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My job requires me to build content for classes that I then also deliver. I create ten or classes are year and up to about a month ago, I was using Power Point for them all. Going through the motions, creating slide after slide. I tried to find the right balance between giving them the needed information and not overloading the slides. Also because of the nature of my classes a great deal of layering needs to be understood. For example, when you create a supervisory organization, you need to define staffing model, depending on staffing model you need to either create hiring restrictions or create a job requisition and position to hire. Showing these relationships in PPT (Power Point) required me to do a lot of talking because slides could not actually move in a manner to show these connections.

This is where Prezi came into play. I was amid building yet another course and finding it increasingly frustrating to connect the dots that needed to be connected in this case linking compensation elements in Workday. There is only so much animation can do. After some research, a few YouTube videos, I determined that Prezi would do the trick. There is a learning curve, but it is no greater than first learning how to correctly use PPT -a lot of people do not use it correctly- with Prezi there are many tutorials not only on their website but on YouTube.

After signing up, which I won’t go into because it’s straightforward the Prezi landing page allows you to start working with a template or create your own template.

Prezi

Note: I am using the free version and paid versions may look different than above.

Because of my unique business requirements, I opted to create a new Prezi.

prezi 2

I am given the option of once again choosing a template or starting with a blank Prezi, a blank Prezi fits in with my requirements.

Note: Unfortunately, due to the propriety nature of the training material I create I cannot give a direct example of what was created using Prezi but the following will be an example.

At first glance Prezi may seem like what we all try to avoid when creating PPT, but each of the circles can be clicked in an order that allows the concepts to be connected. The user is visually queued into the connections and the ideas are built and layered upon.

prezi 3

In Prezi, you can go into present mode much like PPT but instead of going from slide to slide Prezi uses a layered approach to interconnect ideas, drill down further on concepts and zoom in on pictures. One thing that is important that although Prezi can help to keep your audience focused it will not make a bad presentation good. Being able to layer and zoom does not mitigate having too much or not enough information on the screen. This is a tool and should be used to help a presentation.

Prezi is a good substitute for PPT because of the ability to employ creativity into the lesson. Being able to interconnect ideas while remaining on a single slide, showing the learner a physical connection is a good method for the visual learners and can bring more clarity to even those that are auditory learners. Although Prezi doesn’t necessarily account for Kinetic learners, the motion of information may suffice for those types of learners as well as they get the sense of tactile interaction with the information using the zooming in and out functions, the movement from one bit of information. Prezi allows a non-linear presentation, PPT can be used to present non-linear ideas, but the very structure is flat and linear.

Prezi can be incorporated through the SAMR model. Prezi doesn’t necessarily have to be a pen to paper substitution but can also substitute PPT or other presenting tools. Prezi then augments the previous application whether it be PPT or an overhead projector with transparences and incorporates a more advanced technological experience. Modification really depends on what Prezi is being used for, and how the learners consume the information versus the previous method. In my line of work the redefinition really does come with being able to make those visual connections that I currently can only make verbally. While the verbal connections will not cease, this addition of visual connections can open a broader learning opportunity and reach a bigger segment of learners by covering at least two learning styles.

As with any tool Prezi isn’t perfect. The first being that Prezi is a bit pricey. There is a free option that does not allow the user to upload their own branding. This facet is especially difficult for my line of work. The pricing structure has three paid levels with varying features based on price. For educators and education institutions Prezi does have a pricing structure. The education lowest level does not include all the features of the paid lowest level. I would implore them to make the features equal. If educators are to use this tool for instruction it is imperative that they have access to support even when on the free version.

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Secondly this is a web app. The desktop app which is probably what most educators will want to have, is only available with the pro subscription, meaning there is no free version of desktop Prezi with either the regular price structure or the education structure. Allowing a non web based alternative is an important aspect. Institutions may already be paying for a Office subscription, adding additional expenses may not be an option and therefore they may opt to stay with other presentation tools if Prezi does not allow a desktop application that is free of charge.

