Immerse Yourself in VideoA new iPad app just came out, Condition ONE, that lets you change the perspective of what you are seeing in the video. You can physically control the camera’s perspective in the video by moving the events on the iPad as if you are holding the camera. This is just the beginning of what we will be seeing in the future how you will be able to make your virtual experience with technology more personal.
Condition ONE was created by photojournalist Danfung Dennis and his partners as a way to make more immersive documentaries, but the format has the potential to work for any topic or subject that is enhanced by a feeling of immersion (sports, live music, education). The app turns specially encoded video into a virtual reality experience, where the iPad becomes your window into the video that you are watching. Using the iPad’s gyroscope, as you twist your body the viewing window follows with you as if you were in control of the video’s camera. Want to see where that action is coming from? Just turn your body (with the iPad) and look.
How do you see this as an app in education?
Download Condition ONE here.
The Flipped ClassroomOne thing I heard at ISTE 2011 in Philadelphia that stood out for me was Flipping the Classroom. This is where the teacher publishes their lectures via screen captures using programs like Camtasia, Jing, and Screenr and then posts them on streaming servers like YouTube, SchoolTube, Vimeo, or TeacherTube. Then the teacher grabs the embed code and embeds it into their website or blog. The teacher can also upload documents or other materials that normally are shared during the class time. The classroom is then flipped and used to do the authentic work about the content. Here's a video of a Chemistry teacher who flipped his classroom.
This means your students have access to laptops or devices that can view the videos at home and in school to refer to the lectures or notes while applying the information. I like the term "Flipped the Classroom" because it helps teachers conceptualize what they are doing.
This could be the first step to blended learning for teachers that may not feel comfortable jumping into the online learning venue. Most students especially high school students have access to the Internet from home or their mobile device. Why not take advantage of these tools and make the learning environment challenging and rigorous? The other thing that is cool about uploading your lessons and content you want your students to learn before class is that you don't have to reinvent the lesson for each of your classes -- it's up there in the clouds waiting for you. All you have to do is give the link to your students.
How have you Flipped your Classroom? Want to share something cool you saw at ISTE 2011?
Kickstart our discussion on what stood out at ISTE 2011 by adding toSigilt's Google Form. For a deeper discussion, use the comment box below.
Meaningful Professional DevelopmentOn Friday October 8th, I was lucky to be invited to help facilitate professional development for Mid-Pacific Institute in Honolulu, Hawaii. Over 120 PK-12 teachers worked side-by-side in mixed grade-level groups to experience project-based learning (PBL). This approach requires 21st-century skills: collaboration, creativity, innovation, team work, and critical thinking. 15 Teams of 8-10 teachers each created public-service announcements (PSA) to raise awareness about Mid-Pacific Institute. Teachers put themselves in the role of learners with a facilitator guiding the process in each team. So how did they do? Read more what Elementary School Principal Edna Hussey wrote about the process. The team I worked with consisted of MPI's director of education technology Mark Hines, associate education technology director Bob McIntosh, the three principals, and middle school tech coordinator Brian Grantham where we collaborated several weeks prior to last Friday to plan the project experience. A meaningful day is effective if everything is planned well. I was so impressed with how the team worked tirelessly to pull everything together. The PSA concept was developed as a project that could be completed by day's end and which would entail the use of technology already available to the faculty. Check out the details and completed PSAs at http://mpi-psas.my-ecoach.com. Teachers completed reflections as exit tickets at the end of the day.
"I hope that this process will help me consider some of the challenges and rewards that come with building a project so that when I design this sort of thing for my students, I will understand what it's like to be them."
"I hope to get a better sense of how students think about 'open-ended' projects. If I enter with a student's mindset of being 'spoon-fed' what's required of me, what will work to engage me in this project. Often students feel lost when they get to make too many decisions. I hope to get ideas/techniques for helping students to get engaged."There were 15 teams who focused on a theme and developed a driving question and supporting questions about that theme to develop the storyboard and script for the 60-90 second PSA.
"Everyone feels comfortable to share ideas and is respectful and listens to the ideas of others. We have been able to discuss differing ideas and come to consensus. Everyone is open to hearing everyone's ideas and do what needs to be done to bring the project together. Everyone also seems to understand the importance of the process, not just completing the product."
"The group is communicating very well. I'm proud that people are constructing their ideas based on the communication of a positively critical idea, from a teachers perspective, and for the teachers as an audience, keeping the assignment in mind. When there was a difference in opinion, they chose to go with the more persuasive/engaging idea that invites the audience to think. It is going well because we are focusing on the process, even though the worries of getting the PSA done came up, we acknowledged how this might be a crossroads for students, and how should we proceed."We asked teams to pair with another team at the end of the day to share their PSA and reflect on the process. A spokesperson was chosen from each group to share with the whole staff. Everything was so positive. What an amazing group of teachers! Thank you Mid-Pac for including me in a very exciting professional development opportunity!
