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:
- More learner control over the audio narration – ability to stop and start, rewind, fast forward, replay a specific range.
- More learner control over the navigation from screen to screen – ability to go to the end or beginning quickly, or to a specific slide.
- 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.
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