Thursday, July 6, 2017

Day 3

Friday, June 23, 2017

 The day began with me, as a member of the executive, having the privilege of announcing the poster of work winners at the opening session.

The first place outstanding poster award went to Linda McGilvary, Lori Schoening, Doreen Hayward, and Hannah Foss from the Geophysical Institute, of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA. The title of their poster was "Learning Through Cultural Connections: The Northern Lights."

 I personally love the idea of learning about the North and cultures through science, and I would love if kids around the world could follow the curriculum that is shared openly from this grant from the US Department of education. More information can be gleaned  from the following website:

Afterwords our keynote was delivered by Karen Schriver of KSA Communication Design and Research, Inc. on "Implications of Information Design for Technology-based Learning".  Many of the design and writing styles we teach in our communication classes at BCIT were covered; she said that there is less of a debate on sans serif font use now, but spacing between letters is crucial for comprehension of words on screens.   Something I learned was the impact of "small multiples". According to Wikipedia, "A small multiple is a series of similar graphs or charts using the same lscale and axes, allowing them to be easily compared." To me, small multiples seems to crowd screens, but for the effect of contrast, I may consider using them in the future.  And for scientific writing that my students do, transferring teh concept into their presentations may, indeed, have a place.  In sum Karen emphasized spending time on design and plain language to improve the student experience.

I popped into a 10 am session on "Assessing without Testing", but it was geared towards elementary learners and a purchaseable software from a vendor, so I popped out recommending to EdMedia that knowing a topic in my 3.4/3.8 stream would have been more helpful to know that it was for primary audiences. The 3.4/3.8 stream to which I refer is the code for session topics that fall under these two categories:  Improving Classroom Teaching and Teaching/Learning Strategies.

As I planned to go to the room for my next presentation, I was able to catch the end of Alan Amory's presentation on the African storybook initiative (   And like us, and the poster session in British Columbia on open educational resources (OERs)  for cultural connections by the University of Alaska, I am heart warmed to see the early adopters who are sharing materials for the benefit of others worldwide. I am planning on sharing these materials with the educators in Greece and meet at ICICTE so that I can help promote literacy and shared curricula. The country of Greece is experiencing such dire times economically which has a top-down effect on education and learning environments. OERs like this can be a game changer for countries who need resources at no cost. I, too, would like to contribute to the OER materials by producing  course materials with PressBooks starting from the fall.  I miss being a researcher and presenter at these educational technology conferences and will endeavour to be presenting next year. Complications to my foot surgery last September prevented me from contributing a research project,  but being healthy again gives me options!

The next session I attended was entitled "From "Sit and get" to "Stand and Deliver": Harnessing the Power of Digital Media to Enhance Learner Engagement and Student Success" by Katie Alaniz, Houston Baptist University River Oaks Baptist School, and Dawn Wilson, Houston Baptist University USA.  The presenter reminded us in a very interactive style that some jobs today did not exist before, like being a Blogger or Analytic Processor. She provided us with a very effective graphic on the six Cs of 21st-century learning.  She recommended three websites for collaboration and ownership,
Image result for six Cs of 21st century learning(from

Finally, the last session I attended at the conference was on cognitive load theory entitled, "How Might Technology Impact Student Learning?" where the presenter posits we keep adding to students' loads but never take away anything. Larry Tinneman, the presenter,  from Indiana State University observed how our brains are changing, shrinking with language capabilities and moving to the more visual area of our brains. Like other presenters, he reminded us to consider including the way students today communicate as part of our assignment criteria, like using video production. Building the creative side of the brain with problem-solving objectives will also engage today's learners. We do not want to become obsolete as we watch students who often learn more outside the classroom than inside the classroom, and remember to teach the critical thinking skills for them to navigate through the technology as we've seen evidenced in the Smithsonian artifacts of explorers who had to forge their way with new methods.

Although EdMedia will now be hosted annually in Amsterdam as of 2018, I hope to still be involved. I have had such a rewarding conference experience since 2009 as a participant, researcher, presenter to executive team member.  Being a part of the executive and seeing how things are run from behind the scenes has impressed me even more about the quality of this conference and its dedicated Chairs, organizers, volunteers, and participants. I thank BCIT and EdMedia for making all this sharing and learning possible.
Social Night

2017 Executive

Day 2

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The day began with Paper Awards and the keynote. Today's speaker was Diana Oblinger, President Emeritus of EDUCAUSE, USA. The title of her talk was "The Futures of Higher Education".   The subtitle could have been "interdependence on the ubiquitous use for availability of technology. Oblinger showed a myriad of ways that technology should be enhancing our lives and showed us evidence of computer-based research capabilities. At the end she reminded us to plan for our students' realities of having their jobs potentially enhanced with technologies like robots that may work alongside of the students doing their work.

We also need to be aware, she warned, of the potential of how analytics work and realize the good side where students can actually take advantage of how analytics can be doing searches for them getting jobs on a potentially global scale.    

For me, the most interesting thing she shared was how analytics have massive potentials for learning, knowledge, and news. These analytics can do research using the incredible number of research papers being done each day and find solutions that would take human beings potentially years to achieve. We need to watch our students' reactions to such inundating information and work with them to navigate their world. 


 The first session I attended for the day was in a round table configuration. Many of the presenters were graduate students wanting/asking for input on their research. The session I selected was called, "The Potential of Media-Augmented Instruction to Foster Empathy at a Foundational History Course at the Collegiate Level" by Andrea Dawn Rector from Indiana State University.  This topic addressed the presenter's (and my) concern for her students' inability to feel empathy for horrific world events. She quoted writers such as Jason Endicott (Historical Empathy) and Simon Cohen (The Science of Evil).  It is my experience that we definitely need to be aware of the impact the constant bombardment of graphic images our millennials are exposed to and the effect it can have on their psyche.

In my own classroom this year, I had the largest number of students needing accommodation for unwielding degrees of anxiety and depression. Following the research by academics like Rector can help get ideas for supporting our students by teaching empathy, and then addressing severe degrees of mental health issues which are popping up in our learning environments.

It was clear that our current theme in this conference on educational technology was, indeed, the impact on social and emotional learning.  I also attended the session and titled, "Teaching Assessment in an Online Environment: Ethical Conflicts, Concerns, and Solutions" by William Garner from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  Much of this presentation focussed on self assessment tools, and the presenter provided a selection of the ones he uses for students who are undergoing rehabilitation counselling at Little Rock Arkansas. He recommended and other tools like the Keirsey and Myers-Briggs sites which I already use as part of my resume building curriculum. More links were as follows:
-(Free occupational Career exploration tools)  
-(Texas career check interest profiler) Connected to all the schools in the schools in the USA)
-(California career zone)   
-(Self reporting tool)

Often as instructors of  technical communication at BCIT, we help students prepare their job packages, and even though they know the field into which they are training, knowing more about their own selves to get ready for an interview is always helpful


 As a general comment to presenters, I would recommend that they always check in with their audience to see how much the audience already knows on the topic, and remember that a presentation can also be a collaborative event.  These kinds of conferences are asking us to change the way we teach based on personalized learning models, so we must begin with how we present and practice these methodologies. Just last week on my own campus at BCIT, we were  told that the students coming in to campus will have these learning experiences, and we must adjust our styles to engage them and us. 

 Chairing a networking lunch table was also part of my executive duties: 

 All delegates discussed software  they used to build community, dialogue, and participation in the courses. I'm pretty sure that our LMS,  D2L, has the capacity to handle many of these types of activities, but great to hear about collaborative techniques that are happening in so many ways throughout North America and Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia and New Zealand. I was dutifullykeeping track on my napkin:

To annotate some they are as follows: 

  1. Google Hangout
  2. Slack
  3. Groupme
  4. Zoom
  5. Today's Meet
  6. Basecamp
  7. Trello
  8. Voicerecorder (app)

There was a lot of discussion on giving feedback through audio tools from both the student and the instructor. I wish I knew more about these systems, but learning and having an open mind and networking is all about why I am here!

 In the afternoon, as part of my executive duties, I bought metro tickets for and accompanied a group to the Natural History Museum. I learned that Theodore Roosevelt offered 250 carefully labelled specimens of birds and mammals that he began collecting from Egypt in Africa with his father from before he was 10 years old, pre-1900! I would encourage my Fish, Wildlife, and Recreation students to go and see these intact artifacts, which surprisingly, have been kept in such amazing condition for over 100 years!


I returned in time to be a part of the executive committee who judged the poster sessions. The criteria were "Concept, Presentation, Innovation, Methods and Results, and Implications for Practice". Joining the executive for the final decision was always encouraging because almost unanimously we all agreed on the top three! Executive member, Betsy, had provided tips on the conference website for making an exceptional presentation. It's clear some of the presenters followed the guidelines. The other great thing about working in a team, in terms of the poster composition, was hiring a design team to help with the display. The winning poster made good use of their media design team at their institution. We must always remember to rely on the strength of people on our teams and institutions and call on them when we need their input and skills

I'm excited to be announcing the winners tomorrow.