News and Initiatives

Maker Day 2016

Maker Day Logo

Calling all faculty and students of Education! Are you interested in the Maker Movement? Unsure of where to learn more? Or, perhaps it is a term not yet discovered in your education career? Either way, let’s begin with an understanding of Maker Movement’s focus on creativity in the interdisciplinary classroom. Knowing this, where and how are you able to become involved and expand your knowledge of the Maker Movement? Good news: it’s easy! EDU 210 (Introduction to Educational Technology) will be hosting a Maker Day conference open to anyone interested in learning more about the Maker Movement. The Maker Day conference is relevant to anyone in education as it “allows [them] to see the potential of Makerspaces in schools,” says Sarah Budd, former EDU 210 student. The event’s environment is both unique and interactive, providing hands-on sessions with educators, offering opportunities to explore video game design, welding simulation, eTextiles and much more.

Throughout the event, you will experience opportunities to engage creatively with educators in ways that will be memorable long after the day ends. Being the fourth Maker Day conference since its premiere in Fall of 2014, there is no doubt that the educators are, above anything else, excited to share the possibilities and potentials of the Maker Movement for the ever-evolving classroom of today. With all of this said, anyone whose interest is ‘creativity in the classroom’ is invited to visit the first floor atrium in Education North on March 22, 2016, anywhere between 2:00-6:00 P.M. Don’t hesitate, it’s your chance to explore, and expand the rapid momentum of the Maker Movement!

Click here for information about past events.

Contact for more information.

What is the Maker Movement?

Making is a pedagogical orientation that integrates imagination and creativity with design thinking, problem solving, and even more importantly, problem finding.

The purpose of a Maker Day is to introduce participants to the Maker Movement, focusing on four distinct yet related elements: design thinking, design challenge, collaborative prototyping of a design solution, group reflection.

Design thinking aligns nicely with the Maker Movement by helping makers consider what they would like to create and what might be needed. It allows makers to “creatively attack the world’s greatest problems and meet people’s most urgent needs” (Hatch, 2014, p. 10). As Walt Disney is attributed to have said, “It is kind of fun to do the impossible!” The process of design is a series of decisions that inform the user experience. “Design doesn’t just make things beautiful, it makes them work” (Dadich, 2013).

Digital Learning SLAM

In Celebration of Digital Learning Day, Technologies in Education invites you to attend and/or present at our Digital Learning SLAM, scheduled for February 17, 2016, beginning at 11:00AM in the Education Learning Commons located at Education North 3-104.

Digital Learning Day

This slam will showcase technology tips, tricks, and tools that are conducive to learning. All are welcome to attend and enjoy the presentations.

What is a Slam?

Each presenter provides a three-minute overview that outlines the benefits, accessibility, and major usage tips for a technology of their choice. This Slam will include technologies that are supportive to learning.

Our first slam took place on June 2016, 2014 where presenters rapidly showed off educational technology tools, tips, and tricks. You can read about it here!

Who will attend?

Staff and students within the Faculty of Education will be invited.

We are also looking for presenters, so if you know of some educational technology tips, tricks, or tools that can be used by others, please consider presenting.

Please sign up here.

If you have any questions, please contact Thank you for your interest!



MakerDay Conference 2015

Are you known as a tinkerer?
Does your basement resemble a mad scientist’s workshop?
Is your passion for technology contagious?

We are seeking your help! The DigiTAL team is hosting a MakerDay Conference for all EDU 210 students (pre-service teachers) to introduce design thinking and the use of technology in fostering critical thinking in their students.

If you’re passionate about innovative use of technology in teaching and learning, we want your help!


Tuesday, November 18
5:00pm - 6:20pm
University of Alberta
Education North 2nd floor

What are we looking for?


  • Examples of integrating design and building tools within a learning situation 
  • Creators showcasing unique uses of technology (applied design thinking!)
  • Online examples or showcased projects to share with our Online EDU 210 class


  • Greeters
  • Technology support
  • Photographers, videographers
What is the Maker Movement?

