Category Archives: media

A medium for me, a medium for you.

I’ve finally managed to pull myself away from reading all the awesome blogs posted this week. I found it so interested to read the varying opinions on different media and preferred media when it comes to learning and teaching. I found that I was able to connect with a lot of classmates on some or many different ideas.

Photo Credit: Dane Vandeputte Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Dane Vandeputte Flickr via Compfight cc

Just like Liz and Kelsie I have to admit that I lean more towards text as a medium in which I prefer to learn from. Bates provides strong evidence as to why text has proven to stand the test of time. I liked that Bates commented on text as as essential medium for academic knowledge.  He mentions that text can provide us with more detail and I immediately thought about how we compare the book to the movie. I have yet to see a movie that is better than the book and I would bet that many of you feel the same way. This is because the book can express details relating to emotions, settings or experiences better than a video can.

One reason I like to learn from text is because I have the ability to go at my own pace and read it over as much as I need in order to understand. I prefer to have paper text to read from so that I can highlight, make notes and write questions in the margins as I read. I find that this helps me remember and understand what I am reading more. I must admit that although I prefer text I do not consider myself a reader. I don’t think I have finished a novel for my own reading pleasure since 2012 – I know…that’s insane (and a tad embarrassing). But I guess that shouldn’t come as a surprise after saying I’m not a reader.

Photo Credit: matsuyuki Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: matsuyuki Flickr via Compfight cc

In terms of audio I can see the plus to creating it and using it, especially for students who may have difficulty reading text. Like Jess mentioned in her blog, I can see how it could be useful in learning a language so that you can understand the proper pronunciation of the text, however this would have to be combined with text which might make it difficult for some to manage. I like that you can pause and rewind audio and the fact that it can be taken along with you to listen to with your phone or in your car. I personally can’t seem to jump on board with the podcast learning/listening. I find that it is too difficult for me to focus on audio only which brings me to my next topic, video.

Photo Credit: Pricenfees Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Pricenfees Flickr via Compfight cc

I believe that videos are a great tool for learning, especially when learning certain skills. For example, if you wanted to learn how to work a power tool, a video might prove to be a lot more helpful than a manual. In terms of creating videos it does take time and you need to have the right tools in order to create a quality video that will get the content delivered in an appropriate way. I use a flip class model for my math class and provide video lessons for the students to watch as homework. I like that students can pause and rewind as well as watch the video as many times as they want. I feel like this is beneficial to them especially when it comes time for a final exam and they are expected to recall information from the first chapter. With a video lesson they are able to go back and watch the video to help refresh their memory.

As with everything else the medium we choose will vary depending on the content we are trying to deliver. If the content is more skill based, perhaps a video showing the skill can be used. For language courses maybe audio is the best. Regardless of the medium used, I know that for me I have to be in the right frame of mind in order to learn. I would imagine that this is the same for our students. I don’t know if the medium will make a different if students have other barriers such as lack of sleep, hunger or emotional factors getting in the way. We need to be cognizant of all of these barriers when choosing the appropriate medium and be willing to adapt and be flexible for our students. The better we understand our students and how they learn, the better we are able to choose a medium that is best suited for their learning needs.

Perhaps the best thing for the classroom is to have multiple media available in order to give students a choice. I don’t often provide a lot of choice but when I do it’s usually text and video. Do you offer media choices? How do you do it?


The Media Diaries: Five Short Stories of Five Good Friends

No. 1: The Wise Old Mentor

By Dplanet via Flickr

I’m a reader. My parents read to me when I was little, and before I actually could, I would pretend to read stories from the Western Producer on my dad’s knee. I played “music” from the Reader’s Digest Christmas Songbook at my mom’s piano. When letters slowly morphed into words, and words into ideas and stories, my life changed. I would stay up late reading Nancy Drew under my covers, occasionally checking my orange leather wristwatch to see how late it was. I didn’t want to be too tired for school the next day. Yep. That’s me. I think I loved school because I was a good reader and most of what I learned there came from textbooks. Big. Heavy. Books. I survived on painfully slow dial-up, and downloadable version of the Encyclopedia Britannica until I left home for university. Text remained my wise old mentor in this institution as well. Bates argues that text “is an essential medium for academic learning,” and I definitely have found this true in my experiences. It’s kind of difficult for me to imagine that it is unlikely “that books will survive in a printed format, because digital publication allows for many more features to be added, reduces the environmental footprint, and makes text much more portable and transferable.” But I suppose all wise old mentors die eventually, making room for new teachers, though their wisdom lives on.

