This past week, I was invited to speak as part of the STEM education seminar sponsored by the Theory and Practice in Teacher Preparation (TPTE) Department STEM team. I am part of the STEM Education team in the department and this semester a group of colleagues are organizing this seminar with presentations for faculty and graduate students every two weeks. I have really enjoyed all of the presentations this semester. Our STEM Education team is doing really amazing work and I love learning about it.
For my presentation, I was a bit nervous because I was not sure how my work would relate to STEM education. I know educational technology is consider part of STEM education. However, I think of my work as more than just educational technology. I actually see Learning, Design, and Technology as the umbrella term under which educational technology, instructional design, instructional technology, learning engineering, and others similar terms come together. Perhaps one of my main concerns is that under the term STEM, learning design is primarily associated with the “technology” term which I really see as just one aspects of the far more complex ecosystems of the learning, design, and technology field.
The presentation focused on how it is okay to have many areas of research interest. We are often encouraged to stay very narrowly focused on a topic. But, what if you are curious about other topics and want to explore them? So, basically, I used myself as an example of an eclectic research agenda. My research has evolved so much and in part it due to my curiosity to explore other topics. This has also been true in my life, curiosity to try new things or study programs outside my focus has helped me evolve and grow. Here is the link to the slides, in case you are curious.
This past week I attended my first in person conference since February 2020. It was the Annual Conference of the National Society for Experiential Education. Back in early Summer, when I received the email from the Center for Teaching and Learning about attending the conference I felt good with attending the conference. Florida at that time was doing better with the number of COVID-19 cases but that quickly changed and I was starting to become hesitant about attending the conference. Thankfully the numbers are starting to decline after a massive spike due to the Delta variant. Another encouraging aspect was that the conference had a mask mandate for all attendees. It was sent out via email several times prior to the conference. It was also nice that the conference was in Orlando so if I didn’t feel comfortable with the COVID-19 measures, I could drive home in 45 minutes. Thankfully after I walked into the keynote session I immediately noticed that everyone was wearing their masks and wearing them properly. The conference did include a lunch but I didn’t attend because I didn’t feel comfortable attending this event so I just ordered some UBER eats.
The conference this year had an overall theme focused on social justice in experiential education. My first session was the keynote by Dr. Raja Gopal Bhattar (they/them/theirs) on Tuesday morning. As stated in the website of the conference: “Dr. Bhattar is a nationally recognized higher education leader, advocate, consultant and author. Raja will address how effective experiential learning requires intentionality and clear understanding of outcomes for our communities. Through storytelling and reflections, this keynote will offer insights and strategies on how experiential education leaders can incorporate equity, inclusion and belonging in all aspects of our work.” I loved the keynote speaker! I like it when keynote speakers make me reflect and this was a perfect example of this. Some of the questions I had to think about white listening to keynote speaker:
How do we show up?
Identity versus perception?
What is our role in upholding/disruptive inequitable systems?
How our students receive us?
Whose perspective is not on the table?
How do societal systems enhance or inhibit student success on campus?
We also had to do an identity grid that helps us reflect on “how often do we think about who we are beyond our titles? ”
Other sessions that I really enjoyed were:
Social Justice and Antiracism in Career Education and Experiential Education: Session discussed a process for creating a Call to Action with accountability measures, equity-oriented course syllabi, and a 5-step model to consider in your own work. This is a wonderful resources shared during the session: https://tinyurl.com/4j2tmxaw. This resources were used to create the Social Justice and Career Education infographic. Please see image below.
Providing career readiness support to female students in male dominant industries: This was a nice round table session focused on different kind of events that staff and faculty can use to create opportunities for networking, grow , and support for female students and those who identify as woman.
Using immersive virtual reality in higher education to facilitate authentic learning experiences: This was a very introductory session into VR and how a university had employed VR experiences into the curriculum to provide learning experiences related to manufacturing at the start of the pandemic in lieu of in person field trips. We got an opportunity to brainstorm ideas for our own curriculum.
Learner-centric virtual exchanges: No travel, no problem: This session related to a virtual global challenge that an institution took at the beginning of the pandemic in lieu of study abroad programs. As soon someone who has coordinated a study abroad program in the past and who is considering one next Spring I want to think of alternatives in case the pandemic requires me to make a change in plans. This session helped me think about different approaches that I can take virtually.
Influencers abroad: Enhancing cross-cultural awareness through social media activities: This session explored leveraging strategically designed social media learning activities to enhance cross-cultural awareness. I thought it was a creative to consider alternative assignments during study abroad experiences. Some of this assignments included: Vlogs, Instagram stories (academic versus personal accounts) every day, Instagram food related posts, and end of a program presentation/reflection.
This morning I participated in a webinar organized by the Società Italiana di Ricerca sull’Educazione Mediale dedicated to: how universities in different countries are coping with higher education in the age of COVID-19 and the future directions (immediate future and long-term suggestions). Special thanks to my colleagues in Italy for the invitation to serve as a panelist in the webinar and for the diversity of the speakers from Spain, China, Lebanon, New Zealand, and Brazil [Here is a link to the recording]
I would also like to share a few of the resources that were shared during the webinar by myself and other colleagues:
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit the beautiful country of Tunisia in June as part a faculty member participating in the international faculty professional development (IFDS) seminar titled: “The New Tunisia: Migration and Democratic Consolidation” organized by SIT abroad. My participation in the seminar was sponsored by an IFDS grant awarded to faculty members at The University of Tampa by the Office of International Programs and the International Programs Committee. I was honored to received this grant. Participation in this seminar gave me the opportunity to learn more about topics related migration in the African continent, specifically the Maghreb region. Several of our meetings with experts and NGOs focused on conversations that allow use to learn more about the social, political, and economic effects of migration in the Maghreb region, sub-Saharan Africa, and European countries. I plan to write more about the seminar in the near future; however, for now I want to share some of the photos taken during the seminar.
One of the many reasons I am sharing this photo blog is that in the months prior to my departure to Tunisia, I mentioned to a few colleagues, friends, and family members the destination of my IFDS. I was amazed by the number of people who do not know where Tunisia is located or that it even a country. So, I feel that it is important to let others see (even if just through the lens of my camera) a bit of Tunisia.
AECT’s Research and Theory Division will be hosting the 2017 Early Career Symposium this year sponsored by AECT. The symposium will be held as a half day online conference October 28th and at the annual AECT International Convention on Tuesday, November 7 (half day 1-6 PM starting with lunch) and Wednesday, November 8 (half day, 7:30AM – noon, ending with lunch together with the AECT Board), 2017, in Jacksonville, Florida. The symposium will thus engage participants in a day and a half of focused career mentoring and networking.
The symposium will reimburse Early Career faculty and Advanced Graduate Students with the conference fee ($395 for Early Career Faculty and $240 for Advanced Graduate Students). Reimbursements are pending submission of receipts after the symposium.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of presenting to the UT Honors Programs students and faculty as well other UTampa colleagues and staff members. I presented on the topic: “Use of Social Media by Graduate Students and Programs.” This is a research area that I am currently exploring and I was able to share some preliminary results. Click on the image below to access the link to the complete Prezi presentation:
Here are the images I was able to capture during the IFDS in Seville last week. I figured it was best to post this sooner rather than later because I wanted to acknowledge the amazing people that we (the seminar attendees) worked with during our time in Seville. Thank you to Oscar Ceballos, Carlos Pineda, Miguel Romero, Antonio Perez, Carlos Sanches, Ruben Diaz and Emilio Gonzales Ferrin. I would also like to thank the six ladies with whom I shared and collaborated with during the seminar: Collete, Rebecca, Nancy, Kaitlin, Ellen, and Rylan. Learned so much from you ladies!
Hopefully you have read my previous posts and understand the context of this post. Just in case: I am doing an international professional development seminar in Seville in which I am learning and practicing communication strategies (and using digital media). One of the assignments in the seminar was to record sounds of the city during our stay in Seville. We finally used those sounds today during the production and recording of a radio podcast. It was a two hour preparation time of scripting and sound editing before recording our radio show. I am really impress with the final product!
I have to upload more sounds that I captured this week (they are now updated). I have many more, including interviews and more street sounds. However, I want to share our radio podcast. Big thank you to Radiopolis for letting us use their space to work on the project and their recording studio.
Here is our story, narrative, experience:
IFDS Communication Strategies in Context Summer 2016 Radio Show
As part of the seminar I have a bit of homework and will be sharing (or at least try) to share it every day. The homework consist of audio recordings of sounds, conversations, audio reflections, interviews, and other audio recorded during the next few days in Seville. Each audio recording should be no more than two minutes long.
CIEE Seminar Director: Oscar Ceballos:
Walking Tour of Old Town Sevilla:
Reggaeton on the Streets of Seville:
Morning Walk to CICUS (Universidad de Sevilla)
Visual Narrative (Operation Just Cause)
The Importance of Context [Games of Thrones Example]
First Impressions of Seville [Nancy & Enilda]
What is information?
Interview in “El Corte Ingles”
Coffeeshop Conversation with Local Sevillanos
Note: Here is the updated post with all the audio recordings from Seville, Spain.