Getting Past Working in Silos: Creating Open Resources for Teacher Education

The real threat is if colleges and universities lose their monopoly on higher education certification. -Educause, Open Educational Resources and the Role of the University

Why are we working in such silos in teacher education in Texas and elsewhere?  For instance, teachers must take a common set of assessments (teacher certification tests) to become certified as a teacher in Texas.

Why are there not free open-access tutorial, videos, podcasts, and other free materials to prepare students for this that can be used statewide? I realize there are commercial options for students and I have even written a teacher certification test prep book as a co-editor. However, it seems that we should be creating shared open and free shared repositories for our overlapping topics within teacher education as review materials for teacher candidates.

For instance, the state of Texas require that preservice teachers be prepared to know about the topic of dyslexia. Why are there not shared videos, study guides, and other items beyond the few resources the Texas Education agency provides? I think we need to take it upon herself to create such shared open access materials.  Here are a few ideas below that I think would really benefit the state of Texas.

  1. Competency-based podcasts and videos that provide concise overviews and micro lectures specifically on competencies addressed within the teacher certification tests. This could be reviewed and reviewed by teacher candidates.  They could include interactivity by embedding many quizzes that are self-checking, e.g., using tools such as Zaption. These multimodal review materials could be compatible with mobile learning.
  2. Review questions for the test that align with the test format. These practice questions could be on a platform that is mobile compatible such as by providing  questions using actual such as Socrative. This could also be arranged by competency.  This would also model m-learning or mobile learning for other instructors and also teacher candidates.
  3. Open educational resources for web-based content and articles that align with competencies for Texas teacher education could be created. This would be different than a Wiki in that it would simply be where we could collectively curate links and resources that support learning.
  4. Tutorials available state-wide (and beyond) on topics such as dyslexia could be created. I envision a web-based dyslexia tutorial that could be used statewide in Texas and beyond. This could include curation of video and other multimedia content related to the topic, a viewing of the documentary movie “The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia” (available on Netflix streaming) along with a study guide and a shared and open discussion board.

I think these ideas are a start and I intend on working on creating these resources (with an EC-6 English Language Arts Reading and a dyslexia focus) over the summer! These free and open resources would benefit students looking for support to be sure they pass their teacher certification tests in Texas. The shared and free dyslexia tutorial could be used by teacher educators across Texas and even by those people wanting to learn more on the topic. 

Defining Dyslexia: Overview of the Topic with a Mind, Brain and Education Perspective

#slowchat on Twitter with The University of Texas at Arlington College of Education!

The University of Texas at Arlington

Join the College of Education Twitter Chat March 28-April 1!

#SlowChat #UTACOEd

 

Infographic: https://magic.piktochart.com/output/12139701-untitled-infographic  

 

Five questions on Twitter (one per day):

Slow Chat Topic: PK-12 Teaching and Learning

 

Monday, March 28: View: https://youtu.be/OgzdDp5qfdI. Q1: How has video made an impact on student learning?

Tuesday, March 29: Students are increasingly makers, producers, and creators. Q2: How can student-created multimodal projects represent learning?

Wednesday, March 30: View: https://youtu.be/W1K2jdjLhbo Q3: How does questioning impact teaching and learning?

Thursday, March 31: View: https://youtu.be/SFnMTHhKdkw Q4: How do relationships impact teaching and learning?

Friday, April 1: Read: View: http://tinyurl.com/qysl8h5  Q5: In what ways can we expect teaching and learning to change over the next 5 years?

Click the image below for a visual infographic!

 

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Academics: Reasons to Start your Own YouTube/Video Channel

I’ve had a mostly academic-focused YouTube channel for a while now-since 2007. It has numerous clicks and views (over 660,000+ minutes viewed in total so far) and I’m proud that it serves a purpose. It’s a good idea for academics to start their own video channel. I’ll briefly describe why and then share my strategy for starting a more organized video channel that is focused on sharing information in an open way. I have already shared a few ideas on this in the short video below:

Academics who Blog, Tweet, and YouTube 

Oliver Bateman and Peggy Semingson, faculty at The University of Texas at Arlington share ideas on how faculty can have a digital presence to get their ideas to a broader audience. Oliver blogs and writes for Al Jazeera and other media venues. Peggy has an active YouTube channel that she uses for teaching and as a platform for open idea sharing.

Twitter:

Oliver Bateman @MoustacheClubUS
Peggy Semingson @PeggySemingson

My field is literacy education, with a focus on modeling and mentoring for teachers. As a former practitioner, I enjoy sharing both research-informed knowledge as well as motivating my students with practical advice from my formersyears spent teaching. Both are valid and important types of knowledge sharing. I also hope my students will consider multimedia as ways of sharing, as it is in blended/hybrid models of teaching.

Reasons Academics Should Have a YouTube (or other Video) Channel.

  1. Increase your outreach. Consider the types of videos that you want to share.You can make the following types of videos:
    • Quasi-personal videos with academic commentary on issues and topics.
    • Call(s) to action if you are an activist.
    • Teaching videos for blended/hybrid and/or online teaching.
  2. Tips:
    • Keep videos short (under five minutes) and definately not longer than 10-12 minutes at the most!
    • Have your own video mentors. What videos in your field of expertise are engaging? Watch them and note what you like about them.
    • Start playlists around themes as you increase the number of videos you have.
    • Have fun with the process! Have an engaging digital persona. Keep your audience in mind. Don’t have a long intro. Jump into the content/knowledge/expertise.
    • Personalize learning!

Why I’m Starting a Second YouTube Channel:

  1. The first channel is a bit random, haphazard, with too many dog videos! While these are fun, I want the channel to have a clear purpose, which is academic-focused knowledge sharing.
  2. The new channel will use the following to enhance the video component: green screen to have a streamlined background, five-point lighting, better editing, an engaging short intro to videos, and links for resources in the notes. This will take time but it’s worth it!
  3. Green screen kits can be ordered off of Amazon. Set up your own temporary or permanent studio in your home, depending on your space.
  4. I want to increase my digital reach to others outside of my institution. Being an academic isn’t just about print publishing anymore!
  5. Model being a #cyberprof for others in a visible way.
  6. Make it a personal challenge to have a stronger digital presence and to make a difference in the learning of others.
  7. There is a need for more digital and multi-media based resources in my area of study: literacy education

Thematic Playlists Have a Niche Focus!

Academia/Higher Education Playlists of Videos:

  1. Increasing Digital Presence for Faculty-”how to” expanding your digital reach
  2. Teaching Online for Faculty-Tips and “how to”

Literacy (focus on K-12 teachers w/ focus on elementary literacy)

  1. Dialogue Videos with other colleagues  about niche area topics
  2. Key literacy terminology for teachers (tricky concepts): this could be of global appeal
  3. What teachers need to know about Literacy
    1. Students who struggle with reading
    2. English Language Learners
    3. Phonics and Beginning Reading
    4. Motivating students to read and write
    5. Technology and literacy
    6. 100 things teachers need to know about teaching literacy-what to say and do
    7. How to sound like a literacy teacher–things to say and practice (modeling and guided practice for teachers)

Here is a video I shared in the Print2Pixel conference in 2013! (I cringe at my hair and dress!).

 

 

Twitter Chat! Teacher Development via Twitter: Connect with Arlington ISD 3/21-3/24

Learn and connect through Twitter! Join the Slow Chat 3/21-3/24

There is an upcoming Twitter chat with Arlington ISD, which will be Mon.-Thurs. 3/21-3/24! Twitter chats are great ways to connect with others and share ideas about teaching! The Arlington ISD chat is a “slow chat” meaning you can answer the question for the day throughout the day. Several College of Education faculty will also be participating in the Twitter chat!

We invite all College of Education students to consider joining! It’s a great way to learn and preservice teachers are welcome to join, as well!

