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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Bringing "R"eality into your classes

Bring a little "R"eality into your course 

In education and training it's agreed that authentic assessment is the better assessment method to use. So let's go over and I will show you how to use some freeware augmented and virtual reality applications that you can have your students use create projects that demonstrate mastery of content and are engaging so that they can teach others it also.

Four (4) ways to use AR/VR in the classroom:

1) Build Global Awareness with VR Field Trip
2) Use Apps to Enhance STEM Lessons
3) Explore Empathy with VR Experiences
4) Create AR and VR Media

4 Ways to Use Augmented and Virtual Reality Apps in the Classroom. (2017, September 25). Retrieved September 26, 2017, from

#DES2018 Google Slideshow

FREE Augmented Reality Apps
HP Reveal *Formerly Aurasma (Viewer and creator)

PAID Augmented Reality Apps
AR Flash Cards   

Virtual Reality Apps

Friday, January 12, 2018

My UNT LTEC 6512 Blog- Theory and practice of qualitative research methods in Learning Technologies

Blog 4 –Different Theoretical Models

Personally I lean towards Inquiry-based learning process or constructivist learning theory. That we learn by actively constructing the knowledge from our experiences and environment. We learn from doing and expereincing. Each learner brings their own past experiences and culture into the process of constructing or learning the knowledge that you are trying to provide for them. It is not so much how they are taught; so much as, it is prior knowledge and how they processed it so that they could understand and retain that knowledge. Which of course means the each person will be different to varying degrees. Which as an educator makes it essential to assess prior knowledge and make sure that the students have connected or constructed a strong base for knowledge, before they acquire more. Of course then you get into who’s view of the knowledge is best? How do you assess to see if they have the knowledge base they have? How do you meet the different needs and levels your students are at? Thankfully I never taught just level or AP students, my classes where all mixed and so I had to start off assessing where my students were at knowledge or skills wise for every unit we did. I learned quickly that just giving pretest was not going to work at least not every time. That it had to be about the skills the students could demonstrate to me. There are multiple ways to draw a circle using ACADD. If I only assessed asking about the two key method, I would leave out the ability or skills using the ribbon or quick access bar. They all work and for students used to 2 + 2 always = 4 this is often hard to get them to understand. For me it is always about can you explain to me how or why used the process you did? Can you perform a task safely and effectively? Then you prove to me you have constructed a good knowledge base and we can move on to the next level. Students struggled with explaining WHY or HOW, but they ended up able to do more when they did this.

Unfortunately, this often put me counter culture of the standardized testing regimen. Having to justify or give proof of how I was helping to prepare students for the state tests. Also, most software certification exams will only accept one way to complete a task. Which is how the programmers themselves would do it and not how the users actually do it. So as much as I hated it, I would have done my students a disservice if I didn’t help them with overcoming the testing only view. I learned to find questions from practice exams and incorporate them into each unit. So that students had the experience with the knowledge in more than just one way and could construct away to turn that into knowledge they could then retain. I just never assessed them only on how they answered questions but made sure that I also assessed based off what they could do to prove they had the knowledge.

If you had asked me if I would be open to learning or at least giving another teaching style/method a try I would have been hesitant or even said no. I would have said something like that I knew what was the best method for my students. However, now I know each student constructs the knowledge gained in a different ways. That doesn’t make the way right or wrong. As long as it’s safe, efficient, and works then its right for them. I’ve gone from a very structured, there is only one or two ways to doing something, to being open to try different methods. There are some things that are factual like certain chemicals will explode when combined or if you don’t follow the proper steps for lighting a cutting torch it can blow up. So I need to ensure that my students understand WHY this result happens and help just aren’t reciting back to me something they learned short term and then forget because it lacks context to them. Why I feel strongly that simulation based training can help students. By allowing them to safely experience, things that could have negative consequence like harming them. Allowing them to build or construct knowledge about the skill BEFORE we utilize the dangerous equipment.

