User Generated Education

Education as it should be – passion-based.

Posts Tagged ‘BYOD

Experiential Mobile Learning Activities Presentation

leave a comment »

I am presenting workshops on Experiential Mobile Learning Activities at the Digital Media Literacy Conference 2012 and the Mobile Learning Experience 2012.  What follows is the slide deck from and a description of my presentation.

This interactive, experiential BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) workshop has its foundation in two guiding principles: (1) Building a sense of community in the classroom helps address the whole learner including achievement and academic success, and (2) Mobile devices are extensions of young people. As such, they should be leveraged in the classroom.

Young people are connecting with one another through technology in unprecedented ways. Computers, wi-fi networks, and smart phones allow young people 24/7 access to technology and to one another. Using smart devices in educational settings as learning and community building tools can promote interpersonal communication and encourage young people to positively express their individuality and build their student-to-student, student-to-educator relationships. The activities that will be presented and experienced during this workshop use the technology that young people use – cell phones, social networking sites, laptops, blogs, and digital cameras. These activities focus upon and build diversity and cultural sensitivity, teamwork and problem solving, self-reflection and self-exploration, and communication and self-expression (adapted from Wolfe & Sparkman, 2009).

Through participation in this workshop, you can expect to:

  • Understand the importance of building community in the class.
  • Explore the research about the use of mobile devices by young people.
  • Learn through experience at least six community-building activities that you can use with your students.
  • Develop ideas and strategies for integrating mobile-driven team building activities into your classroom environment.

This workshop is divided into three parts:

  1. Exploring research on the importance of building a classroom community and how young people are using their mobile devices.
  2. Learning, playing, and experiencing team-building games using mobile devices – see for a list and descriptions of these activities.
  3. Large group brainstorming through Wallwisher and discussion – how these ideas and activities can be integrated into one’s own work environment.

Supporting Research


One of the DMIL2012 workshop participants, Billy Meinke, wrote about his experiences in my workshop in his blog, Digital Media and Learning (DML) 2012 Conference – Experience Notes:

The session, as she explained before we began, was much less of a talking-head lecture and more of an interactive experience. After describing recent research supporting the use of mobile devices in K-12 and Higher Education, she broke up the attendees into groups to take part in the same exercises she uses in her classroom. Using such tools as and Flickr’s mobile image uploading, she took us through simple activities that can be used to improve student engagement and build a sense of community in the classroom. Sure enough, no ice was left unbroken during that session and many participants continued conversations into the main room when she was done. I’ll be showing some of those activities to my mentors back at UH, hopefully seeing them put to use by instructors in the College of Education.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

March 3, 2012 at 2:53 pm

QR Coded Student Videos: Classifying Activity

leave a comment »

This is part of my continuing series of blogs about how I am integrating mobile learning into my undergraduate course on interpersonal relations.  There are a dozen students in the class.  Ten of them are in the 17 to 21 year old age range.  The other two are over 35 years old.  All of them own mobile devices – four of them being Smart Devices (iPhone, Android).  Three of them bring their personal laptops to class.

The following activity was part of a three-hour class on nonverbal behaviors.  Even though the example describes how this activity was used with the different types of nonverbal behaviors, it can be used with any topic that has categories or classifications.  For example, it could be used for writing genres, biomes, art types, historical eras, etc.

Goals of the Activity:

  • To use videos and QR codes to explore and learn about a class topic.
  • To build community by working on a common project.

Needed Materials/Functions:

  • One mobile device per group to create videos that can be uploaded directly to YouTube
  • One mobile device per group with a QR reader.  I recommend i-nigma.  The same device can be used for recording video, scanning QR codes, and viewing videos on the mobile device.
  • One computer per group that has internet access.
  • A printer that computers are connected to.
  • A YouTube Account


  • Form students/members into smaller groups – 3 to 5 members per group.
  • Ask students to create short videos using their mobile devices that demonstrate smaller concepts within a larger topic.   Have students videotape 4 to 6 separate short videos (a minute or less) from the list of categories or classifications provided to them about the topic selected.   In this example, for my interpersonal relations class, students were asked to create videos to demonstrate different nonverbal behaviors from the following list: glance, eye contact (gaze), volume, vocal nuance, proximity, gestures, facial expression, pause (silence), intonation, dress, posture, word choice and syntax, sounds (paralanguage)
  • Encourage them to provide enough information to showcase the topic but not too much that the answer/category is too obvious.

