Sue M’s UBC MET E-Portfolio

ETEC565A – Section 66C – Summer 2009

Archive for July, 2009

Reflection on Social Media Story Telling

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For Assignment #5, given the choice of telling a personal story or story that could be used in class in relation to an activity or part of my curriculum – I chose to use SlideRocket (http://www.sliderocket.com/) to experiment with telling a multimedia story related to a module from BIOL151 - Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology (a fully online course developed for delivery via WebCT by the Online Development Team at Vancouver Island University). 

URL available at:
http://app.sliderocket.com/app/FullPlayer.aspx?id=1E4B99C0-5D96-CEC8-30D8-8A1519A433A2  – please use password: etec565c
Please note: All media is the copyright of VIUonline!

Reflection on Development Process 

Well there were various categories of issues for me – the technical issues, the design challenges (to move from thinking in text to trying to think visually and kinesthetically and “tell a story”), and the potential for increased engagement, creativity, motivation and collaboration.

1. Learning How To Author a Multimedia Story with SlideRocket

 Given that I have used a variety of  graphic presentation applications, I understood the basic concepts of creating slides in SlideRocket.  New tasks that were fairly simple to learn included: adding Flash interactive learning objects, recording audio narration for individual slides, publishing a “public” presentation and inviting people to view the pre-release. 

The documentation was light and at times incomplete, and that caused quite a bit of frustration as well as wasted time and effort.  A few times the system froze in the process of saving and then the Flash interactivities did not work properly.  Still a few bugs and features that don’t work as expected!  I had to remove some of  interactivities and some of the audio narration files, as there seemed to be conflicts.

However, harder than learning new software and additional Web 2.0 features, was trying to think as a visual, auditory and kinesthetic (haptic) learner.  If I took the text-based content away, how would I explain the concepts?  I still have not mastered this aspect of designing with SlideRocket, but I’ve made a huge first step.

2. Choosing This Particular Tool

After reviewing over 60 Web 2.0 Tools, I purposefully selected this particular presentation tool due to the following functionality:

  • For Teaching & Learning:
    • Ability to embed flash learning activities and interactive media and video
    • Option to add audio narrative per slide or background music/sound track for the entire presentation
    • Streaming audio and/or video speed presentation and remove barriers of long time delays to download a/v media or poor quality – chopping media presentations
    • Highly portable presentations – ease of use and low demand on learner’s local computer system with no hard drive space consumed and no requirement to download the presentation, media or software files.  This removes barriers for learners completing online courses at work or on other computers where file downloads are not permitted!
  • Collaborative development for multiple authors
    • Potential to share a presentation with others in your organization and specify who can use (view, print, share) and who can edit the presentation (update, modify and re-use)
    • Development assistance through history and rollback to previous versions
    • Exportable to various formats
  • Sharing: Use and Re-Use
    • Potential to publicly share presentations via a URL or as an embedded media element in a web site or blog
    • Ability to invite individuals and/or goups (via e-mail) to an asynchronous review of a presentation (not publicly published)
    • Opportunity for groups of up to 50 individuals to attend a synchronous meeting to collectively review and discuss a presentation (a private viewing or publicly published presentation)
  • Options to check statistics and track number of viewers

3. Impact of Tool on Design

This tool had an impact on the manner in which I told the story of How Homeostasis is maintained via Feedback Systems and Feedback Loops – the design process was different from simply authoring content using text to either display on the screen or be presented via audio narration!

Background: Students in the BIOL151 course must learn many new terms, definitions, and processes prior to entering the Bachelor of Nursing degree program.  It is a challenge to transform a course based on a drill and practice instructional approach to fully online teaching and learning that engages learners.  To assist learners, we developed illustrative media and flash animations demonstrate concepts throughout various modules.

