Thursday, April 17, 2014

Meet Dr. Eva Lantsoght

By Dr. Will

I have been communicating with Dr. Lantsought over the past two years. In the beginning, she and I both were writing our dissertations and blogging about our experiences. Fast forward two years later and we are both doctors, working full-time in our respective fields.  
I wanted to interview Dr. Eva because her blog is one of the best one's I've read and continue to read. It's informative, engaging, and dishes out some solid advice for those in the process of writing their dissertation. 
Please meet, Dr. Eva Lantsought.


Will: Your blog is PhdTalk.blogspot.com. What made you decide to blog about your doctoral experiences?



Eva: I had been on and off with blogging in the past, and after a year into my PhD, I wanted to share some of the lessons I learned about getting on track with my work, and doing experiments in the lab. I started writing just for my mom and a few friends, who read my earlier blogs, but a few months in and the audience turned out to be a little bigger.

Will: What did you blog about first? How long did it take you to get comfortable with a direction for your blog?



Eva: I started writing about my Day Zero project (which never really took off), and I also wrote about my way of planning my days/weeks/months and working in the laboratory (my PhD was based on experiments).

Will: What do you like blogging about the most? Is there one post that surprised you by the amount of feedback it received?



Eva: I enjoy writing about a variety of topic (one of the reasons I ended up applying to become a writer at Lifehack.org ). I would say that I enjoy most of all writing posts that answer questions from my readers - kind of makes me feel that I’m “helping” somebody, rather than just writing about what has worked for me in the past.

One of my most popular posts is “How to write an abstract in 30 minutes” - and I never expected it to become so popular. I wrote it really quick after writing an abstract myself, using my tried-and-trusted method, and I think it has helped a lot of people. I never put much thought into that post, but it grew big.


Will: Do you have a schedule for blogging, or do you write when the mood strikes?


Eva: I used to write a couple of posts ahead on Saturdays, and sometimes as well throughout the week as I had inspiration. During my PhD, I had a pretty good schedule to get my work and hobbies balanced. Unfortunately, starting my new job as a professor and moving countries shook things up a bit (I’m still not fully settled into my new place, so it will take a little more time). Nowadays, I’ve been struggling to keep up with my posting schedule (I air posts 3 times a week). I don’t have the big buffer of posts that I used to have, but at least I try to write for the week ahead over the weekend.

Will: What made you start writing for other blogs other than your own?



Eva: It started by people asking me on Twitter if I wanted to share some of my experience on their blog (Peoplegogy was -I think- the first place where I wrote as a guest blogger), and after a while I started sending pitches to other blogs as well whenever I had an idea I thought would fit better on their page than on mine.

Will: After graduating you took to Twitter to ask about the direction of your blog. What has the transition been like from blogging about your PhD journey to now as an academic?



Eva: It evolved very naturally - I've had more posts about teaching, and making the transition from PhD student to assistant professor on the tenure track, which are the things that are going on in my academic life at the moment. I've also been crowd-sourcing ideas on Twitter with regard to teaching, academic workloads, and balancing teaching and research, which lead to Storify stories that I used for blog posts.


Will: What haven’t you blogged about that you want to? Where do you see your blog going in the future?


Eva: I have a whole lot more ideas than time to write, so there are quite a number of things that are left to be written. More than just writing, I want to experiment with different styles of posts. I've done an interview time ago, and would like to do more interviews, vlogs, webinars and the like. I’d like my blog to become a go-to resource for doctoral students and early career researchers, so -if ever I find the time- I’d love to write an e-book and share some worksheets with my readers.

About the author: Dr. Eva Lantsoght is a structural engineer specialized in structural concrete bridges and working as an assistant professor at Universidad San Francisco de Quito and researcher at Delft University of Technology. Originally from Lier, Belgium, she received an Engineering Degree from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, MS from Georgia Tech and PhD from Delft University of Technology. At her blog PhD Talk, she blogs about her research, the non-scientific skills you need in academia and living abroad (currently in Ecuador).

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Dr. Will Show (Episode 2 - Flipping PD)

By Dr. Will















Today's guest was Jennifer Carey. She is the Director of Educational Technology at Ransom Everglades, a blogger, and expert voice on Twitter. In this episode we chatted about flipping professional development.  

Jen's blog can be found at IndianJen.com, and you can find her on Twitter at @TeacherJenCarey. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Dr. Will Show (Episode 1- The Connected Educator)

By Dr. Will


















Today I launched the start of my new interview show titled: Dr. Will. What makes this show different from my past shows is that viewers will get me unfiltered and free from my @peoplegogy brand. This show is about me "hanging out" with educators I admire. Tune in every week for a new episode. 

