Change Your Lesson Up With A Game!

Kubbu is an e-learning tool designed to enhance the learning process and just interject some fun!

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Some of the activities available with Kubbu include:

Match -Matching helps your student assimilate new words, meanings, concepts, synonyms, etc.

Divide – used when some notions, terms, concepts or definitions must be classified into categories or groups.

Slider – a type of a dynamic quiz. It contains three types of activities, classic single and multiple choice questions with four answers, as well as a unique “climb up” quiz
which leaves no place for mistakes.

Composer – a tool for teachers who want to introduce their own concept of a quiz. With Composer you can create quizzes with single and multiple choice questions,
true/false questions, fill-in or short answer questions. Pictures as well as sound files can be integrated to make your quizzes fully multimedia and interactive.

Crossword – with a crossword generator you can create crosswords using your own list of words.

Educators are able to sign up for a free account with the following limitations such as 15 activities per month, embedded advertisements and a watermark on all documents. A free account that opens access exponentially is $35 dollars per year. This level allows up to 100 activities per month with classes of up to 200 students.

Get more information at KUBBU

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New Year, New Tech. Take The Plunge

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Technology has turned the world upside down and the educational world is no different. We profile many apps on this blog. Sometimes the information can be overwhelming! Suppose you want to add technology to your classroom and just don’t know how to go about it. Start with baby steps my friend…baby steps.

1. Realize that tech will never replace the teacher. It is nothing more than a tool, no different than a projector, a calculator or even a pencil or pen. Have it work for you…not the other way around.

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2. Practice first, and then show. No one expects perfection when learning a new skill. However, make sure that you are comfortable with the technology before rolling it out to your students.

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3. Incorporate distance guest speakers. Instead of having a local subject matter expert come into your class, why not invite a guest lecturer from across the state, the nation or from around the world. Skype has a great website for finding guest lecturers.

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4. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and ask for help. All of us were EMS responders before we became educators. Remember the mistakes that you made as you were learning skills such as patient assessment, ECG identification and pharmacology. You messed up…right? Well, allow yourself the same privilege with classroom tech. When you run into a problem that you can’t fix, don’t be afraid to ask your students for help. Most of them are digital natives and helping you, the instructor, will only increase their respect for you. In addition, you give them a chance to excel at an area of strength for them.

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5. Understand the benefits that come from using technology. According to Cornell University, educators who use tech effectively in the classroom can expect:
Strengthened learning activities.
Engaged students.
Enhanced classroom communication and interconnectivity.
Increased efficiency with assessment.
Provides students with the opportunity to:
Communicate.
Collaborate.
Create knowledge.
Interact with course material in multiple ways.
Develop their technological skills.

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Need more information or have questions about how to start? Feel free to contact me or any of the folks who follow this blog. You will find that we are more than willing to help! Now…GO FOR IT!

Tools That Allow International EMS Study

Communication among students and educators is a dialogue. The right use of distance communication enhances the learning process. Why is online communication so important and what does it bring to the classroom?

1.  Immediate satisfaction! Students no longer have to wait for a document to take days or weeks to be returned to them. It is quite easy to collaborate with others from around the world in an almost instantaneous method.

2.  The use of online EMS collaboration for EMS students strengthens the philosophy of role of the educators as a coach. As educators, we shouldn’t have to worry about knowing all of the answers. However, using online collaboration tools, students and their instructors can search get information from many EMS professionals whether they are down the street or around the world.

3.  Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, your EMS students have the chance to go beyond stated expectations and explore specific areas of interest. This would help them to see that the learning process doesn’t end when the classroom portion is over.

How about changing the way you think and bring this tool of online collaboration into your classroom? The following reviews three free apps that you can use to get your EMS students working, and more importantly, learning together from subject matter experts around the world. Although these apps may have a charge for the top of the line forms of these products, all of them are free to use at a basic level.

Flowboard

Flowboard
Flowboard is an app that allows you to make and deliver presentations directly from your iPad. Flowboard presentations get away from the one sided limitation of Power Point and allows the student to explore their creative and interactive side. When you are ready to deliver your presentation, it feels like you are using a mobile tool to deliver your ideas. Students with a creative bent can develop their own template or choose from one that is stock. . Flowboard allows you to easily manipulate images and video.

Google_Drive

Google Drive
Google Drive used to be known as Google Docs. Google’s free online document creation and editing app is widely used by educators that want to collaborate with students, colleagues, and other. This can occur synchronously or asynchronously. Any student or groups of students can be granted editing rights. This allows them to make and track changes to the document. They are also able to see previous changes made by other participants.

