David in Carroll Land: Liz, Amy, and DumbleDave Explore ExamTime

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David

Examtime is a relatively new (beta) version piece of software which has interesting potential for students and teachers. Here is a relatively recent Lifehacker review.

by dsimpson

Here is an example of a fun “quiz” I made. I included multiple choice, True/False, and multiple response check-list formats. It was easy to upload images. I’d like to see the capability to include html code, videos, and hypertext links.
by dsimpson

Here is a silly example of flash cards:
by dsimpson
Here is some feedback I received from two of my research assistants, Liz and Amy:
Amy

Liz
ExamTime is an education tool used to make mind maps, quizzes, and notecards. The application also allows you to take notes and build schedules for studying. ExamTime is a great place to for students and educators to collaborate and share information. The application is currently in a beta version and is a free tool.

To explore the features of ExamTime I made a mind map, notecards, and a quiz. Of the three, the most time was spent on the mind map, which was the most extensive of the three. I found the ability to personalize the mind map very appealing. ExamTime allows you to make the map as linear or randomized as you wish. Other features include, the ability to add notes or pictures within the mind map and to customize the shapes and colors to make the map visually appealing. This tool is an exceptional addition to classrooms, educators, and students of all ages. For example, 100 level language students could use ExamTime flashcards to study vocabulary, make a mind map for verb-conjugation practice and quizzes for cultural integration.

Things I especially liked. On the surface, the application is very simple, but has many features. I particularly like the ability to create quizzes to share with friends for studying together. I also love that after creating a mind map, with a simple click you can transfer the information into notes. Additionally, you can add videos, links, photos, and slideshows to a note. Not only does this application have a significant number of options for studying, it is very user friendly and allows members to organize a large pool of information quickly and easily.

Things in Need of Improvement. When making an extensive mind map, there is a set amount of space available, so running out of room can be a concern with this application. Another struggle is perfectly matching the color and shapes of nodes so the final product looks polished and professional. Additionally, hypertext links cannot be added to the information which can limit some types of information sharing.

What are your experiences with Examtime? How does it compare with other similar software?

OMG: Twittering (Reconsidered)

Several years ago I pontificated the value of my using Twitter. At that time I  came to the conclusion that Twitter  was not a useful tool for me. Much of my current thinking
has benefitted from my reading or rereading several books (listed
below), my having participated in Carroll Technology Fellows group discussions,
and my developing with six student research assistants a new course ("Pioneering Virtual European Immersion
Experiences"). I also have found value in revisiting some resources I discovered such as this classic tutorial by the consummate visionary, teacher, and proselytizer, Jane Hart.

 

        Books that have shaped my thinking:

  1. Michelle Pakansky-Brock's Best Pracices for Teaching with Emerging Technologies. She writes well and thoughtfully, recognizes the limits of technology tools and offers a well-reasoned set of criteria for deciding which tools to integrate into the classroom. She is definitely someone I find value in "following"so I do!

Susan Manning and Kevin E. Johnson's The Technology Toolbelt for Teaching. This book provides a useful decision matrix for choosing among and using the "right" technology teaching tool. As a result of having studies this book, I now have a better understanding of some situations where Twitter can be helpful to me in my teaching and scholarship.

  1. Deltina Hay's A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization. This book, though not written by a a teacher or for teachers,  provides a very pragmatic guide to maximizing the benefits of Web 2.0 tools. I found the CD of links particulary instructive.
  2. Paul McFedries' twitter Tips, Tricks, and Tweets. Though somewhat outdated, this book successfully provided me with helpful, lucid details on mastering features of Twitter of which I was totally unaware.

Now if I can only divine my message to Pope Benedict XVI to 140 characters or less.

 

Internet Detritus and Wabi-sabi

A few years ago a Carroll trustee remarked to me that he wondered how much Internet detritus has accumulated (unused email accounts, abandoned web pages, forgotten electronic projects). Jim's musing about this lost virtual space recently returned to me while I was attending a Carroll Technology Fellows' meeting. We were being introduced to wikispaces and it dawned on me that I not only had an account there, but I also had abandoned accounts on four other wiki hosts which I had explored intermittently since 2007: pbwiki, wetpaint,
twiki, and jotspot. That embarrassing realization in turn led me to revisit Woods and Thoeny's (2007) Wiki's for Dummies, revisit all my prior accounts, and think about whether an "old" (e.g. 2007) largely abandoned teaching technology tool deserved any place in my technology teaching tool kit today.

Ward Cunningham invented the wiki (essentially a collection of web pages) as the simplest possible online data base that anyone could edit. Simple it is. Myriad wiki tools exist. Here is ONE way to choose among them.

I presently am using wikispaces because it is free to educators and is easy to use.  Presently, I have (re)found it valuable as a project manager of a
colloborative research project I am working on with six undergraduates where we have a
need for an easily accessible, editable shared repository on the web. Abundant well-written
tutorials exist for guiding the novice user.

Woods and Thoeny liken wikis to electronic, linkable index cards and enjoin the reader to embrace the attitude of "Wabi-sabi"—the beauty of unfinished content—as one enters the world of wiki collaboration. I personally find that attitude motivating in the same sense as the Zeigarnik effect or the lines of  Robert Frost "…miles to go before I sleep."  Though I have not seen wikis "conquer" problems as some wiki evangelists predicted, I presently benefit from the tool facilitating collaboration. Perhaps the logo on this t-shirt expresses it best:

SWIKI_375_1

 

 

 

 

Reaching Out Globally—Virtually

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Help me out. It is official. My 6 very talented undergraduate  research assistants and I have successfully "won" a university-wide competition with our proposal to create a pilot Cross Cultural Experience (CCE) at Carroll University with a focus on an in-the-classroom emersion experience. Each student will be awarded a new Ipad and will receive two-credit hours for pioneering this course development project.

"Dr. David Simpson, Professor of Psychology,
along with students Phoumany Phouybanhdyt, Ryan Waters, Catrina Duncan,
Amy Peterson, Elizabeth Firkus, and Maxine Venturelli,  
proposed
a pilot that focuses on a single culture/nation for approximately 2 weeks.
By the end of the semester students will be able to compare and
contrast several cultures to the United States. The goal of the
classroom experience is to give the students the
ability to have an immersion-like experience through the different uses
of technology incorporated within the course through class discussion
and student reflection. Students will have the ability to interact
globally through the use of various 21st
century technology learning tools."
We have already created a wikispace and will no doubt be using among other tools Skype and VoiceThread. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to cascade into the larger Carroll community several teaching tools I have been invesigating since 2007.
What a joy to work with, develop, and learn with such student talent. This is going to be fun.
We welcome ideas, contacts, and interested virtual observers as we learn together.
Thanks in advance to Drs. Lynne Bernier and Terri Johnson for creating this educational opportunity and special heart-felt thanks (or is that Hart-felt thanks) for my wise, generous, indefatigable virtual mentorship by Jane Hart for sharing her social media wisdom and insights across the years.