The hashtag is: #arlingtech.  Also, use the hashtag #UTACOEd to let others know you are affiliated with UTA’s College of Education! J

The topics are below and the topic is: Blended Learning: Unpacking the Definition

AISD Twitter Chat

 

For Q1 (Monday, 3/21), read/view the background on http://goo.gl/v31gcY [http://www.christenseninstitute.org/blended-learning]

Benefits of Twitter Chats:

  1. Learn in a short amount of time.
  2. Share your own views on teaching and glean insights from others.
  3. Become more tech savvy!
  4. Find new people to follow and learn from on Twitter (expansion of your Professional Learning Network).
  5. You can do this through your mobile device (tablet or smartphone) with the Twitter app.
  6. Become a better teacher with practical ideas.
  7. You can participate as little or as much as you want. Read only, Tweet one day or all of the days!

If you are new to Twitter chats,  a few tutorials are below:

Tutorial on how to participate in a Twitter chat: https://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/step-3-twitter-chats/

Other education Twitter chats: https://sites.google.com/site/twittereducationchats/education-chat-calendar

Tutorial: http://www.theedublogger.com/2014/06/25/twitter-chats/

 

Emma Watson’s new feminist book club and the promise of mega-book-clubs in public digital spaces

Emma Watson is running a feminist book club on goodreads that has received quite a lot of publicity. This is interesting on several levels. First, on a meta level, Emma Watson seems to have picked up the whole celebrity-leading-book-club concept that Oprah seems to have initiated but she is taking it to mostly digital spaces. (Is Oprah still book clubbing???). It’s so powerful when a celebrity endorses a book and reading in general. There’s that. Then, there’s the fact that this is happening in an entirely digital space and an interactive Web 2.0 space. The club is hosted on the free space goodreads and also Twitter and then it ripples out onto the broader web via news stories and bloggers that are “covering” it. I think I will lurk on the goodreads book club but I think this is fascinating when one takes a step back and look at it through a meta-lens. The generation by many readers of book lists is also interesting as instances of intertextuality.

I am most interested in the other recommended texts that are being generated (which go beyond an icon like Gloria Steinem) to see more diverse perspectives. The goodreads book club is here in case anyone else is interested in following along: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/179584-our-shared-shelf

It’s almost like a “mega” digital book club that takes on *some* aspects of MOOCs [massive open online courses\  such as size, digital learning, and informal learning. It would be a very interesting essay to examine and contrast the ways that celebrity-endorsed book clubs take shape and what they contribute to literacy in public digital spaces. Of course, the popularity of anything that is endorsed by a celebrity is always concerning. Why does it take celebrity status to make anything popular? What if people follow blindly in sycophantic ways? I think these are always concerning, but in the meantime, the digital book club space is promising if participants are thinking critically. Just as MOOCs have the potential

Is anyone else on goodreads? Is anyone in this book club? What are your thoughts on [feminist]-mega-book-clubs in digital public spaces? I think the dialogue opportunities in this space and the generative and democratic nature of “adding to” the book club is promising. I just hope it is not invaded by trolls.

-Peggy

21st Century Teacher Education Should Be….

Finish this sentence: 21st century teacher-education should  ______. These thoughts below have been running through my head lately. My own field is literacy studies, a rapidly evolving field. Which of these practices in teacher education are you using? What is missing from the list? 

Trends indicate a broader push towards flexible and online teacher education programs, including graduate-based programs.

I think that 21st-century teacher education should:

CURRICULAR FOCUS

-provide curriculum that is fully integrated with technology to model and demonstrate effective tech integration

-showcase effective PK-12th grade curriculum that is effectively integrated with technology and blended learning formats, including effective personalized learning formats. One-size-fits-all and an emphasis on whole class learning is not where we should be heading.

-build/remix/reuse open-access content, especially “real world content such as materials used by school districts. This provides alignment with what is actually going on in school districts and helps with the age-old problem of “reinventing the wheel”. Higher education can also provide resources for PK-12.

CONNECTIVIST/COLLABORATIVE

-programs should be further connected and less siloed and isolated. How many teacher education programs have faculty that fully understand the entire sequence of courses being offered and foster cross-course collaboration? Do we align as we should?

much more clinical experience teaching in field settings, including intensive tutoring especially in reading/literacy and special education courses. More focus should be on application of content and critical discussion of this experience. Hours spent teaching matter. Vocational students receive more hours of training in the application of their knowledge than students in some teacher education programs.

-more connections across institutions, globally using technology, to share resources, ideas, and repositories of information. This is being done, gradually.

BETTER PREPARATION FOR ONLINE TEACHING AND LEARNING

-all doctoral students in areas related to teacher education should be well trained to teach in online and blended formats. This can be done within doctoral programs or can be done through online courses such as MOOCs and min-MOOCS.

-more research and scholarship on digital teaching and learning within higher education

-certifications offered to PK-12 teachers on how to  teach online and in blended settings.

GLOBAL LEARNING

-curriculum should prepare students to effectively engage in a global world, with ways to share knowledge beyond local settings. Students should be able to learn across settings and be able to share information and ideas as well as teach in multiple ways (synchronous, digital discussion boards, etc.) and across global settings.

What else is missing? This is just a starter list intended to foster conversation! -Peggy

My research profile: https://www.uta.edu/profiles/peggy-semingson

Democratizing Education with Access to Digital Content: Expanding the “Reach” of Knowledge

These are notes towards a yet-unwritten manifesto on open knowledge sharing and the need to reach more people with education while also not being elitist about it.

Short version of this blog post if you are too busy: Open education and OER’s counter elitist approaches to education that are only for a chosen few. Consider creating your own open access content to share with others.

Knowledge should be free and open. This movement, the Open Educational Resources movement (known by various names such as OER, Open Education, and more) has been around for a bit of time. It’s an important one and a cultural shift in thinking from hoarding knowledge and becoming “knowledge guardians” as in previous generations. With the advent of the internet, blogs, and access to mobile devices, sharing of info is not hard. Here I describe a few reasons I advocate for open knowledge sharing.

Why Open Access Matters, Ethically

These are my personal opinions and written candidly and without a lot of reference to theory, for the moment. I will flesh out these ideas later and use them in writing a manifesto at a later date.

I believe strongly that there are ethical reasons to share knowledge openly. First, education is about democratizing education, as described by the American philosopher of education, John Dewey. Second, I am anti-elitist in my approach to teaching and learning. This is why I adore YouTube. One can learn a lot of things on YouTube from how to put on eye makeup like Edie Sedgwick, how to install a car tail light, how to cook Indian food all the way to more cerebral, academic, and even esoteric topics! I so love YouTube on multiple levels both in terms of being a viewer and a creator/producer of  knowledge on my own videos.

Open access of content in digital formats can foster learning for students at all levels, who may not receive good instruction at their formal schools of learning or who lack access to good content for a variety of reasons. Access to technology, however, is an issue that may hurt access to digitally available content, although with the increase of mobile devices and efforts to increase access to broadband internet and other sources of internet, this is becoming somewhat less of a concern.

Open Access to Education Expands “Reach” of Knowledge

The concept of “reach” and knowledge availability outside of a “course”. I personally think it is better to teach more people than  a select few. When I visited Harvard’s  edX/Harvardx center, I learned of the specific use of the “reach”: a term they used to denote reaching many people through digital learning via MOOCs. However, maybe MOOCs aren’t the best approach in a busy world where even committing to a sustained course over some length of time can be prohibitive.

I like the idea of flexibly available digital content that can be accessed anytime/anywhere by the user. MOOCs can potentially require commitment of time over an extended period of time.

Another idea to increase access to knowledge is to simply create resources for people on various media such as the tutorial system on the Khan Academy. The beauty of these types of resources is that they can be used flexibly. In this way, the user can simply select which courses to take. Of course, there are critiques, as well, about the Khan videos perhaps being too much of “direct instruction”. However, the free videos do fill a need in providing technical knowledge for a wide variety of people in a global context. In this sense, they are useful and extend “reach”.

To those who critique the Khan Academy videos or way of learning, I would counter, “What digital content have you created that is helping millions of people of all ages to potentially learn a massive amount of technical and complex content? How are you reaching those in vast and global settings?” Nothing is perfect; the point is that there is content that is open and available.

People understand easily accessed, digital available multi-media that can be used for teaching purposes. When combined with text-based content, I think this is the best type of content for learning. I can read it, click hyperlinks, watch audio and video content, and can dialogue in community if comment threads are available.

