Archive of ‘Digital literacy’ category

free visuals and a guide to copyright

guide (available as PDF here and Google Doc here) to offer some explanations of how to avoid copyright infringement by using media that you can legally re-use for classroom projects including blog posts, web pages, videos, slideshows, and podcasts. The guide also includes 21 places to find media to use in classroom projects.

FOR MORE INFO ON COPYRIGHT AND RELATED (fair use, Creative Commons etc.): contact Rachel Wexelbaum,

A Guide to Finding Media for Classroom Projects

Please have an excellent outline of what “free” means, what is Creative Commons, what is Public Domain + stock sites with images:


Free Digital Photos

Free Images

Free Range Stock

Free Photos Bank


IM Free



Public Domain Pictures

and many more at

more on free visuals in this iMS blog

OER more proof needed

Open Educational Resources: What We Don’t Know

Regan A. R. Gurung November 14, 2018

One of the first reviews of OER efficacy tests included 16 studies (Hilton, 2016). The abstract stated that “ … students generally achieve the same learning outcomes when OER are utilized.”

All nine studies had major confounds such as method of instruction (e.g., comparing OER sections that were taught online or blended versus traditional texts used in a face-to-face class). Some studies switched exams between comparisons and some changed course design (e.g., went to a flipped model). Most study authors acknowledged that the type of textbook was not the only factor that changed.

There is promise in the use of OERs. Beyond the “as good as” findings, some studies suggest they could be beneficial. Jhangiani, Dastur, LeGrand and Penner (2018) found students using print OERs (versus digital) did better on one of three exams tested (no differences on the other two, still good news). Is the promise of OER fulfilled? There is not enough to know yet. We have to be tighter in how we assess the efficacy of such materials in particular and higher education innovation in general.

Methodological challenges abound in classroom research on teaching, as learning is complex. Many challenges can be overcome with strong research design. There are benchmarks for conducting research on teaching and learning (Felton, 2013; Wilson-Doenges and Gurung, 2013), and it would be prudent for more educational researchers to use them.

more on OER in this IMS blog

Copyright and Fair Use guide

An Extensive Guide to Copyright and Fair Use

Friday, December 21, 2018

guide to locating media for use in classroom projects.

basic summaries of the concepts of public domain, Creative Commons, and fair use. In the section on fair use Stanford University Libraries’ Copyright & Fair Use guide.

Websites: Five Ways to Stay Out of Trouble.

a copy here as a Google Doc or here as a PDF

more on copyright in this IMS blog

fair use in this IMS blog

Your Students Forgot Everything On Your PowerPoint Slides

Why Your Students Forgot Everything On Your PowerPoint Slides

By Mary Jo Madda (Columnist)     Jan 19, 2015

why instructional design doesn’t typically work with students, or anyone’s learning for that matter, when you teach with PowerPoint—as well as how you can avoid it. It all begins with a little concept called “cognitive load.”

Cognitive load describes the capacity of our brain’s working memory (or WM) to hold and process new pieces of information. We’ve all got a limited amount of working memory, so when we have to handle information in more than one way, our load gets heavier, and progressively more challenging to manage.

In a classroom, a student’s cognitive load is greatly affected by the “extraneous” nature of information—in other words, the manner by which information is presented to them (Sweller, 2010). Every teacher instinctively knows there are better—and worse—ways to present information.

A study in Australia in the late 1990s (the 1999 Kalyuga study) compared the learning achievement of a group of college students who watched an educator’s presentation involving a visual text element and an audio text element (meaning there were words on a screen while the teacher also talked) with those who only listened to a lecture, minus the pesky PowerPoint slides.

It’s called the the redundancy effect. Verbal redundancy “arises from the concurrent presentation of text and verbatim speech,” increasing the risk of overloading working memory capacity—and so may have a negative effect on learning.

Researchers including John Sweller and Kimberly Leslie contend that it would be easier for students to learn the differences between herbivores and carnivores by closing their eyes and only listening to the teacher. But students who close their eyes during a lecture are likely to to called out for “failing to paying attention.”

