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Connection October 2013

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EdTech’s Chris Haskell won the 2013 innovator award from the International Association for K-12 Online Learning for his groundbreaking work in quest-based learning. Haskell has thoroughly tracked student success with QBL and has encouraged replication through a tiered-use learning management system at Unlike traditional instruction that relies greatly on memorization, quest-based learning (QBL) focuses on an individualized and flexible curricular experience. Teachers in a quest-based approach do not

assign letter grades to completed quests. Dismissing the industrial paradigm approach in favor of a digital age sensibility, teachers either approve a quest because it meets all expectations or return the quest to the student for revisions and resubmission. Just like video games, quest-based learning supports multiple attempts without punishment to promote learning from mistakes. Like digital games, quest-based learning promotes the use of badges, achievements, and awards to mark student progress, recognize specialization, and provide multiple forms of formative feedback and evaluation. Teachers in

INACOL features Boise State case study in new re A Boise State EdTech initiative to create a state endorsement for K-12 online teachers in 2011was the first of seven case studies released this month by the International Association for K-12 Online Learning — iNACOL at its annual conference in Orlando, Florida. The report—Partnering for Success: A 21st Century Model for Teacher Preparation—“studies the best practices necessary to rethink the skills, methods and pedagogical evolution that teacher education must address,” according to iNACOL President and CEO Susan Patrick. “If we are to ensure great teachers are trained, mentored and retained for our students — the programs themselves must emulate 21st century skills for individualized student learning — no matter where or how a student learns best. The examples found in this report have unique elements and frameworks that others may learn from and replicate,” she said.


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a quest-based approach can designate specific badges to represent important or required elements of the curriculum. Tools that deliver quest-based learning also provide students with progress bars. Using experience points, progress bars can show progress toward the winning condition, the next rank or level, or even individual standards or competencies. Haskell was previously recognized by the New Media Consortium’s Horizon Report for 2012 publications/horizon-report-2012-higher-ed-edition >. The 3D GameLab was recognized in 2012 as a finalist in the Software and Information Industry Association’s Innovator Incubator Award, and won the Digital Media Learning Badges for Lifelong Learning competition. Explore 3D Game Lab at >.


port on 21st Century model for teacher preparation

A paltry 1.3 %” of teacher education programs are preparing teachers for next-generation learning models.

Boise State’s case study was written by EdTech faculty members Kerry Rice, who was involved in the statewide initiative from concept to completion, and Dazhi Yang. It explains how Boise State EdTech’s partnership with Idaho Digital Academy created important policy changes in Idaho education. Other case studies focus on Florida State University and Florida Virtual School, Wayne State University, Arizona State University

and Florence Virtual Academy, Mount Vernon Nazarene University and TRECA Digital Academy, and Utah State University and Utah Virtual Academy. INACOL’s Patrick said a 2012 study found that “a paltry 1.3 %” of teacher education programs are preparing teachers for next-generation learning models. “That survey and subsequent studies have identified the need for a dramatic shift in the skills and methods for educator preparation toward next generation learning models, which require many of the same skills as traditional education, yet a more comprehensive set of skills to navigate a diverse range of learning environments — including blended, online, competencybased models emerging in anytime, everywhere traditional classrooms and schools.”

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dTech’s new department chair, Brett Shelton, is a Boise native and the department’s first chair with an engineering background.

He comes to Boise State from Utah State University, where , coincidentally, the department’s first chair, Carolyn Thorsen, earned her doctorate. Shelton taught at USU from 2004 until this past summer. At Utah State, he taught classes and led design teams that created: 

The university’s mobile phone app, which included university and Aggie sports news feeds, a map tool for finding buildings and shuttle stops, a calendar of university events and activities, local weather, email, a university telephone directory, a player to receive campus radio, and links to the library,



EdTech Connection Published three times a year by the Department of Educational Technology at Boise State University

Jerry Foster Editor and academic adviser 208-426-4008


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ticket office, and USU’s YouTube channel, 

A GPS-enabled mobile app for instructional activities and learning games, and

A portal that combined open educational resources with a search engine to locate additional resources.