Story Redesign:  To tell a Web 2.0 Multimedia Story of  How Homeostasis is maintained via Feedback Systems and Feedback Loops (a topic within BIOL151), I selected SlideRocket  which allowed me to embed flash learning activities and interactive media within the presentation delivered via the web.  This allowed me to shorten the amount of text-based content and enhancing engagement with content by telling the story through interactive learning objects that provide ways for learners to engage with self-assessments, learning activities and interacitve media.  The addition of voice-over narration will further enhance this multimedia story and extend appeal to additional learing styles.  Overall the number of text-based screens that learners have to read and process has been reduced by more than 50%, and visual appeal has increased immensely. 

Was it the right tool?  This type of approach is appropriate for the identified target audience and the learning outcomes of this course.  I believe by learners engaging multiple senses and interacting for guided discovery of key concepts followed by completing interactive learning objects for self-assessment, learners will experience deeper learning than they would through a more passive delivery approach.

4. Suitability of SlideRocket in My Online and Mixed Mode Teaching

Would I use SlideRocket to produce materials for learners in the courses I teach?

I would not use this type of tool or approach to teach an entire “lesson” or online “module”.  However, there are times where it would be beneficial to interject an interactive learning object after a few screens of content presentation, so learners can have an opportunity to interact with the content in a different manner, and apply new concepts and receive immediate feedback.

There is no functionality for self-tests in Moodle, as there is in WebCT,  and learners really like the ability to check their understanding of new concepts before proceeding.  Embedding a Web 2.0 multimedia interactivity, illustration or story would be a great way for a quick checkpoint.

5. Impact of Student Access to A Multimedia Story-Telling Web 2.0 Tool such as SlideRocket

If learners were given access to this type of web-based authoring tools, I believe they could quickly and easily learn to create multimedia stories, as the development environment is very visual and intuitive.  It is easy to add picture, flash animations, video, audio clips of sound, music and narrations, shapes, charts and tables.  With these elements learners could be much more creative than developing in a text-based environment. 

Learners would have increased motivation and development would be more “fun” due to the social aspects of this Web 2.0 tool.  Learners can work collaboratively with classmates on course presentations, they can invite Instructors and/or classmates to review a draft prior to publishing their presentations.  Each can contribute components and build on each other’s work, then share and exchange presentations with whomever they choose.

The potential use this tool provides for collaboration and exchange is promising.  The ability to share developments could expand the re-use of course materials and promote new derivations from knowledge building, thereby assisting with long-term sustainability related to the production of sophisticated learning objects and other multimedia.

For the Record – Things I’d Like to See Added to SlideRocket:

  1. More learner control over the audio narration – ability to stop and start, rewind, fast forward, replay a specific range.
  2. More learner control over the navigation from screen to screen – ability to go to the end or beginning quickly, or to a specific slide.
  3. The script of the audio narration is included in the notes section of each screen, yet there should be an option for learners to be able to read the notes.

References

Written by Sue M.

July 20th, 2009 at 10:35 am

Posted in Reflections

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Social Media

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Class Wiki for Collaboration – Personal Reflection

As I have not spent a great deal of time exploring social media or other related social-networking platforms useful for enhancing e-learning, I found this week’s readings and tasks to be extremely fascinating!

These address my quest to design and facilitate enhanced e-learning environments and opportunities for Adult Learners. The aspects of social media related to the shifting of power and authority of the printed word fascinates me, as does the new area of e-learning 2.0.

Impressions of this week’s experiences exploring one social media tool in particular, a class wiki…

  1. How the group collaboration and discussion within the wiki space differed from a standard threaded discussion space:
    • Using the discussion page that is connected to the wiki page, I didn’t really feel like I “entered into conversation” with my peers about the kind of issues and trends that were evident in the sightings posted.
    • I actually found posting my “discussion” contribution to be more like a blog entry – felt more like an individual reflection / expression than an interactive exchange.
    • I found the discussion to be very linear in the wiki, as posts were added chronologically, instead of “attached to” a particular aspect of a previous posting. I much prefer the back and forth exchange of ideas in a threaded discussion forum.
    • Don’t think there was as much “discussing” in a wiki as there is in the threaded discussion forums (could be due to familiarity with this tool for discussion)
  2. Kinds of advantages in using wikis for group collaboration:
    • Good tool for collaborating on the creation of a document (5 Suggestion, 5 Challenges)
    • Being able to edit another group member’s posting in order to expand on an idea started or to add related ideas, additional content and/or references was a helpful feature.
    • We could add, edit, and expand creatively in context. This approach for generating a collaborative document seemed more productive than posting a series of discussion postings that would have to be recapped at the end to generate an organized summary of contributions about a particular point(s).
  3. Some of the challenges of working with others in a collaborative wiki space:
    • Being able to edit another person’s posting seemed kind of dangerous (someone was asking where the “undo” button was ;>)
    • At one point I returned to our “collaborative” document only to find some content that had previously been there was gone – perhaps inadvertently deleted or purposefully removed !?! As there was no posting in the discussions to indicate who had decided to do this, who had discussed this action, who had agreed upon this action (at least not that I could find)….I found that rather disturbing at first.
    • First discussing group process and reaching consensus regarding roles, responsibilities and approaches to the task, would have been a good starting point. Without these, editing / deleting other postings can cause the group to lose good contributions, for discussion to break down, for individuals to lose interest and defer the completion of the task to others.

Why Social Media? Some Lessons Learned!

According to Iverson (2005), in E-Learning Games: Interactive Learning Strategies for Digital Delivery, “we must actively engage our participants if we are to keep them motivated and involved in the learning process.” Learning happens through interaction and collaboration and is a dynamic, creative process that involves the true exchange of ideas, not simply the accumulation of facts.

In order for learning like this to become a reality in fully online courses, new types of technologies and practices had to develop to enable enhanced interactions, sharing and communications. “Those applications defined as ‘Web 2.0‘ hold the most promise because they are strictly Web-based and typically free, support collaboration and interaction, and are responsive to the user. These applications have great potential to be used in a way that is learner-centered, affordable, and accessible for teaching and learning purposes” (Wikis and Podcasts and Blogs! Oh What Is A Faculty Member Supposed to Do? 2007). This article also states that “…emerging technologies are designed to assist learners in becoming active, engaged learners and information evaluators as opposed to passive learners who merely reflect their instructor’s knowledge. In this new environment learners rely on and interact more with other learners, further building and constructing each other’s knowledge.”

Downes (2005) in E-Learning 2.0, explains how over the last few years the web has been “shifting from being a medium, in which information was transmitted and consumed, into being a platform, in which content was created, shared, remixed, repurposed, and passed along.” He states that social media is about enabling and encouraging participation through open applications and services – “socially open, with rights granted to use the content in new and exciting contexts.”

Social media is increasingly being used for educational purposes and is available in many different forms including blogs, wikis, podcasts, photo sharing, instant messaging, social bookmarking and social networking, to name just a few. Wikipedia describes social media as, “online content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies…a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content. It’s a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming monologues (one to many) into dialogues (many to many) and is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers.”

In 7 Things You Should Know About Blogs (Educause August 2005), blogging is seen as a way for learners to generate, share and keep up with timely and topical class information, when social media activities are tied to the learning outcomes and course concepts. Learners “form rich connections with one another and the content and – because of the reflection and sharing – find great relevance in the material.”

Siemens (2002), in The Art of Blogging – Part 1. Overview, Definitions, Uses, and Implications, stresses that educational blogs breaks down barriers. “They allow ideas to be based on merit, rather than origin, and ideas that are of quality filter across the internet ‘viral-like’ across the blogosphere.”

According to Frand (2000), moving learners “from ‘interacting on the Net’ to ‘critical thinking’ is not necessarily a simple or easy leap. Yet it is a necessary one.” Using social media for the collaborative construction of knowledge can challenge learners to think creatively and critically.

Downes (2004), in Educational Blogging, stresses that for social media in education to be successful - building of community must first be “embraced and encouraged”. It is essential to develop a learning community built on trust, interdependency and a desire for collaboration and meaningfully engagement that “connects people through shared interest in information” (Alexander, B. 2006).

References Related to Social Media & Electronic Literacies

Written by Sue M.

July 5th, 2009 at 10:59 pm

Posted in Reflections

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