For my technology activity I chose to use the Jing application for screencasts. This is an excellent resource for capturing lectures on one's computer as a supplemental educational resource for students, have lectures posted for instructor absences, and an effective way to practice public speaking on challenging topics. In my activity I used Jing to discuss a particular methodology unique to dyadic data analysis that are typically employed in social psychological and personality research. By practicing the Jing application while lecturing the content, I could identify ways for more concise descriptions of the content area (Jing is free and limits casts to 5 minutes). After completing one's video, you can save it on one's desk top or on the online www.screencast.com website. This application does require adobe flash, so it is essential to have this updated on one's computer. I have posted a couple youtube instruction videos below that are helpful, however the application is quite user friendly.
To better prepare for a career as an instructor, I have chosen to go through online Blackboard trainings (Lynda courses) as my technology skill. There are close to 200 Blackboard video tutorials available ranging from introductory to advanced levels. I concentrated my training on courses that focused on the basics of Blackboard from an instructor’s perspective. I was able to gain knowledge on how to navigate Blackboard, effectively manage courses, and send information to students directly from the site, among other things. In addition, the training videos opened my eyes to more ways that students can use Blackboard as a centralized location for information regarding the course throughout the semester. As an instructor, use of Blackboard can act as a multipurpose medium. Of all the information received from the training courses, the most helpful was the customization features of Blackboard. I was not aware that Blackboard was so customizable. This can be a great benefit when teaching multiple courses with varying goals. Overall, I would definitely recommend this site and training program. More specifically, to anyone who has never experienced Blackboard from the perspective of an instructor. It does a great job outlining and walking you through system. While I only focused on the basics, I see myself referring to these trainings as I enter into my role as an instructor. The training can be found at <a href="https://www.lynda.com/Blackboard-training-tutorials/487-0.html">Lynda.com</a>. Just enter your VCU EID and password to begin.
For my technology assignment, I decided to explore different online platforms for classroom calendars. I first discovered Google classroom, which seems to be very standardized, but requires administrator permission to create a class and develop a calendar. The standard google calendar app provided by Google Drive seems to be perfectly adequate. It allowed me to add in all due dates for the Interpersonal Relations class for which I TA. This calendar can then be shared with all classmates (with restrictions placed on editing functions). It should be noted that google calendars come with their unique ICAL link so that the calendar can sync with smartphone calendars.
I did a little more research and realized that Blackboard actually comes with this function! Under "my blackboard content" you can find a calendar application. You can use this application to schedule assignments and give links to those assignments directly from the calendar page. Each calendar comes with its own ical link so students have the option to import the blackboard calendar with any of their devices. The interface is fairly straightforward here and it allows you all of the same functions available with google calendar (i.e. repeat event; edit). According to the blackboard cite, all course items that are "assignments" with due dates are automatically added to the calendar. Two of my classes had all of their assignments added to the calendar. I'm not sure my instructors were even aware of this! Overall, I think this calendar application would be extremely useful for students and instructors and I think that the integration of this technology would be fairly seamless.
Meyer, A.D., & Logan, J.M. (2013). Taking the Testing Effect Beyond the College Freshman: Benefits for Lifelong Learning. <em>Psychology and Aging, 28</em>, 142-147.
Summary of Article
Using testing as a learning tool has been well-documented in young populations. Testing as a learning strategy and tool has been linked to an improvement in long-term memory and recall. Meyer and Logan (2013) investigate whether these testing effects apply beyond college students. Comparing three groups, university students aged 18-25, young community adults aged 18-25, and middle-aged to older community adults aged 55-65, the authors found evidence of increased learning due to testing. All three groups participated in a study phase of four study topics, followed by a distractor phase which included multiplication problems, then a recognition test phase for two of the study topics, and a restudying phase for the other two study topics. Participants then went through another distractor phase before taking a final cued-recall test. Findings suggested that testing significantly improved learning, and that there were little differences between the young adult and older community groups. Implications include the use of testing beyond the academic setting, especially in the context of careers or jobs.
Testing is heavily associated with being in school. Based on the results of this study, testing can be an effective tool for learning. As such, how would we apply this beyond academia? Would this be effective for promoting lifelong learners? In what other contexts could testing be effective?
Other research has shown that testing itself can be full of bias. For example, there is evidence that the SAT is biased against racial minorities and for those with lower SES. If testing is truly better for learning, how can we reconcile these biases with testing?
Are there other ways to demonstrate learning besides testing students? The authors of this article would suggest that testing is both an effective learning and studying tool. How can we promote positive attitudes towards test-taking, and should we do this? Or are there better ways to “test” learning?