Let’s Talk Prezi

A fellow classmate wrote a blog about Prezi and it sparked an interest in me. For a living a develop and deliver training. Specifically I develop training for Workday and internal consulting Methodology for the firm I work for. Sounds exciting, I know you can barely contain yourself. About a month ago I was developing training, and I just became irritated because frankly I’m sick of Power Point. It’s not Power Point’s fault, I just want to do something more dynamic and interesting.

I was reading the blogs and Tiffany talked about Prezi and I became intrigued. I started to research it and also spoke with my manager and she was also interested in it. So here I am a month later developing a training in Prezi. While it’s not going to be the end of my search for dynamic presentation and training I do find it more interesting than just your standard slides.

The nature of Workday works well with Prezi because in the Workday application, many concepts link together and to really grasp how to use those concepts the consultants needs to be able to call back to other areas. Where Prezi is superior to other presentation applications is the use of layering. It’s not a linear program, if you don’t want it to be. There are layers that can be peeled away like an onion, and like said onion you can also put those layers back together. I’m thinking onions because I had an annoying experience with one recently-who would ever think an onion can be tasteless- but I digress.

Right now my use of Prezi is in it’s preliminary stages and honestly I don’t know if the big bosses will even like it.  At my company we still live in a Power Point world, even though Workday is a cutting edge cloud application. One thing I do worry about with Prezi, is because of the newness of it to my audience, and the way that the slides move, will my students be distracted? The training that I run are very important to their success at the company, and I don’t want to cause them any distractions from the importance of the material. As it is I will build a backup training in Power Point just in case Prezi proves to be too much for the unwashed masses.

 

Screencastify Tech Review

When thinking of screen casting, academics may not be the first thought, but screen casting is becoming a viable way to allow for distance learning while still being interactive. There are several screen casting applications that range from full suites such as Captivate, to plug ins such as Jing. One app that can be used as a browser plug in is Screencastify. Screencastify is a great tool for the educator to use as a starter application, in particular the free version. Screen casting isn’t for everyone, so with that in mind using a free program would be the best start. Screencastify allows the user to add as a plug in to Chrome.

ScreenCast4

This feature allows for a quicker startup and the user does not have to install the application to their computer’s hard drive. If you are looking for a program that has a desktop version, this would not be the correct application. Screencastify can only be used on Chromebooks, Chromboxes and in Chrome. Starting a screen cast starts with clicking the icon pictured above. The user is then given an option to either record the tab they are currently browsing, their desktop or camera.

Within each recording type, the user is given options that can tailor the recording experience. Within the tab and desktop option the user is given the option to embed the webcam. This will show the audience the presenters desktop or tab as well as a recording of the presenter in the lower right corner. This is helpful when the lesson requires the student to view the instructors face or body language to give the students physical cues. The webcam is a great tool for instructors to gain physical cues from students. To pick up if a student is struggling with a lesson. Being able to view the instructors face also lends to a more personal experience as stated by some of my students.

Screen casting is useful for feedback and help when students are struggling. Written feedback can be helpful, but occasionally a student may need to talk it out to better understand a point. If a student isn’t in the same area as the instructor, screen casting is a useful tool for these types of interactions.

ScreenCast1

The lite version of Screencastify is loaded with tools that can be used to enhance the screen cast. These tools are available within the recording and is circled above. As the user you can exit out of the tool bar by clicking the X to recall the tool bar type alt + t and the tool bar will reappear. The focus mousesceencast2  feature, darkens the casting screen and highlights only where the mouse’s cursor lands on the screen. Use this to draw the user’s attention to a particular area, for educators this can be especially helpful when trying to illustrate a process, such as a math problem. The student’s eyes will be drawn to what is highlighted instead of the entire screen. The hide cursor icon ScreenCast3 allows the presenter to have what they are clicking on highlighted in a red circle, this can be turned off and on.

