Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2012 AECT International Convention - Keynotes

The 2011 Jacksonville convention planners definitely set the bar high for the 2012 AECT convention planning team. Fortunately, we are up to the challenge and will do our best to see that our Louisville convention lives up to the high Jacksonville standards. As I mentioned in the closing general session, we are pleased to have three outstanding keynote speakers planned for AECT 2012:

· Yong Zhao, Presidential Chair and Associate Dean for Global Education, College of Education at the University of Oregon.

· Malcolm Brown, Director of the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI).

· Daniel Willingham (pending), cognitive scientist and Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia.

I am sure that in addition to supporting our conference theme: Learning in the Age of Globalization, these fine keynoters will also provide something specifically meaningful and relevant for each of our divisions and affiliates.

On the concurrent and roundtable presentation front, we will continue with efforts to provide more engaging and stimulating presentation sessions at the convention. Watch for the call for proposals and communication from your divisions and affiliates for more details in the near future.

The 2012 convention call for proposals will open (online) on December 15, 2011 and will close on February 15, 2012. Simply go to and look for the very conspicuous (I hope) link to the call for proposals and instructions from the divisions/affiliates. So, jot down your presentation ideas, finish up those research projects, and start drafting your presentation and workshop proposals today.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Webinar - A Conversation with the Eminent Scholar about the Secrets of Designing Games for Learning

Thursday, Dec. 8, Noon (Central)

Dr. James Paul Gee is a Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies
at Arizona State University. He is also a member of National Academy for Education. Professor Gee has published numerous articles and books on the topic of designing games for learning. His recent books “What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy” and “Good Video Games and Good Learning: Collected Essays” are highly acclaimed resources for designers to learn the foundations of game designs.

Sponsored by AECT

Register at

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

One of the many things I learned from last week's Michael Wesch webcast

I attended a webcast of Kansas State's Michael Wesch last week; an outstanding and quite interesting presentation.  You have most likely seen Wesch's viral video, A Vision of Students Today, at some point.

During his presentation, he demonstrated how easy it is for students (and teachers) to download a YouTube video, edit, and publish a remix of the video back to YouTube.  Here's one simple gold nugget -

·  View a video on YouTube.
·  In the URL location box, type pwn in front of youtube, and enter.
·  Get links to download the video.

It's that simple.  More details at -

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Format Factory - greatest freeware of all time?

Our IDT lab coordinator Colter found this killer freeware (sorry folks, only for PC) - Format Factory -  I must say that it scored very high on my GRS (Geek Richter Scale).  It basically converts everything!  I just tried .wmv to .flv and it worked beautifully.  Now, on to convert some files....just because I can.

From the Format Factory web site:
Format Factory is a multifunctional media converter.
Provides functions below:
Rip DVD to video file , Rip Music CD to audio file.
MP4 files support iPod/iPhone/PSP/BlackBerry format.
Supports RMVB,Watermark, AV Mux.
Format Factory's Feature:
1 support converting all popular video,audio,picture formats to others.
2 Repair damaged video and audio file.
3 Reducing Multimedia file size.
4 Support iphone,ipod multimedia file formats.
5 Picture converting supports Zoom,Rotate/Flip,tags.
6 DVD Ripper.
7 Supports 56 languages
OS requirements: All Windows OS

Thursday, September 15, 2011

ESU IDT team selected for 2011 PacifiCorp finals

Although I tend to only post general thoughts about instructional design and technology on this blog, I have an opportunity to brag about the accomplishments of  two of our  ESU IDT students. Michael Stewart and Jason Baker have been selected as one of three winning teams to present at the AECT PacifiCorp finals at the November 2011 AECT International Convention in Jacksonville, FL.

The PacifiCorp design and development competition involves having teams of two students design and develop a detailed written solution and oral report in response to a quite complex instructional design case study.  During the year-long competition, twelve teams competed in the first round of the competition and six teams moved forward to the second round, with three teams being selected as winning finalists.  A best overall presentation award will be presented to one of the teams after their convention presentation.

Jason and Michael put a lot of time and hard work into their instructional design/training solution. I was able to take a look at it and I must say that it truly was outstanding. ESU IDT has entered into the competition four times and has reached the finals all four times.  I believe this gives an indication of the quality of students we have in our program and also the quality of instruction and support provided by the IDT faculty.  It truly is a team effort:; all of the IDT faculty and over a dozen IDT students and alumni will be in Jacksonville to cheer them on when they make their presentation.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Refreshing Convocation Speech by FHSU Provost Larry Gould