  • Ask students to upload each of their videos to YouTube.  If they don’t have their own accounts, you can provide them with an email address to send their videos directly to your YouTube account.  This information can be found under account settings.

Thanks, Hall Davidson for this tip.

  • Print the QR codes and distribute them to each of the groups.  So if there are 5 groups, print four sets for the four other groups.  Develop a coding system or have groups develop a coding system that identifies their group, a unique symbol for each of the sets, and the number of the video.  This permits an easy identification code of which group and which video for the next part.  A coding system can include giving each group a set of numbers to identify which groups have their QR codes.  Going back to the example of five groups, group one can be given 1-4, group two 5-9, group three 10-13 and so on.  Groups can then be instructed to label their videos A through E (given they made five videos).

  • Groups receive the QR codes for videos completed by the other groups. Ask group members view the videos via the QR codes and identify which of the concepts the video is depicting.


  • For this example, the different types of nonverbal behaviors were printed and taped on the classroom wall. When a group identified which behavior, they taped their QR code under that category.  Once completed, groups “graded” one another’s correct categories referring to the codes they developed and by writing a “yes” or “no” on the QR code.


  • Alternative One:  to posting the QR codes on the wall is to have students identify which concept by writing it directly on the printed QR codes they received.  The need for groups coding their QR codes would be eliminated.  Correctness of their responses would be determined during the next step when the videos are shown to the entire class.
  • Alternative Two:  If there is access to a computer lab/1:1 mobile lab, the QR Codes could be displayed on the monitors.  There would need to be enough computers to show on the videos/QR Codes created.  Videos could be accessed via these monitor displays through their mobile devices using their QR readers.  Then students could write their guess down for each of the videos.  The need for groups coding their QR codes would be eliminated.  Correctness of their responses would be determined during the next step when the videos are shown to the entire class.
  • Show the videos using a projector, interactive whiteboard.  Facilitate a discussion about the concepts and how well they were depicted in the student videos.

Give it a try.  Use your QR reader to access and view the following videos created by students about nonverbal behaviors.  See if you can guess which behavior they depicted using the nonverbal behavior list provide above.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

February 18, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Communication Activities Using Mobile Devices

leave a comment »

Mobile devices are major sources of communication for almost everybody these days.  As such, these devices lend themselves for exploring effective and ineffective communication.  The goals of this unit of study are to:

  • gain a greater understanding of the keys to effective communication.
  • build team and cooperative learning skills.

Ice Breaker:  Texting Messages

  • Prior to the activity, choose a phrase (with fewer than 300 characters) that has meaning to your group and translate it for text messaging (for help, visit Make sure that all participants have one another’s cell phone numbers stored in their own phone’s memory.
  • After arranging the group in a circle, text your message to the first person (it helps to have the message already loaded into your phone). The person who receives the text then whispers the message to the next person in the circle. That person must then text the message to the next person, who whispers it to the next person, who then, in turn, whispers it. Continue in this fashion (i.e., alternating texts and whispers) until the last person receives the message. The last person then verbally shares the message with the entire group.
  • Messages can also be sent from the computer via
  • Discuss problems with messages that texted.


As you can see by this example, the original post was wen ppl talk, listN completely. Most ppl nevr lisN. (When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.) The final person received the message, When people talk, most people listen unless there is nobody to hear you.

Ice Breaker: Text a Story

One person starts a story – either a word, phrase, or sentence (can be negotiated with the group or predetermined by the leader), and texts this to the next group member who adds a word, phrase, or sentence.  When it gets to the last person, s/he reads the story aloud.

Same But Different

  • Distribute via email or securely face-to-face the Same but Different pictures to  students/members.
  • Three pairs of similar pictures will be distribute to each group of six students/members.
  • Via telephone or texting communications, members must find the one and only partner who has the exact same picture.

Source:  Abrams, Michael; Scannell, Mary; Mulvihill, Mike (2011-11-22). Big Book of Virtual Teambuilding Games: Quick, Effective Activities to Build Communication, Trust and Collaboration from Anywhere! (Kindle Locations 1840-1841). McGraw-Hill. Kindle Edition.

