Monday, December 9, 2013

2013 Top 10 - part 2

The continuation of my "top ten" list of favorite posts from this year:

Faculty use technology when they need it (July 22)
Technology is fairly new to the workforce, and that includes faculty. Remember, the PC was only introduced to office desktops in the 1980s (unseen mainframes in server rooms don't count). If people enter the workforce in their 20s and retire in their 60s, that's a 40-year work generation. So computers have only been part of the workplace for less than a work generation. There are still a lot of people out there who remember doing their work without technology. For faculty, their job is teaching and for that they have relied on a chalkboard (or whiteboard) for pretty much their entire careers, going back to their years as an undergrad. Even Powerpoint was a stretch for most faculty to learn, but Powerpoint isn't much more than a "captured" version of their whiteboard talk, so many faculty eventually warmed to Powerpoint as a means of delivering lectures.
Active learning classrooms (August 19)
In short, Active Learning Classrooms (also Technology-Enhanced Active Learning Classrooms, or Flipped Classrooms) changes how students and faculty interact in the classroom. In an Active Learning Classroom ("ALC") work previously done in the classroom is now done outside the classroom, and activities traditionally done outside the classroom now occur in the ALC. Students learn in a more engaged model on their own, typically through recorded lecture or interactive media, then return to the ALC to interact with a cohort of other students to exercise what they have learned. Through ALCs, student performance is often improved, students are more engaged, and students have direct access to their instructors. It's a topic I returned to later, in discussing the post-lecture classroom.
The future of technology (September 2)
Can you predict the future? Even Jedi Master Yoda could not, claiming it was "Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future." But in shaping our own future, we can imagine what promise the future might hold, then work to achieve it. In technology, we are the drivers of future progression. In campus technology, we are the ones who help shape what is to come. Our job as campus technology stewards, therefore, is to find the new technology that can best benefit our campus, and work to make it happen.
What's your focus? (September 9)
We only have so much time in a given week. How you divide your time is up to you. But where should you provide focus? Think of your available time as a "pie," and how you divide your time as "slices" of the pie. That's your time for the week. You can't make the pie any bigger, unless you want to work through the weekend. How do you spend this available time? Start by considering the types of duties you perform each day: lead-manage-do. In October, I also shared an example of my lead-manage-do journey and a similar reminder on Relative Importance.
Tweets from the future (September 16)
At Morris, we designed a mobile webapp that answers the question "It's after dinner, what can I do?" We focused exclusively on current on-campus students, and looked for only the information that would interest them. Instead of separating events into "categories," we utilized a coherent "timeline" view starting now and looking forward into the immediate future. Students visiting m.morris.umn.edu effectively see "tweets from the future" about upcoming events and activities: weather, events, arts, sports, and news.

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