2014 TLTR Pilot Projects

Building the fulcrum to flip a classroom: Technology-rich lesson development in secondary teacher education.

Steven Fletcher, School of Education, Associate Professor of Secondary Education

This project is designed to help pre-service teacher educators build knowledge and skill in creating educational screencasts for potential use in the flipped classroom. Learning how to use technology in a purposeful way to aid in student learning is essential in education today. Beginning teachers have few chances to practice applying the use of classroom technology before their careers officially begin. This project aims to give them the tools to build and refine a discipline-specific screencast that will be provided for actual use with secondary students in the field setting. Evaluation of the effectiveness of the screencast will be conducted through informal assessment of pupil learning from the lesson. The merit of this project is that it provides hands-on training and skill development with technology that is becoming more prevalent in the 21st century classroom. The broader impact of this work extends to the entire teacher preparation program at SEU, as well as to the field sites that we currently partner with. Gaining comfort and training with new technologies before entering the first years of teaching will give our early career teachers (and their students) an incredible boost when it comes to flipping classrooms to provide more active learning during the school day. At the same time, it will serve as a model throughout the teacher preparation program for effective educational technology use.

Integrating Geographic Information Systems into the Professional Master’s of Science in Environmental Management and Sustainability Program and Undergraduate Environmental Science & Policy Major

Michael Wasserman, BSS, Environmental Science & Policy, Assistant Professor

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are an increasingly important component of most professions, and this is especially true for careers in the environmental sciences. One of our main goals in the Professional Master’s of Science in Environmental Management and Sustainability Program (MSEM) is to provide our students with a set of skills that will make them highly competitive in the job market. In order to improve St. Edward’s achievement of this goal, I am proposing to establish GIS training for both our graduate students in MSEM and undergraduates in the Environmental Science & Policy (ENSP) courses. MSEM students will benefit from the equipment purchased and training I will receive in the form of a three week GIS workshop and subsequent use of the methodology in their independent research projects, while the undergraduates will benefit from the incorporation of GIS into the ongoing “A Travis County Almanac” nature blog my students contribute to each semester and their student independent research projects. To accomplish these goals, I am proposing to purchase handheld GPS units and iPads, as well as cover the costs of a GIS workshop in the Austin area for Dr. Peter Beck (MSEM director, BSS), Dr. Bill Quinn (Natural Sciences, Biology), and myself. All of these components will ensure the development, execution, and evaluation of a new pedagogical tool for MSEM, ENSP, Natural Sciences, and beyond at St. Edward’s. It is my hope that the model developed for our program can then be implemented in other classes and programs interested in training their students the important skills of GIS.

Graphic Design Hackathon

Kim Garza, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design

The Graphic Design faculty desire to immerse our juniorlevel majors in an intensive, playful and exploratory experience to fill a need on campus. We want to do a hackathon. While design closely aligns with technology, designers don’t normally code. We want our students to embrace code literacy, collaboration and innovation in order to be engaged citizens of the 21st century. The Graphic Design Hackathon would combine our students’ design thinking capabilities — define a problem, propose a solution, make a response, test the response and try again — with exposure to coding, the practical language of tomorrow. Hackathons normally set a challenge to be solved in 48 hours, and ours would be related to a campus issue. To guide the hackathon, we want to bring in designfriendly programmers from the Austin community that can accelerate our students’ learning. After one intense weekend, we hope students will walk away with real world knowledge and a working product that answers a need for our campus community. We believe that the hackathon could be a framework to foster interdisciplinary collaboration and engagement with our neighbors in Austin and around the world in the future.

‘Smart Pens’ for Chemistry Classes

Jeff Potratz, Chemistry, Post-doc Teaching Associate

Use ‘smart pen’ technology in the analytical chemistry class (and probably others). The pen digitally tracks what you write on paper and also your verbal comments as you write. These clips can then be posted online and watched by the students to give them more guided examples of how to do homework problems. The analytical chemistry class is very problems-based and the majority of the class is spent working through detailed example problems with the students (similar to a math class).

CULF 3331: Contemporary World Issues

Mity Myhr (BSSX, Associate Professor), Christie Sample Wilson (BSSX, Associate Professor), Selin Ece Guner (BSSX, Assistant Professor), Jason Rosenblum (HUMX, Adjunct Faculty), and Christopher Micklethwait (HUMX, Adjunct Faculty)

Our goal is to further develop the game-based simulation of the Syrian civil war that we started in 2013. This project has been used as both an in-class lesson plan for Micklethwait’s CULF 3331 in fall 2013 and as a program-wide co-curricular event in spring and fall 2013. In this game, which runs close to three hours, students are assigned roles from among the various actors and stakeholders in Syria’s civil war; using designed research materials, students deliberate on courses of action and play cards to imitate, with as much fidelity as possible, the actions taken by stakeholders. Students are also encouraged to give speeches in the role of the characters they play to justify their actions. This game provides students with significant experiential knowledge of conflict resolution and social justice issues. This experience supports the university’s mission to teach moral reasoning, as well as expanding students’ global vision. We are confident that this project is adaptable to numerous classroom settings; any number of content areas related to international relations and diplomacy could be adapted to the basic mechanics of this game for a week-long lesson plan for other CULF 3330/3331 sections or other courses with similar course objectives. The Global Digital Classrooms present the opportunity to play the simulation interactively with students at another campus anywhere in the world.

Rap Genius Social Annotation Initiative for American Experience

Dr. Catherine Bacon, University Programs, Assistant Professor, Dr. Amy Nathan Wright, University Programs, Assistant Professor

The primary goal of this project is to digitize relevant primary historical documents for American Experience instructors to use. In addition to providing a digital library of PDF’s that can be used by all instructors, Dr. Bacon and Dr. Wright intend to upload these documents to a free online social annotation platform called Rap Genius. Students will be able to use this online tool to do close readings of primary texts, annotate the texts, and interact with their peers online. Rap Genius, while having its roots as an online tool to analyze rap and hip hop lyrics, has been actively expanding its reach into the education sector. Social annotation in general allows students to work closely with any document, to annotate those texts online, and to build conversations around those specific annotations. Rap Genius is particularly useful because it offers multi-media annotation, collaboration, semi-private venues for annotation, or public ones, and other features geared towards educators. Dr. Bacon and Dr. Wright will be creating assignments integrating the social annotation of primary historical documents into their American Experience courses in Spring 2015, once the texts have been scanned and uploaded. By creating a digital library of primary documents relevant to all who teach American Experience, this project creates the opportunity for St. Edward’s faculty to collaborate with each other. Using Rap Genius will enable faculty and students to interact with students and educators outside our university. Through Dr. Bacon and Dr. Wright’s implementation of this technology, they are increasing the knowledge base within St. Edward’s University and plan to promote the use of these specific documents, and the technology in general through presentations and workshops.

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