Flipping for Fractions: An Action Research Project [4/18/2017] by Kristel de Leon (Featured LTEC Master Student)

written by Yahna Kawa’a (TCC 2017 guest blogger)

A worthwhile session for teachers and parents of elementary through high school students, administrators anyone interested in technology-facilitated learning in the 21st century classroom, Kristel de Leon’s research project is proof that necessity is indeed the mother of invention. This enthusiastic public school teacher observed that her fifth grade students consistently struggled with one particular math concept: multiplying fractions. Think back to your fifth grade class. Do you remember learning how to multiply fractions? If the words numerator and denominator sound familiar, good for you!! But, if you’re like me, then math class was kind of a blur. Had my math teacher incorporated innovative teaching practices like the one described in this session, perhaps I would have developed a fondness for the subject. Kristel’s action research project described how she “flipped” her classroom and evaluated how interactive video instruction impacted attention and learning of fraction multiplication. Using videos that she located or created herself using play posit, Kristel turned passive video instruction into a responsive learning environment for her students. The flipped classroom (FC) model is a relatively new practice. Traditional teacher centered instruction (e.g., lecture) is flipped so that instead of passive listening in the classroom, students view pre-recorded video lectures for homework then the following day participate in classroom activities linked to the video instruction. Students spend time working collaboratively to solve a problem related to the content in the video lecture at school while the teacher observes and facilitates the learning and discussion. In an FC model classroom teachers are no longer the sage on the stage, but instead serve as the guide on the side.Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 4.47.15 PM

Kristel highlights some of the features of the FC model including, student feedback, data to drive instruction and creating a collaborative problem solving environment. “Students found the new form of learning entertaining and the embedded questions helped to keep their attention, provided positive reinforcement making them more accountable for their learning.” Kristel revealed how difficult it was to “release responsibility to my students and let them teach and learn from each other”. She said that it was more valuable though to give them wait time, because they came up with strategies that were different. It is important to “praise the process not the end product”. Her students learned valuable skills through the FC model including, critical thinking, communication, and creativity. “Letting go of the reins giving students more freedom to practice these skills” was so important. Kristel intends to share her video lessons with her colleagues and plans to apply the model to her language arts lessons in the future. Kristel de Leon is a Master’s student in the Department of Learning Design and Technology at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and is a 5th grade teacher on Maui. She is passionate about her subject matter and dedicated to helping her students learn and succeed by incorporating innovative practices into her math classes.

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Posted in Guest contributor, TCC 2017

Wearable Experience for Knowledge Intensive Training: Learning Methodology and Technology Design [4/20/2017] by Dr. Mikhail Forminykh (Regional Speaker, Project Manager, Europlan UK Ltd, United Kingdom)

written by Laura Laolagi (TCC 2017 guest blogger)

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What is so interesting about the speaker?
The interesting par about the speaker is that he was able to follow through with his presentation and was very knowledgeable in the topic of using augmented reality to deliver meaningful training. The speaker plays an important role in an event because he was able to convey a compelling message that captured my attention, as well as those who attended. What makes the conference session a worthwhile experience (for those that missed the session)

To begin with, Dr. Mikhall Forminykh, defines augmented briefly as “technology that overlays the physical world/reality with a layer of digital information.”
Then Dr. Forminykh presents the Past Future and Present of Augmented reality
He talked about the history of augmented reality in the Past, when it was possible to use screen as a simple reality devise camera that served as a marker, he further stated that when you look through the marker on the screen of your phone, you see additional images or objects that appear as 3D or cartoon character, etc.., which is the simplest available for some years now, until in the Present, hollowfication, using glasses simulate presence…  which transporting people that are physically in remote places in full emersion, so that the person in the room sees a hologram of another person, very realistic, which is a significant improvement.
In the Future, augmented reality includes, conceptual videos. For an awesome example visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJg02ivYzSs. This is an amazing and neat video showing where augmented reality is headed towards.
Dr. Forminykh, further talked about augmented reality and what it can do and how “jobs will open up whereby computers will replace humans… most skilled workers will loose their jobs and will be replaced by machines, however take up new types of jobs will take up new jobs whereby they will collaborate and control machines” in the near future, which is why there is a demand for “better training in the industry, they think that the answer and challenge to train is to use augmented reality.” To most it’s new, but the session was a worthwhile experience because I was able to fully understand what augmented reality is, and how AR is used productively in the workplace.

What is the highlight of the session?

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The highlight of the session was when the presenter showed examples of how Augmented reality and how it’s used.

The highlight for me was when the presenter talked and shared a video of the “ghost hands” telementoring with hands on augmented reality instruction (collaboration of 2 remote people one is trainee (normal hands) and hands of remote expert is the ghost hands: and the trainer is the real hands as well as wearable experiences for intensive training.

Speaker’s contact, social media and website information

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Posted in Guest contributor, TCC 2017

How Change Management Can Support Academic Transformation [4/18/2017] by Dr. Malcolm Brown and Dr. Veronica Diaz (Keynote Speakers)

written by Kurt Rutter (TCC 2017 guest blogger)

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This keynote presentation was highly interactive and based on case histories of change management in helping successful transformative change. I wrote my notes on the back cover of Tech Trends (linking research and practice to improve learning) so apologies for any inaccuracies!

The goal of change management is to allow smooth integration of innovations. When the moderator asked for word association with innovation the words “growth”, “breakthrough” were mentioned by the audience. But also “pain”, and “butterfly”, which I think meant the butterfly effect. The butterfly effect refers to a concept that one small change in a complex system will create unintended consequences far down the line. The term “community of practice” (COP) surfaces early in the presentation and I think each of the cases demonstrates how identifying and  involving the COP is critical to successful diffusion of innovations in education. So on to the cases…

Dr. Kyle Johnson (Keynote Panel Guest Speaker)

Case #1 New LMS!

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 22.14.36Dr. Kyle Johnson at Chaminade University (Honolulu) was getting a lot of heat from faculty to find a new learning management system (LMS). He looped faculty (COP) into the process early in the search and the result was a big success with lots of faculty support for Canvas. Win-win. Establishing a new LMS is I think one of the most difficult innovations, because the entire campus essentially must buy into the adoption and consistent long term administrative support, IT , and other stakeholders is crucial.

Case #2 Smartboards!

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Dr. Johnson again, but this time it was a seemingly simple deployment of a smartboard in a high traffic classroom. Clearly it would benefit faculty and students, so what could go wrong? Plenty…it turns out that if stakeholders are not invested in the innovation they are much less likely to work through the inevitable bugs and inconveniences that come with any innovation. Oops. Solution, adjust, listen to faculty,  and carry on. It turns out that perhaps the impact of the project is less an issue than community involvement. Involve the COP in the undertaking early on.


Dr. Bernard Bull (Keynote Panel Guest Speaker)

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 22.14.52Case #3 Badges!

This was a case where the original intention of the innovation was a mixed success, but the portfolios and competency-based learning that were also part of the innovation were very successful with students and faculty. So in this case the badges turned out not to be the prime motivators to adopt innovative ideas…a good illustration of unintended or surprising consequences, and the need to be open and flexible with innovations.

Case #4 Online College!

Later on Dr. Bull needed to develop and implement an online section for Concordia from scratch in about a year. No big deal, all he needed was a complete academic infrastructure built on the fly.  There was support from administration for the pilot, which allowed the project to happen, and the pilot project was extremely successful, enrolling 3000 students. The upside to the concept of siloing a project  as a pilot is that it is isolated from what might be called negative influences and traditional politics of academia, and early adopters can be recruited. Again the value of a strong COP is evident.

Dr. Kelvin Bentley (Keynote Panel Guest Speaker)

Case #5 CBE Certificate Programs!

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Dr. Kelvin Bentley from Tarrant Community College needed to develop competency-based educational career pathways for banking. With the support of community banks and minimal funding a team developed several certificate programs. Challenges were that CBE was new to the college, the courses were new to the area, and transitioning students and faculty. How did it go? Luckily the team was flexible and quickly identified successful and unsuccessful strategies (sort of like rapid prototyping). In the end the Teller certificate program was the most needed and doable, and became the focus. This project found success in simplification, focusing on a core area to grow lasting roots in the community. In this case the COP is a combination of faculty and community working together toward a common goal.

Case #6 Online Tutoring!

A pilot using Elluminate Live (now Blackboard Collaborate)  was done transitioning traditional tutors into the online format. With support and some financial backing for training and set-up the innovation was very successful. The clear need for the innovation helped a lot and using Elluminate Live to orient students to online coursework and tutoring brought rapid acceptance. Dr. Bentley believes the success was due in large part to combining tutoring use with orientation, and good promotion by counseling. The tutoring community at the college adopted new technology relatively easily, and broad support came from inclusion of other needed services for students, which helped justify funding the Elluminate Live platform.

In each of the above cases, piloting with a core of highly motivated people, an “innovation COP” seems is common thread. The beauty of a pilot is that it can be very adaptive and flexible in identifying problems and strengths.

