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3 Ways Pokemon Go Can Create Learning Opportunities

Pokemon is taking over college campuses all over the country. If you haven’t heard of Pokemon Go, it’s a modern Pokemon game available for free via Android or IOS app. Users are trainers in a virtual reality attempting to catch all the Pokemon within the user’s reach. How can schools use Pokemon Go as an education experience?

Pokemon Go uses the location and camera to create a virtual reality. Students can screenshot the Pokemon they are about to catch and save the pictures to their camera roll. Later, students can use the pictures for classroom projects to create digital stories.


PokeStops are popular locations that provide users with educational information before collecting Pokemon Balls or Potions. A journal in the app collects all the Pokemon users catch, including date and time. Students can use the date to figure out the average number of events per day or graph the items collected from a PokeStop.

Washington State University is now incorporating Pokemon Go in their campus tours. WSU Tri-Cities will incorporate a portion of their 15 Pokestops. The tour will also includes stops at 2 different Pokemon gyms and extra time to hunt for a Charmander or other characters in the game. Seanna Coleman, lead WSU Tri-Cities student ambassador, shared “We thought this would be a fun way to incorporate an additional digital element in the tour, while allowing prospective students and their families to view our beautiful university campus along the Columbia River”.

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more about WSU’s Poke Tours.

Twitter in Higher ED

Institutions are finding new ways to use social media in the classroom. Twitter helps connect faculty and staff with students on a new level. Millennials use technology on a daily basis. Twitter helps students do what they enjoy while building their education. Students are using technology as a tool to broadcast safety messages across campus and promote collaboration among peers. For example, Kansas State University has a LiveSafe app, which allows students to quickly report crimes from a drop-down menu.

Joshua Kim. the director of digital learning initiatives at the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning, shared that having a successful higher ed use of Twitter is not reflected in the amount of Twitter followers the account has. Kim shared three best practices for getting the most out of Twitter:

* Make sure tweets fit into large conversations and don’t read like a monologue

* Share information your network will find useful: links, data and commentary

* Write in a voice that followers will find authentic and well informed

Kim also shared how helpful hashtags can be. For example, higher ed leaders attending August’s Campus Technology Conference in Boston used #campustech. The conference brings leaders from the fields of higher education and technology together to explore campus administration, and teaching and learning. The hashtag, #campustech, was used to catch all the activity going on. Thus, helping their audience find conference content through a simple search.

If you follow these practices, you will be able to make the most of higher ed while using Twitter. Helpings students, faculty and staff learn.

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Does Reading on Computer Screens Affect Student Learning


Naomi S. Baron is a woman who walked past her campus bookstore and noticed a sign advertising digital-textbook rentals, and started to worry. She is a professor of linguistics at American University and author of Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World. She studies the relationship between technology and language. She believes that students will have a mentality of “I’m studying for a test, and this piece of text is not going to become a part of who I am” when they are reading on a computer or tablet screen. It’s only a matter of convenience and students won’t absorb every word comparatively to a traditional physical text book.

She is not the only professor that is worried about the effects of reading on screens. Other professors such as Michelle Blake, whom is a professor of English at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, noticed her students’ eyes seemed to glide over obvious errors in their papers while reading aloud. She wonders how much of this is an effect of the web and its hindrance of s students’ ability to engage with texts.

A few studies have found that there is little difference between the retention when a student reads on a screen versus in print. However, from the Norway’s University of Stavanger, they did a study that did suggest that high-school students remember less when they read a text digitally. Some evidence exists that when students multitask, their comprehension dips.

What’s even more astonishing is the fact that Ms. Baron had done research that shows that students prefer reading from print (ninety-two percent answered print). From this sample of 429 college students, she believes that her hunch that students have trouble switching into academic-reading mode when the text is on the screen.

For more information on this topic, click here.

Colleges to Drop Traditional Textbooks for Open Educational Resources

The national reform network for community colleges, Achieving the Dream (ATD), has announced that they will be taking the initiative to develop degree programs that will use open educational resources (OER). The OER Degree Initiative makes it so that programs will use openly licensed learning materials as opposed to purchasing expensive textbooks, saving their students thousands of dollars.

Currently, the cost of textbooks averages to about $1,300 for a full-time community college student. For the millions of students, the cost of textbooks alone prevents students from completing their education. The OER Degree Initiative will be implemented to save students money and improve the rate of college completion. According to a press release, “…there are enough open educational materials to replace textbooks in required courses in four two-year programs: business administration, general education, natural or general science, and social science. But only a few colleges are using those resources.”

“Through the OER Degree Initiative, these community colleges are simultaneously addressing two important challenges faced by educators and students: Not only will they provide their faculty the flexibility and academic freedom to align their open educational resources to curriculum objectives, but also, by lowering textbook costs, they will make it far more likely that their students will achieve the goal of attaining a degree,” said Barbara Chow, education program director at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

For this initiative, ATD will be in charge of assisting colleges in making the OER degree an important factor in their student’s efforts for success. Upon the initial implementation, the OER courses will be available on an online platform.

The OER Degree Initiative is backed by grants from foundations totaling $9.8 million. Participating colleges and systems were selected through a competitive grant process “based on their ability and capacity to implement OER degree programs, offer the full complement of degree courses quickly, or quickly scale the number of selections offered,” according to a news release.

For more information, please visit the article here or the Achieving the Dream site

‘Stackable” Degrees as entries to Graduate Programs

As the rates for graduate education increase and students are demanding for cheaper alternatives, some universities and colleges are experimenting with “stackable degrees.” The idea behind it is allowing students to start with a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), followed by a few more MOOCs to get an online certificate, followed by more courses to get a traditional master’s degree.


The University of Illinois announced this type of degree recently. Starting in the Fall, students can enroll in an online master’s program in data science (which is closely collaborated with Coursera). The cost of the full master’s program is astronomically less than the price of an on-campus master’s program, costing only $19,200.

Because of the demand for students to get in STEM degrees and a university’s very little space, they will try to create these programs in order to accommodate more students, while saving them money.

The University of Illinois is not the only university that is experimenting. Massachusetts Institute of Technology also announced a similar program called “micro-master’s degree.”

This style of degree will help students also test out whether or not they want to go with just getting a certificate or go for the full master’s degree. This will align much better with their career goals.

For more information, visit the article here.