CEHD News Learning Tech

CEHD News Learning Tech

LT Media Lab teams up with Weisman Art Museum for “Vanishing Ice” exhibit

changing earth
C&I’s Aaron Doering leads LTML team members Jeni Henrickson and Chris Ripken across the Arctic to document climate change.

The upcoming Weisman Art museum exhibit Vanishing Ice opens Saturday, January 27 and features contributions from the Learning Technologies Media Lab (LTML), a research center in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction (C&I). The exhibit showcases the “beauty, significance, and vulnerability of Earth’s frozen lands, and visualizes the environmental and social impact that climate change has had on alpine and polar regions,” according to the Weisman website.

The LTML team created an interactive platform for the exhibit where visitors at the museum and around the world can share their thoughts on climate change and the Arctic to create a participatory forum on the effects of global warming.

In addition, on February 23 C&I Professor and Co-Director of LTML Aaron Doering will present the documentary “The Changing Earth: Crossing the Arctic” that follows Doering and team members Jeni Henrickson and Chris Ripken as they use live technology to introduce viewers to the challenges of the Arctic and the impact of climate change on its indigenous people.

Visitors can get a sneak preview of the exhibit on Friday, January 26 from 7:00-10:00 p.m. at the Vanishing Ice preview party where the LTML team will be on hand to answer questions about their work to document climate change in the Arctic and let visitors interact with gear from their Arctic expeditions.

For those that can’t make it to the preview party, the LTML team will be back to talk with visitors, answer questions, and exhibit their gear on Weisman’s community day on April 7.

The exhibit runs through May 13. Admission is free.

Learn more about LTML’s research and academic degrees and certificate programs in Learning Technologies in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.



Learning Technologies Media Lab collaborates with Weisman Art Museum on interactive videos for Prince exhibit

Prince Minneapolis exhibitThe Learning Technologies (LT) Media Lab has teamed up with the Weisman Art Museum to give visitors the chance to record and share their favorite Prince moments as part of the exhibit, “Prince from Minneapolis” running through June 17, 2018.

“You don’t have to be at the exhibit to contribute,” says LT creative director Jeni Henrickson about the interactive software that lets the visitors record and share their memories of the performer. “Visitors can view the recordings and make their own from their homes. People around the world can go to this site and add a Prince moment,” she adds.

Visitors can pin themselves on an interactive map and view stories on the video wall, either at the touch screen monitor in the museum or from their home computers equipped with video cameras. The entire interactive wall was custom-developed by the LT team.

The LT Media Lab has a track record of leveraging their technological skills to allow the public to share their stories around educational topics. In the past, they used video documentation and online learning environments to allow students to follow their expeditions into the arctic to evaluate climate change as part of the Changing Earth project and, most recently, into South America to capture stories about the science and future of agriculture as part of the AgCultures project led by Professor Aaron Doering.

The Weisman and the LT Media lab will continue their collaboration on the upcoming exhibit, “Vanishing Ice” which opens January 27, 2018 and offers a glimpse into the rich cultural legacy of the planet’s frozen frontiers.

Learn more about the LT Media Lab and the academic programs offered in Learning Technologies in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.


Angel Pazurek presents on eLearning in Mauritius, Africa

Angelica Pazurek, a lecturer in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction presented a workshop on “Global Perspectives on Design Thinking for Technology Supported Learning” at the annual eLearning Africa conference in Mauritius, Africa. The conference is the largest gathering of eLearning and ICT-supported education and training professionals in Africa, enabling participants to enhance their knowledge and expertise while also developing multinational and cross-industry contacts and partnerships.

Pazurek also led a panel discussion on effective practices and the importance of context in online teaching and learning.

Learn more about the Learning Technologies programs in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.


Aaron Doering gives keynote speech at #EdCrunch 2017 in Moscow

Professor Aaron Doering of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction recently gave the keynote to over 3,500 participants for #EdCrunch 2017 in Moscow, Russia.  Doering’s keynote, “Higher Education: Tomorrow Is Already Here,” addressed his principles aimed at transforming learning communities and improving student interaction with online learning materials.

#EdCrunch is one of the largest European conferences in the area of new educational technologies in secondary, higher and professional education. This year’s conference highlighted personalization in education technology, technological capabilities in classrooms, and teacher competency and ability to embrace change.

Doering is the Co-director of the University of Minnesota’s Learning Technologies Media Lab, and a professor in the Learning Technologies program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Find out more about the Learning Technologies degree programs  and educational technology research in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

International student and online learning researcher: Ph.D. candidate Fan Ouyang

Fan Ouyang, a Ph.D. candidate in the Learning Technologies program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, talks about the unique challenges of studying in a foreign country, her research in online and blended learning, and deep commitment to education. 

What drove you to enroll in the Learning Technologies Ph.D. program? 

I have a background in computer sciences and software theories. After graduation, I taught college-level courses for six years in my native China. I thought an intersection of education and computer technology would be a good fit for my professional interests, so I decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies. I’ll complete in February, 2018.

You are originally from China. How has your experience been studying in a foreign country?

It is a worthy experience, full of challenge, anxiety, hope, and joy. I came to the U.S. at a relatively mature age to purse my doctoral degree. I believe that helped because it was an age that I started to really want to know myself at a deep level, without self-judgment. Putting all the emotions aside, I believe it is the persistency of hard work that helps me not only overcome all language and research barriers to complete my degree, but more importantly, it helps me to become more open-minded, reflective, and calm in all life situations. I believe I come to the end of my Ph.D. journey as a better person.

What is your current research focus?

My research interests lie at the intersection of online and blended learning, pedagogy development, and learning analytics. Specifically, my current research focuses on three interrelated strands:

  • the research of computer-supported, network-based collaborative learning
  • the design of online and blended learning and development of relevant pedagogies
  • the application of computational methods and analytical techniques to understanding learning and instruction.

I want to better understand how students learn in online and blended learning contexts to help educators and practitioners better use this knowledge. I also hope to design innovative instructional tools to foster learner engagements.

How is the field of online teaching changing? Do you think it could replace face-to-face teaching?

At the early stage of online education, instructors tended to utilize traditional instructor-centered methods. Now, online teaching is changing to be more democratic, where instructors play a more symmetrical, participatory role with students. Students transform from the passive recipient of information and knowledge in the traditional instruction context to critical constructors of knowledge under their own autonomy.

Overall, the ultimate goal of education always stays the same, no matter the format: to nurture responsibility and initiative in learners, to build diversity and openness in the learning environments, and to help learners become self-directed and reflective. Therefore, I don’t think we need to replace one format with another. Instead, we as educators need to think about how to empower learners to view themselves as individuals who can shape their fields of interest, make action to achieve their personal and professional goals, and help people in their communities to grow and develop.

Which resources have you found through the department to help with your research?

I have benefited from department traveling funding, research workshops, involvement in research day, graduate student associations, and interactions with faculty in the department.

Any other thoughts you want to share about your experience?

During my Ph.D. study here in U.S., I have made efforts to cultivate four characteristics in myself: life-long learning (being eager to learn), capacity (being accessible, positive, and resourceful), entrepreneurship (being critical, innovative, and open-minded), and collaboration (being trustful, supportive, and collegial). I think this mindset has laid a positive foundation for my Ph.D. journey.

Learn more about the Learning Technologies programs in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.


C&I receives several STEM and technology research grants

The Department of Curriculum and Instruction, known nationally and internationally for cutting-edge research in education, received grant awards for several research projects this summer in the fields of STEM education and Learning Technologies.

Associate professor in the Learning Technologies program, Bodong Chen, received $169,041 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to continue his work over the next two years on “Cyberlearning: Connecting Web Annotations and Progressive Online Discourse in Science Classrooms.”