Richard Mayer, a brain scientist at UC Santa Barbara and author of the book Multimedia Learning, offers the following prescription: Eliminate textual elements from presentations and instead talk through points, sharing images or graphs with students

a separate Australian investigation by Leslie et al. (2012), suggest that mixing visual cues with auditory explanations (in math and science classrooms, in particular) are essential and effective. In the Leslie study, a group of 4th grade students who knew nothing about magnetism and light learned significantly more when presented with both images and a teacher’s explanation than a separate group which received only auditory explanation.


  • Limit yourself to one word per slide. If you’re defining words, try putting up the vocabulary word and an associated set of images—then challenge students to deduce the definition.
  • Honor the “personalization principle,” which essentially says that engaging learners by delivering content in a conversational tone will increase learning. For example, Richard Mayer suggests using lots of “I’s” and “you’s” in your text, as students typically relate better to more informal language.

more on Power Point in this IMS blog

Jeremy Bailenson VR

presence (VR different from other media), virtual pit, haptic devices and environment

4 min: what’s the point?…
VR is a paradox, no rules,
what should you do and what to avoid
Ketaki Shriram dissertation
Gerd Bruder observed the other German person confused between VR and real world.
Common Sense Media – when children can VR and for how long
Jackie Baily worked with children VR Sesame street Grover
impossible, counterproductive, rare/expensive, dangerous are the 4 reasons to use it. Not ubiquitous!
12 min. empathy
Tobin Asher “Becoming Homeless” blame the situation or the character (min 17)

June Lubchenko, 2013. NOAA. min 19. natural disasters, not trusting self-report, but actions.
Fio Micheli. counter productive to fly children to the coral in Italy, but VR makes it possible. learning efficacy. Motivation to learn. min 21.
min 26. MOOC – materials are for free. not replacing field trips, just making them more often.
min 27. spherical video to practice football with VR
min 29. Walmart – “academies” Mark Gill the nursing home simulation.

learning to drive.
freedom speech over all media but VR is specific, different. If you won’t do it in the real world, don’t do it in VR

min 33. what is the iPhone for VR.
Fred Brooks

min 37. disentization. how many times to do something to have effect. Kathy Mayhew and Mark Gill research

min 38. AR and psychology – not much resources. virtual person breaks physics – walks through chairs. Greg Weltch Central Florida – AR breaks physics study.

min 42. if his lab gives grants for art content creation. Immersive Journalism, storytelling syllabus. Mark Gill for our class, Bill Gorcica . Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Mayday Foundation


more on VR in this IMS blog

technologies for life long learning

Emerging Technologies for Lifelong Learning:
Intro to #EmTechMOOC and EmTechWIKI from SUNY

“… open-access resource… to identify the value and implications of using established and emerging technology tools for personal and professional growth…strategies to … keep pace with technology change.

“… #EmTechMOOC, – Coursera Massive Open Online Course

“…EmTechWIKI …socially-curated discovery engine to discover tools, tutorials, and resources. The WIKI can be used as a stand-alone resource, or it can be used together with #EmTechMOOC. Anyone is welcome to add or edit WIKI resources.”

” – excerpt from,


Roberta (Robin) Sullivan, Online Learning Specialist, Center for Educational Innovation, University at Buffalo

Blockchain next election

Blockchain Disciples Have a New Goal: Running Our Next Election

Amid vote-hacking fears, election officials are jumping on the crypto bandwagon — but cybersecurity experts are sounding an alarm

