With COVID-19 still hanging around, many of us are ready for 2021 to end and we look forward to a healthy 2022. At this time of year, we feel that it is a great opportunity to reflect upon the fantastic technology tools and topics that we explored throughout 2021. A great resolution for 2022 is to integrate at least one new tool into your classroom environment.
At this time of year, we as educators begin to organize ourselves and make plans for the upcoming semester. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many educators to utilize technology to deliver quality education. This a great time to reflect on what worked well in a virtual environment and utilize technology that can help organize yourself and your classroom for the upcoming year. Where should you start? Cathy and I think that this is the perfect time to share how we stay organized and to recap some of our favorite and most useful technology tools.
To maintain easy access to our documents from anywhere or any device, Cathy and I utilize Dropbox for document cloud storage. In addition, Dropbox allows us to easily share documents with anyone. Other cloud storage services that we recommend are GoogleDrive, Microsoft One Drive, and Apple iCloud.
In addition, a great note taking app is a must have for increasing productivity. Both Notability and Evernote are tools that we utilize on a weekly basis. Additional note taking tools that we recommend are GoodNotes, Google Keep, Notion, Microsoft OneNote, and Apple Notes.
Furthermore, Cathy and I utilize technology to convert our typical classroom into an interactive whiteboard environment. Doceri allows our hand held devices to project images through the classroom overhead projector and to record our lectures. Zoom has also become a great presentation tool for Cathy and myself. Additional whiteboard and/or lecture capture technology that we recommend are Explain Everything, Educreations, ShowMe, Notability, Splashtop, Jamboard, Stormboard,Camtasia, Tegrity, Snagit,Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Whiteboard.
To increase student engagement in the classroom environment, Cathy and I utilize several polling and gamification technologies. Poll Everywhere, Kahoot, Piazza, Sli.do, Socrative, Ziplet, Peergrade, and Mertimeter are a few of our favorite polling options. These student engagement technologies work great for on campus or online learning environments.
Cathy and I integrate many group team activities into our course curriculums. Some of the technologies that we use to support the group workflow and grading are: Canva, Soundtrap, Mural, GoSoapBox, Google Keep, Slack, and Microsoft Teams. Another technology option to consider for team communication is Group Me.
Finally, Cathy and I try to utilize technology to engage our students outside of our classroom lectures. Some effective technology tools that we use to accomplish student engagement are: Wakelet, Kahoot Challenge, Flipgrid, Google Slides, and Recap.
We hope that you take this opportunity to discover at least one technology that can help you become more organized throughout the upcoming year. We recommend checking with your institution to see if they currently provide any of these technologies at little or no cost to faculty. Many technologies provide similar benefits; therefore, we identified several tools within each organizational category listed above. We suggest utilizing tools that compliment your teaching style and that can be acquired for the least amount of resources. Good luck and have a great academic year.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ~Maya Angelou~
Since the shift toward remote learning, Markus and I have been asked numerous times about ideas and tools to bring more collaboration, critical thinking (creativity), and engagement to courses. This month we are sharing Canva, a technology tool that allows students to creatively collaborate, and instructors to create appealing course materials that support engagement. Canva for Education provides numerous free resources for instructors and students, such as images, fonts, graphics, videos, animations, and visualization and educational templates. Canva also provides students with a dedicated and safe workspace to share, review, edit, and comment in real-time. For instructors, Canva helps enhance the visual design of your course to create a more engaging learning environment.
While Canva is ideal for enhancing online learning, it also works well with in-person, hybrid, or hyflex course delivery methods. Canva activities can be shared through your LMS or through applications such as Microsoft Teams. Canva allow students to work together whether viewing, editing, or sharing feedback. Canva’s real-time functionality will enable students the flexibility to work synchronously or asynchronously as needed. Canva also helps students stay connected and engage in any course.
For remote learning, instructors can create a lesson with voiceover, then share it as a video link in their LMS or by email. Students can also create videos or record themselves speaking in an assignment or project. Every student in the course has a voice using Canva, whether submitting original work or providing feedback for classmates.
There are numerous ways to use Canva, and it is adaptable for every type of course. The following are just a few ideas that Markus and I would like to share:
Design Thinking: Are you looking for a way to implement and manage design thinking projects? Canva allows students to collaborate on design thinking activities and then provide their insights in an infographic.