Julie Brown, an assistant professor in C&I’s STEM Education Program, received $1,022,146 from NSF over three years for her work with Keisha Varma on “ESPRIT: fostering Equitable Science through Parental Involvement and Technology.”

C&I’s Gillian Roehrig, a professor in the STEM education program, was awarded $103,172 by NSF for “Teacher Network Retention in Noyce Communities of Practice, State University of New York at Stony Brook.”

Kathleen Cramer’s GopherMath Project earned $50,000 over nine months from Greater Twin Cities United Way. Cramer is a C&I professor who specializes in mathematics education for children in grades 4-8.

Cassandra Scharber, a professor in the Learning Technologies program and co-director of the Learning Technologies Media Lab, received multiple grants for her project SciGirls Code LRNG Playlists. Grant organizations included Twin Cities Public Television, the University of California – Irvine, and the MacArthur Foundation.

STEM education professor, Lesa Covington Clarkson, was awarded $95,767 from the Minnesota Office of Higher Education over 14 months for “e3Algebra: Engineering Engaging in Eighth Grade Algebra in Urban Classrooms.”

Learn more about the Department of Curriculum and Instruction’s research projects, centers, and areas of faculty expertise.

Learning Technologies Media Lab releases climate change documentary on PBS

Professor Aaron Doering and his team of explorers and educators trek across the unforgiving arctic landscape by dog sled in order to deliver a real-time educational program to millions of students who follow along on the adventure. Their efforts have been captured in a documentary, “The Changing Earth: Crossing the Arctic,” co-produced by the Department of Curriculum and Instruction’s Learning Technologies Media Lab (LTML) and Twin Cities’ Public Television (TPT).

The Changing Earth project was conceived and led by Doering as a way to engage students in a real-world adventure by broadcasting from wherever they find themselves along the journey—on sleds, in tents, and across frozen treks to Inuit villages. “We focus on a culture, we focus on an environmental issue, and now we focus on a social issue,” says Doering of each new adventure-learning expedition.

The first arctic expedition in 2004 took six months. By the end of the trip, Doering was excited to see that they had over three million learners watching from around the world. The program introduces students and viewers to the challenges of the Arctic and the impact of climate change on its indigenous people in a way that resonates with young learners.

The Changing Earth documentary is now available for free on PBS for anyone interested in learning more about the hardships and thrills of crossing the arctic.

Consider supporting the work of LTML to continue the work of documenting the impact of climate change for all learners.

Find out more about the degree programs available in Learning Technologies in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, which houses the LT Media Lab.

Learning Technologies “Changing Earth” team tackles second Arctic expedition

The mission: Tackle an ancient path across 137 miles of Arctic wilderness from the north of Iceland to the south. Document stories en route focused on how we find strength and purpose in an increasingly fragile, interconnected, and stressed world. A team of four explorers will travel by ski and snowshoe, pulling all gear, food, and technology in large sleds called pulks. They will visit schools and talk with residents in several Icelandic communities en route, learning about the social, economic, and environmental innovations spawned on this island of fire and ice, and how people adapt and find purpose even amidst constant change.

Modern technologies, including drones and virtual reality, will enable the team to capture the expedition, land, communities, and stories in extraordinary ways, and share their journey online in real time with students, teachers, and the general public. Schools around the world have access to the Changing Earth’s free online learning environment (http://thechangingearth.com) with activities and resources focused on science, technology, geography, and culture. The site includes free collaboration and interaction tools for students, a learning zone for the general public, and a student management system for teachers.

The Changing Earth is an adventure learning series of eight expeditions over four years to remote regions of the Arctic and the Tropics. The Arctic and Tropics are facing some of the most rapid and widespread environmental and sociocultural changes on Earth.

