eLearning Team attends #MACUL2018

maculThe 42nd MACUL (Michigan Association of Computer users in Learning) Conference brings together primarily K12 educators, but also a mix of highered attendees and presenters. It is the largest #edtech in Michigan and one of the largest in the nation with over 5,000 attendees.

The conference program [PDF] is full of keynote sessions, special interest group meetings, learning labs, panels, posters, and deeper dive sessions that include hands-on activities. You can also follow along and see the happenings live via social using the #macul18 hashtag.

A few of the universities in Michigan involved in the conference as presenters include: Grand Valley State University, Eastern Michigan University, Central Michigan University, University of Michigan and Michigan State University. Specifically, GVSU is represented at the conference through a variety of sessions offered by faculty and staff.

  • Gotta Catch ‘Em All: Integrating Location-Based AR Mobile Games in the Classroom
    Beomkyu Choi and Mohammed Saleem, Assistant Professors, Grand Valley State University
  • PearDeck: There Is Life After Death by PowerPoint
    Lissa Brunan, Assessment Specialist, Grand Valley State University
  • Three Sure-Fire Ways to Communicate With Students, Staff, and Stakeholders
    Alissa Thelen, Assessment Specialist, Grand Valley State University
  • Keep Track. Keep Organized. Keep Sane: It’s Time You Met Google Keep
    Lissa Brunan, Assessment Specialist, Grand Valley State University

One of the ways to see themes at a conference is to review the common words used in conference session titles. Here are the top 3 key words used from the MACUL conference program:

#1 – learning

#2 – classroom

#3 – students


eLearning Team Conference Notes & Highlights

Eric Kunnen, Associate Director of eLearning, captured the following notes from  keynote sessions and breakouts:

Vince St. Germain, eLearning and Instructional Technology Specialist collected the following notes from MACUL18:

  • SESSION – Putting You Back in YouTube
    YouTube, the most popular web tool in the world, is impossible to ignore, especially for its educational value. Learn how to leverage YouTube to enhance your instruction and engage and empower your learners. Together we’ll explore how you can create and share impactful digital video content and get our hands dirty putting it into action.

  • SESSION – Discovering and Creating Virtual Reality (Leslie Fisher,
    • Virtual Reality is a three-dimensional, computer generated environment which can be explored and possibly interacted with by an individual learner. The easiest way to experience VR is with some sort of headset / VR mobile device viewer. Some VR experiences are quite immersive and include gloves or a controller that allow you to interact with objects within the VR. These usually require a computer instead of a mobile device.
    • How does Virtual Reality work? A graphics system sends a flood of images ‒ often 60 or 90 of them into each eye per second ‒ to draw views that perfectly match your head movements. When all this is done well, your brain accepts what it sees as real.
    • Where is VR being used?
      Simulations: Arcade, Education, Therapy
    • What do you need to get started? Some sort of smart device. Any device that is handheld and can have apps installed on it should work,  and a VR Viewer which you will insert into the device.
    • Headsets: Google cardboard, DSCVR Headset, Homido Virtual Reality Headset, Merge Headset, Oculus Go
    • Software: Google Cardboard App – a clearing house for VR applications
    • Resources for configuring/setting up your own VR kit include:A test site for device compatibility:

      Pair headset with device:

      Apps to consider include: Google Expeditions – Guide mode, (Google app to build your own expeditions), Google Arts and Culture, VR experiences, Google Spotlight Stories, Google Street View, Sites in VR, NYTvr, Discovery VR, Life VR, Juant VR – cinematic virtual reality experiences, YouTube – VR channel, EON Experience AVR, EON Experience, DinoTrek VR

    • You can also create your own Virtual Reality experiences using the following apps and/or hardware: Google Street View, 360 Panorama –iOS, Ricoh Theta,      CoSpaces, Roundme, Scene VR 
    • For more information on how to get started: 
  • SESSION – Hosting your own Webinars: They work if you do it Right
    • Pam Shoemaker
    • FTF vs Virtual
      • There are no major differences in the lesson structure between a face-to-face seminar and a virtual seminar/webinar. Webinar content and delivery are the most important elements! The webinar platform is secondary. The hardest part is doing the first one!
    • Webinar Structure
      • Structure your webinar using the following guidelines.
      • Share topic and learning targets
      • Poll attendees to find out experience & knowledge about the topic
      • Short Presentation – new info
      • Interactive learning activities
      • Sharing/Check-in
      • Q & A
      • Summary
      • Reflection and Evaluation
    • Tips for Success
      • Keep it interactive
      • Communicate expectations at the start
      • Frequent visual changes, including webcam video
      • Practice
      • Speak slowly
      • Focus – turn off device notifications. No noisy dogs, children, or spouses
      • Use a headset microphone
      • Use two monitors (host)
      • Prepare a resource doc/handout
      • Multimedia is good
      • Promote/advertise in as many ways as possible
      • Check Windows updates, battery charge, close all applications you are not using
      • Attendee default browser can matter (depends on topic)
      • Allow time for Q & A
      • Develop a survey template. Include:
        • Learning targets/objectives – Did attendees meet them?
        • Find out how attendees plan to implement the new learning – short and long term goals
        • Determine follow-up support
        • Feedback for presenters
      • Collect quotes from attendees and use for marketing future webinars
    • Additional resources:

Kim Kenward, Instructional Designer, highlighted the following:

  • Engaging Online Students Michigan Virtual Org
    • Use Google forms for collecting information/bio cards, create personal videos and video trailers which highlight the course and the major assignments (kinda like a course/movie trailer), using Padlet for brainstorming, use in place of a discussion board occasionally, sharing “good” things…where are you going for spring break?  Using Polls to collect information, Explore for creating interactive activities that can be embedded in blackboard, flashcards, hotlinks with pics, Schedule “online meet and greets” using Bb collaborate Ultra.

  • Learning First, Technology Second (Lisa Kolb)
  • Tech Tools for Upping your Learning Game (Michigan Virtual)
  • Student Center Classrooms for Today’s Student:  Engaging All Learners Through Choice, Technology and Innovative Practices (Maria Gonzalez)
    • Several resources and new web-based/apps technologies that support science, collaboration and assessments were explored.  Links to these resources are included in her Google slides.
  • Success in the Online for Students with Special Academic Needs (Michigan Virtual)
    • List of Accommodations to consider:
    • Alternate test options
    • Extended time on tests
    • Assessments read aloud
    • Student informed in advance of upcoming assignments/tests
    • Students can take assessments over x number of class periods
    • Students should receive frequent feedback on assignments
    • Reduction of length of applicable writing assignments/math problems
    • Student can use notes on tests
    • Student can submit assignments after reading instructor’s feedback
    • Frequent prompts and checks for understanding
    • Chunking of information into smaller segments with specific due dates
    • Advance notice of large assignments and tests
    • Ask students to reflect, set goals, explain their process to reach goals on major assignments, establish routines, suggest learning supports, encourage students to communicate with others, add links to support services, writing center, library liaison within Blackboard

      Tips for making your presentations accessible:
    • Minimize the amount of text on slides to keep the focus on what you are saying.
    • Pause to allow individuals a chance to read the slide and read it aloud so individuals who cannot see the presentation know what is on the slide.
    • Minimize the number of visuals on slides. Describe images, graphs, and charts for individuals who are visually impaired.
    • Use high contrast and take care with colors.
    • Avoid or control the speed of animations so they can be described fully.
    • Make sure that videos are captioned and audio described. Give a brief description of the video before it starts to help give context.
    • Parent Guide to Online Learning by Michigan Virtual and Planning Guide
    • Basic Checklist of Online Content Accessibility created by Michigan State University
  • 7 Digital Learning Theories you Should Know About

  • Awesome Online Teaching (Michigan Virtual)

    Proactive Communication

    Announcements, welcome letters, emails, texts, extra tips
    “Jazz” up those announcements with videos, pictures and fun “facts”
    Fun inviting way to relay important information to students
    Weekly pacing guides to help keep students on pace
    Instructor contact information clearly stated
    Fun ‘extra’ to help support student learning

    Welcome Letters
    Welcome students to the course, outline student expectations, set up guidelines for students, relay important information to students…”I expect this of you, but you can expect this of me”..etc.

    Open communication line for students and instructors, instructor availability more open for student help, all emails answered within 24 hours, use of “remind” to help spread the word about important issues/dates via text.  

    Extra Tips
    Proactively supporting students needs with extra tips added to the course. Adding extra videos and quizzes to help support student understanding. FAQs, Commonly Asked Questions..etc.  

    Research-based Feedback
    When providing feedback to students, always address students by their first name, start with a positive tone before suggestions for improvements, be timely in responses, be specific, grade assignments within 72 hours, ask questions to promote thinking…

    Where am I going?  What are my goals?
    How am I going?  What progress is being made toward the goals?
    Where to next?  What activities need to be undertaken to make better progress?

    Relationships and Building a Sense of Community
    Instructors share about themselves with videos, in weekly announcements and in feedback
    Students are encouraged to share their background and interests and to talk with each other
    Fun Fact each Week.
    Share things that make you human
    Encourage students to share
    Use of polls and Padlet for community building, thanking students who do take the time to email the instructor

Hunter Bridwell, Digital Media Developer in eLearning captured the following highlights:

Things to keep in mind when getting started in VR

  • Lenses matter
  • Lower end android devices don’t have an accelerometer
    • Tests mobile devices
  • Preload devices

Different Headsets

  • View-Master VR starter pack $20
  • Dodo case
  • DSCVR headset $8
  • MERGE headset $50 soft headset
  • Oculus Go new product yet to be released

Steps for Getting started….