Building Communications

  • Split group into two to four subgroups and give each group the same exact building supplies.  Tinker Toys work well for this.  Take the groups to separate locations so they have no visual or direct verbal access to one another.
  • Ask the group to assign a communicator, someone who communicates with the other groups using his or her mobile device.
  • Give them the instruction that they are to create three structures that look exactly alike and to do so, they need to communicate to the other groups via their mobile devices.  This can be done either through voice or texting but no images can be sent.  The communicator can only convey instructions received from the other teams, but cannot be involved in the actual hands-on building of the structure
  • Once the groups believe that they have completed the task, tell them that they can send pictures of their structure to the other groups for a final confirmation.
  • Bring the groups back together to have them compare their structures.


Student Reflection

We broke up into groups, with each group having one telephone communicator and three builders. Each group had a bag with the same tinker toy parts. We then had to build a symmetrical structure identical to the other two groups. We had to ask questions and give directions to each other until we were able to come up with identical structures. It took awhile, but we were able to communicate effectively enough to create identical structures. Yeah for us!

I thought this activity was really difficult and confusing because everybody was talking at once and kind of difficult to hear. That is why communication is very important. Communication has a big role in our everyday life non-verbally or verbally.

We received the bag of tinker toys we then had to go to different rooms. Somebody from each group then had to decide who was going to be the communicators. The communicators had to then had to call the other communicators and the rest were the listeners, and the listeners were the only ones who could touch the tinker toys. The Communicators had then had to tell us what to construct. I thought this activity was really difficult and confusing because everybody was talking at once and kind of difficult to hear. That is why communication is very important, Communication is also a big role in our everyday life nonverbally or verbally.

Reflections Via Voicethread

  • Create an Account on Voicethread.
  • Start a Voicethread with photos from the communications activities.
  • Show students/members how to register.
  • Ask students to verbally record their reactions to the activities via a webcam or by calling in via their cell phones.
  • Have students/members listen to all of the responses and then discuss ways these messages were effective and ineffective.

Post Class Student Reflections

After class, as part of their out-of-class assignments, students post their reflections about the class activities via a Facebook Page set up for this purpoose.

What a great way to learn communication techniques! Thank you Jackie for all your creative ways to make this class fun and exciting as well as informational.

These as well as other mobile-driven team building activities can be found at

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

February 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Mobile-Driven Identity Activities

leave a comment »

Leveraging the students’ mobile devices has become an ongoing and integrated practice of my face-to-face undergraduate course on Interpersonal Relations.  What follows are the mobile and technology driven activities completed during the class on personal-identity.

I Am Poems

Students are given the following template and asked to fill in the blanks to create their own I Am Poems.

Once the poems are written, students are provided with a link to a shared Google Doc Presentation and instructions to use one of the presentation slides to compose their poem and include a photo from their Facebook accounts or one taken with their mobile that symbolizes the essence of their identify.  After all students complete this task, the presentation is projected via an interactive board.  Students, one at a time, read their poems to their classmates.

We made an “I AM” poem, which I thought was very fun. It was interesting to see the imaginations on some classmates. These activities are what makes the class fun.

We wrote ” I am” poems which was really cool too. I liked seeing what everyone had to say about themselves. I got to see a side of them that I probably never would have.

Values Identification

Students are asked to choose their three top values from a list of values. They are then given the task to locate objects in their environment that symbolize these values and take photos using their mobile devices. Directions are given to email their photos to a Flickr account set up for this purpose.  Students do not need to have an account on Flickr to do so.  The steps to set this up are as follows:

  • Set up an account on Flickr –
  • Photos can then be emailed directly to this Flickr account.  “You can upload photos to Flickr from your camera using your unique email upload address. When you upload photos via email, the subject line is used as the title of your photo, and the body of the email is used as the description” (

Students are given the email address to send their photos to Flickr along with the instructions to put the name of their value in the subject line and why they selected that value in the description. Since all the group’s images will are sent to this single Flickr account, students are able to view each other’s photographs through the Flickr website projected on a screen if in a face-to-face setting.

Going over our values was an important part of the activity (I personally can say) because our values play a critical role in our self-esteem, they dictate what is important to us.

Peer Feedback

The Johari Window is introduced to the students.  The focus of this activity is on the window known to others but not known to self.  Since the students have been working together for several weeks, they have some knowledge of their classroom peers.  As such, they are instructed to provide feedback to those three or four students with whom they have had most contact during the initial weeks of the course.  Feedback is provided in the form of three descriptive adjectives texted to the person receiving the feedback.