Join_Me

Join Me
Join Me is a screen sharing tool that enables instructors to share their computer desktop with others that they choose. The free version will allow up to 10 participants (including the originator of the broadcast) and includes such features as screen sharing, Internet calling, chat as well as several others. Join Me is designed to be easy to use and allows access to tools that you’ll use every day for everything from formal presentations to online tutoring of struggling students.

What other types of collaboration tools have you used?

Your Next Students Assignment Might Come “Mission Impossible” Style

If you are a person of a “certain age”, you might remember the Mission Impossible series. No, not the one with Tom Cruise but the one with Peter Graves. The Impossible Missions Force (IMF), a small team of secret agents used for covert missions against ruthless, evil leader; evil organizations and big crime bosses .At the beginning of each show, the assignment was always presented with a creative tape recording that outlined the details. At the end of it, the “tape will self-destruct in five seconds” ending in a puff of smoke. What if you could make a progressive assignment for your students that incorporated elements of Mission Impossible and The Amazing Race.

Set up your outgoing voicemail message for learners to call in and listen to as a part of an activity. Wondering how you might use this? Here an example: the message could be a scenario, provide clues that learners need to use to solve a puzzle, or address a series of questions as part of an activity.

Now, I fully understand that the last thing you want is for your phone to be ringing at all hours of the day. No problem. Google Voice grants you access to a single phone number that, if desired, rings all of your phones, saves your voicemail online, and transcribes your voicemail to text. It can also be set so that no calls are forwarded to any of your phones. The cool thing is the Google Voice is free. Give this a try today…and don’t forget “As always, should you or any of your I.M. Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.”1

1. White, Patrick J (1991), The Complete Mission: Impossible Dossier, New York: Avon Books.

If I Only Had A Brain! Now, You Do!!!

3D Brain is a very useful application that allows the student to view up to 29 regions of the human brain. The app allows the student to rotate the image up and down and from left to right while viewing the image from almost every possible angle.

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When desired, it is possible to get more information on the particular region of the brain that you are viewing. This includes a brief case study as well as some of the functions of the particular area. In addition, 3D Brain includes links to related medical articles that shed more light on what the current brain view is.

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By using your finger to drag across the screen, the instructor can rotate the image, displaying different regions of brain tissue. It is also possible to expand or shrink the diagram so as to gain a better view. EMT’s and paramedic students would benefit greatly from the use of the 3D Brain App for study. This is an excellent application for the classroom or lab that goes beyond the hand held model to give an, almost, MRI quality view of the brain.

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The 3D Brain app was developed by a non-profit organization called Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. At the time of the publishing of this blog, the app was available at no cost.

Infogram For Mr. Smith!! Infogram For Mr. Smith!!

Wikipedia describes an infographic as a visual image such as a chart or diagram used to represent information or data. In other words, a picture is worth a thousand words. Infographics make it easier to digest a large amount of information in a short period of time. Developing a very high quality infographic makes it more than thirty times likely that your student will read the material than if in text form alone.1 For an excellent example of an EMS related infographic take a look at the one below based upon stroke symptoms.

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Inforgram is an excellent website to easily develop quality infographics. This web based software provides templates, designs as well as other tools to research and develop professional and interesting looking charts and infographics. You can set up an independent account or log in from your Facebook site. The values that you embed within the infographic can be accessed from an Excel file or from the build in spreadsheet.

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Infogr.am infographics can include videos and maps along with pictures and text. Your Infogr.am projects can be embedded into your blog, website, or wiki.

1. http://www.pr2020.com/blog/the-case-for-content-marketing

Need A Learning Management System? Talk To Ed…Edmodo!

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With the emphasis on the utilization of learning management systems (LMS) in education today, an educational facility needs a method of organizing online learning. The problem is, many LMS’ can run into the thousands of dollars for an entry level system. Enter Edmodo!

Edmodo is a secure, social learning platform. There is no advertising associated with Edmodo. Edmodo is free for all teachers, students, and schools. The good folks at Edmodo have provided a safe and easy way for your students to do the following:
1. Connect and collaborate,
2. Share content from your class
3. Mass email students or a single group of students
4. Access homework, grades as well as important class announcements

In other words, educators as well as students can post messages, discuss topics, assign and grade class work, and share classroom related digital. Edmodo is structured much like Facebook, so the learning curve of how to use the system should be pretty flat for those familiar with that system.

Prior to a student being able to enroll in an Edmodo class, they must have 6-digit group code that is provided by you, their illustrious educator! Once they have received their group code, your students should go to Edmodo.com and select the “I’m a student” button. From here they can enter the group code provided by their teacher, complete the registration form and select “Sign up”. Edmodo also provides a mobile app for students to install and use on their smart phones and tablets.

