What else can I do? (Part 5 of the DPL Fellowship Application Series)

We try to integrate Fellows into the community of the event in a variety of ways. In lieu of a workshop, is there another, creative way you could participate?

(This is question #6 from the Digital Pedagogy Lab (DPL) Fellowship application for 2018, which is due on 12/31/17 and can be found here:  http://www.digitalpedagogylab.com/join-digital-pedagogy-lab-2018-fellow/)

In lieu of a workshop, what else can I do? Participate in facilitating discussions or panels, live-tweeting and integrating the experience on social media and blogs, design art that integrates my learnings from the Summer Institute are just three ideas that immediately come to mind. I almost never go to conferences now without a student (or multiple) to mentor and guide through their talk or poster and the experience overall. The point of participation in any conference to me is being present, listening deeply, networking as much as possible, and synthesizing and reflecting the experience online so others can participate.

The possibilities are great for service to all involved if the mind and body are willing. And I am game the vast majority of the time.

Workshops, Workshops Everywhere… (Part 4 of the DPL Fellowship Application Series)

As a DPL Fellow, you may have the opportunity to present a 75-minute workshop. Please include a title and a short description for a workshop you might lead. *

(This is question #5 from the Digital Pedagogy Lab (DPL) Fellowship application for 2018, which is due on 12/31/17 and can be found here:  http://www.digitalpedagogylab.com/join-digital-pedagogy-lab-2018-fellow/)

For what topics would I lead a workshop @DigPedLab Summer Institute?

Many come to mind. I’ve led workshops on increasing student agency within the classroom (i.e. active learning). I’ve led talks and workshops on integrating social media into teaching and professional practice. I could very easily lead a workshop on my current passion – applying Design Based Research framework into a Teaching context, with the main players as teachers and students.

The better question here, though, is for what topics would I NOT lead a workshop @DigPedLab Summer Institute?

My basic framework for all workshops that I lead involves providing authentic space to enable and empower participants to learn something more about themselves and their own pedagogy. Creative and reflective exercises are part of every workshop I lead. I also include lots of references and extension exercises (stuff to do at home).

So what topics would I apply this framework to within the Summer Institute?

My teaching life has been primarily focused on the first two years of chemistry in higher education, with both online (hybrid and blended) and face-to-face sections facilitated. Within my research life, I exist at the intersection of Chemistry, Learning Sciences, and Statistics with a specific focus on the integration of social media into chemical education.

But more than talking about myself (or what I’m currently doing) for 75-minutes, I would be more interested in helping others explore their own pedagogy, their own intersections, and the ways they can expand their pedagogy to incorporate more open and active practices that expand student agency. Thus, a working title for a workshop might be “The 21st century pedagogical revolution: Becoming more open in your classroom while expanding student agency and transparency”.

I’m pretty sure this has inevitably been done before, though…

How do my interests intersect with the Digital Pedagogy Lab? (Part 3 of the DPL Fellowship Application Series)

Please give us a little background about yourself in the form of links to your work online or a short overview of your pedagogical interests. *

(This is question #4 from the Digital Pedagogy Lab (DPL) Fellowship application for 2018, which is due on 12/31/17 and can be found here:  http://www.digitalpedagogylab.com/join-digital-pedagogy-lab-2018-fellow/)

Holy cow, what a question! You said this application was supposed to be minimal work, Sean Michael (@slamteacher)! Ha!

Although – to be fair – I did answer a lot of this question in the previous question. To define what Critical Digital Pedagogy meant to me also meant that I would define who I am as an instructor. Or least give significant clues to who I am in that role.

So – here’s the short delineation of who I am as instructor – I’m more interested in helping my students discover who they are as learners than I am in covering specific content. I believe in instruction as open, collaborative, and transparent. Instruction involves empowering, coaching, mentoring, facilitating, evolving, joking and communicating with, etc. my students and, in general, jointly finding joy in learning. I classify my teaching style mainly as jazz. My online pedagogical presence primarily exists on Facebook (it’s private though), Twitter, YouTube, WordPress, and Instagram (in the preliminary stages). I’ve also done online pedagogical outreach through the AAAS Science NetLinks 5 Questions for a Scientist series, NSF EPSCOR STEM Families Webinar, and a week as the host for @RealScientists.

And earlier this year, I tweetstormed on all the things I wish I had known as a young faculty member:

All of this is only a small slice of what I do as an instructor but it seems like enough for the moment.

The Digital Pedagogy Lab and I obviously have much in common. We share a commitment to innovation and a knowledge that while we don’t have all of the answers to teaching and learning, we love the questions and try to meet students and teachers where they are.

