Friday, October 30, 2015

Help compile a resource of psychology podcast episodes

We need your help! In November at the NCSS Annual Conference Rob McEntarffer and I are presenting "Now Hear This," a look at using podcast episodes in introductory psychology classes. While I have collected a slew of them to share, I know there are many out there that YOU think are pretty great. So I created the Google Form below (and if it's not embedded, please click here to go to the form directly) to create a starting point to collect these resources.

Here is what we are looking for:

  • podcast episodes that you think would be good for a intro psych class, whether high school or college (note: it's better to suggest episodes rather than entire podcasts - for example, there are many episodes of This American Life which are excellent for this purpose, but not all of them)
  • why you like this podcast - what makes it compelling
  • where it fits in the curriculum (using the fourteen content areas from AP Psychology as a guide)
  • HOW to use podcasts - we are looking for a wide variety of ideas here
  • who you are - tell us who you are and how to get in touch with you

Please share these with us by Friday, November 6.
Following the NCSS conference, we will publish the compiled list for everyone to use as a resource and continue to add to! (Also, here is a list of all the psych-related presentations at NCSS.)

If you have questions, let me know ( Thanks!
--posted by Steve


I spotted a few GENIUS level psychology related costumes from Facebook friends - check it out!

Can you tell who this is? Hint: he's been having trouble with emotional control...
(source: I believe this is Psychology teacher James Roscoe - James, if you're out there, let us all know how you did this!)

If you don't recognize this costume, ask anyone who goes to movies with kids...
(source: Psychology teacher Melissa Rogers - cheer up, Melissa!)

Get it? Get it? I wish I could remember the term for this ... let me check my mother textbook ... Oops! I meant ANOTHER textbook!

(source: I don't know! Attributed on Facebook to the mysterious"Cookie Cookalooka")

If you have other psych related Halloween goodies, please share them in the comments! 

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Sunday, October 25, 2015

#ThisPsychMajor and Political Fallout

In case you missed it, Republican Presidential candidate Jeb Bush, recently stated that most psychology majors would end up working in fast food. This spawned a series of people tweeting what #ThisPsychMajor does in their professional lives. Psychology Today blogger Travis Langley posted a number of tweets stating what the psych majors have done. You can find that information here:

From the blog post:
""Universities ought to have skin in the game," former Florida governor and current presidential candidate Jeb Bush said at a South Carolina town hall meeting Saturday morning, "When a student shows up, they ought to say 'Hey, that psych major deal, that philosophy major thing, that's great, it's important to have liberal arts … but realize, you're going to be working a Chick-fil-A.'" (link is external) Psychology and philsophy [sic] weren't random examples used to put down all college education because he also bemoaned a shortage of, among other things, information technologists and teachers."
Dr. Ali Mattu,, has extensively covered the event as well, retweeting many posts, including my own. Below is a picture he tweeted about his own work. Be sure to check out his YouTube show and other work-they are linked on his Twitter account.

For checking out the posts directly, here is the twitter search:

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Monday, October 19, 2015

Iowa Teachers of Psych Conference is Nov 6th

The midwest sure does seem to be hub of psychology-teacher professional development lately. This time, it is in Iowa!

Image result for iowa

The 16th annual Iowa Teachers of Psych Conference is being held in Pella, Iowa at Central College and all are welcome.

Information can be found here  and registration is a mere $35.00.

----Posted by Amy Ramponi

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Teaching with GIFs?

We should probably start with the pronunciation controversy: some people insist that  ".gif" is pronounced like the first syllable of "Jiffy," while others are equally passionate that it sounds like the first part of "Gift." I don't care how anyone pronounces it :)

But something I do care about: maybe we could use .gifs in teaching? Greg Shenk, psych teacher extraordinaire from CT shared this .gif his students made of neural depolarization. I love it - short, detailed, and on a loop. Might be cool to have this running behind a lecture/discussion of depolarization, talking about the process and pointing at details in the animation. Or students could look at it on their own devices and be ready to narrate the process using correct terminology? Cool possibilities.

