This Baby Had A ‘Harry Potter’ Photo Shoot And It Was Magical


An Illinois mom is passing her love of the Harry Potter series to her baby daughter in the most magical way.

Kayla Glover, who works as a photographer, took a series of adorable Harry Potter-themed pictures of her newborn daughter, Lorelai Grace.

When Lorelai Grace was 3 months old, she posed for a Harry Potter-themed photo shoot.

“I’ve been a Harry Potter fan since I was 10 years old,” Glover told The Huffington Post. “It is fair to say I always planned to introduce my children to the series at a young age.”

When Lorelai was 3 months old, her mom set up a themed photo shoot to pay tribute to her favorite fictional world of wizards and witches. “I wanted to be sure to include my original set of books because they mean so much to me and represent such a fun part of my childhood,” Glover said.

Lorelai’s mom has been a Harry Potter fan since she was 10 years old.

For the shoot, the photographer gathered her Harry Potter books, a cauldron she uses for Halloween decoration, her niece’s wand and Gryffindor scarf and a pair of round glasses that she received at the midnight release party for the fifth book.

Glover said Lorelai had no issues posing for the photo shoot, as she’s always been a very happy, easygoing baby.

“She enjoyed trying to chew on the wand any chance she got, and her little face looked so silly when the glasses would slip down her nose,” the mom said.

The photographer gathered all her Harry Potter books and props for the photo shoot. 

Glover hopes this is just the beginning of Lorelai’s Harry Potter fandom. “I absolutely plan to read them to her one day and have her enjoy reading them herself as well,” she told HuffPost.

The mom added that she thinks it would be nice to begin reading the books to Lorelai when she’s 10, the same age she was when she got started ― though they may share the movies with her sooner.

And in the meantime, there may be more Harry Potter photo shoots to come. “Now that her hair has changed to red, I’m thinking I’ll at some point need to make her a Weasley as well!” Glover said.

“She enjoyed trying to chew on the wand any chance she got, and her little face looked so silly when the glasses would slip down her nose,” said her mom.

The photographer said she’s been pleased to see overwhelmingly positive reactions to the Harry Potter photos on Facebook and Instagram.

“At a time where there’s so much negativity clouding our social media and in the news, it gives me hope to see other’s appreciate my beautiful little girl dressed as a character that represents strength, perseverance, and humility,” she said. “In the words of Albus Dumbledore, ‘Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.’”

For more adorable baby photos, visit Glover’s website, Facebook page and Instagram.

How Do Teachers Run PG Classrooms During An R-Rated Campaign?


Before eighth-grade history teacher Noah Corbett started a live chat with his students during Sunday night’s presidential debate, he put forth a disclaimer: You aren’t allowed to use inappropriate-for-school language just because a presidential nominee does.

It’s not the type of statement Corbett, who has been teaching for five years, typically has to make before a civics lesson. But this year’s election ― and its surrounding controversies involving sexual assault, infidelity and what Corbett’s students call “the tape” ― is by no means typical.

Since Donald Trump announced his presidential bid in June 2015 by declaring that Mexico has been sending “rapists” over the border, teachers have been dealing with the fallout of an election filled with over-the-top, inflammatory rhetoric. The businessman’s campaign has been stoking racially charged bullying in schools, according to a Southern Poverty Law Center report released in April ― a trend that has been dubbed the “Trump effect.”

Navigating issues of consent, assault and inappropriate language has only become more difficult since Friday, when The Washington Post published a leaked tape from 2005 in which Trump declares that his fame allows him to grab women “by the pussy.”

“One or two students said ‘the tape’ was disgusting,” Corbett said. “Others have kind of said, ‘I agree’ and left it at that. … None of them referred to it as sexual assault. I don’t know if they do or don’t quite have the language to talk about that.”

It’s not an issue that Corbett, who teaches at Maritime Academy Charter Middle School in Philadelphia, expected to navigate when teaching the election.

“In a typical election, the biggest issue you worried about tip-toeing around as a teacher would be something closer to abortion,” he said. “It’s something that gets students and parents riled up.”

