Blog Archives

University Website: Workshop Techniques

For today’s educational institutions, the website plays a vital role in the organization’s mission. It enhances educational activities, supports communication with academic peers, professional colleagues, political decision makers, clients, students, parents and citizens, contributes to the marketing efforts, and fosters accountability and collaboration by enhancing transparency. The question of how to choose appropriate features and structural patterns for the website can be characterized as a ‘wicked problem’ with no true or false answers. Instead, many parties are equally equipped, interested or entitled to judge the solution. Judgments are likely to differ widely based on personal or group interests and values. Once implemented, any solution will generate waves of consequences over an extended period of time that are difficult to pinpoint and evaluate. Information design for university websites is a particularly challenging task in terms of process and product. The design process needs to take into account the complex organizational affordances for decision making in an academic environment. The design product needs to measure up to the wide variety of genres, contexts and voices. Typically, the web design challenges are less
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Teaching Objectives and Learning Goals

I am currently working on a series of course design workshops and have been thinking about the objectives of teachers and learners. Teaching objectives are both an instructional design tool, that allows creating meaningful assignments, and an instructional design element, that can precede a learning unit, e.g., as part of the syllabus in form of learning goals. It is a way for instructors describe their best intentions for the course (Stanny, Gonzales & McGowan, 2015). Clear objectives produce transparency for learners and instructors – and it does not have to be a one-way street: If the instructor wants to emphasize learner autonomy, students can be encouraged to state their own personal learning goals and to modify or critique the instructor’s teaching objectives. Defining teaching objectives makes the instructor aware of what is to be achieved with a learning module or course. Phrasing teaching objectives as specific as possible helps to achieve clarity. To this end it is helpful to follow a structured approach. In the 1950ies, the psychologist Benjamin Bloom developed gis influential approach to systemize teaching in a taxonomy.
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Using Social Networks for Teaching and Learning: An Interview with Süleyman Nihat ŞAD

For the majority of students, the profile in a social networking community is a natural part of their everyday communication portfolio – just as indispensable as the cell phone, and possibly more important than the e-mail address. Online social networking strengthens informal ties by disseminating a wide mix of personal content, professional journalistic media, blog posts, images, art, educational content, and other types of information among loosely connected people. Many lifelong learners leverage their personal network for work-related tasks. Examples include simplifying workflows (“cutting through the red tape”), passing on strategic information and mentoring network members in their professional development. Should teachers leave the social networking playground to students or should they actively engage in social networking practices to open up a new communication channel? To discuss this question, I reached out to Dr. Süleyman Nihat Şad, professor of curriculum and instruction at Inonu University, Turkey. With his colleague Yasemin Ersöz, Dr. Şad recently investigated Facebook as a peer assessment tool in art education (Ersöz and Şad, 2015). Please tell us more about your use of Facebook as a peer
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What Does It Take to Make a Maker? An Interview with Sandra Schön

“Widespread enthusiasm behind makerspaces in steadily growing” (Horizon Report, 2014). Makerspaces are community-oriented workshops that engage learners in problem-solving through hands-on design and construction, oftentimes combining analog material with digital tools. 'Making' comprises artistic creation, engineering and computing. Equipment and components vary and can reach from 3D printing to Lego blocks, from woodworking tools to recycled cardboard, scissors and glue. Students literally grasp new concepts and skills in hands-on activities. As highlighted in the Horizon Report, makerspaces have become a prominent fixture in formal learning settings of higher education and k-12 as well as in informal learning spaces of museums and libraries. What makes a makerspace? Merely offering equipment does not constitute an engaging, collaborative learning environment. Sandra Schoen is an expert on the Maker movement, both as a researcher and an educational activist. In the interview she shares insights from makerspace workshops with children and a making MOOC for educators. Sandra, you are a seasoned DIY, upcycle and making specialist. When did you get involved in the maker movement? Do you remember what first drew your attention? To be honest:
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Learning through Play: The Augmented Reality Sandbox

“Augmented reality can also help students learn by placing course content in rich contextual settings that more closely mirror real-world situations in which new knowledge can be applied” (Horizon Report, 2016). Augmented reality (AR) offers a new way of seeing and interacting with the learner's natural environment. Augmented reality describes the addition of a computer assisted contextual layer of information to the physical world, thereby creating an enhanced experience. One common application is the visualization of large datasets. Instead of exploring and manipulating the data via a computer interface, learners can control and interact in a real space, by moving material with their finger, hand, arm, or body. Augmented reality used to require specialized equipment, none of which was widely accessible or easily portable. Today’s applications and mobile devices allow digital information to be overlaid anywhere, anytime, at low cost. This opens the door for creative educational scenarios. While most augmented reality applications target older students and adult learners, informal learning spaces such as museums have broadened the audience to various age groups, including younger children, even in the pre-K
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Remembering Erik Duval

After a long battle with lymphoma, Erik Duval passed away this month. Those who knew him online, offline, peripherally or closely connected, will remember a genuinely kind person, an inquisitive mind and an open spirit. His personality, his research and his teaching have left pearls in the educational technology community that we will treasure and carry into the future. Erik Duval was a professor at the computer science department of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. He was involved with AACE and ED-MEDIA since the very start of the conference series and served as Chair of the Steering Committee, a presenter, keynote and invited speaker. He authored numerous papers in AACE publications and edited several special issues of AACE journals. In 2005, AACE recognized the outstanding accomplishments of Erik Duval with an AACE Fellowship Award. Erik was excited about the potential of Web 2.0 and social networks to create personal learning environments: “In the same way that all snowflakes in a snowstorm are unique, each user has her specific characteristics, restrictions and interests” (Duval, 2008). In the area of the open educational resources,
Posted in AACE, EdITLib Digital Library

EdITLib Is Changing Its Name to LearnTechLib — The Learning & Technology Library

EdITLib, the digital library sponsored by AACE, is changing its name and its domain. The new website,, will provide the identical content with a new name to reflect changes in the field of learning, education & technology: To reflect the change to a broader recognition of the intersection between learning and technology, EdITLib, the Education and Information Technology Library, is being renamed to LearnTechLib, The Learning & Technology Library. The new domain for the LearnTechLib website is It is our hope that this name change will encourage and inspire researchers, teachers, and students to explore new and effective learning methods and technologies inside and outside the classroom. The domain change will not affect current or future subscribers and links pointing to will continue to work indefinitely. For further information, please email
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Review of the Horizon Report 2016 Higher Ed Edition

Horizon Report 2015 and 2016 Editions at a Glance: Similarities and Differences The New Media Consortium (NMC) recently unveiled the latest Horizon Report 2016 Higher Ed Edition.  A copy is posted here in the LearnTechLib Digital Library along with copies of previous Horizon reports. Horizon 2016 In A Nutshell Each year, a group of over 50 international experts prepares the report following a modified Delphi approach. 2016 expert panelists come from the US, Canada, Columbia, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan, Turkey, Greece, Spain, Germany, Denmark and UK. Their collaborative online workspace is available for review as the Horizon Report Wiki. The 2016 Horizon report identifies 18 topics likely to impact planning and decision-making in the educational technology sector: Six key trends accelerating technology adoption, six significant challenges for technology adoption, and six important technological developments. Readers of the 2015 edition will recognize familiar themes – 11 out of the 18 topics were presented in the same or similar form in the previous year. In other words, this year’s issue is comprised to 60% of last year’s predictions, which creates a strong sense of déjà vu that is not usually expected in a trend
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Innovating Pedagogy: Which Trends Will Influence Tomorrow’s Teaching and Learning Environments?

In November 2015, the Open University released the latest edition of its 'Innovating Pedagogy’ report, the fourth rendition of an annual educational technology and teaching techniques forecast. While the timelines and publishing interval may remind you of the Horizon Report, the methodology for gathering the trends is different. The NMC Horizon Team uses a modified Delphi survey approach with a panel of experts, the 'Innovating Pedagogy' report is authored by a team of OU researchers. The 2015 edition was compiled in collaboration with SRI International. As in previous years, the report discusses ten innovations that are on the brink of having a profound influence on education.
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On the same page: AACE 2015 Facebook Insights

“The nature and popularity of Facebook itself challenges the idea of what an educational application should look like. Facebook puts the social community first, with content—including, but not limited to, educational content—being the medium of exchange between them.” Stephen Downes, 2007 AACE’s Facebook page is a public space that serves as a marketplace for ideas, starting point for discussions and entryway for inquiries. We use Facebook insights data to understand how people are engaging with AACE: AACE’s Facebook page has over 4,800 fans. During 2015, AACE gained more than 300 new followers. With over 100 messages, this was by far the busiest year for AACE on Facebook. Between 300 and 9,000 people are reached per week.
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