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.

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541 – Voicethread Blog Entry

The following blog entry can be found as an audio source in the following Voicethread

The Internet and Learning

As education evolves further into the 21st century the list of reasons why, and evidence for using the Internet in education is steadily growing. It is no coincidence that educational resources for Internet use is expanding while the capabilities and ease of access increases and the cost of hardware and software declines. For many schools the only reason there has not been consistent use of the Internet has been prohibitive costs and lack of access for all classes. Today the cost of equipment for schools has dramatically reduced and implementation of “Bring Your Own Devices” programs have alleviated the equal access issue.

Today the only real arguments against harnessing the power of the Internet for education are access to inappropriate material, safety and privacy issues, Internet fraud, computer viruses, and copyright or plagiarism issues. Although all of these issues can have serious consequences for students, to ignore the capabilities of the Internet for gathering information, sharing resources, engaging students, communication, solving problems, building artifacts, and exploration is a dis-service to students and does not prepare them for life in the world outside of school.

One of the fastest growing categories of Internet use in education is distance education. The use of the Internet in post secondary distance programs has been common for some time now, however distance programs in K-12 institutions are becoming more commonplace. As Roblyer and Doering state in Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching, fifth edition,“Thanks to distance technologies such as broadcast systems and the Internet, learning has escaped the physical boundaries of the classroom and the school, and students and teachers have become part of a virtual classroom they share with counterparts around the world.”(Roblyer, Doring 2010) Schools and classes right down to Kindergarten are accessing the Internet to mine resources, material, and experts from around the world, as well as collaborating and communicating with other virtual classrooms, increasing global awareness.

As part of this audio blog post we are required to outline some of the ways in which we use the INternet in our classrooms. Here is a breakdown of some of the ways in which I utilize the Internet in my classrooms.

I utilize Internet extensively in all my classes to increase engagement, deepen relevance and impact. My classes are centered around the philosophy that technology is a rich tool that must be used to break down the walls of the traditional classroom in order to prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century world.
All of my classes utilize Wikispaces to act as the hub of all information on assignments, assessment, calender of events and due dates, resources such as down-loadable assignments, external links, embedded video, images, and widgets. I requires each student in all of my classes to create their own wiki and invite me to become a member of that site. I then records the URL of each student and can access my students’ virtual notebook at anytime from any location to assess and provide feedback for students. My students often communicate through the Wikispaces account with me asking questions or requesting reevaluation of assignments. Parents are sent an email early in the semester which contains the URL of their son or daughters site so that they may actively participate in their child’s education.
In Media Arts, Language Arts, and Photography I strive to engage student to discover and utilize productive and safe online practices. My lessons often include strategies for assimilating and evaluating online content for relevancy and reliability while encouraging students to use best practices of netiquette. In Language Arts, students extensively utilize a class blog for
the purposes of inquiry, collaboration, and discussion. This process includes instruction on the importance of quality responses to posts that include supplemental information, possess questions, and stimulates further discussion. All of my Language Arts students are required to establish and share a gmail account with me. This process allows students to collaborate with each other in pairs, small groups and as an entire class on projects in Google documents and create collaborative presentations in Google presentations. Through the gmail accounts list I can share documents and presentations with my students and students can share their work with me for assessment and revision.
Students in my Language Arts classes create high quality projects that solidify and demonstrate learning through the development of podcasts in a variety of units such as the study of Shakespeare and documentary video production when analyzing the power of metaphor.
The use of technology in my Media Arts class is the cornerstone for instruction, exploration, discovery, and creation. In Media Arts students engage in film analysis that requires students to be able to discern quality from the overwhelming amount of trivial online video content. This process then leads to the creation of their own quality online content. Students create their own online portfolio which houses resources and showcases projects. Many student video projects are uploaded to Youtube and embedded on their personal e-portfolio for viewing and assessment. Students in Media Arts collaborate using web 2.0 tools for script development and pre-production.
In Photography students often look to the world wide web for examples of exemplary work through sites such as National Geographic or directly from the sites of professional photographers. Students create their own online digital portfolio that includes digital slide shows of their assignments, multimedia photojournalism projects, written reflection on the work of professionals, resources and links. My photography class also harnesses the power of mobile technology in a unit which requires students to travel to locations given on a Google map and record images and audio clips that capture the essence of each location, edit the files and upload to the class website. For assessment purposes I often utilize online rubric creation websites  to establish evaluative benchmarks for students.

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

505 – Entry #6

Over the past two weeks we have been engaged in another collaborative assignment which has proven somewhat more difficult than the last. This assignment includes the development of another evaluation based on a senerio that involves making a recommendation to a superintendent about the development of local delivery of online high school credit courses as mandated by the state. The evaluation is to determine potential problems associated with the development of local delivery of these online courses and make recommendations to the superintendent. In finding a direction for this evaluation our group has had some difficulty finding a focus. We have spent considerable time trying to establish the parameters of the evaluation, specifically whether or not we should include a comparison of the potential benefits and drawbacks of online courses at all and whether or not to include a comparison of positive and negative aspects of local versus distributed delivery of the program.

