playground talk

Yesterday was like a Friday (today is Veterans day) so many moms and dads stayed on the playground late into the evening talking while the kids ran wild. I got into a discussion about should we encourage kids into vocations at an earlier age as they do in some countries, should we push them where they have natural talents and stop trying to get them all to certain “levels” in all areas.

Then we started talking about how even parents have to compete with technology for their child’s attention. All the same topics I see in higher ed coming from faculty are also coming from grade school teachers and parents.

I then saw two neat articles posted on linked in. One is about getting rid of the traditional lecture hall type classes in exchange for the flipped classroom and more active learning.

Then on the same day I read an article about the end of text books and how publishing industry is really doing poorly. It seems the books and the lecture style teaching are both struggling, could it be that we are just more focused on outcomes and realize the traditional ways may not be the best…

The Great Unbundling of Textbook Publishers

Read them and let me know what you think!







This is a great Ted Talk and I think I will leave it at this…


I’m Sorry Not Sorry

After reading this article about the recent results of teacher surveys on the use of technology impacting students ability to have long attention spans and be engaged I have some things to say.

Yes teachers need to be engaging but when was that not an issue? We all know we learn more if engaged. Attention spans are short, also not something new for kids or many adults if you think about the people in your life.

I don’t think technology is the problem, I think we are jealous of how easy technology makes engagement look and for many they will never be that exciting of a presenter. I think this helps the agreement of active learning and flipped classrooms for all ages.

The other day I was talking with some other working moms about doing presentations. For many people this is a HUGE fear, I even know teachers that are comfortable in a classroom but you put them in front of parents and they tense and freeze up. One mom who is a power house of a manager said she hates to speak in public and is very buttoned up and serious the whole time. She recently was trained on how to be more engaging. She said the presenter compared it to how everyone listens when a kid speaks. They are not only cute but they use their whole body, eyes, volume and intensity to convince you of what ever idea is on their mind, even if it makes no sense at all!

If you think of those presenters you really enjoy they are typically engaging for the same reasons, and if they are not adorable they might have a great sense of humor. Here is the article I read that provoked this blog.

Here is a picture of my engaging children.IMG_3365.jpg



Now what

There are many frightening articles such as this one about the negative effects of development on children using technology. What about negative effects in college? What about in the work force.

Are we all cooked and don’t need to worry about our own development just kids in this over digitalized world we live in? OR should we think about the benefits, new jobs and new technologies that will come from children being so use to technology.

My kids don’t understand why they can’t always see the face of the person they are talking to on the phone. They want that interaction not less interaction due to technology. While many adults prefer to text instead of picking up the phone. See my youngest below, he was shocked that people use to stand in a booth attached to a chord to talk to someone they couldn’t see.

Maybe our kids got it right and using technology to see each other more versus less could be a blessing. Here my kids are playing in the same “world” on different devices while in the same room. They are discussing, arguing and helping each other, seems like a win win, thoughts?

Here is another blog showing some positive outcomes:

5 Positive Effects Technology Has on Teaching & Learning



My Kids

At home I have a reader and a pre reader but they are also two very smart little people who know more about mindcraft and youtube videos then I ever will. At school they learn using computers, chrome books, projectors, iPads and iPods. They are using technology ALL THE TIME but are they engaged or turning into Minecraft zombies from too much screen time?

I learn every day from them and I hope sometimes they learn from me.

I also realize that even though they are in school from 9-3 there is so much more learning that goes on at home and its my job to make sure that time away from school is quality time. I think our time needs to be well spent on being a kid and knowing the good stuff. So we travel, try new things, bike ride, swim, play games, read and read and read. What are your thoughts on too much screen time? Will that change how they learn when they get to high school, college, a real job? Here is what the mayo clinic says about screen time but what about the ability to be engaged later down the line? Anyone?


First blog post

Hello world! I have never done the blogging thing and I have to admit I follow very few. I tend to randomly read blogs but then return to those I enjoyed. I find myself drawn to anything about living naturally, eating better, education and technology to name a few. Enjoy this blog and maybe you will return as well.

My job is to help faculty create engaging learning environments using technology. Our technology allows them to participate, test and answer questions while sharing real time feedback that faculty can use to enhance the short amount of class time provided.

Clickers and our Responseware (responding via mobile device) are only one of the technologies I see on campus along with screen capture, different testing modes, evolving learning management systems and the growing use of online and distance education options.

What I don’t see are more engaged students. I see them on their phone, listening to music and talking during class.

One faculty member at University of Arizona told me about a study where students were proven to be more distracted and receive lower grades if they sit in the back, lets all move to the front row! Here is an example of such study:

In another conversation with a Captain/Instructor of ROTC in Southern Utah, I was told they are taught that if they can’t be engaging enough for students to keep their eyes off their phones then they aren’t doing their job right. That seemed extreme since today students and most people are attached to our electronic devices but either way it may be the right approach, so how does education become engaging again? Please share your thoughts….

Also, what about those that are just starting the world of school and engagement to them is something very different then it was for us? Check out the next post!