Learning Futures: designing the horizon keynote address

If you missed our opening keynote at the 2021 ShapingEDU Winter Games Conference, you can now relive our talk in all of its digital splendor. This talk is a story of uncertainty, disruption, and resilience. See how define learning futures, tackle the challenge of designing educational systems, explore strategic foresight tools, and build an ecosystem if resilience into our IgnitED Labs.

This keynote led by Dr. Sean Leahy, Dr. Punya Mishra, and Jodie Donner was a fun opportunity for us to share our work and engage with the ShapingEDU community around how we are preparing for the uncertainty of the futures of learning. One of the core messages throughout the talk is our stance on trying to predict the future.

We are not trying to predict the future… we are preparing for the future by building in resilience in our systems to succeed in uncertain times

Full Session Description:

The maxim we cannot predict the future, but we can invent it (and its derivatives) is often cited as a call to engage in design and strategic forecasting tools and methodologies. Join us as we create a space to explore what we describe as Learning Futures. Visualize with us how we might rethink our teaching and learning environments by harnessing the opportunities of our collective uncertainty. We will explore emergent strategic foresight frameworks as we consider multiple future scenarios to reveal the risks and opportunities of disruptions, and propose strategies for engaging in futures thinking in your own organizational contexts.

You can find more information and links to other presentations from the conference at the ShapingEDU Winter Games 2021 website.

As we continue to forge new pathways into the uncertainty of 2021 – we are excited to continue this work and engage with our communities around intentionally and strategically building resilience into our systems.

Pocket document cameras improve remote teaching and learning

Early this semester faculty member Kelly Davis sent me a message about 3D-printed document cameras and asked who might be able to provide these for her, other instructors, and mathematics students. Eager to take on this challenge, I connected with IgnitED Lab staff members to start planning how our labs could create these for the mathematics program.

Document cameras (doc cams) are cameras that display video of whatever is in view of the cam. These attach to a laptop screen, and, with free supplemental software, reflect the surface below the webcam. When learning mathematics, this is significant because students can show their written work or their use of manipulatives using the cams. Instructors are able to make remote teaching more engaging and effective by displaying and modeling their thought processes and work live during instruction. An Instructor is better able to understand how the student is learning and provide targeted guidance when able to see the students’ written problem-solving. Doc cams are well over $100, but a pocket doc cam made of a 2”x2” mirror and 3D-printed materials costs about $5 to produce. 

The IgnitED Labs has 3D printers as part of our emerging technology experience options in our three lab locations. I asked our educational technology champions (ETCs) to test some prototypes for different laptops and start production. Pinak Padman, an ETC at Tempe, discovered a flexible design that would fit multiple laptop screens, so they progressed with manufacturing that design.

An image of the keyboard of the laptop from a document camera

Our rollout followed soon after. Faculty members were the first to pick up their doc cams. We then scheduled times for students to pick up cams from the IgnitED Lab Tempe location. The ETCs developed an instructional guide for setup and use. For those students who could not make it to campus, Ashley Goernitz, Lead ETC at Tempe, developed two videos to guide students in making their own doc cams with easy-to-access household items like a toilet paper inner roll and a compact mirror. Jeffrey Derrick, another ETC from Tempe, also worked to print and distribute the cams.

Kelly Davis and Photini Spanias collaborated to create this video that features their use and students’ use. IgnitED Labs is proud to have contributed to this, which is just one story of resilient and creative collaboration from our college community.

IgnitED Lab’s 4th Space Designed with Principled Innovation

The network of IgnitED Labs at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College has had three locations in full operation since the fall of 2019. Visitors have been able to engage with the emerging technology experiences in the spaces at Polytechnic, West, and Tempe. The development of the labs always included the vision of extending the experiences to online visitors. The COVID pandemic sped up that plan, and IgnitED Labs Online, the labs’ official “4th space” launched as the fall 2020 semester began in August.