The first Changing Earth expedition, in April 2016, took the team across the far northern end of the Baffin Island in Canada (http://thechangingearth.com/expedition1/). This second expedition will begin in late February 2017 in Akureyri, a small city in northern Iceland. From there, the team will travel out by ski and snowshoe, crossing the island from north to south. In the heart of Iceland, they’ll traverse Sprengisandur, an ancient route between the Hofsjökull and Vatnajökull glaciers – to Landmannalaugar, an area rife with geothermal activity. This journey will take the team across challenging terrain, not easily accessible in winter. Their final destination is the capital city of Reykjavik.

Team leader Aaron Doering (see http://chasingseals.com) is an adventure learning pioneer, professor, and worldwide explorer who has dogsledded and pulked throughout the circumpolar Arctic, ranging from Chukotka, Russia, to Fennoscandia, and around the globe to Greenland, Canada, and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. He holds a close connection to the land, having grown up on a farm in southern Minnesota, and has a passion for educating others about our planet. Doering is a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and the UMN Institute on the Environment. He has been honored with multiple awards and recognitions, including being a laureate of the Tech Awards (http://www.thetech.org/tech-awards-presented-applied-materials ), which pay tribute to individuals using technology to benefit humanity.

Doering will be accompanied on this journey by three fellow adventurers and education professionals: Chris Ripken, a high school geography teacher recognized for his innovative uses of technology in the classroom; Jeni Henrickson, a creative professional and researcher passionate about getting folks outdoors; and Matthew Whalen, a professional videographer and seasoned outdoorsman.

Doering notes, “In sharing adventures, educational activities, and stories of innovation from real communities around the world, we hope to engage others in discussions about the importance of these fragile regions of the planet, and inspire people to take action and choose to care about their own communities, cultures, and the environment.”

The ultimate mission of the Changing Earth is to help create an environmentally literate and socially engaged generation of learners worldwide who are able to blend traditional and 21st century scientific and cultural knowledge to generate innovative solutions to guide the Earth and its diverse inhabitants into the future.

Join in online at http://thechangingearth.com and follow on Twitter and Instagram using #choose2care. The challenge begins February 24, 2017.

The Changing Earth is a project of the Learning Technologies Media Lab (LTML). LTML is an innovative design and research center located in the College of Education and Human Development’s Centers for Interdisciplinary Research at the University of Minnesota. LTML’s mission is to inspire and create opportunities for global collaboration in addressing humanity’s most pressing educational, social, and environmental issues by designing and evaluating innovative technology-mediated solutions for learners, educators, researchers, and organizations worldwide. We are a nonprofit focused on education, educational technology, and education research, and have to date designed and developed more than two dozen free online and mobile tools and learning environments in use by over 15 million learners worldwide.

See Aaron Doering interviewed about this expedition on The Weather Channel and on a Minnesota television news program.

Learn more about the educational opportunities offered in the Learning Technologies program area in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction.

SciGirls Code project highlights girls’ computational thinking and coding skills

The SciGirls Code project, led by co-principal investigator Cassie Scharber, kicked off with a session and advisory board meeting at the Computer Science Teachers Association conference in San Diego, July 11-14. The project, funded by the National Science Foundation’s STEM + Computing Partnerships (STEM + C) program, is a two-year project that uses the principles of connected learning with STEM outreach partners to provide 160+ girls and their educators with computational thinking and coding skills.

Cassie Scharber

Scharber, associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, leads development of curricula centering on three tracks—e-textiles and wearable tech, robotics, and mobile geospatial technologies; role model training for female technology professionals; professional development for STEM educators; and a research component that investigates the ways computational learning experiences impact the development of computational thinking as well as interest and attitudes toward computer science.

For more information, visit the SciGirls website, produced by Twin Cities Public Television.

Boeckers, C&I LT teaching specialist, wins Outstanding World Language Educator award

Congrats to LT Teaching Specialist Daryl Boeckers, who received the 2014 Emma Birkmaier Outstanding World Language Educator Award at the fall conference for the MN Council on the Teaching of Languages and Cultures. Boeckers is pictured with a former student, Anna Oliver, Buffalo HS senior, who wrote a letter supporting Boeckers’ nomination. The Emma Birkmaier Award is given to a teacher credited for a significant impact on the language teaching profession and involvement with the nonprofit organization.