This is another feature that can be helpful in highlighting areas, concepts or processes for the students. The pen iconScreenCast8  gives the presenter the ability to write on the screen. Admittedly this is easier said than done, anyone that has ever tried to draw with a mouse or touchpad can concur. Although this feature may not be used often it is available. The other features are the erase which allows the presenter to erase a portion of what was drawn or the wipe screen which clears the entire pen drawing.

The free version allows for 10-minute length recordings at a time, with a maximum of 50 recordings per month. For an upgrade the cost is 24.00 per year, a small investment if after using the lite version, you find that screen casting is a tool you’d like to incorporate into your lessons.

As an educator screen casting allows you to model digital age work and learning. Being able to fluently conduct, record, and upload a screen cast will demonstrate a fluency in the technology. Screen casting allows for collaboration between the student and instructor. The instructor can give the student the ability to do screen cast of their own and present on a topic. Through screen casting and the embedded tools the instructor can design and develop digital age experiences for the student. Instead of posting to a discussion board or just a voice recording the educator has the option to create an immersive experience that mimics a traditional learning environment. Screen casting is the ability for a distance learning to have a connection with the instructor that is beyond message board posting and written responses.

Screen casting can also be used from the student’s perspective as mentioned above. Collaboration can be achieved by assigning students to a group, and a topic. Having the students record a screen cast for their presentation fosters the use of technology and collaboration among students. This may also provide an avenue to allow the students to explore learning creatively that expands beyond text based learning. Instructors have the ability to have assignments that students must create lessons using screen casts instead of the normal written essays, screen casts can also be used in companion to essays.

Screencastify is a great starter tool for screen casting but there are some limitations that should be addressed. While the ultimate goal is to sell the premium version, allowing for a slightly longer recording time would be helpful, possibly even 15 minutes. There are three recording options, tab, desktop and web cam, but when choosing desktop the user has to choose one program, which makes it difficult to toggle between programs. When choosing tab, only the tab that is displayed when the recording begins will be recorded.

Another feature that would be helpful is allowing live broadcasting which would expand the casting ability. Currently only the ability to record your casts and then upload to Google Drive, YouTube or locally is available. To foster additional creativity and collaboration live casting would be a welcomed feature addition to Screencastify, even if that ability was only added to the premium version.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screencastify

Screencasting is becoming more of an integral part of learning online. The ability to screencast allows educators to create content that can be recorded housed on a site such as Youtube and viewed by distance learners, multiple times. There are a number of programs and apps that allow screencasting. Each one having different components that allow for a more immersive viewing experience.

If you are starting out, you may not want to invest in an expensive screencasting software such as Camtasia, Captivate or Articulate. Screencasting isn’t for everyone and educators may want to try to get the hang of it and decide if it is a viable option for them. That is where Screencastify can be of assistance.

Screencastify is an app or plugin that can be added to a web browser. The lite version which is limited in features, can be used for free. The fully loaded version is still cheaper than investing in one of the aforementioned software packages. Screencastify does allow the user to screencast, upload to Youtube, as well as Google Drive, and locally. This app provides a decent screen and audio quality, with the ability to add highlighting to clicked icons, and pointing tools. The user can also draw on the screen and add video of themselves as they complete the screencast.

The consulting firm that I am currently employed, initially had limited licenses to Captivate. I discovered Screencastify upon searching for a cheap alternative that would allow me to complete instructional demos for a client. I found that while the lite version does not have as many features as one of the bigger software suites, this app will allow the basic screen recording.

Of course nothing is perfect and there is always the downsides. First and foremost in the lite version there isn’t the ability to do in app video editing. If you mess up you are out of luck unless you find a video editor. Also the length of screencasts are limited to ten minutes per video, for longer cast you may have to start and stop and upload multiple videos.

