Sep 262013
 

With evolving modes of communication comes evolving means of citation. Tweet2Cite is a handy tool. Enter the URL for a tweet, and get the citation, in MLA or APA style.

Getting a URL for a tweet

This took a little effort to figure out. It’s not obvious.

In Twitter, under the tweet you would like to cite, click “Expand.”

Directly under the blue-fonted options, the time and date the tweet was sent will appear. To the right of that, click on “Details.”

This will open the tweet on its own webpage.

Copy the URL from the browser’s address bar. [Keyboard shortcut: CTRL+L will move your cursor to the address bar, highlighting the entire URL. CTRL+C to copy the selected text.]

Creating the citation

Paste the tweet’s URL in the box. [Keyboard shortcut: CTRL+V to paste.] Click “Go!”

Within seconds you will see the original tweet, and then the MLA and APA citations. Copy and paste to wherever you’d like to save the citation. [Keyboard shortcut: In Windows, place the cursor over a word. Double-clicking the mouse will select the word. Triple-clicking will select the paragraph. In this case, triple-click over a word in one of the citations to select the entire citation.]

Conclusion

This is indeed the citation format recommended by APAStyle.org and MLA.org. For APA style, the parenthetical citation would be (Twitter handle, year), in this case (Sue_Frantz, 2013). Remember, if you are citing multiple tweets from the same person in the same year, in your parenthetical citations letter the year as in (Sue_Frantz, 2013a), (Sue_Frantz, 2013b), etc.

Happy citing!

Feb 222013
 

Google Hangout is a quick and intuitive way to work with up to 9 others in a virtual environment. If you have a Google account, you can create a Hangout. Talk in real time over your computer’s microphone, see each other via webcam, and even share your desktop.

Starting a Hangout

In Gmail, you can click on the camera-in-the-callout box icon next to your photo to start a new Hangout.

Or if you look below your name, you’ll see your contacts that are currently available. Mouse over the ones with a video camera next to their names, and a card will popup. Click on the Hangout icon to start a Hangout and invite that person in one fell swoop.

You can also go to Google Plus and find the Hangout button in the top right corner of your screen.

After clicking “Start a hangout,” a screen pops up showing you some people you might choose to hang out with. Click on the top entry box to enter email addresses, names (if Google has them connected to you), or people you’re connected to in Google Plus, including entire circles if you’d like. Next give your Hangout a name, or not, and then click the “Hang out” button.

The Google Hangout window

Since I haven’t invited anyone, this isn’t very interesting. I’m going to “invite people,” specifically, my alter ego.

This is the invitation email that I received from myself. Everyone who is invited would get this email.

Now, this is a little weird, but there are two versions of me in this Hangout. This screenshot is taken from my computer. On my Xoom tablet, I’m in the Hangout using the Google Plus app.

When you enter a Hangout, your microphone and webcam are turned on by default. As soon as you enter, you can start talking. You can turn off the mic and webcam using the icons at the top of the screen.

If your participants are accessing your Hangout using a computer instead of a mobile device, your participants will have the same tools you have. Mobile devices do not have this toolbar – at least not as of this writing.

Click the chat button to open the chat window. The chat window will appear on the right side of the screen. No chat for mobile devices, either. To close chat, click the button again.

Click the screenshare button to share your screen. A window like this will pop up. Here I can choose to share my entire screen or just one of the programs that I have open. Mobile devices will show a screenshare, but mobile devices cannot share their screens. To stop sharing your screen, click the screenshare button again.

Click on Google effects to do things like add a snorkel and facemask to your own image. And, yes, the other people in the Hangout will see it, too. Just click on what you’d like to add, and the object will automatically be added to your image. Click the object again to turn it off, or click the “Remove all effects” button at the bottom of the effects panel. To close the Google effects panel, click the Google effects button again.