Catching up with C&I Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship winner, Sarah North

Sarah North
Sarah North

This summer, we interviewed C&I Ph.D. candidate Sarah North (Learning Technologies) to learn more about her experiences and research. This past spring, Sarah was awarded a Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (DDF). The DDF gives the University’s most accomplished Ph.D. candidates an opportunity to devote full-time effort to an outstanding research project by providing time to finalize and write a dissertation during the fellowship year. Sarah’s dissertation study, “Understanding Students’ Self-Regulation in Asynchronous Online Learning” will use a mixed methods design to understand the experience and actions of undergraduate students in an asynchronous, online course who possess varying levels of self-regulated learning. In doing so, Sarah’s goal is to shed light on whether instructional methods or the course environment influence the development of self-regulated learning practices. Read her answers below to learn more about her experiences as she prepares to complete her Ph.D.

What is most exciting about your work/research/studies?
I really enjoy being able to relate my research directly to what I do in the classroom. As I dive deeper into the field of motivation in teaching and learning, I am constantly finding more practical applications for my own instruction in online environments. It makes me feel like there is real, practical benefit to my research, and I hope that other teachers are able to benefit from it as well in the future.

How did your path lead to the University of Minnesota and to your particular C&I/LT focus?
My undergraduate and M.A. degrees are both in technical communication, and I honestly never thought I would end up in education! But when I made the decision to pursue a Ph.D., something about the field of education just felt like the “right fit”. I wanted my work and future career to have a positive impact on people’s lives, and I found that I really enjoy teaching and working towards improving the learning experience for others. I’ve always been drawn to new media technologies, so I was attracted to the Learning Technologies program here where they not only create new and innovative technologies for the classroom, but they also place emphasis on an engaging and effective experience for both learners and teachers. I knew that this was the best place for me to bridge my interests and work towards creating positive influences in higher education.

What have you most enjoyed about your experience in your program?
Definitely the people! I learned more than I ever thought I would from peers and faculty about different disciplines within education, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the amount of interdisciplinary work there is within C&I. I’ve really enjoyed being involved on projects both in and outside of class with various groups of people across the C&I tracks. I actually never thought that I would connect as much as I did with others in different program areas. Even though on the surface our disciplines may seem very different, we actually have a lot of complementary interests and skills to bring to the table, and it creates a rich working and learning environment.

How do you think your educational experience has been typical or not?
The more I’ve talked with others in the program, the more I’ve discovered that it is fairly typical to be “atypical”! I don’t think that anyone feels that their journey is typical, because we’ve all had such unique experiences. I arrived here with no prior experience in K-12 education and my interests are in higher education, so I assumed that I would be quite isolated and not at all typical. However, I was able to make connections with others who have similar interests and backgrounds, and I think some of us bonded over the fact that we didn’t have that K-12 teaching background. But having said that, I found that because C&I is so diverse, it was easy to get involved in multi-disciplinary projects and learn from one another.

Do you have a motto or a set of words to live by?
A long time ago I read this quote from Baseball Hall-of-Famer Al Lopez:

“Do what you love to do and give it your very best. Whether it’s business or baseball, or the theater, or any field. If you don’t love what you’re doing and you can’t give it your best, get out of it. Life is too short.”

This is what always prompted me to go back to school, while also helping me remain focused throughout the journey. I love the academic environment and working to create positive and practical experiences in education. Life really is too short to not be doing what you love, and I feel very fortunate that I found a career path that I love.