Portfolios: Canva is a great tool to help students create learning portfolios, reflect on their learning or store information to create a resume or CV.
Student Learning Plans: Student learning plans can help students become more aware and engaged in learning. With Canva, students can set personal course goals, create self-study guides, plus highlight newly discovered interests from the topics covered in their course(s). In addition, asingle student or group of students can use Canva to share their portfolios, allowing for peer-to-peer feedback, which improves the learning process.
Group Projects: Canva makes group projects more appealing. Groups of ten (10) can be created for free. A Canva group makes it easier for group members to create, share, comment, and revise projects. Students can also engage by liking a group member’s work when no other feedback is required.
Visualizations: Canva allows students to create text-or-image-based graphics, which can often illustrate formulas or problems found in accounting, mathematics, statistics, and the sciences better. For students who find quantitative subjects challenging to grasp, adding a creative, visual aspect to the activity can help these students more easily “connect the dots”. Canva alsooffers various templates that help students turn numbers into visuals that are easier to understand.
Reflections: Markus and I both provide students with opportunities to reflect in our courses. Use Canva to perform a quick reflection, similar to a one-minute paper, or to create a more in-depth reflective course examination.
Pre-Class Activities: Encourage students to be prepared by visually summarizing a chapter or topic in Canva before class. Remind(November 2015) or LMS Announcements help reinforce when the Pre-Class Activity is due so it gets completed.
Data Analytics: Charts and graphs help to demystify numbers. You can add data analytics visualization to any course using Canva’s easy-to-use, fill-in-the-blank, visualization templates. Canva is also a great way to have students explore visualization in a user-friendly environment before moving to more sophisticated visualization tools.
Flashcards: Create flashcards using Canva that can be used on a device or printed for additional practice.
Resumes: Resume creation is made easy with Canva. Students pick a layout and enter their data. Canva formats the document, selects the font, and suggests a suitable design.
Signatures: Many documents previously submitted in person prior to remote learning now require electronic signatures. Teach students how to create their electronic signature using Canva.
For instructors, consider using Canva to create engaging and interactive presentations and assignments. Canva provides a wide range of assignment templates, including writing prompts, journal entries, book review designs, and word problems. In addition, create eye-appealing calendars, schedules, and anchor charts to help students stay on track during the course. Canva also lets you link created graphics to a webpage, in order to make the graphic interactive. Simply, download your file as a PDF or webpage rather than as an image. QR codes can be added to any design to make it easier for students to access web content.
Canva is entirely COPPA and FERPA compliant, ensuring your student’s privacy and safety. Canva is also easy to use, and to get started. Just send your students an invitation link through your LMS or email. Feeling a bit tech challenged? There are numerous resources available to help you explore Canva as you look for new and exciting ways you can utilize this tool in your course(s).
Whether you want to utilize Design Thinking, incorporate Data Analytics, enhance project-based collaboration in your course, or create more engaging lectures and activities, Canva provides you the tools you need. To explore what Canva for Education offers or set up your account, go to https://www.canva.com/education/. You can also check out a brief summary about Canva for Education in the following video: https://youtu.be/3Axs47FT1-s
Many of us are ready for 2020 to end and to turn the page to 2021. As our semester and 2020 come to a close, we feel that it is a great opportunity to reflect upon the fantastic technology tools and topics that we explored throughout the year. A great resolution for 2021 is to integrate one new tool into your classroom environment.
“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.” ~Bill Gates~
Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed when you hear or read about disruptive technology changes coming to the field of Accounting? If so, you are not alone. We hear terms like AI (Artificial Intelligence), ML (Machine Learning), RPA (Robotic Process Automation), AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality), Mixed Reality, Blockchain, Big Data, Data Analytics, Data Visualization, 3-D Printing-Additive Manufacturing, and IoT (The Internet of Things). We are told that these disruptive technologies will impact the future of accounting, but do we really need to worry about this now? The answer is yes! Changes in technology is going to disrupt the future of the accounting workplace and the time to adapt is now. The future is here!
Download to read the remainder of our article that was published in the July/August 2020 edition of the MOCPA Asset Magazine.