 

Now before you dismiss this as totally frivolous, at Klutz Press, at one time anyway, they said that any time there were disagreements among the employees, the employees in question had to put on Groucho Marx glasses before discussing the issue in question. I sincerely hope that they really did this – and that they still do. Picture using this technique virtually with a self-destructing student group. Or with those two faculty members in your department who are renowned for their bickering at each other.

It certainly seems like it would help keep people from taking themselves too seriously.

When you’re done laughing, let’s get back to work. Click on Google Drive to collectively edit a Google Drive file or open a new document for notes or even a sketchpad to draw on. Unfortunately someone using the app on a mobile device won’t be able to see your Google Drive documents. To switch off Google Drive, click the “Google Drive” button again.

Click on View more apps to discover other nifty additions. I just added Symphonical. It’s a drag and drop task organizer. When you have your plan together, email a copy to everyone. It’s tied to your account so the next time you go into a Hangout and open Symphonical, it will be there. Have more than one project? Click the green “Add wall” button in the top left corner. Adding Symphonical to a Hangout will automatically get you access to your walls at Symphonical.com. You’ll get an email from them about that. And, no, this doesn’t show up in the mobile app either.

Try it out

Mar 042012
 

A group of psychological scientists have identified 25 principles of learning. Of those 25, this group identified 9 to explore in greater depth as they relate to instruction. In this series of posts, I’ll look at each in turn, discussing some of the relevant technologies that can be used to take advantage of those principles.

The first in the list: “The single most important variable in promoting long-term retention and transfer is ‘practice at retrieval’—learners generate responses, with minimal retrieval cues, repeatedly, over time.” In short, if students are going to be able to retrieve what they learned later they have to practice retrieving now (the testing effect), and they have to space out that retrieval (the spacing effect). Practicing retrieval for 4 hours straight is not as effective as spacing those 4 hours out over the course of a couple weeks or more.

The authors make 4 recommendations.

  1. “During lectures, ask students questions to elicit responses that reflect understanding of previously introduced course material. This serves the dual purpose of probing students’ knowledge, so that misconceptions can be directly and immediately addressed in the lecture.”

    Ways to do this.

    1. 4-question technique. Dietz-Uhler and Lanter (2009) found improvement in quiz scores by asking students four questions following an in-class activity.
      1. “Identify one important concept, research finding, theory, or idea in psychology that you learned while completing this activity.”
      2. “Why do you believe that this concept, research finding, theory, or idea in psychology is important?”
      3. “Apply what you have learned from this activity to some aspect of your life.”
      4. “What question(s) has the activity raised for you? What are you still wondering about?”
    2. Fill-in-the-blank, content-based questions. Gier and Kreiner (2009) found improvement on exam scores when students were periodically asked to respond to fill-in-the-blank questions over course material during class.
    3. End-of-class questions. Lyle and Crawford (2011) found improvement on exam scores in a stats class when their students were asked to respond, unassisted, to a few questions over the day’s material at the end of class.


    Useful tech tools.

    1. Pen and paper. There is nothing wrong with this old school technology. Depending on the size of your class and how often your class meets, you could be wrangling a lot of paper.
    2. Student response systems. If you don’t currently use a system. Try Socrative (max 50 students, free). This tool is easy to use and allows both multiple choice and short answer questions. The data is downloadable via an Excel spreadsheet.
    3. Forms in Google Docs (read more about how to use this feature). Give students the URL to the form via a link on a website or in your course management system, a shortened URL (I recommend goo.gl), or a QR code for your mobile users (read more about QR codes). Students enter their names, their email addresses, their class time, and then whatever questions you’d like them to answer about the course material. The data is dumped into a spreadsheet that you can download from Google Docs. When I do this, I add a column for my comments and a column for my grade. Then I create a form letter in Word, link it to my spreadsheet, and do a mail merge to send my feedback to students (read more about mail merge here).

       

  2. “On homework assignments, have students retrieve key information from lectures and readings. Chapter summaries, for instance, may include study questions that ask students to recall major points or conclusions to be drawn from the reading.”