We sent messages to other people describing how we saw them when we first met in class. This was surprising to me because I received different feedback then I would expect..

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

February 1, 2012 at 10:12 pm

First Class Ice Breakers Using Mobile Devices

with 19 comments

I previously wrote about the importance of beginning a class focusing on the learners in the room as opposed to the content to be covered in Beginning the School Year: It’s About Connections Not Content.

Most classes, starting with about middle school, begin the school year with reviewing the content to be covered, expectations regarding grades, and other academic information provided by the teacher or instructor.  The human or social element is often disregarded.

What is interesting is that most learners enter the classroom wondering who is in the course.  They want to know about the teacher and the people in the class not what material is to be covered. What this says to me as an educator is that it all begins with a social connection – between the educator and the learners, and between the learners themselves.

All of my classes, regardless of student age or demographics – elementary gifted students or graduate students, begin with ice-breakers and team-building activities.  I recently developed a passion for using students’ mobile devices to do so as this devices have become natural and personalized extensions of students’ “selves.”

What follows are several of the mobile-driven ice-breakers I recently used in an undergraduate course on Interpersonal Relations.  I also include some student reactions to these activities.

Cell Sharing

  • Ask participants to locate a photo, song, or video from their mobile device that best represents them.
  • Each person then shares his or her media and the reason it was selected.
  • For photo or video sharing:  Pass the device around so all students can view the image or use a webcam to project the image onto a larger computer screen or whiteboard.
  • For sharing of music: Attach portable speakers to assist with the sharing of songs so others can hear them.

Student Reflections about Cell Sharing

Several students stated that this was their favorite activity of the class.

I thought it was awesome that you wanted everyone to show the class a picture or type of music that had meaning to us. By doing this we got to see and learn a little bit more of our peers.

We did a photo/audio thing which was my favorite activity because we got to learn a little bit of everyone’s lives

Question Selector

Texting Interviews

  • Randomly pair students (can be either face-to-face or virtually).
  • Ask them to develop questions that they would ask to help them get to know someone better.
  • The pairs text their questions and answers back and forth.
  • Interviewers summarize what they found out about their partners and posts their partners’ names and this information on a Sticky Note Board such as Wallwisher.

Student Reflection About the Texting Interviews

I enjoyed the texting exercise. It’s pretty cool when your teacher lets you use your phone for the activities especially since I got to learn more about my partner.

Student Reflections About the Ice Breaker Activities

I think that those games helped us get to know each other and were a very good ice breaker to help us know who our class mates are.

We played many activities and I believe that they all helped in breaking the ice between us all. We were able to get to know each other easier and faster than in a typical classroom environment.

I learned to communicate better instead of hanging back in a corner.

Although we all come from different backgrounds and cultures we all related quite well and by learning about each other we can start to establish friendships

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

January 8, 2012 at 5:20 pm

A End-of-Course Student Survey: The Use of Mobile Devices for Class Activities

with one comment


As is true for many of us using educational technology in the classroom, we are experimenting with how technology can enhance the learning experiences of our students.  Sometimes we have failures, often times we have successes.  Yet, in this age of evidenced-based education, educators, administrators, and other decision-makers are depending on and using the data gleamed from large studies often completed by companies with vested interests, e.g. Gates Foundation, book publishers, and testing companies.

Educators can easily conduct action research about the practices they are using in their own classrooms especially given the ease of creating online surveys and data collection methods.  Yet, it seems that it is rarely done.

For example, I introduced Quest Atlantis into my gifted classes a few years ago and asked these 3rd through 5th graders to complete a survey to assess its efficacy from the student perspective.  The results I received were rich and informative.  The kids offered great feedback, ideas, and suggestions.  See Beyond the Game: Quest Atlantis as an Online Learning Experience for Gifted Elementary Students.

So if educators want to influence what occurs in not only their own classrooms, but in the classrooms of their co-teachers, then they need to invest the time and energy to demonstrate best practices.  In a related blog, I discuss Every Educator Has a Story . . . Just Tell It.

End-of-Course Survey

The Interpersonal Relations course was offered during Fall, 2011.  There were 12 students in the course – five were male, 7 were female; ten of the students were 18 to 20 years old, one was 25 years old, and the oldest student was a female in her 50s.

