the red pincushion

musings on learning, living, and sometimes dancing

symphony

Coordinating without controlling…what are your thoughts?

This is my first post about Stanford. We should celebrate. While you are thinking about how to celebrate, I’ll talk a bit about my conundrum. So, Stanford is just about the coolest place to work. It is replete with smart, driven, and entrepreneurial people. Stanford is a place where you can have a brilliant idea…

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LilyPad Arduino

Arduino? Oh yes!

This week, I spent a bit of time talking about Arduino. I talked with a dance professor about using LilyPad Arduino in costumes. I talked to a colleague about Mothership HackerMoms, a hackerspace dedicated to supporting mothers who make. Though I don’t know of any specific projects they have done or will do using Arduino, I…

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5 things

5 easy things you can do to your course this summer [from the archives]

The summer is a great time for redesigning or redeveloping a course. The process of redesigning, when it is done well, can take a good chunk of your time. I think the time spent redesigning a course is well-spent; you may see improved student learning and you may renew your excitement for the course. Alas,…

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Jazzed up!

I will rarely post to this blog about Jazzercise. However, as part of the “happy life” portion of this blog, I wanted to share some exciting news: I just completed the certification process to become a Jazzercise instructor. To celebrate, I have written this little post to respond to some common (and hilarious) misconceptions about…

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Learning on the beach

This weekend, I had the opportunity to join a group of Stanford students on a field trip to Ano Nuevo beach. The course, Earth Systems 56Q, is a course on “Changes in the Coastal Ocean” and Professors Robert  and Robyn Dunbar guided students through a hands-on exploration of the Frijoles fault line and the biological…

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Pursuing a happiness goal

When I started working at Stanford, I was immediately drawn to an initiative called Be Well. Be Well is a program that helps employees improve their overall wellness. The program starts with an online health assessment followed by a meeting with a Be Well consultant. After that, Stanford employees can complete various health and wellness activities—…

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The power of making

In third grade, growing up in Brazil and homeschooled through a correspondence school called Calvert, I found that my opportunities for scientific inquiry were, shall we say, limited. Yet, like most children, I was obsessively inquisitive, teaching myself how to pick locks, taking apart radios, assembling periscopes, and more. I remember reading Smiling Hill Farm, a story about three generations…

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Some thoughts on ed tech mixers and meetups

What do you call 120 ed tech innovation afficionados noisily crammed into a room at SF’s posh ROE Lounge? The Blackboard Haters Club. Okay, I’m kidding. It was really called the EduTech Mixer and Panel hosted by Technapex. On Wednesday, March 28, these afficionados came from across the Bay Area to meet, learn about ed tech innovation,…

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MERLOT should look like Pinterest

I am a moderate user of Pinterest. By that I mean that I occasionally sit down with my phone, open the Pinterest app, and browse through the latest pins from the people I follow. I also occasionally pin a teaching-related resource to my Teaching in Higher Ed pinboard when I find something interesting at work. What I…

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Failure is always an option

Last month, at John Seeley Brown’s evocative DML2012 keynote, I was reminded of the notion of failure in education. Failure: what happens when students don’t complete work or don’t submit quality work. Failure: what happens to students when they don’t try hard enough or just cannot cut it. But JSB, along with hoards of neuroscientists, remind us…

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“Is this thing on?” What to do with student presentations [from the archives, renamed]

Admit it, student presentations can be a real disaster. I have used student presentations several times in my courses and often wondered whether they are worth the hassle, uncomfortable classroom dynamics during presentations, and the difficult grading process. I believe student presentations are an important part of students’ learning and can enhance oral communication skills….

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A Twitter bot for POD 2012 (and other conferences)

This week, I read 4 musings about Twitter use at conferences. I’ll describe each of the readings and then talk about how I am rolling them around in my head: 1) I read Three EduSocial Bots, Gabriel Harp’s discussion of social bots he would like to see developed for education. Though this article is not…

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“Learn this” and “Pin This”: The Pinterest Model for a Connected Learning Platform

On the train, returning from the DML 2012 conference in San Francisco, I am sorting through the interactions and sessions I experienced at the conference. So many of the themes — connected learning, tinkering, the importance of failure in learning — resonated with me and inspired ideas that I can take back to Stanford. Today,…

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Return to Evernote?

Several years ago, I began using a relatively new (at the time) service called Evernote. I was a big fan. Evernote calls itself a “personal digital assistant” and I think that’s a fair description. At its most basic, Evernote allows you to store images and text within notebooks that are accessible anywhere Evernote is installed….

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science buzz sign

The scientific method, 5 ways [from the archives]

This blog post was originally published in 2011. Over the weekend, I watched They Might Be Giants’ Here Comes Science DVD with my 2-year-old son. When a song about the scientific method came on, I realized that the concepts being taught in the video are ones that many of our college students struggle with. We may think…

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Some thoughts on teaching with Pinterest [from the archives]

This post was originally published in 2011. Recently, a friend introduced me to Pinterest, an online pinboard tool designed for creating a network of people sharing great ideas, resources, and information. It’s rare that I find a new online tool through my personal network rather than my professional network, so I have been eager to…

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image of hand with writing "it's time to let go..."

Let go (of coverage) [from the archives]

This post was originally published in 2011. I heard it over and over at the CIC Information Fluency in History Education conference: “Let go of coverage,” our presenters and mentors told us. The coverage they were addressing is instructors’ attempts to “cover” the material or the content of a course. Our mentors challenged us to…

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Hearts on a wire

Vulnerability in the classroom [from the archives]

This blog post was originally published in 2011. “vulnerability is not only a condition to be endured, but also to be acknowledged, cherished, and embraced” (Kelchtermans, 2005, p. 999) “No wonder teaching was called an art, the most difficult kind of art in which the final expression depends upon a delicate and dangerous balance between…

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Teaching an online course? 5 things to do at the start of the semester [from the archives]

This blog post was originally published August 22, 2011. I had intended to make another Made from Scratch video before the start of the semester but, well, you know how that goes. Instead, I will share with you 5 things I do at the start of the semester to get my online course started on…

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