Sunday, November 1, 2015

AETC Presentations

AECT is well represented by Utah State's ITLS Department 

The ITLS department at Utah State will be well represented at the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AETC) conference to be held on November 3 - November 7, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The theme of this conference is Accelerate Learning: Racing into the Future.  ITLS is represented by Brian Belland, Sarah Brasiel, Victor Lee, M. David Merrill, Jeffrey Thayne, Andy Walker, Kevin Close, Mason Lefler, and Scott Smith.  Click here to see presenter and paper details. 

Good Luck this week!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sarah Brasiel Presenting in Several Locations

On October 21st,  Sarah presented to the Education Interim Committee of the State Legislature the results from the evaluation of digital math technology products distributed to over 200,000 K-12 students across the state last year. The results showed significant effects on mathematics achievement when the products are used with fidelity. This year we will be researching what makes a 21st Century Digital Learning Classroom that supports technology integration in order to inform the state and provide best practices to help more schools reach fidelity. Click here to access the audio for the presentation to the Education Interim Committee 

On October 28th, Sara will be presenting at BYU for their Instructional Technology and Psychology (IP&T) Seminar Series. She will be sharing about how we are using the FUN! Tool, developed b Phil Janisiewicz the data scientist for the Active Learning Lab, across three National Science Foundation grants to clean, organize, and analyze data on student learning. 

On November 5th, Sarah will be presenting the results to the Utah State Mathematics Education Coordinating Committee (SMECC) through a webinar to inform the work of mathematics specialists and coordinators across the state. She will also be presenting the results at a Utah state Curriculum Directors meeting on November 20th. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Kristin Searle is awarded the Corn Cob Hat!

Each year, International Computing Education Research (ICER) awards two paper awards. This year, ITLS faculty member Kristin Searle and co-author Yasmin Kafai, a professor of education at the University of Pennsylvania were awarded one of them, the John Henry prize, for their paper entitled “Boys’ needlework: Understanding gendered and Indigenous perspectives on crafting and computing with electronic textiles.” Awarded since 2008, the John Henry award recognizes the paper that, in the opinion of the conference delegates, “attempts a task that may seem impossible” but pushes the limits of computer science pedagogy. It is also known as the “Fool’s Award” after the Tarot card “the Fool,” which recognizes “the willingness to take great risks and venture into the unknown, with the possibility of achieving great things” ( In recognition of their efforts and the conference’s Omaha location, Searle and Kafai received a giant foam corn cob hat.

The ICER conference is an annual event sponsored by the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) and its Special Interest Group in Computer Science Education (SIGCSE). ICER 2015 took place in Omaha, Nebraska from August 9-13, 2015. The conference’s focus is on computing education research, or how people come to understand computational concepts, practices, and perspectives, and how to improve those understandings. Increasingly, computation is ubiquitous in our world, meaning that understanding how computation works is essential not only for professionals in technology-related fields but also for educated citizenship. As a result, ICER presenters use a variety of methodologies to understand computing education in formal and informal learning contexts with participants of all ages.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The new ITLS website has been Launched!

Check out the new page! Tell us how you like it, or what you would like to see changed!  Thanks to Katarina Pantic for all her hard work over the last few months to create the new ITLS website.  

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Jeremy Jenson's Documentary "White Waves"

White Waves Documentary Premier

Jeremy Jensen's documentary film "White Waves" debut at the Logan Film Festival this weekend and is scheduled for several showing at other film festivals.  His work is going to be featured in a Warren Miller film this year which centers around a snow surfing (binding free) technique that he invented.   Jeremy works for USU and is also the digital video adjunct instructor in the ITLS department.          

See full story here

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Congratulations to Dr.Debbie Fields! 

Dr. Fields was selected as the Reviewer of the Year from the Journal of Learning Sciences (JLS) Editorial Board for outstanding service.  She was selected from among a large number of nominees for her outstanding contributions as an early career scholar.  

The criteria for recognition includes completing multiple reviews for the journal that are thorough and timely, provide mentoring to authors, and reflect core values and practices of the field.  Dr. Fields will be recognized in the upcoming issue of the JLS.   

It is great instructors and mentors like Dr. Fields that make the ITLS department the best.  Way to go Dr. Fields!

See Full Story at

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Congratulations Scot!

Scot Smith, a doctoral student at ITLS of USU, has just accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in the Mathematics Department at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, New Mexico. This fall, he starts teaching mathematics for undergrads, as well as mathematics methods courses for teachers. He was told that what made him stand out above the rest of the applicants was his knowledge of technology integration with mathematics. He also may be engaging with local high schools and seeking to improve their dual enrollment mathematics courses. 

Scott’s research interests are in investigating students’ difficulties and misconceptions in learning rational number concepts, and in investigating instructional approaches for remediating rational number learning difficulties. In particular, Scott is interested in applying conceptual change theories to the investigation of rational number difficulties, and in self-explanations and technologies such as virtual manipulatives as instructional means of remediating rational number learning difficulties. He has finished his dissertation data collection and is currently working on finalizing his analysis and dissertation. His dissertation focuses on understanding how students conceptualized fractions and decimals using a number line applet built with a technology tool called Geogebra. 

He plans to defend his dissertation and complete his Ph.D. in our ITLS Department in Fall 2015. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Jeff Thayne accepted into special AECT symposium

The ICEM graduate student panel discussion in emerging technology is an AECT panel session designed to give graduate students an opportunity to share research and teaching practices related to emerging technologies. 4-6 graduate students are usually selected to present. Previous years the focus has been emerging technologies like game-based learning and gamification, mobile learning, etc. This year, the focus is on learning analytics and wearable technologies. This year, ITLS doctoral student, Jeffrey Thayne's been accepted.

The title of Jeff's accepted paper is "Self-data and wearable technologies: Do students care?" He will be sharing insights from both his dissertation research and from grant-funded research headed by Dr. Victor Lee about whether or not the use of wearable technologies -- in this case, physical activity trackers such as the Fitbit -- connects learning activities with the ongoing interests and concerns of learners. Some have proposed that the use of data about the self in statistics instruction might bring learners to care more about learning activities, and in my dissertation study I attempt to explore that possibility in a qualitative research study involving several undergraduate statistics learners.