Book Review: Emergence and Innovation in Digital Learning – Foundations and Applications

emergencecoverEdited by George Velestianos, Emergence and Innovation in Digital Learning – Foundations and Applications, is an insightful survey of emerging technologies and practices in digital education. Technology is not neutral, and as such the creators of educational software embed in their programs a host of implicit assumptions about how students and educators will act and interact while using their software.

I especially appreciated the chapter on “Designing for Open and Social Learning,” where an example is given of a course where students use open platforms, like blogging software and twitter, to learn in public, publish public artifacts of their learning, and create their own personal learning networks.

I recommend this book for anyone interested in the intersection of education and technology.

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Undergraduate Information Literacy Curriculum Materials

As part of my MA in Education thesis, I’m publishing the teaching materials I used for the flipped information literacy instruction that I was studying under a Creative Commons BY-SA license. Below are six units that were integrated into an undergraduate first year research and writing class along with a 40 question pre- and post-test that was used to try to evaluate student skills and knowledge gain.


The materials below are in Google Doc format for easy review:

Here is the above materials in a Moodle package.

The above materials in MS Word format (zipped up).

If you have any questions, or problems accessing the files, please email me at:

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12 Years of Student Technology Ownership Surveys: Trends & Today’s Opportunities for Richer Learning Experiences

Thanks to Will Monroe, PhD, from Louisiana State Law School, who presented with me, on our student law school technology surveys. We conducted an informal survey of CALI conference participants on their personal technology ownership during the conference, and as promised, here are the responses:    Here is the video of the presentation including the slides (the audio quality improves after 2 minutes):

And, here is the session outline from the conference website:

For the past 12 years the University of Victoria Law Faculty & Louisiana State Law Center have surveyed incoming students on their personal technology ownership and usage in order to better understand the technology devices students are bringing with them to law school and how we can leverage those devices to provide a richer learning experience for students. In 2004 student data was gathered on laptop ownership and internet access. Questions were added over time, and we now collect data on the ownership and/or usage of: laptops, cell phones, tablets, email, collaborative document editing, desktop video, note taking, file backup, printing, and social-media. Current project goals include:

  • Discover technologies students were bringing with them to school and their use.
  • Explore ways to use personal technology for research and engaging instruction.
  • Identify means to provide equitable access to technologies for students who cannot afford to purchase it for themselves.

By the end of the session participants will have a clear view of the technologies law students bring with them to school, as well as some potential ways those tools can be leveraged to provide more engaging instruction and better services to students.

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Flipped Classroom: K-12 ProD Presentation at GNS

I had the chance to speak to a great group of educators at Glenlyon Norfolk School at their ProD event about the Flipped Classroom teaching method. There were a number of excellen questionsGood questions and a good discussion followed. Enjoy!


Photo Credit: Jillian McCue

Adopting a flipped classroom approach can free up valuable in-class time by using videos and exercises that students watch and complete as homework, or “pre-work.” This allows teachers to more easily differentiate their instruction and allows students to learn at their own pace. Teachers can typically spend more one-on-one time with students who are struggling during class time, and allows for more student selected project based learning to engage students. This talk includes an overview of the flipped learning model, a demonstration of one approach to flipping a classroom, and discussion of where flipped learning works and does not work well—along with equity issues to keep in mind when implementing.

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Posted in education, Open Source

Smartphones & Tablets as Homework & Research Tools for Students?

Can SmartPhones and Tablets be more than just distractions, but actually help with homework and research? This session looked at different strategies and applications that can help students turn SmartPhones and Tablets into a serious research tools.

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Retro Arcade Project

pigameI’ve been working on a Retro Arcade emulation project for a while and now I’m almost finished it! Here are the slides from my presentation today at UVic’s Ideafest and below are links to the build instructions and open source projects that make this Desktop Arcade possible:

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Posted in education, Work

Wonderful New Google Docs Templates for Education & More

Google Docs has released dozens of new professionally developed document, spreadsheet, and presentation templates for education and general use. Fortunately for my youngest daughter there are some excellent new science fair templates that will come in very handy tonight as she rushes to finish off her project at the last minute.

Your_big_idea_-_from_Made_to_Stick_-_Google_SlidesOne template that I love and I think could help many people (including myself) learn to use persuasive writing and presentations techniques was created by Chip and Dan Heath, the authors of “Make to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die.” In the form of a presentation they give examples of how to use unexpected and/or moving narratives to capture the imagination or your audience and call them to action. Enjoy their Make to Stick Presentation!

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