Collaborative Student Display Stations (CSDS) serve as a flexible teaching tool. With a collaborative station, a teacher has more resources available to them through the internet; interactive, web 2.0 sites; their own personally created files; and more--all of which broadens understanding of concepts taught in class. Also, the stations provide students with a way to show what they know through an array of digital projects from simple survey responses to teacher questions to videos or podcasts demonstrating a lesson on a given topic. CSDSs include but are not limited to:
On April 25, 2015, we were excited to bring 82 educators together in Boise for Google Transform '15! At this event, we had eleven educators (eight from K-12 and three from higher education) lead sixteen sessions on Google Tools for transformational classroom change.
Most of the presenters were practicing, full-time classroom teachers, and this was their first time presenting in a large session format to groups of teachers. Nonetheless, sessions were rated very highly by participants overall (3.5/4.0), and some of the highest rated sessions included Becoming a Search Ninja by Royce Kimmons (3.9/4.0), Google Doodles and a Google a Day in the Classroom by Cassidy Hall (3.9/4.0), and Collaborative Learning and Critical Thinking with Sites by Katie Graupman (3.9/4.0).
October marked the beginning of our Introduction to Open Education in K-12 MOOC, and we were excited to see around 40 educators sign up for the course. These educators represented all regions of the state of Idaho, and we also attracted attention from those outside the state. Guest interviews for this course have also been very exciting, as we've been able to record my conversations with leaders in the field on topics including open education, digital citizenship, and copyright. This course will remain open even as the synchronous learning experience winds down in mid-November so that those with interest in the topic can always access the recorded sessions and course content.
As has been the case in previous months, we also welcomed a number of people to tour and utilize our lab in October. We were happy to meet with Regent and State Board Member Dave Hill and UI President Chuck Staben this month and to share the work that we are doing in K-12 outreach and distance and extended education. We were also excited this month to host a partner workshop with EdElements. In this workshop, Idaho technology and education leaders got to experience hybrid approaches to education hands-on from a group that conducts training throughout the U.S.
How do you engage with students locally in the classroom and at a distance in a manner that builds community? This is a challenge we grappled with this month as we are hosting more courses in our lab that have a hybrid group of students: some local who meet face-to-face and some at a distance who meet virtually. The challenge that instructors typically deal with is that when they design their courses they must favor one group over the other. As a simple illustration, if you have a graduate course with nine people meeting locally and three people participating via videoconferencing, it becomes very difficult to promote discussion between participants in both contexts, and even very expensive video capture systems do not do a very good job of displaying multiple users in an effective manner.
To tackle this challenge, we wanted to stay away from extremely expensive solutions that would not be replicable in schools or other institutions but rather considered how we could use existing technologies that may have been designed with other purposes in mind to give all students an equal voice in the classroom. To create a prototype, we purchased a multichannel video surveillance system designed for security installations and mounted these cameras at our discussion stations in the face-to-face classroom. The surveillance system allows us to place a camera on each individual in the class and merge all of these video inputs together into a single video source, which may be used as a webcam.