So yes, I would be open to at least attempting to learn or construct my own knowledge about the method or approach. Then I would be willing to work with and apply what was asked of me to the best of my abilities. This is something I feel can only come from experience and the ability to admit that you do not always know everything. When I was younger I thought I knew all that I need to, as I get older I realize I know actually little. Someone having different views or ideas does not negate or endanger my own personal ones. Instead, it is an opportunity for both of us to learn more.

Blog 3 – Ethics and Technology

“Do no harm” applies to more than just medical fields or a line for white witch to say in a

movie. I also applies heavily to education technology use and research. Technology has great implications to either improve or harm those who use it. There are ethical questions when it comes to the use of technology that many do not think about at first.  

It is not about technology for technologies sake:
We have think first is the technology use applicable for not only the subject matter, but also the instructor teaching needs or style. The question must always first be will the use of technology in this case must add to or benefit the students. If the answer is no, then you should not use the technology, even if it is the official approved technology or software. Sometimes the technology is not available equitably to all users. Something education constantly has to work on balancing for all aspects and not just technology.

Unfortunately, in today’s age there are more ways to “hack” a system than there are to catch them. You have to be aware and do your best to ensure that the person you are teaching or collecting data from is the actual or real person they are presenting themselves to be. It is sad but identification is needed for proof be it in online or face-to-face interviews. It is not always about cheating for a higher grade. When monetary, even small amount are involved there can be the potential that someone will repeat the study multiple times to receive the funds.  

We know that we have to protect our participants and provide either anonymity or confidentiality. The smaller the pool size is of participants, the harder this is to do. It is no longer just about protecting the responses or answers they provide. It is also now about protecting their identities from theft by those who can use what you have collected for study and use it to figure out how to access the participant’s social and/or financial accounts.   So unfortunately, we have to take great care to protect to ensure that the tools used to collect the data that we provide themselves are not vulnerable to being corrupted and used to harm the participants. You also have to be prepared for people to sign up to participate with the sole intention of access you the researcher’s social and/or financial accounts. Security is no longer just about keeping data or photos locked up in cabinets. It is about protecting and locking down everything. Just think about how much damage could be done if someone hacked into your phone and accessed your data using it. This is reason enough for us to welcome the use of not only passwords but that and bio-metrics like finger print, eye scan, facial or voice recognition's to be used to protect all of those involved.

Unintended Consequences:
We use the technology to improve or make things better. To provide education that a student might not have access to otherwise. To teach concepts or skills that can be hard to learn or possibly dangerous. The problem lies not in the intent of the teacher or researcher to find ways to use technology; it lies in how others use the technology. My own studies focus on simulation based training to teach basic hands on experience to gain skills that otherwise could cause physical harm to learn. Most agree that this is definitely something that needs to be studied and used. What happens if it is proven valid and then school administration decide to only use it and not add in the advanced actual hands on component needed to learn the skill for the real work place? What happens if students only want to learn via simulation and not real world and then get lost in a simulation that is more fun or fulfills a need they have and stops interacting with the actual world. These are not what I think will happen because of my studies, but these are things that could happen and I need to be prepared for ways to counteract and educate during the use of technology to avoid this happening.

Blog Post #2 - What do you think about qualitative research based on your experience gathering and doing initial analysis together?

Ok now I believe that now I have a better understanding of why or how qualitative research is useful. I guess I always confused it with a method that only worked in social applications. For my brain to process things, I have to use examples and for me the best example is when we worked with NASA in the HUNCH design and prototype program. My advanced engineering design students who worked with astronauts to solve issues they experienced on the ISS and it was my job to be the guide and the “why” person. Always asking them why they picked this handle or why do you think Velcro is best used here?

The HUNCH and NASA/ISS experience:

My training in science and engineering still understands quantitative, and quantitative or repeatable experiments is what I have been trained to do all these years. You apply X to see if Y or Z happens, record what happens and then rerun the experiment multiple times to see if you get the same outcome. It does not 100% guarantee that it will happen that way always but if you can reproduce the same outcome, then you can be confident that your findings are valid and true. For example, I know we can only use certain types of metals and no plastics when designing space flight ready equipment. We know we cannot use plastic because it has caught on fire when used in past experiments. There are simple facts or numbers that we follow because of past scientific experiments or experiences recorded in data.

NASA deals only with quantifiable numbers right?
I didn’t realize it at the time but I was teaching and applying qualitative practices to my CHS HUNCH students, especially in the beginning. A qualitative practice happened when my students would sit down with the astronauts and ask them to tell them what “bugged them” the most while working on the ISS. What piece of equipment or process did they struggle with the most? I had the students both write down and video record this so they could go back if needed, not knowing that was a qualitative procedure. Usually they would get a list together of these issues and go back to school with them. Then they’d decide what problem they wanted to tackle for the year and formed teams of 2-4. Once this happened they would begin to research and find anything they could about it, they had to build a folder with 30+ references and come up with questions to ask the astronauts about. Then we’d usually video conference in with the astronauts on the ISS and the students would ask them the questions, ask to be shown what they were doing and be explained or shown how it was a “pain”. Did the astronaut have any ideas or preferences to materials to be used? Then they’d have to get with NASA engineer to get rules that they’d have to follow to meet the safety guidelines.

The students would then begin to apply and build prototypes for what they thought would solve the problem the ISS astronauts were facing or dealing with. They’d present the first draft that year, go through the whole interview process again, ask questions, get input on design changes, etc.. from astronauts in person. Then go back for second round of prototype design. Sometimes refinement and precision manufacturing needed to happen and sometimes they had to start all over again. All based off of what they observed and learned from the astronauts needs.

Qualitative skills and processes learned from the experience:
This ended up ultimately teaching my students and myself that full research and application when dealing with people not machines is a long process that sometimes can take years. I know I had 4 different teams tackle how to best crush food containers for storage over 3 years. For one experiment table to be manufactured and actually deployed to space it took one school I know 3 years and 8 prototypes before they got it right for flight. This is all because you are dealing with humans and their needs, they will not all be 100% the same. Our job is to find the best solution that meets their needs not what we perceived to be the. I never really connected that this was qualitative research because we always built our prototypes based off material and calculations made on what was needed for it to work properly. However, everything that was done qualitative the only truly quantitative work was in selection of materials approved for space flight and the physics mathematical equations students would have to work out to prove it met the safety requirements. For me this is quite “eye opening” and I am seeing where on how I apply qualitative research daily in life and my PhD studies but just wasn’t self-aware that was what I was doing.

CHS HUNCH Program link

Blog Post #1 - What I think I know about qualitative research:

Qualitative word cloud image
Qualitative research is for finding trends, opinions, observational research. It's about the qualities that make up what you are researching and it can't always be repeated or measured in an experiment. Coming from a quantitative background in engineering/STEM this has been a research method that I have struggled with. I understand how to take data or numbers and find statistics from that. Whereas, with qualitative your more concerned with how you are going to start investigating something you think could be a research problem. Thankfully being in education for 22 years, I have made many decisions about how to best teach my students based off how I have observed them in actions. What worked or didn't, willing to ask questions and find out what is going on. Versus just going by their grades on traditional work like tests and instead look at the skills they show me they can do. This is probably why I am so drawn to to educational technology applications, because I have seen how they improved my students ability to learn. Now if only I can balance that with my empirical nature that wants concrete data or numbers to use to explain the WHY my students do better when technology is used as a tool in my classes. I am hoping that by the end of this class I will find balance and that qualitative research finally makes sense to me like quantitative does.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Gamification! Let's make learning fun again

Gamification  is not a new concept, it's just that in 2017 we have moved it to online or via AR/VR/VLE. (Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Virtual Learning Experiences)

Ones I assume you all know about already, but if not you should.




