Hello, my name is Mascheal Schappe and I am an assistant professor for math education and educational leadership. I joined the technology treadmill about a year and a half ago when I became a full-time faculty member. After returning to the field of education full-time, one of the things I was most looking forward to was professional development. I was very excited and couldn’t wait to catch up, especially in technology.
Well, I jumped in with both feet and was learning right alongside my students during my first semester. By the second semester, I was asked to provide a bit of a workshop for my colleagues on the uses of iPads. By the end of my second semester, I was asked to give iPad training to two different school districts. While I am far from an expert, I do have the willingness to try and don’t get too embarrassed when I make mistakes or have to ask a question that everyone else in the room seems to already know.
In using the iPads for my own teaching, I have discovered some outstanding tools to use in my own classroom, such as the ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard App. This app allows you to quickly and easily create mini lessons that you can email them to students, as well as incorporate pictures into your lesson. For example, I answered a student’s question about why a test answer was incorrect by taking a picture of her answer and recording my voice to explain the correct answer while marking my points right on the picture of her answer. The student received the answer about an hour after she sent me the note as opposed to having to wait until class the following week. ShowMe is very simple and very powerful!
I have also discovered several apps that help my students with understanding math, as well as great apps for them to use in future classrooms with their own students.
My passion for this topic was fueled as our School of Education worked to get our students up to speed with current technology. We now have an iPad cart with 25 iPads that can be checked out and used in our classes, a portable SmartBoard to give our students more opportunities to get their “hands on” the technology, and in order to provide “hands-on” learning, one of our classrooms is blocked out for 14 hours each week, allowing our students time to practice using the SmartBoard, the document camera, and 12 computers with smart notebook installed. We also have 6 more iPads on the way!
Every time I visit a school, teachers are using some type of technology and quite often it is different than the last time I visited. In an effort to make our future teachers even more marketable, we have pushed technology into our math methods courses and each education faculty member is using more assignments requiring students to demonstrate their ability to use technology as a classroom tool.
So, here is where the treadmill comes in. Despite the fact that I have done quite a bit of learning, teaching and learning some more, I don’t feel like I have mastered anything! The possibilities with each piece of technology are endless, and every time I almost get a handle on something, the next, better version is upon us. Even though I know so much more than I did a year and a half ago I still feel like a novice. I am quickly discovering that in order to survive on this treadmill I need to pace myself, share with others, seek out what others have discovered and concentrate really hard on doing a few things really well!
- Mascheal Schappe is an Assistant Professor of Math Education and Education Leadership at Maryville University in St. Louis
Since the announcement to Canvas was made, many are beginning to wonder exactly what the transition will look like. Well, let’s try and clear things up !
The full switch of all courses to Canvas will be made in the summer of 2014. This means that spring 2014 is the last LAST semester any student and instructor will have access to courses on D2L. Keep in mind that there are a LOT of things that will be done to get us to that point.
Here are two timelines that may help put this into perspective:A few things will have to occur before the switch happens in summer 2014.
Starting November 1st, ILP will began doing behind the scenes things to prepare for Canvas. We will be doing awareness training and preparing for the pilot program in the spring. Be sure to back up your course materials at the end of this semester.
The BSN-C program will be piloting Canvas in spring 2014. We will also begin offering hands-on workshops and tools training (information about this is forthcoming). Information, resources and sessions will be provided to help faculty transition materials from D2L to Canvas.
EVERY course will be on Canvas and no faculty nor students will have access to D2L courses. ILP will retain a relationship with D2L, in case we need to access those courses. However, only admins of the system will have access to D2L after the summer 2014 session begins.
Other things to consider:
Most of the “work” will be done behind the scenes by ILP. Faculty will be responsible, in some capacity, for transitioning materials (more information to come) from D2L to Canvas. At the end of the fall semester, be sure to make an export of your course materials from D2L. ILP will offer PLENTY of training/workshops for faculty/staff/students to become accustomed to the new system.
One thing to consider, since we are leaving D2L, we will no longer be using D2L Capture (Lecture Capture). ILP is in the process of selecting a new lecture capture system and once selected, trainings will begin. Before the summer 2014 semester ILP will begin transitioning ALL videos from http://capture.maryville.edu, to the new system.
We will continue to update this blog as more information comes out. Also, ILP will begin contacting Faculty with information as need arises.
Well, the word is out ! Maryville has chosen Canvas to replace Desire2Learn (D2L) as the learning management system on campus.
Now, I’m sure many of you have questions, so let’s begin by taking a look at Canvas and the company that makes it, Instructure.
Instructure, headquartered in Salt Lake City, was launched in 2008 by two BYU graduate students. Initially they offered an LMS called “Instructure,” which was later renamed “Canvas” in 2011 (Instructure is the company, Canvas is the product). Since Canvas was released the company has grown to:
425+ clients (colleges, universities, school districts
Over 7 million students
Canvas has enjoyed tremendous growth in a shot amount of time. Most of this is due to the fact that many institutions are viewing it as an alternative to the closed LMS’s of the past decade (Blackboard, D2L).
