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Ed tech must reads: Column #30

First published in Campus Morning Mail 12th April 2022

Is there still a future for online and blended teaching? from WonkHE

WonkHE can be a bit clickbaity and this piece recycles some tired tropes about pandemic driven emergency remote teaching (ERT) that leans heavily on feelings over facts and draws questionable conclusions about online/blended learning based on an emergency response.(It’s a bit like complaining that the ER department of a hospital isn’t really addressing underlying societal health issues). Nonetheless, the authors do manage to find their way to some reasonable suggestions for the future.

Economics of Squid Game from Wooten & Geerling

This site from two academics at Monash and Penn State Universities expands on their previous work in using pop culture – the South Korean Netflix smash Squid Game – to illustrate and enliven principles of economics. Ranging across game theory, micro and macro economics and labour principles, they offer suggested teaching activities and prompt questions for students. (Thanks to the TaLT team at Monash for sharing this)

Beauty in online learning environments: A quantitative study of the impact of expressive aesthetics on student engagement in blended courses from Shane Kelley (Thesis)

This thesis from a student at Bethel University isn’t perfect (it’s a PhD, not a Nobel Prize) but it does offer an interesting exploration of the impact of aesthetic elements in the LMS on learning and teaching outcomes. In a time where the discussion about an LMS can see to focus unduly on whether it looks tired or old-fashioned, it’s worth remembering that functionality still makes a significant difference.

BioRender Poster builder from BioRender

I don’t work in the sciences but I do know that making posters for conferences can be painful when you don’t have design skills. The excitement about this tool in the responses to the tweet about it was enough to convince me that this freemium drag and drop tool is well worth a look.

PolyCam 3D scanning app from TikTok

This is another tool that I couldn’t resist having a play with as soon as I stumbled upon a video about it on TikTok. It’s a phone app that lets you 3D map a physical space and then (apparently) use AR tools to explore it. There seems to be a little bit of a learning curve but within 10 mins I managed to create a photographic 3D model of my kitchen that I could spin about and zoom in on details in. No idea how to do the AR side yet – support materials are a little thin – but it has great promise.