No. 2: That friend who keeps you company while you run errands and doesn’t stop talking so you kind of stop listening once in a while

pink-jvcMusic and podcasts are comfortable pals of mine. Music has been in my life since my grandpa bought me a bright pink JVC CD player when I was 13, and I was introduced to Podcast last year by a good friend. I have a difficult time relaxing, doing hands-on-work or exercise in silence, so these two keep me company and I enjoy listening to them, even if I drift off on occasion. I don’t find that I learn anything particularly useful or interesting when we hang out. But if Pen or Video join us, then the conversations get juicy. So, I didn’t find it at all surprising when Bates said, “that students will often learn better from preprepared audio recordings combined with accompanying textual material (such as a web site with slides) than they will from a live classroom lecture.”

No. 3: The Diva

Mr. P, my former science teacher, was a huge fan of The Diva. We used to watch The Diva’s presentations on reproduction, chemical reactions, and uranium mines. The Diva thought she was so much better than Mr. Overheadprojector. One day, she was trying to show off with some fancy singing and animation on the topic of Meiosis. And the poor thing flopped. Sighs were heaved. Tears were shed. Minutes of lives were lost. But in history later that year, The Diva shared Schindler’s List. And so, rightfully found a place back at the top as a powerful, evocative celebrity. So, Bates’s thoughts that quality, free and engaging videos may not be easy for teachers to find brought this memory of The Diva’s career “lowlight” to the surface.

No. 4: The Nerd

You know that guy who is so passionate, that he scares people away? The nerd? I recently got set up with him by my EC&I 834 profs, Alec and Katia. Since then, we’ve been on a few dates. He’s pretty deep when you get to know him; he knows so much! And he can really challenge me, which I like. Sometimes he gets a little boring when he’s quizzing me and I really just want to hang out with Music and Podcast, or even The Diva. Still, he has a LONG list of strengths. He’s pretty good looking in most styles, organized, methodical, environmentally friendly, accommodating, and patient. Unfortunately, I think many of those strengths are left unappreciated because the ladies don’t take or have the time to get to know him. And once in a while he shuts you out for no apparent reason. That can definitely be a turn off.

“many teachers and instructors often have no training in or awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of computing as a teaching medium”  – Bates

No. 5: Ms. Social Butterfly

captureMs. Social Butterfly is one of my new teachers. We’ve been collaborating and constructing together for a little while now. Within the last year she encouraged me to blog and join Twitter. To be honest, I got a tad overwhelmed by Ms. Social Butterfly and we didn’t talk for almost six months. We just needed a break. We sat down for a Zoom session just over a month ago, and discussed boundaries. Now, I’m self-directing my learning, just like Bates said was possible. She will be an integral part of my ongoing professional development, and I’m glad that she’s teaching me again.

Challenge

Have you met any of these characters before? Do you have any characters to add to The Media Diaries? Would love to hear what they’ve been up to!


Extra, extra, read all about it…… or just watch the video!

downloadThis week our blog prompt asked us to look at pedagogical differences of various types of media. Like many other classmates, I will be looking back on my experiences as a student. I have always been challenged by reading text.  As a child I struggled learning to read, my mom even hired a reading tutor to alleviate my frustrations. Stephanie mentioned that in her undergrad she began to enjoy reading, for me the opposite I struggle reading chapters, my eyes get heavy and it all turns into a blur and I want to fall asleep.  I even experimented with Kurzwell, having it read to me, but the voices were too boring and I had a hard time following what was being said.

kurzweil-educational-systems-logo-300x132

Roxanne’s post, made me think back to my use of technology in my schooling experience, I recall having Mac computers in elementary school but we rarely used them.  I did manage to figure out how to use the Printshop program to make cards, banners and certificate.  In high school, I took a typing class but we used a typewriter and created cartoon pictures by following written directions of letters and spacing. Although I do recall, my English teacher had us go on the computer and practice typing with these boxes over our hands so we would learn where the keys were, I remember her saying hands on home row.  I did sign up for a Practical Applied Arts in grade 11 and 12; I managed to do all right in the computer class rotation.  We had small assignments such as internet scavenger hunts and sending emails.  I still use my Hotmail account that I created in that class, and lucky for me it was not dorky like powerpuffgirl@hotmail.com my younger cousin had to change his as his first email account was spongebobjtd@hotmail.com.  Teachers really did not incorporate much media into their classes maybe a video or a film on the old projector.

