Obligatory First Blog

This Blogger site is intended for use during my sessions at the EDUCAUSE Instructional Technology Leadership Program 2005 which launches July 10-14 at penn State University.

I am the hired gun charged with the topic of "Instructional Technology Innovations", a daunting task indeed. My session will hopefully be participatory,not dull, and hopefully relevant. Rotten tomatoes may be launched at any time (they may be supplied in your participant packet).

Seriously, my goal is to provide some experiences and perspective that will help participants find that sweet spot of balance between roles of Instructional technology (the cool, neat stuff) and Instructional Design (meaning how content and materials is structured to achieve its goals). Today's practitioners ought to be living happily at those crossroads.

That has been my location since 1992 at the Maricopa Center for Learning & Instruction (MCLI) a faculty development center serving the 10 Maricopa Comunity Colleges in metropolitan Phoenix. My title is "Instructional Technologist" and I lean towards the technology developer end of the spectrum but embrace and put to use the Instructional Design principles I have learned both formally and informally.

As a discliamer, I have no official credentials in any of these fields, and having learned everything I know now on the job.

So these sessions are not about technology per se, but more so aspects of them that fit into our roles.


The Presentation

The Presentation for my session is available at:


And this is not your grandma's PowerPoint... this presentation is created with the S5 (A Simple Standards-Based Slide Show System) template created by Eric Meyers.


The Blogger Experience

This is the first hands-on activity of my segment here, and will be done rather early as I loathe blabbing when learning is in the doing. This entry is being written ahead of time and saved as a draft, and I will publish it after the participants have completed the activity.

Purpose(s): One outcome is that each team at the institute will create a weblog that they will continue to use for the rest of the institute. This is to demonstrate the notion of documenting projects in a public space, multi-authored weblog sites. The second layer is to explore the experience of using the Blogger site.

Setup: I will be asking the most technical experience person in each group to stand up. Their job is to watch, coach, and refrain from grabbing the mouse and keyboard. Next, I will ask for the person least experienced in blogs and/or technology to volunteer to be the person in the driver seat. Each group will be provided a basic set of instructions for creating a blogger account and site.

The Twist: I have created three sets of instructions (available as MS Word downloads):
  1. [blogger-setup-full.doc] Fully illustrated and lavishly explained steps, about 3 pages printed.
  2. [blogger-setup-med.doc] A text only series of explicit instructions
  3. [blogger-setup-lite.doc] A minimal set of instructions that basically reads, "go to Blogger.com" and click on "Create a Blog"
The hope is to have each group create their shared project blogs, and then to post one entry as an introduction for their group. The discussion will be about both the impact or not of fully iluustrated instructions, and the relevance since it is drop dead easy to create a Blogger site with minimal or no instructions. Is the time and effort spent creating full instructions critically necessary?

The Aggregation: Once created, each group will let me know the URL for their team. I will quickly add this to a web aggregator I created at:

as well as a Bloglines public collection:

The Reflection: Each group is than to pst a second blog entry, a reflection, including their ideas on:

  • Which set of directions did you use? How important was the level of detail in being able to use the Blogger site?
  • How easy was the site to use? What elements of the experience influence this opinion?
  • How would you compare the interface here to the one for say your course management system, your internal web based administrative systems?
  • How does this compare to other tools for creating web pages (learning HTML, using Dreamweaver/FrontPage)?
  • How much were you able to customize the blog? What would you like to be able to do?
  • Did you try the “Next Blog” button? What happened? What does this mean for use of this site?
  • What advantages / disadvantages does this present as a tool for use by teachers?
  • If you have never written in a blog before, how did it feel to see your work published?
  • What are some educational contexts this technology might be useful?


Flickr Experience

In this second activity, we will again explore a free, public website that is built around collections of digital images. Flickr is a site for building and sharing digital images. Beyond what it can do for photos (build slideshows, create hotspot interactive images, share via folksonomy tags, publish to other sites), its interface and user experience is designed to be easy to use, as well as displaying a personality, if you will.

The Purpose: This is another study in user experience with what we might call a Web 2.0 application and to examine the value in the way the site works. Groups will be be charged with collecting a set of intial images to a flickr site they create, and learn how to display a dynamic feed of images from their flickr collection to their group weblogs.

The Setup:
Instructions are available as a MS Word document [flickr-experience.doc]

1. Create an account for your team at flickr http://flickr.com/
2. Use a digital camera (one that has the cables, etc to transfer images to a computer) to collect the following photos for you team:
  • A group photo in an "nteresting" location or pose (remember this is going online, so be tasteful ;-) [example]
  • An "action" photo of one of your team members (in motion, doing something, etc, but nothing dangerous) [example]
  • Find an everyday object in the vicinity and take a closeup photo of it that will challenge the rest of the group to identify it. [example]
  • Take a photo of an object that can be a visual metaphor for a strength or characteristic of your team. [example 1] [example 2]
3. Use the flickr tools to Upload your Photos http://www.flickr.com/photos/upload/ Be sure to apply the descriptive "tag" of ITL05 to all of your images. Give each picture a meaningful (or fun) title and caption.