To learn more about the Ph.D. program in Learning Technologies, please visit our Learning Technologies Ph.D. page


Learning Technologies M.Ed. Graduates present work at Student Showcase

The LT Media Lab hosted the annual Learning Technologies M.Ed. Student Showcase event on Friday evening, May 9. This was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate a very successful academic year and for many of our graduates to present the final capstone project they accomplished to complete their M.Ed. in Learning Technologies. These practical projects reflect students’ professional goals and require real-world application of the LT knowledge they gain in our program. Projects are often accomplished within students’ current work contexts, which are richly diverse and varied.

Some examples of the capstone projects showcased this year include:

  • international implementation of mobile devices to provide ICT access to residents in rural areas of the Dominican Republic,
  • the creation of a professional development curriculum to prepare teachers for a 1:1 initiatives in K-12 settings,
  • designing a framework for an online program in theological studies for adult learners,
  • the design and development of a mobile application to support childhood literacy,
  • the development of an initiative to encourage kids to explore and learn about the natural environment using technology devices,
  • and the creation and publication of an eBook for instructional designers to guide aesthetic and pedagogically-grounded academic slide design.

Sincere congratulations to all of the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 graduates who have earned an M.Ed. in Learning Technologies:

2014 MEd LT Graduates
2014 MEd LT Graduates (see more photos of the event below)

CJ Sorensen
Marit Oberle
Jean Watson
Joan Freese
Kacie Kline
Lana Peterson
Ann Fandrey
Natt Friday
Heather Dorr
Sandy Ludwig
Kristin Lundstrum
Earl J. Heinrich
Carla Bates
Alfonso Sintjago
Jim Trebisovsky

If you would like to know more about the Master of Education – Professional Studies in Learning Technologies, please visit the LT M.Ed. program page. For more updates from the Learning Technologies Media Lab, please visit the LTML website.

LT student showcase

LT student showcase

LT student showcase


Doering interviewed on CNN for story on climate change

Aaron Doering on CNNLearning Technologies associate professor Aaron Doering (Department of Curriculum and Instruction) was interviewed over the weekend by  CNN for his firsthand experiences of climate change through the Earthducation project

“The whole goal behind this project was to literally build this tapestry of voices, and to get people engaged in a dialogue around climate change,” said Doering during his interview. “And, that’s what we’ve been doing; so people can literally go online and they can share their story themselves; and, hopefully it inspires someone to do something different.”

Watch the full CNN interview here.

Earthducation is a series of 7 expeditions to every continent over the course of 4 years (2011-2014) designed to create a world narrative of the dynamic intersections between education and sustainability. Teachers, students, and our online community expand upon this narrative to explore how education influences the future of our planet.

The goal of Earthducation is to address the challenge set forth by the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014, DESD) to integrate the principles, values, and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning. Understanding these connections between education and the natural environment on local scales will enable and empower change in education on a global scale, as it provides structure for modeling new approaches to education for sustainable development.

To learn more about Earthducation and other projects by the LT Media Lab, please visit the LT Media Lab’s website. To learn more about Learning Technologies’ academic programs, please visit the Learning Technologies program page.

Flipgrid selected as Webby honoree in three categories

flipgrid logoFlipgrid, the Learning Technologies Media Lab’s video-based discussion and reflection tool, was selected as an honoree in three categories for this year’s Webby Awards. The categories are Web Education, Mobile Education and Reference, and Social Education and Discovery.

Flipgrid was developed to enable teachers to create short, discussion-oriented questions that students respond to through recorded videos. Since its launch, over 600,000 teachers and students, community groups, corporate teams, research organizations, and individuals looking to boost social presence in their online discussions have utilized Flipgrid.

The Webby Awards is the leading international award program honoring excellence on the Internet. Established in 1996 during the Web’s infancy, The Webbys is presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS) — a 1,000+ member judging body that includes Executive Members comprised of leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities, and Associate Members who are former Webby Award Winners and Nominees and other Internet professionals. The 2014 Webby judging body received more than 12,000 nominations from over 60 countries and all 50 states and generated over 900 million media impressions worldwide.

