Saturday, January 16, 2016

Webquest = Student Engagement

Last year (2015) marked the 20th anniversary of the WebQuest model. The question here is why this technique is still rocking. In 2012, I wrote a blog about Webquests asking a similar question -
Several people responded the blog, and posted their websquest. Some of them were my students, which first prepare the webquest as an assignment, but then, after they use it on their students, they can see how this simple technique engage them.
Webquest has so many benefits and it is so simple to create that any professor or teacher can benefit for it. I have made one special for my doctoral students, in which they learn how to do research. I modify each time, but they all love the activity. I think the reason we still using it, and educators and students enjoy them is because a good webquest has critical thinking, cooperative learning, authentic assessment, and technology integration
One of the major benefits of webquest is student engagement. Several researchers have found that engagement is one of the major predictors of achievement. In this era of common core, we have to put more attention on how we engage our students. I challenge you to prepare your own webquest and use it on your classes and learn more about webquest .
Think about how the uses of webquest can help your students learn better!
Image result for student engagement picture

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Google Apps versus Microsoft Suite

It began with a small comment a couple of years ago -- "You can do everything with Google, you do not need Microsoft suite anymore" - I could not be the possible image the world without Microsoft. However, little by little I can see that the change is coming. I become a Google Educator, took some courses online, and my addiction begins. Why you cannot love to have everything on one spot, anytime anywhere!
I still learning more and more every day. I am writing my second book entirely in Google Docs. A little scary, because I do not know if I have to go through the process of formatting and reformatting in Microsoft words, and I have to surrender it again.

I changed the required book for a course that teaches educators to use Microsoft Suite among other things, to a book which guides a teacher to use google apps. A change begins with a small comment. Still a little insecure about having a total change and not to buying more updates from Microsoft. That is because the Internet. Google apps depend on the Internet. When I travel, I like to use Microsoft Word to write my books or any other document, without depending on the Internet.- What do you think?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

MOOCs experience II

Hello, my friends and followers – Something I learned from my experience from MOOC is that I tended not to say hi to the audience! – I was thinking, I already say hi in the first video of each topic, why I should say hi in each video – of course, and explanation came. Some people can choose which video to watch, and they may jump to video four instead going in consecutive order.
For a professor who likes to teach in stages, this was a challenge. It seems like preparing a video for an MOOC is like creating a TV series, each chapter has a beginning, end and topic. Each chapter has to stand by itself. I initially prepared it as soup opera style. You cannot understand a chapter if you do not watch it in sequence, and skills are acquired gradually, each chapter depends on the other.
I learned, oh my I learned with Blood, each time I have to re-do my videos because I forgot to say hi! – So beginning today, I will begin each blog with “HI.”
Me- Saying good bye- The last video was the hardest.

An MOOC usually deals with 1000+ students or followers, not all of them are actually your students so, the statistics say than 7% finish the course. I wanted to beat so badly those statistics.  As we speak, I began with 450 students (a good number for being the first time) and ended with 280 active students. 62% of participation. I should be proud of it.  What I did not change is the number of people who actually buy the certificates. It remained in 5% - still some days to go – but that is about average.
·         I am not really a seller – I just enjoying teaching, 5% doesn’t bother me at all. I know the MOOCs Open online academy owner may be disappointed but as I statistic professor (yes, I love statistics, and teach it!), I am not.  Just Reich (2014) found out that certification rates typically range from 2 to 10 percent when we divide the number of certificate earners by the total number of students who have ever registered for a course.However, and here is the catch – he said ” The study found that on average among survey respondents, 22 percent of students who intended to complete a course earned a certificate,  compared with 6 percent of students who intended to browse a course.”  It makes perfect sense. That means of the 450 students that I had, not only of them intended to buy the certificate, a big portion of them wanted just to learn. So If we follow Reich Match, here it is. I had 280 active suppose 20% intended to buy the certificate, that is 56 people, now of this 56 – 5% will actually buy it – that means 3 people. Yikes!. The MOOCs owners will be wondering if this was actually worthed.
I am not wondering, I believe it is totally worthed. I  invested as well I brought a camera, computers, equipment, and dedicated countless hours to create each of the lessons. I am so pleased with my 62 % that you can not no believe it. I asked my students for testimonials and they comments were amazing…so rewarding, that I am ready to prepare another course by free again. I am now preparing my book on the topic of personal Branding – I am calling it “From Bragging to Branding.” –  

Now, here is a question for you, Do you think that the MOOC phenomenon is compared with the You Tube phenomenon? 

Friday, May 8, 2015

My first MOOC

I was invited by Ivan Shumkov, founder of the Open Online Academy, and Harvard Alumni President,  to prepare a course to be taught online in a massive way.

What is MOOC, you may ask. MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) was introduced to world in 2008, and emerged in 2012. It is an online course that it is usually free, and it aims to reach the maximum number of people. When I was invited by Ivan, I said yes!

He asked me how long will take me to prepare a 6 week class - one hour video each. Uhm I said, I prepare classes all the time. I would say I can do it in a month (using my free time).
I should have read the Chronicle of Higher Education before making that statement!

The Chronicle says "In 2013, the Chronicle of Higher Education surveyed 103 professors who had taught MOOCs. "Typically a professor spent over 100 hours on his MOOC before it even started, by recording online lecture videos and doing other preparation", though some instructors' pre-class preparation was "a few dozen hours." The professors then spent 8–10 hours per week on the course, including participation in discussion forums.[101]"

Then, my adventure begin, I prepared the outline, then I looked for the materials, I read books, I check the competition,..and I wanted to write my own e-book "From Bragging to Branding" - which is now  a draft!- It won't be ready by Monday...but I can live with it.

Hello? how many hours do you think I have used just to prepare this!


Now, let's talk about technology! This class is delivered by videos...Quality of the videos is very important...!!! and not only the video but the seems that people can be fine with the videos but cannot stand a bad audio...

 I gave my word, so I have to deliver the best possible! -  Ivan sent me links with suggestions about a good camera a microphone. The best are sold in a store call B&H. The closest to my area is the one in Manhattan. Meaning two hours trip just going there.

Ivan called me, and told me, that we need the commercial for the class. He offered to work with me on this, but I really wanted to do something spectacular using my skills or learning how to do it.

Because  I live on Long Island, I have to go all over to Manhattan to buy a camera and microphone from B&H. Surprise! B&H is run by an  Orthodox Jewish group, and they were in Jewish Holidays. The store was closed!. So my trip to Manhattan, ended with Ivan taping me - my first commercial. I did not have any make up, and I was dress like going to the park. That will be fine for any class, but the class is about BRANDING!!!!- Ivan values teachers who look natural, so he encouraged me to do it. He is the expert so I did.
check out the video
Click on the cube. I have asked people how I look, all have been kind and tell me that I look great...really? Did you see my hair? I try to ask Ivan to delete it, but he also says that It looks great.

Ok. I guess just the thought people will see me I wanted to look a little better!- I also did a little research and I bought a Green Screen and two lights. I converted my living room in a studio. and It will stay like this for the next 6 weeks. No visitors. So what's the Green Screen for?

The Green screen is to change the background in anything that I want, videos, PowerPoint or pictures. I also realized that my laptop computer is not good enough for this videos, editing take for ever. For those who know me, they know I can't wait for ever! So I did more research and I bought my IMAC. yep! that's on my living room as well.

After buying the equipment online, and waiting for some days I have my camera and microphone!- I went to the Saloon, they did my hair and make up-- Oh, I know I know, I wanted to look great at least for the commercial.

And I re- did my two minute commercial for my own pleasure. and here it is - this is my very first video!! - not bad, right?

I want to give you an idea on how long time this is taking -- a 3 minute video, have taken me at least 4 days. My second set of videos took me 2 1/2 days, and my third set of 10 videos, 5 minutes each-- I am hoping 3 days. Working day and night. This is really an adventure. I am not going to the Saloon or doing special make up anymore. But I tried to look good.

What is MOOC for me?= Preparing, Taping, Editing, and Delivering. This is what I called my P-TED! in referring to the famous TED videos that I wish one day be on one of those. I already participating as volunteer translating videos for them. But that's another story for another day.

