Looking Glass, Again


This February, the ETC Research Lab was fortunate to host some MS/HS Stillwater Public School teachers exploring classroom processes whose benefit could be strengthened through the integration of digital technology. We enjoyed playing with some of the gadgets in the Research Lab, mixing it up with the Hololens, and brainstorming ways the 3D printer could enrich the classroom environment. As part of our exploration, the teachers shared some of the challenges experienced when considering the integration of digital technology. It’s time to wipe the glass, to make room for new ideas, but I don’t have the heart to erase the challenges they noted without finding at least a couple possible solutions. Perhaps, if we all work together, we can get a bit closer. Below is a list of some of the “opportunities”:

  • Students (mis)use phones during tests
  • Students lack home access to digital technology
  • Classrooms are physically full, quite frequently holding 30 or more students
  • Limited Space/No money, resulting in limited access to digital technology
  • Varying levels of student technological fluency
  • Varying levels of student motivation to use digital technology (do they wanna?)
  • Students do not see the phone as an educational resource
  • Student engagement
  • New technology requires training time, sometimes takes longer to grade student work

How do you address these “opportunities” in your own world? We look forward to hearing from you!

~Kathy Essmiller


Confident Failure

20180201_111730Several things have been happening in the Emerging Technologies Creativity Research Lab this week! One, our 3D printer is having some filament issues, and as a result not all the prints are completing as expected. Two, our EDTC 3123 students (preservice teachers exploring processes through which they can incorporate digital technology into their classroom practices) are coming through to explore the resources in the Lab. The 3D printer is a big draw, and the challenges the filament issues present have given us some nifty opportunities.

Brad Hokansen (2018) suggests creativity can be developed as make connections and new ideas from their experiences and knowledge. Additionally, studies indicate that intentional incorporation of student misconceptions (celebrate and use your mistakes!) helps students learn. Our fidgety 3D printer allowed us to help our preservice teachers experiment with combining these ideas.

The print pictured above was originally intended to be two yellow flower stems. The filament slipped, the print stopped, and we ended up with an interesting yellow outline. Rather than being bummed about not getting flower stems, the future master educator wondered aloud what story the shape could tell, embracing the print failure and stretching her creativity. What story do you hear?

I hear the story of yet another amazing, talented educator on the way to our kids’ classrooms.

~Kathy Essmiller

Looking (at the) Glass


Photo by Sharon Pittaway on Unsplash

Problems become ideas which become solutions. We have had quite a bit of traffic come through the ETC Research Lab this week, and all those visiting are encouraged to identify problems (opportunities!) they have seen so that we can collaborate to share ideas and develop solutions. What does the glass hold for us today? Read on, fellow sojourner! (Doesn’t that sound fun and dramatic, fraught with promise?)

How Can You Use the Resources of the ETC Research Lab to Grow Academically and Personally?

“I’m using the walking treadmill to help me reach my health goals”

“…to hone my skills of being a better pilot.”

“To help show my clients to see different ways of speech!”

“To help give me ideas for interventions for my patients.”

“Learn to fly the flight simulator”

Idea Space

“What skills do you want freshmen to have?”

“… to understand the switching tasks behavior of users while using the resources and space of the ETC Research Lab and how instant gratification plays a role and impacts the learning process.”

How can you twist and turn these ideas and suggestions to produce creative solutions? Stop by and jot your insights on the wall, let’s see what we can do!      ~KE



Off They Go!


Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

The fall semester has wrapped, and I have sent my first batch of EDTC3123 students out into the world! I already have former students have grown up to be teachers, but this has been my first time to get to work specifically with undergraduate education majors. It was a delight. They are curious, passionate, and full of the belief that they can work with others to help kids be their best selves. They will hire on with some lucky school districts, start going by their teacher names, build family and community in their classrooms, and help their students see magic. I’m certain. And I am excited. You can be, as well. The future is in good hands.        ~Kathy Essmiller

Coding and…

“Coding is not only a valuable skill,

but also a way to develop complex logical thinking skills”

~Dr. Penny Thompson

Swift promotion

Computer Science Education Week is December 4-10! Schools across the nation will be celebrating with coding activities designed for practice and implementation for all ages. In preparation for Computer Science Education Week, the Emerging Technologies and Creativity Research Lab is hosting an opportunity for educators to explore ways to incorporate programming activities into their classrooms. A representative from Apple will be present in Willard 326 from 11:30am-1:00pm to facilitate hands on exploration of their Swift Playground app. In their words:

Apple created the free, comprehensive Everyone Can Code curriculum to make it easy to teach coding to students from kindergarten to college. With teacher guides and lessons, you can introduce coding concepts visually on iPad in elementary school, move to writing code with the Swift Playgrounds app in middle school, and support students in building iOS apps on Mac with Xcode in high school and beyond. So whether your students are first-time coders or aspiring app developers, youʼll have all the tools you need to teach coding in your classroom.

And the Swift Playgrounds app now offers new ways to learn Swift with real-world robots, drones, and musical instruments. Using the Swift programming language, students can make their devices fly, dance, change colors, and more — all from within the app

I’m thinking, as I experiment with the Swift app, that I could use it in my classroom to not only provide coding opportunities, but also to help students discover other important skills needed to design and create this app. Did they involve a graphic artist? Who created the music? What about a writer to create the plot? Marketing and communication?  How could you use this app to help your students discover and apply their talents? And also…learn to code…

Drop by and play!