One question we developed: What are the academically established benefits and drawbacks for students enrolled in online courses?

If the state has mandated the requirement should we address whether or not online courses are educationally valuable? My take on this is that if a committee is tasked to find problems with the development of local online courses, one of the issues for teachers (those that will be required to deliver this instruction) will be how is this method better/more efficient for students? Teachers will need convincing that this is a good thing, and we need to be able to tell them why.

Another area of contention is the projected outcome for staff when a mandated online component is required. It is my contention that even though the number of students will remain the same and theoretically there shouldn’t be a reduction in teacher jobs, an online component will require a restructuring of teacher assignments. Some teachers will be unable, or unwilling to adapt. This is a major problem area for me as a member of the evaluation committee.

Our group has arranged to meet tonight on an established Google doc to try and clarify and focus our evaluation…we will see!

In terms of my final evaluation, I have completed my EPD and timeline. After some advise from Dr Perkins I have scaled back the number of over-riding questions in an attempt to reduce the scope of the evaluation. I have interviewed the coordinator of the Challenge program at our school and have developed the surveys for the students, teachers and parents. I will be administering the surveys this week as well as organizing interviews and observations.

Edtech 506 – Design Process

The work this week centered around a design model labelled ACE (Analyze, Create, Evaluate) and included the PAT concept (Principles, Actions, and Tools). I found this material timely in that I was also currently working on an assignment in Edtech 506 that required the development of several images that where metaphorical representations of the concepts described in a series of slides. I was also delivering a unit of instruction in a Language Arts class that required the students to find or create images that represented various elements of a short story. Both of these assignments require students to make visual connections between concepts; a process called synectics (Lohr, 2008) as described in the text as “…a set of strategies used to stimulate and enhance creative thought” (Gordon, 1961). Coming up with the ideas for a graphic for learning is, for me the hardest part and using the strategies outlined in the text offered a great starting point for this weeks assignment in 505 and 506. Using metaphor to increase meaning and impact has always been an approach I have used and encourage my students to use.

“Juliet is the sun” Three words that tells us everything we need to know about Romeo’s feelings toward Juliet.

The ACE model is an instructional design model for developing graphics for learning. When the designer is faced with the task of creating a graphic for learning one must analyze by identifying its instructional function, content classification, and consider the type of approach (artistic or heuristic) (Lohr, 2008) It is in the create phase that the designer generates ideas and works with in the PAT model as described above. After completion the graphic is evaluated by assessing its effectiveness, efficiency and appeal.

I have found that It is through the class discussion forum that the graphic can be evaluated much more effectively than through self assessment or even having a colleague look at it. As an artist it can be difficult to objectively evaluate your own work. One gets too close to their creation to see how it can be improved.

Another connection with this weeks material is the relationship between the ADDIE model of Instructional Design and the ACE model for the development of graphics or even strategies for instruction.  Within the design and development phase of instructional design is where a designer can apply the ACE model.

 

References:

Gordon, W.J.(1961) Synectics. New York: Harper & Row.

Lohr, L. L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy. Prentice Hall Press

 

EdTech 506 – Shapes

This weeks assignment dealt with the development of effective images for learning using simple and complex shapes. I choose to use the persuasive writing element of my unit as the basis for the image. After considering the concept itself, I choose to use a simplistic colour and shape design concept, utilizing a black to white gradient to symbolize the gradual process of persuasion. With three simple elements as the key points in the graphic I also choose to include a hotspot link to a web page containing more detailed information. Not having created a hotspot image since early in Edtech 502, I had to go back and revisit some of the ins and outs of Dreamweaver. These are the types of assignments/projects I really enjoy doing in the edtech program, creating, experimenting and getting feedback on your work from your colleagues.

I’ve found it fascinating to find principles behind how shapes work in the mind of the learner and how these principles can be used to increase the effectiveness of an image. For example, the mind creates perceptual groupings based on simple shapes (Lohr, 2008), therefore a designer can harness this concept in the design of their image. A designer can use shapes to suggest unity, harmony, process, systems, and focus.

 

References:

Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: lessons in visual literacy. Pearson/Merrill/Prentice Hall.

EdTech 506 – Post #1


Graphics: As a photography and media arts teacher I discuss principles of design and what makes images effective with my students all the time. What I am learning from this course is the application of good graphics for increased understanding in learning. I am also intrigued by the connection to instructional design and learning theory presented in the text this week. Using well designed images in conjunction with the principles of cognitive load theory to address learning styles allows instructional designers to produce images for optimum impact. When designing images many people seem to have an intrinsic ability to create something aesthetically pleasing; however, if a designer can combine aesthetic appeal with an understanding of concepts such as chunking, cognitive load theory, and information processing theory, they are much more likely to design an image with lasting impact on the learner. The designer must use visual strategies to appeal to the viewer through recognition, and find ways to allow the information contained in the image to process itself through short term memory and remain in long term memory. Images need to be created for learning that connect with verbal and visual memory and that translate into understanding through meaning.

References:
Lohr, L. (2008). Creating Graphics for Learning and Performance (2nd Edition ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education.
Image: http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/9/9/7374/