No longer is it useful to be able to rattle off all 50 states in 30 seconds, except for maybe at parties. An 8-year-old who spends a week memorizing the Gettysburg address is probably less than 25 feet from the nearest computer when he recites it, if he doesn't already have a Sony PSP in his pocket. And I'd like to see ESPN's The Schwab, their trivia expert, compete against my mother - who knows little about sports - with the Elias Sports Bureau in front of her.

    What does this mean for the professors who still think rote memorization is useful? The ones who make their tests so that students have to camp out in the library with flash cards?

    It means they're wasting students' time. What they should be doing is focusing on what is going to be really important this century: Synthesizing and analyzing information. We're in an open-book world, and what's important now is how ideas and facts connect to each other.

    This shouldn't be seen as letting students get away with not learning what they used to have to memorize. Instead, it means professors should list it, teach students how to find it and then move on.

    Classes would actually get more advanced. "What's the capital of Bolivia?" would become "How has having two capitals influenced Bolivia's political development?"

    This doesn't mean the end of all tests. Absolutely not. Tests will always be a staple of college life and an essential one at that. Tests let professors hold students accountable and serve the valuable purpose of distinguishing which students are best at the subject.

    Instead, it means more open-book tests and take-home tests. Why not let students take tests with the Internet in front of them? When we get into the job market, how often will we have assignments when we can't use all available resources? When we produce reports, clients aren't going to care if they came from memory or from an online procedures manual.

    Granted, this doesn't mean that everything should be done at home or with open books. One of my professors had everyone take a quiz before each class about the chapters we were supposed to read. Most of the questions were simply facts from the chapter, just to make sure that we read it. He would then use our knowledge about the chapter to have a more advanced class discussion.

    Similarly, courses in subjects such as math and engineering may have some use for memorization. But why shouldn't an English class allow you to use writer's handbooks during in-class essays?

    In 20 years, there will be much more on the Internet - including every book ever written, every speech that was written down and every newspaper article. We will also have advanced handheld computers more powerful than supercomputers today.

    Shouldn't our education reflect that whenever we need information on anything, it's right there?

    Professors, please try to make your tests reflect our reality.

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    From Charles Cooper at CNET News comes some commentary regarding a ruling by California Appeals Court on the Apple vs. independent web publishers.

    Here are some highlights:

    The emergence of technology that allowed personal publishing on the Internet also triggered a tiring debate over who should be considered a journalist.

    Apple claimed the public has no right to know a company's trade secrets. But the appellate court said any claim of legal protection for commercial secrets was trumped by the greater good served by the free and open disclosure of ideas and information.

    "As recent history illustrates, business entities may adopt secret practices that threaten not only their own survival and the investments of their shareholders but the welfare of a whole industry, sector or community. Labeling such matters 'confidential' and 'proprietary' cannot drain them of compelling public interest," the court said.

    Will this be the beginning of a new reality developing... bloggers and web creators considered journalists (at least in some ways)... what about bloggers as academic researchers?

    How far will it go or should it go? How will our ideas on this change (or continue to change)?

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  • 06/05/06--10:56: Podcasting in the Classroom
  • With all the latest information on podcasting, it can be difficult to find places to begin to learn more, let alone just the basics. Here are a few resources that may help you get started learning more about educational podcasting and it's applications:

    • A quick reference article, "7 Things You Should Know About Podcasting." This article is a good introduction to podcasting in education.

    • An EDUCAUSE Review Article, "There's Something in the Air: Podcasting in Education."

    • For a list of sources about podcasting, EDUCAUSE's Resource Center on Podcasting is a great "one-stop-shop".

    • Duke University Libraries has an excellent collection of URLs. From this Web page you can link to public radio and government podcasts and podcast directories. Check out the "Universities and Tutorial." Under the Universities section you can visit podcasting sites for Duke, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and Purdue -- these universities have led the podcasting in higher education charge. In the Tutorial section is a single link to the University of Wisconsin - Madison, with information on podcasting: what it is, how to use it in teaching and learning, samples, and how to create and deliver podcasts.