At democracy’s heart lies a set of paradoxes: a delicate interplay of identity and anonymity, secrecy and transparency. To be sure you are eligible to vote and that you do so only once, the authorities need to know who you are. But when it comes time for you to mark a ballot, the government must guarantee your privacy and anonymity. After the fact, it also needs to provide some means for a third party to audit the election, while also preventing you from obtaining definitive proof of your choice, which could lead to vote selling or coercion.
Building a system that accomplishes all this at once — and does so securely — is challenging enough in the physical world. It’s even harder online, as the recent revelation that Russian intelligence operatives compromised voting systems in multiple states makes clear.
In the decade since the elusive Satoshi Nakamoto published an infamous white paper outlining the idea behind bitcoin, a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system” based on a mathematical “consensus mechanism,” more than 1,500 new cryptocurrencies have come into being.
definition: Nathan Heller in the New Yorker, in which he compares the blockchain to a scarf knit with a single ball of yarn. “It’s impossible to remove part of the fabric, or to substitute a swatch, without leaving some trace,” Heller wrote. Typically, blockchains are created by a set of stakeholders working to achieve consensus at every step, so it might be even more apt to picture a knitting collective creating that single scarf together, moving forward only when a majority agrees that a given knot is acceptable.
Unlike bitcoin, a public blockchain powered by thousands of miners around the world, most voting systems, including Votem’s, employ what’s known as a “permissioned ledger,” in which a handful of approved groups (political parties, election observers, government entities) would be allowed to validate the transactions.
there’s the issue of targeted denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, in which a hacker directs so much traffic at a server that it’s overwhelmed and ceases to function.
Although a distributed ledger itself would likely withstand such an attack, the rest of the system — from voters’ personal devices to the many servers a vote would pass through on its way to the blockchain — would remain vulnerable.
there’s the so-called penetration attack, like the University of Michigan incursion, in which an adversary gains control of a server and deliberately alters the outcome of an election.
While it’s true that information recorded on a blockchain cannot be changed, a determined hacker might well find another way to disrupt the process. Bitcoin itself has never been hacked, for instance, but numerous bitcoin “wallets” have been, resulting in billions of dollars in losses. In early June 2018, a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange was penetrated, causing the value of bitcoin to tumble and resulting in a loss of $42 billion in market value. So although recording the vote tally on a blockchain introduces a new obstacle to penetration attacks, it still leaves holes elsewhere in the system — like putting a new lock on your front door but leaving your basement windows open.
A blockchain is only as valuable as the data stored on it. And whereas traditional paper ballots preserve an indelible record of the actual intent of each voter, digital votes “don’t produce an original hard-copy record of any kind,”
In the end, democracy always depends on a certain leap of faith, and faith can never be reduced to a mathematical formula. The Economist Intelligence Unit regularly ranks the world’s most democratic counties. In 2017, the United States came in 21st place, after Uruguay and Malta. Meanwhile, it’s now widely believed that John F. Kennedy owed his 1960 win to election tampering in Chicago. The Supreme Court decision granting the presidency to George W. Bush rather than calling a do-over — despite Al Gore’s popular-vote win — still seems iffy. Significant doubts remain about the 2016 presidential race.
While little doubt remains that Russia favored Trump in the 2016 election, the Kremlin’s primary target appears to have been our trust in the system itself. So if the blockchain’s trendy allure can bolster trust in American democracy, maybe that’s a net positive for our national security. If someone manages to hack the system, hopefully they’ll do so quietly. Apologies to George Orwell, but sometimes ignorance really is strength.

more on blockchain in this IMS blog

Bitcoin explained through Pokemon

Explaining Bitcoin with Pokemon cards

the double-spending problem
when exchanging digital goods, how do you know somebody hasn’t sent the same asset to two people simultaneously?
use a ledger (a record of transactions) to track our trade.put our trust in this third party.we gave a copy of the ledger to every pokemon trader

forming chain of blocks

if I had duplicated my card, sent one copy out earlier then tried to send the second one to you, the history of that trade would already exist, so my second trade to you would conflict and be rejected.
change a block

that digital signature that gets put on each block? That is actually generated based on the info in the block, so changing the data (i.e removing my trade) automatically changes the signature.
changed block

an open, decentralised, non-reversible, tamper-proof digital network for trading valuable assets.

This is a simplified version of how blockchain technology works, but it’s easy to see how this tech gives Bitcoin its unique and fascinating properties.

more on blockchain in this IMS blog


Sites in VR

Sites in VR is a free Android and iOS app that provides a 1700 virtual reality views of significant landmarks around the world.

Contact us if you need for your class to view the information above with:

more on VR in this IMS blog

MinnState Shark Innovation Grants

Stephen Kelly, the Open Education and Innovation Program Coordinator shared great info on the Shark Innovation Grants.

Shark Innovation Grant

Please have a link to the information regarding the grants:

Please have this recording with more details shared by Stephen today.

For more information, he can be reached at

InforMedia Services can help you brainstorm ideas, prepare them for the grant and execute them.

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