May 2014

University of Idaho
Screenshot for May 2014

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.

Within the university, this month we finished up our faculty professional development series with sessions on utilizing the classroom management, communication, and collaboration affordances of the Doceo Center lab and interactive displays. As a result, some participating faculty are now using the lab for face-to-face, online, and hybrid courses, and we concluded our year-long effort of supporting university faculty members' technology integration efforts by completing an end-of-year report highlighting progress, accomplishments, and challenges.  The full report may be downloaded from our website.


Portable gaming station

As word has gotten out about our lab, many more individuals and groups have shown interest in its potentials both within and outside the university. In response, we have provided a number of tours to various   groups and have been able to have several classes of K-12 students in the space to explore innovative technologies hands-on. Over the summer, we will continue our professional development efforts with K-12 teachers by continuing to offer workshops and helping to lead two major sets of institutes: the Northwest Inland Writing Project summer institute and the Technology and Open Education summer institute. In preparation for the former, we have distributed 35 Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 tablets with keyboard cases to participants so that they can have a common device to support their work in teaching writing.  Recipients of the devices responded with great excitement about their possibilities for teaching writing, and through the institute, they will gain a deeper understanding of the devices and their affordances. In preparation for the latter, we now have a full website available to support participants and to provide materials for the institute to other interested parties.  In addition, we have scheduled school-focused technology professional development sessions with school districts over the summer, which will help teachers to gain expertise necessary to thrive within the technology ecosystems of their specific schools.

Among all of these efforts, our research and reporting continue to move forward, and we have begun listing our published journal articles on our website with abstracts. We also had another proposal accepted for presentation at the Idaho Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) conference, which brings our total number of professional presentations for this year up to seventeen. Resources on our website also continue to be built out, as Doceo Center staff and collaborating faculty share web resources, videos, and blog posts with others. One example video that we shared this month demonstrated how to create an inexpensive, portable, Chromebox-based videoconferencing system, which has already received follow-up e-mails from educators interested in replicating the system and around 100 views on YouTube.

 

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