    • Below is a matrix of educational uses for podcasting. It shows specific types of podcasts that can be created by either students or teachers (or a combination), relating these to both time and student engagement considerations.

    • Additional resources can be found at our Podcast Resource page on our CTLT site.

    For more information about the Center's workshops on podcasting and digital audio recording, visit our workshop page. Currently we're offering the following sessions for summer:

    Create Audio Files

    June 13, June 21, June 29 at 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
    July 12, July 18, July 27 at 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

    Learn about Podcasting
    June 13, June 21, June 29 at 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
    July 12, July 18, July 27 at 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

    To register for one of these sessions, you can email us at or go to our registration page to do so.

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    Question: Do your students read or ignore the picture captions and margin comments when they are assigned sections/chapters of the text?

    Before we get to the tip, here are some stats to ponder and keep in mind as you plan for next semester's courses...

    From the Kaiser Foundation:

      " spend about six hours and 21 minutes per day on non-school media use, which equals about 44 hours per week."

    The Pew Internet and American Life Project reports that:
    "Three-quarters (74%) of college students use the Internet four or more hours per week, while about one-fifth (19%) uses it 12 or more hours per week. This is somewhat higher than the amount of time most students devote to studying: Nearly two-thirds (62%) reported studying for classes no more than 7 hours per week, while only 14% reported studying 12 or more hours per week."

    According to Grunwald Associates 2003 report entitled: "Connected to the future: A report on children’s Internet use from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting":
      • Sixty-five percent of US children now use the Internet, representing a 59% growth rate from 2000. Preschool children are one of the fastest growing groups to be online with 35 percent in 2002 compared with 6 percent in 2000.

      • Eighty-seven percent of Caucasian and 98 percent of high income families own computers, whereas the rate of computer ownership among African – American families is 71 percent and among low income families it is 65 percent.

      • Online children between 6 and 17 reported using the Internet 5.9 hours per week in 2002 compared with 3.1 hours per week in 2000. The older the child, the more time spent online. For example, teenagers claim they spend an average of 8.4 hours per week online, 9-12 year olds report 4.4 hours, and 6-8 year olds report 2.7 hours per week.

    And these surveys were from 2002 or earlier!

    A thought...

    When spending many hours doing one thing in particular (accessing/using the internet), one tends to get used to the format, norms, customs, layout and design of said activity. In essence, the "NetGen" (or internet generation) has been essentially trained to ignore the margins, small banners and peripheral text since on many webpages those represent advertising or information perceived to be unimportant.

    Remind students that web page structure and layouts are often the opposite that of textbooks -- the diagrams, pictures, margin notes and peripheral text often add greatly to the overall understanding of the concept(s) being discussed in the main copy.

    An excellent way to demonstrate this to them in a concrete fashion is to have students "read a page" in class and take a short quiz on it (for credit or not), focusing your question on the caption, picture/diagram or sidebar text only. (Note: be sure to find a page where the main copy doesn't relate exactly to the diagram/picture and caption shown... let them see that the two provide different types of information and can lead to different levels of understanding).

    Enjoy their responses...

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    ScrapBlog is an online application that allows you to create an online digital scrapbook that can be shared through RSS updates or emailed to anyone. Like "traditional blogs", it also allows for comments to be made.

    Here are some other examples:
    Island Life
    3D graphics
    Puerto Vallarta
    Family Scrapbook

    Just a note... it seems as if it would be best to name your ScrapBlog carefully, perhaps by your name and then subject (like JonesArizonaLandscapes or SmithPortfolio) in order to keep all of them organized rather than in one large mass of pages. Also, the registration states: "Your free membership is limited to creating 1 Scrapblog and to uploading a maximum of 20MB of photos each month."