So what is Canvas ?
What makes Canvas great for Maryville ?
1. Sleek/modern & user friendly interface
Canvas is extremely simple to use. The interface is easy to navigate and it looks modern.
2. It’s web-based
Canvas does updates in a different way – there are no outages for updates, no downtime for upgrades. The version of Canvas we have is the same version EVERY OTHER campus is using. No longer will there be service updates every 4th Sunday of the month. No longer will we have to schedule Service Packs to fix bugs. Canvas installs updates every 3 weeks ! This means a quicker turnaround for new/improved features AND bug fixes. Finally, there will never again be BIG upgrades. Big upgrades in the past meant spending time learning all of the new system. Now, Canvas will roll out new features every 3 weeks. You will learn new features will using the system the SAME way you learn new features of any website as they add them.
3. Integration with Social Media
Users can get notifications from the system ANY way they want. If they want the system to send them messages at Twitter, that’s an option. If they want to receive traditional email/text message notifications, that’s an option.
4. Collaboration tools
Canvas had some great tools in addition to the regular expected ones (modules, quizzes, grades, discussions, announcements….etc).
Canvas has a tool that allows for virtual meetings. Their is a tool for students to collaborate on documents (think Google Docs). There is a Wiki tool. Students can submit assignments via Google Drive.
5. Free Mobile Apps
Canvas has two mobile apps.The Canvas App and the SppedGrader app. Both are FREE.
Canvas App: Allows users to access ALL of their courses. View content items. Read and participate in discussions. Send messages to other users. View grades. Submit assignments. Add/edit files.
SpeedGrader: Allows faculty to grade assignments on the go.
These are a few reasons, among many, why Canvas will be a great LMS for Maryville.
What other cool things can Canvas do ?
Keep checking back into this blog in the coming months for additional “sneek” peaks at Canvas. For now, you can listen to this webinar, recorded in November 2013, on getting ready to use Canvas.
I think that their might be a fallacy among educators/administrators in how student social media usage is viewed. I think the long held belief is that FaceBook reigns “king”, and can serve as a one stop shop for reaching our students. I believe that notion worked in the 2010 world, where other social media sites failed to keep up. However, as this article details, we have a scattered landscape, and our students are moving from site to site as quickly as these sites pop up.
FaceBook is QUICKLY loosing popularity among college students.
This article says that only 67% (2/3rd) of students are actively using FB. This is down 12% YOY, and, in my opinion, will only continue to drop.
Why the sudden drop ?
Well, as my students put it, FB is no longer “cool” (*I know—not very “professional” sounding or scientific). So, why the sudden drop in “coolness.” Well, for starters, about 3/4 of their parents are now on FB, 1/2 of which joined specifically to, and I’m quoting an actual survey, “Keep tabs on their kids.”
What is replacing FB ?
Many are arguing that Twitter is the new FB. Twitter usage has surged in the past few years, and now 1 in 3 college students are actively using the site. I’d expect this number to continue rising.
What is the next big thing ?
The next “big thing,” is clearly Instagram. In the first year on the survey, Instagram now has 15% of college students. This is a very strong entrance, and I’d expect this to also continue to rise.
What does this mean for faculty/administrators?
Well, this is a bit more tricky. Faculty who like to keep up with their students may see the need to try out Twitter/Instagram. Also, those who actively use social media as a part of their courses may need to change what sites are used.
It’d difficult to predict what will come next, however, If I were to predict the future, I’d say that the idea of one social media site “ruling them all” is long gone. I think students will continue to migrate to niche sites (i.e. Instagram) as quickly as these sites pop up.
Looking back at my childhood, I remember when my family bought our first television set that displayed programs in ‘color’ during the mid-1960s. Of course as a child, I thought this was the epitome of cool. Little did I know then that my father was heavily embedded in technology. Well, I should say what was considered technology during the 1960s and 70s.
Uncle Robert was another family member who was a visionary. He was an active member of MENSA, loved computers, technology, and worked for McDonnell Douglas as an aerospace engineer. The monitor of his first personal computer was as big as a Volkswagen, but he would take the time when I would visit to show me everything the first ‘home’ computer could accomplish.
If only they were here now to witness the advances of technology and how heavily entrenched our culture appears to be with ‘staying connected’ by way of social media. So connected that gangs, drug dealers and International terrorists are using social media to brag about their activities.
Recently, after a horrific mass shooting at a popular shopping mall in Kenya, the terrorists ‘tweeted’ their explanations and motives for the mass murder. Another example of using social media to exploit criminal activity was a recent photograph of the pop singer Rihanna holding a Loris, which happens to be an endangered primate indigenous to Southwest Asia. By Rihanna taking the ‘selfie’ photo with Instagram and posting it to Twitter, the owners of the nightclub in Thailand are being questioned by the local Bangkok officials.