Also at Utah State, he built: 

A virtual game and simulation engine for training first responders and other emergency personnel,

A science learning tool in a game-like environment with capacity for global competition in problem-solving, and,

A series of mobile, relative-location games for helping deaf and hard-ofhearing children learn math.

Shelton’s work focuses on educational games and virtual world simulations. He holds one patent and another is pending on systems and methods for automated assessment in virtual world environments. He’s published a book on simulated environments in virtual worlds and has published many dozens of book chapters and scholarly articles.

Shelton’s art for his book on educational games.

In his nine years at Utah State, he has written 22 successful grant applications for more than $11 million. His versatility also includes the design of cover art for a textbook on the design and use of simulations and games in education, and serving as voice talent for several radio commercials to promote the college-of-ed at USU. He earned a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering at the University of Idaho in 1994 and a doctorate in educational technology and curriculum and instruction from the University of Washington in 2003.

Shelton led a team of designers who developed a full-service mobile app for Utah State University.

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Dr. Jesús Trespalacios is a former high school math teacher who becomes the second Virgina Techtrained professor in the Boise State EdTech program, following Dr. Ross Perkins. Trespalacios is a games guy who likes to mix math with immersive competition, collaboration, and animation. He coauthored a book chapter on 21st century learning skills, including a detailed discussion of virtual man-

ipulatives (based on generative learning theory) as a tool to transport students into the content. His content of choice is math. Another book chapter, this one co -written with his wife Lida, a math education professor at New Mexico State University, focuses on the role of animations and manipulatives—both physical and virtual—in supporting learning and communication in math instruction.


He previously taught at New Mexico State University, in Puerto Rico, and in his native Colombia.

Canadian distance education expert joins one of America’s premier online teaching programs One of EdTech’s new full-time professors is Dr. Norm Friesen, who is widely known and respected in Canada. He comes to Boise State from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia, where he was twice named Canada Research Chair in E-Learning Practices. Friesen is founding co-editor of Phenomenology & Practice, and an associate editor of two other peer-reviewed journals. He has been a contributing editor or reviewer of 14 other journals.

For a decade, Friesen has worked as a delegate to the International Standards


Organization, involved in the development of technical specifications for educational technologies. He’s written two books, edited three more, co-edited eight special issues, published over 80 peer-reviewed articles and chapters, and made more than 200 presentations on five continents. Friesen holds a doctorate in education from the University of Alberta, and master’s degrees in German and library and information studies. The latter degree focused on networked information technology systems.

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Good teaching, research, & publication yields tenure-track position for Ching Yu-Hui Ching was promoted to tenure-track status after serving as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Educational Technology. She earned her doctoral degree at Penn State University, where she wrote a grant to study science learning among middle school students and to design professional development workshops to train teachers how to apply web-enhanced,

Patrick Lowenthal is a new assistant professor, but not new to EdTech. He worked in the background for two years as an instructional designer prior to having his job upgraded to a tenure-track faculty position this spring. Lowenthal earned his master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of ColoradoDenver, and worked as associate director of teacher education at Regis University and

problem-based learning in their classes. At Boise State, she has been collaborating with professors in the College of Engineering to improve problem-solving and computational thinking among high school students through the use of mobile computing and programming. Last year, she won an award for design-grounded assessment of Web 2.0 practices.



later coordinated all of the online graduate programs in Regis’ College of Education, including instructional technology. He later moved across town to become the coordinator of the CU Online Academic Technology and Extended Learning Department at the University of ColoradoDenver. Lowenthal’s bachelor’s degree and first master’s degree are in religion.

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EdTech Assistant Professors Yu-Chang Hsu (pronounced shoe) and Yu-Hui (you-hwe) Ching were very productive in their professional scholarship this past summer. They: 

Published a book chapter on Web 2.0 applications and practices for learning through collaboration in the fourth edition of the Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology.