If you are a heavy user-lite is limited to 50 videos per month- or require longer videos, there is the option to upgrade for 24.00 per year which in comparison to some of the other tools is still nominal. The upgrade provides unlimited recording length, unlimited videos, and allows for the ability to extract the mp4 file from the video and includes a video editor.

I do still recommend that if you are new to casting, that giving the lite version a try isn’t a bad idea. While the price of the upgrade isn’t expensive in comparison to for example Captivate, if the freeware works for your needs then you can save yourself the money.

 

Ed Tech Review # 1

Growing up we can all probably remember going back to school shopping with our parents. The bulk of that school shopping consisted of purchasing various notebooks, from single subject to multiple subject notebooks. As the school year wore on, I would use all the blank pages, occasionally have a page that would fall out and get lost or damaged.

Today’s students can use digital notebooks, one such digital notebook, mySchoolNotebook is both an online website and an app that can be downloaded to both Apple and Android devices. If the use of the internet and all its distractions are of concern to both educators and parents, mySchoolNotebook can be used offline through the app.

When the student logs into the tool, there is an option to create a new notebook. The tool allows the student to name the subject and teacher that notebook will apply to, once the notebook is created topic sections can be added by typing the name of the topic in the text field. Additional topics can be created by clicking the add a topic button. After creating the topic, the student can then add lessons to the notebook. Each lesson is grouped with a singular topic for example a student may use history as the topic, but separate the lessons by American History and European History. The tool does have limited word processing capabilities, such as the ability to change font type, size and color as well as justification and the addition of bullet points. When clicking the pencil icon, the student is given the ability to add in note graphs and hand drawn shapes, there is a limited number of predefined shapes available which can be incorporated into the notes.

The mySchoolNotebook tool allows students to incorporate innovative and creative thought into what can be seen as mundane, school notes. The tool allows the integration of relevant media into the notes such as charts, maps and pictures that can help the student to further their learning goals allowing the student to reference additional supplements that can be used in conjunction with the notes taken, because notes are often used as study aids, providing additional references within the notes helps with organization, and can be used to provide additional help to further understanding of a topic.

Within ISTE creativity and innovation is the first point in the standards. This tool does allow for that creativity and innovation by allowing a student to create notes in a way that best suits their learning style. Instead of expecting all students to listen and regurgitate what they heard onto paper, this tool gives them the freedom to create other methods to demonstrate their understanding of the material presented such as diagrams that can be used as mind maps.

Currently in curriculum notetaking is a personal endeavor. While some students engage in sharing notes, this is usually for emergency reasons, such as a classmate missing school. Notes aren’t currently used in a collaborative manner. Promoting and supporting collaboration can be a valuable and easy means by which to increase student engagement.

This tool does allow students to share their notebooks through email and there is an option to allow the notebook to be viewable in a Google search based on the name of the notebook. ISTE promotes students being knowledge constructors, within ISTE the understanding is that, “Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others (International Society for Technology in Education , 2017). Sharing a notebook does not correlate to the student doing all the work for the classmate, but that collaboration may open other students to ideas, concepts and theories not before realized.

The ISTE does encourage student creativity and collaboration, but tasks educators with the facilitation of this creativity and collaboration. Within the ISTE the standards set forth state that the educator should, “promote student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify students’ conceptual understand and thinking, planning, and creative processes” (International Society for Technology in Education , 2008). This goes with allowing the students to create notes that are outside the thinking of traditional note taking and then allowing those notes to be shared among the classmates. The educator can challenge the students to

While I do believe that in its present state mySchoolNotebook is a wonderful tool, there is room for improvement. There is the ability to import files into the notebooks, but what I would like to see is a more robust interface within the tool itself. Instead of needing to go to a separate tool, the ability to create charts, mind maps and process diagrams would be helpful. This allows the student to keep their focus on one tool and not worry about creating in one place to import in another, while still allowing that creative unique expression that can be invaluable in helping a student to further their understanding of the topic.

