Celebration of Learning

As each semester at school starts, we begin with a series of professional development. I have the honor of being part of three presentations today (Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017). I thought readers may be interested in the highlights of these events.

  • Faculty Fellows (Online Faculty Showcase) – I have been participating in the Faculty Fellows program in the Fall, 2016 semester (I have done this at least once a year for many years).  I have been working with my colleague Professor Pia Gavino. I introduced her to a number of tools and techniques (including the Adobe Spark tools). During this presentation, she will focus on the materials she has developed using these tools.
  • Using Adobe Spark in classes – I am providing a hands on session covering the use of Adobe Spark in teaching and learning. My colleague, Nicole Reese is also involved with this hour long session.
  • Faculty idea exchange – My colleague Pam Dewey and I are facilitating a session focused on innovative teaching and organization ideas. We asked all participants to bring at least one idea to share with colleagues.

Professor Gavino will be sharing resources she has developed in the Online Faculty Showcase. For the other two sessions, I have put together some materials and am sharing them. Perhaps they will be of interest to you as well.

Using Adobe Spark in classes. Education is experiencing a number of disruptive forces these days. Sure, we have all gotten used to online classes, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course), and flipped classes. However, there are many more forces at play these days. To focus on just a few.. we are experiencing a shift to:

  • Learning on my schedule, not yours (some call this on demand learning). Individuals want smaller chunks of information that can be delivered at a time and place of their choosing. They want digestible bits, not a full course meal. This is causing many to rethink how we offer materials (format, delivery and so forth).
  • Increased use of mobile devices (in the classroom and beyond). Mobile is here to stay; yet, I am always amused at the signs I see on campus telling everyone to turn off or silence their mobile device. After all learning is about to take place. OK, my approach to this is to embrace this technology. Lean into it. Turn on your mobile devices and take advantage of what is being offered to you (in smaller chunks, of course). Asking someone to turn off their mobile device is simply not going to happen. Nomophobia seems real, and, more importantly, we are in constant contact with co-workers and peers (in addition to family). We rely too much on mobile devices to turn them off for a period of time. Instead, let’s include activities which allow us to take advantage of the capabilities of these devices.
  • Robust and cheap/ free tools. There are so many options available today (whether app based on your mobile device or web based). Many of these are free or relatively low cost and are quite powerful. Adobe Spark is one of those sets of tools which comes to mind.

During this hands on session, individuals will create an account to use Adobe Spark (via the website). and develop some materials for classes using Post, Page, and Video. Here are a couple of videos produced with Adobe Spark which will be reviewed during the session.

  • Ignite your creativity (and that of your students as well). This is one I developed just for this session.
  • Introduction to PSY 102 by Karen Droms is an example of a course introduction done in Adobe Spark. This is just one of many examples showing how Spark can be used in the classroom and beyond.

Faculty Idea Exchange. This is an open discussion where participants are asked to bring a “tip to share.” Tips and online resources will be made available via Blackboard so all participants have access to what was discussed. The tips I plan to share include the following:

  • Learning objectives generator – while this tool is certainly not perfect, I have found it useful to develop draft learning objectives. The part I like best is that one does not just focus on one aspect of learning (for example Bloom’s Taxonomy has a number of different considerations). I use this tool to develop a draft/ starting point. I can then modify it as needed for the specific class and learning activity.
  • Online file converter – there are times when I need to convert a file from one format to another (think .wav to .mp3 as an example) and I do not have ready access to my computers (with Adobe Media Converter). I have found this to be a helpful tool to quickly convert files from one format to another.

So, this is a hint of what is going to be discussed during these sessions today. I hope readers found this useful. As always, I look forward to your comments.

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