6 Things: week of 10/24

In no particular order, here are six things that have my attention this week:

  1. ZenPencils: in TechLab we’re looking at how we can use comic strips as a form of assessment. There are TONS of engaging ways to incorporate comics (books & strips). In my search for supporting materials, I came across ZenPencils and spent a good chunk of time reading through the incredible comics and accompanying blog posts. So, this cartoon artist, Gavin Aung Than, from Melbourne, Australia, takes famous quotes and turns them into comics, then helps the rest of us learn more about what the quote means by writing about it. I can’t pick one favorite, but these are definitely worth checking out:
  2. IFTT: If This Than That:  a “recipe” site that allows you to create recipes to trigger digital action. For example, I have some simple recipes – when my local weather station has rain in the forecast, I get an email (or I could set it to send me a text). When anyone posts a photo to Coe Learning Commons Instagram account, it automatically hits our Facebook page, too. I heard about this last year at ITEC. I saw a teacher that had a recipe set up for when he liked a YouTube video. The link and description would feed into a Google spreadsheet, so he could go back and find videos to use for has classes at a later time. I think this is brilliant…I’m not quite there yet, but have aspirations!
  3. Blog Challenge: Our TechLab did this old blog challenge last week. I love this one. It makes us think about what’s important (one book!) and what we want to change. I learn so much about my students.
  4. Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks. We have one-year-old Shepard-Lab litter mates named Charley & Lola at my house. They have some issues. This week we had a dog

    Charley and Lola at the off leash park.

    trainer come to the house and I learned that my natural instants are validating behaviors we’re trying to train out of the dogs. It is HARD to change your ways and habits! (like who walks out the door of your house first, for example.) It’s always been way easier and natural for me to put on the dog’s leashes, open the door, let them walk through, then follow them out. Now I’ve learned this is the wrong way to go out (I am leaning on them to be the alpha dogs, making sure everything is OK for me when I do this). This makes me think about how hard it is to imagine education as something different than our “ways” or old habits. For every question we can answer “because that’s the way we’ve always done it” we need to think deeply about WHY.

  5. MySimpleShow: new tool! Create short Common Craft inspired videos in a simple, step-by-step method. My Simple Show prompts you through each step, offers simple graphics (or allows you to upload your own images) and exports to online publishing (YouTube, Vimeo) or an MP4 file. Here’s a sample I created to promo an event at the Learning Commons: LNAP
  6. The Mid-Semester Slump: next week, Coe will celebrate the slog. The Learning Commons, the Writing Center, Library, Speaking Center and the Writing Across the Curriculum committee will host the Long Night Against Procrastination. This is our third event (we started last fall). Students gather in the library, commit to a goal (write 600 words, study for Calculus, complete my paper), encourage each other, enjoy snacks and beverages and brain breaks every hour. Faculty host study tables or drop in hours. It’s celebratory and fun and a LOT of work gets done. I will join in and I will work and take breaks, but my days of being productive after midnight are long gone.

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