What We Can Do as Influencers, Knowledge Creators, and Synthesizers

We are all influencers even if we are not academic superstars. What we do matters to those in our circles of influence and networks. Also, our networks are every changing and multi-dimensional. What we do with our beliefs, efforts, teaching, and learning is noticed by others, for better or for worse. Therefore, there are many ways to take action in learning  more about, advocating for, and implementing open education as a paradigm in our teaching and learning worlds.

Learn more about the Open Access movement and Open Educational Resources (OER) movements. Tell others about these ideas in whatever way you share information.

Consider sharing our own knowledge with Creative Commons licensing. Learn more about the different types of licensing and use attributions correctly.Tell others about these ideas in whatever way you share information.

Learn more about multi-modal content creation such as via YouTube. It’s great to track one’s own analytics and see the reach one can potentially have with content.

Spread the word about open learning opportunities that you come across. These can be shared via email, in person, at conferences or in writing, and/or social media.

-If you are a formal educator in K-12 or higher education or another teaching context, formalize your expertise and share it. Consider creating podcasts or video-based content, and/or blogging.

Comments are most welcome! -Peggy

Invitation to “Teaching with EdModo K-12”: UTA New Teacher Webinar, Sat., Oct. 10, 2015:

The UTA New Teacher Webinar Series Presents “Teaching with EdModo K-12”, Saturday, October 10, 2015. 1:00-1:45 pm, CST
1-minute video invitation

Join us on Saturday, October 10 at 1:00 pm (CST) for the free open-access webinar. This webinar is part of series of webinars for all educators, with a focus on new teachers.

Click here for more details: https://www.smore.com/hph2r.

The recording will be posted on our YouTube channel:

We hope you can attend! Please share this info with anyone else who might be interested. Contact Dr. Peggy Semingson with any questions at: peggys@uta.edu

*Cut and paste any links above, if needed, into your browser window.

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Top Ten List of Tips: Synchronous Teaching + Learning

“Online learning is not the next big thing, it is the now big thing.” – Donna J. Abernathy

I teach 100% online at The University of Texas at Arlington and have not taught a course on campus since Fall, 2013. Teaching via distance education means I like to still connect with students, so I choose to implement synchronous learning using videoconferencing to personalize the course. As a facilitator of a Professional Learning Community focused on Synchronous Learning, I also share ideas with the group as part of our sharing ethos in a PLC! The list of top ten tips for synchronous learning I shared with my PLC is below! Comments and suggestions for doing real-time teaching are welcome.

  1. It takes time and practice to learn how to facilitate (do the technical aspects) plus stay on top of designing and running a virtual classroom space. Join other people’s sessions to help out and co-produce. Also attend “other people’s webinars” to get tips and attend on a “meta” level.
  2. The ability to multi-task and stay calm under pressure (especially while piloting a synchronous session “solo”) is ESSENTIAL. Have a Plan B and C and D!
  3. Prepare the session to be highly interactive for students. This means about every 5-7 minutes do something interactive, For example, pose a question where participants respond in the chat window or with text on the virtual whiteboard. Polls (multiple choice or open-ended) can springboard into conversation with audio and/or in the chat window. Open ended prompts that the instructor will pose can be sent ahead of time so students can have time to think about them. Knowledge sharing from students in the chat window helps, depending on level of expertise of students and their background knowledge. Make them not “lecture-like” but do provide good input and information so they will want to attend the session.
  4. It helps to send students a tutorial ahead of time so they have a sense of how to login and how to do the audio setup, etc. The audio features can be the trickiest for both the moderator and participants. Provide a quick overview of the technical aspects before diving into the session.
  5. Make webinars convenient. Consider making webinars extra credit with a reflection due. Record all webinar sessions.
  6. Read books and websites about how to do synchronous learning. Videos are out there, too, on how to run good webinars.
  7. Structure the session. Send the PowerPoint and any documents that will guide the session out ahead of time and post to Blackbaord in multiple places.
  8. Have fun with it and inject your personality into the session. I include pics of my dog as appropriate and also have a few “encouraging words” (motivational type of stuff) and inspiring quotes within the webinar so it’s not all just information.
  9. If your content is better off as an asynchronous video, consider making a video instead. Use the live session for interaction, dialogue, chat, modeling/demonstration, etc. that takes advantage of the features of live synchronous sessions.
  10. Use emoticons and informal language in the chat window! LOL. Have fun with it! The synchronous session can be a mix of formal language and also informal chat.