    Useful tech tools.

    1. Forms in Google Docs (read more about how to use this feature). For each reading assignment, I ask students to answer four questions. The first two questions cover the content. Question 3 asks what was the most difficult part of the reading and what questions they may have. Question 4 asks what was the most interesting thing they read. I use the mail merge procedure discussed above to send my feedback to students. This is my first quarter using this approach. On the first exam, I saw no difference in exam scores compared to last quarter. I saw a statistically significant jump in exam scores on the second exam – a full letter grade. In my perception, students wrote more and wrote better responses during the second section of the course leading up to the second exam. That may be due to my feedback, to my asking better content questions that require more synthesis of information, or to something else entirely.
    2. Word documents. If your students submit assignments by attaching them to email messages that you get in Outlook, I highly recommend SimplyFile, an Outlook add-in (read more here), to quickly file the messages in a folder so they’re out of your inbox. And then use EZDetach, another Outlook add-in (read more here), to save all of the attachments with student email address and student name appended to the filename to your “grade these” folder.

       

  3. “Encourage group studying in which students actively discuss course topics. In these groups, students have an opportunity to explain difficult course concepts to one and another, engaging in ‘practice at retrieval.'”

    Useful tech tools.

    1. Doodle (read more here). A lot of students say they’d like to form study groups, but they don’t quite know how to do it. Create a Doodle poll that asks students to mark the times they’re available for a study group. Students can see who is available when they’re available. Let the students take the initiative to contact those other students.
    2. TitanPad (read more here). For students whose schedule or location makes it difficult to get together, they could use this tool to explain concepts in their own words or provide their own examples. Groups of students can work together on the same ‘pad’. With the time slider feature, you can easily see who contributed what and when if you’d like to assign a participation grade.
    3. Google+ hangouts with video or Skype. These are good tools for students who’d like to get together to study at a particular time, but are unable to be in the same place.

  4. “As with probing questions during lectures, test questions offer another opportunity for ‘practice at retrieval,’ thus, potentially enhancing knowledge of the material being tested. Ideally tests should be cumulative and test items should probe for understanding of the material.”

     

    In terms of test performance, it doesn’t matter if you give a paper-and-pencil test or a computer-based test (Frein, 2011). Whichever you use, I encourage you to look at how your students perform on each question. If a lot of students missed the question, what incorrect answer did they choose? This will give you valuable information about common misconceptions.

Whatever changes you decide to make in your course, I strongly encourage you to track the impact your changes have made on student learning, however it is you choose to measure it. Your institution may be interested for their assessment reports to their accreditors, and I encourage you submit your results for publication in a peer-reviewed journal or a conference that’s interested in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). This site provides some resources for locating those journals and conferences.

 

References

Dietz-Uhler, B. & Lanter, J. R. (2009). Using the four-questions technique to enhance learning. Teaching of Psychology, 36(1), 38-41. doi:10.1080/00986280802529327

Frein, S.T. (2011). Comparing in-class and out-of-class computer-based tests to traditional paper-and-pencil tests in Introductory Psychology courses. Teaching of Psychology, 38(4), 282-287). doi: 10.1177/0098628311421331

Giers, V. S. & Kreiner, D. S. (2009). Incorporating active learning with powerpoint-based lectures using content-based questions. Teaching of Psychology, 36(2), 134-139. doi:10.1080/00986280902739792

Lyle, K.B. & Crawford, N.A. (2011). Retrieving essential material at the end of lectures improves performance on statistics exams. Teaching of Psychology, 38(2), 94-97. doi:
10.1177/0098628311401587

Dec 152011
 

12/15/2011

11:46am

The presentation has moved into the Q&A session, so I’m going to wrap up here. Be sure to check out the report and the 2011 study infographic. As we slide into the winter break, I hope to have time to read the report myself and write about some of their findings in this blog.