In pen to paper notetaking I understand that the student can’t import a spreadsheet or any other type of file and the tool allows for greater organization, but allowing a student that may be using this on a mobile device to create augmentations such as charts and mind maps within the app would make the ease of use greater and could allow for greater innovation as the student may receive inspiration outside of the classroom and can take advantage of the tool to note that inspiration. Also, the import media functionality does need some development. Currently when media is imported it’s attached to the notebook, similarly like an email attachment. Allowing the option to integrate the media into the actual notes would allow for a seamless transition for the student between the typed notes and the supplements.

For the educator, this allows their students to explore the world outside the classroom, without worrying about if they’ll be able to take the notes as needed. Also, allowing for greater flexibility within the tool helps to alleviate the worry of having the data or internet connection necessary to use the upload features.

References

International Society for Technology in Education . (2008). ISTE Standars Teachers . Retrieved from ISTE : http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/standards-for-teachers

International Society for Technology in Education . (2017). ISTE Standards Students. Retrieved from ISTE: http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/for-students-2016

http://www.myschoolnotebook.com/

Me and Go To Training

My position as a Technical Trainer requires me to provide both traditional classroom training and virtual training. Prior to December, my company used Go to Meeting to conduct these training. We recently obtained the ability to use Go to Training. Knowing what I know about the clunkiness of Go to Meeting, I felt that a tool specifically for training had to be much better.

One of the issues with GTM was that the integrated audio would often cut out in the middle of a conversation. Surely a tool specifically for training would be better? Well it was not. Several times as I was in the middle of explaining a concept and I would be informed that my audio had gone out. Sigh. Aside from the ability to invite up to 50 people, for the students to virtually raise their hands and the instructor to see if the students are “paying attention” the GTT just felt like GTM with a few added perks.

One of the features of GTT that I thought would be beneficial was the ability to add materials to the training instead of having to email them. I quickly found out that even this feature was not worth it. While I could add materials from the GTT meeting page, while in the training itself, the students did not have access to the materials link. The materials were only available through the link that was emailed to the students at the beginning of the training.

The switch from GTM to GTT from my point of view as a user, was not necessary for the company to take on the added expense. This change is a great example of what may be the shiny new thing and being distracted by the newness even though the new thing may not necessarily be the best thing, either for the students or the instructor. The change from GTM to GTT didn’t improve my training or the student’s experience.

The Big Question

The answer to how I became interested in adult education.

 

 

References

Diep, N., Cocquyt, C., Zhu, C., & Vanwing, T. (2016). Predicting adult learners’ online participation: Effects of altruism, performance expectancy, and social capital. Computers & Education, 84-101.

Donavant, B. W. (2009). The New, Modern Practice of Adult Education Online Instruction in a Continuing Professional Education Setting. Adult Education Quarterly, 227-245.

Korr, J., Barker-Darwin, E., Greene , K., & Sokoloff, W. (2012). Transitioning an Adult-Serving University to a Blended Learning Model. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 2-11.

Merriam, S. B. (1987). Adult Learning and Theory Building: A Review. Adult Education Quarterly, 187-198.

Sims, R. (2015). Revisiting Beyond Instructional Design . Journal of Learning Design , 29-41.

 

 

Week 15 Annotated Bibliography

Donavant, B. W. (2009). The New, Modern Practice of Adult Education Online Instruction in a Continuing Professional Education Setting. Adult Education Quarterly, 227-245.

In this article the author explores the shift of adult education in professional environments. The focus of the study was to compare professional adult learning efficacy using traditional classroom training and online education. The study did find that no significant difference in learning between OE and traditional setting existed in this study, but that OE success could depend on the persons formal educational level. Those with higher education levels had a greater potential to success in the online education. Furthermore the study also found that while there was not a great shift in learning potential, online learning does provide a greater availability of classes and greater access.

