EdTech Travels to SLOAN-C Conference on March 28-29, 2001

The Educational Technology group (at least the “Ed” side consisting of Meg Brady, Angie Hammons, Julie Phelps, Barb Wilkins, and Malcolm Hays) are traveling to the 8th Annual Sloan Consortium Conference in Chicago on March 28-29, 2001. This conference is primarily about blended learning strategies.

Over the next few days, we hope to bring you some ideas discussed at the conference through the medium of this blog. Stay tuned for continuous updates!

Friday Session

Dr. Katie Grantham leverages YouTube to teach her students about ethnographic data collection and focus groups in her risk management and new product development courses.


Teaching and Learning Technology Conference 2011 – REGISTRATION OPEN!

Registration for the Teaching and Learning Technology Conference 2011 on March 10 and 11, 2011 is now OPEN!

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Eric Mazur — Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University and author of Peer Instruction: A User’s Manual.

Web-based registration is now available at:


If you have already registered with us via email, you do NOT need to register again. We still have your registration information.

Details about our conference can be found on the conference web site:


We look forward to seeing you at our conference in March!

Student Orientation to Blackboard (Prezi)

One of our student workers has created the following Prezi presentation to introduce students to Blackboard on our campus. This past semester, he gave this presentation to all incoming freshman as part of their orientation to Missouri S&T. We in EdTech are very proud of the hard work and effort he has put into creating the following. Enjoy!

.prezi-player { width: 550px; } .prezi-player-links { text-align: center; }

1000 Years of History in 5 Minutes

Here is an interesting video that shows 1000 years of European political history in a little over 5 minutes. You can easily see the ebb and flow of empires throughout the ages.

Unfortunately, it does not have a timeline on the screen so it is a little tricky to see exactly when certain events happened. For example, Napoleon Bonaparte conquered much of Europe in the early 19th century, so that event is shown towards the end of the video clip. However, there is no indication on the video exactly when that event took place (from around 1800 to 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo).


Hat tip: Tigerhawk


This past week MBS Direct hosted the Xplana conference in Columbia. Xplana launched this past summer and is being heralded as a mashup of Facebook, del.icio.us, Google reader, Ning and Elgg (plus or minus a couple other web 2.0 sites). At it’s core, as James Roberts, Director of Institutional Programs for Xplana tells us, it’s providing a way to move the focus of education from efficiency of delivery back to the encouragement of discovery.
James Roberts of Xplana gives a talk at the VISTA 2010 conference.

MITC 2010: Technology Wrecking Ball

Presenter: Bob Deneau

Bob presented on three technologies that he is using in his district: Adobe Connect Pro, Skype, and Microsoft SharePoint. EdTech has some familiarity with all three of these technologies, though I am only personally familiar with Adobe Connect and SharePoint. I’ve never used Skype, though several other members of our group have used it extensively.

Adobe Connect Pro is a web-based video-conferencing solution. All it really requires is a web-camera and a microphone (or a telephone as there is a call-in number you can use). It is very easy to use and can support several different points. There is a free version that can support up to three different participants, while the Pro version cab support considerable more participants. It also allows you to share your desktop or use an electronic whiteboard to collaborate with the participants. Similar products include WebEx (used by our Video Communications Center to support distance learning), Wimba Live Classroom (available inside of Blackboard), and Elluminate.

Skype is a web-based phone program that allows you to make Skype-to-Skype calls for free (it just takes up some of your available bandwidth). Bob gave some examples of how Skype is being used in the classroom, at least for K-12 schools. One option that may be useful on our campus is to bring in virtual experts in the field into the classroom. In other words, people in industry may not have the time to visit the campus to tell the students what engineering is like, but it should be relatively trivial to use Skype to connect them to the classroom.

Finally, Bob’s school district is using SharePoint as their web portal platform of choice. The teachers in his district have quite a variety of tools as their disposal (blogs, wikis, documents, and more) and can restrict access to content in a wide variety of ways. They are somewhat limited in their templates (most likely a policy issue rather than a technical issue–K-12 schools tend to limit what teachers are able to do, as far as I can tell).