  • Assemble viewer
  • Run a VR App
  • Stick mobile in viewer
  • Viewer on face

Helpful Resources

  • Hypergrid business has qr code of headset devices
  • Yellkey (not related to VR)


  • Google expeditions – teacher lead
    • Wifi drainer
    • Soon to Make your own expeditions
    • In AR as well
  • Google spotlight stories
  • Sites in VR
  • Discovery VR
  • Lifevr
  • Jaunt VR
  • Youtube VR
  • EON Experience AVR
    • Gamified AR/VR lessons
  • Vtime
  • Poly, user created content
  • iOS

Creating Content

  • Theta camera, Co-Spaces, Roundme, SceneVR
  • 4 video projects
    • Check out
    • Students will celebrate each other’s work
    • They see video as cool isn’t insignificant
    • When students know others will see it they want it to be good. When it’s just the professor they want it to be good enough
    • Any good video is good because it was planned well
    • Proper attribution is essential: Creative commons, using flicker for CC images, Use citation in file name
    • Time- give limited amount of editing time in class focus on using that outside the shot
    • Freedom of choice for final project
  • Creating Strong EDU Videos
    • Watch what others have done
    • Get scripts approved before they make videos
    • Create a plan –  get feedback
    • Draft a video – get feedback
    • Articulate reasons for following advice or not following advice
    • Revise and publish
    • Submit to next vista – get feedback
  • Integrating the Arts
    • Activate UDL to build projects that create something and apply context to lessons
    • Remember: Art scares people who aren’t in the arts
    • Art isn’t on standardized tests but the arts reinforce lessons and allow memorization and real knowledge absorption
    • Kandinsky paintings in math
    • Watercolors for microscopic images
    • Discussing the similarity of how musicians and writers use lines
    • Abstract drawings using leaves and classification in science
    • Dramatic renditions of historical events
    • Role play medical issues in spanish

Goal oriented: targets specific types of thinking, Used repeatedly over time, Few steps, Easy to learn and teach, Easy to support when students are engaged in the routine, Applicable across contexts, Group or individual use

  • Future ready classes
    • Think about envisioning teaching and learning in our school 5 years from now?
    • More buy-in and choice in learning
    • Pedagogy must shift with technology
    • Is the tech going to do anything? Not unless the curriculum adapts to it
    • Interactive learning – how much is the student interacting with learning
    • Use of tech to explore, design, and create
    • Digital drill and kill – throwing a worksheet on a chromebook is still just a worksheet
    • Digital use divide
    • Active use – creating, designing, exploring, coding, etc
    • Passive use – watch a video, look at a website
    • Digital Worksheet Storage Hub vs. Pathway to unleash genius
    • DIY Girls
  • Teaching the On-Demand Generation
    • Ryan Horne
    • Admitting what we’ve got to work with and accepting those terms
    • Brains are evolving from current tech revolution
    • 80+ hours a week on multiple devices
    • Brains are wired from chronic digital exposure thus wired differently
    • Finding and striking balance of tech vs no-tech
    • Strike out “They can’t, they won’t, they don’t”
    • Check yourself if you’re catch yourself using those lines
    • 33% of teens in 2012 said internet was more important than food, shelter, water
    • China and Brazil 60% of teens
    • Being bored is good, we need empty spaces for the brain to receive ideas
    • We may disagree with our audience but we have to meet our audience
    • Ask yourself
      • What is the higher Level of thinking?
      • Is this Creating or consuming media?
      • What are the unintended consequences?
    • Multimedia world
    • Connectedness/collaborations
    • Immediate gratification
    • Choice
    • 5 Components
      • Anytime anywhere access
        • Make content open to access at any given time
        • Give students a specific task don’t just give them resources
        • It’s not enough to just give resources, tell them what to do with it.
        • Anytime, Anywhere Access – optional projects
      • Choice
        • the choice of what to consume, the choice of creating
        • Paradox of choice – 3 or less
        • This or that
        • List of vetted resources
        • Listenwise, youtube, newsELA
    • Multimedia world
      • Anything that’s not text is preferred with students
      • Will they Consume or create this media?
    • Connectedness and collaboration
      • Prefer some level of connection or collaboration
      • Google docs collaborative features
      • Don’t want to promote the bads parts of social media (likes, etc.)
    • How can we give quick feedback and teach delayed gratification?
      • Don’t tie feedback to a grade
      • Chunk up project
      • Add checkpoints to create a drawn out project
      • Item specific deadlines