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Tools for the Entrepreneurial Classroom from eLearning 2014

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Sunday, February 23, 2014

Barbara Millard, Associate Professor, Entrepreneurship, Johnson County Community College
NACCE Faculty Ambassador for HP LIFE 

 After attending the eLearning 2014 conference, if someone were to ask me to identify my favorite tool from the many I was introduced to at the conference, it would be like asking me "which of your children is your favorite?" Of course, I don't have an "overall favorite" child but I do know which is my favorite when it comes to a shopping trip, a game of racquetball or an afternoon of trying out recipes. The same is true for "web enhancement" tools. As I begin to use them or expand my use of some I'm already familiar with, I will have favorites depending on the application and benefits they offer to my online and face to face classes.


Here are a few that I am bringing home in my tool bag to try out or expand upon and how I'm planning to test them:

 Visual content

 My students seem to struggle with the industry section of their business plan. The time they spend trying to organize industry revenue, growth and trends into cohesive paragraphs seems to take away from the main point of the assignment...looking at the data itself. I have high hopes that putting the data into infographics will make it more meaningful to them....we'll see!!!!


An application shared at the conference has also inspired me to sometimes use Learnist (which has been described as the Pinterest for sharing learning resources) an alternative to discussions when students are expanding their business ideas. I don't know about your students, but mine are tired of discussion boards...and so am I.



 I had only recently heard about badges and wasn't convinced that there was a place for them in our curriculum. However, after attending a session on badging and gamification, I can't wait to create some for our program and my student club as well as share the concept with student services as a means to increase student involvement.


Online Conversations

 I've used some voice tools for online conversations with students but, sparked by presentations at the conference, I can't wait to use one of these tools to give verbal feedback to my students on their financial spreadsheets. Why hadn't I thought about this before? It will be so much easier for me to explain concepts to them and I believe, easier for them to understand.

I'm not even sure how to categorize this last If I had to chose a favorite, this would be it. Partly because I've not been exposed to anything like it before and partly because it solves a problem I've been wrestling with. allows students to watch a video and synchronize their notes with the video content. They can submit this and synchronization....for grading. In my mind, this provides a more meaningful learning experience than a video followed by a quiz or a post to a discussion board.


One last thought. This is just a sampling if the many, many tools I saw at the eLearning 2014 conference. Categorizing them and keeping up with new ones could be a full time job. I was thrilled when I learned that the Instructional Design departments at some schools have an online resource page that categorizes and updates web enhancement tools for their faculty. One of my first stops when I return to my campus will be at our Educational Technology office requesting this service for our faculty.


If you have favorite tools that apply well to entrepreneurship, please share them with us in the comment section below.


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