The revelations surrounding the leaked audio led 11th-grade educator Jarrett DeMent to condemn a candidate for the first time in his 11 years of teaching. He didn’t tell students in his civics and government classes who he planned to vote for, just for whom he would not.

“I felt if I didn’t say something, my silence might be interpreted as accepting that type of behavior,” said DeMent, who teaches in Pennsylvania.

When students discussed the tape in class on Tuesday, DeMent told them they weren’t allowed to repeat phrases from the footage.

“Being that they are juniors in high school, I told them, ‘If you really want to know the exact quote, I’m sure you can find it online. But as far as what we’re talking about in class, we’re not going to exactly quote it,’” he said.

I felt if I didn’t say something, my silence might be interpreted as accepting that type of behavior.Jarrett DeMent, high school teacher

English teacher Dylan Fenton works at a school that didn’t hold classes for the first half of this week. During the break, he prepared for a student-led discussion about the leaked audio.

“I try not to lead my students to any types of conclusions,” he said. “Basically, if they’re saying something, I try and get them to tell me more. I will play devil’s advocate at times so they can respond and come up with more concrete opinions about what they’re saying.”

He said he doesn’t plan to stop students from repeating some of Trump’s more unsavory language ― as long as it is “in the context of course.”

Cindy Winston, who teaches at a charter high school in Arizona, also does not sugarcoat.

Students openly discuss their political concerns in her class, even though she teaches science.

“I’ll preface things like, ‘I’m going to tell you the same things I tell my own sons. You don’t use the word pussy. You just don’t. That is not common conversation,’” she said. “I’ve had conversations with my students about consent.”

If there is a silver lining to an election cycle that has candidates discussing topics that teachers would typically condemn, it’s that kids are paying attention. Corbett said his students are more engaged with current events than usual.

“Last year when topics would come up in class like the Chinese Exclusion Act or Trail Of Tears ― anything social justice-related ― or if race or discrimination came up, there would always be someone who would raise their hand and be like, ‘You got to talk about Donald Trump!’” he said. “It made a potentially easier real-world connection.”

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar,rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

Sometimes We May Have to Deliver Bad Training


How many speeding tickets have you gotten? I’ve been slapped with four, but it has been 10 years since my last ticket. I guess you could chalk it up to those crazy days of youth-filled exuberance. Or maybe I was just being stupid and irresponsible, when you consider that speeding was a contributing factor in 30 percent of all fatal traffic accidents in 2012. For whatever reason, I behaved inappropriately and deserved discipline, even if it was frustrating at the time. This included a fine as well as driver education to keep points from being added to my license. I have now passed the course in every available format—in-person, VHS, DVD, and eLearning. Gold star for me!

Speeding along

Figure 1: Speeding along with eLearning content (Source:; used under CC0 license)

If you’ve ever completed driver education, I’m pretty sure you’ll agree that it’s insufferably boring and almost completely irrelevant. I was pulled over for a very specific reason: driving just a few miles per hour faster than I should have without regard for the possible consequence. But, rather than address my specific behavioral failure, the government put me through the same generic traffic course that everyone gets. After all, they need this option to support theestimated 25 to 50 million traffic citations issued every year. My training included topics like safe following distance, road signs, and driving under the influence, none of which related to my problem. Not only was the content irrelevant, it also came with a required seat time, meaning I could not progress until the timer on each section elapsed regardless of my knowledge or effort. So what did I do? I moved through the content as quickly as possible and then multitasked until the timer expired. I passed the test. I checked the box. So that’s all the effort I should have to put in, right?

Without Glasses, You Couldn’t Read This Content


Most people think of blindness as the only visual disability, but limited vision can also make access to eLearning and other online content challenging. Reduced vision may worsen with age, and it can affect anyone. This article addresses visual disabilities, which are included in the “P” of POUR (discussed in “Accessibility from the Ground Up: Build Captions and Usable Design Into All eLearning”)—content that is perceivable to learners’ senses.

“In our society, lots and lots of people wear glasses. A lot of those people, without their glasses, wouldn’t be able to function. But they don’t think of themselves as people with disabilities because glasses are ubiquitous,” said Dmitri Belser, executive director of the Center for Accessible Technology (C for AT) in Berkeley, California.

