Director's blog

Google Transform '15 Report

Screenshot for Google Transform '15 Report
University of Idaho

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 2014

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University of Idaho

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.

September 2014

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University of Idaho

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.

August 2014

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University of Idaho

August marked the end of the summer for the Doceo Center as most of our staff dispersed to the four corners of the world (or at least Idaho). Yet, this did not stop us from moving forward several key initiatives and gearing up for the Fall semester. In the month of August, we wrapped up our series of summer institutes, announced a brand-new K-12 open education MOOC, hosted various tours of our facilities, rolled out an innovative Online Teaching Studio, and began gearing up for Fall research and outreach efforts.

First, the Northwest Inland Writing Project (NIWP) Summer Institutes took a new form this year as a collaborative effort between NIWP, the Idaho Common Core Network, and the University of Idaho Doceo Center of Innovation + Learning. Two regional institutes were held for two weeks each. The first institute, with 24 teachers in attendance, took place at the University of Idaho’s Research Park in Post Falls during the last two weeks of June. This institute was facilitated by Mary Orr from NIWP, Barbara Crumb from Idaho Common Core Network, and Cassidy Hall from the Doceo Center. The first two weeks of August brought 17 teachers to attend at the Doceo Center Lab in Moscow with facilitators Jill Diamond from NIWP, April Niemela from Idaho Common Core Network, and Cassidy Hall from the Doceo Center. The focus for the institutes was to support the teaching of writing with the use of technology to meet common core standards.

July 2014

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University of Idaho

In the months of June and July, the University of Idaho Doceo Center for Innovation + Learning conducted four Technology and Open Education summer institutes for practicing K-12 teachers. Each institute lasted three days, involved up to 30 participants, and was organized according to grade level, with two institutes focusing on elementary and two focusing on secondary educators.

In total, over one hundred K-12 teachers from all over the state of Idaho participated in the summer institutes, representing all grade levels, a variety of subject areas, and all regions of the state, ranging from Blackfoot and Pocatello to Boise and Meridian to Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint.

To our knowledge, there has never been any professional development experience quite like this attempted anywhere. Though some work has been done with open education, the scale and diversity of the institutes and our vision for empowering educators across the state to develop open education literacies that they can take back to their schools for enacting change represents a grassroots, broad-spectrum approach to open education and technology integration that is very unique and untested.

THE Journal: 5 Lessons from a Learning Lab

Screenshot for THE Journal: 5 Lessons from a Learning Lab
University of Idaho

THE Journal featured an article about the Doceo Center that highlights some of the lessons learned through our professional development efforts. The 3-page article was entitled "5 Lessons from a Learning Lab" and includes a number of quotes from Doceo Center staff.

The full article may be viewed online.

June 2014

Screenshot for June 2014
University of Idaho

Summer is anything but an academic break at the Doceo Center, where we have spent the month of June presenting at conferences, leading summer institutes with K-12 teachers, and gearing up our lab for the fall semester, which will shortly be on our doorstep.

In the month of June, we presented at two major national conferences: UBTech and NASDTEC. At the University Business Technology (UBTech) conference, we presented two sessions that focused on our outreach efforts to K-12 teachers and our work with higher education faculty in our innovative learning technologies lab. Our sessions were well attended, and the center was also identified as a finalist for two AMX innovation awards, which are meant to honor innovations with technology in higher education.

At the annual conference of the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC), we led a session with representatives from institutes of higher education and state departments of education on the complex topic of preparing teachers to be technologically competent in classrooms and what this entails for colleges of education and states in determining licensure requirements and coursework.

May 2014

Screenshot for May 2014
University of Idaho

With the school year winding down, the month of May provided us with an opportunity to wrap up projects, prepare for the summer, and begin exploring new technologies for the coming year. We have placed a 360-degree panoramic photo of our lab available online, and some of the exciting new technologies that we introduced to the lab this month include an interactive table and a portable educational gaming station. The interactive table has a 55-inch, 40-point touchscreen display that we are currently upgrading with an advanced graphics card and other high-performance hardware. With this table, teachers and students will be able to gather around a common display and interact with learning objects together. The portable educational gaming station includes an Xbox One, 50-inch display, and Xbox Kinect mounted on a mobile cart, which we plan to use to support educational gaming studies and the use of motion-based games for physical education.

April 2014

Screenshot for April 2014
University of Idaho

The month of April finally witnessed the ribbon-cutting of our Doceo Center lab, which is something that we have been looking forward to for a long time! The event and subsequent open house were well attended by both special guests and interested members of the University of Idaho community.

Representatives from state government, the State Board of Education, the university, the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, and various colleges were in attendance, including senators and the new president of the University of Idaho.

March 2014

Screenshot for March 2014
University of Idaho

The month of March has been full of final lab preparations for our grand opening on April 4. As part of preparations, we have had the chance to invite in a number of student groups representing both K-12 and college ages to try out the equipment and test the space. Dr. Brant Miller and Dr. Aleksandra Hollingshead, both faculty members in Curriculum and Instruction, have held their normally scheduled classes in the new space, and other groups that have come into the lab have include homeschool and youth groups. In these test sessions, students have been amazed at the technology available and the possibilities they can afford for education. Some of the technologies that students have been most excited about have included wearable technologies (e.g., Google Glass), interactive displays, and mobile technologies (e.g., tablets, pocket cameras).

Throughout this testing phase, we've been bug testing and fine-tuning the lab to be as functional and streamlined as possible, and we have made some major adjustments during the process (including improving wireless connectivity and ethernet capabilities in the classroom). Through this process, our technology provider Compview and University of Idaho Information Technology and Facilities Services have provided excellent support and helped us to get the lab to a state where we are excited to finally go online! Our grand opening on April 4th will include a ribbon cutting ceremony with a number of dignitaries and an open house for all interested parties from 12pm to 4pm.

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