After reading the section 7.4 in the  Bates text I realize that video is a much richer medium than either text or audio. Video can be used as presentational material.  I have always been a visual learner and hands on learner, learning through pictures, demos, videos, and doing an activity.  When a teacher can not provide a learning experience for the class that’s when media comes into play. One thing that really stuck out to me is how Bates notes that video can substitute for a field visit, by:

  • providing students with an accurate, comprehensive visual picture , in order to place the topic under study in context;
  • demonstrating the relationship between different elements of a system under study
  • through the use of models, animations or simulations, to teach certain advanced scientific or technological concepts

I automatically thought of how Ms. Frizzle takes the students on an adventure but we the audience learn through media exposure to the video.

I believe that Roxanne makes a valid point that teachers need to be incorporating more technology and media into the classrooms, there is never enough. By allowing use of media and technology in the classroom it gets students ready for the real world and come to understand and explore the internet in a safe guided manner. Like Roxanne and Loraine I use Kahoot for changing up quizzes and assessment, Kahoot allows me to check for understanding while talking through correct answers.  The students even asked “can you make a Kahoot” or even to create their own.

As an adult learner in an online class, I am finding that technology is allowing me to connect and create with others who are not even near me. I enjoy everything that Alec and Katia share, I am also forever learning from my peers in the Google+ community.

Well friends please let me know which media type you learn best from! Even better share an media learning experience.

 


Educational software is changing for us, and us for it.

Snapchat-Based Reflection

Educational Software & Media
Snapchat – Not a conventional educational app – but in terms of responsible use of media and digital citizenship.

Perception vs reality and impacts on education:
Perception – it is a distraction in school OR it is an amazing way to connect with friends and others. Life is more disconnected than ever: Prince Ea: Can we auto-correct humanity
Reality – it IS a distraction BUT it is an incredible opportunity to enhance connectedness between students. I would argue students are better connected now than ever – we can share and observe others lives together. (Connect to Distance Ed) later.

Proponents, opponents, and adopters of these technologies:
If you’re against it, you do not enjoy the distraction of it in classes.
If you adopt it, you’re using it to connect with students.

Effects positive and negative on teaching and learning:
Positive – warm and energetic atmosphere.
Negative – can decrease engagement if not patrolled.

Pedagogical advantages and disadvantages:
Advantage – it keeps us fresh on what is a large part of many of our children’s development.

Disadvantage – it can be a vehicle for abuse, harassment, and as previously mentioned a distraction.

Conclusion
Education is always key – rather than fear and taking things away because we aren’t familiar or can’t control them… educate yourself and others on its use so that you can help them use it responsibly. I’ve observed the use of Kahoot and it seems positive, while the energy that is created as a result may have some short-term management implications a distraction, like Snapchat… and it may not meet the needs of ALL learners – it engages many of them.

Tell me you aren’t feeling more connected to me because of the adorable kittens.


Reflecting on educational software and media in general

Educational software is constantly evolving so as assessment and teaching practices change and become more inclusive of all learners, so too will the educational media to accommodate the demands of educators.

However.

Snapchat is NOT a conventional educational media/software. But it is a form of media that requires education. And the learning inherent within the roots of Snapchat (connecting with others over distances) has positive implications. When we look at the opportunities presented by distance education, the term “disruptive change” rears its head, almost as terrifying as “transformational change”. While sounding negative, disruptive change can be an encouraging as it may disrupt the normal constraints of the four-walled classroom. Personally, I get an opportunity to offer a course through distance education in our division next school year and this presents a lot of challenges and potential. This extends to many educational technologies, but most importantly, in my eyes, is that it poses opportunities for learning that are not limited to classroom walls.