The class begins on May 11, 2015 - so far I have 500 students, and it seems that in the last two days it will go to 1000! this will be a great experience for me. The class is free for the public. So you can take it! the link is
I chose to go back to my roots and teach a course in the entrepreneurship area. A course, that it is also related with technology- specifically social media. The name of the course is PERSONAL BRANDING FOR SOCIAL NETWORKS. It will run for next 6 weeks

I will be blogging about my experience as it goes.  Wish me luck!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Collective Intelligence for Leadership and Innovation

On summer 2014, I went to a seminar in Harvard Boston Club: Harvard Global Systems. While I was in Boston I visited my former colleagues at MIT and I learned about MIT center in collective intelligence. I become fascinated with it. Their definition is simple "The MIT Center for Collective Intelligence brings together faculty from across MIT to conduct research on how people and computers can work together more intelligently and on the underlying scientific questions that help make this possible." 
I began researching about it, I read the book made for Harvard professors called "Collective Genius"  The art and practice of leading innovation. This is something I was thinking all along. The thing is it didn't occur me to called "collective intelligence" - I was calling it 1 + 1 = 3 or group synergy or something else.  I have to admit collective intelligence is much better name and have a deeper meaning. 
Something that caught my attention after hearing Malone talk (he is the founder of MIT center of collective intelligence) was to learn  that Interpersonal skills are more important than you think (yikes!) watch his presentation: Malone. As an Introvert myself this is revealing, and we can learn, and I have learned through the years to improve my interpersonal skills, believe it is not easy.  I was very happy to heard Susan talk about the Power of the Introverts- Now introverts have to develop more interpersonal skills- Susan you need to answer Malone!.
Please watch both videos and learn in what areas they agree or contradict each other.
In addition, Use the materials provided in class to discuss your role as a leader of an organization to support a collective intelligence to lead innovation, and the role of technology in all of this.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Academic Analytics: the uses of information management in higher education

Accreditation in higher education is a collegial process based on self and peer assessment for public accountability and improvement of academic quality. If you would like to learn about the nuts and bolts, I would advise you ,to begin reading The council for Higher Education Administration (CHEA) have published an excellent “accreditation toolkit”. ] Technology has played a big part. Faculty and administrators have used several apps, software and web-based programs to support, not only their reports, but to collect data for accountability. The major section is to collect student evidence of learning. During the last year, my knowledge of technology has been my ally. I have created reports for accreditation institutions, have review my students learning status, also have used to improve my lessons. I am constantly looking for the “new thing” that can make my life easier either with assessment reports or my lessons. There are several software’s that supports teaching and assessment. Diane Oblinger (2012) presented several options in her presentation in Educase 2012 Accreditation in higher education is a collegial process based on self In the last decade, Higher Education administrators have looked for web-based resources that help with their projects. This is in the section of academic analytics. In the business world, we have called it, Business Intelligence. It is how we use the technology in education. Academic analytics comprises several technologies. These are used in the seven key areas of higher education: Advancement and fundraising, business and finances, budget and planning, institutional research, research administration, and academic affairs. Mostly used in extraction and analysis of data (~50% of academic analytics are used in this area), are analysis and monitoring of operational performance (~18 %) and decision making (5%). How would you explain what you use or someone you know, is using technology in any of the key areas of higher education? Would you mention what kind of technology are you using? (i.e. tableausoftware, taskstream, etc).

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Assistive Technology for English Language Learners

The ESL population in the United States has been on a steady rise in recent years. The language needs of these and other ESL students have motivated teachers to seek new and innovative ways to educate these students.According the the IES The percentage of public school students in the United States who were English language learners was higher in 2010-11 (10 percent, or an estimated 4.7 million students) than in 2002-03 (9 percent, or an estimated 4.1 million students). Learning English can be very difficult and frustrating at times. Apps on iPads and tablets are great ways for students to practice English and have fun while doing it. For practicing grammar rules, apps like Grammar Up allow students to test their knowledge on specific topics (verbs, prepositions, etc.). The app also keeps track of students’ progress and allows them to skip questions by shaking the tablet. Best Colleges Online offers a list of 16 apps for ESL students, ranging from basic letter instruction to pronunciation guides. Students can also play classic games like Scrabble and Boggle on mobile devices. Assistive technology is not only used for students with special needs. But also they are useful to help English Language Learners. If a child is determined to need assistive technology for English language learners, there are plenty of tools available to streamline the process for everyone involved. The following are a few effective assistive technology tools: The SOLO Literacy Suite With Read:OutLoud, a reading comprehension supportive text reader, spelling tools and a draft writing kit, this package offers a little bit of everything to help those trying to improve their language acquisition skills. The World Word Exchange is a new approach to language learning online .