Archive for Classroom Technology

Use of Clickers and Peer Instruction to Build Classroom Community

At the 2010 Creating Futures Through Technology and 2010 Mississippi Educational Computing Association Conference, my colleague, Gallayannee Yaoyuneyong, and I gave a presentation on how clickers along with Peer Instruction can increase student engagement and the forming of learning communities in the classroom.  Our presentation is below.
Use Of Clickers And Peer Instruction To Build Classroom Community
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Mind Mapping or is it Concept Mapping?

The idea of concept mapping has been around for a while.  The term that has recently become popular is mind mapping.  An example of a hand-written mind map is…


An example of a hand-written mind map

An example of a hand-written mind map

As you can see, the idea is that you keep writing as things pop into your head without thinking about whether it makes sense right then.  It is another way of brainstorming that puts it into a visual representation.

To me the difference between mind mapping and concept mapping is perspective.  I think mind mapping could be used to clear your mind by writing anything that comes to mind to get it down on paper so you can go back and organize it later.  This can often be helpful if you feel your mind is cluttered with too many things to think about.  Once you get it down on paper and can see it visually, then you could separate it out and organize it so it makes more sense.  It can help you think through any issues to arrive at a solution.  Concept mapping on the other hand would revolve around only one concept.  You would be creating a visual representation of items related to one specific issue you are trying to illustrate.

Software has been developed to assist in concept mapping and mind mapping…

Inspiration is a software, mostly used in K-12 that allows you to visually respresent your ideas through concept mapping electronically.  As I am a visual learner, it helps me to be able to visually represent things I am working on.  I think it is also very useful in teaching, especially when teaching PK-12, to show them a visual representation of how what you are teaching goes together.  It helps them form those links in their mind.  It can also be used to connect the new knowledge to knowledge they already have.

MindMeister allows you to do collaborative online mind mapping.  The great thing about this software is that it allows for collaborative brainstorming.  As the old saying goes, “2 heads are better than 1.”  So, this way if you are working on a project with colleagues or having your students work in groups on a project they would have the ability to collaboratively brainstorm and have it electronically available (this could almost be considered a type of wiki…that’s a subject for another post).

What are your thoughts on concept mapping and mind mapping?  How do you use these tools in education?

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Pros and Cons of Using Second Life in Higher Education


Recently, at the Creating Futures through Technology Conference in Biloxi, MS, me and my colleagues gave a presentation titled, “Does Second Life Belong in Higher Education?”

As novice users ourselves, we wanted to evaluate what we felt are the pros and cons of using Second Life in education.  Our hope was give our audience some things to think about when trying to decide whether to incorporate this as an educational tool.

We presented arguments for and against using Second Life in higher education classrooms. We discussed how current institutions are integrating Second Life into instruction, including the hybrid mashup of Second Life and Moodle called Sloodle. We also showed the audience an example of an educational community within Second Life as well as educational resources that are available for the use of Second Life.   The slides from our presentation are below.

Second Life Presentation Cfttc 09
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The Pilot Use of Wimba at USM

Recently, at the 2009 Creating Futures Through Technology Conference, me and two of my colleagues presented on “The Pilot Use of Wimba at USM.”  In this session we discussed why The University of Southern Mississippi (Southern Miss) chose to use Wimba classroom, the pilot implementation phase in spring 2007, and the evaluation of that implementation.   We discussed the methodology and the instruments used to conduct the research study as well as the results of the data analysis and the conclusions. Results discussed in the session included items such as: (1) all of the instructors and more than half of the students had used collaboration software prior to using Wimba Classroom, (2) students reported that they found learning to use Wimba Classroom easier than did their instructors, and (3) instructors reported using application sharing more than twice as much as their students.  We have revised the instruments and are preparing to administer the questionnaires to multiple institutions, which use Wimba classroom. Data collected will be compared to see if findings are consistent across multiple institutions and provide further evidence for the generalizability of these findings.  Below are the slides from our presentation…
Pilot Use Of Wimba At USM
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Clickers – Student Response System

One of the new technologies (at least new to us) that we have been experimenting with recently are clickers.  Clickers are response systems that allow instructors to make their classes more interactive.  Students are given a remote control with buttons that correspond with the answer choices given by the instructor on their screen.  The instructor has the main system where they plug in their questions and collect the information the students submit.

There are different companies who offer these systems, so depending on the type of system you choose, the set up and use could be a bit different.  The clickers that are being used on our campus are provided by iClicker.  Right now, we have a small population of faculty who have implemented these in their classroom.  A few are implementing them in their large classes (100 or more students) which provides a new way to incorporate interaction in large classes and to require participation.

Towards the end of this semester, we are going to be conducting a research study to find out the uses and perceptions of clickers from the perspectives of students and faculty.  We plan to administer 2 questionnaires (1 for faculty and 1 for students) to gage how they feel clickers impacts teaching and learning, so more on this subject later…

Remote Response System Brings Technology Into the Classroom

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