From a tube television to a hand-held device, this is an electronic-minded soul’s dream. A device that holds your personal thoughts (or placing them on a platform for the world to view), gives you directions when lost, can provide the steps to baking the perfect soufflé, find answers to homework problems, and is very capable of sharing criminal activities and aiding in demands of terrorists. Welcome to the twenty-first century.
Although I am an academic, and must keep up with the fluidity of my environment, I have been resisting using Twitter. I personally do not care where Justine Timberlake is dining on a Thursday, nor Harry Reed’s thoughts regarding the debt ceiling, but I do care about being on the same playing field as my students (who have NO IDEA what a tube television could possibly be). So I recently embarked on joining Twitter and with the help of my criminal justice students, intend on setting-up a Twitter account to ‘tweet’ about the latest news regarding laws, criminality and the social responses to criminal events. I look at the computer and imagine the infinite possibilities of technology but also self-transparency. Baby steps.
- By Geri Brandt, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology
Wiggio (Working In Groups) is a web-based collaboration tool that makes working in groups easy, productive and maybe even fun.
The tool, found at http://wiggio.com, allows for a running discussion board, much like the news feed in facebook, document (word and excel) sharing in a wiki-style (meaning you can collaborate on the same document without having to download, save and re-import with changes), audio and video chatting, calendar scheduling (much like doodle where you indicate available times and participants sign-up for slots), group email distribution, link sharing, plus a whole lot more.
One of the things I really like about it is that if you choose to get emails or text alerts of activity in your group, you can participate back straight through text messages and emails without having to log in to the site. This is a huge asset to people who are highly mobile and busy, but wanting to contribute.
In the future, Wiggio will be integrated right into D2L which means that you won’t have to create a separate login for the site. It should make student team and group work a whole lot easier to conduct, manage and support as they will be using the same platform instead of disparate ones of their own choosing.
Internet browsers are constantly updating. Some of these updates are helpful for the end user, and, unfortunately, some of them are not. Recently, the main internet browsers (Chrome, Firefox, IE) have begun handling “mixed content,” differently than in the past.
What is “Mixed Content.”
In this case, “mixed content” refers to:
Embedded media (YouTube, Kaltura, D2L Capture—videos embedded into the content area of the LMS)
Links within the LMS (If you have a link in D2L content that does NOT open in a new window)
Some custom widgets
What does this look like inside of D2L ?
If you are using any of the items above, you/your students may have received this when trying to view the item in D2L. This is the result of the browsers “beefing up” the security when dealing with outside media. In this case, YouTube/Capture/Kaltura/URL Links is considered “outside media” to the D2L LMS.
What browsers are being impacted ?
Firefox 23 (latest version)
Internet Explorer 10 (latest version)
Chrome (latest version)
Other browsers may be implementing this security feature in future as well.
How do I fix this ?
Unfortunately, there is no way to “fix” this permanently. D2L is working on a solution, but the problem is not a “D2L problem,” it is a “browser issue.” There are “workarounds” that allow faculty/students to view these items, as intended, inside of D2L.
The other workaround is to use either Safari or IE 9 as your main internet browser in D2L. You will loose the ability to “drag and drop,” but you will not have these issues. I would at the very least recommend telling your students to use IE 9/Safari
How do I view mixed content in Firefox, Chrome ? Viewing mixed content depends on the browser
The great thing about Apple TV’s is that it allows you to wirelessly project your iPad/iPhone on the projector in the classroom. Below are instructions for doing just that.
Apple TV Instructions
1. Turn on the projector in the room.
2. Switch the input to “Apple TV.”
3. The Apple TV will begin displaying on the projector.
4. Turn on your iPad/iPhone, and double click the “Home” button. A menu bar will appear at the bottom of the screen. Take your finger and “swipe” the menu bar to the right to reveal a new set of buttons.
5. A new series of buttons will appear. Select the “AirPlay” button.
6. This will provide a list of the available rooms with Apple TV’s in them. Select the room you are in, and choose to turn “mirroring on” for that Apple TV.
7. Once you select to “Mirror” the Apple TV, a code will appear on the projector screen. One your iPad/iPhone, a place to insert that code will appear. This code insures that you have full control over what is being displayed on the projector. Input that code on the iPad/iPhone.
8. Once the code is input, select “Ok.” The screen from the iPad/iPhone will display on the projector.
***NOTE: If the iPad/iPhone has a blue line across the top of it, it means that it is being “mirrored” (displayed elsewhere).
To stop “mirroring” : To stop displaying the iPad/iPhone on the projector, go through steps 3, 4, & 5 above and turn off mirroring.