Does anyone else do "animations" or other small videos like this with your classes? Maybe this could be a new thing!

Credit for the video goes to a few of Greg's awesome students:
Alec Bernardi
Aleks Nowicki
Mason DiCicco

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Replication - an opportunity for high school researchers?

The article from Noba below is a good read, and got me thinking about connections between the "replication crisis" in psychology and high school psychology research projects:

The Replication Crisis in Psychology

The Noba article addresses the importance of replication thoroughly and makes a compelling (to me) argument for the importance of thinking of the "replication crisis" carefully AND the importance of replication to the field of psychology.

Which made me wonder: can high school psychology teachers and students help? Many of us help students complete research projects - what if high school psych students took on the task of replicating a psychology study and sharing/publishing their results? I wonder if projects like "Center for Open Science" would be willing to help publicize well-done replication studies by high school psychology students?

Hmm. Would love to hear your thoughts. If anyone wants to take this on, I'd love to talk with you.

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

TV Alert: David Eagleman and the Brain

David Eagleman, of Baylor University has written and presented a new series on the brain. It looks incredibly cool. I just watched one of the streaming segments on energy used in he brain when one is a beginner versus when one is an expert-they used a champion cup stacker. Eagleman has a nack for describing the brain in ways that are new and helpful to the viewer. This is a great follow up to his book, Incognito.

Am on an iPad, so no cool graphics, but check out the link and record this show. You will be using it as an amazing complement to Brain Games. The site below has resources and video clips you can watch. Launch the interactive link to get to the videos. 

Check your local PBS station for details on air times.

Posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Monday, October 12, 2015

Project Look Sharp: A Media Literacy Site

I recently ran across a cool site called Project Look Sharp. In their words, "Project Look Sharp is a media literacy initiative of Ithaca College that develops and provides lesson plans, media materials, training, and support for the effective integration of media literacy with critical thinking into classroom curricula at all education levels, including integration with the new common core standards." Definitely worth a look if you deal with any of the topics below. They also have some intriguing lesson plans and materials to use.

Check them out at:

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Grading: Making the Mundane Less...

When I was a small child, I used to like to play school. My favorite parts of the pretend school day were writing on the chalkboard and grading papers. While chalkboards have been replaced with whiteboards, the seemingly endless grading has not disappeared. In what ways can teachers make the mundane and endless task of grading less so?

I've discovered (maybe new to you, likely not...but I thought I'd share anyway) a few tricks to the trade that might make your grading tasks easier, or, if nothing else, might save an awful lot of paper and keep your desk a bit tidier.

Classmarker - this is a website in which you can house exams for your students, you can push out tests on the day of an exam electronically. It is quite slick, because the questions can be randomized as well as the options randomized, so it gets rid of many cheating possibilities. Students get instant feedback and the exams scores can be easily transferred to the grade book. I really like the paperless options and there's never any lost test sheets. A free Classmarker account give you 100 tests a month, with other pricing options starting at $20. With a switch in many's teaching philosophy to a "Growth Mindset" - this also makes retakes a breeze. No more looking for the copy of the test they want to retake from under the piles and piles on your desk.
The drawbacks: well, cost, for one. If you have many sections, 100 tests a month likely isn't gonna cut it. So you'd have to take the paid options. Another drawback I found was that many of my kids had a difficult time remembering passwords and keeping that straight. Despite directions to change it to their school password or to write it down, there were always a handful that couldn't recall their password and thus class time was spent working on that. Other drawbacks include the worry by some AP teachers that "AP tests aren't taken online so I don't think this works for me." I see both sides to that argument, but in the wise words of my colleague Brad, "Kids nowadays don't know how to fill in a bubble sheet on a standardized test?" Students may not like the option of an online test - it doesn't give them opportunities to cross off options like a paper-pencil test, which some kids like. Also, it doesn't allow for kids to skip questions and come back to them as easily as a paper-pencil version. A final drawback I found was that typing in all the exam questions (as I don't think it allows me to upload from the test bank I use for many questions) was time-consuming.

