Innovation

Hidden Leos in Lions SHARE

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I have a 9 year old. We live 72 minutes from Disneyworld. Guess where I’ve been more times since moving here than any other destination on Earth?

4 Hidden Mickeys at DisneyMy daughter’s first visit to the Magic Kingdom was before we moved to Florida at 4 years old and during that visit, she came to learn about “hidden Mickey’s” throughout the parks. The architects (brilliantly) built distractions into the mix by putting silhouettes of their recognizable mascot all over the place. There are actually books you can buy which detail the THOUSANDS of these Easter Eggs hidden around Disney properties.

So maybe it’s not a perfect comparison to showcase some of the hidden gems in Lions SHARE. The mouse profiles are purely aesthetic, but I want to share some substantive things which may not be readily noticeable at first glance inside of Lions SHARE. I think it might be akin to your smart phone. After all, how many times have you looked at your smart phone, only to realize there is a cool option or capability you’ve had all along that you simply never noticed. It’s hard to pin down, but studies estimate 1/2 to 2/3 of our smartphone capabilities go unused.

So, with my daughter’s eye of excitement in mind, I take you on a brief tour of some of the Hidden Leos of our new learning ecosystem: Lions SHARE

  • Social Learning: This term is deep and wide, and I know it. From Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development to Bandura (the Godfather of Social Learning) to Johnson and Johnson’s work regarding cooperative learning, there have been plenty of plenty of theories regarding how and why social learning should be part of the fabric of education. Systems have been built trying to influence homogeneity vs heterogeneity, which have been correlated to success based on the outcome of a team project. But we feel that over time, socialness has basically not evolved in educational practice. So, we have tried to pull various forms of connection and social experience into the learning cycle. Today, students can continue the conversation in Lions SHARE Social, by talking in groups automatically created around their classes. But of note, the student discussions will also thread into their activity feed in Social. This will promote a social experience that is personal, organizational, AND academic, all coming together in multiple experiences. AS well, students and professors can engage in a genuine conversation (vs a passive lecture) about a topic within Whiteboard, promoting a richer, more collaborative experience than traditional, class sessions. Students can ask questions anonymously to other students, freeing them from embarrassment. Students can slow the conversation down to comprehend more readily. There is a lot more, but basically, we have created a rich tapestry of socialness within Lions SHARE. We’ve attempted to promote formal, informal, and non-formal learning moments, all empowered by and captured within the ecosystem.
  • Smart Groups: A cousin of the previous concept, how faculty build academic groups is nothing short of a crap shoot today. See if this rings a bell: “I’ll put you 5, you 4, and you 5 in groups. Head to the library or student lounge and figure out your project.” Or how about in an online class: “A-G is one group, H-N is group 2, and O-Z is the final group.” With today’s technology, I dare say we put more time and thought into determining how we’ll drive to work than how we form student teams. And why not? WAZE tells you where accidents are, how to find police radar traps, and when to avoid back-ups. So why not do this for groups? Do you want leaders in each group? Why not let Lions SHARE examine previous courses and social experiences and recommend leadership traits within your classroom? Want all of your extroverts together to show teach them how to follow sometimes? Why not let Lions SHARE group students according to personality indicators? It’s not only time to think more strategically about group creation, but it’s time to use technology to use information we simply don’t have access to nor could we process in real time.
  • Integrated Help: What’s one of the biggest barriers to a successful rollout of technology? Bad help / support experiences! Here is where we were both intentional AND lucky. Our LMS provider for Lions SHARE (what we call “Courses” powered by D2L) was piloting an integrated helpdesk solution. They would provide support for their product AND the other products associated with the student learning experience. So, when a student calls, emails, or chats with what is known simply as “Lions SHARE Support”, they are dealing with a person who will answer questions about their courses, social experiences, whiteboard problems, etc. We worked out two important elements of this experience. First, all vendors in Lions SHARE agreed to a 24 hour SLA for Support. So, if a Lions SHARE support member needs to help a student beyond the knowledge base for say, Whiteboard – they will get the info from the student, email the Whiteboard providers (Stackable Regiments), get the answer back, and call the student back with that answer. Second, if a user has a problem that is Saint Leo based (enrollment, financial aid, etc), the technician will instigate a WARM TRANSFER back to Saint Leo, handing the problem off on a 3-way call, instead of telling the user to hang up and call a new number.
  • Product Integration (Beyond the LTI…): As already stated, the Lions SHARE ‘Courses’ discussions showing up in Social is important. But integration should mean just that. So, in Lions SHARE, instructors can grade from within Courses obviously, but also within ePortfolio key assignments, within Productivity tools like OneNote for Classroom, and can even grade groups both numerically as well as anecdotally from within Lions SHARE Whiteboard. These grades will all tie back to the “gradebook of record” in Courses, ultimately populating the “system of record” in our student information system (SIS).
  • Promoting Student-Centric / Creative Products: By giving all students, faculty, and staff full access to the Office 365 suite of tools – including up to 5 downloads on all of their devices – the doors are opened to new ways of showcasing knowledge. Stitching those same tools into the experience of Courses and Whiteboard, gives a commonality to experience when people want to share files, download notes, or simply email users. So, when a student sees how powerful a SWAY is, versus using a Powerpoint (incorrectly), it becomes that much easier to upload or send to their professor. When students take group notes in a Whiteboard conversation and a student wants to save them privately in OneNote, it’s easy. And when professors ask for richer (BIGGER) videos to be assignments, storing and sharing them is a snap.
Hidden lion in tall grass

Do you see the lion? Because he sees you!

We’ve just launched a website which showcases some of these “Hidden Leos” through Lions SHARE. But we’re also going to start a campaign to see some even we didn’t think about. Students, faculty, and staff will get to share and showcase their use of the system, thereby incorporating a Hidden Leo into meaningful learning. We hope you’ll stick around and check out what they share!

Good luck and good learning.

Dr. Jeff D. Borden
Chief Innovation Officer
Saint Leo University

Want to see some Hidden Leo’s in action?  Check this out: Hidden Leo Videos

About Jeff Borden

My title at work is ‘Chief Innovation Officer.’ So I'm trying to transform teaching and learning at scale. How do I do that? Through my "life" jobs. Primarily, I'm a dad and husband. But I'm also a professor, writer, professional speaker, comedian, researcher, lifelong learner, musician, dog-owner, and even a ranked disc golfer... I've spoken to, trained, or consulted with hundreds of thousands of educators at all levels, in numerous countries, K-20, about how to teach and learn effectively in the 21st Century.

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