Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Teaching with Technology

App of the Week: Sketch Pad

The Sketch Pad program is a must for several reasons: it is very easy to use, has several features, and it is very nicely priced. All of the tools can be controlled from their home location at the bottom of the screen or be made to float and positioned anywhere they are convenient.

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App of the Week: Pages

Users of Apple’s Keynote should be right at home working in Pages, at least in the way it displays documents, creates or opens new documents, the location of menu items, the way folders are created and deleted, etc. And for good reason; Pages is part of the Apple’s iWork suite, which includes Keynote for presentations, Pages for documents, and Numbers for spreadsheets.

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Idea Sketch: A Solid, No Frills Concept Mapping App

Idea Sketch, as the name implies, is a way to capture ideas and organize them in some hierarchical manner — such as in a concept map or flow chart. Idea Sketch is a no frills app, rather intuitive, and best of all it is free! There is an upgrade option for $3.99 but if all I am going to get are a few more shapes, colors, and fonts, I am not sure that I would opt for a paid version. The free version, which works on the iPhone and iPad, includes a check spell option when typing but the app does not include a way to spell check the entire work when completed.

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Ten Fun Ways to Use YouTube Videos in an Online Literature Class

I have always enjoyed watching YouTube videos and when I noticed that some of the videos dealt with serious literary topics and had re-enactments of Shakespeare plays, I began to wonder if I could not incorporate them into my literature classes. Instead of students just reading a text version of Othello, why not have them also watch a live performance of Othello to get them more motivated to learn literature?

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Getting Started with Student Blogs: Tips for the Digital Immigrant

Digital Natives are all around us. They populate our college courses and use the newest mobile technologies to communicate, collaborate, create and share information on social media sites. There is, however, often a disconnection on their path to learning. Quite often we find Digital Native students taught by Digital Immigrant professors (Prensky, 2001) who fear, dismiss or are unaware of the potential learning power of Web 2.0 technologies.

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Apple Keynote App: A Quick and Easy Way to Create Presentations

The first app up for review is Keynote, the little brother/sister to its full-blown sibling Keynote that runs on Macs and is similar in many respects to PowerPoint. Keep in mind that no app will ever run like the complete version you would use on a computer, this much you ought to know going into the iPad world of apps. That said, Keynote is easy to use and the Help section is very straight forward. In fact, you will be running your first presentation within minutes of purchasing Keynote!

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Multimedia Lectures: Tools for Improving Accessibility and Learning

College course work is meant to be challenging. The content and the vocabulary used are often unfamiliar to many students. For at-risk learners, the challenges are even greater. In some cases, these students have physical or learning disabilities that create accessibility issues, other times the challenges may be the result of the fact that they’re an international student, have anxiety issues, or a strong learning style preference that runs counter to the instructor’s style.

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Ask Your Students to Create Videos to Demonstrate Learning

It’s an almost unquestioned assumption that written assignments need to be used to assess student learning. While traditional writing assignments are appropriate for many types of assessments, there is no law requiring it for all assessments. I’ve had students construct Wikipedia entries, make Voicethreads, and build online games as assessments.

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