For my digital storytelling discussion post I decided to use TouchCast, an interactive video application. This application is available for desktop computers from touchcast.com and from iTunes for iPads. I built my project on my iPad. I had intended to create my TouchCast using a desktop computer, but I found the software to be somewhat buggy. It crashed a number of times and the webcam did not work properly. It does state on the website that the desktop program is in Beta testing, so perhaps they are aware of these bugs. Here is a link to my Touchcast video.
As with any video production, I knew that my script needed to be written before I could begin filming (let alone enhancing) my video. The script took some time to write as I pondered what was most relevant to the selection of TouchCast and of ed tech tools in general. A point that I made in the video, and that I’d like to reiterate here, is that while I have usually only considered a new technology’s value by assessing it’s value to learning and the appropriateness of it’s logistics, I have learned in 565A that the logistics of the learning opportunity are what can define an effective instructional application. It’s the intersection between what a technology can do, and how it does it, that determines it’s worth.
Building out the project was frustrating at times. Some elements are less that intuitive to figure out. Once I accessed the Help documentation, things progressed much more quickly. I know, I know, if all else fails, read the instruction manual.
My finished product is acceptable, but not astounding by any means. I have been able to visualize how I could use this platform in a classroom and what pieces of my production work could use improving.
Here is the script to my video:
Hi there 565A’ers! This is a TouchCast. I have wanted to create a TouchCast as a project for ages, but I hadn’t found an appropriate topic, nor the time do so. Now, I won’t suggest I have heaps of time available at the moment, but it did seem the right time to get on with it.
TouchCast is interactive video. This means that while you are watching this video, additional media can be embedded and accessible within the same screen. I can add in pictures, webpages, Twitter feeds, polls, maps, and many other video apps, “vApps”, to augment the video experience. Interestingly, since I was first exposed to the application a couple of years ago, it has released a desktop version and many significant improvements. The uses for this technology are obviously wide-reaching and extend as far a user’s creativity. From an educator’s perspective I see this is as being useful in the flipped classroom for providing a video that connects students to their teacher with several links and activities to complete from within the video. It would also be an effective way for students to share their research or learning on a topic.
Since beginning my MET journey in September 2012, I have continued to fill my technological tool case with many innovative tools. These have been in the realms of communication, collaboration, web publishing, and content curation tools, among others.
In every interaction with a new technology, I try to determine its appropriateness for use in the classroom. In this sense, new media can be evaluated using Bates’ SECTIONS model, or in relation to Anderson’s Theory of Online learning, or by visualizing a tool’s position within the SAMR model. At the most basic level, I try to consider the ‘learning’ and the ‘logistics’ that are afforded by a new device, platform, or application.
LEARNING: Can this tool be used for deep and authentic learning? If a tool can contribute to the effectiveness of a learning-, community-, knowledge-, or assessment-centred environment, then it is possible that it would be worth adopting. I try to consider how a particular technology could contribute to my established learning environment; perhaps by augmenting students’ understanding of content, by providing a way for students to share what they have learned, by facilitating interactions between students, content, the teacher and the group, or by helping me to assess a student’s level of achievement in a particular area. Additionally, as per the SAMR model, I want to ensure that the use of technology offers something more than the substitution of a digital tool for a non-digital learning interaction. Ideally, the use of technology should ensure the augmentation of a learning interaction, and preferably, the modification and redefinition of what can be accomplished in learning.
LOGISTICS: What logistics surround this tool? Certainly, a tool needs to have been created for a platform I use, or that students will be able to use. Given that I have Android, Apple, Blackberry and Windows devices, this is rarely an issue. But the technology available in my classroom is both more and less diverse and should be able to run on multiple devices at once. Also, is an app free or paid? Is there advertising in the app? Is it age-appropriate advertising? Can settings within an application or technology be managed by me, and locked down if necessary? We’ve all seen applications where the structure of the app is fantastic, but there is very little content to work with, or the inverse problem where it could be a fantastic app, but the logistics of the app make it unmanageable for continued use.
The idea that has become most apparent to me from this course is the importance of looking for the intersection between the learning affordances and the logistical conventions of an application. As an educator I need to determine if the way in which an application offers an educational opportunity is in fact appropriate to the content being conveyed and the skills and attitudes I hope for my students to gain.
TouchCast can promote deep and authentic learning by providing a platform that encourages the multimodal expression of knowledge and ideas. Students can create presentations for various audiences, on various topics, while promoting the connections that they find between concepts. Touchcasts can be embedded into Google Sites, and otherwise stored on Youtube. To be fully interactive, a TouchCast should be viewed from within the app or on the website, where every user is a channel. Logistically, I’ve found the desktop version of TouchCast to be a bit buggy, but the iPad version is reliable. The app is free and considering the strengths of this platform it’s a fantastic value. One con worth mentioning might be the ramping up time required to learn the software.
Pedagogically I think that the app is effective at creating multiple representations of a concept, with entry points for diverse learners. This might be distracting to students who struggle to focus, but the video based nature of the app should help to keep a students focus.
Thanks for watching and I wish you all the best in the rest of this course and along your MET journey.