___________

11:41am PT

Where do students say they learn the most?


Source: EDUCAUSE Live Presentation, 12/15/2011

___________

11:34am PT

Basically, students don’t think instructors are using technology effectively. How can we make better use of the technology we have?


Source: EDUCAUSE Live Presentation, 12/15/2011

___________

11:29am PT

What do students want instructors to use more often? The top three.

Email: 39%

Course management system: 32%

Ebooks/etextbooks: 31%

Interestingly, Facebook: 15%.

___________

11:26am PT

How are students using their smartphones?

How about registering for courses? 22% have. Does your institution have a mobile-friendly registration process?


Source: EDUCAUSE Live Presentation, 12/15/2011

___________

11:24am PT

The most valuable technologies for the students in the survey sample?

Word processors: 76%

Presentation software: 66%

College library website: 45%

Skipping down the list…

Ebooks or etextbooks: 25%

Online forums: 16%

___________

11:20 am PT


Source: EDUCAUSE Live Presentation, 12/15/2011

___________

11:18am PT

How many of these devices do you have?

(“Susan Grajek, EDUCAUSE: It is uneven. As you’ll see later, more students at masters and doctorals use mobile devices; more at community colleges use desktops”)


Source: EDUCAUSE Live Presentation, 12/15/2011

___________

11:14am PT


Source: EDUCAUSE Live Presentation, 12/15/2011

___________

11:11 am PT

Check out the 2011 study infographic.

___________

11:08am PT

Two studies conducted in 2011: Traditional study with 145 institutions participating and a “national sample of undergraduates drawn from a consumer panel.”

___________

11:03am PT

Read the report here.

___________

11am PT

“In this free hour-long session, “ECAR National Study of Undergraduates and Information Technology, 2011,” Susan Grajek and Eden Dahlstrom will discuss the groundbreaking year for the EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research’s annual National Study of Undergraduates and Information Technology and plans for 2012.”

Nov 272011
 

I just finished reading a Scientific American blog on how people watch television. The author reports that “TV networks have taken to dividing their audience into two new segments.” There are those who watch TV like people have always watched TV. And then there are those who watch with a web-enabled device in their hands. I’m not sure there’s much difference between those two groups in that both groups want to share the experience. If we have people in the home to watch with, we’ll do that. If our family and friends are scattered to the four winds, we’ll turn to the internet to connect with them – or to connect with strangers who love the show as much as we do. At root, we’re social creatures. Why wait until tomorrow morning at the water cooler to share our thoughts about the show when we can do it right now, in real time?

People are no different when you take them from in front of the TV and drop them into a classroom. If the class is even remotely engaging, students are going to want to say something to somebody. Some instructors encourage dialogue, others don’t, and don’t for a variety of reasons. Large class sizes certainly make dialogue more difficult, for example.

Some instructors encourage their students to use Twitter with a course-specific hashtag to ‘talk’ with each other during class. Earlier this year I wrote about backchan.nl as a way to create a walled-off space for you and your students. Here’s an even easier-to-use alternative. (Shout out to Steve J. of the Teaching High School Psychology blog!)

TodaysMeet is an impromptu meeting space. No logins required. Enter a name for your room. The URL will be http://todaysmeet.com/[whatever you name your room]. Decide how long you’d like the room to be available. Click “Create your Room.” Give your students the URL.

When a student enters, she or he enters a name, and clicks the “Join” button.

The student types comments in the “Message” box, and clicks “Say”. Comments from all students appear in the “Listen” area. Anyone who is in the room can see what everyone else has written.

At the end of class, you can save all of the comments as a PDF. Use it, if appropriate, as assessment data or to assign class participation credit. Respond to student comments or questions during the next class session or take them to your class discussion board or email list if you use one.

Want students to work in groups? Great! Have them huddle up to respond to some question, and then have someone enter something on the group’s behalf.

