Category Archives: Classroom Technologies

Six Swell Reasons to Create Your Own YouTube Channel

The Center for Teaching and Learning Presents:

 A Play About YouTube

Person A: Come here and look at this!
You: What?
Person A
: Just look at this, it’s SOOOOO funny.
You: I’m kind of in the middle of something-
Person A:  (thrusting laptop in your face) You’re going to love it.
You: It’s just a cat sleeping.
Person A: Wait for it… It really gets good in a minute (seven minutes elapse)
You: What am I suppose to be watching?
Person A: Maybe this is not the right one…. Wait a minute… Okay this is the one that I wanted you to see.
You: Sigh.


This may be a scenario that you have experienced with YouTube.  We all have. However, YouTube is not just for crazy cat people and adolescent boys blowing things up.  YouTube is a great way to make your lectures and video available to your students.  Here are six swell reasons why we think you should:

  1.  It’s easy and convenient.  Setting up your own account is simple and you don’t have to wait for some department to fill out a form.

  2. Easy access for students.

  3. It’s free.

  4. You have complete control and ownership of your work and information.

  5. Security: You can make your videos available to everyone, keep them private, or allow limited access with a password.

  6. You can organize your channel as you wish, make playlists, add or delete items as you see fit.

One way integrate your video into class is by linking your videos to ANGEL. If you are interested in setting up your own channel to promote your course, your students’ work, or your narrated PowerPoint presentations, come and see us.  We’ll help you get started. P.S. We won’t make you sit through any videos of the staff’s pets or children doing ridiculous things…unless you ask.

Changes to Mediated Classroom Carts

Macomb Community College is in the process of updating its Mediated Classroom Carts. The new carts feature faster computers, Blue Ray DVD players, and updated document cameras. In keeping up with the rapid advance of technology, however, some older technology is being retired. The Blue Ray (high definition) DVD players no longer can play VHS tapes. Manufacturers of these players consider VHS tape an obsolete technology and, as they have done in the past with the players for 8 track tapes, audio cassettes, and video disks, they have simply stopped making them. Faculty with VHS tapes need to make other arrangements if they want to use the content on these tapes in their classes.

Possible alternatives include contacting the publisher of the tape to ask if a replacement in Blue Ray (high definition DVD) or streaming media format were available. Copyright law prohibits the conversion of media from one format to another without permission, but if that permission is granted (and the Library can help you with this) the CTL can often convert VHS tapes to DVD or streaming media. Conversions of this type, however, may take up to a week and copyright clearance can take much longer. Nor is copyright clearance usually free. The library may purchase materials in DVD or streaming formats. Any such purchases become part of the library’s collection. The librarians are always happy to assist other faculty in finding new materials in appropriate formats.

Questions about media conversion should be directed to the Center for Teaching and Learning,, 586.226.4774, and questions about copyright clearance should be directed to Bruce Bett at the Library,, 586.445.7880.

Another issue recently encountered with the new equipment is the inability of the Blue Ray players to correctly navigate the menu of older non-Blue Ray DVDs. Faculty experiencing issues of this sort should try to use the DVD players installed in the computers that are installed in the carts. Software to run DVDs from the computer is on the desktop of these computers and should give faculty complete control of the DVD menus. Questions about this issue should be directed to the Service Desk,, 586.445.7156.

“Flip” out!

In case you haven’t noticed, we have some cool technology in the CTL. Oops, sorry, I meant to say cool AND useful! The cool and useful instructional technology item that I’d like to highlight today is the FlipCam!

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Why care about instructional technology?!

The “internets” are full of great resources for educators. After a little searching, I’ve found another sister blog that is packed-full of great info. It’s called Emerging Ed Tech and it’s managed by the Director of Institutional Info & Tech from The College of Westchester in White Plains, NY. Check it out!

Specifically, this article caught my attention: 5 Reasons Why Educators Need To Embrace Internet Technologies. If you’re still unsure about technology and the internet’s place in the classroom, the points in the article may change your mind.

And as always, if you find any good resources, please share them with us in the comments section below!

TurningPoint EXTREME!

As we’ve mentioned before here, here and here, TurningPoint is a very popular and useful technology that allows instructors to collect real-time electronic responses from students. There are many applications for this technology, not the least of which being an increased level of involvement by your students during class. Some instructors have even used the “fun” word to describe TurningPoint. Scary, I know!

Today I’d like to share some additional info that we have gathered, which will help you take TurningPoint to the next level. Please click on the graphic above and review highlights of these additional features, then contact us when you’re ready to try it out in your class!

TurningPoint Tip – Easier Class Lists!

If you are a current TurningPoint user, then we’ve got a cool tip for you! If you’re not yet a TurningPoint user, read this and then contact us to try a kit out for yourself!

Most instructors use TurningPoint to poll students anonymously, getting quick feedback and keeping them awake engaged during class. However, TurningPoint also allows instructors to create “participant lists” ahead of time, so the responses can be tied to specific students. This opens up new possibilities, including scored competitions, games, quizzes, and more meaningful data reports. The reason that many instructors have avoided using participant lists, is simply because they didn’t want to take the time to type in each student’s name and device (remote) ID into a list. Well now, there’s a better way!

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PDF Power – part 2

This is a continuation from the previous post, and includes an exciting conclusion to the “unofficial guide to everything that you need to know about PDFs… For Dummies… Cliff Notes… abridged edition 1.0! ”

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Free alternative to MS Office

I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but at some point in the last decade, Microsoft’s army of desktop applications conquered the PC world. Since then, the productivity suite that includes Word, PowerPoint, and Excel has been reigning over us with an iron fist. Does it have to be this way? No! Set me free!

Oh… wait… sorry about that. Where was I? Ah, yes, I was talking about desktop publishing application alternatives. Well, it just so happens, there IS a very functional, very free alternative to MS Office available right now!

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Group projects with Google Docs

Group projects are an invaluable learning tool, there’s no denying that fact. When incorporated into a balanced lesson plan, group work helps to nurture many skills that students will need in the real world, such as:

  1. an understanding the dynamics of a team and member roles
  2. professional behaviors like meeting deadlines and taking responsibility
  3. ability to work with others through complex problems

Great, so let’s assign some group projects! But hold on just a minute, there are a few issues that we’ll have to deal if this is going to work. First of all, what if the students in some of the groups have difficulty syncing up their schedules to meet outside of class? Or, worse, yet, what if you’re teaching an online class? What then? Well, those multicolored, search-crazy folks over at Google may just have an answer for you!

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7 things you should know about…

Have you seen the Educause website yet? If not, what are you waiting for? Educause is a great resource for educators. Among those resources is their “7 Things you should know about “ series, which provides information on emerging instructional technologies in plain English!

Here is a link to one such article that relates directly to our last post:

7 Things You Should Know about Clickers
(Next to “view this resource,” click on the PDF icon.)