Bwahahaha is all I can say but great way to get instant feedback on a meeting/presentation if you’re brave enough =

Math for grades 1-8


Free & I’ve had the most success with today experimenting: = allows you to create different games like the anatomy of grass I just made for Dr. Lane, you can only put in the link to it = you can create games like word search, cross word, etc… that they can play on the PC & embed into the course


Just to make a game for the heck of it, think old school arcade style, I know teachers who use this in their game design classes they teach:

Good resource but not very sophisticated looking games when done =


Require you download software to create games. I’ve only seen tweets that they are good for teaching gaming:
Adventure Game Studio  =

Game Salad =

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Nexters, Millennials, & Digital Natives "Oh My!"

      Do you find that your students are bored or fall asleep when you show a traditional slide presentation that you spent hours working on? The generations sitting in your classrooms now need more than a traditional slide presentation to keep them engaged. They need it to be interactive and to have an active roll in the process of the learning and/or presentation. After all they are wired into technology or some form of entertainment 24/7, so we've got to get and keep their short attention spans.

      To do that when starting off on a new unit try a free gamifcation. To learn more about gamifaction please see this article by Edutopia "Gamifaction in Education".  I like to use the free web 2.0 tool Kahoot. I like it because it doesn't require special software, students can access the game questions, that in my class we call "Unit Pre-Challenges". They can access the game from any device that has internet access via the  I use this when starting a new unit and I offer the "top 10" bonus points for the unit based on how well they do.  I can also download the data I get from it to see where the students strengths and/or weaknesses are for the unit. Then I can adjust the rest of the unit based on this.

      I also use a free presentation web 2.0 tool when I am introducing a new unit like Emaze or Prezi for Education. There are many more out there, just do a web search and you'll be amazed at what is available.  Use whatever tool works best for you and your students. Today's students they see a traditional slide presentation as the abridge version of the text book and this is all the need to focus on. Heck often it is the textbook because few class have access to digital or traditional textbook as it is. What I do is create "Jeopardy" game that we play in class as teams or a bingo sheet.  I will give them a sheet that is customized to that unit. Usually it will have either the terms, definitions, or even image of the content we are covering. They will then have to fill out this sheet, it will serve as their notes and future study guide for an end of unit assessment, if I should go that route. I only give "tests" on small or simple units. I actually prefer on major units to have them work in teams of 2-3 on a project that they present at the end of the unit.

     Now if you are teaching at the secondary level you don't have to worry about the "clash of generations" in your classroom. Except in how your generation, is different than the generation you have sitting in your classroom. Those of you who teach post-secondary have to worry potentially about all five (5) generations that could be in your classroom. To make it easier for you to reference I have create a generations matrix that you can view below in PDF format. The reason you need to be able to recognize the different types is because they each have their own way of learning best.  There is no getting around the fact that you learn best based upon the toys they played with growing up, teaching tools that were new or innovative for their time, and any major social influences from their youth. I will often show this matrix in class and we will discuss it, it helps students and myself to realize what the learning needs are for everyone in the class.

     A great video I like to show at the start of a new semester is "Generation C (Gen Z)" by Geoff Belleau.  I will show this and the we have an open discussion on is what he says true? How do you learn best?  How can we customize learning so it helps everyone? Etc...  We dedicate at least 45 minutes to this alone. This gets the students thinking about and more invested in the actual learning process, versus me standing there telling them you will learn XYZ today.  I will often ask them how do their parents react to new technology versus how they do.  Then I ask why do they think it's this way.  Anything to get them thinking about how we all work together.

      Yes classrooms and students are way different now! Actually thank goodness they are different because they old sit in desk , in these rows is actually a model that was created to educate factory workers.  Now a days that is not a skill that most employers want, they need problem solvers, team players, and work ethic not "drone workers". The sky is the limit for your students and your classes! You really can do amazing things in your classes if you just meet the different generations in your classes, at least half way. No your not crazy, your students really are "from a different planet", or the the least a different learning style than what you know and love.

