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Szymon Machajewski
Jedi, Computer Science
Jedi, Computer Science
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GVSU @Blackboard Photo Roster Enhances Personalized Instruction

Based on a project request from faculty involved in the Pew FTLC Strong Start Initiative, a class photo roster feature has been implemented in Blackboard to enhance personal connections between faculty and students.

The Strong Start Initiative, led by Pew FTLC Faculty Fellow Tom Pentecost, focuses faculty attention on best practices for engaging students in first-year undergraduate courses and important aspects of the college experience vital to student success.

The Strong Start Initiative highlighted the importance of making it a priority to learn students’ names and calling them by name as a recommendation for improving student success, along with being more approachable as a faculty member.

Introducing the Blackboard Class Photo Roster

https://gvsuelearn.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/gvsu-blackboard-photo-roster-enhances-personalized-instruction/

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Digital audio assistants in teaching and learning.

A change in the use of input devices and their interfaces affects how we think. An example can be provided in the work of Frederik Nietzsche. When he switched from handwritten manuscripts to a typing ball (a prototype of a keyboard), he reported that he was thinking differently. Researchers studying his writings confirmed that his phrasing and writing style changed, as well. So, input devices we use affect the way we think.

Consider another example: when students write down notes by hand, they tend to remember them better. When they type them on a laptop, they use a different part of the brain and cannot recall them as easily. So, learning can be affected by the input devices, too.

What happens when we speak as an input method and receive output via voice? Positive or negative self-talk has been recognized as a tool to adjust motivation and to keep us thinking about an outcome. Reading aloud also has its benefits over reading silently. So, speaking with Alexa will likely affect learning and memorization.

To play Toccata and Fugue in D minor by Johann Sebastian Bach on most devices, you simply press play. With Alexa, you have to pronounce the name of the piece. Would this help you to remember the title? Would this help those around you to remember the title? We know that broadening vocabulary can have a real effect on enjoyment of life. The need to vocalize our commands to Alexa likely will cause important changes in the way we learn and live.

http://blog.blackboard.com/digital-audio-assistants/

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The short and long game theory for academic courses.

While active learning fits well in the “short game” design, something else is needed to make the course “long game” worth playing for students. We have implemented the “long game” design in our Introduction to Computing course at Grand Valley State University, which earned exemplary course status in the 2017 Blackboard ECP program. The key to the “long game” is the adoption of an experience points (XP) ledger. This instrument allows students to earn XP during lectures, homework assignments, hands-on practice sessions and track the total across the length of the course.

School grades used to serve as the “long game” strategy. However, today they are more likely to demotivate students than encourage them to conduct deeper exploration or to appreciate the subject matter. Grades have become a high stakes extrinsic reward. Just as money – in the research of Daniel Pink – is a poor motivator of knowledge workers, grades are a poor motivator of intellectual performance for students.

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The “UIC German” game app for the enhancement of foreign language learning-Case study
R Ryder, S Machajewski - International Journal of Educational Technology, 2017
Abstract This qualitative case study reports the adoption of gamification in a college level
foreign language courses. An exploratory approach allows the authors to describe how
gamification was applied and what results were documented.

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