Applying the Principled Innovation framework was paramount in the creation of IgnitED Labs Online. The practices of Principled Innovation (PI) include considerations related to moral, civic, performance, and intellectual actions. As we designed the layout of the site, the engagement opportunities, and the resources available, we continually asked ourselves if we were appropriately addressing the needs of our students, faculty members, staff members, and community members. We wanted to build the 4th space for them and make it accessible and usable for them. At the forefront of our goals was replicating in-person, customized, and pleasing interactions for all.

What ethical concerns of implications exist in teh tachnology/topic of interest.

IgnitED Labs Online offers access to much of what we have in our labs and more. Visitors can engage with our Educational Technology Champions (ETCs) in two primary ways. From 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday, ETCs are available for quick virtual visits through Zoom or longer, scheduled instructional times with our reservation system. Weekly we have virtual learning sessions focused on using technology for learning. Another addition is a growing library of video resources featuring educational technologies and emerging technologies. These are all supportive of our efforts to make our services accessible regardless of the modality. Part of our services have been to provide learning support to students in EDT 180, a technology literacy course for first-year education students. We are proud that we have continued to do just that with IgnitED Labs Online.

Although we know our work still continues, we view our accomplishments thus far as achieving our PI-related goals. Future plans include adding even more interaction and connection opportunities for visitors. We want to learn what their needs are and will integrate methods for them to request resources, projects, and learning sessions. We also want to showcase how important reflecting on PI is when considering technology and and the unintended consequences that result. To that end we are developing an area in our 4th space to display a rotating collection of PI reflective questions. We want our visitors to think about the implications as they create and share in digital spaces. As our online location continues to evolve, we know we will constantly refer to the PI framework to guide our plans and what we ultimately construct.

Inside the Broadcasting of the Sun Devil Learning Labs

When the idea of Sun Devil Learning Labs (SDLL) first emerged within Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College in March, it was in response to a sudden and unexpected challenge coming from COVID-19 and the statewide closing of K-12 schools. The idea of SDLL is an online educational platform for MLFTC student teachers, known as Teacher Candidates, to continue to teach their assigned grade levels as required by their degree program while all K-12 schools are closed.

To create SDLL, a large team from across the college quickly came together over the course of one week and through the weekend, immediately after ASU schools closed in mid-March. As part of this effort, staff from the Office of Scholarship and Innovation (OofSI), along with the IgnitED Labs student staff, began preparing to produce live streams onto YouTube.

The collective production team started training and testing to perfect the use of virtual meeting platform Zoom as a meeting space from which to broadcast the lessons. Teacher Candidates meet daily on Zoom where scheduled webinars are streamed live through YouTube with educational lesson plans that are created by the groups of student teachers.

A screenshot of Grade 2 YouTube Studio with the Zoom Webinar for Grade 2 on top.
A screenshot of Grade 2 YouTube Studio with the Zoom Webinar for Grade 2 on top.

Inside of the Sun Devil Learning Labs, we have been working collaboratively to simultaneously produce the live stream channels on YouTube for Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Grades 1-8 while staying connected through Slack messaging to keep tabs on all streaming content. In my specific role as a Coordinator and co-manager of the IgnitED Labs student staff, I have been starting the Grade 2 channel daily since the start of SDLL. Lead Technology Strategist/Head of IgnitED Labs Jodie Donner, Management Intern Caitlin Jorgensen, and I put together a schedule with our available student staff and another OofSI colleague, Multimedia Specialist Claire Gilbert, to cover all broadcasts for each week. I provide coverage assistance and immediate troubleshooting for any technology related issues with Zoom or YouTube live streams. There have been many lessons learned along the way, as everyone has worked to understand the intricacies of managing and producing eight live broadcasts. Our team of student staff and unit staff met daily to reflect, assess, and resolve issues during the first two weeks.

Throughout the day, there are four main subjects that go live starting at 9 a.m. and transition at every hour until 1 p.m.: English Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies/Art. Each channel producer oversees the live stream of content and transitions the Teacher Candidates in small groups for each subject hour. While the Teacher Candidates are live, their assigned MLFTC Site Leads often coach them in the Zoom virtual chat. The channel producers also resolve issues and answer questions during the live stream, which sometimes involve very fast technology training and troubleshooting. After the “soft launch” week of SDLL, all production members, teacher candidates, and site leads who manage the student teachers have overcome a variety of problems with live broadcasts that have made the following weeks up to now nearly seamless.