My first guest was Dana Ariss, an innovative, connected educator from Alberta, Canada. I connected with Dana on Twitter, and wanted her to be my first guest, because she is so enthusiastic and doing some amazing things with her students. Please check out her blog and give her a shout on Twitter

Monday, March 3, 2014

EdcampJXNms

By Dr. Will


Edcamps are (unconferences) where educators come together to connect, discuss, and share ideas about what they're doing in their classrooms. There's no set schedule, no list of presenters, and no PowerPoint presentations. There is, however, a communal spirit and a focus on learning and collaboration.

On March 1, 2014, Mississippi hosted its first Edcamp in Jackson, MS. This was my first unconference, and I was excited to learn with such a group of forward-thinking educators. Though we didn't get the turnout we expected, the experiences we had couldn't have been scripted any better in a movie.

What I enjoyed most about Edcampjxnms was the feeling of being part of something bigger. All of us were there because we believe in the power of connected learning and the possibilities that exist in using technology to transform education.


I must thank the sponsors and all of the  companies who donated door prizes and swag. We cannot thank you enough for your contributions. The list of sponsors are as follows: 


  • Dave Burgess
  • SimpleK12.com
  • CSpire Wireless
  • Atomic Learning
  • ASCD
  • Flocabulary
  • Edmodo
  • ClassDojo
  • WriteAboutThis and TellAboutThis
  • LessonPix
  • PLP Network
  • Techsmith
  • Krystle Rowry (krissdidit.com)
  • Lemuria Bookstore

Special shout out to Applebee's and Chick-Fil-A for providing us with nourishment.

Check out the digital scrapbook from Edcampjxnms.

About the author: Dr. Will is an instructional technologist for Hattiesburg Public School District in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He graduated from Capella University, and holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management where he specialized in digital leadership and using social media to individualize the professional learning needs of teachers. Prior to becoming an instructional technologist, Dr. Will worked as a social media strategist. His expertise is in using social and digital tools to facilitate an array of connected learning experiences. This blog, Peoplegogy, was born out of his mission to explore and share the educational applications of web 2.0 tools.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Acer C720P Touchscreen Review

By Terie Engelbrecht























If you know me at all, you know that I am enamored of all things Google.  So, when I received an Acer C720P Chromebook for Christmas, I was overjoyed to say the least.  But after I was informed I was now the proud owner of a touchscreen Chromebook, I couldn’t wait to open the box and try out my new gadget. (Imagine a grown woman trying to claw open a Chromebook box with a look of manic technological Christmas-day glee in her eyes….sad, I know.) 


















I’ve used my Chromebook every day since I first laid eyes on it, putting it through its paces.  Below is the breakdown of the pros and cons I’ve discovered about the Acer C720P Chromebook.

Pros:

1) Lightweight and easily portable.  At 0.78 inches thick and around 3 pounds, this Chromebook is easy to tote around.  It’s actually lighter than my iPad in its case-and my Chromebook doesn’t need a special case.

2) Good battery life.  The specifications state that you can get around 7.5 hours of life out of the battery, which I would say is pretty accurate at this point in my Chromebook’s life. 

3) Easy to navigate file system structure.  The Chromebook has a 16GB solid state drive to store pictures, documents, etc.  The file system structure is very simple, with a Downloads folder and access to your Google Drive. 

















4) The touchscreen is pretty awesome.  There is no lag when tap-tapping away on the screen and navigation using the touchscreen is very seamless experience.  While there is a keyboard attached, I have found myself developing a hybrid touch/type way of using the Chromebook that works for me.  It doesn’t transfer very well, however, to my other devices that are not touchscreen; much like after using my iPad for a long time, I keep tapping the screen of my definitely non-touchscreen Windows machines at home and at work expecting great touchscreen things to happen.  And then become disappointed when they don’t.

5) It’s all Chrome, all the time.  You basically live in the Chrome browser, which is very easy to do and grow accustomed to doing.  This is fine by me, since Chrome has awesome apps and extensions that can be used to enhance your online experience. 

Cons:

1) Abrupt shut-downs.  In the few weeks that I have had my Chromebook, it has abruptly shut down twice and I once saw a pretty groovy black-and-white garbled screen after which I had to restart the machine.

2) No downloading/installing software.  This could also be considered a “pro” if you think about the fact that this protects you from viruses; however, it also means you can’t install anything.  For me, this means no iTunes and no music while I’m working on this machine, unless I start using Google Play and purchase songs I already have.

3) There’s offline access, but…. There are some apps that work offline, but the Chromebook is limited in what it can do when you don’t have an internet connection.  That’s just the nature of the Chromebook beast.

4) Limited screencasting options.  I love to screencast, but most of the programs I use are downloaded and installed software.  Since the Chromebook isn’t into that whole “downloading” thing, you are limited to using screencasting extensions or using Google Hangouts using the screen sharing option.


Overall, I am very impressed with this device, which is pretty much an iPad that comes with an attached keyboard.  In fact, it has pretty much replaced my iPad as the machine with which I travel, and my home Windows machine hasn’t been turned on since I got it.  While it does have its disadvantages, I can definitely see why people and schools choose Chromebooks.  If you’re heavily into Google like myself and have an weird love of touchscreens such as myself, then this is potentially the device for you.

About the author: Terie Engelbrecht is currently the Director of Teaching & Learning at Byron CUSD #226 in Byron, IL.  This is her first administrative position after leaving 16 years of classroom teaching. Terie taught Biology and a smattering of other sciences (Physical, Earth) at Wauconda and Marengo High Schools, both located in northern Illinois. Terie holds a Bachelor’s degree from Blackburn College, and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Aurora University.  For the last three years of her teaching experience, Terie taught in a 1:1 classroom, integrating technology into all of her science classes mainly through the use of PBL and inquiry learning.  She has also been an instructional technology coach, a department chair, and an adjunct professor for Aurora University.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

And the Winner is...


e


On December 19, 2013, the EduBroAwards, created and hosted by Nicholas Provenzano and Timothy Gwynn, was broadcast live via an On Air Google Hangout. The awards ranged from the bizarre to the humorous to the meaningful.

Like the other award winners, I am humbled, and I gladly accept my award for Best Dressed Instructional Technologist. For more award winners, check out the show here.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Chromebooks: My Take

By Dr. Will





















Like a lot of you, over the past years, I have heard and read a great deal about Chromebooks. Being an instructional technologist at a K-12 school district with some experience with iPod Touches and iPads, I was curious to see what the Chromebook could do. Especially, since I have seen what happens when administrators and teachers want apps that older devices cannot download. This left me searching for a device that teachers could not only use to expand and deliver engaging learning experiences for their students, but a device that could both grow with the expectations of the teachers and administrators, as well as with the learning needs of the students. And I was hoping that the Chromebook could be such a device.

About four months ago, I was issued a Chromebook. I was immediately impressed with its setup and the speed in which it booted up. Just like that I was up and running, and ready to see what the Chromebook could do. The following is a quick review of my experiences:

The learning curve is zero. You power up a Chromebook, put in your gmail account and password, and you are off and running. What's so awesome about this is is there is no training needed to learn how to operate the Chromebook - which is a big win for an instructional technologist. The zero learning curve allows us (instructional technologists) the opportunity to focus our work on teaching teachers how to use the Chromebook for instructional purposes.

It's portability is king.  Yeah, I know an iPad is portable, but I couldn't do the work that I do on a regular basis on an ipad. For example, I am a district administrator for Compass Learning in the district. Part of that includes adding teachers and students to Compass. With my Chromebook, I have been able to be away from the office and add logins in a jiffy. In fact, I once received an email from a teacher, and I was able to add her and create several logins for another teacher from the comfort of a parking lot.  Now try doing that with an iPad.

The Chrome apps make up for not having a device with a traditional hard drive that has an operating system pre-loaded with video and audio creation applications. This is important because Common Core requires students to create products using digital tools. To create such products on a Chromebook, students can use WeVideo for video editing and ScreenCastle for screencasting. Those apps are free in the Chrome store. 

GAFE is golden.  What do I need to say about gmail, Google Drive, Google+, Google Calender, Google Docs, etc.? Once again I know that those apps can be accessed via any device. However, since each individual's email account is associated with those apps, this makes using the Chromebook that much more awesome, because students can share Chromebooks. Each class can have its own set. This is perfect for schools and school districts with limited funds. 

The price is grrrrrrreat!  Just like Tony the Tiger, I am giddy about the price of the Chromebook. At the higher end, excluding the Pixel, the Lenovo Chromebook is $399, the HP Chromebook 14, and the Acer C720P Touchscreen are both $299. The lower end features the Acer C720 at $199, and the Samsung Chromebook at $249. 

The low cost of purchasing, managing (additional $30), and maintaining a Chromebook is a major plus for schools, particularly if your district is thinking about going 1:1. 

OK. I must admit that I have yet to see the Chromebook in action inside a classroom outside of students on Compass. That said, I am a believer in what the Chromebook offers, and what is possible under the guidance of a good teacher. I see the Chromebook as a game-changer, and device that could make blended learning a reality for a K-12 school district. 

Tell me what you think. What are your thoughts about the Chromebook?

About the author:  Dr. Will Deyamport, III is an innovative thought leader in connected education, leading the design and implementation of collaborative initiatives in support of teaching, learning, and professional development. His research is in how educators can use technology-supported Personal Learning Networks to individualize their professional development, as well as the challenges affecting the adoption of new learning environments and technologies. Dr. Will is a frequent presenter at conferences, guest lecturer, and regularly blogs and produces online content focused on the educational uses of web tools and social technologies. He is an alumnus of Capella University, where he earned his Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership and Management.

Dr. Deyamport's dream job is to become the Executive Director of TED.

Monday, December 23, 2013

11

By Dr. Will


















This blog post is inspired by Krissy Venosdale's post Eleven. Here are eleven random facts, followed by an answer to each of Krissy's eleven questions. 
Eleven Random Facts About Me:

  1. I never, ever make the bed.
  2. I order the same two things at restaurants, unless I am at an Italian or Mexican or sandwich spot. Those two things are a burger or a steak.
  3. I am a converted Apple computer guy. Shhh... Don't tell my Mac friends.
  4. I have a huge sweet tooth. Ice cream is my kryptonite. 
  5. I cannot get enough of watching TV and movies. So much so that I went to film school. Yes, I have a B.A. in Radio, TV, and Film.
  6. I broke my collarbone in my early teens.
  7. I don't like eggs, cheese without meat, oatmeal, grits, shrimp, okra, or white milk. 
  8. I think Chuck Bartowski is the man. Chuck was/is my TV show, except for the last season. They jumped the shark.
  9. I was pretty much a C student in high school until the 11th and 12th grades. 
  10. Last year, I wore a size 12 shoe; this year I wear a size 13 shoe.

Now, eleven answers to Krissy's questions… 

1.  What inspires you most  of all?


Engagement and dialogue and talking with people. Meeting new people of participating in discussions invigorate me. I get excited. I feel alive. I am energized by the exchange. 

I am inspired by my faith. One of the things I love most about Islam is seeing the many different faces and races at prayer. With so much drama and racism and sexism and folks segregating themselves. It's refreshing to see people not seeing you as a color, but as a brother and part of the human community.

2.  What is the best food you’ve ever tried while traveling?

When I used to live in Boston, the best food I ever ate was at a Dominican spot in Jamaica Plain. They made the best arroz con pollo. The lady would ask "Quieres jugo de pollo?" Do you want chicken juice on your rice? 

Do I? 

Claro que si!

3. What is your favorite holiday? Why?

My favorite holiday is any time I get to spend time with my wife. We have so much fun together. Traveling with her is the best. I am geeked about our next trip.

4. What is one school supply that you could not teach without?

Since I am an instructional technologist, the one school supply I absolutely need is my Macbook. Without, I couldn't deliver one workshop or do any of the other administrative aspects of my job. While I am thinking of it, I also need the internet. 

5. What’s your typical morning beverage?

I don't have a typical morning beverage. I prefer tea over coffee, but I normally don't make time to make myself a cup. My first beverage of the day is usually a soda. Yikes!

6. When you fly, window seat or aisle?

Easy. Window seat. I love looking out the plane and seeing what everything looks like. 

7. Describe the best teacher you had when you were in school.

My best teacher was my dissertation chair. Dr. Alyce LeBlanc is a champion of her students. She also knows how to get tough and how to get the best out of her students. Dr. LB will forever be a mentor. 

8. Do you enjoy cooking? Anything specific?

I can't say that I enjoy cooking. I very much do enjoy eating. 

My best dish used to be spaghetti, but my wife has bested me with hers. Currently, I am quite fond of my steak. However, I think the crockpot and the marinade do all of the work.

9. What book are you currently reading?

I am not currently reading a book. I read a lot of blog posts and magazines. My favorite magazine is Fast Company. Though, I am looking forward to buying Eric Sheninger's new book Digital Leadership

10. What’s your all time favorite movie?

"When Harry Met Sally" and "Brown Sugar." 

11. If at the end of your life, there is just room for one word on your grave marker, what do you think it will be?

Alhamdulillah (All praise is due to Allah (SWT).