S&T currently uses Documentum for official campus web sites, but we are exploring other options. Individual instructors and students alike can also use the campus Google Sites to create their own web sites for projects and courses. However, Google Sites does NOT have any sort of Assignment/Grade Center functions, so evaluating student projects in Google Sites will still most likely need to integrate some sort of Blackboard functionality. EdTech can certainly help instructors decide how best to use the available resources on our campus.

Bob’s web site can be found at:


MITC 2010: Creating and Distributing Audio/Video Podcasts

Presenter: Joe Dimino

This is a bit unusual because instead of the usual tablet PC that I normally use for liveblogging, I am using a netbook provided by the presenter. This is really my first experience with a netbook. The keyboard is definitely smaller, but not too bad, though I am tending to hit keys I normally wouldn’t (mostly I type “/” when trying to type a period).

We’ll see how it goes.

From what I can tell from the handout, this will be a “hands-on” exercise using Audacity and Windows MovieMaker. However, even though everyone has been provided with a netbook to use for the session, it does require each of us to install Audacity and MovieMaker–the machines have NOT been set up with all the required software. I anticipate this to take some time during the intro part of the session. It’s a 2-hour session, but needless time will undoubtedly be spent getting everyone’s machine ready. Naturally, having worked in IT, my own netbook looks like it is good to go. Except for Windows Live Movie Maker which doesn’t appear to be downloading. Most likely the local wireless network is not going to handle everyone in the session (about 2 dozen people) downloading the Movie Maker software at once. Joe is going to go through the Movie Maker process on his machine.

The sample web site for the session (http://www.csd4.k12.mo.us/morenetraining_Oct10.html) has numerous examples of podcasts used at Joe’s school as well as links to Audacity and the LAME encoder used to convert files into MP3.

For videos, Joe uses Flip video cameras (EdTech recently bought one to experiment with). He loves it. Everyone who’s tried ours likes it. They are available in HD and are quite affordable (both standard and HD are available for less than $200).

Joe uses Movie Maker or iMovie to add features to his podcasts such as textual layers and so on. Camtasia, which EdTech often uses, also allows for a number of additional features that can enhance a video podcast.

As I expected, a number of folks are having difficulty installing Audacity on their netbooks. Whenever doing a “hands-on” exercise, it helps to have all of the machines ready to go. I’m glad that when we do our conference in March 2011, we will be able to use a high-speed network with powerful machines in Civil 115–we will also coordinate with “hands-on” presenters to get the machines ready.

Recommended tool — Plantraonics Audio 655 USB headset/microphone, available from Amazon for around $30.

Joe’s web site has a number of links to some downloadable sounds and music. Most is available for free, but some will require coordinating with the IP holder (e.g. the artist Moby allows non-profits to use some of his music for free, but you will still need permission).

A good question from the audience–how do you record a phone conversation for a podcast? Joe has several good answers. One is to use Skype, if possible, because you can easily record the conversation. If you don’t have Skype, then you can use a standard microphone held close to the receiver. Although the quality of the audio will still be pretty poor even for a high-quality phone service (e.g. S&T VoIP is pretty high quality compared to cell phone or standard land line), Audacity does have some tools to tweak the audio files for quality.



Periodic Table Video — Fluorine

For your education — I found a link to a video on fluorine, the most reactive element in the entire periodic table. This stuff is extremely dangerous by itself, but it exists all around us bound up in molecules such as tin fluoride and sodium fluoride. Fluoride compounds are found in our toothpaste and water to enhance good dental hygiene, among other uses.

One of my friends is a chemical engineer. In his job, he’s handled any number of highly toxic, corrosive, and otherwise dangerous chemicals. Hydrofluoric acid is the one chemical he is actually afraid of.

This just one in a whole series of Periodic Table of Videos. Apparently the video below is actually an update to an earlier video. Fluorine is so difficult to handle in its native state that they had trouble getting the video they wanted. Fortunately they found a chemist who has considerable knowledge and experience in working with elemental fluorine.

Just to give you an idea of how dangerous fluorine is, check this out. And this, which discusses what happens when you mix the oxidizing power of oxygen with the reactive power of fluorine.

Search Stories from Google

Apparently Google/YouTube has created a feature called “Search Stories” that allow you to create a short video based on your search terms. Julie Phelps, one of our Instructional Technologists, has created the following Search Story using terms related to Missouri S&T Educational Technology. Enjoy!