Dish Up Some Delight with a Dynamic Synchronous, Fully Facilitated, Virtual Technology Test Kitchen

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Brief Abstract

Attendees in this workshop will participate in a facilitated synchronous virtual Technology Test Kitchen, testing technology tools, investigating how to construct interactive, synchronous online Technology Test Kitchens, and discussing the significance of a safe/fun space for exploring existing and emerging technology tools to incorporate in courses across the disciplines.


When COVID-19 forced the world to go virtual, Sierra Adare-Tasiwoopa ápi, the Instructional Technologist in the Center for Teaching & Learning Excellence at Nevada State College, reimagined the Center’s Technology Test Kitchen as a fully synchronous online version. Before joining Nevada State College, Sierra worked as the Instructional Support Specialist at Niagara University, developing online courses in the effective use of Canvas and online course design, in addition to providing training on Canvas and other classroom technologies. She managed the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, conducting a variety of active and integrative learning workshops centered around hands-on, concentrated, independent or scaffolded themes that emphasize the latest research and best practices in instructional technology, outcomes, assessment, pedagogy, and online learning for both the U.S. and Canadian campuses. Sierra has presented interactive sessions on educational technology, course gamification, escape rooms, role playing games, and storytelling at the Lilly Conference, InstructureCon, the Intermountain Regional Teaching 4 Learning Conference, the Oral History Association conference, the American Studies Storytellers conference, Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers conference, and the Nevada State College Active Learning Retreat. She is the co-author of Gamification in Higher Education: A How-To Instructional Guide being published by Stylus Publishing in 2023.

Extended Abstract

By their very nature Technology Test Kitchens are interactive. Pre-pandemic, Technology Test Kitchens resembled cooking competition shows such as Iron Chef. At individual stations set up around the room, the “head chef” and a number of “chefs de partle” demonstrated a specific technology tool that the faculty “commis chefs” could then try out with a knowledgeable chef on hand to provide guidance and support while the faculty “commis chef” experimented with the tool. A menu highlights the existing and emerging technology available for testing, and the “head chef” provides “recipes” for how to use each technology tool that faculty could take with them. Then COVID-19 struck, forcing everyone in education to think outside of the classroom, training, and teaching and learning center box. As seen with taking on-campus courses online, creating a virtual Technology Test Kitchen wasn’t as simple as just transferring the in-person experience to the online environment. The Technology Test Kitchen needed a complete renovation.

Nevertheless, how can an online Technology Test Kitchen best serve the faculty community accustomed to immediate support? This is especially relevant when faculty feedback indicates that the most important components of the Technology Test Kitchen are the one-on-one collaborative practice and the guidance on standby to assist. Can these crucial pieces be replicated in an online Technology Test Kitchen? What might this look like?

Listening to our faculty’s comments and concerns, we established our entirely online Technology Test Kitchen as a synchronous and fully facilitated in real-time venue through our LMS Canvas. The virtual Technology Test Kitchen accommodates both the drop-in-for-a-short-while instructors and the stay-for-the-whole-time participants. Additionally, it showcases under-utilized LMS and other educational and emerging technology tools by building the menu around them. The popularity of the virtual edition of our Technology Test Kitchen far exceeds that of our pre-pandemic in-person version to the point that we have gone exclusively and permanently online, holding a virtual Technology Test Kitchen during the fall and spring semesters. Lastly, just as simulations provide students with a safe environment in which to fail and try again, our virtual Technology Test Kitchen offers faculty a space to safely tinker with technology tools.

Similarly, this “try it yourself” workshop gives attendees the chance to explore an actual, facilitated, synchronous virtual Technology Test Kitchen. Investigate diverse pedagogical approaches that incorporate educational technology in order to accelerate student engagement and motivation. Play with some technology tools that you can easily plug into your upcoming courses. Gain hands-on experience in turning everyday technology tools into online games or game elements. Reflect on some technology tools that enhance student knowledge acquisition or transfer while balancing cognitive load.

Level of Participation:

Attendees will learn how to use some technology tools by testing them in an actual synchronous virtual Technology Test Kitchen. Furthermore, working in teams, attendees will participate in a game created in Padlet. This will initiate a brainstorming session on unique ways to incorporate tested technology tools in online courses. Afterward, we will demonstrate ways of setting up a synchronous virtual Technology Test Kitchen. We encourage attendees to pose questions throughout the workshop.

Session Goals:

Attendees will be able to strategize ways to implement a synchronous virtual Technology Test Kitchen, utilizing the tools available in their institution’s LMS and other available and new educational technology tools. Additionally, attendees will be able to communicate the benefits of real-time, interactive virtual Technology Test Kitchens.

The takeaways for participants in this express workshop include ideas for how to design and execute a synchronous virtual Technology Test Kitchen, a few strategies for diverse ways of incorporating educational technology in courses, and, perhaps, attendees will gain a different perspective on existing or emerging technology.