That being said, there are inherent values imposed by new apps that are created, like Snapchat: “why do you need to take pictures of everything you do”? Once again: opportunity. Chance at critical thinking when engaging in online media. A favourite sarcastic quote in my classroom is: “the internet said so, so it must be true”. Which is an encouraging comment… but we see the two-headed dragon of this being that fact (peer-reviewed articles) can be misinterpreted as potentially inaccurate and that only your interpretation and beliefs of the content are much more plausible. It’s okay to synthesize an opinion from various forms of content, but what happens when what is most likely right is taken with too much doubt or discounted as not credible because other sources aren’t?

Educational software and will continue to evolve to meet our needs. As professionals it is paramount we stay up to speed on new means to meet the needs of new learners: changing ourselves to better utilize programs which continue to evolve alongside our evolving educational selves.

Agree or disagree?

Comment.

Logan Petlak



The new tools of our trade?

I want to start by saying hats off to my peers, Amy, Krista, Luke, Elizabeth and Rochelle who presented on the topic of educational software and media. I have to admit that although I am familiar with a lot of different great software and media tools I don’t often integrate them into my classes (insert red embarrassed face here). I can’t say for sure why I haven’t integrated the tools in my classes yet, but a big part of it is the fact that I was out the classroom on mat leave all of last year, so having just been back to work for a month and a half I still feel as thought I’m adjusting to the new routine. When I’m talking about not using the tools, I guess I’m talking about tools like Kahoot, Socrative, Quizlet or Explain Everything. I do use other media in the classroom so I will talk about the tools I do use as well as touch on some of the tools I have spent some time exploring in hopes to integrate the into my classes in the future.

One of the tools I use is Edmodo. I enjoy using Edmodo for a variety of reasons. The first is because the interface is similar to Facebook and students so it’s easy to navigate and students feel the same way. One of the biggest benefits is the increased level of communication between students, parents and the teacher. I’ve made a screen cast of my Edmodo page that takes you through some of the features as well as discusses some of the pros and cons of using Edmodo.

I have some EAL students in my class and they spend time working with a language app called Duolingo. I was introduced to this last year when I used it to try and learn some Italian. It has a gaming feel to it and makes learning fun, but the quality of the learning isn’t the best. I used it a lot, but I wasn’t able to actually remember or recall much of the language when I wasn’t using the app or website. To get a feel for how the program works check out my screencast from when I did my post-assessment. During the video you will hear the chime when I respond correctly and a green banner appears. Duolingo is very stimulus-response based lending itself nicely to the behaviourism theory. When I played it was really motivating and the game like features kept making you come back. You can earn badges, points and your progress is tracked making it rewarding to play and learn. The downside to the app is that although there is a lot of repetition it doesn’t allow for deeper connections and learning. To truly learn a language I believe you must converse with people using the language and Duolingo doesn’t provide these types of interactions. Users may chat with others on a forum, but there is no opportunity to speak with others and practice.

Duolingo is a great tool for EAL learners to get additional practice as it is engaging and fun. In order for students to practice outside of the classroom, students need to have access to the website or app. This makes it difficult for students who don’t have access to technology to practice when they are not at school. As a mentioned above, the app itself is not enough for students to master a language, but it is helpful. Language Surfer provides a great list of ways to get the most out of Duolingo and most of them go beyond just playing “the game”. Students who use this need to go beyond the app by writing down new word they learn on paper, writing sentences that they struggle with, reading the hints given by the program and working with others to practice speaking the language they are learning.

Other tools that I have explored for past classes with Alec are Socrative and Explain Everything. Socrative allows you to create quizzes and use exit slips to assess student understanding. I don’t think I would use this tool for summative assessment purposes but I see it as a great tool to get some feedback of learning throughout the unit. Students need to have access to computers, tablets or phones in order to participate so it is difficult to use in a classroom like mine where some students don’t have a phone. I feel like getting computers for everyone would be a lot of hassle to complete a short exit slip or a quiz that will give me some feedback. It is much easier to do a paper exit slip and have students complete it…however not as fun. Explain Everything is an interactive whiteboard app and I have thought about using it in my math classes. I see students using it to walk me through a question while they explain the steps they are using to solve the problem. I see it as an excellent tool to evaluate deeper understanding however it takes time for students to learn how to use the tool so that is something that would need to be considered before it is used in the classroom. You can check out my youtube channel to find the video tutorials I have created for both Socrative and Explain Everything. The videos will give you a better idea of how they work if you are wanting to learn more about them. A few classmates have included great reviews of Plickers and Seesaw; both tools seem beneficial in their own ways. Be sure to check out Plickers as reviewed by Liz and Seesaw as reviewed by Erin (great job guys!).