The first section of the survey listed all of the class activities that used the students’ cell phones.  I blogged about the individual activities.  The archive of these blog posts can be found at User-Generated Education tagged with mobile learning.

Obviously the sample size is small, but I was excited to find that most of the students found most of the activities of some value and that only one student found one of the activities a waste of time.

I also asked a series of open ended questions . . .

Favorite and Least Favorite Activities?

These were all over the map with no general consensus.

What was the greatest advantage of using students’ mobile phones to get to know one another and build a sense of community in the class?

The responses centered around being able to use the devices they used outside of the class,

It was something that we use everyday so it related back to us.

It was something they were familar with.

The students use their phones on a regular basis.

. . . and that their devices helped to create an environment of sharing, friendliness

It provided us with a common ground on which to get to know each other.

We got to talk to each other outside of class, not just when we were in class.

We were able to communicate outside of class and create friendships.

You got to know the people better though them.

To get a better experience from the class and enjoy coming to class.

What was the biggest problems in using students’ mobile devices during class time?

As was expected, most of the student responses centered around them being a distraction.

People would abuse it and text friends and do other things that the activity wasn’t for.

The students were tempted to use the phones for personal use.

Sometimes people weren’t always doing what they were supposed to be doing.

Students had more of a chance to get distracted.

Some people texted when they should have been participating.

(Note:  I had to implement a device away strategy, when I had to ask students, often several times, to put their devices away when we weren’t using them for class activities.)

A few mentioned service problems.

Some didn’t work.

The service was bad because i would send a text and it would show up ten minuets later.

What recommendations would you make to improve the use of students’ mobile devices for class activities and community-building?

Most of the students stated, “None.”

There are none everything is A Okay.

Interestingly, two mentioned having laptops available for all students.

Change the moblie devices into personal laptops provided by the school.

Have computers for each student.

Next week, I begin this course again with a new group of students.  I will continue to test out the mobile learning activities and get student feedback about them.

Thanks Fall, 2011, students!

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

December 28, 2011 at 3:05 am

A Technology-Enhanced Lesson on Conflict

leave a comment »

This lesson was done with undergraduates, ages 18-20.  As you can see by the lesson, the driving pedagogical tenets are:

  • Experiential and authentic learning.
  • The use of technology to increase student engagement and motivation.
  • A focus on student-centric learning with the teacher only providing directions as to how to complete the experiential activities.
  • Students interacting with each other and the content much more than the teacher.

The Goals:

  • Define conflict.
  • Describe differences between destructive and constructive approaches to managing conflict.
  • Identify and describe win-lose and win-win negotiation strategies.
  • Identify and use conflict management skills to help manage emotions, information, goals, and problems when attempting to resolve interpersonal differences.

Define Conflict

Students are given the following directions:

Write the word conflict in the center of a blank piece of paper and draw a circle around it. Quickly jot down all the words and phrases you associate with the word conflict by arranging them around your circle.

Review your list of associations and categorize them as positive, negative, or neutral. Count the total number of positive, negative, and neutral associations, and calculate the percentages that are positive, negative, and neutral. Did you have more than 90% positive? Did you have more than 90% negative?

What do your associations with the word conflict indicate about your views about conflict and your approach to conflict?

Following a discussion of the positive and negative aspects, students are asked to complete the following tasks:

  • Reduce your list to four words.
  • Find a partner, reduce that list to four words.
  • Join another partner team – reduce the list to four words.
  • Go to Visual Thesaurus –  get definitions for each of the four words
  • Create a web on the white board that includes your group’s four words and key words associated with those main words.

Escalating and Deescalating Conflict Situations

Students are presented with the following scenarios and compose two responses for each, one that would escalate the conflict, and two, another that would deescalate the conflict.

They are invited to use their own laptops to compose their responses.  They find partners, who reads and finds the comments composed by their partner to share with the rest of the class.

Conflict Resolution Techniques

Through a brief Powerpoint presentation, students are introduced to the following conflict resolution techniques:

  • Abandoning
  • Getting Help
  • Humor
  • Postponing
  • Compromise
  • Integrating
  • Collaborate/Problem-Solve

To practice using these strategies, students write a Dear Abby letter that describes a conflict they are currently or have experienced in their lives.  These are composed on Primary Pad.   Their individual links are emailed to the teacher.  These links are shared with the entire class one at a time so the other students can make recommendations for resolving the conflict based on the strategies above.