~Kathy Essmiller


Meaningful learning…

Meaningful learning occurs when students are willingly engaged in collaborative endeavors reflective of authentic experiences. The OSU EDTC PhD students have been playing with the 3D printer in the Emerging Technologies and Creativity Research Lab. It’s fun, we made a fork, but have wanted to imagine ways the 3D printer could transform the student classroom learning experience. Rachel is excited, Frances has some ideas, but I (Kathy) have been dubious. I already have a fork. It is even plastic. And it didn’t drain my budget to the extent a 3D printer would. But then Rachel showed me an object she had designed using TinkerCad and printed on the ETC Lab 3D printer. Here she is…(see below).


She was pretty excited, so I (Kathy) was happy for her. She asked if I knew what it was. I tried the teacher talk thing, “that looks so awesome, why don’t you tell me about it?” but she didn’t bite. She insisted I guess what it was. I said the top of a rocket ship. She said no. I said a hat for your garden gnome. She said no, and then threw me a bone, telling me a past culture had used vessels like this to hold food and water. Oh, so it’s a dish. Good, I think we are done. But we aren’t! Rachel went a step deeper, and asked me why I thought it was shaped the way it was (it kind of had a pointy base, rather than a flat base). My class is over, my students are gone, I have Things To Do, but she is so nice, so I kept playing. I don’t know why it’s shaped like that, to fit into a rack? To make it easier to carry? Before I realized it, I had accidentally become curious and had fully engaged with the question. I wanted to Know Why It Was Shaped So Weirdly. She kept smiling, and I kept guessing, finally in a fit of crazy suggesting they didn’t have shelves or tables so they just shoved the dishes in the dirt.

That was it! That was why the bowl was shaped oddly! And guess what…then I had even more questions. I wanted to know who the people were, when they lived, where they lived, what the dirt was like….all of a sudden, despite my former considerable disinterest, I was experiencing meaningful learning, willingly engaged, collaborating, imagining real life people in real life situations.

I would not have cared about the topic one bit if she had sent me a link to a website talking about the culture, or showed me a page in a book, told me a story, or, quite frankly, handed me a model she had found at the teacher store. But as I engaged with that funky oddly shaped bowl my friend had designed and printed on the ETC Lab 3D printer, I became hooked. Fork, schmork. That 3D printer can help teachers create incredibly meaningful classroom learning experiences! I am sold.

If you’re in the area, stop by Willard 326 (or, if you have the MakerBot app and are on the OSU campus, you can access Our Printer remotely) and explore how you can use this piece of emerging technology to transform learning! Let us know what you try and how it works out. Happy teaching!

~Kathy Essmiller


The semester has begun, syllabi have been explored, and students are trying to sort through due dates and grading rubrics. “What do we need to do when?” seems, understandably, to be a driving question. Today I will be bringing my undergrad EdTech students (pre-service) teachers to the T.E.C.H. playground to explore and ‘play’ in the learning spaces available. I am excited to observe their interactions. Will they ask “What do we do?”, or will they approach activities with a playful “What can we do?” Will they share with each other what they discover? Will they take the time to experiment? I hope so. I hope they give themselves a break from deadlines and worry to drive the BB8 in a fun pattern, or play with the Swivel recorder, make music on the SmartBoard, or fly a plane in the flight simulator. It will be interesting to see.  ~Kathy Essmiller

Open Ed Resource for EdTech Playground

open-heroOver the weekend I was thinking about what it takes to start, manage, and run an ed tech playground in higher education. After doing an online search for open education resources for ed tech playgrounds I found nothing of value. I played around with the words to see if any valuable resources would come up and nothing. After talking with my fellow colleague Scott Haselwood I said, “there should be an open ed resource for people who want to start and run an ed tech playground.” Scott gave me a look of confidence and told me to lead the charge. The idea of the open ed resource would be to describe how to start, develop, and manage an ed tech playground in higher education.

The resource can also expand into k-12 institutions along with community organizations and corporations. Developing and writing the resource would take time along with financial resources to publish such a document. Ideally the book would also include examples of other ed tech playground across the country on how they started and manage there ed tech playground. Sharing experiences in the resource can help other institutions of learning know what works best for there environment.

The idea is written on the glass board in the OSU Ed Tech Playground (Willard 326). If anyone has information they want to provide, contribute, or know of resources that could help with the project tweet @coetechplay

Jose L. Fulgencio, Ed Tech enthusiast


Spring 2017: Current Wall Glass Ideas

The Business Model Canvas

The canvas is a visual template that helps news and existing models chart there value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances. The TECH Playground wants to increase engagement with the community and across different departments at Oklahoma State University. The canvas will help build customer relationships, find key partnerships, and increase activities in the playground.


Telepresence Robot

How does a telepresence robot impact faculty collaboration & sense of belonging in a multi-campus university?



Education Design Lab

The constellation of 21st century skills badges includes: catalyst, collaboration, creative problem solving, critical thinking, cross-cultural competency, empathy, oral communication, self-efficacy, and resilience. In the outer layer the chart includes entrepreneurship, self, well being, and other. Does educational technology belong in the constellation of 21st century skills?


Social Media

Has social media changed meaning of words?




Contributor: Jose L. Fulgencio is an ed tech enthusiast , educator, and blogger. Follow him on twitter @joseful and check out Jose’s website www.josefulgencio.com 

Explore Week in the T.E.C.H. Playground

Visit us this week in 326 Willard and Explore the T.E.C.H. Playground!  Sometimes it can be overwhelming walking into this space – worry no longer.  Pick up a map as you walk in and follow the path to treasure!  Along the way you will encounter several of the things we use everyday.  Bring a friend!  Bring two!  If you complete the map and find treasure, you can earn a special badge in the T.E.C.H. Playground Mission Game and earn 1 hour of professional development credit!

For more details read this: