Beyond Enrollment & The Open Door: Using Technology to Close the Completion Gaps by Dr. Stella A. Perez (Keynote Speaker)

by Alicia Barghout (Guest Blogger)

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 16.01.35Dr. Stella A. Perez started with a brief history of community colleges and moved into an introduction of why community colleges are an important part of the current and future educational system. She mentions support for the roll of community colleges from Dr. Jill Biden and President Obama. The CGI (Clinton Global Initiative), Quad Learning, and Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Learning (SIAST)–Instrumentor: Perioperative Nursing program were all listed as having examples of highly advanced and effective apps.

Dr. Perez goes over the 5 Part Mission of the American Community college: academic transfer, vocational tech (now referred to as work-force development), continuing education, developmental education, and community service. For those really interested in community colleges, Dr. Perez highly recommends the work of Tom Bailey, on reevaluating the mission of community colleges. The culmination of her message is well concluded with a powerful insight: “When we wrap what we know of the virtual student support world around what we know is the rich instructional, contextual world, then we deliver the real message of e-learning.”

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Powers to the People: exponential crowd power on the web by Alice Bedard-Voorhees (Regional Speaker)

by Madeline Giscombe (Guest Blogger)

Alice Bedard-Voorhees (as seen in the image below with her 3D mini persona Alice Actionette) gave a quite interesting TCC presentation about the power of online crowds! From crowdsourcing and smart mobs the mechanisms for contribution and distribution are growing Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 13.43.46exponentially as more and more people start taking part in these online communities of creators, thinkers, and learners. Whether you’ve funded a project on Kickstarter or posted an image on Flickr Commons, you’ve likely been a part of this movement.

Alice touched on one of my favorite aspects of this newfound power of the crowd- makerspaces! Makerspaces are places where people get together and make…stuff! They can be physical or virtual and thrive on the sharing of ideas, resources, and know how. My favorite of the makerspaces that Alice discussed is MIT’s Scratch, an open-source game development environment aimed at teaching programming. Along the same lines of distributing and contributing knowledge through games, are Citizen Science Games. Citizen Science Games are online places where individuals with knowledge of a certain subject are encouraged to share their prowess in order to advance the general knowledge, address problems, and propose solutions. In other words, Citizen Science Games will someday save the world. Possibly the coolest example that Alice showed was a database created by the “crowd” that used a gameboard to look at the mutations and transfer of infectious diseases like Avian Flu.

Through the continual contribution and distribution of resources, we moving our society forward in new and exciting way. Alice gave a great presentation that addressed the different mechanisms and highlighted some really cool and interesting examples. If you missed her session, be sure to check out the recording here:

To find out more about Alice, visit her in her online spaces:

Twitter: constantlearn



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Investigating the Impact of a Gamified Unit of Instruction on Student Motivation and Learning by Nolan K. Bowman

by Yahna Kawaa (Guest Blogger)

Nolan’s research on the impact of game based learning highlighted the importance of teaching with creativity and passion – emphasizing both the daily challenges and pressures faced by teachers to convey content that motivates and engages students. He spoke confidently about a topic truly unique to his classroom.

The results of his intervention for both high and low achieving students were remarkable and a testament to gamification as an instructional strategy.

Nolan actively engaged the audience through several simple polling questions and spoke in a calm and pleasant voice throughout the presentation, not too slow or fast.

I appreciated the opportunity to learn more about this interesting topic.

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Techno-mobility: How technology-enabled distance education opened up the world by Mark Curcher (Regional Speaker)

by Jordie Ocenar (Guest Blogger)

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 13.19.07Mark Curcher is the Program Director of the 21st Century Educators Program at Tampere University of Applied Sciences in Finland. He began teaching in the United Kingdom and eventually had the opportunity to teach in United Arab Emerates where he witnessed the evolution of educational structure and technology! Additionally, he has an amazing story of how networking and educational technology got him to his current position at Tapere University.

One of the highlights from this talk is the discussion of the education system and educational technology in Finland.  Finland is well known for its free, high-quality education system.  This system is personalized and emphasizes equality to all students.  Despite their education’s reputation, Finland is not all that on it in the educational technology scene.  In Finland, there have only been 6 known MOOCs!  Low uptake of MOOCs is most likely due to:

  • No tuition feesScreen Shot 2015-03-23 at 13.20.27
  • Education is considered a human right
  • Everyone benefits from a well educated society
  • The focus is on equality and not excellence, collaboration not competition
  • Education is not a market
  • Education is not broken (Slide 50; ~38:36)

An investigation into ICT education and the use of educational technology in Finnish school demonstrates the focus on educational equality.  The investigator criticized schools for not providing equal education for all pupils.  An example cited by the investigator was the teaching of coding and iPads at some schools, but not others!

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 13.21.41 An investigation into ICT education and the use of educational technology in Finnish school demonstrates the focus on educational equality.  The investigator criticized schools for not providing equal education for all pupils.  An example cited by the investigator was the teaching of coding and iPads at some schools, but not others!