Today’s accountants find themselves performing more and more tasks that require data analytics skills. Accounting fields such as audit, tax, financial and managerial accounting all use big data to find patterns that impact decision making and organizational strategy. Data analytics can help accountants and management better understand their organizations from an external and internal perspective. Data analytics helps answer what’s happened (descriptive analysis), why it happened (diagnostic) what the future may look like (predictive) and what direction should be taken next (prescriptive). Accountants are accustomed to looking at problems that need recommendations or solutions. Data Analytic skills enhance the accountant’s ability to quickly determine trends or irregularities in order to more rapidly identify potential problems and find solutions.
Markus and I feel it is important for students to develop data analytic competencies early in their educational coursework as well as reinforcing or “stepping up” these competencies throughout the curriculum. So, the question we often hear is, “How do we get started incorporating data analytics into our courses and curriculum”?
Markus and I have created a “step-up” approach to data analytics that can help. This approach has worked well with our students. We have found that integrating data analytics into our courses has increased synergy, engagement, collaboration, attendance, as well as student interest in the potential of data analytics. Additionally, this approach helps us prepare graduates with the required 21st-century skills.
Since Markus and I teach at different institutions and in different parts of the country, we believe our approach to incorporating data analytics is seamless and has a pedagogical purpose that can be replicated into many accounting courses, by any instructor. The first step in this model is to introduce students to Big Data concepts and problems looking for solutions. Next students interpret already prepared data visualization reports from Power BI and/or Tableau. This gives students the opportunity to see the results of data analytics before they work with any raw data. After students understand the big picture of data analytics, they begin working with data visualization modeling using Power BI (https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/downloads/) and/or Tableau (https://www.tableau.com/). Finally, students are introduced to coding exercises. The Hour of Code (https://hourofcode.com/us, and Code Academy (https://www.codecademy.com/), both offer free coding tutorials that expose students to the world of coding. Introducing students to coding is not intended to replace information systems courses or create proficient coders. The goal of this activity is to expose students to the basic concepts of coding in order to increase student interest and a desire to learn more about coding on their own. Ultimately, we have found that this approach improves critical thinking skills as it pushes students into higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Technology and education are continuously evolving. Integrating data analytics into accounting courses across the curriculum allow faculty and students to stay current with industry and educational trends. In addition, data analytics integration allows us to address AAA/AICPA Pathways, AACSB Accreditation Standards and AICPA Technology and Tools Competencies.
Are you looking for an easy way to integrate data analytics into your accounting curriculum? Programs like Tableau and Microsoft Power BI combined with free educator resources provided by the Big Four Accounting Firms can aid in this task. The Big Four Accounting Firms have developed data sets, projects that utilize Tableau and Power BI and a variety of class assignments and cases. Educators can start with exercises that have students analyze data visualization results. This allows students to develop critical thinking skills when analyzing trends from the provided data. After students master the interpretation of the data visualization sets, they gain a more wholistic approach to utilizing the data sets. The resources provided by Microsoft Power BI, Tableau and the Big Four Accounting Firms allow first-time users with simple step by step resources.
Business intelligence encompasses the strategies and technologies used for data analysis of business information and Microsoft Power BI is a tool which allows non-technical users the ability to assemble, analyze and share data. Many individuals who currently use Excel have discovered Power BI to be a natural fit. The interfaces of Excel and Power BI are very similar and simple visuals are easy to create and import. Power BI is a natural migration for analyzing data sets when they become too large for Excel’s capabilities. In addition, many extra analysis tools are available in Power BI compared to Excel. Power BI allows users to create relationships between data sources and create various visualizations.
Review the following links to learn how Power BI can fit your data analytic needs:
The best part is that you can get started for free today with the Power BI single user version, which includes 1GB of storage. Create your free account at: https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/
You don’t have to be an expert to try Tableau. To help you get started, Tableau provides free ready-made curriculum materials, including lecture notes, student handouts, and assignments. Visit the Tableau Instructor Resource Page at https://community.tableau.com/community/teachers/overview
Benefits of Utilizing Tableau:
Free Instructor and Student Tableau Software
Free Start Up and Training Materials
Free Curriculum Materials
Free Learning Resources
Free Tutorial and On Demand Training Videos
Basic and Advanced Functionality for any Field of Study
Network Community for Tableau Academic Users
Allows for Cloud Based Document Sharing for Students and Instructors
Basic and Advanced Functionality for any Field of Study