The Flipgrid team will be attending the awards ceremony in New York City as an honoree on May 19. Visit the Flipgrid website to learn more and get started, and visit the LT Media Lab’s website to learn more about other upcoming and ongoing projects. For Learning Technologies academic programs, visit the Learning Technologies program area page in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

C&I Ph.D. candidate Romaric Zongo awarded grant for research in Burkina Faso

Romaric ZongoRomaric Zongo, Ph.D. candidate in Learning Technologies, has been awarded an International Thesis Research Travel Grant by the University of Minnesota Graduate School to support his dissertation work in Burkina Faso.

Zongo’s dissertation study, “Integration of Emerging Learning Technologies in Secondary Schools: A Burkina Faso Case Study,” will attempt to better understand the various considerations that determine the successful integration of emerging ELTs in secondary schools in poor countries and will particularly focus on the benefits and challenges of integration.

“My research explores the role that Emerging Learning Technologies play in ensuring the right education is provided to those in need,” says Zongo. “An informed, knowledgeable and innovative society is essential for sustainable development to foster peace and economic freedom in sub-Saharan Africa. My research is rooted in analyzing how to provide the right education to help build such a society regardless of the socioeconomic status of its members. This travel grant is a great support for my research.”

The International Thesis Research Travel Grant provides travel support for University of Minnesota graduate students conducting short-term and extended research and/or field work in countries outside the United States. The grant is funded by the University of Minnesota to support the internationalization of the University through research and outreach.

To learn more about the Ph.D. in the Learning Technologies program area, visit the Learning Technologies Ph.D. program page.

LT Ph.D. candidate Solen Feyissa awarded grant for thesis work in Ethiopia

Solen FeyissaSolen Feyissa, C&I Ph.D. candidate in Learning Technologies, has been awarded an International Thesis Research Travel Grant by the University of Minnesota Graduate School to support his dissertation work in Ethiopia.

Feyissa’s dissertation study, “The Role of Information Communication Technologies within Ethiopian Education,” focuses on real-life uses of existing Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) for learning purposes. It examines how secondary school students in Ethiopia use ICTs for learning and how social contexts influence their ICT use in educational contexts.

“It is exciting times to be doing this research in Ethiopia because there is a great deal of change occurring there,” says Feyissa. “I am also excited about the field work involved in this project.”

The International Thesis Research Travel Grant provides travel support for University of Minnesota graduate students conducting short-term and extended research and/or field work in countries outside the United States. The grant is funded by the University of Minnesota to support the internationalization of the University through research and outreach.

To learn more about the Ph.D. in the Learning Technologies program area, visit the Learning Technologies Ph.D. program page.

Youth Radio’s Elisabeth Soep visits CEHD to discuss digital youth initiatives

Soep photoAmid a whopper of a Minnesota winter storm, Dr. Elisabeth Soep, Senior Producer and Research Director at Youth Radio, gave an engaging, thought-provoking presentation on digital youth initiatives and civic engagement to a mixed live and online audience this past Friday at McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota campus. She drew from her work at Youth Radio and from research in a range of other youth-driven settings across the U.S. to identify five tactics young people are using to make a difference in public spheres. Following her talk, a panel of community, university, and school-based youth educators discussed their work in supporting youth voices through digital media production. An archived copy of Dr. Soep’s presentation is viewable online at http://new.livestream.com/ltmedialab/soep.

Youth Radio is an Oakland-based, youth-driven production company that serves as NPR’s official youth desk. The Youth Radio stories Dr. Soep has produced with teen reporters for public media outlets have been recognized with such honors as two Peabody Awards, three Murrow Awards, an Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

The University of Minnesota event was co-sponsored by the Emma Birkmaier Critical Literacy and Urban Education Speaker Series, the Learning Technologies Media Lab, and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction’s Speaker Series, with contributions from Culture and Teaching (C&I), the School of Social Work: Youth Studies Program, and the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. All the sponsors are part of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota.

To stay abreast of upcoming events like these, please visit the CEHD and C&I event pages.

