Thursday, April 24, 2014

Anatomy of a Presentation

I am part of a committee of people within my school district putting together breakout sessions for a summer EdTech conference. And I have been trying to get some amazing teachers from my district to commit to speaking at the conference, but for some reason teachers are sometimes hesitant about sharing their classroom happenings. So to make the thought of presenting less daunting, I created a couple products to let people know a basic format for sharing classroom projects within a 45-minute breakout session.
Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

Monday, April 21, 2014

Competency-Based Teacher Infographic via @getting_smart and @digitalpromise

Courtesy of: Getting Smart

Branching Scenarios with Branch Track

I recently came across a new eLearning tool from Cathy Moore's blog. Branch Track is currently a free tool web-based branching scenario authoring tool and it demonstrates some promise for delivering simulations. It's a very basic tool but can offer an eLearning developers with a quick simulation builder with built-in stock photography. Try to use this tool to build self-assessments or practice with different concepts in your classroom.

With Branch Track's intuitive user-interface, I was able to Create, Design, and Deliver content in a matter of 30 minutes. My scenario is more playful and used more as an advertisement for my school district's summer eLearning conference, but it demonstrates how this tool could be used to offer learners with Choice, Challenge, and Consequences depending on their chosen response. Cathy Moore did a better job of creating 50 decision points/endings.

Overall, it's pretty interesting that a free web-based tool can develop and deliver content similar to what I developed with Adobe Captivate a while back for a Human Performance Technology project I constructed sometime last year. I hope Branch Track evolves to become a more customizable authoring tool.


The following images display how the Create tab is used to construct the branching structure.


The next two images demonstrate the limited background and character choices found within the Design tab. 


When satisfied with your design, the Deliver tab allows for several different formats to download or deliver from their servers. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Power of Story in Video

In a recent #SXSW Keynote by Adam Savage of MythBusters, he shared that movies do a great job of making art accessible to even the most art-ignorant of people (this is not a direct quote). He also discussed the importance of story for the STEM (STEAM) fields.

Although these are both alcohol commercials and I am not in anyway attempting to promote these products, I think one does a great job of telling a heartfelt story to sell their product. The other well...I think it is selling something else and the story doesn't make complete sense. At the end, I am left asking, "who the heck is Angus?" But, I'm sure that was intentional. I thought I would share these two advertisements to demonstrate the power of story in video. You tell me which video does a better job of it.


So, here is the ten dollar question (I wouldn't go so far as to call it a million dollar question), how does this relate to EdTech? 

Similar to writer's workshop, students should be given the opportunity to create digital stories that could be shared, reflected on, revamped, and redistributed to a larger audience. With video production tools becoming more accessible through web-based tools, apps, and other software, teachers and students have the ability to communicate a brief but powerful message. Bernajean Porter had a fairly recent Tweet that touched on how teaching practices compare to traditional notions of what reading and writing should be in the classroom.
I have been working with students over the last few months on varying video-based projects, and I always favor the stories, acting, script-based, mini-Hollywood productions students attempt to create. Students' final products aren't always amazing; however, students can learn a lot from immersing themselves in the creative and iterative process of telling stories through video. And one amazingly creative project from a student can motivate the rest of the class to push their directorial capacity.

Would I show students these particular videos in my classroom? Absolutely not! But, I also teach elementary-level students. Still, age-appropriate videos similar to these would be beneficial for students to preview and then list "noticings" after watching 1-2 minute video using a powerful story. Then, have students use what they noticed to make their own videos. 

What do you think? Ideas? Were these the absolute worst videos to use to demonstrate the Power of Story in Video? Do you have kid-friendly examples to share? If so, comment below!