Presented three research studies at the international convention of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT 2013) in Anaheim, Calif,. The studies were: —Web 2.0 and Learning through Collaboration: A Literature Review, —Collaborative Case Study with VoiceThread in an Online Environment, and —Designing Mobile Apps for Teaching and Learning: Graduate Students’ Experiences in an Online Course.

Hsu and Ching published an article on mobile app design in the peer-reviewed journal, The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, and

Collaborated with Chareen Snelson, an associate professor and associate chair in EdTech, on A Delphi Study on the Research Priorities in Mobile Learning at the same conference.

In addition to his collaboration with Ching, Hsu was an invited expert at the App Inventor Summit hosted by the Mobile Learning Center of Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Mass. He spoke on teaching mobile app design to online graduate students and to face-to-face high school students. Hsu was also appointed to the editorial board of the International Journal of Mobile Learning and Organisation (IJMLO). The IJMLO is a refereed, multidisciplinary journal for bridging the latest advances in mobile learning and organization. It provides a global forum for presenting authoritative references and academically rigorous research, and publishes original papers, review papers, and case studies.

Gerstein’s ‘amazingly thoughtful’ blog feted A series of blogs written by EdTech Adjunct Instructor Jackie Gerstein was honored by the International Reading Association’s Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group— TILE-SIG. Julie Coiro, an associate professor in the College of Education at the University of Rhode Island, called Gerstein’s blog “amazingly thoughtful.” Dr. Gerstein’s blog is rated 49th in the world by the Teach 100 list of top educational blogs. Coiro noted four of Gerstein’s monthly blogs, the first titled The Other 21st Century Skills, which include s grit, resilience, hope and optimism, vision, self-regulation, empathy, and global stewardship. Find Coiro’s blog at: AdvocacyandOutreach/SIGS/ TechnologySIG.aspx >. Find Gerstein’s blog at: jackiegerstein/ >.

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Polish university scholar Dorota Siemieniecka found the start of the academic year a striking contrast to that of Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, where she is on the faculty of education. Siemieniecka spent a few weeks visiting the Boise State campus in August. “At an opening assembly, (Polish) faculty members wear their traditional regalia and a choir sings in Latin,” Siemieniecka said of Nicolaus Copernicus. “The students read a pledge aloud in unison to work hard at their studies.” The administrators also present awards and scholarships to the students during the convocation. A marked contrast was Boise State’s President’s Picnic on the Quad; “You would never see this in Poland,” Siemieniecka said. She also observed that at Boise State, “Everybody is focused on the future of this university. That has an impact on motivation.” Siemieniecka was at Boise State to cement ties with the Department of Educational Technology that could lead to shared online courses as well as faculty and student exchanges. EdTech associate professor Kerry Rice spent

last fall semester in Torun as a Fulbright Scholar to lecture and explore the use of new technology in education at Nicolaus Copernicus. She lectured to students in the Department of Didactics and Media in Education, a close counterpart to Boise State’s EdTech department.

EdTech’s Kerry Rice (left) with Polish colleague Dorota Siemieniecki on the Boise State campus.

Rice and Siemieniecka are continuing to work together by:

Writing a book on trends in educational technology in Poland and the United States. Nicolaus Copernicus is funding the book, Crossing Borders: An Exploration of Educational Technology in Poland and the United States, written in both Polish and English. Other authors include Bronislaw Siemieniecki, chair of the Department of Didactics and Media in Education at Nicolaus Copernicus, and Phil Kelly, Curriculum, Instruction and Foundational Studies professor at Boise State, who is writing a chapter on the history of U.S. education. Identifying common research interests for future study and publication in international research journals. Exploring possible grants for a shared

EdTech student Tsisana Palmer

Pushing past the ordinary


ots of 18-year-olds want to get out of the house and see what’s down the road, but when Tsisana Palmer was 18, things were different—much different.

ship, but a three-masted wind-jammer. The Russian Navy required cadets to have a historical experience at sea, perhaps to better appreciate modern naval technology.

