I have to confess I did not know a lot of these time-saving tips from David Pogue’s TED Talk. It was a well spent six minutes:
To get a free educator account you need to get an access code. You can contact Vartan Quzounian at Bluehost. Please indicate the state that your institution is located. These folks are very customer focused! I like it.
I attended the Sloan-C Emerging Technologies conference in Las Vegas week, and met a really cool vendor: Spoke! by Bluehost. Get this: for faculty, they are offering a unique domain, and a robust web hosting service for free!
I went and registered www.brooke-debock.com. There is not much there now, but I am planning to implementing some of my teaching and learning support materials there!
UPDATE: You can request a free educator code by contacting Vartan Quzounian at Bluehost. Please indicate the state that your institution is located.
“We can cry about it
or we can dance about it.
We were made to be awesome!”
I am pleased to let all my friends know that I have a new job. I have been offered the position of Senior Instructional Designer at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). Originally I wasn’t going to even apply for the job, because it was further away from home than I wanted, but after I interviewed over the phone, I suspected that this was going to be a good fit. After I interviewed in person on Tuesday and saw their operations, I knew that I wanted to be associated with this organization.
The position leverages many of skills that I developed working for Kaplan University: working knowledge of large scale course development, teaching/coaching/training skills, practical nuts-and-bolts knowledge of key rapid elearning development tools, and solid, applicable instructional design theory and instincts.
But you know what is really great? It will be great to work for an organization that is growing, that is committed to keeping costs down for students*, and that has been recognized as the 12th most innovative business (all organizations NOT just school) in 2012 by Fast Company magazine. Not to mention that SNHU being serially mentioned as one of the “Best College to Work For” according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.
* Based on publicly available information, the tuition costs for an online Bachelor’s degree varies greatly. Here is a sample:
- University of Phoenix = $70,200
- Kaplan University = $66,780
- UPenn World Campus = 60,480 ($504 per credit, part-time)
- UMass Online = $44,400
- Southern New Hampshire University = $38,400
Interesting things are happening for me in my early post-Kaplan days. I’ll fill you in on more details in the upcoming days and weeks. But, what I wanted to talk about was Games and Simulations in the Classroom. This is a course that I will be developing and teaching for the Graduate School of Marlboro College. We were thinking about launching it in the summer, but we’re putting feelers out now to see if there is an interest to actually run a group in January.
Let me know what you think by either putting a comment in below or sending me an email at wdebock (at) gmail.com. Let me know if you think there would be much interest in it generally, and whether you might be interested in signing up for the course yourself.
Here is a rough draft description of the course:
Games and Simulations
Integrate games and simulations into the classroom and instructional design. You don’t have to be a programmer to effectively teach students how to make games and simulations. This course will focus on how to teach programming, math, problem solving, analytical thinking, software engineering and math skills. Students will learn how to make simple games themselves with tools such as Scratch, Code Academy, and Wolfram Alpha and others. Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal is one of our central texts.
Format: Online with weekly synchronous sessions and other work in between.
Instructor: Will deBock.
Credits: 3 Graduate Credits.
All feedback is welcome,
1) For kids and novices, Scratch is a better environment to understand the bigger picture in programming. Codecademy, on the other hand, is a strong environment to learn, step-by-step, what it takes to write code. One doesn’t get the big picture right away because you have to learn the building blocks and you have to get use to syntax.
3) Tracking, Dashboard and Badges. Getting points, receiving badges and visualizing my progress were all very good. It kept me motivated and focused. This is one of the best eLearning dashboards I’ve encountered.
Click on image to enlarge!
Way to go Codecademy!
My boys and I have been learning to code with a great free program from MIT called Scratch. It is object-oriented programming with an amazing visual interface.
The image to the left is a large chunk of code that we created for the “Phaser Practice” that we finished up this weekend.
What you can see from the image is that there isn’t any tedious typing up long lines of code with obscure syntax. All the elements are color coded and they lock together with a pleasing lego-like click. You can only fit certain elements together and again the visual quality of the objects make it almost intuitive to use.
You still have to do the hard work of programming and that is developing the logic of the program and how it will be executed. It takes analytic skills and determination.
I am here to tell you that all children should learn the basics of programming. Programming “literacy” is a practical skill that will pay off for students for a long time! And Scratch is the easiest way I have found to get my young kids into it. As my son Morgan commented after learning some of the basics: “This is cool. I don’t look at games the same way now!”
Click on the image below to see Phaser Practice in action:
I have also screen-captured some video of how scratch works. I will try to edit that and get it out on the blog this week.
Have a great week,
From MIT’s Media Lab’s Tangible Media research group comes Ambient Furniture. According to the group’s web site,
Furniture is the infrastructure for human activity. Every day we open cabinets and drawers, pull up to desks, recline in recliners, and fall into bed. How can technology augment these everyday rituals in elegant and useful ways?
Watch the video below and read this article by Scott Krisner.
A lot of these seem a bit clunky, but with just a little bit of imagination, you can see how this makes a lot of sense.
The part of the video that I love is the beginning with the “alert sounds” that are so annoying and do invite us to tune out our environment.
Two years ago my friend and colleague Laurie Hansen (@hansenlaurie) started a faculty-led, peer support group for faculty at Kaplan University to explore the potential of blogging in their professional and personal lives. Her personal blog is here at vicariousity.
Happy Birthday Bugs!
Personally, I have moved on from Kaplan University, but I still wish my friends and colleagues especially those who I met and worked with on the Innovations Lab all the best in the world. That was indeed a special time. But so is now!