In my early days of teaching (2002-2006), I reveled in having a public webpage through my institution. The webpage was a place my current and former students could revisit and refresh their knowledge of chemistry. I have mourned that webpage since they deleted the server that housed it, and, recently, I have decided to rebuild the webpage again, expanding it with my current work and interests, and house it under WordPress. That work is immediately on the horizon and will hopefully make the online pedagogical picture of who I am even clearer.


What does Critical Digital Pedagogy mean to me? (Part 2 of the DPL Fellowship Application Series)

In the length of a single tweet (280 characters), offer your definition of Critical Digital Pedagogy. Include text here, or tweet and share a link.

Question #3 (technically) from the Digital Pedagogy Lab (DPL) Fellowship application for 2018, which can be found here:  http://www.digitalpedagogylab.com/join-digital-pedagogy-lab-2018-fellow/

(Warning in advance – this is going to be SO MUCH LONGER THAN 280 characters)

In other words, what does Critical Digital Pedagogy mean to me?

I have been asking this question of many friends and colleagues recently…

Generally speaking, upon a cursory glance and without consulting the very comprehensive definition offered here by Jesse, we (the folks I asked + me; convenience sample size of 5) have all defined the words first in terms of what they mean to us:

  • Critical – Essential, Important, “make or break”, “something you can’t live without”
  • Digital – anything that requires technology to access (so anything computer or smart device enabled or requiring online exposure or presence)
  • Pedagogy – technically the teaching of children (Andragogy talks towards teaching adults) but loosely used to incorporate teaching all

When asked what the next level of definition should be, we deviated quite a bit. Some stated what they are currently requiring digitally in their classes and whether any of it was critical. Some talked towards the goals they want their students to achieve and how they could digitally incorporate tools that enabled students to achieve those goals into their classroom pedagogy. I went two different directions when defining Critical Digital Pedagogy in terms of which audience I was teaching, mentoring, or facilitating discussions among: my students or my peers.

My basic teaching mantra is that the more I talk, the less my students seem to learn. Therefore, for my students, I tend towards the latter next level definition. I want my students to learn: 1. how to reflect upon their learning; 2. how to communicate in the spoken and written form effectively; 3. to assess their progress easily; 4. to connect with their peers inside and outside the classroom (at a minimum). The tools I incorporate into my classroom experience to meet these goals include: blogs, a social media extension to the classroom, online homework, self-created video lectures and online resources, and apps including PhET simulations and alchemie games. Many arguments could be made as to whether any of these digital pedagogical tools are well designed or effective. But my continued hope is to reach my students where they are, not where I’d like them to be. And to that end, when I’ve surveyed them, there has been a general consensus that all of the current tools add something to the classroom without taking too much time or requiring too much money (the online homework is the only tool that is not free and as we use Norton, it costs $25/semester for each student) from my students.

For my peers, my next level definition was deeper and more complex because when it comes to my peers, I see online (and particularly social media) access as a social justice issue in many ways. As a very privileged white female, who is also #LGBTQi (but has been given minimal crap due to being such), I am often included in conversations that I think others are far better suited for and are often not included in due to race, disability, etc. And I have the ability (and I would daresay – the obligation) to listen first to these voices, many of whom I connect with on social media, and then try my best to enable them to participate in the conversation in whatever way is mutually acceptable. Online access (and critical digital pedagogy), in its best form, broadens the communication and participation of those involved in the important conversations that shape our careers and our lives.

The bridge between these two groups thus incorporates basic statistics sampling constraints: time, money, and access. And for something to be critical to my teaching pedagogy, it needs to minimize time and money and maximize access. Digital tools, for the moment, at least allow the possibility of working within these constraints while moving ever closer to achieving my pedagogical goals.



My Digital Pedagogy Lab Fellowship Application (A Series) – Part 1: Introduction

So, recently I was enticed by @Jessifer and @DigPedLab to apply for their Digital Pedagogy Lab 2018 Institute Fellowship. It was a general announcement so if you’re interested, please apply.

While I really wanted to connect with so many wonderful friends on Twitter who regularly attend the Digital Pedagogy Labs (you know who you are – Maha, Bonnie, Lee, Jesse, etc., etc., etc.), the timing of the Lab could not be worse as it exactly overlaps #BCCE2018 (http://bcce2018.org/), which, as a standing member of the ACS Biennial Conference Committee, I am required to attend.Screen Shot 2017-12-28 at 9.28.55 AM.png

If you’re interested in applying to the Digital Pedagogy Lab Fellowship for 2018, the applications are due on 12/31/17 and more information can be found here:  http://www.digitalpedagogylab.com/join-digital-pedagogy-lab-2018-fellow/.