A person who is legally blind could not read 12-point type on a computer screen; neither could many adults who use reading glasses. They’d also have difficulty reading text in colors with poor contrast. About eight percent of men (and significantly fewer women) experience some form ofcolor blindness, a reduced ability to distinguish shades of some colors, making text in some color combinations unreadable. But, as Belser points out, many learners who have visual limitations do not consider themselves “disabled.”

WCAG 2.0 guidelines include providing alternatives to text, describing non-text items, allowing learners to control the appearance—size, color, contrast—of text, and using colors that offer sufficient contrast. (Designers can use free online tools to check color contrast.) These elements of universal design are helpful to any learner who has even a mild visual limitation.

To meet WCAG Level A guidelines, eLearning designers must use visual clues other than or in addition to color to signify differences. Rather than red and green circles, for example, designers could use a green check mark and a red octagon (stop-sign shape) to signal correct and incorrect choices; they could use different colors and different line styles, such as dots and dashes, to show different subway routes or lines in a chart.

Personas Place Developer Focus on Learners’ Needs


If someone offered you a tool that could increase learner engagement and make your eLearning more relevant, would you use it?

Consider using learner personas. According to Lacey Jennings, a service delivery leader atXerox Learning Services, using personas “gives anyone who’s working on [the eLearning] deeper insight into what is motivating the learners.”

Using personas enables developers to present a compelling message to learners, said Sarah Thompson, marketing and communications efficacy improvement manager at Pearson. That message is: “We’re not telling you what you need to learn; you’re finding what you need to learn—and it’s relevant to you.”

A persona is an archetype: a composite learner who encapsulates the traits, preferences, level of experience, and interests that are representative of a slice of the actual learner population. The persona puts a face, albeit fictitious, on what would otherwise be an abstraction, giving eLearning designers and developers a more human target. Considering the persona’s needs helps a development team hone the eLearning—anything from the overarching learning goals to the finer points of how learners will navigate through a module.

A persona is “such a unique way to look at the learner,” Thompson said. “Instead of saying, ‘You need this information,’ we’re saying, ‘What do you do? What’s involved in your role? What are your challenges in your role?’ And then we say, ‘OK, here’s the learning that helps you decrease the challenges or that risk.’”

Using personas can align designers, developers, and other stakeholders around clearer goals by creating a shared understanding of who will use the eLearning, Jennings said. While it does not change the steps in the development process, “what it does give you is a lot more insight into the behaviors of your learners so that, hopefully, what you’re designing can be more impactful,” she said.

It can also streamline an iterative development process and simplify maintenance. “Doing it better the first time will reduce the number of iterations and likely ensure that developers have fewer changes in the maintenance cycle,” Thompson said.

Three Techniques That Create More Engaging Content


Camtasia 9 was released today.

Camtasia is a tool that I spend a great deal of time using. As is true of many users, I use a subset of the features and ignore many others that are less useful to me. With the release of Camtasia 9, TechSmith is trying to further cement the production software as the “Swiss Army knife” of eLearning tools. A fully featured tool, Camtasia allows you to edit video and produce quizzes, and it comes stocked with dozens of visual effects and transitions.

Camtasia does have a 30-day trial edition you can use to follow along with these tutorials if you have not yet purchased Camtasia 9 (Figure 1). Camtasia is cross-platform: Windows and Mac machines can use the same development files.

(Editor’s note: If viewing this article on a smartphone or a tablet, you may find that placing your device in landscape orientation will make some of the figures more legible.)

Figure 1: The new Camtasia 9 interface while editing an instructional video

Let’s take a look at three production techniques with the new Camtasia 9 that will allow you to see exactly what the new software can do and how it can help you create more engaging content.

Testing for eLearning That Is Usable and Useful


The key to creating great eLearning is keeping the learners in mind. That sounds simple, but it can be devilishly difficult. One way to keep learners’ needs and abilities front-and-center is user testing.

Learning architect and Guild Master Nick Floro, president of Sealworks Interactive Studios, swears by user testing at every stage. He starts a project by testing ideas with the audience, and as his teams progress through design and development, they test at each stage. Floro says that testing with about 10 to 15 actual users is the “magic number.” According to Floro, it is not necessary to recruit new learners to test each iteration of an eLearning project or even different projects. “You can use these people again and again, and they love participating; they feel like part of the process. Ask them if they would participate again as you evolve a concept or project, and take advantage of that,” he said. “They become advocates to help communicate the project and help you launch successfully, as well as being a vital source of feedback to test an idea or concept. This is a win-win.”

The value of user testing is also clear to Guild Master Michael Allen, chairman and CEO of Allen Interactions, who pioneered a development model that incorporates successive approximations of an eLearning module; user testing is built into every step of the process. “Early evaluation is input that either confirms or refutes the correctness of the analysis or design,” Allen writes in hisGuide to e-Learning (see References).

Allen’s development model specifies prototyping, rather than simply specifying or drawing models of eLearning modules. “With functional prototypes, everyone’s attention turns to the most critical aspect of the design, which is the interactivity, as opposed simply to reviewing content presentations and talking about whether all content points are in evidence on the screen,” Allen writes. “We also know that many designs that are approved in a storyboardpresentation are soundly and immediately rejected when they are first viewed on the screen, and they are even more likely to be rejected when they become interactive. Prototypes simply provide an invaluable means of evaluating designs.”

Some instructional designers (IDs) who use personas to model targeted learner groups test with actual learners—users—in addition to designing to meet the personas’ needs. Personas and user testing are “symbiotic and hopefully reinforcing,” said Lacey Jennings, a service delivery leader at Xerox Learning Services. “There will always be a need for user testing for new interfaces and websites—personas just help you dig deeper into understanding which learner segment you need to include or consciously motivate.”

Megan Torrance, CEO of TorranceLearning, said that in creating personas, “we, as instructional designers, can stay connected to the learners we’re supporting throughout the project.” The learner-testers can then, in effect, bring the personas to life: “We want to make sure that we include representatives from the personas in the testing.”

Getting Names Right


The following article was excerpted with permission from To My Professor: Student Voices for Great College Teaching, a new book that brings together student experiences and opinions with advice from master educators and experts. The book was written by students at Michigan State University under the guidance of Joe Grimm, visiting editor in residence in the MSU School of Journalism since 2008.

“I spend a lot of money to go to school here. It would be nice if a professor knew my name.”

“I appreciate the fact that you asked me what I wanted to be called because my name has various pronunciations in different languages.”

There are so many ways a simple and personal thing like a person’s name can lead to problems. The first student quoted above felt more like a number than a person because she felt none of her professors bothered to learn her name.

The second is an international student who was used to mispronunciations and questioning looks and appreciated a professor’s extra effort.

Mishandling names can lead to awkward moments. For many students, name problems come on the first day of class. Here’s a tweet with the hashtag #GrowingUpWithMyName. “Knowing the pause on roll call in school was my name. I would just start saying ‘Here’ before they even tried.” Everyone knows what it is like to have their name mispronounced sometimes. But imagine what it is like to have it happen almost every time—and with an audience of new peers.

While some students might offer a name that they feel will be easier to remember or say, it is not OK for instructors to rename students to make it easier to call roll.

There are those times when the professor calls a student by another student’s name. Somehow, the professor has made a connection. Maybe these are the only students of their race or ethnicity in the class. It seems like a little thing, but it carries big implications and it can make others in class feel uncomfortable.

One American college student reported feeling uncomfortable for Asian students when professors stumble over their names—and then turns the mistakes into jokes or ditties. It can humiliate the student and, if they are new to U.S. culture, it can be bewildering.

International names do not have universal spellings or pronunciations across cultures and societies. The student who appreciated a professor’s patience in learning the pronunciation of his name is French African. Where he is from, his name has a different intonation and spelling. The student felt very good about his class after this encounter because he perceived that his professor took the time to be personal with her students.

One international student said that she can always sense when professors are about to make a funny attempt at pronouncing her name. “They never ask first but they want to act like they know already, which doesn’t usually always end well.”

Because names are an important aspect of our identity, acknowledgment of a person’s name and its correct pronunciation can signal acceptance of that person into a new culture. Since acknowledgment leads to acceptance, many international students adopt English names to better assimilate. By doing so, they avoid the potential mispronunciation of their names and feel like they fit in. Fitting in can enhance learning.

There are almost as many reasons why it is hard to get names right as there are students in a class. Professors have scores or hundreds of students in a term, and new ones every term. Some professors have more than a thousand students in one term. There are a lot of names to learn.

But learning and using student names improves teaching.

Daniel F. Chambliss, Eugene M. Tobin Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Hamilton College, wrote “the best thing I do to improve students’ work in my courses is … I will learn and use their names. It’s easy, and it works. Using those names in class is uniquely powerful.”

Here are some strategies:

  • Read a class roster out loud before meeting the class. Note potential difficulties. If the class list has photos, try to match them with the names. Print out the pictures and bring them to class.
  • Take attendance on the first day in a consistent way with each student, even the ones with seemingly easy names. Use a standard question such as, “What do you like to be called?” One professor sends out a survey before classes begin and asks students for their name preferences. One student seemed delighted when, at the first roll call, she was called by her preferred name, which was not the name on the attendance list.
  • Write phonetic spellings down when you need to. When you get to a name that might be difficult, ask the student to say it, using the part of the name you feel more comfortable with. Don’t joke. Don’t rush. Spend a little extra time if you must to understand, but don’t make a big deal. If you need to ask the student for more help, do it after class. If you make a mistake, apologize but don’t make an excuse.

Many international students adopt American names to fit in. But at the same time, there are also instances where foreign students have American names. Whatever the case may be, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire professor Phil Huelsbeck in the department of International Education, advises that professors be actively aware of these differences. He wrote, “Without an audience, ask (repeatedly if necessary) how to pronounce the international student’s name and make a note of the proper pronunciation. Some international students take on an ‘American name’ but it is often appreciated if the instructor takes the time to learn the student’s native name, as well.” It can also teach classmates something.

Marian Kisch, a freelance writer in Maryland, wrote in the November/December, 2014 issue of the International Educator: “Even a short conversation after class about the student’s home country can help the student feel more comfortable and can build rapport. Do your best to learn how to pronounce students’ names, even if it takes a few attempts.”

Dustin Carnahan, who teaches in the Michigan State University College of Communication Arts and Sciences, suggested customized rosters, which can accommodate extra columns for chosen names and pronunciations. Students should be able to tell the professor what they want to be called, “no questions asked,” he said.

In “Learning Student Names,” posted on the National Teaching and Learning Forum, Joan Middendorf and Elizabeth Osborn at Indiana University wrote: “A professor who does not know his or her students’ names may be perceived as remote and unapproachable. … In large classes, the task of learning student names can seem daunting, but even if the professor learns the names of only a portion of the class, a caring, inclusive atmosphere will be established.” They gathered more than 25 strategies for learning and retaining students’ names. They included name tags, tent cards, flashcard drills for the instructor, association and student introductions. There is probably something for most circumstances.

At the end of the day, it is always better to call students by the names they like. As Czech-born writer Milan Kundera wrote in his novel “Immortality,” “We don’t know when our name came into being or how some distant ancestor acquired it. We don’t understand our name at all, we don’t know its history and yet we bear it with exalted fidelity, we merge with it, we like it, we are ridiculously proud of it, as if we had thought it up ourselves in a moment of brilliant inspiration.”

Chambliss, Daniel F. “Learn Your Students’ Names.” Inside Higher Ed, Aug. 26, 2014. June 12, 2016

Huelsbeck, Phil. “Awareness Points for Educators with International Students in the Classroom.” University of Wisconsin. June 12, 2016

Kisch, Marian. “Helping Faculty Teach International Students.” NAFSA: Association of International Education, International Educator, November/December 2014.

Middendorf, Joan, and Elizabeth Osborn. “Learning Student Names.” Bloomington: Indiana University, 2012. June 12, 2016

Mitchell, Charles. “Short Course in International Business Culture.” Novato: World Trade Press, 1999.

