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Simplicity for International Teaching

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Comprehending a new language can be difficult, but luckily there is a tool that can help anyone pick it up.

The University of Washington Bothell has been building a large and diverse campus over the years and provides hundreds of types of courses to its students. English language classes are even offered to international students as well. But how are these classes being taught? Is there a more effective way?

The answer is yes! And the Voki app is the right tool to use for these situations. Voki allows the teachers and students to make avatars that can be used to help them with their education. Students are able to design their own Avatars to speak the language they are currently trying to learn. A set of instructions can also be provided to help students understand the meaning of the words and guidance on how they are pronounced. That is only the beginning of what Voki is capable of.

Voki is a great program and has multiple purposes, speaking another language is just one of them. The best thing about Voki is that it is great to use in front of a large class, when one on one with a student, or even by one’s self when alone studying. It is definitely a strong tool and can be used to help students everywhere comprehend things in a different and technical way.

To find out more about what Voki can do and how it can be used, click the link at the top of the page and find out something new and amazing you could have missed.

Class-Sourcing

In an article on Stanford’s Center for Teaching and Learning website Gleb Tsipursky examines the benefits of teaching using a new set of tools in our digital age, namely those that are available through the great invention of the internet. Today students are able to take advantage of website creation and artifact archiving to demonstrate the new information they have gained through their classroom experience. Tsipursky calls this phenomenon Class-Sourcing.

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Class-Sourcing is the integration of technology into the classroom through the use of website creation, artifact archival, blog writing, video creation, podcast creation, or any other media related design used to express ideas, research, or content they have gained from the class. Class-Sourcing takes advantage of group activities to help promote team building and prompts students to get creative in their expression of information.

Class-Sourcing has many benefits to the students who take advantage of it. They gain skills in digital literacy, data management, digital design, digital communication, collaboration, and public presentation to name a few. Each of these skills proves useful not only in the classroom but outside of it as well. Our age is becoming increasingly tech-oriented and employers are seeking tech-savvy individuals to fill the limited positions available. Students are able to create content they enjoy whilst learning the ins and outs of website creation which will benefit them for years to come.

Here at the University of Washington we have already integrated Class-Sourcing into our classrooms. Through the use of Canvas, Catalyst, Google Sites and much more professors are now able to offer their students an alternative to classic pen and paper school work. Students are able to create their own personal media content that they can upload directly to their teachers. Many professors have abandoned the use of physical papers and have adapted wholly to the online resources available to them. Students can archive all of their work from their college years onto their own personalized website that they can reference for years to come. This proves useful for students who graduate from this University, leaving with a portfolio full of experience to show to potential employers.

 

For more information on Class-Sourcing and its benefits visit the link above.

Why We are Looking at the ‘Value’ of College All Wrong

It’s no secret that higher education is expensive. It’s also no secret that higher education is important. It’s drilled into the heads of children from the time they enter the public school system that their main goal should be to attend a college or university. But as the economy continues to struggle, many people speculate as to the value of their investment in higher education when they graduate deep into debt and are unable to find a job. They paid a great deal of money in order to make a great deal of money, but for some their investment never returns.

Never in history has knowledge been so accessible. We are never more than thirty seconds away from an abundance of information since new digital technologies have transformed society for young generations. Some can speculate as to the point of spending thousands of dollars to sit in a classroom and learn something they could easily learn from their couch on their phone. Why should they go into debt over this? St. John’s College President Christopher Nelson has the answer to this question in his article on the Washington Post Blog.

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The answer is simple: Universities should not be promoting the transfer of information, but rather the maturation of the student attending. That is the true point of attending a university. Anyone can learn anything, but the ability to apply that learning and use it independently is what you take away from your four—or five or six—years in college. This theory comes from St. John’s College President Christopher B. Nelson.

Nelson believes that by removing the economic lens from our outlook on a college education we can see the true ‘value’ of our investment. We can better ourselves and our ability to interpret and gather information through attending college, through working with caring teachers, through participating in extracurricular activities, through applying our knowledge in an internship, through working on long-term projects. College has so many more benefits than monetary ones, and as a society we should start acknowledging them.

For more information on this subject visit the link above.

Andreas Brockhaus, Joe Shelley and Ian Porter Awarded Worthington Innovation Fellows Award

Learning Technologies is pleased to announce that Andreas Brockhaus (Director of Learning Technologies), Joe Shelley (Director of IT Planning & Admin) and Ian Porter (UWBLT Learning Technologist) have been awarded the Worthington Innovation Fellows Award for their project proposal titled Untethered Teaching: A Pilot Project for Teaching With Mobile Computing Devices. Great work, everyone!

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Left to right: Andreas Brockhaus, Ian Porter, & Joe Shelley

Untethered Teaching will be a year-long project that will examine the use of mobile devices in the classroom while determining best practices, challenges, implementation strategies, future steps, and overall value of the technology. The research team will work in collaboration with trained faculty to implement mobile devices into their curricula, then collect data via personal interviews and pre- and post-surveys. The final result will be a cost-benefit analysis, which will determine if implementing the technology formally and on a broader scale will be worth the costs and resources required.

This project, along with six others, are the first to ever receive this award. Established in February 2013, the Worthington Innovation Fellows Award provides funding and support to group or individual projects that “support the use of technology to enhance innovation across the campus”. The final findings from all projects will be presented at an on-campus public forum, such as the Chancellor’s Innovation Forum and the Teaching and Learning Symposium.

We look forward to the project’s findings in the coming year. Congratulations again to Andreas, Joe and Ian!

Click here for more information about the Worthington Innovation Fellows Award.

Majority of Students and Instructors at the UW found Tegrity Lecture Capture to be Useful

Tegrity

It has been just over a year since Tegrity was rolled out across the three campuses of the University of Washington and the findings of a recently released report by UW-IT indicate that a majority of faculty and students found Tegrity to be helpful in enhancing student learning in the classroom. Tegrity is a lecture capture tool that gives instructors the ability to record classroom activity and upload these recordings on a student accessible site to review later on. These recordings consist of of a combination of on-screen recordings of the computer and live audio/video feed of the class via webcam. By using this technology, instructors were able to provide additional resources to students who wish to review course material and catch up on lectures without much additional effort.

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