In the midst of looking at the application, I realized that some of the questions (listed below) were interesting to answer anyway.

  1. In the length of a single tweet (280 characters), offer your definition of Critical Digital Pedagogy. Include text here, or tweet and share a link. *
  2. Please give us a little background about yourself in the form of links to your work online or a short overview of your pedagogical interests. *
  3. As a DPL Fellow, you may have the opportunity to present a 75-minute workshop. Please include a title and a short description for a workshop you might lead. *
  4. We try to integrate Fellows into the community of the event in a variety of ways. In lieu of a workshop, is there another, creative way you could participate?

I proposed blogging about them instead.

And that idea gathered some traction…

And therefore, here we are. This will be a 5-part series (including this introductory blog post) that will attempt to answer the questions (exclusively from my perspective, of course, as that is the only perspective I know).

PLEASE, PLEASE feel free to join the conversation, though, in comments on this post, comments on Twitter, or blogs of your own.

DBR Weekly Readings Part 7

Humble Theory Summaries.

Blonder, R., & Rap, S. (2017). I like Facebook: Exploring Israeli high school chemistry teachers’ TPACK and self-efficacy beliefs. Education and Information Technologies, 22(2), 697–724. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-015-9384-6

This article details the case studies of three highly-experienced chemistry teachers with varying technological prowess who were asked to use Facebook to facilitate Chemistry Learning Facebook Groups (CLFGs) within their classes. Their self-efficacy beliefs and TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) were tracked and analyzed via questionnaire, interview, and interactions within the CLFGs. This study was a subset of a larger study described in Rap and Blonder (2015).

Excellent Quote: “Hearing how other teachers had dealt with CLFG challenges was supported in two ways: the teachers could learn from the successful experiences of other teachers, but at the same time, they could imagine themselves reacting and interacting in the CLFG in the same way that was presented by those teachers that had presented the successful example. This provided a mechanism for developing teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs through vicarious experience (Tschannen-Moran et al. 1998).” (pg. 724)


Kirkwood, K. (2010). The SNAP Platform: social networking for academic purposes. Campus-Wide Information Systems, 27(3), 118–126. https://doi.org/10.1108/10650741011054429

Social networking for academic purposes (SNAP) platforms can maximize collaborative and social opportunities that enhance student learning within a course, a course of study, or institution-wide. Development of such a platform can also enhance institutional responsiveness to student needs. The biggest threats to using SNAP within institutions is the active nature of using the platform, whereas most university teaching requires far more passivity from students.

Excellent Quotes:  1. “In a knowledge economy the principles of active learning are paramount: students need to learn how to become arbiters of their own education, and how to negotiate and filter the increasingly complex and contradictory digital information and social environments to which they now have access (Hase and Kenyon, 2000; Huijser, 2006).” (pg. 119) 2.  “The primary hurdle to academic social networking may not, in fact, be the constraints of the platform; it may rest, rather, in the academic culture itself – a culture that, from lectures and lecture halls to learning management systems, tends to encourage student passivity.” (pg. 124)


Kirschner, P. A., & Karpinski, A. C. (2010). Facebook® and academic performance. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(6), 1237–1245. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2010.03.024

A correlational survey-based study of 219 students (102 undergraduate; 117 graduate) showed that greater Facebook usage resulted in lower GPAs when Facebook was used exclusively for social non-academic purposes. Facebook users reported less time studying and more general distraction, even though Facebook users and non-users reported similar times online. Multitasking is mainly blamed for the distraction.


Lambić, D. (2016). Correlation between Facebook use for educational purposes and academic performance of students. Computers in Human Behavior, 61, 313–320. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.03.052

This study details a positive correlation between Facebook usage and academic performance. Findings included the idea that Facebook creates a larger sense of community and eases conversations among students as well as the notion that teacher presence may decrease discourse among students. Multitasking may negatively confound the relationship between Facebook usage and academic performance when students use social media instead of studying or focusing on the task at hand.

Excellent Quote: “Students used Facebook groups for discussion about the subject matter, and based on the questions of other students discovered deficiencies in their own knowledge. The use of Facebook enabled students to communicate more easily with their colleagues who at the time possessed a greater understanding of certain parts of the subject matter, which had a positive influence on their knowledge (Ainin et al., 2015; Rambe, 2012), consequently leading to a better academic performance compared to students who had not managed to use adequately this convenience provided by the application of Facebook in education.” (pg. 318)


Mazer, J. P., Murphy, R. E., & Simonds, C. J. (2007). I’ll See You On “Facebook”: The Effects of Computer-Mediated Teacher Self-Disclosure on Student Motivation, Affective Learning, and Classroom Climate. Communication Education, 56(1), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1080/03634520601009710

As the title suggests, the study documented here measured teacher self-disclosure (high or low) on student motivation, affective learning, and classroom climate. Preliminary findings suggest higher teacher self-disclosure positively effects all three, making Facebook a potential tool for nurturing teacher-student relationships. The effect size was small, however, so these results are far from conclusive.