One of my colleagues sent this YouTube link (embedded below) to the Fort Hays State University Fall 2011 Convocation speech by Provost, Dr. Lawrence V. Gould.  Jump to 17:15 to get to the meat of the presentation.  I believe this speech is refreshing because I rarely encounter a university Provost, V.P. or President with such a keen understanding of the massive changes (many of them needed) in higher education and how technology can be a catalyst for change.  It is clear that Dr. Gould's leadership has been a driving force in the  innovative and creative culture (and staggering enrollment growth) at FHSU.  It's no surprise that one of his publications is entitled Transformational Leader as Champion and Techie: Implications for Leadership Educators.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

South Korea to Replace All Paper Textbooks With Digital Content

While the US continues to pour money into failed initiatives like NCLB and Common Core Standards, South Korean schools will soon ditch textbooks and move entirely to tablets.  A country can do this when it has ubiquitous wireless, the world's fastest Internet access, and the most most tech-savvy citizens in the world....and when it wants to train creative and innovative students who can compete in an age of globalization. As Dr. Yong Zhao has said, “What China (insert South Korea instead of China) wants is what America wants to throw away.”

Thursday, June 30, 2011

If you see the words "brain-based," RUN!

That's what David Daniel, a researcher at James Madison University says.....and I agree.  Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham wrote a nice piece in his Washington Post hosted blog back in December 2010 - similar to David Daniel, Willingham writes, "Most of what you see advertised as educational advice rooted in neuroscience is bunkum." Read the rest of 3 Brain Facts Every Educator Should Know.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Microsoft Helps Army Avoid ‘Death by PowerPoint’

PowerPoint slide from an Army briefing.
Dave Karle, an executive communications manager at Microsoft is helping the US Army fight PowerPoint abuse, by “chasing the bad ideas out of presentations.” Read the entire Wired article.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Red Balloon Project - Meaningful, Relevant, Engaging Activities

Last fall (2010) The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) launched its Red Balloon Project, focused on helping AASCU institutions re-imagine undergraduate education. Read Mehaffy's full paper. Emporia State University faculty, staff, and students were asked to brainstorm and share some thoughts.  Sadly, only three individuals cared enough to respond.  Below is my edited response.

Mehaffy’s statement is right on the money –
In a content-rich environment, with unlimited access to information by everyone, the role of the faculty member should be profoundly different.  Faculty should focus most of their effort on creating learning environments, interactive places where students can learn.  This doesn’t necessarily mean classrooms; indeed to create higher quality learning for more students possible, faculty may have to spend the majority of their teaching work outside of classrooms, designing activities for students outside of class. 

Meaningful, relevant, and engaging activities.
As professors, most of us are still mired in the delivery of content.  This was necessary when books were few and professors really were considered the fount of all knowledge.  The times have changed and many of us have not moved on.  Overall, textbooks, journals, magazines, audio, video, interactive multimedia, and the web (to name a few), do a much better job of delivering content.  The bottom line is that students don’t need professors/instructors to deliver content via lecture.  Students need professors/instructors who can design and facilitate meaningful, relevant, and engaging activities that reinforce the content.  Are all lectures bad?  No.  We can all recall one or two professors or colleagues who deliver incredible lectures that engage the entire audience.  However, I will argue that these individuals are rare.

I often ask students in my classes to describe what they would consider as their most memorable and meaningful learning experience in their academic career; an experience in which they felt they learned more than any other time.  Do they mention the time their teacher lectured (delivered content) with the help of a bullet-riddled PowerPoint presentation? No.  Most often, they reflect on an activity; a meaningful, relevant, and engaging activity.  They describe a well-designed activity that reinforced the content.  Interestingly, the students often describe the activity/project as difficult, demanding, and time-consuming .  In the same breath however, they mention how much they learned, how engaged they were in the activity, how worthwhile, and how much fun they had.  Many of these activities occurred outside of the classroom, in the form of group projects and field trips.

Technology’s role.
As I mentioned earlier, media can play a critical role in delivering content.  The media are out there, ranging from books to the web.  As professors and instructors, we don’t need to compete with these media. We should embrace the media, let them do what they do best, and move on to other roles such as designing activities. A quick story about podcasts: Several years ago, a colleague approached me about using podcasts for his class.  He stated, “If I put all my lectures on podcasts, none of my students will want to come to class.”  My response: “If that’s all they are getting in class, then I wouldn’t blame them for staying home.”  It never occurred to my colleague that, by making his lectures available before class, he could use his class time to reinforce the most important concepts and to facilitate meaningful and engaging activities.  Technology solutions such as podcasts/vodcasts, web, and social media can be used to free professors/instructors from simply delivering content.  Then, we can spend our time designing meaningful, relevant, and engaging activities (in both face-to-face and online classrooms). I firmly believe that if we can make this change, we can create incredible learning experiences for our students; experiences that could eventually revive under-enrolled programs, create new excitement at our university, and make our university a place that students want to attend, over and above all other universities.