Socrative - I enjoy Socrative very much for short quizzes or formatives in my class. I love the spreadsheet of scores that gets sent to you right away. I love that you can put the explanation in to the questions so kids know what the right answer is right away if they get it wrong. I like that they can go through a quiz several times for repeated practice (if they so chose) and I like that it is paperless and easy to find on the site if they miss a quiz and they need to come in and make one up. (Again, not going into the files on a computer, printing it off, running to get the printed copy, and then having to hand grade it.) The drawbacks to Socrative are that they do have to have a device that hooks up to wifi or that you have to be 1:1, the fact that some kids like the paper-pencil option to cross off distractors. Socrative is FREE and in my honest opinion, glorious!

Zipgrade - (full disclosure, ZipGrade recently generously donated free subscriptions to the EPIC conference held at UWGB). Can I just say that I love this app? I have it downloaded right to my phone and it has completely gotten rid of the fact that I ever have to run upstairs to use the archaic scantron machine EVER again. Zipgrade is an app on my smart phone that allows me to scan student multiple choice papers and give them an instant score and instant feedback. The key is stored right in my phone so any time a kids needs to make up a test all I have to do is pull the key right up and there it is! (No more looking for the scantron key). It is also super helpful that I (or my kids) can scan their paper right when they finish a test and then start working on test corrections right away if they so choose. I have also seen a dramatic increase in kids staying after on the test day to ask questions on what they got wrong while everything is fresh in their head. Zipgrade saves the student's score right in the app on my phone for an easy transfer to my Infinite Campus grade book. It isn't totally paperless, as you have to print off the "bubble sheets" for students to mark their answers on. There are diagnostics that are great for analyzing your questions. Another benefit is that if a student looses their "bubble sheet" you have a scanned copy saved right in the app. A small drawback I have noticed is that when students use pencil sometimes the glare from the pencil lead's shineyness will cause my iPhone camera to "miss" the mark and mark it wrong, so I have to be careful to check kid's papers twice to make sure there aren't any lighting issues. Overall, I'm super happy with Zipgrade and its inclusion in my classroom. Another drawback is that it isn't free. The small price of $6.99 for a year is totally worth it, IMHO. 

Akindi - our school district has moved to using this site. Since I'd bought a year subscription to Zipgrade, I don't know too much about Akindi. I believe Akindi is very similar to ZipGrade. Akindi has free trials with benefits to its use including analytics, customizable scan sheets, and other benefits I am interested in hearing about from my colleagues. (They just started using this - so I'll check in with them soon.) Akindi is not free, and I had a difficult time finding out on their website just how much it is, exactly, a year. 

GradeCam (full disclosure, Gradecam donated free year memberships to the EPIC conference held at UWGB, as well.) I don't personally use this product, but after investigating the website it seems like many benefits to it, for sure! This product is a purchased product, but for a few dollars a month, it seems like they give you a lot of great tools to assess students. I really like that you can put standards in, and that there's an option to transfer to the gradebook and also export options. Gradecam offers free trials for teachers, so it certainly seems worth taking a look at their site and seeing if it is right for you and your classroom. Gradecam states on their website the following, additional, benefits: immediate personal feedback, sharing assessments with other teachers in real time, use of any web or smart phone camera, and easy links to state and common core standards. 

What other options are out there? What do you like to use for quick, painless assessments or for longer ones? What are the benefits and drawbacks to what you're using? Are any of you stuck with Scantrons? Email me if you want to share your experiences with any online or app grading systems at

Here's to hoping you're spending your Sunday watching football with a crisp Oktoberfest (or warm apple cider for me), and NOT grading papers. 

- Posted by Amy Ramponi