Excellent Quotes: 1. “The results of this study contribute to prior research that suggests teacher self disclosure has a positive influence on important variables such as teacher clarity (Wamback & Brothen, 1997), student participation (Fusani, 1994; Goldstein & Benassi, 1994), and affective learning (Sorensen, 1989).” (pgs. 12-13) 2. “The present study suggests that when a teacher self-discloses certain information, such as personal pictures, messages from friends and family, and opinions on certain topics, students may perceive similarities between themselves and the instructor.” (pg. 13)


Prescott, J., Wilson, S., & Becket, G. (2013). Facebook use in the learning environment: do students want this? Learning, Media and Technology, 38(3), 345–350. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439884.2013.788027

This article details a survey-based study of mostly nursing and social work students in the UK as to whether they would choose to use Facebook for learning purposes. The majority (78%) did not want to use Facebook for learning purposes but of those who did (22%), the main draw was increased accessibility to faculty and staff.

Excellent Quotes: 1. “it appears students are keen for Facebook to be used as part of course communication and more informal learning, which enables students to gain information and resources.” (pg. 348) 2. “Facebook in particular is an interesting technology since there is an increasing blurring between its use in an individuals’ personal and professional life. Indeed more and more employers are using Facebook as a sifting tool for potential employees (De la Llama et al. 2012). Perhaps it is this blurring of the personal and professional which underlies students’ cautiousness with regard to the use of Facebook as a more formal learning tool.” (pg. 348)


Rap, S., & Blonder, R. (2016). Let’s Face(book) It: Analyzing Interactions in Social Network Groups for Chemistry Learning. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 25(1), 62–76. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10956-015-9577-1

Can social networks, such as Facebook, be used to learn chemistry more effectively and if so, what kinds of interactions develop between students? According to this study, which analyzed 12 chemistry teachers (of varying technological prowess) and their students, who could optionally join the chemistry learning Facebook groups (CLFGs). The major learning interactions included: monologues (teacher-initiated), triadic dialogues (much like those found in the classroom), and commognitive conflicts (a conversation in which the participants obey different discourse rules (and that resolve often when correct language is used)).


Excellent Quotes:  1. “The combination of social presence, cognitive presence, and teaching presence in the groups creates a learning-promoting online environment (Garrison et al. 2000).” (pg. 74) 2. “Although this study focuses on Facebook groups learning chemistry, we believe that the results can be generalized: (1) Not only chemistry can be learned using Facebook groups – other subjects could be benefit from the use of Facebook groups as learning platform. (2) Chemistry can be learned not only using Facebook groups, there are also other SNs that can provide this platform.” (pg. 74)

DBR Weekly Readings Part 6

Summary of Class Article.

DiSessa, A. A., & Cobb, P. (2004). Ontological innovation and the role of theory in design experiments. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(1), 77–103.

DiSessa and Cobb argue for design research grounded in theory in this article. Using specific case studies as illustration, the authors describe ontological innovation, thus building a new class of theories within design research. I particularly appreciated the description of grand theories vs. orienting frameworks vs. frameworks for action vs. domain specific instructional theories at the beginning of this article, as this description clarified a great deal that has remained muddy in my mind since I started my studies in OILS. I also enjoyed the idea of “managing the gap” (pg. 82) between theory, design, and action within the context of research.


I continue to be fascinated by the tension of theory evolution in education vs. science. I had assumed that a workable theory in any field would always build and enfold its predecessors. To learn that in education, the old is often discarded in favor of the new was both revealing and enlightening. I appreciated the authors’ (DiSessa and Cobb) integration of scientific principles and examples, as they both grounded and illustrated the dichotomy and the authors’ aim effectively.

Discussion foci.

  1. While DiSessa and Cobb show there are several different kinds of theories and frameworks, are there guiding principles to developing theories for design research?
  2. How does meta-representational competence intersect with research on misconceptions?


Humble Theory Summaries.

Bennett, S., Bishop, A., Dalgarno, B., Waycott, J., & Kennedy, G. (2012). Implementing Web 2.0 technologies in higher education: A collective case study. Computers & Education, 59(2), 524–534. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2011.12.022

This article describes six case studies of Web 2.0 implementations as part of a large-scale research study by the Australian government. While potential learning benefits stemmed from authentic student content creation and sharing, potential pitfalls included students’ knowledge of and patience with the tools as well as instructor and institutional support. Constant tension remains between the tools and their benefits in terms of learning and in terms of effective pedagogy.