Currently, our production team is working hard from early morning to early afternoon managing the live stream educational broadcasts on YouTube. Understanding that the majority of the production team are students who still have classes to attend and other commitments that demand their attention truly highlights their tireless effort. It may only take a few unit staff members to assist live production, but witnessing students help other students is nothing short of moving. This epidemic has clarified the need for community and the importance of coming together to help one another during these trying times – and the IgnitED Labs student staff are the perfect examples of how we can all help in some way.

Fulbright Fellows Visit IgnitED Labs Tempe

On February 25th, sixteen Fulbright Fellows attending ASU for the Spring 2020 semester visited the IgnitED Labs in Tempe for a tour. Fellows from Bangladesh, Brazil, Finland, Greece, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Senegal, Singapore, and Uganda walked through three different demonstrations of our most popular emerging technologies. Divided into small groups, they experienced IgnitED labs spaces dedicated to augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR), programming and robotics, and 3D printing.

Fullbright fellows wearing VR goggles

Programming and Robotics

In our Maker room, the Fullbright Fellows were able to learn about how programming/coding and robotics can be integrated into classrooms K-12 regardless of discipline. We began our time with a brief tour of the available technology in the room such as our Google AIY kits, Raspberry Pis, Little Bits, and Lego Robotics. I found that there was a lot of interest around the Google AIY kits/Raspberry Pis. Seeing as machine learning is becoming more and more integrated into our everyday devices, they felt that the kits provided a fun and interesting approach to introducing these technological concepts to kids. The Raspberry Pis also exemplified the versatility of potential tech integration. Because it can be programmed in a multitude of ways, they found it a valuable resource for disciplines outside of math or science. In this same regard, the way Little Bits and the Legos can be utilized in class presentations was also valuable. We discussed how students can expand their book projects or history presentations beyond poster boards. Simple and fun technologies can provide students with new ways of communication and creation even in the smallest ways. Finally, I presented our Spheros and Sphero Minis in conjunction with our Activity Mat and Cards. Here we talked about how these could be integrated into classrooms to help aid in teaching the application of math concepts. I also informed them of the vast amount of teacher-created lesson plans available on the Sphero community website. There, they could see how other educators around the world were using Spheros! After that, they took a test drive with our Sphero Minis on the Activity Mat. They all had a fun time rolling around to different parts of the map, laughing and enjoying how interactive technology can be pedagogical and exciting!

3D Printing

The Fullbright Fellows in this lab space learned about the history, mechanics, and process of modern additive material 3D printing that is most widely available now to all public and private users. Most Fellows had never seen a 3D printing machine in use, so I walked them through all of the parts of the Ultimaker 3 printers that the labs own and explained the file processing and formats that the printer uses. I sent a file for a small coffee cup to print in ten minutes so they could watch it while I explained the material being used, what was happening inside the printers, and the variations of designs that are possible and materials available. Lastly, we had a discussion about where and how they could see themselves using a 3D printer as an educational tool in their schools and classrooms. Many of them agreed that the 3d printers would be good for their schools for prototyping, physically creative assignments, interactive curriculum, and even storytelling devices for their lesson plans.

