EDUCAUSE 2012 Presenter Profiles: Eric Hamilton

Meet Eric Hamilton

Eric HamiltonEric Hamilton is a professor at Pepperdine University, where he carries out research in learning technology innovation and learning environments of the future, primarily under support from the National Science Foundation. He also leads what is called a Science Across Virtual Institutes collaboration (SAVI) involving about three dozen researchers in the US and Finland.



Advancing Undergraduate Education With
Camtasia Through Mobile and Creative
Computing Cycles

Eric Hamilton + Israel Ramirez
This discussion shares research and innovation projects funded by the US National Science Foundation and the US Department of Education. The projects focus on the immersion and “flow state” of individuals engaged in media authorship. They also focus on enhancing the creativity and technological fluency of pre-service educators in college, and in-service teachers, in authoring instructional media. The project has been carried out in Los Angeles, Kenya, Uganda, and Australia. Though the research involves science and mathematics, the approach can be adapted to a full variety of college courses, and coupled with mobile devices or tablet computers, and have a marked impact on student learning across all disciplines.

Watch this presentation

Wednesday, Nov. 7: 1:40PM, 4:00PM
Thursday, Nov. 8: 11:00AM, 2:30PM

An Interview with Eric

I understand you’re currently doing some research on the flipped classroom model. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
Our research with TechSmith tools involves understanding how conceptual structures, technological fluency, and ability to explain and make scientific and mathematical ideas accessible to others can all improve through video media authorship. We also study the phenomenon of flow and deep engagement in learning, again using TechSmith tools. The websites and host our work in video development.The teachers in our network engage in classroom flipping using videos that they produce. It is a little different than relying on centralized resources. We have worked with about 200 teachers in the US, east Africa, and Australia.

Sometimes people think that using technology in educational settings is the easy way out of doing real teaching work. What do you have to say to that?
It is an old-paradigm complaint, actually. Even “real teaching work” has to move to different ways of seeing what teaching is. We are in the midst of a crowd-sourced reconceptualization of schooling, to make schooling more personalized and more effective, within strong learning community frameworks. These advances are only possible by marshaling new technologies in an imaginative way.

What does your dream classroom look like? What is the role of the teacher/students in this scenario?
The holy grail, to me, is to find conditions under which students and teachers are routinely engaged in what can be considered flow states while learning – high performance task immersion at the outer edge of ability, with individuals functioning in their own personal zones of creativity and self-regulated learning. The roles of teachers and students vary. I resist dualisms like “sage on the stage versus guide on the side” – in the dream classroom, teachers do both, depending on the needs of the moment and the needs of the student. Students, in my dream classroom, and in the research we do, collaborate closely with their teachers and come alongside them to author media to help others learn. There is a high level of self-regulated learning taking place, and it is a satisfying environment. The dream classroom is within grasp.

What are some of your favorite digital tools? What do you use them for and why?
I have a suite of tools I rely on pretty regularly. I think the Snipping Tool is one of the most useful utilities ever developed. I am a heavy proponent of touch and tablet computing. I have developed technology for collaborative screen sharing, and now rely on Smart’s Sync tools. I routinely use a large suite of android apps, and expect to expand our research in video media to include the panoramic cameras that are available on iPhones. I will be one of the first to buy the Surface tablet when it comes out with an Intel processor. I increasingly use dictation software, and am on the board of my favorite small company, Boulder Language Technologies, whose scientists have been responsible for some of the most important natural language dialog systems advances of the past twenty years.

If your house was burning down, what are 3 items you’d make sure to run out with?
Apart from family? My wife would bring non-digital family scrapbooks. Otherwise, a hard disk drive with digital records – over a terabyte of stuff that we have copies of in the house, but too much to fit on the cloud, at least on our budget! And the garage is on the lower floor, so I’d get the car out.