Making is a pedagogical orientation that integrates imagination and creativity with design thinking, problem solving, and even more importantly, problem finding.

The purpose of a Maker Day is to introduce participants to the Maker Movement, focusing on four distinct yet related elements: design thinking, design challenge, collaborative prototyping of a design solution, group reflection.

Design thinking aligns nicely with the Maker Movement by helping makers consider what they would like to create and what might be needed. It allows makers to “creatively attack the world’s greatest problems and meet people’s most urgent needs” (Hatch, 2014, p. 10). As Walt Disney is attributed to have said, “It is kind of fun to do the impossible!” The process of design is a series of decisions that inform the user experience. “Design doesn’t just make things beautiful, it makes them work” (Dadich, 2013).

Not sure if your idea fits with the MakerDay concept? Just ask us! Makerspaces are all about creating and design thinking. This includes concepts such as, claymation, raspberry pi, and more. Presenting your own use of these tools or a sharing a unique creation of your own are perfect examples of what we are looking for.

We have also reached out to groups such as Startup Edmonton, Edmonton Public Library, The Alberta Teachers' Association as well as some groups within the University. Suggestions of other contacts who may be interested are much appreciated.

Thank you in advance! We are so excited to create interest in the Makerspace Movement in the EDU 210 class and inspiring these pre-service teachers to take their teaching to the next level!

If you are able to volunteer or present, please contact us:

Colleen:, 780-492-3563 or




DigiTAL is Connected

On June 18, DigiTAL participated in the first ever CONNECT Conference put on by U of A IT staff, for U of A IT staff. Find out who presented and see how it went.




DigiTAL Slam!

The first ever DigiTAL Slam! took place on June 26 in the Education Learning Commons and was a huge success. It was standing room only as presenters rapidly showed off educational technology tools, tips, and tricks. Find out more and see how it went.




Heartbleed Security Vulnerability

On April 8, 2014, it was announced that the Heartbleed Security Vulnerability was discovered and affecting organizations worldwide. Heartbleed permits hackers to read the memory of systems protected by the vulnerable versions of OpenSSL software. This compromises the secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users, and the actual content. This allows attackers to eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from the services and users, and to impersonate services and users.

IST responded to this threat immediately and mitigated any potential risks to all IST-managed environments by doing the following:

  • All of the IST critical systems at risk due to the Heartbleed security vulnerability were patched and applied other important mitigation steps on the evening of April 8th. All remaining IST-managed environements were patched by April 11th.
  • IST immediately developed and put in place monitoring mechanisms to detect compromises and attempts.
  • IST scanned and continues to scan the University to detect and identify vulnerable servers.
  • IST’s Information Security Office developed and enacted a plan to follow-up with, assist, and ensure all departments and units are adequately safeguarded.

For more information, contact DigiTAL or visit the sites listed below.



Windows XP End of Life

As of April 8, 2014, Microsoft no longer offers support and updates for Windows XP.

Windows XP will continue to function after support ends; however, computers with Windows XP will be more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Further, as more software and hardware manufacturers continue to optimize for more recent versions of Windows, there will be a greater number of applications and devices that do not work with Windows XP.

It is recommended that all staff update their operating systems. Should you have any concerns or questions about the upgrade process, please contact Help Desk at or (780) 492-9400 for further information.

More Information from Microsoft



Tablets Galore!

DigiTAL has added to its tablet collection!

We still have our two MS Surface Tablets, which come equipped with Windows RT (the tablet version of the Windows operating system) and a the tablet version of MS Office, which includes Word, Excel, and Power Point. Overall, this version of the Surface Tablet is very useful.

We have also just purchased two MS Surface 2 Pros. These tablets come with Windows 8 (the full version of the Windows operating system) and quad core processors, making them extremely quick. However, MS Office is a separate purchase.

Want to find out more? Visit DigiTAL to test out any of our tablets. We are always happy to chat about technology.



