Changes at the MACUL Journal

June 3rd, 2016 by Michael McVey

Over the past ten years, I have written several articles for the MACUL Journal. MACUL is the acronym for Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning. It’s an awkward group name but it’s a great group. Teachers from all over Michigan with a penchant for using technology in their classroom are members and their conferences are huge and successful.

Yesterday I received an email from the editor of the Journal who noted with a little sadness that they would no longer be printing a paper copy next year. Instead, the MACUL Journal would be electronic with areas for teachers to add their comments.

MACUL's Logo

While polishing an article about drones in the classroom for the final print edition, I thought about the possibilities of electronic versus print: faster turnaround, more images, networking potential. However, the one that stood out for me was the inclusion of video. Teachers have fewer technical obstacles than ever to stop them from creating their own interactive videos.

I suggested to the editor that perhaps I could be a bit of an early adopter and create a video about drones in the classroom based on my article – just to get the ball rolling. Her reply came back within the hour. Not only was it a good idea, but also, hey, let us make video the theme of the first electronic version of the journal. That is what I like about MACUL. They can be fearless about embracing new ideas and making the most of them. They walk the walk.

GoogleFEST

May 26th, 2016 by Michael McVey

The summer in Michigan is packed with conference opportunities right in your own backyard. In May, Dr. McVey presented at the Mobile Learning Conference in Kalamazoo, Drs. Jones and Copeland will present at the Chelsea Early Childhood Technology Conference, and in August, teachers will be able to attend GoogleFEST in Grand Rapids. August 9 will feature workshops and August 10 will feature many sessions. Dr. McVey will be there and looks forward to meeting any EDMT/LTEC students who will also be there.

2016 Chelsea Early Childhood Technology Conference

May 25th, 2016 by Toni Jones

Pre-K thru 5th Grade Educators!

Consider attending the Chelsea ECTC Conference on Monday, June 27 for a day of collaboration and learning.
The conference is useful for anyone teaching
  • Pre-K thru 5th and beyond.  Most sessions are applicable to a diverse age range. Our own Dr. Nancy Copeland and Dr. Toni Jones will be co-presenting with 2nd grade teacher Cheryl Lykowski, from Bedford Schools
  • This conference is all for teachers BY teachers :)
  • Most tech conferences will have much bigger session sizes where this conference allows for people to learn and ask questions of the presenters and hopefully get more out of the information.
Registration: $50 – To register, go to https://sites.google.com/a/chelsea.k12.mi.us/ectc/registration
Time:  9:00 – 3:00
Location: North Creek Elementary School, 699 McKinley St., Chelsea MI 48118

Stable Links

May 20th, 2016 by Michael McVey

One of the most frustrating thing with writing in an online environment is that sometimes links vanish. Nothing physical is permanent and things are much less permanent on the Internet, but at least we could have a chance of posting a link to an article that will still be there in a year.

Screen shot of the Stable Links page

Stable Links for EMU students

An EMU librarian, Sara Memmott, created a proxy link generator so we can include links to any paper we find on our Full-Text database. This is a real plus if you hope to share articles with classmates or write a document that other EMU students would find valuable. For instructors, the tool guarantees that students won’t be emailing us about broken links.

To use the tool, go to http://guides.emich.edu/linking. I used the tool just now to create a link to an article two recent graduates of our program had published. Shalynn Weeden and Bethany Cooke wrote “Underage Children and Social Networking.” As an EMU student, you have access to a database of articles we have purchased so using the Proxy link, you should be able to log in with your EMU credentials to read the article:

http://ezproxy.emich.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1448424885

I would recommend you give it a try.

Research Watch: Distracted by . . .

May 14th, 2016 by Michael McVey

Sigh. You may have encountered Richard Adam’s recent article that loudly proclaimed that students “who use digital devices in class ‘perform worse in exams‘ and scratched your head over it, especially when paired with an image of uniformed middle school students.

Sadly, and typically of many journalists reporting on research studies, the author buried the fact that the original research studied undergraduate students in an economics class at West Point. Additionally, the decline in scores was relatively slight (1/5th of one standard deviation) and the researchers discussion only guessed at what might have caused the decline in scores. They offered: 1) unfamiliarity with the software of the tablets being used, 2) the lure of social media and texting, and 3) the possibility that the undergraduates may not have been fully trained in the use of the machines in their high school classes.

With the technology available to record every keystroke on a computer, you might think that researchers would have more data to work with than a randomized set of test scores that didn’t account for differences in instructional methods or technological savvy of the instructor. The article really should have been how researchers missed the opportunity to really address the question of the impact of technology on learning instead of generalizing to k-12 school and further sowing the seeds of doubt into our discussions of school improvement.