Win As Much As You Can Negotiation Strategies

A separate blog post describes this activity – Win As Much As You Can Mobile Edition

Personal Goal Development – Motivational Posters

Finally, students make goals for improving their conflict resolution skills by creating a motivational poster using the Big Hub Motivational Posters.  These are uploaded to a Google Presentation to create a class aggregate of motivation posters.’

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

December 3, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Win As Much As You Can Mobile Edition

leave a comment »

Win As Much As You Can is a popular negotiation game based on the Prisoner’s Dilemma problem (Axelrod 2006). In one version players are grouped into four teams and asked to play an X or Y over a series of rounds. The object is to score as many points as possible. If everyone in the group chooses X, then everyone loses points. If all choose Y, everyone scores points. If there is a mixture of X’s and Y’s, those that played X get more points and those that played Y get fewer points. Discussion is not allowed except during three bonus rounds, when players may discuss how they will play the next round.

Many assumptions are embedded in this deceptively simple and powerful game, developed to illustrate economic principles from game theory. The most obvious is the use of a “game” to introduce many of the fundamental themes and concepts of negotiation theory. These include the tension between creating and claiming value, individual versus joint gain, trust, concessions, attributions, ethics, and multi-round negotiations.

The sports or game metaphor and the “game,” with its title commanding the player to “win as much as you can” reflect the values of self-interest and personal aggrandizement. The title, score-sheet and rules of the game also suggest a “fixed pie,” leading to the assumption that there is no room for integrative bargaining. The game, however, is more complex than that, as players discover that single-minded pursuit of self-interest can backfire, and that a relationship between personal gain and joint welfare exists, particularly when there will be a continuing relationship. The title and rules suggest that conflict may lie ahead [and almost always does result].  Cultural Baggage When You “Win As Much As You Can” Julia Ann Gold

Mobile Edition

The mobile edition is appropriate for upper level High School students and college students.  In the mobile edition, students form in four subgroups as in the original game.  One member from each group becomes the designated voter using his or her mobile device to post his or her team’s response.  Votes are made through texting into Celly (a free group texting service) their X or Y vote along with the round number using a hashtag to denote the round.  The results of each round are projected to the entire group so they can view all teams’ votes.

The individual groups make their selections and votes with no communications with the other groups except in three of the rounds.  Three different forms of inter-group communications are permitted during rounds 3, 5, and 6 with payoff results increased during those rounds.

  • Round 3:  Groups are invited to text to any other group any message of their choice.  As such groups are asked to exchange phones numbers prior to the game.

  • Round 5:  During this round, the teams can text message any communications they want to make to the other groups through Celly which are projected to the entire group.

  • Round 6:  Groups can communicate directly with one another.


Reflection of Win As Much As You Can occurs through a VoiceThread set up for that purpose, and through group discussion.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

December 2, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Flipped Classroom Full Picture: An Example Lesson

with 6 comments

The flipped classroom, as it is currently being described and publicized, is simply recording the didactic content information via videos, having students view these as homework, and then using class time to further discuss these ideas.

Harvard Professor Chris Dede stated in his Global Education 2011 keynote in response to a question directed about the flipped classroom . . .

I think that the flipped classroom is an interesting idea if you want to do learning that is largely based on presentation. You use presentation outside of the classroom. Then you do your understanding of the presentation and further steps from the presentation inside the classroom. I think it is a step forward. It is still, in my mind, the old person.  It’s still starting with presentational learning and then trying to sprinkle some learning-by-doing on top of it.  I am interested more in moving beyond the flipped classroom to learning by doing at the center than a kind of the intermediate step that still centers on largely on tacit assimilation.

As I describe in The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture, I believe, as Chris Dede does, that the problem with the flipped classroom is that the major focus is on the didactic presentation of information, that it is still at the center of the learning experience.  The flipped classroom, given that is currently getting so much press, provides an opportunity to change the paradigm of learning, whereby learning–by-doing, the experiences along with the understanding and application of those experiences become core to the learning process.

The following lesson describes a type of flipped classroom.  This lesson did not center around the content media, in this case the Slideshare, but on the students’ personal experiences, interactions with other students, and acquisition of tangible life skills.

