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Flipped = lecture x 2?

September 27, 2016


According to CronkNews, a professor returning from a recent conference was elated to have discovered flipped classes, a teaching model that yields “Twice As Much Time to Lecture.”

If you’re tuning in for the first time, articles at CronkNews masquerade as reports from higher ed but are actually snark-filled satire (like The Onion, but not as believable). What’s described in the first sentence didn’t happen in the real world.

One would have to be pretty cynical to imagine that any real professor would be so intent on cramming content down the throats of students or colleagues. The piece does, however, serve to remind us that student-centered teaching has yet to become standard procedure in colleges and universities.

[Image: “Backflip” by 50mm Photographer, shared under a CC:BY-NC-ND license]

Camtasia updating in October

September 22, 2016


This week, Techsmith announced that a major release of their Camtasia screencasting software will roll out in October. Windows and Mac versions will be the same! Drop the “Studio”– on both platforms it will simply be “Camtasia.” Macs will do quizzing and hotspots, and you can share projects across platforms.

As you can see in the video below, there’s a refreshed interface with new assets (music, images, etc.). It will make better use of RAM and be optimized for 64-bit processors, so it’ll be faster. You’ll also be able to apply behaviors – special effects for text and images.

Possible downside: the Mac software price may jump considerably. Feature parity usually means price parity and currently the software for Windows costs more than twice as much.

Snagit was updated in June

In case you missed it (I did), Camtasia’s little sister Snagit was updated last summer. If your copy has a maintenance license, just download a trial copy of the new version, install it, and give it your existing license key. Full sets of tutorials are available for Snagit 13 for Windows and Snagit 4 for Mac.


I am a TEACHING geek first!

September 21, 2016


I was captivated by the above bit of wisdom, which I received from a friend. I didn’t like the image that appeared with it on Facebook, so I made an alternative that hints at the demise of tech supremacy (more on that below). A little Googling revealed that the quote was originally posted on Twitter by an award-winning Missouri school principal.

Dr. Geurin also blogs, and in Tech Geek or Teaching Geek? he suggests that maybe teachers need to be both kinds of geeks. He says a teacher’s first concern is to design engaging effective experiences; the tech comes later. A teaching geek will do everything possible to enhance learning, he believes, while a tech geek is more likely to start and stop with tech. My favorite point that Geurin makes is this one: you don’t have to be a geek to use tech well.

Wait, Chris, you’re a major tech geek. What are you trying to say?

I’m a teaching geek first. I know that high-tech tools can help enhance learning, but they are not teaching strategies. I believe we are beginning to move away from seeing technology per se as the go-to answer, toward a focus on effective practice as the key to learning.

From the same soap box:

iRubric offers VALUE rubric templates

September 13, 2016

value rubric logo

In 2009, The Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) assembled faculty and other experts who created a set of sixteen rubrics as part of an initiative called Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE). These detailed and well-though-out rubrics are now available for download as PDFs on the AAC&U website.

iRubric, and online rubric creation tool, offers templates for the VAULE rubrics. You can copy one to your iRubric account’s collection of rubrics and then use it as-is, adapt the language to your needs, or attach point values.

Clay Shirky explains class tech ban

September 9, 2016

clay shirkyClay Shirky teaches media studies at NYU and writes extensively about the Internet. For a long while he let students in his classes use tech at will. Two years ago that changed and Shirky explained his evolution in Why I Just Asked My Students To Put Their Laptops Away.

I have struggled with this for years. It’s not a simple question. There’s so much gray area and no single answer works for everyone. This essay is the best response I’ve seen to date.

[Clay Shirky portrait courtesy of Wikipedia]