Tech for Teach

Depression and a Family Conference Call

HangoutsI was just nodding off, one of those rare afternoon naps. The phone rings. Daughter Nicole (Nick) calling from Portland. “Hangout,” she says. I know the drill. I hang up. Move to Google+ page, and select hangouts. We’d done one with the whole family last week, so I clicked on that one. Set off ringing at my wife’s computer (she was out shopping), and Nick’s older sister Julia, in Waikiki.

Turns out Nick has a research paper proposal due tomorrow for her college freshman writing class, and wants to brainstorm. Something about mental illness. Julia graduated last year and did a lot of work in sociology and cultural psychology, so they got started right away. Nick needed a research question, some description, some probable outcomes, and some resources for her proposal. Continue reading “Depression and a Family Conference Call”

Your thoughts?

Research design for 3 tracked classes on the same day

workshop Annual syllabus writing month is here in Japan, when we all start preparing for the next school year in April. With some first year skills classes, and lower skilled classes, I will be able to see if my workshop-based approach will work with any but the highest level content classes. Comment below if you want to know more about this approach, which combines autonomous learning with gamification to fit in university classroom parameters for topic-based curriculum.

With 3 sections of the same class, on the same week day (for 15 weeks), I will get tracked groups 1, 4 and 6 (out of 8 levels). I am still trying to figure out how to work some kind of research design to test the efficacy of my approach. There are so many variables that I need to control for, such as time of day and number of meetings, so as to measure the different group level reactions to this approach.

To operationalize the reaction of the students, and their linguistic accomplishment before and after will be a challenge.

Because this workshop based approach contains many different working parts, with 4 possible in-class activities at any one time, and 6 different homework options each week, I am about to give up because there are too many variables for an N size of about 80 (about 27 in each group).

How does one test an approach? By breaking it down. But the only other option I can see is do a descriptive research paper, which is a lot less appetizing. Something quasi experimental? Suggestions welcome.

Tech for Teach

3 tools for developing your online academic profile

[polldaddy poll=7639971]

Spoiler alert!

There is nothing in this post about digital mobile language learning.

[editor argues that there are elements of digital and learning here, and possibly language, because of the writing. -ed.]

However, if you’re interested in supporting your career sharing mobile solutions in your language classroom, I urge you to read on. I teach at two Japanese universities. I’m employed full-time as an assistant professor at one school and I lecture part-time at another. I love both jobs, and the support I get from both institutions is fantastic. I am, however, employed on short-term contracts. My situation is not unlike many other language teachers in Japan, where according to Nagatomo (2012) the number of contracted or part-time faculty greatly outweighs the number of permanent staff.

Regrettably, my employment conditions have a big influence my motivation to grow professionally. That is to say, I’m not necessarily driven by my will to grow as a teacher, but rather how I can build my resume and position myself in way that my head isn’t first on the chopping block when contacts are reviewed. To compound my fear of the future, competition between teachers is fierce, so I’ve been looking into how I get ahead of the pack by building my academic profile online.

In this blog I wanted to share three sites I’ve been starting to tinker with: Google Scholar,, and Read&ResearchMap. Descriptions: