513 – Worked Example Screencast

The following is a demonstration of a sequential approach to poetry analysis. The video was created using Camtasia.

541- Universal Access – Macbook Pro

The computer I use for this class is a Macbook Pro. As part of the operating system Apple computers come equipped with many universal access options within the the system preferences folder. options for modifications to the way the navigation and operation of the computer can be selected based on four tabs: Seeing, Hearing, Keyboard, and Mouse & Trackpad.

 

Users with a visual impairment can turn on a voice over option which will enable the computer to speak out all selected commands. The voice and speed of the voice over is all customizable. Users with a visual impairment can choose to use the zoom tool, which enables them to zoom in and out of all on screen areas, or they may choose to make adjustments to the colour and contrast of the display, depending on the characteristics of the visual impairment.

Users with a hearing impairment can select an option that flashes the screen when an alert sound occurs, they can change the audio from stereo to mono, and of course can adjust the volume of all audio outputs.

For users with certain physical disabilities such as motor control, the keyboard on this computer can be adjusted to modify input by putting a delay between when a key is pressed and when it is accepted. The user can also choose to disable the mouse and trackpad completely, controlling these tools via the keyboard only.

 

Directly from the Apple website:

 

Apple includes assistive technology in its products as standard features — at no additional cost. For example, iPhone, iPad, iPod and Mac OS X include screen magnification and VoiceOver, a screen-access technology, for the blind and visually impaired. To assist those with cognitive and learning disabilities, every Mac includes an alternative, simplified user interface that rewards exploration and learning. And, for those who find it difficult to use a mouse, every Mac computer includes Mouse Keys, Slow Keys and Sticky Keys, which adapt the computer to the user’s needs and capabilities.

Reference:

http://www.apple.com/ca/accessibility/

541 – Obstacles to Technology Integration

The main challenge with integrating technology into any content area starts with access. I am fortunate enough to teach all my courses in a lab of computers and laptops which have enabled me to plan and implement technology based strategies in my content areas for several years. One of my main challenges has been ensuring that my instruction is content driven and not technology driven. Too often teachers fall into the trap of overusing technology to the point where it becomes distracting to students and actually hampers learning. However, for teachers who do not have consistent access to computers, integration in content areas becomes difficult to implement. Portable tablet labs and BYOD programs are beginning to alleviate some of the strain of access for all students in school, but it still remains a barrier to integration.

One challenge facing Language Arts teachers is the issue of plagiarism. Whether the written material is produced with the aid of technology or not, teachers must always be vigilant for work that is copied from another source. Plagiarism has become easier to accomplish using the internet by a simple process of copy and pasting, however the internet can also be a resource for teachers who suspect plagiarism. There are many web applications available for teachers to input phrases which then search the internet for a match. Related to this is an issue where students in classes where e-portfolios or notebooks are used could potentially access work done by other students on assignments given in previous semesters. This requires the teacher to carefully customize material and assignments on a regular basis.

It is easy for teachers to find reasons not to integrate technology in their classes by citing issues of access or security, however the benefit for students is potentially too great to find reasons not to integrate technology. Instead of find excuses not to adopt 21st century strategies teachers must find ways to make it happen. As Roblyer and Doering state in Integrating Educational Technology in the Classroom, “ The Internet and other forms of information and communication technology (ICT) such as word processor, Web editors, presentation software, and email are regularly redefining the nature of literacy. To become fully literate in today’s world, students must become proficient in the new literacies of ICT. Therefore, literacy educators have a responsibility to effectively integrate these technologies into the literacy curriculum in order to prepare students for the literacy future they deserve.” (Robelyer and Doering, 2010)

Below is a link to a video I produced with Camtasia that addresses technology integration strategies and solutions for English Language Learners content area.
http://www.screencast.com/t/YsuJvGXciK

541 – Multimedia in the classroom

Here is a link to the video blog on Youtube

Here is the text of the video:

This week’s learning log entry topic is to discuss the benefits of using multimedia in the classroom, and appropriately the media chosen to discuss this topic is video.
The concept of multimedia in classroom instruction is not a new one. Teachers have been finding ways to deliver information and facilitate learning using multiple strategies since the early 1900’s. Today, however digital media has made it possible for teachers and students to learn in ways not possible as little as 15 years ago.

Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching lists some of the many benefits of the use of video for example as being

the ability to demonstrate procedures

the development of student created presentations

video lectures – which is gaining traction today in the Flipped classroom concept spearheaded by such organizations as the Khan Academy.

student video portfolios

video simulation and problem solving simulations

documentation of school activities

Visual literacy instructions

teaching video production

real time communication, collaboration, and presentation through the use of such services as Skype.

As I stated earlier the ability for teachers and students to access digital video has changed dramatically over the last 2 decades. Personally I was using video production in the classroom in the early 90’s when students produced their work using large format VHS cameras and editing linearly using two vcr’s. The final product was crude and unpolished, however even with that limited technology the benefits for students was obvious.

Students producing video documentaries were forced to think about storytelling as well as research and interview techniques to teach their audience about their topic. As we all know one of the best measurements of learning is whether or not you can teach it to someone else. A unit I developed focuses in on the abstract concept of metaphor as discussed in a TED talk by James Geary found in my list of video resources. As part of this unit students grouped themselves in specific areas of interest chosen from the TED talk and created short documentaries that included research, experiments, interviews and good storytelling. Here is a short taste of some of their work.

Other forms of successful multi media instruction are the use of podcasts and the creation of visual representations of concepts in literature. I have students in my ninth grade language arts class create podcasts as part of a unit of instruction in Shakespeare’s A Mid Summer Nights Dream, where students record themselves performing scenes and creating the mood and atmosphere of the scene through the development of a soundtrack. Students practice and record the language of shakespeare which requires an analysis of the ideas within the dialogue. My students have created presentations where they are asked to find images that represent concepts within short stories and explain the metaphor presented, which calls on higher level cognitive strategies such as analysis and synthesis.

When teachers use multimedia in the classroom it is clear that students are more engaged, however careful considerations must also be made not to over stimulate the learner. According to e-learning and the science of instruction by clark and meyer adding extraneous elements to multimedia learning material that do not support educational objectives can actually damage the learning process. Graphics and sounds that are not related to the educational objectives of the presentation are nothing more than distracting. Spicing up a lesson by adding extraneous elements damages the process. Another  psychological theory is that the human brain can only upload a finite amount of information at a time. Too much information can lead to cognitive overload. The brain processes information through visual and aural channels, therefore multimedia strategies that present information on the separate channels are found to be successful. However studies have also shown that redundancy by using text and animations or narration and sound effects overloads the channels and impairs learning.

Using multimedia technology to enhance learning is clearly becoming more and more a necessary part of education. It is one way of increasing engagement, deepening impact through increased relevance and also supporting the variety of ways that people learn.

References:

1. Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2008). E-learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

2. Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2010). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

513 – Coherence Analysis

  1. What is the Coherence Principle and its most important constraints/criteria?

The coherence principle in multimedia learning suggests that presentations must contain elements that are logical and consistent with the objectives of the presentation and that extraneous images, audio, or animation detracts from learning. “In short, according to the coherence principle, you should avoid adding any material that does not support the instructional goals.”(Clark & Mayer, 2008) The theory is that unnecessary audio or visual material may overload cognitive channels and decrease comprehension by the learner. Although, “Mayer listed positive results for eliminating extraneous materials in thirteen out of fourteen experiments…”(Clark & Mayer, 2008), it is still unclear how the coherence principle effects learners with extensive prior knowledge on a subject or learners within a long term instructional program. It is within this context that the Interactive Multimedia Electronic Journal of Computer Enhanced learning recommends educators should “…identify techniques for presentation of verbal and visual information that minimizes working memory load and promotes meaningful learning.”(Moreno & Mayer, 1999)

  1. Describe and/or include one example of successful and one example of unsuccessful attempts to apply the Coherence Principle in actual instruction and training you have experienced, especially as it might be implemented in PowerPoint-based instruction and training. Have you ever seen this principle violated or abused? Identify the violations, including citations as needed from your textbook.

Many times, in an effort to increase interest or emotional arousal in a presentation, instructional designers will introduce extraneous multimedia elements in order to increase perceived level of excitement or engagement. Arousal theory is “the idea that entertaining and interesting embedded effects cause learners to become more emotionally aroused and therefore work harder to learn the material.”(Clark & Mayer, 2008) Unconsciously, this is the principle I have seen applied many times by students in my Media Arts classes who, after creating a presentation rich with interesting visuals and informative content, resort to overlaying the latest hip-hop hit that is appealing to the group, but irrelevant to the project. Student developers are hoping to appeal to the viewer’s musical aesthetic in order to engage their interest in the presentation, thereby reducing the likelihood of any meaningful learning. Alternatively, I have seen many examples of Media Arts students adhering to the coherence principle in the creation of nonverbal narratives, which use music to support the story through establishing the mood and atmosphere of the conflict and the emotional elements of character. Through the careful selection of music one can enhance the visual impact of the narrative and the overall impact of the presentation.

  1. Discuss the relationship of the Coherence Principle to other Multimedia Learning Principles examined thus far in your readings.

Cognitive, Redundancy, and Modality Principles are related to each other and the Coherence Principle through their relationship to how people learn and the limitations of human perception. All of the theories revolve around the limitations of cognitive input and deal with sight, sound, and our ability to synthesize a finite amount of information at any given time. The above principles all relate to the organization of learning materials in such a way as to avoid overloading cognitive channels and designing educational materials to manipulate and maximize sensory input for learning.

  1. Discuss the relationship of the Coherence Principle to fundamental theories of psychology as described by Clark & Mayer in your textbook.

As far back as 1913 John Dewey wrote in his paper Internet and effort in education, that “…interest cannot be added to an otherwise boring lesson like some kind of seasoning.”(Dewey, 1913). If the lesson is uninteresting, one must look to the material itself and in fact the introduction of unnecessary visuals or sound will have the opposite effect, distracting the learner and interfering with their ability to make sense of the given material. These negative learning results are amplified for students who have trouble processing information. Psychologically, it is suggested that learning materials that are streamlined to present in a coherent, uncluttered, and simplified manner, without the addition of supplemental material, are more likely to be understood and retained because the learning process stems from the students cognitive efforts to “fill in the gaps” and make sense of the material. Students given too much information on a topic, especially if it delivered in simultaneous cognitive channels, will not retain the information due to cognitive overload.

 

  1. What do you personally like or dislike about this principle? Present a coherent, informed opinion and explain why you hold this opinion. Are there any limitations or qualifications of the principle (caveats) which the authors did not consider and, if so, what are they?

It could be argued that the coherence principle simplifies the learning process and does not consider the cognitive capabilities of the advanced student. It is clear that there are limitations to cognitive input no matter how much previous knowledge a student has, however does the inclusion of examples that involve the application of the learning principles in real life situations qualify as extraneous? The text suggests that adding extraneous words to add technical depth to information such as providing extended examples of the learning principle at work may distract from the learning objectives. This may be applied to the learner who is new to the material, but can this be true with experienced students of the material? I would contest that providing real life applications of the learning material within a presentation would assist with the cognitive process of “making sense” of the material. In my experience providing contextual examples of concepts reinforces understanding and increases retention.

References:

 

1. Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2008). E-learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

 

2. Dewey, J. (1913). Internet and effort in education. Cambridge, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

 

3. Mayer, R.E.,  & Moreno, R. (2000). A Learner-Centered Approach to Multimedia Explanations: Deriving Instructional Design Principles from Cognitive Theory. Interactive Multimedia Electronic Journal of Computer-Enhanced Learning. Wake Forest University.

513 – Podcast

My podcast series will provide adult learners with weekly lessons on how to play the saxophone. The concept I have in mind would be targeting adults who always wanted to learn how to play an instrument, but don’t have time to take private lessons. The series start with an historical introduction to the instrument and the basics of putting it together, where to place the fingers and how to form the embouchure. With the podcast learners would be able to listen, pause, and playback segments with the goal of familiarizing the student and allowing them to produce a sound after the first episode. The podcast format will allow me to provide examples of what it should sound like for the learner to use as reference.

Subsequent episodes of the podcast would teach and demonstrate specific techniques of how to play the instrument, how and what to practice, and provide suggestions for artists and recordings to go to that demonstrate great technique and sound.

I have worked with music files and recording a great deal in the past, but had no idea you could create a podcast, host it in dropbox and have it subscribe-able in itunes. This technique has some real potential for my classroom instruction. Currently I have students create podcasts on a variety of topics but we were uploading them to their student website; this way we can collect and maintain a class set of podcasts hosted on itunes that we can all subscribe to…awesome!

541 – Spreadsheets and Data Bases in Education

“Software tools are increasingly popular, in part because they address both productivity and instructional needs and in part because they can support both directed or constructivist learning activities.” (Roblyer, Doring, 2008) It is the versatility and simplicity of  spreadsheet and data base software that makes it particularly useful in an educational setting.

Spreadsheets and Databases have been around almost since the beginning of the personal computer and have been two thirds of the big three in terms of productivity applications on computers the third being word processing. These three applications were developed to make the creation of documents and storage and retrieval of data more efficient. The relative advantage to the use of these applications in educations starts with their ability to save time, contain and display a large amount of information and continues to their ability to quickly see the results of  variables to a result. Spreadsheets and databases can contain information that can be used by students to analyze a problem or issue and instantly see the results of a change to that data. Data bases and spreadsheets  can reveal answers to students through the study of data and their differences. This inquiry based approach to spreadsheets and databases encourages the hypothesis, investigation, conclusion approach to learning.

Reference

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2010). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

541 – Inside Power Point – More than a fireworks show!

Since the mass deployment of Power Point for education in the nineties it has replaced the overhead projector in most classrooms, but how effective is it really for learning? Using multimedia to address learning styles would seem to increase retention and understanding, however research has shown that the violation of some basic principles in designing a presentation can actually decrease learning. Patti Shank, a widely recognized information and instructional designer suggests in an excerpted from PowerPoint and Online Learning, Part 1. Online Classroom, April 2010, a concise use of text while exploiting the inherently visual medium of the presentation by using relevant images to convey meaning. Her advise to avoid “Dumping” words onto slides coincides with the multimedia theory that too much textual information on any given slide will cause cognitive overload for the viewer, resulting in disengagement.

When designing the presentation one should adhere to the “less is more” rule and consider the CARP design principles (Contrast, Alignment, Repetition, Proximity). Include only the media elements and limited text needed while supplementing instruction with comprehensive speaker notes, unseen by the viewer. Animations and transitions tend to distract attention from the true intent of the instruction. When a presentation is meant to be viewed online by a student it is advantageous to include an interactive element. Requiring active participation by the learner within a presentation such as hyperlinks inside, and outside of the slides will increase engagement.

So the question remains: How can well designed presentations increase learning in the classroom? Combining the visual elements of a presentation with interactive elements which include links to resources outside the presentation can increase engagement and relevance for learners. An article on the website Teachnology.com states that, “It can add a new dimension to learning allowing teachers to explain abstract concepts, while accommodating all learning styles.”

The following presentation is meant to supplement instruction for students in my Photography classes. It is very rare to find a student who has developed film and enlarged prints, therefore their frame of reference coming into this process is very limited. I demonstrate the process to students, but through the following presentation students will be able to access a complete step by step visual presentation of the entire process on our class website, view two external videos, visit external sites that give tips for setting up home darkrooms, and take a short quiz to check for understanding. I created this presentation using photographs I have taken of the equipment, supplies and process, and assembled the presentation using Powerpoint. The original intent was to upload the presentation to Google Presentations, however, even after reducing the file size, I was unable to upload. In order to make it accessible online I also tried to upload to Skydive, but again was unsuccessful due to file size. In the end I was finally able to upload the presentation and all associated media files to Sliderocket. I was able to embed the presentation on my Edtech 541 website but the code does not seem to work in WordPress.