Additional tips: Invite others to join your session and find webinars to attend to learn how synchronous learning works!

Recommended books: practical “how to get started” resources

  • Clay, C. (2012). Great webinars: create interactive learning that is captivating, informative and fun. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.
  • Finkelstein, J. (2006). Learning in Real Time: Synchronous teaching and learning online. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Murphy, K. L., Mahoney, S. E., Chen, C. Y., Mendoza-Diaz, N.V., & Yang, X. (2005). A constructivist model of mentoring, coaching, and facilitating online discussions. Distance education, 26(3), 341-366. doi: 1475-019.
  • Garrison, D. R. (2015). Thinking collaboratively: Learning in a community of inquiry. London: Routledge/Taylor and Francis. [More broad-based ideas about building online community]

Video (2-minutes) about why I like synchronous teaching and learning:

Thinking Like a Digitally Connected Professor…with Mobile Phone in Hand

“Mobile phones are misnamed. They should be called gateways to human knowledge.” –Ray Kurzweil 

“The students of the future will demand the learning support that is appropriate for their situation or context. Nothing more. Nothing less. And they want it at the moment the need arises. Not sooner. Not later. Mobiles will be a key technology to provide that learning support.”
 –Dr. Marcus Specht 

Is your mobile device (phone) always in your hand? Mine is. My boyfriend can attest to this. It has advantages (convenience and lifehacks/timehacks). I hope to share in a series of posts, the way my mobile device can help me create teaching and learning materials for my classroom and beyond. Here are a few mobile apps I use on a regular basis and “digital habits” I have learned to create for myself that enhance my teaching.

  1. Camera feature. Nearly all smartphones have a camera. I teach literacy studies courses. That means I teach teachers how to teach reading and writing (plus other facets of language arts/language/literacy). I have started taking pictures of  literacy and language events to include in the professor-authored materials I create.  Pictures that relate to your course content can come in handy when designing the following:
    • Text-based content (aka “Professor-Authored Readings”). These are usually text-based readings saved as a PDF and they are basically a summary of key ideas, my own commentary on course content, and additional ideas not in the textbook. Pictures enhance any block of text. Avoid the dreaded “wall of text” in text-based readings. In fact, ironic though it may sound given my subject area, try to avoid over-doing text-based readings. All students will tell you they are visual learners (whether multi-modal learning styles actually “exist” is subject to much debate. See Dan Willingham).
    • Content-slides for webinars. I always include a PowerPoint ahead of time for students to preview and review before and after a webinar.
    • Images for background of podcasts. I use VoiceThread, Tellagami, and SoundCloud. Images don’t have to be content-specific, either. I include geographic-specific local iconic and unique images of the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex that reflect the area. This is especially fun for me to represent the region to students who may never actually attend class in a brick and mortar classroom at UT Arlington.
    • I ask my twin sister to send literacy-related images of my niece’s and nephews interactions with literacy and save these to my mobile device.
    • To sum up this feature, I have started “seeing” the world through the lens of an all-online professor who seeks out creative digital visual content to include in current and future digital materials I create myself. Using my own images means I own them.
  2. Voice Memo app. I use the Voice Memo app on my iPhone6 to create both a) transcripts for podcasts and b) the audio podcasts themselves. Opening up a note means that I can use the speech-to-text feature to record my words and then email them to my laptop to edit and ultimately use as a transcript. I do this through a Google Doc to store all work in the cloud (convenience). I can then read from the transcript (pulled up on either my iPad or my laptop screen) and recording the podcast and then email it myself. Quick and easy! Ideas are brainstormed, semi-scripted, and they are easy to  produce by myself. I can do these on my couch or chaise lounge!

IMG_2672

 

How do you think about course design and adding multi-media content to your teaching, with your phone in hand? 

Comments are welcome!