Online Learning Challenges
Designing Online Learning Environments that Engage Learners
(first published on OnCUE Summer 2010 Vol. 32 No. 2 p. 10-11)
Teaching online is fundamentally different than teaching face-to-face. The design of effective online learning environments requires rethinking teaching practices. The rapid advances of educational technology encourages the growth of collaborative online learning experiences unconstrained by time and space. Even so, students may not learn from technology alone; they learn with the support of competent facilitators who design learning strategies that support learning goals and objectives.
Online learning technologies were first used to digitize existing instructional materials for easier distribution, to enhance consistency, and reduce costs. Unfortunately, this use of technology did not actually improve instruction. Now there is a shift to more theory-based online learning strategies that use technology to enhance an instructionally sound learning experience that meets the needs of all learners.
"Technology can play an important role in the achievement of learning outcomes but it is not necessary to explain this enhancement with a special account of learning. Rather, the challenge is to describe how the technology allows underlying processes common to all learning to function effectively (Mayes and de Freitas in Beetham and Sharpe, 2007, pg 13)."
With funding cuts, districts are looking at creative ways to provide courses not offered at their site. Students are becoming more proactive along with their parents on what they need to meet their learning goals so they graduate with appropriate credits. The number of K-12 students taking online classes is growing exponentially. University students take it a step further. They not only search for learning opportunities at their school and online, they know a good online class. These students are picky about which classes they sign up for and will drop a class if the teacher is not effective. They are the new, savvy consumers of online education. In response to their higher expectations, designers of online education are incorporating increasingly sophisticated instructional approaches such as animations and simulations that address the challenges of presenting dynamic content to learners.
I asked online learning providers from my PLN (Personal Learning Network) how they design an environment that engages and motivates the learner to actively participate in the learning process. The top answers included:
- Posting syllabus with due dates
- Providing timely feedback
- Individual support and coaching
- Face-to-face meetings
All of these answers work to nudge the learner to logon, participate, and complete an assignment. Yet, even experienced curriculum designers are rethinking how to deliver instruction online so students want to be engaged in the learning process. Survey respondents also shared that about 10% drop out. Top three reasons presented were technology issues, not able to do assignments, and motivation. As educators with limited budgets and resources, we may be trailing the world of instructional design. Today’s students are different than five years ago. They are used to instant information, cell phones, games, and simulations. It is going to be difficult to keep them engaged with traditional education.
Virtual University Class
Scott McLeod, Ph.D., associate professor in educational leadership and policy studies at Iowa State University, communicates with his students via web cam. McLeod is teaching two sections of Educational Law and Ethics wholly online for the first time this February. Each of his students were given a webcam to allow face-to-face interaction without having to leave their homes.
“The technology side of distance education is an add-on to the instructional content,” McLeod said. “...when students have lived in this online community for a semester, they start making connections back to their schools and translate these educational practices to their students and staff...”
Google Reader, Adobe Connect, and Moodle are also integrated into the course. Students are able to use Google Reader to keep abreast of new developments in their field, even after the class is complete.
“This enables them to continue learning, far beyond the classroom,” McLeod stated.
Professors who find they need to promote their courses are experimenting with social media and new technologies. Universities around the world are building virtual classrooms with Second Life, designing interactive programs and games, and posting free online courses.
Experience History as it Happens
Maybe we need to find content that lets our students experience how historical events really happened such as the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum’s We Choose the Moon (http://wechoosethemoon.org). At this site, users listen to the actual commentaries from Houston as Apollo 11 is launched. Users can watch and hear what happened on their own time by clicking through the stages and on different galleries.
Virtual Museums and Galleries
Schools are cutting back on field trips because of limited funds. Students now can navigate around exhibits right from their desktop with videoconferencing and links such as:
- Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa)
- Exploratorium: the museum of science, art and human perception
- Color, Contrast & Dimension in News Design by Poynter.org
Learn by Doing
There are numerous online activities where learners of all ages can learn by involving themselves in hands-on activities.
- Design a Panda Habitat by National Zoo
- Virtual Dinosaur Dig by Smithsonian Museum
Play while Learning
Most students play games, so why not introduce games into your learning repertoire?
- BBC Interactive Games
- Saibai Island Canoe from the National Museum of Australia
- Maryland Budget Game from University of Baltimore
Interact with Videos and Audio
Reach those students that are auditory and kinesthetic learners with multimedia.
- Math Tutorials at Brightstorm
- How Your Brain Understands What your Ear Hears by NIH
You as the teacher can be the instructional designer creating a learning environment that is engaging and challenging. You can set the pace and rhythm, vary the format of the instruction you deliver, give the learner control, and make learning fun: fun for your students and fun for you.
I recommend teachers building their own PLN with other teachers and instructional designers where everyone collects rich curriculum and learning activities to share with each other. Use social media and your network to learn about new resources, bookmark and tag them in del.icio.us or Diigo, and then share them with your students in an organized way that enhances your instruction. There is no reason to reinvent learning activities if they are already available.
Beetham, H. & Sharpe, R., 2007. Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age: Designing and Delivering E-Learning 1st ed., Routledge.
Rydell, M. Online learning environments enhance education for Cohorts. Iowa State University news, February 11, 2010