Visitors explore technology with IgnitED Labs during 2019 Family Weekend

During the 2019 Family Weekend, staff members from all locations of the IgnitED Labs collaborated to lead a variety of activities in Tempe’s Farmer Education Building. Some staff members led visitors on tours of the Tempe Lab and its varying technologies, while others aided visitors in using robotics and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies in the building’s atrium. This made it possible for visitors of all ages and backgrounds to have hands-on interactions with the technology available in the IgnitED Labs. 2 kids using the podcasting mixing board and microphonesMany of these interactions began in the atrium. There, the Labs’ Education Technology Champions guided visitors in setting up their virtual reality experiences, as well as controlling a Sphero robot in the atrium’s fountain. Microsoft joined them to provide visitors with coding experiences with XBOX Minecraft Education Edition. These interactions often led to visitors touring the Lab itself. A direct look at technologies like three-dimensional printing, telepresence robots, and Augmented Reality (AR) offered visitors insight into what the classrooms of tomorrow may look like. With the wide variety of technologies available to explore, many visitors were able to find a technology they were highly interested in and stay for hours exploring. As an Education Technology Champion myself, I witnessed children return time after time to try technologies that intrigued them. A pair of elementary-aged siblings began the morning as our first users of VR in the atrium. As the day went on, they returned to control Sphero robotics around the fountain. Later, they tried Nintendo Labo and audio recording equipment in the Lab. The technology offered these siblings interactive experiences they enjoyed for hours—directly demonstrating the type of engaging learning experiences these technologies can offer young students. These types of encounters are always available to the ASU community in each of the IgnitED Labs at Tempe, Polytechnic, and West campuses. IgnitED staff looks on as visitors control Sphero robots in the water.

Future educators explore the IgnitED Lab’s educational technologies

Jodie Donner and Caitlin Jorgensen stand in front of the Ed Rising banner

Nearly 500 high school students who plan to enter the education profession attended the Arizona Educators Rising Conference on October 22. A team from the IgnitED Labs showcased educational technologies and provided opportunities for these future educators to explore and learn with virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and programming. Additionally, Jodie Donner, Lead Technology Strategist and Head of IgnitED Labs, presented during the conference sessions with a focus on student-centered, active learning with technology.

At the morning expo, Educational Technology Champion Leads Ashley Goernitz and Anushka Katyayan and Educational Technology Champion Alejandra Arana led students through experiences with various emerging technologies and explained the influence on learning. Students operated Sphero Minis, which are programmable robots. Students also tested VR by walking on the International Space Station. Another activity allowed students to seemingly hold 3D versions of famous sculptures and historical artifacts in their hands through AR using the Merge Cube.

Activities at the Ed Rising event

Three afternoon sessions at the conference featured technology in the classroom. Students used their smartphones to participate in the interactive presentations. They discussed their school experiences using technology and considered the power of viewing smartphones as educational tools. Also included was a look into their future classrooms and the learner-centered opportunities they might provide.

Students discovered how the IgnitED Labs at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College offer multiple technological explorations, research opportunities, and pathways of inspiration. To add to the event and honor the day’s activities, students used a special Snapchat filter created by Caitlin Jorgensen, a Management Intern in charge of the Polytechnic IgnitED Lab. The IgnitED Labs, with locations at Tempe, Poly, and West campuses, directly support the development of educators who address learners’ needs and design interactive educational encounters by leveraging the potential of technology.

Technology paves a path to student wellness

A drawing of a text message conversation on a smart phoneAlthough achieving mindfulness and wellness through technological applications may sound contrary, people are looking to their devices as resources to help them deal with the stresses and anxieties they face. College students may not have strategies in place for addressing the emotions and difficulties they encounter. As head of IgnitED Labs, I partnered with Michele Gaines, wellness coach, to present Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College students with a collection of applications aimed at helping them help themselves. The session was part of a weekly Wellness Wednesday event in the Zen Den. I curated a variety of applications to share with students who may find themselves needing support. Surprisingly, technological applications for wellness are accessible and available. Directing students to a select few that fit their needs should aid them as they look to technology for support. The online list of resources, titled Live Well with Technology, includes short descriptions and links to the applications. The Be Calm section consists of apps for meditating, being present, and taking time to relax. The apps in the Be Positive list focus on turning negative thoughts into positive thoughts. For students who might struggle with depression Be Ok includes apps that connect people who need to build a network of encouragement. Be Active includes numerous applications related to physical wellness rather than mental health. Options include quick workouts and fun ways for students to get exercise. Be Restful has applications for students having sleep issues like insomnia. The range of resources includes apps for getting to sleep and getting productive rest. Anyone can access this list and try out the choices. More collaborations between the IgnitED Labs and the Zen Den are on the horizon. The combination of technology and wellness offers interesting ways for students to leverage their devices as they learn to navigate the responsibilities and challenges of college life.