Clegg, T., Yip, J. C., Ahn, J., Bonsignore, E., Gubbels, M., Lewittes, B., & Rhodes, E. (2013). When face-to-face fails: Opportunities for social media to foster collaborative learning. In Tenth international conference on computer supported collaborative learning. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jason_Yip4/publication/265209013_When_Face-to-Face_Fails_Opportunities_for_Social_Media_to_Foster_Collaborative_Learning/links/540543e50cf2bba34c1d2e5f.pdf

This article delineates F2F vs. social media interactions that support science learning in informal environments. It asks “(1) How can computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) technology augment face-to-face environments to promote the productive social interactions necessary for collaborative learning?  and (2) How do design features in CSCL technology facilitate productive social shifts?” (pg. 1). Specifically, three case analyses detailing student use of SINQ (Scientific INQuiry) are elucidated within the article, thus providing a rare and interesting student perspective. Focus is on the design of the research, with secondary themes of F2F vs. digital student interactions.

Great Quote:  “…CSCL tools sometimes need to provide separation to help learners begin to internalize the social skills needed for effective group work.” (pg. 8)


Conole, G., & Alevizou, P. (2010). A literature review of the use of Web 2.0 tools in Higher Education. The Open University, UK: Higher Education Academy.

This is a comprehensive literature review of Web 2.0 articles completed for the UK Higher Education Academy. Published in 2010, the exhaustive nature of this review, which describes learning theories, specific tools, concrete examples, and current themes (of which most still fit), reveals it to be the article to go to if a quick summary is needed on any particular Web 2.0 tool or its impact on higher education. What lacks here is the most recent research (2010-2017) as well as a classroom focus, which Tess (2013) provides.

Great Quotes:

1. “Siemens suggests the follow as a list of the new roles that teachers need to adopt in networked learning environments: Amplifying, Curating, Way‐finding and socially‐driven sensemaking, Aggregating, Filtering, Modelling, Persistent presence (Siemens, 2009: np)” (pg. 21)

2. “Parry describes the use of Twitter in his class and identifies the following as key factors to consider at the learning design stage (see Briggs, 2008):

  • Create a sense of classroom community.
  • Familiarise students with both disciplinary and professional discourses.
  • Conduct just‐in‐time case studies and encourage them to be reflexive about their own communicative practices, through the sharing of ideas and negotiation.
  • Develop a social and ubiquitous presence: As Parry notes, ‘I think people end up being a lot more comfortable with classroom discourse and get a sense that [the instructor] isn’t just someone who comes in and talks for an hour and 30 minutes twice a week. It has the very positive effect of altering the classroom state to not just be contained by the four walls, and by meeting twice a week.’ (cited in Briggs, 2008: n.p.).
  • Using backchannels to generate instant feedback within lectures is another factor for potential success. This is consistent with Yardi (2008: 145).
  • In both classroom situations and research‐led teaching, using social networking and microblogging to connect to the epistemology of disciplines such as new media with writing or critical literacy skills can be fruitful..” (pgs. 34-35)


Tess, P. A. (2013). The role of social media in higher education classes (real and virtual) – A literature review. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(5), A60–A68. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2012.12.032

This meta analysis looks at research that describes the social media usage within the higher education classroom. Most articles Tess reviewed were content analyses or research involving surveys or questionnaires. Articles with extensive empirical evidence seemed lacking in his purview. The article concludes with a discussion of whether the use of social media actually results in student learning or is just another educational technology to use in the classroom.

Great Quote: Two overarching themes for future directions in Web 2.0 research scholarship include: 1.“the notion of the learner’s participation as evidenced by interconnections, content creation and remixing, and interconnections” (pg. A66) and 2. “learner’s identity formation” (pg. A66)


Yan, J. (2008). Social technology as a new medium in the classroom. New England Journal of Higher Education, 22(4). Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ794242

This article details the use of e-Portfolios, Wikis, Blogs, and social media within the curriculum at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). The author details the benefits and gives quick examples of each medium’s use. The author’s overarching theme within the article is that online tools provide individual and collaboration opportunities, which then foster greater student motivation.

Great Quote: “Technologies adopted in schools today, including blogs, wikis, social networking and online learning communities, are keeping teachers and students connected in and out of class. They are creating opportunities for groups to share, collaborate, showcase and grow together. In addition, they allow exchange of information and ideas not only within the confines of a classroom, but across schools, districts, states and the world.” (pg. 30)