    Although most examples shown on the site look like traditional scrapbooks (personal photos of friends and family), this could be easily integrated into any classroom lesson that utilizes photo identification, portfolio or gallery of work, or even just to record techniques for a specific skill or process. Here are just a few examples:

    • slideshow of insects of a certain classification (with taxonomy listed or not)
    • slideshow of a recent trip to ___ (students view pictures with descriptions given or spoken)
    • student portfolios of the semester/years art projects (with or without commentary)
    • slideshow showing the detailed steps of how to ____ (fill in with a necessary skill that could be viewed online to help students, NOT something that they would have to watch WHILE doing the task -- something for review)
    • portfolio with reflection on a subject or course (other students use comment feature to give feedback)
    • weekly photos and reflections on given topic that can be RSS-ed (automatically updated) and viewed by the teacher and other students

    What else could it be used for?

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  • 06/20/06--04:46: Summer Workshops
  • Below is a listing of technology tools workshops that the Center will be offering this summer. Contact the Center at 419.372.6898 or email to register for the workshops.

    Create Audio Files
    June 13, June 21, June 29 at 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. (9:30 - 10:15 a.m. Audacity; 10:45 - 11:30 a.m. Garage Band)
    July 12, July 18, July 27 at 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

    Learn about Podcasting
    June 13, June 21, June 29 at 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
    July 12, July 18, July 27 at 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

    Start with iMovie HD
    July 5 at 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

    Advance to Final Cut Pro
    July 5 at 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

    Start with iDVD
    July 13 at 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

    Master DVD Authoring
    July 13 at 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

    Enhance Video with Photoshop
    July 6 at 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

    Learn Livetype Techniques
    July 6 at 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

    "SNAP Survey Software"
    These workshops are currently full. Please contact the center,, if you would like these workshops offered at a future date.

    For the clickable descriptions, visit our workshop page.

    And, as always,

    Any of the following "tools" workshops may be scheduled if four or five individuals would like to complete them. Please check with your colleagues and contact the Center at 419.372.6898 or at to schedule these workshops.
    Introduction to Podcasting
    Advanced Podcasting
    Film and Slide Scanning
    Digital Photography Basics
    Digital Photography Advanced
    Digital Photo Manipulation
    Introduction to PDF
    Creating Fill-in Forms with Acrobat
    Text Scanning & Omnipage
    Creating Video with Imovie
    Developing DVD's with iDVD
    iPhoto and Picassa - Photo Libraries
    Faculty Gadgets and Gizmos
    Using RSS
    iTunes Basics
    Data Storage and Backup
    Video Camera Basics

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    (This was originally published in the Center's weekly Teaching Tips, Spring 2006. View other tips at our Teaching Tips Archives)

    As educators, a fundamental role that we must take on is that of learner. We must constantly strive to learn what works best for our students, what doesn't and where to learn more because, as you know, all aspects of teaching and learning are constantly changing - the tools, the students, the knowledge base or content, and even ourselves. Accomplishing this goal of perpetual improvement toward effective teaching requires the consideration of a different set of "3 Rs" - risk, reflection and renewal.


    David Kreiner’s essay, “Taking Risks as a Teacher” describes a variety of risks one can take as an educator, including: not lecturing, trusting students, being funny, class activities, using technology, and not having fun. For some, these may not seem like risks, but for anyone not used to doing it or not “a natural” at it, they can be great risks.

    In addition to the list provided by Kreiner, perhaps one more risk can be added: “The Risk of Opening our Classroom.” Whether done in an informal manner (i.e., peer coaching, mentorship) or something more formal like a planned peer observation session, a great deal can be learned if coupled with introspective thinking and reflection.

    For those of you who may be wary of another person observing your teaching or syllabus, consider this: Larry Keig and Michael D. Waggoner comment that
    “having classes observed and materials assessed by colleagues for the purpose of instructional improvement no more should be considered a threat to academic freedom than would having colleagues critique a proposed manuscript for publication.”

