More Than Just Shiny Objects: ITLS Keynote Recap

The 2nd annual UH System Innovative Teaching and Learning Symposium took place at the UH Main Campus, Friday April 15, 2016.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Derek Bruff highlighted a variety of tools to impact student learning and engagement, incl. Poll Everywhere, Twitter, Prezi, formative, and Tiki-Toki.

Derek Bruff is Director of the Center for Teaching and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Vanderbilt University. His blog highlights some of the key points of his presentation and showcases items related to his teaching style with an emphasis on student engagement through meaningful inclusion of educational technologies.

In his interactive session “More Than Just Shiny Objects” Dr. Bruff touched upon pedagogies that start with an exploration of students’ already existing schema. Technologies like Turning Technologies clickers or using Poll Everywhere can quickly assist in this. Based on the multiple choice or short answer responses the instructor can redirect or adapt their approach. The initial questions can frame the lecture, serve as a conversation starter, or simply help identify misconceptions about the day’s topic (clickers for a class of any size, pollev with word clouds for larger classes).

Dr. Bruff’s presentation touched upon addressing multiple learning styles throughout lectures, combining text with images, allowing students to apply their learning through the use of pen and paper, then record and submit their work through formative for grading/participation credit (for smaller classes).

Twitter is a great way to connect classroom learning with experiences outside the classroom. Dr. Bruff noted the use of this social media tool to record events related to student learning through the #birdclass example:

Knowledge organization tools can assist learners put mega, macro, micro concepts in their place, consider micro level objectives in the grand scheme of things. The (mostly) linear style of PowerPoint can be expanded upon by using Prezi – careful with the speed and style of movement…

Be a more effective, engaging, and memorable presenter with Prezi, the unique presentation software that helps you connect more powerfully with your audience. Unlike slides, Prezi’s open, zoomable canvas lets you show the relationships between the big picture and fine details, taking viewers on a compelling, informative journey they’re not only likely to enjoy more, but remember and act upon. So you can go from being a good presenter to being a great presenter.

Yet another way to structure your content or have students contribute to a project with a historical perspective is to use Tiki-Toki’s virtual timeline:

Tiki-Toki is web-based software for creating beautiful interactive timelines that you can share on the internet.”

Dr. Bruff’s debate map post on his blog demos his approach to analyzing Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother novel to teach cryptography: In-Class Collaborative Debate Mapping, or How a Mathematician Teaches a Novel.

The tools and opportunities for integration are endless, the challenge is to find the select few items that will be consistently functional, have a lasting impact on student learning, and will not distract from the overarching educational objectives.

Kudos to the UHS team for organizing another great event to allow faculty, staff, and students to grow. Thank you for the wonderful sign-in gift!


This post originally appeared on Dr. Emese Felvegi’s Bauer Blog (link).

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