How to Use Edmodo
1. Student Learning Assessments
Edmodo has an easy to learn quiz builder as well as an online poll feature. This is a great way to provide an end of lesson quiz. I would caution that using this for high stakes testing must be approached with caution
2. Peer Review
One of the best ways of learning is to turn your students in to educators. Allow your students to post assigned work to Edmodo. Have the other students critically evaluate and post comments regarding this work.
3. Back Alley…I meant…Back Channel Student Discussions
If you are not familiar with the concept of back channel student discussions, don’t feel alone. The concept relies upon technology to allow students to use social learning media, such as Edmodo to post questions, make comments and assist other students who may be struggling with particular concepts. One word of caution! Back channel student discussions should be moderated by the instructor. Not doing so could turn into the wild, wild west with students posting items of off topic material. Keep the discussion focused on the matter at hand.
4. Learn from around the world.
The United States is recognized as one of the leaders in the development of EMS around the world. But let’s face it…we don’t own the patent on the best way to do “everything”. Connecting with other EMS classes from around the world allows your students to learn new and innovative techniques as well as breaking out of the “we’ve never done it that way before” mentality that can be so deadly to creative learning.
5. Virtual Office Hours
One of the wonderful aspects of the internet is that communication can take place in very inventive ways. For example, as I post this, I sit in the shadow of the beautiful Canadian Rocky Mountains. Many of your students may not be able to schedule a conference with you during normal working hours. Edmodo allows instructors to set up virtual office hours to advise and direct their students at times that would be convenient for both.
6. Blog Module
An excellent way of moving student “lurkers” into active participants is to require them to blog about specific topics. Edmodo provides a method of student blogging as well as student as well as instructor commentary

Edmodo is an excellent site for both students and educators. To learn more visit the online handbook .

Catch Me If You Can: Minimizing Cheating in the Classroom. Part 2 of 2

In the last post, I broke the painful news that your students are going to cheat. This is not a new phenomenon, but what can the educator do to eliminate it? The bad news is…nothing. It is impossible to eliminate cheating, but you can make it more difficult for the cheaters to be successful. Minimizing the opportunity is the best that we can hope for.

One of the most important strategies is to set out expectations for honesty in your class from the start. Can the students collaborate on homework assignments? Is it acceptable to use old exams to study from? In the same vein, be very explicit in your syllabus as to the penalties for cheating and be prepared to deliver on them. More on this in a moment.

Reduce the temptation to cheat. Demonstrate that you care about academic integrity by your actions. Many teachers may believe that their lack of oversight during test sessions signifies respect towards the honest of their students; Cizek noted that it actually increases cheating. In addition this irritates students who expect teachers to monitor the testing environment and are discouraged if teachers are ignoring classmates’ obvious cheating. Resist the urge to sit up front and work on other items during the exam. Movement and observation from the back of the class improves the motivation of students to maintain honesty exponentially. Have your students turn off and place all cellphones on a desk at the front of the class. All backpacks should be placed in a separate area of the class or placed behind the student’s desk. Doing so will make it more difficult for the student to peer into them.

Utilize high level, critical thinking types of questions. Most of the information that students bring with them consists of items that are easily memorized. Early on, the instructor should develop and deliver questions at the application and analysis level of Blooms. Educators should become well versed in the development and interpretation of test item development. Using test banks from publisher, verbatim, should be viewed as a mortal sin as most are written at the knowledge level. In addition to critical thinking items on the test, exams should be timed. Doing so will make it more difficult for students to search for the multiple bits of information to make a decision on their selected answer.

Randomize your test items as well as choices. This does not mean that you must have multiple versions of the exam for a particular class, but having, not only the questions in random order but the item responses as well will give the appearance of multiple test versions.

Have an open and honest discussion as to the importance of academic honesty, especially as related to the emergency care of patients. Stress that not being able to formulate a plan of care due to failure of the students to become competent EMS providers could have an adverse effect, not only on the patient but upon their own career as well. With the easy access of litigation in America today a lawsuit due to their inability to provide the standard of care due a patient, could be costly, both personally and professionally.

In the event of a cheating event, deal with it expeditiously. Obviously, you must follow the regulations set out by your facility, but it is imperative that the issue be dealt with. It is true that the issue must be handled in a confidential manner, but the informal class grapevine will broadcast the message without any school officials violating policy. An educator who becomes known as someone who does not address cheating in the class becomes as guilty as the student who cheats.

Bibliography
Cizek, G. J. (1999). Cheating on tests: How to do it, detect it, and prevent it. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.