    Characteristics of an Effective Observer
    Below is a list of characteristics provided by department faculty members at UNC-Chapel Hill who were asked to describe the qualities of an effective observer.
    “These characteristics consistently appear in the literature on peer observation, and successful programs emphasize the necessity of keeping them constantly in mind when visiting classes. The basic task of a peer observer is to ascertain if the method being used seems to be effective, not whether it conforms to notions of teaching derived solely from personal experience. There are many ways to be effective.”

    1. Has sensitivity; empathizes with the person being observed
    2. Sees improvement as the primary objective of the evaluation process
    3. Is an experienced teacher
    4. Is a good listener
    5. Gives specific, constructive feedback and advice
    6. Has integrity; takes the process seriously; prepares for the observations
    7. Sees different styles of teaching as valid and acceptable
    8. Is not doctrinaire about teaching methods

    It’s interesting to note that extensive discipline-specific content knowledge is not mentioned. Depending on the type of feedback one may want, this could be a critical characteristic, but it’s not necessarily essential when identifying and suggesting effective teaching strategies.


    In addition to the importance of allowing our students time to reflect on their learning, it's just as important that we take time to reflect on our learning and teaching. Moreover, finding methods to determine or assess your effectiveness is essential to accurately guide your decision-making toward increased student learning. Below are two links that describe ways to be a more reflective teacher and take steps to improve student learning based those reflections. As Tice mentions, it is a cyclical process toward continued improvement.

    The Getting of Wisdom: What Critically Reflective Teaching is and Why It's Important By Stephen Brookfield (From the book: Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher)
    This is the first chapter of Brookfield's book, providing an overview and basis for critical reflection as a teacher. It's fairly long, but will offer some good starting points as well as let you decide if the other chapters deserve review.

    Reflective Teaching: Exploring Our Own Classroom Practice by Julie Tice, Teacher, Trainer, Writer, British Council Lisbon

    - Think, talk, read, act
    - Reflective teaching is a cyclical process, because once you start to implement changes, then the reflective and evaluative cycle begins again.
    - Questions to ask:
    • What are you doing?
    • Why are you doing it?
    • How effective is it?
    • How are the students responding?
    • How can you do it better?


    As we move further into spring, the season of re-growth and renewal, take some time to reflect back on your semester or year to consider what types of changes you’d like to implement for next year and beyond. Do you want to try a new teaching strategy? What about developing a research plan centered on your teaching effectiveness? Are there others in your department who want to meet regularly to talk about teaching strategies, effectiveness and student engagement? Do you want to start a teaching portfolio for reflection? Is it time to make the time to focus more on your teaching? Any of these changes allow opportunities for you to become renewed, invigorated and rejuvenated as you enter the summer or fall semesters.

    Here are some other ideas for ways to renew yourself as an educator:

    Ten Ideas to Encourage Renewal
    (Courtesy of Lee I. McCann and Baron, professors in the Department of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh)
    1. Collaborate – team teach a course or design a research project
    2. Experience life as a student – enroll in a course
    3. Enhance your office – invest in a new chair, put new artwork on the walls, or turn your desk a new direction
    4. Get more involved in your community – campus or otherwise
    5. Take time to reflect – attend a teaching conference, read teaching journals or books, or keep a teaching journal
    6. Try a new approach – include something fun for you and your students in each class period, change your assignments, or change your mode of delivery
    7. Create a network of people with similar teaching or research interests, or with whom you enjoy spending time
    8. Get to know new faculty – in and outside your department
    9. Invite guest lecturers to your class, or volunteer to do the same for a colleague
    10. Temporarily exchange positions with someone on another campus

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    As you evaluate and revise your syllabi for the fall, something to consider might be 'virtual office hours' using different tech tools available to most students and faculty.

    One example is from Alex Halavais, now an Assistant Professor of Interactive Communication at Quinnipiac University (formerly of SUNY-Buffalo). Here are his 'virtual office hours' for the Spring 2006 semester:

    I am keeping virtual office hours Spring semester.
    • Via Skype (halavais): Thursdays, from 1pm to 2pm EST.
    • UBLearns chat for COM497: Thursdays, from 2pm to 4pm EST.
    • You can often reach me via AIM (DrHalavais), or Skype, Google, etc. (halavais). Happy to set up an appointment to chat via IM or phone.

    One other option is SightSpeed that allows for video or voice PC to PC 'calls' as well as video messages and blog videos (up to 30 sec.)... all for free. You'll need your own camera &/or microphone to make it all work, but it's a nice option for those 'F2F' (face to face) connections from afar. This works on both Macs and Windows machines.

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    The PEBBLES Project (Providing Education By Bringing Learning Environments to Students) allows students requiring long-term hospital care to continue to engage in classroom learning. This article in eSchoolNews online explains:

    The robot in the classroom, which displays a live picture of Achim, provides what its inventors call "telepresence": It gives the boy an actual presence in the classroom, recognized by teachers and classmates. It can move from class to class on its four-wheeled base, and it could even stop at the lockers for a between-periods chat.
    "The robot literally is embraced by students in the classroom as though [it] is the medically fragile student," said Andrew Summa, national director of the robot project, which is in use at six other hospitals around the country. Achim's teacher, Bob Langerfield, said his other students have become used to the robot and were treating it as if it were Achim after just a few days.

    Although this project is focused currently on K-12 students, it shouldn't be long until there is a push at the post secondary level. How would the presence of "virtual students" affect your course goals & objectives, if at all?

    For another perspective on virtual learning, Can e-learning replace classroom learning? (2004), Zhang, Zhao, Zhou and Nunamaker suggest the following regarding e-learning specifically:
    Nevertheless, we believe that e-learning is a promising alternative to traditional classroom learning, which is especially beneficial to remote and lifelong learning and training. In many cases, e-learning can significantly complement classroom learning. E-learning will keep growing as an indispensable part of academic and professional education. We should continue to explore how to create more appealing and effective online learning environments. One way to do this is to integrate appropriate pedagogical methods, to enhance system interactivity and personalization, and to better engage learners.

    As research in the myriad of other educational technologies continues to grow, we'll need to pay very close attention to the benefits and costs for both students and teachers.

    Those that are concerned about emerging technologies such as the internet, course management systems (Blackboard, etc.), podcasting/ videocasting and gaming changing the way learning takes place, hold on for the ride... technologies will continue to offer previously unimaginable options and alternatives to both students and teachers (and researchers), but the facilitation of learning will remain both an art and a science. Pedagogy should be the focus no matter what technologies are used, from chalk to PEBBLES.

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    The Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology welcomes BGSU faculty and graduate students to explore our learning community opportunities for the 2006-2007 academic year.

    Here is our current offering as of July 4th (click on each to see a description &/or download the application):

    Developing a Professional Identity through Mentoring and Eportfolios

    Grant Writing

    Initiatives for the Future (IF) at Firelands

    New Faculty


    Reflective Teaching

    Research in Science and Mathematics Education

    Research and Teaching

    Transition to Digital

    Check back by the end of July for our full offering of learning communities for the upcoming year. If you have any questions, please contact the Center at

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    The Ohio Learning Network's TeachU Online Seminars are

    "a series of free, hour-long interactive Web presentations on uses of emerging technologies and pedagogies within the contexts of teaching, assessment, and student success. Each seminar is delivered live using online audio and video/image presentation technology, allowing you to interact with the presenter(s) and your colleagues through your web browser.

    With seminar-specific variations, the facilitator and presenter will discuss the topic and respond to questions submitted by seminar participants in an online meeting room. Generally, the guest will do an initial presentation, using PowerPoint slides, Web tours, or other online resources, and then engage in dialogue with the facilitator and online participants.