She lived in Soviet-era Russia, where travel was restricted by vast distances and a shortage of money, and international travel through the iron curtain was the stuff that dreams were made of. But an adventurous spirit pushes her past the ordinary. For example, she and her husband moved to Boise without jobs or prospects— because, she said, they hadn’t been here before. And they knew they’d find something. They had marketable skills, optimism, and each other. Her husband works in information technology and she is a full time faculty member in the Intensive English program at Boise State, teaching English to international students. At 18, Tsisana wanted to see the world, so she got a job at a Russian university—serving food to 150 naval cadets on a ship, and not any

For two years, Tsisana and friends Elena and Zhana sailed from Vladivostok to Japan, South Korea, and sometimes other Pacific Rim ports. Japan was a three-or-four-day voyage, depending on the weather, and then—time off to roam. In South Korea, the three of them— knowing no Korean or English at the time— would catch a bus to who-knows-where, and then they’d buy some lunch at the end of the

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line, and take the bus back to port. Unlike the cadets, the three girls were allowed to raid the ship’s refrigerator and cook anything they wanted after hours. And, oh, those hours. Despite working 10, even 12, hours a day in the kitchen and food line—she and her friends made only a few dollars a day. It had been fun, but Tsisana knew it was time to move on. Her mother, a kindergarten teacher, and her father, a manager in the fishing industry, had been encouraging her to get a college degree, so she enrolled in a university and worked as an administrative assistant in a large fishing company. Her courses were primarily self-study through most of the year, and then she absorbed 12 hours of lectures every day for two months in the dark deepfreeze of Russian winter.

Tsisana Palmer went home this summer to visit her mother, two sisters and a few friends.

“One could not miss it was winter, even inside the classroom,” she says. “Students would not dare to take their fur coats, hats, and gloves off for the entire day of lecturing – it was absolutely freezing, -20C (-4F), and windy outside, yet no heating (and sometimes even cracked windows) in those lecture halls.”

Tsisana (pronounced TSi-saw-na) teaches academic English to international students at Boise State University, and studies part-time in Boise State’s EdTech master’s program, which has sensitized her to technology integration in education and connectivity in general.

Several years after earning her degree in business management, she flew to the United States for a five-week intensive English course at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Her assigned conversation partner was an American by the name of David Palmer. They talked a lot, and kept talking even after she returned to Russia. Finally, he talked her into marrying him. Back in the United States, she earned a master’s degree in inter-cultural communications at the University of Maryland before she and David moved to Idaho.

In the three years since she was home in Vladivostok, Russia, some things have changed, and some haven’t. Change includes the amalgamation of five major universities into one large, beautiful, state-of-the art institution called Far-Eastern Federal University, which opened last year by hosting the 2012 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit.

In Vladivostok, a city of half a million in Russia’s far east, she saw smart phones and tablets everywhere—busses, cafes, even on the beach—with 3G service. It was the first time she had seen wireless connectivity in private homes and public places. But it is a different picture in Arsenyev, a city of about 50,000 people, located a couple of hundred miles to the north. There, people have DSL but not wireless service, and the villages in between had no connection at all. “At times, it felt totally strange, being so disconnected from the world, especially for someone whose life revolves around the

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Internet. At times, I would express my need to connect, only to be surprised with a response such as: ‘What is there to miss?’ ” A lot of people she talked to use a social networking site called Odnoklassniki (Classmates) infrequently, once a month, perhaps, and don’t quite understand the difference between the internet and the social networking site. Even educated professionals say they barely use the internet. A director of a local boarding school for gifted children said she hoped her teachers would be enthusiastic about using technology, but most of her teachers did not even have active e-mail addresses. She said she had classrooms equipped with whiteboards but no one knew how to use them. She was aware of Moodle and wanted to incorporate it at her school, but none of her faculty members knew how to use it; taking a course or a training was not an option either—not much is available in Russian.