http://app.sliderocket.com:80/app/fullplayer.aspx?id=fcb574b7-5cfc-4dfe-8d54-0e22773c1a9e

References:

Shank, P. (2011) Using Power Point Effectively in your Courses. Faculty Focus. Retrieved 02 18, 2012 from:http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/instructional-design/using-powerpoint-effectively-in-your-courses/

Powerpoint in the Classroom. Teachnology. Retreived 02 18, 2012 from: http://www.teach-nology.com/tutorials/powerpoint/

513- Multimedia Instruction

For several semesters in my Photography class I have included a unit which features the use of photo sensitive paper, photo enlargers and simple objects to create images. This process was pioneered my an American artist/photographer named Man Ray (born Emmanuel Radnitsky) in the 1920’s. The process allows photo students to create some very interesting pieces while learning some of the basic dark room procedures needed for subsequent photo enlargement projects. The process requires careful attention to detail in the design and creation of the images and I have always used a combination of text and demonstration delivery to teach the procedure. Through the use of this multimedia presentation students will be able to review each step of the process at any time to solidify concepts before embarking on each phase of the unit, as well as link to an external website on the life of the artist.

The presentation uses multimedia and contiguity principals in many ways such as its consistent colour and structure design and the sparing use of text on each slide. The opening slide for this assignment was to have been a list of instructional objectives, however I found that the list created a text dominated slide which would be overloading to the learner, therefore I broke it up into three separate slides. I used consistent spacing and alignment for images and text and highlighted key elements of the images with arrows and numbers.I first created this presentation using Power Point and then uploaded the slides to Google Presentation. It is a good way to use some of the flexibility of PPT, however there were some textual elements I had to adjust after the PPT document was uploaded.After several attempts to embed the Google Presentation into this wordpress blog, I chose to upload the presentation to Slideshare which embedded without difficulty.
I used a combination of images labeled for reuse, drawings, and photographs I took to illustrate the process from rough design to mounting and labeling.

View more from bjanzen-mtdouglas

Here is the link to the Google presentation that includes the speaker notes to this presentation.

541-instructional software in the classroom.

Relative Advantage

The relative advantage of using instructional software in the classroom ranges from simple increased engagement to fostering deep understanding of complex issues and concepts. Software that is carefully designed with sound educational theory as the basis for construction can help teachers deliver curricular content while promoting digital literacy. Drill and Practice software is sometimes considered ineffective for long term retention of material however, as a tool for mastering basic concepts before progressing deeper into content this approach can be effective. Tutorial software can be used by teachers for instruction and practice and is making a resurgence today with the growing popularity of the “Flipped” classroom. Students can learn the material at their own pace, in many cases on their own time, and apply that knowledge in more complex classroom activities with the teacher as facilitator. Problem solving software can be used to teach concepts, or stand alone as an approach to building the skills involved with the process of problem solving. This type of software allows students to explore through a process of trial and error. Simulation software can immerse students in any environment or time period, similar to a role playing experience, and allow learners to discover knowledge from within that experience. Simulations can allow students to do the impossible within the safe, cost effective platform of the computer and can compress or expand time. Simulations allow learners to learn from “virtual” experience. Educational game software can be an engaging and entertaining strategy for learning that utilizes game play rules, competition, and reward.

All of the above categories of educational software can be effectively applied in a Language Arts classroom. There are many good examples of software that utilizes drill and practice, tutorial, and game play software in Language Arts to establish basic and advanced grammatical concepts. With the proliferation of tablet hardware and applications has come an explosion of apps designed specifically for Language Arts concepts from spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure, to creative and essay writing.

The following presentation contains examples of instructional software, with a Language Arts emphasis, for five genre’s:

  • Drill and Practice
  • Tutorial
  • Simulation
  • Problem Solving
  • Games

The presentation contains links to an outline of the genre and examples of instructional software in each of the genre’s for both the PC and Tablet (OSX) platforms. Following this link  to view the presentation in full screen and navigate through the various links to tour the presentation.

References:

Dr. Dave Perry – Associate Professor of Education – College of Education and Organizational Leadership – University of La Verne – La Verne, CA

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2010). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.