Nichole Igwe is a journalism major and a public relations and French minor at Michigan State University.

Nick Floro Talks About Learning Architects


Nick Floro, the president of Sealworks Interactive Studios, has more than two decades of experience developing eLearning solutions, applications, and web platforms. He sees himself as a “learning architect” who defines the vision of eLearning stakeholders and aligns it with the audience’s needs to provide an amazing eLearning experience. Nick’s long involvement with The eLearning Guild has been mutually beneficial. The Guild recognized Nick as a Guild Master at FocusOn Learning 2016.

I recently spoke with Nick about integrating new and emerging technologies into eLearning design.

Pamela S. Hogle: As eLearning developers get caught up in engaging learners with new technology—using touch screens, for example, rather than using an input device like a mouse—how can we ensure that learners with different abilities don’t get left behind? For example, a tenet of user-centered design is that anything users can enter with a mouse must also have a keyboard equivalent. How does that translate to a touch-screen universe? Is it possible to personalize content and give learners greater control while also engaging a broad spectrum of learners with different disabilities and levels of technical competence?

Nick Floro: Wow, what a great question.

The key to accessibility or attempting to support every platform is that we need to realize that we do not normally have the time, budget, and resources to accomplish this goal perfectly. So we need to understand the technology, accessibility, and what is possible within a browser or app on a desktop vs. a mobile device vs. VR/AR/MR [virtual reality/augmented reality/mixed reality] and what you want to accomplish within a particular deliverable.

It is essential to help the team and stakeholder understand what the challenges are, what the possibilities are—and guide them through each phase of a project by communicating and demonstrating. Think, “How can we define the goal into a smaller, simpler, and achievable one,” and then plan how to develop the solution within your timeline.

Our primary objective with most projects, whether a small audience of 100 or a global audience of hundreds of thousands of users, is to measure the goals of the stakeholder while understanding and defining the audience needs, and, if accessibility is a primary requirement, then designing content and activities that can support each type of technology and the deliverable.

What I Learned at the Austin Game Conference about Game Creation and Virtual Reality


From the evening of September 20 to the late afternoon of September 22, it was my great pleasure to attend the Austin Game Conference in (where else?) Austin, Texas. The AGC was founded in 2003 and ran each year until 2012, when it went on hiatus until its relaunch this year.

The conference attracted 750 attendees to hear 80 speakers in five tracks and attend several “special events” over the course of the three days. There was also a modest-size expo with about 30 exhibitors, including Intel, IBM SoftLayer and IBM Cloud, Epic Games, Electronic Arts, Aspyr, several institutions of higher learning, the IGDA-Dallas, and

Networking with the very experienced and knowledgeable developers and designers, both presenters and attendees, was extremely easy. Many, perhaps most, of those present would consider themselves “indie” producers, so there was a lot of sharing going on. The atmosphere was much like The eLearning Guild’s DevLearn: lots of energy.

On the night before the conference itself opened, Intel sponsored a DemoFest-like event, the Game Developer Showcase (also dubbed the “Intel Buzz Workshop” after similar events Intel sponsors at other conferences). Ten selected game developers presented games they are in the process of preparing for launch, using trailer videos and live demonstrations later that evening and during the conference. The Showcase was streamed live, so you can get a taste of what this was like by watching a video recording. (You will need to scrub to the introduction at 00:19:28; you can skip over the preliminaries to the presentations themselves at about 00:33:00. There is a brief period at the first presentation where the speaker’s microphone was not working, but be patient.)

What did I learn?

It was a very full two days, most of which I spent either in the VR/AR track or in the expo. Between my reporter’s notebook and a Livescribe journal, I captured 48 pages of notes, plus about 10 hours of recorded audio. This article is only going to present a few of the highlights. I will try to give you enough information here that if you have an instructional design challenge that you think could be met with a game, you can just jump in and try to build that game—it won’t cost you anything, just your time. But keep it simple for your first attempt! As you will see, “just jump in” only applies to games. Virtual reality is another story entirely, at least for now.

So let’s get started!