Through her relatives and friends, Tsisana met with a group of educators interested in learning about her experience of living and teaching abroad. They were especially curious about the teaching methods and practices used in the United States, as well as in the way technology is integrated into teaching and learning. Those teachers found online teaching methods

and strategies particularly interesting—online discussion forums, peer-review and sharing, projects with multimedia, etc. Tsisana even presented a tech integration workshop for a small group of educators and introduced them to Prezi, Google+ and Google Hangout, and Wordpress. Together, they set up a small blog and a Facebook page to continue this exchange of ideas and practices. As Tsisana learned more about online or even just flipped instruction in Russia,

the more curious she became about what was actually out there. “I started searching and realized that, yes, the educational content was rather limited compared to what is available in English, but on contrary, there was plenty of inappropriate content.” Her own nieces and nephews and the children of friends told her that they don’t really use the internet in school until they get to college. She says she will continue to share ideas and practices with Russian educators—not at all surprising for a young woman who makes things happen. Jerry Foster is an adviser / recruiter in Boise State’s Department of Educational Technology.

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News Briefs Youngkyun Baek, professor of educational technology and director of Boise State’s Game Studio, was quoted in a story in EdTech Magazine titled “Why Gamification is Winning Points on Campus.” Baek notes that developing a game that will help students learn is a synthetic and integrated art requiring collaboration across several fields. Read the entire story at higher/article/2013/08/why -gamification-winningpoints-campus >.

Portfolio, the M.E.T. capstone course, will be offered in the summer of 2014. The addition of Portfolio to next summer’s schedule does not mean it will be offered every summer.

Dr. Ross Perkins will become interim associate chair during spring semester while Dr. Chareen Snelson takes a onesemester sabbatical.

Some 597 courses will change catalog numbers, and one will change its name.  Blogging in the Classroom becomes EDTECH 537, effective next summer. 

Mobile App Design for Teaching and Learning will become EDTECH 534, effective next fall.

Digital Game Design for K12 Classrooms becomes EDTECH 536, effective next fall.

Introduction to Edutain-

ment will change its catalog number to EDTECH 535 and its name to Digital Engagement for Learning. Both changes becine effective in the spring of 2015.

Cigdem Uz, a doctoral student at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, will research educational games for a year in EdTech’s Game Studio under the direction of Dr. Young Baek.

Letters I happened to come across the June 2013 issue of EdTech Connection and was excited to see that a classmate of mine, Tammy Price, was in the Achievement section. I too just graduated from the Boise State M.E.T. program in December 2012 and I was hired by Utah State University as an instructional designer in the Center for Innovative Design and Instruction. My focus is on designing online courses and on instructional consulting for faculty and instructors. Thanks to the Boise State EdTech program, I was able to gain the skills necessary to become an instructional designer and work in higher education. Travis Thurston Logan, Utah

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online course or a faculty and student exchange or both. The two educators intend to demonstrate the quality and effectiveness of online courses to the Polish Ministry of Education, where there is some uncertainty about fully online courses or programs. A possible shared online course where Polish students would attend a Boise State course would be tied to a research study and the results presented to the ministry. The shared course could be offered next spring. The Polish university has a state-of-the-art University Center for Modern Teaching Technologies, which develops and shares multiple forms of new teaching technologies, including lecture capture and high-tech classrooms. Siemieniecka said she believes Nicolaus Copernicus is highly advanced in its usage of technology for teaching and learning, compared with universities in Norway, Italy and the Czech Republic. It is the largest university in northern Poland, with about 30,000 students and a faculty of 2500.

Yang, Hung win ‘effective practice’ award EdTech professors Dazhi Yang and Andy Hung won an Effective Practice Award from the Sloan Consortium. They will receive their award later this year for building an evaluation instrument to test the validity of online teacher assessments on behalf of a provider of online professional development. Previously, course efficacy was self-reported on student surveys at the end of each course.

EdTech grad wins Secretary of State award for service Gretel Patch will receive the U.S. Secretary of State Award for Volunteerism Dec. 3 in Washington, D.C. While living in Nepal and working on her EdTech master’s degree, she wrote a grant to pay travel costs so she could introduce technology tools to teachers and students in farflung Nepali cities. She was ETC’s cover story in the January 2013 edition.

ETC-Oct 2013  
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News for and about Boise State EdTech students and faculty.