UW Bothell Learning Technologies Blog Rotating Header Image


Flipping a Classroom


(Photo credit: http://www.knewton.com/blog/education-infographics/flipped-classroom-infographic)

As the world advances, so too does classroom technology. Of course tied to that are new strategies for teaching alongside technology. Interestingly enough some classes throughout the U.S. have been using a flipped classroom design to better prepare students for the work ahead. What the design entails essentially asks professors to create their lectures via lecture capture (online recordings), students are then supposed to watch the lectures prior to class. Homework would then be done in class the following day(s), as the professor would be able to personally assist students in understanding how the lecture applies to the work being done in class.

The “flipped classroom” design encourages student engagement outside of the classroom, while providing face to face assistance from the teacher with homework or discussion questions. It also allows for an easier transition between homework and lecture for students whereas the current system forces students to learn about a subject, then do the homework at a later time without the help of the person teaching it, thus clearly disrupting a student’s flow of fully understanding the material presented to them. With that said, the lane seems to be widening and with it comes a surplus options of for creating engaging classes.

Learn more here: http://ctl.utexas.edu/teaching/flipping-a-class

New Mentoring Programs For Our Millennials

When it comes to finding the proper mentoring program for a millennial, do you find it difficult finding the correct kind? Thanks to Randy Emelo’s blog, Mentoring In a Millennial World, you can now understand the best way to do so for the millennials in this day and age. Today, there are many millennials who all have the desire to be mentored. As time goes on people’s learning habits and ways comprehension change, in order to receive the best work from these millennials they first have to be provided with the best ways of mentoring first.


(Picture taken by Michael Bee)

In  2012 a consumer insights study from MTV was held, where roughly three-quarters of millennials said they would like to engage in a mentoring relationship. Because there has been a show of interest, it does not mean that the traditional mentoring programs will do the job. According to learning strategist at Xerox Corp., Philip Antonelli, many organizations are missing the mark when it comes to building mentoring programs that will help them learn and develop.

Most millennials have grown up using social networks and mobile devices all in order to crowdsource information and wisdom. This shows they like to use a fairly broad array and because a lot of them have grown up with information that could be easily accessed by their fingertips, they like to learn through collaboration. With this in mind, it is good to know that they will naturally leverage and bring in new ideas to their network.

Sadly, through the 1980’s and 90’s there were many organizations that were missing the mark of building mentoring programs. It was in the early 2000’s where they started to understand what should be done to create successful programs. It was technological advancements that brought about the growing use of websites, e-learning, email and video conferencing. Generation X took certain crowds, baby boomers, and pushed them to experiment with virtual relationships and electronic media communication. Which allowed them to engage in their mentoring relationships virtually and collaborate with their peers in an easier fashion.

Unfortunately, many organizations have actually missed this concept of mentoring and remains foreign to many. The reasoning behind this is all because the ones who are designing the programs. They happen to be the baby boomers and/or the traditionalists. That is why when they are given the task to develop a mentoring program, their thinking is usually limited to mentoring in its own traditional form.

The fact that time stops for no one, means that there will always need to be change. Luckily, we are getting closer and have already started figuring out what exactly those changes are, when it comes to providing strong and successful mentoring program. To find out more about these changes and exactly what they are, you will have to click the link at the top. With time never stopping and more millennials arriving, use the time you have now to learn and make these changes, creating a better tomorrow and a stronger future.

The Problem in Adding New Software to Classroom Learning


(photo from newswise.com)

As a Learning Technologist I’m normally excited when it comes to learning about new technology or software designed to make the learning experience a smoother process. I am positive that not all professors share this sentiment, and who can blame them? It seems year after year teachers are asked to update their knowledge on the technology/software used in class and while this is a necessity in higher education, the process by which it happens isn’t always the smoothest. This in turn ends up affecting the students in a negative as well.

Author of 5 Components Necessary for A Successful School Environment, Lisa Nielsen points to five reasons where the process of learning and teaching new software/technology can fail. Nielsen states “Lack of Vision, Skill deficit, Lack of incentives, Lack of Resources and No Action Plan”(Nielsen 1). Each of these issues adds a level of imbalance to the learning curve. For example having a lack of vision for what the software or technology can be/will be used for leads to confusion on why the software is a necessity to begin with. A professor who is not the most technologically inclined may experience anxiety and pressure to learn or teach new software provided to them. The negatives associated with this are obvious, but are easily combated with skill development workshops and tutorials. The goal of the universities should be to accommodate and provide professors with resources and reasoning necessary when implementing new software or technology in the classroom, otherwise what at first seem helpful will prove otherwise.

managing complex change
(Photo credit Lisa Nielsen)

Why upgrading to SmartBoards could be beneficial to classrooms

Why upgrading to SmartBoards could be beneficial to classrooms

Several schools still use the traditional whiteboard or chalkboard, but they may not be aware of the advantages that they can gain by upgrading to digital boards. Both teachers and students would have easier classroom experiences with the SmartBoard.

Lisa Buyer defines SmartBoards as “a wall mounted white-board that merges the familiar blackboard concept with data retrieval, information sharing and storage attributes of a computer.” With it, teachers are able to move their text around without a hassle, nor restriction to board space, and easily edit or delete their writings on the board. Imagine sitting in class, furiously taking notes of what your instructor is writing on the board, but he is going too fast for you and erasing things that you may have missed. The SmartBoard would help in that case as you could ask the teacher to scroll up to what they have previously written. Teachers will also be able to save their work so that they could send it to students to review after class.









Teachers are also able to project images and typed documents onto the SmartBoard and write on top of them, as shown in the image above. This could make the flow of the class smoother and faster because teachers would not have to drawing and writing everything by hand.

Buyer states that the “Smartboard has helped to develop visual learners, while supporting aural and logical thinkers.” This is an important concept to keep in mind as students in a classroom have different ways of learning. The SmartBoard can share information through visual and aural ways, which accommodates for multiple learning techniques, and ensure that students understand what they are learning, and more importantly, enjoy it.

However, there are also a couple of downsides to having SmartBoards in classrooms. One of them is the high cost of each board. Just one SmartBoard can cost thousand of dollars which could accumulate to an exceedingly large amount for multiple classrooms. Institutions then have to decide which classrooms would need a SmartBoard as it would not be feasible to install one in every room. There would also be a trade-off between spending a large amount of money on these digital boards or on other important costs for the school.

Another downside of having SmartBoards in classrooms is the technical difficulties it could cause. First of all, instructors who have little experience with technology would have to go through some training to be able to use the SmartBoard to teach their class. Even with some training, it is not guaranteed that the SmartBoard will function perfectly without any glitches. When I was in high school, a handful of my teachers would struggle with calibrating the SmartBoard because the projector would get moved around constantly. The lack of maintenance and updating of the software could lead to delays and pauses in lectures as well.






Social Media in the classroom: A Barrier or an Aid to Learning?

social-media-in-education-thumbs-up-or-thumbs-down.jpg (Photo credit to weareteachers.com)


Technology has taken gargantuan steps in becoming the primary focus of our lives today. People cannot often be seen without their phones, tablets or laptops. Of course social media is intertwined within all of these outlets of technology (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.) The questions that begs to be answered is “Is social media a distraction or something beneficial for students in the classroom?” Initially the correct answer would seem to lean towards the side of a distraction, as students often use social media for interaction with other students, family or friends, leaving no room for classroom learning via these tools. Social media has also proved to diminish students’ ability to focus in class when they’re tempted to constantly check their phones or tablets for the latest on these social media websites.

With that said social media is not going away anytime soon and it’s assimilation into the classroom is important especially for the students growing up in the era of social media domination. Author of Pros and Cons of Social Media in the Classroom Karen Lederer brings up excellent examples of how teachers can integrate social media into their lesson plans without engaging the distracting aspect of it. For example Lederer brings up using Facebook or twitter to post something that was discussed in class and why it was pertinent to the lesson as a way to earn participation points. Lederer also discusses using class time to create LinkedIn accounts for students, as a way to prepare them for successful employment in the future. These are merely a couple of examples from a comprehensive list of ideas of how one can integrate social media into classroom learning and I believe we need to take a deeper look into making social media a part of learning curriculum’s, particularly after elementary and middle school.

Lederer, Karen. “Pros and Cons of Social Media in the Classroom.” Pros and Cons of Social Media in the Classroom — Campus Technology. Campus Technology, 01 Jan. 2012. Web. 01 Feb. 2015.