DigiTAL has developed two eBooks that can be easily added to any eClass course

Student Support Guide

The Student Support Guide provides students with quick access to a number of resources to help support them as current students at the University of Alberta. Information about the services and how to access them is outlined. This eBook supports the eCampus Alberta Essential Quality Standard “Learner Support: A list of learner support resources with links to the sources is provided.”

eClass Start Here

The eClass Start Here eBook provides some basic tips and tricks to help make your eClass learning experience smooth and seamless. Through this eBook, students can learn about getting their technology ready for eClass, downloading files, participating in a discussion, submitting an assignment, checking their grades, and more! Investing a few minutes at the beginning of the course can save your students hours of frustration later on!

To access these eBooks, join the Blended and Online Development eClass Resource Course by logging into eClass and then clicking here. The enrolment code is blended.

For assistance with either of these eBooks, please contact DigiTAL



YouTube and Copyright Law

Since its formation in 2005, YouTube has provided us with a steady stream of cute kittens and fascinating documentaries, but there are important considerations when using it in an educational setting.

YouTube videos are protected by digital locks. Though it's possible to download them using third party software, YouTube's Terms of Use clearly state this is not allowed. Additionally, The Copyright Modernization Act "makes it illegal to circumvent or bypass technologies used to prevent unauthorized access to copyrighted material."

When using YouTube videos in an educational context, keep in mind that while there are educational exceptions in the new copyright law, there are none for breaking digital locks.

If you have further questions about YouTube or copyright law, contact DigiTAL and we'll be happy to help.

Undefined, U. (null). What the Copyright Modernization Act Says About Digital Locks - Balanced Copyright. [online] Retrieved from: [Accessed: 26 Sept 2013].



Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 vs. iPad Mini

We love the iPad Mini, but since joining our stock of devices, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 has won us over as well. Here we compare the two tablets so you can decide which one you’d like to borrow.

First Impressions

The Note comes with Samsung’s S Pen and it proves very useful. Using the pen to take notes is such a good experience it could easily make its way into conference rooms at the office.

Apple’s aluminum unibody build wins over Samsung's all-plastic shell, but both are comfortable to hold, and they are equally vulnerable to damage if dropped.

Not everyone enjoys Samsung's version of Android, but it shines on the Note 8.0 with just the right combination of features that take advantage of the hardware, and standard Android functionality.

CPU, GPU And Memory

The Galaxy Note 8.0 has a more powerful processor, using Samsung's Exynos 4412 quad-core system-on-chip with 2 GB of system RAM with a 1.6GHz clock rate.

The iPad Mini uses Apple's A5 custom SoC with two ARM Cortex-A9 cores running at 1.0GHz.

Apple offers 16-, 32- and 64-GB editions, while the Note comes as 16- and 32-GB editions. However, Samsung's device allows up to 64 GB expansion through its microSD card slot.


Samsung's display is a little larger and more pixel-dense than Apple's, though probably not enough to make a difference to most eyes. The Galaxy Note 8.0 is built around an 8-inch LED with a maximum resolution of 1,280 x 800, or a density of 189 pixels-per-inch.

The iPad Mini's 7.9-inch LED maxes out at a resolution of 1,024 x 768 for a pixel density of 163ppi.


The cameras on the Galaxy Note 8.0 and iPad Mini are virtually identical, but the Note comes with tons of cool software designed to enhance photos.

The rear-facing cameras on both tablets have 5MP sensors, auto-focus, no flash, and capture 1080p, 30fps video.

The Note 8.0’s front-facing camera has a 1.3MP sensor, while the Mini’s has a 1.2MP sensor. Both front-facing cameras capture 720p video and can geotag photos and videos.


The 16GB iPad Mini is available with Wi-Fi at its base price of $329.

The Galaxy Note 8.0 starts at $399 with 16 GB.

The Bottom Line

The Galaxy Note 8.0 and the iPad Mini are approximately the same size, shape, and weight, with comparable cameras.

Advantages of the Galaxy Note 8.0 include a faster, more powerful processor for applications and graphics, pen-based input, multitasking, memory expandability, and access to the file system. It also has an open source operating system that can be modified if need be.

The iPad Mini is less expensive, can operate on cellular networks, offers access to a vast ecosystem of applications and developers, is housed in an aluminum case, and provides a sturdy, multi-function connector.

Final Points

  • If you already have an iPhone, then your existing app collection can be loaded onto the iPad Mini.
  • It is much easier to set up the UofA Google accounts on the Note 8.0. Punch in your U of A email and password and it instantly starts syncing all of your Google apps.
  • The Apple iPad has better battery life in our experience, especially if you leave Google to sync (push) data all the time. 
  • Whichever you choose, we believe you will be satisfied with either of these products.



EDU 210 Testimonial

EDU 210 is a course all education students take that supports, extends, and enhances undergraduate education student learning, inquiry, and creativity through critical digital technologies. Through the development of personal learning networks and ePortfolios, students explore the most common educational technology theories, tools, and trends present in today's schools.

One EDU 210 student shares her thoughts on the course and how it will help her as a teacher:

Thank you so much for an excellent course. This was the first online course I have ever taken and I enjoyed it so much. I was nervous to speak on the microphone to people I have never met, but you were such a kind and welcoming instructor that it became easy. I can tell you are very passionate and knowledgeable about technology, and as a future educator, that is inspiring.

I am so excited to use what you have taught me in this course in my IPT. Thank you so much for providing me with such a positive educational technology experience that I will take with me into my career as a teacher.

-Alexandra Candler, EDU 210 student



Faculty of Education - Citizen Science Project

This year, EdTech Services embarked on a number of innovative project-based initiatives that had us creating partnerships with researchers or units across campus to create technology content that would support the needs of our partners, while also providing high-quality educational content to allow students across the province to participate in the projects.

One of these projects is the Citizen Science App project, which is a partnership between EdTech Services, Dr. Norma Nocente from Secondary Education, Dr. Jerine Pegg from Elementary Education, and Erin Cameron, a PhD student from the Department of Biological Sciences. This app will allow students and other citizens from across the province to use their mobile devices to gather research data about earthworms. Many people do not know that earthworms are actually not native to most of Canada and were brought here on boats with European settlers. As an invasive species, researchers are continuously monitoring the impact of earthworms on Alberta ecosystems.

Using the app, users will be able to gather data in the form of images, GPS locations and field notes will then be submitted to a central database that will be used to populate a web site where students can explore the data in multiple ways. Students will be able to examine the data visually, using Google Maps, and will also be able to download the data as an Excel spreadsheet, to be manipulated and analyzed in the classroom. Our web site will also consist of an in-depth field guide on worms, information on data gathering techniques, and a number of high-quality curricular materials to guide students and teachers through potential activities relating to the role of earthworms in Alberta ecosystems. These curricular materials will initially be created for students in grade 7.

This app is almost complete and we are currently working on the curricular materials for our web site. We will be piloting the project in the summer/fall of 2013 with the goal of recruiting teachers to use it in the classroom for the fall of 2013 and the spring of 2014.

For more information about Erin and her earthworm research, please visit:

The Alberta Worm Invasion Project -

New Trail Magazine: Earthworm Invasion -



Educational Technology Demo Day

Educational Technology Demo Day



We Need Your Mobile Devices!

EdTech Services is in need of your old mobile devices, specifically, Apple and Android phones and tablets! This year, EdTech Services has started work on a number of initiatives that involve creating mobile apps. To make sure that our apps work properly on as many devices as possible, we need devices to test them on. The more phones and tablets we have, the easier it will be for us to make sure that our apps work and show up properly on as many devices as possible.

If you have any old working phones or tablets at home that you could donate to our unit, we would love to take them off your hands! Please bring them down to the EdTech Learning Commons (3-104 Education North) or contact and we will arrange to have someone come and get them from your office. Any and all Android or Apple phones or tablets are welcome. If you are donating an Android device and have a charger, that would also be useful for us to have, but it is not necessary. Before you drop off your device, please reset it so that all personal data has been removed, and remove your SIM card (if you don't know how to do either of these things, we can help you when you drop it off). Please note that we will make sure that any device you are willing to donate is properly recycled when it reaches the end of its useable life.



Internship Initiative

The Department of Educational Psychology and EdTech Services are collaborating on a project that provides Master's students in the Technology in Education program with the opportunity to work as a team member on technology projects within a real world work environment. The EDIT 578 Internship course involves placing students on work projects that are related to their areas of interest and that meet the needs of the workplace.

Janet Welch, Assistant Dean, Information Technology and Computing and manager of EdTech Services is the course instructor overseeing the course design, student projects and assessment. Each of the 5 students in the course have been matched with an EdTech Consultant who is the project manager. In addition to completing 100 hours of on-task activities over the term, students are maintaining a personal reflective journal, a formal project log and will deliver a presentation to the class on their work as an intern.

Projects include developing an augmented reality learning object, building an online learning resource portal and assisting with the redesign of three courses within the Faculty to a blended delivery model.



Google Apps for Education Alberta Summit

Win a two-day pass (a $350 value) to the first annual Google Apps for Education Alberta Summit being held at the Fantasyland Hotel February 25 & 26, 2013. This two-day event, hosted by The Alberta Regional Professional Development Consortium (ARPDC), led by the Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium (ERLC), will focus on using Google Apps for Education to promote student learning and achievement in both K-12 and higher education. For Summit details click here.

If you are interested in attending (and available to attend), please complete our easy online form with your expression of interest. We will make a random draw from all eligible entries received. All Faculty of Education students, staff and faculty are welcome to submit an entry. The draw will be made on Tuesday, February 19th at noon.



Minerva Deaf Research Lab (MDRL)

In the summer of 2012, EdTech Services worked with the Minerva Deaf Research Lab (MDRL) to develop the MDRL Toolkit. The MDRL team was awarded a grant from Alberta Education to create this toolkit, which was meant to be a resource to support institutions, schools, agencies and individuals who work with deaf or hard of hearing students. The team needed a web site that was easily editable and that would allow a number of people to add content to their growing toolkit database and tutorial resources. EdTech Services consultants and programmers worked with the team to distill their vision for the site, identify the needs that it would have to meet and create the site itself using the Drupal content management system. The site was launched at the end of August during their Summer Institute and the MDRL group continues to add content to it on a regular basis.

To visit the MDRL Toolkit, please visit

EdTech Services is pleased to offer larger-scale web development services on a cost-recovery basis. Projects and units looking to build or re-build sites outside of the university CMS should get in touch with EdTech Services for an initial consultation. We consider these projects on a case-by-case basis.

To arrange a consultation about your own web project, please contact us at 780-492-3563 or



Library Resources eClass Plug-In

When the Faculty of Education invited staff to submit proposals for “TIGER” grants in 2011, one of the approved proposals was to create a library resources block to integrate the University of Alberta’s library resources and services into eClass (Moodle), similar to a project that had been done at York University. The block was to include access to the library’s “LibGuides” service (, which are collections of library materials that have been compiled by University of Alberta librarians. LibGuides have been created for numerous courses, subject areas, and general help topics.

Ed Tech Services’ Development team is working with Coutts Librarians to build the plug-in. Phase 1 -- which uses a static text block with pre-set access to the appropriate LibGuides and other library resources, plus a library catalogue search field and links to access general library services -- has been tested and piloted. In Fall 2012, the plug-in was added to 31 classes in 6 subject areas. The library conducted surveys to gather statistics on how students used the library links and whether they found the plug-in useful. Of students surveyed, about 60% said they had used the plug-in and about 40% had used it more than three times. About 75% of students stated that it would be useful to also have the block in other courses.

In Phase 2, the block will be extended as a Moodle plug-in to allow automatic refresh of the links based on parameters in the LibGuides system. In this phase, once the block has been added to a course, librarians will be able to automatically update the block by setting tags within the LibGuides system itself. This will allow the librarians to manage the search results directly in LibGuides. The course instructor will simply need choose whether or not to include the block for their course. Phase 2 is expected to be ready for production in March 2013.

If you are interested in having a Library Resources block added to your eClass course (see the attached graphic for a sample), please contact Debbie Feisst (

Library Resources by Subject