Social Media

Free eBook for teachers and students to create digital stories

The Changing Story:  Digital stories that participate in transforming teaching & learning by Linda Buturian  Free download as iBook or ePub formats for other devices through this website.

If you are interested in having your students create digital stories or creating them as part of your learning activities, I recommend the following free eBook.  Linda is a colleague of mine in our academic department at UMN.  I have used principles from this book for digital stories that my students have constructed.  It is a powerful experience for those who create them as well as everyone who views them.

This truly is a "must read" if you are interested in digital storytelling. Rather than just focusing on shallow techniques to quickly use the latest app to produce a video, the author takes us on the journey through the eyes of students and teachers why this approach is such a powerful and transformative learning experience. This experience occurs for both those who watch as well as those who create them. I enjoyed the embedded video clips from the teachers and samples of student-produced work. Plus the writing style of the author is accessible, enjoyable, and nuanced. Don't miss this book just because it is free.

Description by the author:  “The Changing Story gives you assignments, resources, and examples to use in your teaching and learning. It will also help you think of ways digital stories can be used in your teaching, and help students harness the power of visual storytelling.  The Changing Story is a free ebook that is downloadable and licensed with Creative Commons.”

David Arendale 2015 Guide to iPad Apps

David Arendale 2015 guide to iPad Apps

<Click here to download the directory>

The Apple iPad continues to grow with the number of users and the enormous number of apps available for downloading, many of which are free.  The latest count is over 1.2 million.  My directory contains my favorite 300 I use personally and with my work as a college history professor.

Facebook Addiction and GPA

Chronicle of Higher Education, January 21, 2015 by

Facebook is a tempting distraction. I have it open as a tab in my browser as I write this. And look, it’s showing that I have a new notification! I must see it, immediately. Facebook designed the site to make me feel that way.  This doesn’t bode well for college students. If professionals, and even some professors, have a hard time resisting the lure of Facebook, then what chance do 18-year-olds have?

New research suggests that the kids may be all right. A study of Facebook activity and grade-point averages suggests that students may learn to regulate their use of Facebook, both as a distraction from coursework and in their free time, as they move through college.  Reynol Junco, an associate professor of education at Iowa State University, collected data from about 1,800 students at a four-year college. He found that students who spent a lot of time on Facebook while also trying to complete assignments tended to get worse grades.

The correlation, however, held true only for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Seniors tended to use Facebook less in general. For them, time spent on the site did not correlate negatively with GPA.  “Seniors were less likely to post status updates than freshmen and sophomores, comment on content less than the other class ranks, use Facebook chat less than freshmen and sophomores, post photos less than juniors, tag photos less than freshmen and juniors, and view videos less than all the other class ranks,” Mr. Junco wrote in a paper published this month in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.  It could be that freshmen are simply not as good at resisting the urge to use Facebook when they should be working, and that they get better at it as they get older.

Mr. Junco also pointed out that freshmen are scrambling to find their social footing in a strange new place while clinging to the relationships they’ve recently left behind. “Freshmen must not only adapt to a new academic environment, but also a social one in order to be successful,” he wrote.  The self-regulation skills of individual students no doubt play a role at any age. Mr. Junco’s snapshot is of four groups of students, not a single group evolving over time.  But he hopes the study will at least help higher-education professionals move past their own antipathy to Facebook use. An “abstinence only” approach, Mr. Junco said, is more likely to “alienate students and not allow for the leveraging of the important social affordances of Facebook in support of the first-year transition process.”

2014 Apple iPad App Directory

Just in time for the holidays, I am reissuing David Arendale's Guide to iPad Apps.  <Click on this link to download the free PDF document.>  This is my hand-picked favorite iPad apps.  The 31-page directory lists approximately 330 of them.  With more than one million to select from, it was difficult to identity the ones that I find the most useful for my personal and professional life.  Enjoy.

ECAR 2013 National Study of Student Technology Use

From the Chronicle of Higher Education by Jason Jones

The Educause Center for Analysis and Research (ECAR) has released the latest version of its annual report, ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2013.  First, students have lots of devices, but relatively little incentive or freedom to use them in class:


Students did seem to indicate an interest in having their phones and/or tablets be more directly incorporated into academics.

Second, two-thirds of students report that their faculty “use technology effectively”:


It’s a little unclear what the students’ judgment is based on here: stuff not crashing? Faculty finding their comfort zone and sticking with it? Regardless, it is useful to know that students respect the faculty’s technology use.

Third, the report asserts that “60% of students prefer to keep their academic and social lives separate,” although there wasn’t a lot of followup about student interest in social networking and academic work in general. (For example, since a lot of Twitter clients support multiple accounts, it’s not terribly difficult to keep one’s academic and social life separate.)

And finally, the report also says that students prefer that faculty themselves provide instruction in how to use technology, rather than rely on the help desk or online-only documentation, which suggests that for the foreseeable future, faculty who incorporate technology in interesting or significant ways will need to continue to budget class time to cover how to use the tech.

There are also interesting results about how students want to use LMSes, and more. As always, Educause interprets the data in light of its understanding of of the institional/corporate world of information technology, rather than a faculty-centered one. (As I’ve already joked on Twitter, no one but Educause would characterize the fact that “Students expressed only moderate interest in learner analytics” as a “surprising” finding, unless what was surprising was that their interest was as high as “moderate.”) Nevertheless, it is certainly helpful to understand how students talk about their use of information technology, especially as one considers incorporating social media, or thinking about an electronic device policy.

At the ECAR site, you can download the full report, an infographic drawn from it, and the survey instrument.

Disruptive Innovation: Embedding Learning Technology into the Classroom (Kellogg Institute Workshop)

On July  15 and 16 I presented a workshop at the Kellogg Institute on embeding learning technology within the classroom and campus learning center.  Click on this link to connect with a special web page that contains all the handouts, PP slides, and web links to other resources.  Most of the technologies shared are those I actually use with my gobal history course at the University of Minnesota.  Others are ones that I plan to pilot text over the upcoming years.

One basic principle to remember when contemplating use of a new learning technology is a basic one, why?  How will the technology help achieve student outocmes better than what is currently used?  How difficult will it be for the instructor and the students to use the technology?  Students have told me repeatedly that they like learning technology in the classroom as long as it is meaningful.  Never make the assumtion that it is easy for students to use without tutorials and support.  It is a learning curve for both the instructor and the students.

I am geeky by nature, but make a point to conduct focus groups with students before I introduce new technologies into the classroom.  These focus groups often give me insights into new emerging technologies that they are using that could be adapated for use within the classroom.  It has taken me a decade to add the learning technolgoies into my class, generally no more than one new thing during an academi semester.  I hope you find one or two ideas to experiment with from all the materials provided through this web site.  Best wishes with your work.

2012 MRADE Conference Keynote Talk

Greetings everyone,

Link to the PowerPoint slide handout from the talk.

Link to a directory and web links to online learning technology resources handout from the talk.

It was certainly fun to share with all of you today. Thanks for being my home team.

Take care,