While the study did not find that OE caused a greater level of learning, the study is significant because it does show that the same amount of learning can be obtained with an OE as with traditional methods. This coupled with the discovery that participants- while still preferring traditional methods- did concede that OE allows greater access to classes. The study also found that the preference of traditional methods was rooted solely in what the participants were comfortable with and not necessarily in the effectiveness of one method over the other.

Donavant, Brian W. “The New, Modern Practice of Adult Education Online Instruction in a Continuing Professional Education Setting.” Adult Education Quarterly (2009): 227-245.

I found this study of particular interest because my research is focused on adult learning, and more specifically adult learning in a professional environment. I also appreciated the addition of the study showing online education versus traditional method, I employ both techniques in my current job. I have found that traditional face to face seems to be of more preference, but this study did shed light that preference doesn’t mean a higher level of learning.

Diep, N., Cocquyt, C., Zhu, C., & Vanwing, T. (2016). Predicting adult learners’ online participation: Effects of altruism, performance expectancy, and social capital. Computers & Education, 84-101.

Korr, J., Barker-Darwin, E., Greene , K., & Sokoloff, W. (2012). Transitioning an Adult-Serving University to a Blended Learning Model. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 2-11.

Merriam, S. B. (1987). Adult Learning and Theory Building: A Review. Adult Education Quarterly, 187-198.

Sims, R. (2015). Revisiting Beyond Instructional Design . Journal of Learning Design , 29-41.

Week 14 Annotated Bibliography

Steinkuehler, C. (2010). Video Games and Digital Literacies . Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 61-63.

The author presents a case that video games do not impede on a persons ability to be literate. She in turn states that books and video games lay in their own genres and one does not necessarily affect the other. This point is brought home by comparing tv and radio, which at one point it was the understanding that tv would replace radio, but instead radio still thrives as well as tv but in a different niche. The author contends the same for books and video games.

Instead of finding that these two niches are competing she finds the intersection of them and at some points reliance of the other. For example the author states that literacy is needed for the large gaming communities, where gamers write and read a vast amount of literature concerning their favorite game. Although this takes on a different literary form than just a plain book the achievement of literacy is still met.

Steinkuehler, Constance. “Video Games and Digital Literacies .” Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy (2010): 61-63.

I found myself nodding in agreement quite often with this article. I do remember in the late 80’s early 90’s when video games became more prevalent and the fear that it would be a negative impact on kids and their ability to learn. I think that the two genres have separate enough but still evolved within their own niche to continue. Also one of my earliest memories of video games was Oregon Trail and Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? which were fun games to play but did provide some learning.

Week 14 Annotated Bibliography

Meluso , A., Zheng, M., Hiller , A., & Spires, J. (2012). Enhancing 5th graders’ science content knowledge and self-efficacy through game-based learning. Computers & Education, 497-504.

This article strives to study the effectiveness of game based learning on both content understanding and self-efficacy. The authors not only are looking to show that game based learning can improve a students understanding of content, but also that students with low self-efficacy can improve through game based learning. The article points out that studies have shown that students with higher self-efficacy tend to be more successful in not only academic pursuits but professional pursuits as well.

The study is presented with students participating in Crystal Island gbl in both independent pursuits and collaborative pursuits. The authors state before the study that collaborative pursuits with other students have show to increase learning gains as well as with in game avatars. The students played the game after they’d been given some information regarding the lesson. The study found that there was no significant changes between the independent learning and collaborative learning, but did concede this may have been due to the instruction given for the collaborative learning group.

Angela Meluso, Meixun Zheng, Hiller A. Spires, James Lester. “Enhancing 5th graders’ science content knowledge and self-efficacy through game-based learning .” Computers & Education (2012): 497-504.

Although this study focused on K-5 I find that it may be of help to me in both my research and professional pursuits. While my research interests are focused on adult learners, I do think that some lessons learned in this article can be applied. Whether adults to better in independent or collaborative settings I tend to lean that the results would be reversed and independent learning would prevail, but I do find interest in how effective game based learning is and this is in connection with both my research interest and my professional goals and interests.