UTK STEM Education Seminar

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.

#AERA21: Session Info, iPoster, and Published Paper

It is that time of the year! The American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference is here. However, this year it is a virtual conference. I will miss getting to learn from, connect with, and meet 15,000 other educational researchers from around the world. I don’t want to make this post about the AERA21 virtual setting experience. Perhaps I can write about that topic in a future post. Also, I am sure someone is already collecting tweets for a paper about it! I do want to share our session info, link to our iPoster, and link to the published paper.

Session Information

Presentation Date:
Sunday, April 11, 2021  [10:40 AM ET – 11:40 AM ET

Instructional Technology SIG Poster Session:
Instructional Technology in Higher Education and Corporate Settings

Title of our Presentation:
Critical Competencies for Practice Among Educational Technologists in Latin America and the Caribbean

Event Link: https://aera21am.simcita.net/fast/evt36972


Use this link to explore and read our iPoster: https://bit.ly/32236Kc

iPoster Presentation Screenshot

Published Paper

If you want to learn more about this topic. We published a book chapter discussing our research project and findings. This is the citation and link to our book chapter:

Romero-Hall E., Adams L., Petersen E., Vianna A. (2020) Educational Technologists in Latin America and the Caribbean: Perceived Importance of Competencies for Practice. In: Spector M.J., Lockee B.B., Childress M.D. (eds) Learning, Design, and Technology. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-17727-4_169-1

Hope everyone has a good conference and hope to “see” you next year!

Let’s talk about ID Project Management

For the last few years, I have taught an ID Project Management course. I normally teach this course during the Summer term, which is a 6-week intensive session (and I mean truly intensive!). However, the rotation of electives in our program now allows me to teach the course during the regular 14-week term. This meant, that I now have room in the course for guest speakers who share their experiences related to project management in instructional design in various settings.

This semester, I was able to record the guest speaker sessions and share them with the students who are not enrolled in the course. These recordings are now uploaded to YouTube. Apologies in advance if YouTube is unavailable in your area due to Internet restrictions.

Guest Speaker: Camille Dickson-Deane, Ph.D., PMP.

Guest Speaker: Adriana McKinnon

Guest Speaker: Kiran Budhrani

A sabbatical during COVID-19

Where do I start?

I guess I can start by writing that a few months into my sabbatical the world turned upside down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, I was able to use my time to complete the tasks that I had outlined for my sabbatical period. April and May did require a significant adjustment since we had to manuoiver a new work schedule without child care. Maneuvering this new schedule required being realistic about what I could accomplish and saying “no” to some invitations for new collaborations.

The first two months of my sabbatical were as planned. I worked on writing two chapters for the book “Research Methods in Learning Design and Technology.” Book chapter authors submitted their completed and revised book chapters to me by the end of January and I worked on doing final reviews of each book chapter. I initially had planned to submit the book to the publisher by mid-March, but I switched the format of the last chapter, and this required giving extra time to my co-authors to complete their writing. This meant that I had to delay the submission of the book documents to the publisher until mid-April. Thankfully, by the time the world turned upside down in mid-March, all my co-authors and book chapter authors had turned in all required documents to me.

One of the elements of my sabbatical that was partially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic was work-related travel. I was scheduled to attend the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Convention in San Francisco in mid-April and the conference was canceled. I am glad it was canceled, I am also glad it was not held virtually. April was a month of re-adjustement, tension, and stress for many. I was also scheduled to travel to Florence, Italy to present at the DEPIT Annual Meeting at the University of Florence. This event was re-scheduled for an online format.

I had some personal travel plans changed because of travel restrictions. I was scheduled to spend all of March and a portion of April in Panama City, Panama, where I was going to work while spending time close to my family. So, I traveled to Panama at the end of February and was monitoring all the news related to COVID-19. Due to the way the virus was spreading, my family and I decided it was best for us to travel back to the United States, so we changed our flights to travel back on March 22 (which is the day Panama was scheduled to close their international airport). On the evening of March 20, I received an email from COPA airlines letting me know that our flights had been cancelled. I was shocked and extremely disappointed. However, we all stayed calm and determined that we would just ride the storm in Panama. That same evening, as a last attempt, we figured we would see if there were any flights on March 21 to Tampa with a different airline. Thankfully, we did manage to fly back to Tampa on March 21. My dad was in Panama with me and we were also able to find a flight for him to fly back to Toronto (within one hour difference of our flight), which gave peace of mind. I would not have left Panama without my dad.

The weeks after returning from Panama, were weeks of adjustments as mentioned at the beginning of this post. In addition to all the tasks for the book, I was also scheduled to write a manuscript (with a deadline) that I had not even started. It took discipline to stay focus. I admit that there were many emotions related to what was happening in the world with the pandemic, leaving Panama, and experiencing the “new normal.” I felt like I had to work hard on my “emotional intelligence” to get the paper written and deliver all the book materials to the publisher.

I am thankful for the sabbatical term. In addition to the tasks mentioned in this post, I also used the time to work in revisions to several manuscripts and continue mentoring my undergraduate student (we presented at a conference in February and are currently working on a few writing tasks). Of course, I spend time with my family (even more than planned due to the lack of childcare).

Since my sabbatical ended, I am back to serving as the Graduate Coordinator of the Instructional Design and Technology program and I taught a six-week summer intensive course on Learner Motivation in June. I definitely missed my students and the joy of our convos.


The Instructional Design Interview

Last week, in preparation for a class, I reached out to professional instructional designers (ID) via Facebook and asked them to share good instructional design related questions that they had to answer in an interview in the past. The reason for collecting these questions was to engage my graduate students in an mock interview exercise.

Screenshot 2019-02-21 09.25.44

The response from the ID community in Facebook was great. I am still getting notifications of questions that are getting posted. In addition to the questions posted by ID professionals, I also asked the graduate students in both the Intro and Advance IDT Seminar courses to create questions that would be a good fit for an ID-related interview.

Here is the final Google document with all the interview questions, including those: a) crowdsourced from Facebook, b) UT IDT Intro seminar students, and c) UT IDT Advance seminar students: The Instructional Design Interview

If you are interested in becoming part of this ID FB communities, here are the links:

#UTampa Honors Program Symposia [Presentation]

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:

image001 Click on the Image to Access the Slides

Photo Credit: Gul Sahin

Sneak Preview: #AECT16 Research & Theory Division Highlights

Yesterday, I purchased my plane ticket to Las Vegas (to attend the AECT 2016 International Convention later this year).  This reminded me that I wanted to share a sneak preview of the AECT Research & Theory Division (RTD) sessions. As you know (if you read my blog posts regularly), I have the pleasure of serving as the AECT RTD Convention Planner as well as the Featured Research (FR) Sessions planner. The peer review process for all the sessions was earlier this year (it was not an easy process). The AECT RTD had a large number of good submissions and, at the same time, it had a limited number of allotted presentation hours (plus we had very rigorous reviewers). Now that the review process is completed and all accepted authors have been notified, all planners put together division highlights for the conference printed program. Below are the sneak preview or “highlights” for the AECT RTD and Featured Research Sessions. The full AECT16 schedule will be available in a few months.

Featured Research Sessionshttps://cloudup.com/cZomjap6oqL

Research and Theory Highlightshttps://cloudup.com/cs6T_t6JAID

For more info about the conference, visit the AECT 2016 website: http://www.aect.org/events/convhotel/



Photos of #CIEEIFDS Seville

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!

#CIEEIFDS COMM Summer 2016 Radio Show #Sevilla #Spain

Ruben Diaz

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



Makerspaces and the Maker Movement: Design Thinking

In February, my students in the Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology course (EME610) and myself visited and toured The HIVE. Then, this past April a group of students and myself attended the Gulf Coast MakerCon event. Both of this activities were an attempt to learn more about Makerspaces and the Maker movement as learning spaces. In all honesty, I initially thought it was all about 3D printers. What I learned since then is that Makerspaces really focused on design thinking. Some spaces are technology heavy (hardware and software), others are more about crafting, others are about innovative ideas, and the lists goes on. Basically there are various views as to what constitutes a markerspace.

“The Hive” Makerspace: This is the recording studio.

UT ID&T Graduate Students at the Gulf Coast MakerCon Event

From talking to those involved in the markerspace movement here in Tampa, I also learned that the term Makerspace at times seems too crafty. A few weeks ago I toured a school in Tampa in which there are different Makerspaces for students in different grade levels. It was interesting to talk to instructors from the different grade levels. One instructor in particular expressed some concern over the term “makerspace.” He though that the maker movement should be more focused on design thinking. He was very interested in having students master design thinking with simple tools like paper and pencil before even allowing them to use more advance technology. This instructor also expressed concern with the total lack of guidance in some makerspaces. I consider myself an academic novice on makerspaces (as I am still learning and educating myself on the topic) but I do agree with the notion that design thinking requires guidance and supervision. I practice this in my systematic instructional design course. The graduate students and myself spend a significant amount of time going over different elements of their instructional design projects.

Another interesting aspect of Makerspaces that I learned about recently, while attending AERA, is the lack of diversity. One of the “working poster sessions” (we need more of this at AERA — great session format) I attended was on makerspaces reaching diverse audiences which include individuals in different genders, socio economic status, and cultural backgrounds. There were a total of 7 or 8 posters in the session (below is a screenshot from the AERA online program). If you are interested and want to learn more about inclusive makerspaces, I strongly recommend reading the abstracts and following up with the authors.

Screenshot 2016-05-19 11.20.16
AERA Session: “Toward Building Makerspaces for All: New Theories & Practices to Design Inclusive Makerspaces”