      So please take the time to get to know your students and their learning styles.  You can then work together to make sure they learn your content and don't just "pass your class". After all we love our content and think it's "awesome sauce" and we want everyone to think the same, or we wouldn't be teaching it would we.  Even Bloom's Taxonomy has evolved to meet the needs of the new generations, if that can then so can you.

Links to:

Monday, September 29, 2014

Blended Learning

       Have you been hearing all the talk about this "new instructional method" called "Blended Learning"?  What about being asked all the time "have you flipped" your class?  Have you been told you will do this by your school administration, but nobody has explained to you how to do it?

       I've seen both experienced and new teachers both get the "OMG I'm going to blow if they tell me I need to learn one more new technology tool on my own. Grrrrrrr"  Usually accompanied by other not so scholarly words. 

         You will find many different definitions of what "blended learning" is if you Google it.  I like the definition that I found in the Edutpoia article"Blended Learning: We Are All New Teachers". It cites that there are many definitions of blended learning to be sure, but for our purposes let's take the definition of blended learning from Innosight Institute which defines blended learning as: a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online delivery of content and instruction with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace and at least in part at a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home. The institute even goes on to say: there are four models of blended learning that categorize the majority of blended-learning programs emerging across the K-12 sector today. These four models are: Rotation, Flex, Self-Blend, and Enriched Virtual. (Not a perfect definition by any means, but one that gives us food for thought.)

       Wow, what a mouthful and a lot to digest and think about! Don't panic, essentially what they are saying is that the teacher and student uses multiple methods to deliver the education. Some by online, some by face to face, some by independent research, some of the pace of delivery is set by the teacher or school, and some is set by the student. Essentially it means you use technology to help meet all of your students learning needs.  It's just a more technology based version of "doing whatever it takes" to teach your students.

       In all of my research I yet to find anything better than Math Johnston's "What a Flipped classroom is not" that you can find on his YouTube channel. He explains this concept is easy to understand terms for you, students, parents, and administrators.

      The trick to successfully blending your class so that you "FLIP not FLOP" it is to find what works best for YOU and YOUR students.  There is no one way to do it or just one magic tool that works for everyone. Don't be afraid to try new things. Do NOT think that you have to use "experts videos" because they know more than you do.  Believe it or not, your students actually pay more attention and learn more from your "unprofessional" videos. 

        Also, you do NOT have to be the expert on the tools, you are already the expert on your content area. Have fun and allow your student to try new things. We learn more from fail at the first time, than what we get right the first time.  Just tell them up front "We are doing this unit over XYZ.  You will be excepted create XYZ, refer to the rubric I have given you. you will be allowed to use whatever tool you want to create it, just show it to me and explain why you want to use it.  But be forewarned I am not an expert in that tool and you will now become the class expert on it".  

      I promise you the time to spend to blend or flip your class will come back to you 5 fold at least.  I blended/flipped my classes over 10 years ago before there was an official term to call it.  I did it so I could best serve my students, after all there are 20-30 of them and only one of me.  With my instructional websites and videos, the students are able to get help with a step when they need it and work at his/her own pace. Kids love it, administration love it, parents love it, I love it because I never have to explain what it is that were are doing or learning in my class.  It's right there for everyone to see. 

      Feel free to borrow any of my units or lessons. I purposely made everything public for you to use.  :)  Let me know if they help you and have FUN blending/flipping your class.  

My Some Cool Web 2.0 Tools Blog
My Going Green Project Based Learning Site from the CTE Summer 2014 Conf.

Work Cited:
  • Website Title: YouTube
  • Article Title: mathjohnson
  • Publisher: YouTube
  • Date Accessed: September 29, 2014
Website Title: Edutopia
  • Article Title: Blended Learning: We Are All New Teachers
  • Date Accessed: September 29, 2014