the red pincushion

musings on learning, living, and sometimes dancing

Help! They’re tweeting in my #POD12 session!

As chair-elect of the Professional and Organizational Development Network’s ECRC (Electronic Resources and Communications Committee), I have been working with a new social media action subcommittee, dubbed Team Awesome. Our job is to identify ways we can use social media at the annual POD conference and throughout the year to enrich discussions and promote networked…

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The (online) teacher’s body

At #ET4Online in July, I met a kindred spirit named Jen Ross, lecturer and academic program director for the MSc in E-Learning program at the University of Edinburgh. In addition to sharing the fact that we both have fiery red hair and speak abnormally fast when we’re giddy, we share a passion for online learning and…

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A vote for unconferences

Funny thing about conferences… Most are not effective at one of their primary goals: learning. I rarely enjoy the deep learning experiences that I expect at professional conferences. Instead, I leave most conferences having experienced rich networking and professional interactions and some introduction to new information or ideas. It’s sad that, while conferring with a colleague…

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My summer reading

Alternately titled: Since I can’t take a vacation this summer, I’ll engage in my other favorite form of escapism: heady and/or frivolous reading. I’ve been inspired by a handful of blog posts on the interwebs this week, each touting a seductive list of books I haven’t yet read. Reading is a funny thing for me. I…

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A community of obsessed makers: My day at Maker Faire 2012

I boarded the bike car of the 9:30 am Caltrain and ran into a wall of people and bikes. Not everyone was headed to Maker Faire that morning (some were headed to Bay to Breakers or the SF Giants game), but most people in the car were buzzing about the premier tinkering event of the…

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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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