The downside is that a pilot cannot last forever, and there are dangers even for successful pilots as far as sustainability. Re-integrating a successful pilot can be a challenge, and there remains the problem of getting buy-in from the rest of the institution (you know, the late majority and our old friends the laggards). So in case # 4 Dr. Bull had a nice siloed COP on board but now needs to reintegrate into a larger, probably less innovative COP. Scaling is a real nemesis for pilots I think because, frankly, the people who form a pilot COP are people with grit who like working in less structured environments, and I think that is tough to scale up. Research on scaling up pilots needed!

Posted in Guest contributor, TCC 2017

Facilitating Collaboration in a Flipped Digital Art Classroom [4/19/2017] by Erika Molyneux (Featured LTEC Master Student)

written by Diana Thompson (TCC 2017 guest blogger, Undergraduate Academic Advisor for the Department of Biology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa)

Yesterday, I got to write about a high school Chemistry instructor and her use of videos to engage her young technology-aged learners. Today’s post will be in an entirely different ballpark. Erika Molyneux, an instructor at a local community college, finds success with similar methodologies while teaching graphic arts classes to a diverse population of students.

Despite the audience and subject matter differing, the flipped classroom model of instruction proved to benefit this diverse population of community college learners. Community college students are known to typically face unique barriers to education, which a flipped classroom approach can assist with. Molyneaux discusses limited access to required software, such as Photoshop, out-of-classroom commitments, and even age and disability.

Molyneux introduced a flipped group project to create an advertisement for a local company that addresses key artistic principles and demonstrates technical skills in Adobe Photoshop. This project challenged them to research the competition and produce a quality end-product, while also building teamwork skills, and learning how to provide and receive constructive critique on the work of their peers.

Interesting social dynamics came into play with the group project setting, including age playing a factor (e.g. a younger student not wanting to offend an elder student), and the classic group project problem of accountability for contributing to the team’s work. Possible alternative structures are explored during the presentation, allowing listeners to apply ideas to their own classrooms or work projects.

The ideas brought forth in this presentation were especially appealing to me as someone who attempts to utilize a flipped classroom model with academic advising for a similar population of students. A particular concept brought forward was to create the same content in a variety of deliverable formats to increase accessibility for students of all learning backgrounds. As expressed yesterday, let us, the educators, do all that we can to meet our students where they are at, and mentor them with kindness and support to foster growth and success.


Posted in Guest contributor, TCC 2017

The Kamaʻāina Discounts: Usability Study on the Website Homepage [4/18/2017] by Karen Fujii (Featured LTEC Master Student)

written by Helen Torigoe (TCC 2017 guest blogger)

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Having moved to ʻOahu two years ago, I could immediately identify with Karen regarding the sticker shock — on everything from housing to groceries.  At least I moved from the Big Island so culture shock was not an issue, but Karen must have come from the mainland as she listed higher cost of living, lower income, and cultural differences as her challenges upon moving here two-and-a-half years ago.

When Karen realized that there were plenty of websites for visitors to Hawaiʻi, but none for newly transplanted residents, she decided to build her own website http://mykamaaina.com.  Kamaʻāina is a Hawaiʻian word meaning native-born or a local resident.  She put together an information hub for local residents to easily find kamaʻāina discounts and events. For the new and prospective Kamaʻāinas, she also added Hawaiʻian language and pidgin references, as well as information on how to obtain Hawaiʻi driver license.  Then she did a usability study of the homepage for her Master’s project.  “Homepage is like a storefront,” said Karen, “the landing page should engage the online community.”

Using Jakob Nielsen’s Four Principles (of High Quality Website Design), Karen set out to answer the following three questions for mykamaaina.com, to determine the usability of the site’s homepage.

  1. Is the homepage engaging for the users to continue through the website?
  2. Is the content on the homepage relevant for the user?
  3. How does the website impact new users to become repeat customers?

She enlisted ten participants to perform four tasks, assessed the difficulty of completing the tasks on the website, collected their movements in Screencastify, as well as collecting pre- and post- surveys.  With each round of tests, Karen improved the website by adding a menu option for Waikiki events, adding the word “Ads” above the ad squares, and increasing the font size of section headings, etc.  With each iteration of testing and making improvements, Karen got closer to reducing the “click-outs,” a term used by Jakob Nielsen to describe users who leave the site if they do not form a good impression in 10 seconds, and increased the chances of users becoming repeat customers.

