CEHS Technology Grants - 2017

Enhancing Virtual Graduate Learning Communities and Research Development Using VoiceThread

Community and interaction play vital roles in learning. Building robust learning communities has always been a challenge in online courses where asynchronous discussions and collaborations are the dominate form of student interaction. These types of interactions do sometimes generate good content, but students often find them isolating and devoid of efficient ways to establish social presence. Synchronous web conferencing offers some relief to this problem, but often comes with its own host of problems related to technology access and scheduling restrictions. VoiceThread offers a potential solution to bridge the gap between asynchronous discussions and the more rich forms of video conferencing. VoiceThread allows users to easily post video, photo, audio, or slideshow content and have other students respond using their own video or audio. In a sense, students will have the ability to participate in an asynchronous discussion using video and audio rather than just text. We believe this will enhance students’ ability to establish social presence and improve online community building.

Using Classroom Video in Teacher Education

In this project, we will use Swivl devices to capture and store classroom video to reflect on instruction. The project will use SwWIVL devices in three ways. First, we will use the technology to model classroom use of the device. Second, we will use the technology to improve graduate student instruction in teacher education classes. Finally, pre-service teachers will use the technology to reflect on their own instruction.

Swivls to Enhance Learning and Self Reflection with Pre-Service Teachers

The purpose of this grant is to provide funding to purchase Swivl devices and associated accounts for teacher candidates to be able to record and reflect on their instructional practices and be able to share them with their supervisor and peers.

Making Learning Visible “Documentation Comes to Life”

Documentation is a point of strength for any high quality early childhood program that makes timely and visible the interweaving of actions of the children, parents, and teachers(Rinaldi, 1998). The documentation process is best done in collaboration with other teachers, parents, and, in some cases, children. It is our plan to use technology tools to connect, strengthen, and foster relationships within our community at the lab school. This innovative strategy of displaying documentation using digital displays will stretch our creativity and enhance our pedagogical documentation strategies.

Virtual Reality Technology: Useful Tools to Inspire and Inform Experimental Apparel Design in the TMFD Classroom

VR technology, virtual reality headsets and content have the potential to aid in an interactive process that directly inspires apparel design outcomes in the form of garment ideation and construction. VR technology provides exposure to experiences that many students may not have during the course of their college education but that are needed as part of the design process. VR in the classroom is not an entirely new idea however the availability of virtual runway shows and other fashion related resources are starting to hit the marketplace and the introduction of VR technology in the classroom is quite timely in the fashion industry. The VR technology not only allows students to experience VR content but a camera with 360 video capability enables them to create content and document their projects for widespread exposure to the University, the local community and on the web. The VR technology has the potential to benefit students in future job searches by providing an alternative platform to present design work. As part of the project, graduate students will evaluate the use of VR technology in the apparel design classroom that will serve as a research experience to contribute to knowledge (creative scholarship) in the field of apparel design.

C-n-B WeLL PREPARED: Community Network Based Web Literacy Learning through Partnerships, Rhizomatic Education, Participatory Action Research, Engagement, and Development

Online technology should not be “taught as a tool” or used as a “means-to-an-end”, but instead, should be embraced as “Web Literacy”, a fundamental survival competency that enables students to be successful in their journey through K-12, higher education, and beyond. Ideally, this process of learning Web Literacy should be hands-on, ongoing, lifelong, self-sustainable, and seamless across the various levels of formal education, afterschool programs, and community outreach services. In addition, learners must be able to adapt the application of Web Literacy to their own context (Dalton, 2015). This project aims to pilot a model that could address these needs, by empowering students from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), as well as the students whom they would teach, the indirect beneficiaries of the project -- at risk and minority K-5 students from Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) and their families -- through Rhizomatic Education (Cormier, 2008) by leveraging the community as the curricula, Metacognitive Inquiry (Flavell, 1979) by learning how to learn, and Heutagogical methodologies (Hase & Kenyon, 2000) through pedagogy for self directed and self sustainable learning. Community Participatory Action Research (CPAR) brings together reflection, theory, research, and participation to address issues influencing people and communities (Reason & Bradley, 2008). CPAR has a dual emphasis on action and research, where inquiry efforts are scholarly and rigorous, yet still focus on the outcomes for the involved community (Melrose, 2001). Traditional research often involves disconnection between the researcher and participants, which may result in a less accurate understanding of the phenomenon impacting the community. Instead, CPAR reduces this disconnect, as researchers and individuals in the community are involved in the research process together. These collaborations encourage working relationships between researchers, agencies, and community members to promote social change (Browon, 1985; Gaventa, 1988). Ultimately, the individuals who are often excluded from the research process may become empowered and promoters of social change through CPAR (Mordock & Krasny, 2001). Currently, UNL does not have a course that specifically educates students about and engages them in CPAR. The proposed course will provide much-needed knowledge and skills in CPAR and community engagement. It will focus specifically on CPAR, both as a goal in itself, and as a methodology to achieve the key targeted outcome -- the acquisition of “Web Literacy” (Belshaw, D., & et. al., 2013). Overall, this project aims to increase Web Literacy by involving students in CPAR.

Mathematizing Community Contexts: Using Virtual Reality Cameras as a Tool to Expose Opportunities for Connected Learning

The purpose of this proposed project, led by Kelley Buchheister in Child, Youth, and Family Studies (CYAF), is to enhance the TEAC 416 mathematics methods course by using Virtual Reality camera technology as a tool to capture and explore the “mathematization” of community contexts and support the mathematical thinking and learning of young children. This Virtual Reality system allows individuals to authentically explore situations, surroundings, or environments to which they may not have immediate or practical access. Thus, this project incorporates Virtual Reality as a means to enhance PTs' proficiency in connecting children’s multiple mathematical knowledge bases by exposing opportunities that model mathematical content within the cultural contexts of Lincoln’s neighborhood communities.