    These seminars were created to provide Ohio's educators with accessible, timely, and outstanding learning opportunities at no cost. They have been designed to showcase excellence and existing expertise within Ohio's institutions, while providing practical approaches so participants can implement what they learn. All facilitators are sharing their expertise and resources within the TeachU online Seminar Series to benefit all."

    Although there are no offerings this summer, suggestions are being considered for the fall semester. A current listing of the past sessions are available in the Archives area. Past, recorded sessions include:

    Games, Multi-Player Environments, Immersive Reality: Virtual Worlds & Avatars: What Do They Mean for Learning?

    Competency Expectations: E-Portfolios Lead Us Where We Need To Be

    Student Success Skills Integration

    Chunking Learning: The Why and How of Successful Modularization


    Using Concept Mapping and Problem-Based Learning to Encourage Meaningful Learning

    Ohio OSPILOT Update (with an emphasis on e-portfolios)

    If you've never tried an online interactive webinar, the TeachU sessions provide a great starting point to experience the medium first hand. After creating a free account with Learning Times, you will be able to easily access the online gathering through a link provided to you upon registering. The application used for the webinars is called Elluminate.

    More details on the TeachU technical requirements and steps can be viewed here.

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    In this age of globalization and rapid change where budget and time constraints consistently affect decision-making, professionals in business, government and education are using virtual meeting spaces at an ever-increasing rate. Although not new to the business world in particular, this technology has advanced to a point where it is an viable alternative to face-to-face (F2F) meetings thanks to burgeoning broadband connections and infrastructures.

    Some teaching and learning professional development sites, such as the Ohio Learning Network and Learning Times are currently using virtual spaces to deliver services to members and interested parties, thus extending their reach.

    While the Blackboard course management system offers similar features such as Chat and Virtual Classroom, these embedded tools haven't been as predictable with continuity and speed. Blackboard also doesn't easily allow for guests outside of the university to enter and participate in the virtual classroom event.

    Here are some options for web-based virtual meeting spaces &/or webinars, most fairly expensive (but like every other technology, will soon be plummeting):

    Elluminate - Used by OLN for their TeachU series of online web seminars.

    Adobe Breeze - Used by Innovate Online Journal for their webinars. An example of a recorded webinar session is this one: "Uses and Potentials of Wikis in the Classroom"

    Microsoft Live Meeting


    Now for free alternatives: (no... Google does NOT offer a video conferencing option as of today... but it may not be long until Talk does more than instant message!)

    Another virtual meeting alternative comes with new Apple computers in iChat or iChatAV. With a built-in camera on all new Apple's, you can video conference realtime with up to 4 locations/people. Here is a link to how it looks and other educational uses for such a product. For those with a slightly older Mac, an iSight camera can be purchased and used along with OS 10.4 (Tiger) to accomplish the same type of communications.

    Windows users will soon have an apparently non-video/image based collaboration venue in their upcoming Vista OS. Currently there are 3rd party alternatives available for Windows users wanting video conferencing, such as AOL - AIM and Skype.

    One other free, downloadable option for voice or video chats (and short video messages) is SightSpeed. This is discussed in a previous posting on virtual office hours. This is a free Mac and Windows OS alternative.

    And a parting thought... It shouldn't be long before we are able to stay home or in our offices and do all our communicating via an internet connection! ;-) "To connect or disconnect?", that is the question!

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    Spoken news briefs, written news briefs, time, weather, box scores, stock quotes, logos and more (oh my)!

    How much information can we absorb or consume in one TV sitting? Are our students better at this? Is it something we'll all improve upon with time? Are we going down a "slippery slope"? How much is too much? How effective are we at multitasking?

    And the "good news" is that bigger & better screens are on their way into our homes and classrooms!


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    The National Science Teacher's Association's (NSTA's) Journal of College Science Teaching, Vol. 35 No. 6, p. 18-22 (May/June 2006) features Blogs - by Erica Brownstein and Robert Klein

    It provides definitions, examples and diagrams of blogging for educational purposes as well as rules for an effective blog in a science classroom and grading options.

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