In conclusion, the test participants found mykamaaina.com simple to use and has professional look and feel.  Karen says to test, test, and test.  She also advised to continually update the website to maintain “safe” trust rating, and to continuously patch to keep the site secure.  Browse mykamaaina.com to examine the usability of the site yourself, or to score some good Kamaʻāina deals!

Contact Karen Fujii at: karenkf@hawaii.edu


Posted in Guest contributor, TCC 2017

Investigating the Impact of Video Instruction in a High School Chemistry Class [4/18/2017] by Robin Fujioka (Featured LTEC Master Student)

written by Diana Thompson (TCC 2017 guest blogger, Undergraduate Academic Advisor for the Department of Biology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa)

STEM fields across the nation are facing a crisis; college students are underprepared in mathematics skills. Why does this matter? Not everyone is going to become a mathematician, right?

Unfortunately, even a seemingly removed discipline such as Biology has a critical need for a foundation in Chemistry, which relies on skills in Mathematics. Imagine the look on my Marine Biology students’ faces when I tell them that they need to complete Organic Chemistry and Calculus II. This reality is even more difficult to swallow when placement exam scores are not where they ideally should be, meaning more Chemistry and Calculus-track Mathematics courses will be needed in order to graduate.

As a college-level administrative staff member, it is easy to place the blame on high schools, when the problem is reflected on placement exam scores the summer before students begin. Luckily for one high school on Hawaii island, students are getting a first-class education in Chemistry, and it all starts with flipping the classroom.

Robin Fujioka utilizes screencasted videos to engage the younger generation of learners, and has reconfigured her curriculum to increase student confidence in their abilities to translate prior mathematics knowledge into a new chemistry concept: moles. The final step, the “exit ticket,” makes testing for learning gains less scary for the students thanks to its friendly-sounding name.

I have high hopes that other teachers in STEM fields will take note of these instructional methods that Robin has adapted in her classroom, and that college instructors will then follow suit. Today’s young learners grew up with technology, so it’s about time we’ve adapted to meet our students where they’re at, and show them just how fun learning can be.

Posted in Guest contributor, TCC 2017

Using Learning Styles to Differentiate: A Usability Study of a Teacher Resource Website [4/18/2017] by Jennifer Smith (Featured LTEC Master Student)

By Mae Dorado (TCC 2017 guest blogger, Online LTEC Master Student)

New to the TCC experience and not knowing what to expect… it was interesting to attend the Master student project sessions. One presenter whose topic really captured my attention was Jennifer Smith’s topic on differentiation of learning styles in a usability study.

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Her passion and enthusiasm for this topic was obvious as she greeted everyone with a warm and friendly “Aloha” and started with a fun and engaging poll to learn more about her audience. The poll gave the audience the opportunity to learn about what everyone’s favorite subject was in school and how we preferred to learn. Using the blackboard collaborate pen tool, we discovered that the audience’s favorite subjects were math, art, science, physical education and social studies; 5 out of 6 of the subjects were selected, and the majority of the audience valued seeing and doing as preferred methods of learning over writing.

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Based on this activity, and what captured my attention, was her explanation with the slide to the right; she was able to deduce that “Everyone prefers different subjects and has different ways of learning” and “Each person has a learning style as individual as a signature.”
As a fellow educator, I could relate to her reasoning for implementing this topic as her Masters Project. As she elaborated, the problem started because teachers were highly encouraged to differentiate instruction; without the adequate time to plan and develop the instruction. I agreed with her deduction that “time is a commodity for every educator.”

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She went on to explain in her web design, as captured on the left, that it should include “aesthetically pleasing, clear and engaging images to most effectively engage users.” Her target audience included K-12 and home educators, and I was impressed by her display of primary tools used, such as wix.com, Pow Toon, Shutterstock and Google to mention a few.

In covering her site content, it should be “self-evident, obvious, and self-explanatory to users.” She included information about the different learning styles, learning style assessment, and specific teaching strategies for each learning style.

Her analysis of her usability results helped her to identify and prioritize problems and issues and how to fix the problems.

Overall her presentation was excellent. It was short and sweet, with a particular focus on the design and methods of improvement to her design.

Jennifer was extremely helpful to learn from. As a new Masters Student, it is challenging to decide which direction I want to take for my own Master’s project. However, Jennifer’s presentation simplified the process and gave students wonderful ideas to help with their project focus. It truly was a worthwhile experience to attend especially if a student considers a usability study.

The take home message from this session, as Jennifer pointed out in the end, was “What makes sense to a designer, doesn’t always make sense to the user.” Keep your audience in mind when building your instructional design.

Jennifer Smith may be reached at jls44@hawaii.edu.

Posted in Guest contributor, TCC 2017