Twin Cities educators and youth gather for ‘Is School Enough?’ event

tptOn Nov. 21, the Learning Technologies Media Lab (LTML) and Twin Cities Public Television (tpt) co-hosted a discussion around tpt’s program Is School Enough?, which is the second in a series of programs about youth, digital media, and education. Is School Enough? focuses on how project-based learning and digital tools can help inform and transform education.
Over 100 educators attended the event, including young people representing community-based organizations from across the Twin Cities. Stephen Brown, the producer of Is School Enough?, hosted and moderated the national panel, and Cassie Scharber, LTML co-director, moderated the local panel.
Community conversations with attendees followed the panel discussions, with LT and Literacy graduate students and staff from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction assisting in backchannel conversations as well as table talk about technology-infused engaged learning.
The event was filmed for inclusion in an event toolkit that will be shared online as a complement to the program. The toolkit can be used by other PBS stations, community groups, schools, etc., to host similar conversations around the county. Educational and additional resources will also be included in the toolkit.
The full episode of Is School Enough?: Engaged Learning in the 21st Century Classroom and Beyond can be viewed online at TPT’s website. Supplemental video clips and resources are available through Edutopia .
Please visit the Learning Technologies Media Lab and or the Learning Technologies Ph.D. program page to learn more.

AvenueDHH featured in THE Journal

AvenuedhhC&I Associate Professor Charles Miller and Educational Psychology Associate Professor Susan Rose were recently featured in the article, “Ed Profs Designing Online Literacy Assessment Software,” in THE Journal, a magazine dedicated to informing and educating K-12 senior-level district and school administrators, technologists, and tech-savvy educators to improve and advance the learning process through the use of technology.
Along with Penn State Education professor, Simon Hooper, Miller and Rose are developing an online learning analytics system to help improve assessment, feedback and progress-monitoring of literacy education for students in 1st through 8th grade.
From the article:
“The system, named AvenueDHH (Audio-Visual Educational Environments for Deaf or Hard of Hearing) was originally designed to monitor the literacy performance of deaf or hard of hearing students over time for the purpose of personalizing instruction. Currently, the system can handle only a few users, but the researchers have received funding for a nation-wide implementation that could support hundreds or thousands of concurrent users. Usability testing of the system has begun, and the researchers are considering how to generalize the system for a mainstream student population.”
To learn more about AvenueDHH or Charles Miller’s other projects, visit the LT Media Lab’s projects page.

Learning Technologies and Ensia magazine win international design awards

Three University of Minnesota-based projects — Earthducation, Ensia and North of Sixty — received prestigious 2013 (Re)design awards recently from AIGA, one of the world’s largest professional organizations for design. The projects competed against hundreds of competitors worldwide. Earthducation and Ensia also received additional recognition as “Judge’s Choice” award winners.

aigaThe AIGA (Re)design Awards competition has been held biennially since 2009 as a way to recognize exemplary sustainable and socially responsible design. The awards showcase “design that challenges us to (re)think the world and our choices” and are based on the philosophy that “through masterful storytelling, compelling visuals, and beautiful design, we have the power to shape the future and ignite change,” according to AIGA.
Other 2013 award recipients include projects done for Human Rights Campaign, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Children’s National Medical Center, Earthjustice and more.
North of Sixty is a project of the LT Media Lab in the University’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), while Ensia is housed in the Institute on the Environment (IonE). Earthducation is sponsored by both CEHD and IonE.
North of Sixty aims to create a global tapestry of climate stories, weaving together the history and culture of Arctic communities worldwide and preserving the voices and ecological knowledge of generations.
Ensia is a magazine and event series showcasing solutions to Earth’s biggest environmental challenges. The online magazine was designed by Vancouver-based creative agency smashLAB.
Earthducation is a series of seven expeditions to every continent over the course of four years (2011-14) designed to create a world narrative of the dynamic intersections between education and sustainability.