EdSurge queried ISTE participants about this in June and this article details the responses.  I agree with some — single-purpose Clickers are pretty clunky.  The problem with this, as well as the disgust about Scantrons (although this fellow is talking Digital Scantrons, which I don’t think are as common as paper in our environment!), the “solutions” to both problems involves a 1-1 student to (compatible) device in the classroom arrangement, something I certainly can’t count on.  How about you?  What EdTech “turnover” would you like to see in 2018?

Matt Bower from Macquarie University in Australia has just published a new book with this title.  Here’s the TOC:

Chap. 1 Technology Integration as an Educational Imperative
Chap. 2 The Technology Pedagogy and Content Knowledge (TPACK) Framework and its Implications
Chap. 3 Pedagogy and Technology-Enhanced Learning
Chap. 4 Technology affordances and multimedia learning effects
Chap. 5 Representing and sharing content using technology
Chap. 6 Design Thinking and Learning Design
Chap. 7 Design of Web 2.0 enhanced learning
Chap. 8 Designing for Learning using Social Networking
Chap. 9 Designing for Mobile Learning
Chap. 10 Designing for learning using Virtual Worlds
Chap. 11 Abstracting Technology-Enhanced Learning Design Principles
Chap. 12 Technology-Enhanced Learning – Conclusions and Future Directions
I ordered it and will let you know what I think once we’ve had a sit-down together (the book and I)
4 Aug / 2017

Digital Distractions

Quote for today:

“If we want to make a dent in the problem of digital distractions in class, we must begin by clarifying the policies we have created and the reasons behind them. Those reasons might look different from teacher to teacher.” — James Lang, professor of English at Assumption College. (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

A good thought while preparing the syllabus.  Not just “turn it off,” but this is WHY I don’t want you on Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat during class and it has to do with acquiring both the skills AND the discipline to be successful in life and in the workplace.

“Personalized learning” is a huge buzzphrase these days, but, like the blind men and the elephant, it seems to mean many different things to many different people.  This article (ignore the horrible headline!) has a description of the process some instructors are using, in conjunction with their Learning Management System and a few specialized tools, to create personalized learning pathways.  As someone who has just converted a course from face-to-face to “anytime, anywhere,” I am a bit in awe of the amount of work that these instructors have undertaken to make this happen; I think it would take me a lot longer than a summer!  But I’d love to see some samples and more practical implementation tips for doing this, nonetheless.  And I would love to take a closer look at tools like Gooru’s “Learning Navigator” that is mentioned in the article.  Does it really promote learner success or is it a step toward creating “assembly line” teaching?  What do you think?

I’d love to use more games in my classes but haven’t found any that have anything to do with our lesson material.  One company is trying to change that.  Legends of Learning has created several games that are available to play for free and hundreds more for which your “first $300 are free,” and support state and national education standards (for K-12, but that’s great for a college review, in my book!)  I’m encouraged to hear about the development of games to support education and see some interesting titles, especially in the “Life Sciences” category, although I’m not very clear how far my 3000 credits will go.  How about you — are you using games in the classroom?

An article in the Chronicle for Higher Education Review discusses the Janus-faced nature of social media.  On the one hand, students “curate” their accounts, maintaining a pristine appearance to the world since they know the information will be used by anybody who can get to it to influence decisions about their future.  On the other hand, students “let off steam” in anonymous forums and accounts with “temporary” posts like Snapchat and Instagram.  Is the dichotomy contributing to student stress and anxiety?  Should educational institutions do more to help students understand, analyze and navigate these treacherous waters?


This past year I’ve been part of a group from Library Services creating a pilot project that will create tutorials for faculty to embed in their Talon courses. After the first round of faculty and student testing of our first module (on Plagiarism), we heard from our pilot-ers, “We like the content, but can you make it more interactive?” This created the perfect opportunity to jump into my new role as a tech scout and investigate the possibilities. I thought, there just has to be a good tool out there that won’t take hours to learn, will interact nicely with existing video content on YouTube, and also embed into Talon/D2L.

I read lots of reviews, and tried out a few different options. Office Mix, a free PowerPoint add-in, was one promising program that I ended up not really getting to try out because I ran into technical issues loading it onto my office computer. Since then tech scout Kristie Murdoch has reviewed here on the blog! I also tried out EdPuzzle, and although it looks like an interesting tool, it wasn’t what I was looking for.

PlayPosit is the tool I decided to give a full trial. Basically, I wanted a way to take an existing video and embed within it questions or activities to engage the students watching the video in paying active attention to the content, and also processing the content rather than just passively taking it in.


PlayPosit video edit interface


PlayPosit is completely web-based, and has a nice simple interface. Once you log in you can immediately start creating interactive content based on an existing video. For my needs, I had videos I had already created and uploaded to YouTube, so I was ready to roll. I simply pasted in the URL of my video, and it showed up in the PlayPosit editing screen.


From here I began adding questions, placing them at the exact place in the video where I wanted students to pause and reflect, or check


PlayPosit “add question” interface

their understanding of the previous content. When students are watch my saved video, it will automatically pause at these points, and won’t continue until they have answered the question.

PlayPosit also has copyright agreements with YouTube and Vimeo that allow PlayPosit users to pull videos from these platforms, crop content if desired, and add interactive question elements. For more information see PlayPosit’s copyright FAQ. Once your PlayPosit interactive video is saved, you will have a couple different options for how to share it, through a link open to all, or through a link just for your students who have their own PlayPosit account (if you want to save their answers for grading).

I found PlayPosit to be very easy to use, with just very basic features, but those features being the ones I was looking for! This is perfect for those videos that you find on YouTube and would like to share with students, except that you only want certain chunks of it and don’t want to get permission from the owner, make a copy, do your edits, and reshare somewhere else. PlayPosit streamlines this and adds in the question features too. This is a great tool, and I highly recommend. (By the way, I tested the free version. The paid version has more question features.)

Give it a try, and let us all know what you think!