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Social Media, Co-Learning and Peeragogy by Howard Rheingold (Keynote Speaker)

by Koran Munafo (Guest Blogger)

A delightful and engaging speaker, Howard immediately drew me into this creative and forward thinking talk. A simple Google search on Howard will net a myriad of interesting, innovative, unique, and inspiring ways of how he has applied the evolving tools of technology in his teaching and research. His is a human-centered approach and his holistic view point about technology,communication, and human interaction are what informs his practice. Howard describes himself as not being your “typical professor” as he views teaching as his own learning process and this teaching style, as he describes it, does not dictate that he separate himself from his students. Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 13.06.50Howard believes learning can be an adventure and a discovery of new knowledge and he speaks about the “group voice” as the conceptual embodiment of the creation of an online classroom conversation. Educators like Howard are crucial to societal change as his viewpoints and teaching approach lend much to the work of shifting the paradigm of education to better fit 21st century society and the evolving variety of learner needs in today’s world.

Howard offers a good overview of the process of how social media and its tools have evolved over the course of the last 15 to 20 years. He talks about a “new culture of learning”  where the learning is learner centered and takes place in all aspects of life. According to Howard, learning is socially constructed, peer to peer interacted, collaborative, and ultimately this “[multiplies] learning power by the number of learners, and not just the number of teachers in the classroom.”

Perhaps the golden nugget of Howard’s talk is when he compares the move of rapidly evolving technology in education with the somewhat archaic unchanging pedagogy that still acts as the underlying framework in which this technology is applied. This creates a paradox in education and that is where Howard has chosen to apply his genius — at this intersection of new world learning and the rectification and redefinition of existing pedagogical framework. Howard reminds us that schooling is “political” and presents to us the possibility that teaching can be a subversive act in which we can act as a change agent in a system to further the purpose of fostering equality, knowledge, and freedom in an ever-changing world.

To learn more about Howard Rheingold:,,

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Information and Communication Technology Use for Active Learning in Japan by Dr. Kenichi Kubota (Regional Speaker)

by Helen Torigoe (Guest Blogger)

Dr. Bert Kimura introduced the last regional plenary speaker of the TCC 2015 as one with “a passion for developing best practices with regards to using technology in education.”  Dr. Kenichi Kubota is a professor of Informatics at Kansai University in Osaka, Japan.
Dr. Kubota began the presentation by describing the current K-12 education environment in Japan:  According to the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) 2013, only 10% of Japanese teachers (vs. 38% of teachers in other 33 countries surveyed) use information and communication technology (ICT) in the classroom, such as a computer, tablets, or other mobile devices.  Wait, isn’t Japan the land of high-tech, the robots, the smart appliances, and gazillion gadgets that we can only dream of?  Despite the country’s technological advancement, Dr. Kubota said the K-12 education in Japan is still very conservative and lecture-driven as it was almost 100 years ago.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 14.24.57        Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 14.25.05

So what is Dr. Kubota doing about the lack of ICT in education in Japan?  Rather than waiting for the government or the education system to change, he has incorporated ICT into the Informatics program that he teaches at Kansai University.  As the professor of a seminar class that takes 3rd and 4th year Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 14.26.17students to the Philippines during the summer for a field study (i.e. service learning or project-based learning), he allows his students to do everything from planning, preparation, and field work, to the reflection/report-writing.  The ICT tools are naturally incorporated into these activities and they have become indispensable for students.  The tools include email, presentation software, word processing, Facebook, Google+ and Hangout, Skype, LINE, Photos, and Videos.  Brilliant!  The students are learning, serving, and having fun while learning to use digital tools in work and life.

The presentation ended with a very interesting discussion on LINE.  Everyone in TCC’s virtual and on-campus room wanted to know what LINE was.  It is a texting app that EVERYONE in Japan uses, explained Dr. Bert.  It also has video chat and social media functions, like Skype and Facebook, and lately is being used to call Uber taxis.  Dr. Bert uses LINE’s group chat feature to push messages to his Japanese students, because they don’t do emails.  Don’t use emails?  I guess that trend is the same as US students. ☺

Contact Dr. Kenichi Kubota:

Twitter: kuboken569

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What the WEB? by Alan Levine (Keynote Speaker)

by Tuyet Hayes (Guest Blogger)

Tuesday’s keynote presentation was delivered by Alan Levine, pedagogical technologist and architect of open and connected learning.  In recognition of TCC celebrating its 20th anniversary, Levine delivered his keynote as if it was 1996, the first year of TCC’s online conference.  This unique platform allowed Levine to provide a forward-thinking retrospective on the state of technology, especially the “The Web”, in 1996 as well as imagining the possibilities of what it might have in store in the “future” twenty years.  Levine’s careful preparation for the presentation included period pieces of technology including a walkman, Yahoo! t-shirt, and old flip-style cell phone.  These theatrics led to a more nuanced discussion of how the internet has evolved in terms of wikis, HTML, and  website creation and management.  He also introduced the audience to FedWiki and Surge.  On his CogDogBlog, you can find a link to Levine’s presentation as well as a blog entry detailing his extensive research and preparation for this keynote address.

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In 1996 I was a junior in high school.  I wouldn’t get my first email address or cell phone until the next year when I entered college.  Straddling the line between digital native and digital immigrant, I had plenty of moments during the presentation of “oh yeah, I remember that,” paired with a few “huh?”.  I especially had  a hard time fathoming how a technology conference could be delivered by email.  Email?  Really?  It seems the folks who planned and attended the TCC that year were quite the visionaries in imagining the possible ways technology could allow people to connect and share knowledge.

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