If all works well, there will be a collection of flickr photos from all groups at http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/itl05/

If you have time, explore some of the other flickr features:

The Reflection:
As a team, add to your blog an entry describing and reflecting on your experience in flickr, considering these some/any of these points:
  • How easy was the site to use?
  • Does the site seem to have a “personality”? How would you describe it (did you look closely at the wording on the agreement statement when the account was created?)
  • How does flickr enable connection with other tools, people, content?
  • Is this a technology that instills excitement or trepidation?
  • What did you discover that was a surprise or something you might be able to use in other contexts?
  • What ways can flickr be used in a learning situation?


The Interaction Experience

For our third activity, we will explore some web sites that are more than text or click and read types of content. This activity is set up as a "Chinese Menu" in that like some Chinese restaurants, we want each particpant or group to sample at least one site from Column A, Column B, and Column C (see below).

The Purpose: Like the previous activities, this one is geared to look at what are mostly "non educationa" web sites to explore the experience and design of these sites. As you explore (do not get too distracted), thing about what is similar or different (structure, navigation, purpose, engagement) to what we might be more familiar with in educational content.

Column A: Digital / Net Narratives

These sites provide rather non-linear modes of presenting stories and some are almost game-like in format. Please sample at least one story from this menu:

Column B: Web Sites Where You Create Things
We are not all artists but these sites offer easy to use tools for creating content. Please try and create one unique piece of media from an site in this menu (and see if you can save the URL to post in your blog):

Column C: Web Interfaces
We are not all artists but these sites offer easy to use tools for creating content. Please try and create one unique piece of media from an site in this menu (and see if you can save the URL to post in your blog):


25 Ways To Beef up your ID

Listen up techies, get your head out of the code! Here are 25 things you can do to move down the Instructional Design path to the desired crossroads:

  1. Quick Resource on Instructional Design

  2. Teach A Class! Teaching issues
  3. Join ITForum- an online discussion group for Instructional Designers and Instructional technologists

  4. Instructional Objectives

  5. ID Theory

  6. Learning Styles

  7. Outcomes / Assessment
  8. Icebreaker Activities
  9. Team Building
  10. Active Learning
  11. Learning Communities
  12. Rubrics
  13. Service Learning

  14. Creativity

  15. Critical Thinking
  16. Classroom Assessment Techniques
  17. Intelligences
  18. Diversity

  19. Student Engagment:
  20. Study Skills
  21. Writing Across the Curriculum
  22. English as a Second Language (ESL)

  23. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)
  24. Integrity / Ethics
  25. Student Retention

Note: This is just a starting list- participants can add/edit on a copy of this stored on a "PeanutButter Wiki" at:

You will need the password to enter this wiki!


25 Ways To Beef up your IT

For those that are a bit down the road of instructional design, here are 25 ways you can become a bit more techie and impress all the computer geeks down in the server room:

  1. Build an online Bookmark collection

  2. Translate Languages with web tools (be careful as it is far from perfect!)

  3. Find a famous Quote

  4. Learn how to be a Google Expert

  5. Create color schemes

  6. Use Google See The USA

  7. Bibliographic Research:

    • RedLightGreen helps you locate the most important books and other research materials in your area of interest, and find out whether what you need is available at your favorite library. Sign in, and you can format and send citations any way you want: MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard, Turabian. http://www.redlightgreen.com/
    • Connotea helps you store your reference list online, which means that it's readily accessible, it's linked directly into the literature and it's easily shared with your colleagues. Opening your references to other researchers enables you to discover new leads by connecting to the collections of those with similar interests to you. http://www.connotea.org/
    • CiteULike is a free service to help academics to share, store, and organise the academic papers they are reading. When you see a paper on the web that interests you, you can click one button and have it added to your personal library. CiteULike automatically extracts the citation details, so there's no need to type them in yourself. http://www.citeulike.org/

  8. Find online Calculators for almost anything

  9. Online Groups

  10. Keep up on Gadgets

  11. Create Your own Graphic Art

  12. Learn a new Language

  13. Find a classic computer game that is no longer published

  14. Analyze your web sites

  15. Travel the Atlas of Cyberspacehttp://www.cybergeography.org/atlas/atlas.html

  16. Learn Unix in 10 minuteshttp://freeengineer.org/learnUNIXin10minutes.html

  17. Find the Lies and Generated Nonsense

  18. Descipher Acronyms

  19. Turn a long URL into a short one

  20. Find Free Copyright Free Images

  21. Find Free Copyright Free Audio

  22. Analyze Text

    • Welcome to the online text analysis tool, the detailed statistics of your text, perfect for translators (quoting), for webmasters (ranking) or for normal users, to know the subject of a text. http://textalyser.net/

  23. Write "Hello World" in any programming language http://www2.latech.edu/~acm/HelloWorld.shtml

  24. Create a wiki site

  25. Send friends to the weird places on the web

Note: This is just a starting list- participants can add/edit on a copy of this stored on a "PeanutButter Wiki" at:
You will need the password to enter this wiki!

In addition you may want to see: