Have you ever?

Have you ever taken a risk on something knowing that it was probably a long shot? This thinking can be applied across a multitude of contexts, but I am thinking about this in relation to learning. In essence, no matter where we are and what we are in, we are forever learning (even when we don’t realize it in the moment, or can’t put our finger on it). I am fortunate enough to be in a constant state of learning in my professional role working in a Center for Teaching and Learning. Every day I take risks and put myself out there (or choose not to put myself out there) based on varying contexts and experiences. Just last week I took a risk by trying something new that was outside of my comfort zone, and although it felt scary, I knew that it helped me grow. Sometimes taking risks means waiting, sometimes it means jumping right in.  Think of time when you chose to wait as opposed to jumping right in — what did that feel like and what was the outcome?


Starting a Center for Teaching and Learning

As I reflect on the last two years, I have very positive feelings about the launch of our campus center. We started in an unusual way, somewhat of a grassroots.  Some of this is captured in a recent paper that I co-authored in PODSPEAKS, a publication of the pod network. The paper is a collection of ideas, advice, and experiences across a group of faculty developers who have been involved in Starting a Center for Teaching and Learning.  In a future post, I would like to expand on this journey as a way to inspire others, and reflect more on the deeper elements of how a Center evolves and becomes part (or not) of a campus context/culture.

Inspiration Everywhere

Last week, I was inspired by many people and ideas at CSU Fresno! The faculty are engaged in transformative practice and the Center for Faculty Excellence team is engaged in faculty partnerships that both ultimately impact students’ learning.

This was a day of exciting energy around their Canvas launch, but more importantly around the exploration of opportunities that highlight what the new technology can be through a re-thinking of one’s teaching, sharing with colleagues, and possibilities to connect students with the world.

Table Mountain Rancheria Reading Room, Henry Madden Library

I was honored by the invitation to provide the Keynote Presentation, “Canvas and the World: Inspire, Innovate, Impact” for their annual Technology, Innovations, and Pedagogy Conference. The emphasis was on how we can use technology to open up student learning to the world. We looked through the lenses of inspire, innovate, and example to dive into examples of how Canvas and related technologies opened these doors to the world.  One example included an activity in my blended public speaking course where students use VoiceThread to “Share the Story of Your Name”. This one activity has created opportunity for students to practice their speaking skills in the digital environment, acknowledged the diverse perspectives and backgrounds in the course, and created long-term connections between students. Fresno faculty shared what Canvas Panda at Fresno Stateinspired them as teachers; what innovations they are engaged in/planning; and ultimately how their practice impacts students in meaningful ways. One faculty member shared their inspiration in the work that their students are doing. Another shared how they are using ePortfolios for students to curate content related to their learning. They are engaged in amazing work!

After the keynote, three faculty lightning talks focused on community and humanizing the learning experience. These faculty members shared their research on the their teaching, the innovative use of technologies, and the impactful ways in which their students were connecting to one another through learning. Dr. Tayeb shared how he used Canvas discussions for study guides and exam wrappers as a way to find out what students were focusing on before the exam and reflecting after the exam. He also shared his strategy using anonymous Canvas quizzing to find out where students are struggling, e.g., muddiest points. Dr. Anzoleaga discussed a variety of technology uses to engage her students, including her use of Canva for students to create a bio at the beginning of the term. Dr. Aguilera shared how he uses digital tools and pedagogies to support the “humanized” experience of his students.

I am inspired to try new things this coming semester! I feel fortunate to work with so many amazing colleagues who are engaged in findings ways to reach their students in meaningful ways.  In terms of Canvas, my brain is going every which way about the many ways in which it can be used as an opening to the world.

The Intersection of Teaching, Learning, and Technology

Technology in teaching and learning can be everything from the pen and whiteboard we use to a free web tool, and everything in between. Enter the TPACK framework (Koehler & Mishra, 2009). TPACK, Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge, is a theoretical framework to support educators in making informed choices about how to support their content (and students’ learning!) in connection with the pedagogy and the technology.

Read more on this T&L Tip on The Intersection of Teaching, Learning & Technology

Koehler, M.J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70.

Creating Community

For those of you who know me or follow me regularly on social media, you know how much “community” is part of everything I do and the very essence of who I am.  This last week, I wrote a brief teaching and learning tip on Creating Community in Our Learning Spaces that hit home for me in various ways. I think about this in the practices of my classroom spaces, outside classroom spaces, in my workspace, and in the relationships that I engage in both professionally and personally. Community can take on many different meanings across many contexts. For me, community is the beginning of so much more that follows.  Where and how do you create community?

"community" cc by by Kamaljith

The Last Day…

What do you do on the last day of class? Is it time for ‘business’ and getting the last tasks done? Or is there opportunity for critical reflection and closure?

reflection on water

Making the Last Day Meaningful is focused around the idea that the last day is just as important as the first day of class. Being intentional and thoughtful about what this learning space includes is key to students’ learning and experience. Would love to hear your ideas about what you do on the last day of class…

Disrupting Learning Through Mobile Exploration

Excited to be facilitating a workshop on mobile learning at the CSU Symposium on University Teaching this month @CalPolyPomona! Get ready to go mobile in this session!

Here’s a sneak peek: How can we disrupt learning through discovery and exploration in ways that allows learners to engage with the world around them?

student using iPad and iPod for studying on a car road trip

Mobile Learner by kvlayton, 2015

Mobile technology allows this reach beyond the four walls of a physical classroom. In the Mobile Learning Scavenger Hunt activity, learners work together to discover and capture a variety of objects/visuals that represent motivational appeals closely tied to the emotions, needs, and values of their audience in persuasive speaking and writing.  Find out the results of students’ learning performance, as well as what they walked away with ‘beyond the grade’.