All posts by Kim

Philosophy Posted

Hello all,

I posted my philosophy on my site at   I have spent so much time with you all this semester it feels odd to put up the final post and walk away.   I enjoyed getting to know you, learned from each of you, and will look forward to bumping into you in future courses.   So, goodbye for now!


Defense Paper

This unit, consisting of 4 lessons, is the first of a 3 part student leadership series.   Students are primarily non-traditional college students with a wide variety of college readiness skills ranging from multiple high-risk factors to being sophisticated learners.   Participation is voluntary with no credit or grade associated with completion.   The unit is intended to be open-entry with 1 – 10 students entering and proceeding at their own pace over the course of a 15 week semester. Both the voluntary and open-entry aspects of this unit present pedagogical challenges.

Motivation generally created by earning credit and grades was absent due to the voluntary nature of the course, requiring alternate motivational strategy. The need was met by incorporating aspects from the motivational theories of flow and self-determination.

Consistent with flow theory, as described by Gutierrez (2014), I made a particular effort to state clear objectives with each lesson and ensure presentation of instruction, task, and deliverables are consistent between lessons and free of extraneous ‘noise’ so students can quickly identify the tasks and assignments for each lesson.   With a heavy reliance on triggering intrinsic motivation, the unit begins with having the student identify things they are good at. This strategy meets Deci and Ryan’s self determination theory (SDT) component of competence.   The unit concludes by giving students the autonomy to choose their own project.

Assessment for this unit is based on student self-reflection on the learning process as evidenced in journal entries and concept maps. Students are asked to interact with the content and then reflect on the learning process and their personal values in relation to the content.   Journal entry prompts ask students to think critically about social issues as interpreted through the lens of their own values.

As an open entry opportunity, there will be no student cohort to interact with.   Students are asked to converse with friends and family in this unit and will need to begin interviews with social service agencies in the next unit.   Feedback at this point is instructor based and conversational in tone, provided in written form.   Feedback can come at the end of each lesson, but I predict more opportunities for questions and feedback to arise during the unit.   Because of the individualized and very personal nature of the feedback, I am counting on it to be relationship building, providing relatedness, the third leg of SDT.

The unit also draws on both cognitive and constructivist learning theory.   Students are asked to participate directly in a guided self assessment and make meaning (cognitive theory) of the results by seeking the impressions of people that know them well. They are introduced to the topic of social change first by definition, then by real life example and then once competence is built, by analyzing current services and creating plans for new programs that they will execute in the next lesson.   As they develop the knowledge and skills they interact on deeper and more individual levels with the content (constructivist).

Ultimately, I hope the combination of early success, supportive and relationship building feedback and autonomy in project choice will keep students engaged and moving forward in the process.


Gutierrez, K. (2014). Designing for motivation: Three theories eCampus designers can use. Retrieved from

Review of Toontastic


Toontastic was fun and easy to use but perhaps more appropriate for K-3, than for higher ed. This is an iOS app, so I downloaded it to my ipad and started playing. My 6 year old took over and had a blast figuring it out. The learning curve was minimal and the guided step-by-step was very good. He had no trouble making his first movie and we were able to create right away with no frustration factor. There is also a pretty nice little parent/teacher guide.

Toontastic is a little different than the other cartoon creation tools I reviewed in that the tool lets you create an actual animated movie. You are assisted in choosing a background, characters and props. Then you record a voice over while dragging these elements around the touch pad. When you play it back, you not only hear your voice   but the character movement was is recorded, creating a fun and engaging little cartoon movie.

I don’t see this as being as useful with older audiences. For the younger set, they do coach you through creating a story with a beginning a middle and an end. That being said, if you had a specific project in mind that wanted to combine animation with voice, this would be a good choice.

Unless,   everyone that you wanted to particpate didn’t have iPads. I don’t know what this is going to look like in the future. The creators of Toontastic, Launchpad Toys, was just acquired by Google.

I was not able to export my silly movie to give you a demo without granting the app permission I did not want to grant it but you can watch the official demo movie on the Launchpad Toys webpage

Learning curve: Minimal
Ease of use: Easy
Time required to create a product: 10 minutes +
Key features: Easy to create animated characters with voiceover
Problems you encountered: Export restrictions
Barriers that might prevent effective use: iOs specific
Possible educational uses: Teaching storytelling to k-3

Review of StoryboardThat

After my experience with PowToons, I almost decided to change my review selection to give me more variety.   I am really glad I didn’t.   StoryboardThat is fantastic. The user interface was intuitive and frustration free. Their were enough built in elements to illustrate an idea without getting lulled in to searching forever.   Everything just worked.   I made the storyboard below in about 15 minutes including signing up for an account and figuring out what I wanted to do.

I was very impressed with the flexibility of use allowed to the free user.   You can’t set privacy settings but you can download the entire board or individual frames. You can download as a high resolution jpeg (Adobe Illustrator) or as a pdf.   You can create a slide show or download to powerpoint.   You can also send directly to social media or get an embed code for you website.

At the end of my 15 minutes, the little vignette below was already on my work Facebook page.

StoryboardThat has also provided dozens of lesson plans for teachers.   One created for A Streetcar Named Desire, introduces students the key elements of the 5 part play (intro, rising action, climax, falling action), and then asks them to identify and recreate a scene representing each plot point on their storyboard. Another has them storyboard the character traits of the main characters.   There are so many things that you could do with this it makes the $10/month education price very tempting.   I want to play with it more, but I am thinking of using this in a later lesson and having my leadership trainees practice civil disagreement by storyboarding a conflict scenario.

The tool is easy enough to use that it makes it realistic to add it into a workflow.   Maybe I will story board my next lesson plan or unit!

Review of Powtoons

I have been wanting to try this and I am glad I did.   I have disabused any romantic notions I might have had about creating really cool professional looking animated lectures.   This tool would be best used to create a short (15 second) animated video.   Unfortunately, you can’t download or set privacy without a paid subscription, so I am not even sure that would be worth while.

I think this tool is pretty sophisticated, but I don’t see it coming in very handy in very many instances in the classroom unless someone has more time on their hands than   I do.   Or they have a very specific idea that fits the abilities of this tool.

Here is my animated PowToon review

Learning curve: Closer to MS publisher than InDesign
Ease of use: It was easy to use, but frustrating to get a clean result.   I think you would have to use it regularly to get a decent looking product in a reasonable amount of time.
Time required to create a product: It took me a couple hours do to this.   That includes the time I wasting by starting with a complicated 2 minute lesson intro lecture… instead of the beginner level video I’m including here.
Key features: Cool animated text and graphics.   Slides with a timeline.
Problems you encountered: The timeline is too simplistic to give precise control.
barriers: If there is a close caption feature, I didn’t find it.   That takes it off the table for me.   I think the animation would actually distract from a lesson message unless very sparingly applied.   Polished and professional looking results would take some time to create, sloppy results are even more distracting.   Expensive to be able to download your product.
Possible educational uses: Given the barriers, I think there are other products that would better for most educational uses.

The company puts out some fun animated video tutorials:

Initial thoughts on emerging tools

We have quite a few tools on our list and I don’t think we have even scratched the surface of what is out there.   It is daunting how much stuff is available and how long you can spend looking for the one that suits your needs best.   Knowing that you could do it all over again in a year with completely different results is kind of exhausting.

Of the ones we’ve chosen, I would say that most of the presentation tools could be used for either instructor presentation or turned around to be used as an active learning tool for students.
It is pretty easy to envision creative student projects involving any of the video creation or screen casting tools too, though I think Camtasia’s high sticker price and steep learning curve make it less useful for many classrooms. What is also interesting here is what is missing. I didn’t notice until just now that none of us had included a blog/website tool.

I wonder why?   Have website building tools for the non-coder been around so long we don’t think of them as tools anymore?   It seems especially interesting in that there are so many ways to incorporate them into an active learning scenario and for building that community of learners that aren’t necessarily old hat.   We are using blogs and ePortfolios or personal websites to display our work for this class even. And now that I am thinking along those lines, what happened to the wiki?   Has it been replaced?   The google sheet of emerging tools is pretty wiki-like in nature. I don’t have the answer here, I just thought it was interesting!

Back to the review. Remind, Evernote, Edmoto, and slack are all team communication tools that would aide collaboration, and community building in online venues: the modern day (and less dreaded) discussion board.   I’ve been assigned a project using Google Forms in another class this semester, so that leaves just a few course management tools and maybe Responseware that wouldn’t easily be used by students to demonstrate learning.   In fact, so many of the tools are useable it is a wonder anyone uses discussions boards with mandatory word count and number of responses at all these days.

Mixed feelings

I actually have pretty mixed feelings about publishing homework publicly and look forward to seeing what everyone else thinks here.   On the one hand, I agree with the notion that an open audience being able to view what you write adds incentive to present yourself well. The thought of colleagues and employers (in addition to instructors and classmates) being able to see your homework is just intimidating enough to really push me to do my best. However, I think that consciousness of the audience must also stifle conversation a bit.   Controversial topics cannot be fully explored within the usual protection of classroom silence.

And though some choice in the public arena is offered in the syllabus, I think there are probably some who need to take the class that don’t really feel they have an option.   That is a little concerning.   I must admit that I feel like the size of the internet in itself offers the feeling of anonymity and I haven’t been overly concerned.   But if we were discussing more politically charged and sensitive areas?   I am not sure I would feel comfortable fully contributing an unpopular opinion.   And if no one is really expressing honest opinions, is there still a purpose to the conversation?

So, I guess my final opinion on the matter is…it depends.   It depends on the subject matter, the perception of availability of the opt out, and the position of the person taking the class.