I’m often asked, “If students are looking at their devices, how do you know they’re doing something class-related?” I don’t, any more than I know that if they’re writing on paper, they’re taking notes and not working on their math homework. Or if they’re looking at me, they’re thinking about the course material, and not the great weekend they had or are planning.

Sep 072009
 

I joined Twitter some months ago, and then quickly became one of 60% U.S. Twitterers that Nielsen found didn’t return a month after joining. But now I have to do some rethinking.

I’m a member of a social networking group called College 2.0: Higher Education, Online Learning, and Web 2.0. Here is a recent post to a discussion forum where the topic was Twitter (reproduced here with permission of the author).

For a long time, I’ve been a big fan of Facebook, and I’ve been thinking about ways I might somehow incorporate Facebook into my classroom (given that I know many of my students use it, and it seems like it might be something that could engage them and get them excited about learning statistics). I still haven’t figured out a way to use Facebook in my classes, but I did think about something I could do with Twitter. This summer, I asked my students to “tweet” about things they were finding in the news or online that related to statistics (e.g., news reports that included statistical information, uses or misuses of statistics, interesting graphs, cartoons, data sets, websites that teach statistics, survey or poll results, YouTube videos, etc.). I thought this would be a great way to emphasize statistical literacy in my course and to help my students become more savvy consumers of statistical information they are presented with in the “real world” on a daily basis. These are definitely learning goals in my courses. I presented this as an extra credit opportunity to my students (they would get a point for each “tweet” they posted, and they could post up to five “tweets”) and I provided them with information about how to set up Twitter accounts if they did not already have one. I had 20 students in my summer course, and 15 of them signed up for Twitter and participated in my “experiment.”

I’ve been so excited about how this went and how involved my students got in this “experiment” that I plan to continue doing this in future classes. It got my students looking for how statistics is used (or sometimes misused) in the “real world,” and I can’t tell you how many discussions I overheard my students having before and after class about things they were finding that they wanted to “Twitter” about. One of my students–who is also a teacher–actually e-mailed me yesterday to tell me that this Twitter experiment gave him many ideas for how he might incorporate this technology into the courses he teaches. Plus, I found this exercise was a great way for ME to make announcements to my students about things I was also noticing in the news. I don’t always have the time to go over these things in class, but using Twitter allowed me to get the word out and to model the kinds of questions I hoped my students would ask as they came across different information presented in news reports, polls, and journal articles.

If you want to learn more about what I did and see some examples of the kinds of posts my students and I put up on Twitter, you can follow me and my class on Twitter. You can follow me at www.twitter.com/MGEverson, and, if you enter #epsy5261 as a search term, you’ll see things that we all posted.

I realize I am very biased here, but I think this could have some potential in many classrooms, and that’s why I wanted to share it here. It’s a way you can incorporate more technology in your course if you want to, and I also feel it’s a good way to get students thinking about how what they are learning about applies to their everyday lives. For me, teaching statistics is sometimes a challenge because many of my students are taking the course because they HAVE to, and some are not very motivated to learn the material (or are very anxious about it because they assume it’s just a math class). For those students who come to our courses with little motivation or interest in the subject, this might engage them a bit more, especially if they are interested in social networking. I’ve learned through doing this (and talking to others–like you–about Twitter) that there are so MANY other ways in which Twitter can be used in the classroom, and to me, this is exciting. I can’t wait to experiment more!

One thing I must admit, however, is that my course is a graduate-level course. I would hope this would work in a similar way with undergraduates, but I haven’t tried it yet with my undergraduate course. Hopefully, the next time I teach that course, I can try it.

Michelle Everson

Department of Educational Psychology

University of Minnesota

When classes begin this fall, I’ll ask my (undergraduate) students if they Twitter. Whether they do or not, I’ll ask if they would be interested in the sort of experiment that Michelle Everson tried.

Has anybody else used Twitter in a course? What did you do, and how did it work?

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