Interpersonal Communications: Listening Skills

Experiential Engagement: The Activity

The cycle often begins with an experiential exercise.  This is an authentic, often hands-on learning activity that fully engages the student.   It is a concrete experience that calls for attention by most, if not all, the senses.   They become hooked through personal connection to the experience and desire to create meaning for and about that experience (ala constructivist learning).

For this lesson, the learners started off with the Lighthouse activity, where in partner teams, the sited person led his or her blindfolded partner through a series of obstacles.  The goal of this part of the lesson was to provide an experience that overtly demonstrated the importance of listening – especially when the sense of sight is taken away.


Conceptual Connections: The What

Learners are exposed to and learn concepts touched upon during Experiential Engagement.  They explore what the experts have to say about the topic.  Information is presented via video lecture, content-rich websites and simulations like PHET and/or online text/readings.  In the case of the flipped classroom as it is being currently discussed, this is the time in the learning cycle when the learners view content-rich videos.  The videos support the experiential learning rather than being at the center of the learning experience.

In this lesson, the learners were asked to view and review the following slideshare via their own computer terminals.

The benefit of this form of personalized viewing is that the learners have control of the media so they can view it at their own pace – spending more time on the concepts they need to further review or of which have special, personal interest.  Use of their own computers also permit them to search for more information about a given topic.

Meaning Making: The So What

Learners reflect on their understanding of what was discovered during the previous phases.  It is a phase of deep reflection on what was experienced during the first phase and what was learned via the experts during the second phase. Learners can articulate and construct their understanding of the content or topic being covered through written blogs or verbal-based audio or video recordings.

For this lesson, the learners made a personal connection with the content as they were asked to identify the 10 listening skills they believed they needed to further develop.  This also became a technology-enhanced lesson. Learners made a mind map of their identified 10 skills that included: (1) the skill, (2) normal and current behaviors associated with the skill, and (3) goals and steps for improvement.


Demonstration and Application: The Now What

During this phase, learners get to demonstrate what they learned and apply the material in a way that makes sense to them. This goes beyond reflection and personal understanding in that learners have to create something that is individualized and extends beyond the lesson with applicability to the learners’ everyday lives.  This is in line with the highest level of learning within Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy of Learning – Creating – whereby the learner creates a new product or point of view. In essence, they become the storytellers of their learning (See Narratives in the 21st Century: Narratives in Search of Contexts).  A list of technology-enhanced ideas/options for the celebration of learning can be found at:

Part One

The learners practiced their active listening skills during class time.  Feedback was provided to the listener via their mobile devices using Celly.  See the full description at Students’ Own Mobile Devices and Celly Provide Peer Feedback.



Part Two

The learners located a professional in their area of study to interview.  Their interview questions focused on the communication skills expected of those in that profession.  Their homework was driven by real-life experiences going out to speak with a professional in their communities.  The professional was asked to complete an evaluation of the student’s performance during the interview. Homework was designed to further promote the applicability, transferability, and relevancy of this lesson.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

November 20, 2011 at 8:37 pm

A Texting Communications Exercise

with one comment

This is part of a continued series of blogs in which I reporting about and describing how I am adapting more tradition team building, communications, and problem-solving to include learners’ own mobile devices.

Part 1

This activity is an adaptation of the Back-to-Back Communications Exercise.  Students found a partner.  One volunteered to give the directions, the other to be the drawer.  They exchanged phone numbers and the drawers went to another room.  The direction givers were provided with the following drawing and told to text in words (one student asked if he could send a picture) the description of the drawing.  The goal was for the drawer to reproduce the drawing to scale.

Part 2

Students then met face-to-face to complete the exercise again using a second picture.


After the two exercises, a discussion was facilitated that centered around two questions:

  1. Which of the two exercises produced the best results – where the original and reproduced images best replicated each other?
  2. Which of the two exercises did you prefer?

For the first question, the results were split with about half saying the texting produced the best results and the other half stating it was the face-to-face directions.  Those who selected texting described the ability to read through the directions several times to insure correctness.  Those who believed face-to-face produced better results described the use of body gestures to assist with the results.

For the second question, all but one student preferred the face-to-face . . . and all but one student is of the texting generation (18-20 years old).

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

November 11, 2011 at 3:17 pm

%d bloggers like this: