Friday, December 9, 2016

Why Digital Literacy Matters

Common Craft has created a following because the authors explain concepts in a very understandable way. This three+ minute video defines literacy, and talks about how digital literacy depends on both our knowledge of various technologies and how their use for specific purposes defines our ability to interact in today's world:


To view the wide range of Common Craft videos and subscription terms, visit their site at

Friday, November 18, 2016

A Vendor's Offering for Teaching Ethics

I met a person from this company a few years ago at a Colorado eLearning conference. Today I see they have an instructional product for teaching ethics across disciplines. I think you'll find it interesting. Dr. Baird also gave a Milehigh TedX talk on the subject.


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Getting the Most from Off-the-Shelf Workplace Learning

Organizations have been sending their employees to external training experiences for a few different reasons. The organization pays to send a person or group of people to courses offered by external vendors because the courses don’t depend on having a large number of enrollees from your organization, and the offerings may offer convenient real-time or online schedules.

So beyond those reasons, how do you ensure the value of that learning and the needs for your own workplace?

Megan Torrence offers these three practices in her article, “Seven Simple Secrets to off-the-Shelf Course Success:”
  • Target which off-the-shelf opportunities match your organization’s needs/identify good matches for individuals or groups whether its single or groups of courses.
  • Make participation social for those taking it inside your organization whether it’s by providing a lab, or a discussion area
  • Add your own materials to bring home the relevance to performance in your own organization.·
Allowing people to share their experiences in your own organization can help someone needing extra support to complete the course itself.  Having access to related, in-house materials ups the performance-support value, when someone may need extra help performing a task that was covered by the course which is now over.

Last, here are a couple post-course strategies that can provide clues as to the value of the organization’s payment for that learning experience: Make it a practice to ask attendees to share how the “off-the-shelf” learning now impacts their post-learning performance (Level 3, Kirkpatrick) or benefits your organization’s goals (Level 4, Kirkpatrick). 

A client’s question for Constant Learning about additional course offerings provided the impetus to explore vendors who could add to opportunities for that client. In addition to learning experiences designed by Constant Learning, Constant Learning was pleasantly surprised about partnership opportunities with these well-established vendors of online courses.

As you look to the right of this post, you can immediately explore the offerings by Ed2Go and UGotClass and enroll in courses from the link. So glad to easily expand learning options with clients as we discuss their particular needs.

Let me know if you have questions about these offerings, and I am happy to follow up. If you are a vendor who would like to add a link to your offerings, please contact me at Constant Learning Org . 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Sharing the Games: Games for Change and Others

In the last four years, I’ve presented on a few serious games in crowdsourcng research solutions to disease, and oversaw the development and tracking of games that serve compliance training in a government organization.

I’ve also participated in game nights where faculty and students were invited to sample various games and discuss their value. I also spent some time with middle school bloggers who researched games they could place in their particular blog topics, wondering if more people would visit their blog to play the game there, or if we should have another after-school enrichment course where students could create and play each other’s games. In other conversations with colleagues, we’ve talked about games for decision-making based on fault-tree models—games that give students experience with coming to terms in those sticky social situations students grapple with. And games that are more than drill for learning another language.

Somewhere in my ongoing perusal of Twitter offerings, I noted a mention of Save the Parks, a game to ultimately encourage volunteerism in National Parks. This was my gateway introduction to an non-profit group called Games for Change. After going to the site and playing some of the games, I not only shared the news about them with others, I’m on my way to this April 18th event hosted by the non-profit Games for Change (

I’ve been sharing the site with others from varying programs for the potential of the games: Upward Bound is a nationally funded program to support high school completion and entry into post-secondary through colleges. I believe in their transformative potential, and I have volunteered to do Saturday activities with them. I told them about Spent (, and I told them about That’s Your Right ( Given the financial insecurity of some their families face, and given civic education for new immigrants and upcoming citizens, they were excited to look at both. When discussing what games they might recommend to the students, we also talked about how it might be fun for the students to choose which games to play and review, and then present a panel to their peers as a program activity. 

I’ve also shared one of the games called Spent ( with a program called Gateway, one for displaced women and men, where “Housing, childcare, and transportation” are “a trifecta” for survival, according tot the program’s director. Having played the game, I totally get it—even though I ended the game a month’s survival with $43 to the good, I realized I never bought TP and found myself asking if I had lifted it from public bathrooms. For participants from households who regularly face financial despair and homelessness, placing the circumstances in a game format can depersonalize it enough to develop financial management skills around those tough choices.

Another Game that caught my attention also was Beyond Eyes—it’s a natural for anyone hoping to create awareness related to disabilities: work of Alice Brouhard to research and adapt apps to support the independence of those with disabilities certainly plays a role in this awareness. For this game players aid a young blind girl on a journey. Her blindness is the result of an accident with fireworks. It is not only a way to experience someone else’s limitations that are out of their control, it is the way to practice compassion.

Games fall under the category of immersive learning. Playing and debriefing what players experience offer great value in influencing their/our own realities. If a goal of a game is to win, in these games the winning involves learning strategies that will make a better existence at many levels. I find myself being a real town crier about getting people to this site to view the variety of experiences offered in the 137 games there and playing some. The games are indexed by age or types like civics, health, and poverty. Players are invited to sign up to post game reviews. Resources are provided to support game development. The site is Rich, Rich, Rich. Go play. It’s your opportunity to become the change or the change agent.

Monday, March 7, 2016

A Book Worth Reading About Intellectual Property Rights: Who Owns Culture

Confession: Though I read many posts and tweets or articles at any given time, each year I try to read what I consider to be at least one or more significant books pertinent to the 21st century learning.

Understanding copyright, fair use, and Creative Commons licensing are important to me as a writer, researcher, faculty member, trainer, and artist. Those roles were the motivators for reading Who Owns Culture? where known faculty Susan Scafidi explores the conundrum of copyright and patent protection for communally created works.

I intentionally did not read reviews, and I decided my learning goal was to come away with what I felt were important take-aways from her work.

My takeaways from her work:

1) There are three types of property: real, personal, and intellectual (Scafidi 160).

2) Copyright law provides protection for individuals, but products held in community have suffered. The provision for commonly held property is called “concurrent ownership” (162); this mechanism is useful for defense with external challenges, but does not define mechanisms for managing disputes within a particular group.  The author expresses the opinion that there is still more work to be done in this area by the legal community.

3) An important concept to understand in cultural context is the evolution of cultural practice into a definable product. An example has been cases related to the use of the American flag. Over time commercial, artistic, and political demonstrations involving the flag provided restrictions that have currently been overturned in favor of their use for open express and commercial use. (The most current controversy of this nature was captured in SC where public outcry resulted in the removal of the flag from the state capitol.)

4) These two entities have been established to ensure the livelihood of indigenous artisan and their products in the marketplace: Ten Thousand Villages and the Native Artist Registry with the US Patent Office.

5) There is still potential for power struggles within a community as to who can define community membership. Also, there are still questions as to decisions to keep certain items in secret, or release them to the public, and challenges to those accompanying decisions that might develop.

6) “Outsider Appropriation”, “Misappropriation”, and “Reverse Appropriation” relate to cases where persons outside a culture take features from another culture into a product, or use it in such a way that puts something into the public market that was never intended or causes disrespect or inaccuracy by the way it is presented.

Current examples:

·      Outsider Appropriation: The Valentino Ad in the March 6, 2016, New York Times Sunday Styles Section (p.3)

·      Misappropriation: Another recent example comes from an episode in Longmire, found on Netflix. Walt has his friend tie him to a tree in a way participants in the Sundance would be tethered to a tree during that sacred ceremony. The context for this practice is not only incorrect, it is inappropriate for Plains tribes who observe this ceremony.

·      Reverse-Appropriation: Individuals who are fans of a certain characters or works may influence the development of the persona, but also create their own spin-off creations, known as Reverse Appropriation (p. 127). Sometimes such creations are protected under the auspices of fair-use, and at other times the creators of the series or work provide more specifications as to what is allowed. In some cases, court challenges have been made against the public creators, like the author of Done Gone With the Wind, a work in the voice of Miss Charlottes created half-sister and slave (The author, not the estate of M Mitchell ultimately won the right to publish the work.)

Yes, this area of law continues to be better defined as our global property practices continue. As for the realm of cultural preservation, the author notes a model to further rights for distinct cultural practices is UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Interested in what others did write about this work? Searching by the title + reviews might find you some sources: I particularly thought this one was helpful as it summarizes the contents addressed in various chapters—not so much a review but a guide to the ideas:

Bibliographic Entry

Scafidi, Susan. (2005) Who Owns Culture?: Appropriation and Authenticity in American Law.  Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Back in the Saddle: Why Having an Editorial Calendar Keeps You Going

I can't believe it's been this long since my last post. It's like other goals: If you write it on paper or say it out loud, you have upped your level of commitment to following through. I must have been surfing on the fact that the local paper ran the last article as a print piece.

That said: here's a list of posts I've been talking about but haven't published:
  • What artists can teach us about engagement with content
  • What VR has to offer us as educators
  • A synopsis of key takeaways from reading the book Who Owns Culture by Susan Scafidi. 
  • More on OER and Creative Commons (IV and V of that series are in my drafts!)
In addition to putting some topics out there, I also revisited some practices behind the calendar. Audience, Topic, Timeliness are what I think make big differences. For example, if you are in education, yearly planning cycles,  and beginning, middle, and end term cycles are key time frames. So planning topics in sync to those cycles provides content more likely to be of interest to those readers. (And then there is maximizing on audience reach by pushing the link or article to other social media.)

That said, attention to hot/trending topics in the publications and and social-media communities of practice also provide clues to the timeliness of a topic.

Here are a couple links that provide some solid thoughts on the practice:

This link focuses on the content and timeline and also notes some different ways to use tech to aid calendar creation and management:

This one offers a free Template:

Wordpress also has an editorial calendar plug-in. In discussing it's use with a colleague, she noted it did not work the way her brain does, so she has not used it. Which brings us back to the key point about the calendar--the tech is a product that might help you capture your thinking, but most important is the process of thinking about the topic, the audience, and the prime timeline related to their interests.

And now, looks like I'd better set myself some dates around my content.