As I stated earlier, I tend to stay away from many of these question-response type tools because I don’t see a whole lot of value in them for the amount of time it takes to implement them. I do see it as a fun way to review and see the value in using these tools to differentiate the teaching methods. How often do you use these tools? Can you sell me on the value of these tools? I’m not saying I will never use them, but I don’t see myself using them on a regular basis…but maybe I should? Are these the new tools of our educational trade?


Collaboration, Confidence, & Ripped Jeans

So, there is such beauty in the internet – we can connect, create, collaborate, or gain outside perspectives.  Like I have mentioned in posts before the options are limitless. This trend seems especially true when it comes to fashion.  As of late, social media has seemed to be flooded with accounts of fashionistas inspiring one another with their creative abilities and of course, their outfits of the day (#ootd).  Many of these accounts show clothing items that are a bit out of Baba’s price range, but are beautiful nonetheless.  As such, I thought this was a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with a fashionable friend to bring an affordable way to raise the bar when it comes to your revamping a pair of pants.

Put your hands together for my fashionable and funny, son of a gun friend, Jess Clarke (find her on Instagram @jesclarke07).

@jesclarke07

@jesclarke07

Jess’s inspiration came from this pair of jeans at Aritzia that are retailing for $218.

Aritzia $300 Pair of Jeans

Aritzia $218 Pair of Jeans

Pretty sure, that price is much beyond our budgets (not to mention we would probably have to pinch and sell about 500 perogies to buy one pair of jeans to share between the both of us).   So, Jess consulted with the good old youtube.com and found this DIY Black Knee Cut Skinny Jeans Tutorial (perfect).

Jess then took an old pair of Forever 21 black jeans that cost approximately $10.90 and turned them into this:

Better than $300 Jeans

Better than $300 Jeans

Ripped Black Skinnies by Jess & Forever 21

Ripped Black Skinnies by Jess & Forever 21

After that I used the magic of the internet and technology to make a kick butt video of Jess and her new pair of jeans.

You can make a top model video like this too by using the Flow App from I-tunes.

Jess’s Steps to Jean Cutting:

  1. Confidence is Key.  This project wouldn’t have worked if she wasn’t sure of her self (see #babarevolution post on Doing It).
  2. Find Inspiration
  3. Gather Resources & Materials
  4. Share Your Resources, Materials, and Successes with Friends (Social Media the Shit Outta it).

And that is the beauty of the internet.   What have you created with your friends using resources from the internet?  Tell us what you and your Baba friends have done together.


Reflection 2 Learning Knowledge in a Connected Age

Wow, another week flies by.  I quite enjoyed the readings and more so the videos this week, something about reading more than a few paragraphs on my laptop is torture, but somehow never a problem on my phone.  I will reflect briefly about each article, hitting a few points on what I have taken away and connections that I have made.  

Networked Student really clicked with me.  I do believe that all learning is networked.  As a student, it is very easy to put off reading or even avoiding purchasing a costly textbook.  Just last week a gal in one of the videos admitted that she rarely did the reading.  I think that knowledge and learning is moving past books.  Knowledge changes so quickly, and new edition textbooks are just annoying.  I believe that connecting with experts is such an amazing idea, technology at our fingertips allows us to connect with experts and authors by simply tracking them down on twitter or through the web.  I also am intrigued about iTunes U.  I think that I may just explore a free learning course this summer, such a cool idea.

Welcome to my PLE was such a cool video.  This girl is in grade 7, wow what a pro.  There is still hope for me to tweak my techno skills.  I think it is great that she is using note-taking software to help her keep track of her reflections.  A friend of mine uses Evernote for everything.  At the time, I was not sure if it was something that I needed in my life but as a way of keeping all your little notes, reflections and anything else you want to organize safe, it seems like something I should check out a little further.  I also think it is amazing that this girl is sending off her work to be peer reviewed; perhaps this is something that I should try.  Collaborative learning is the way of the future, and why not gain insight from others along the way.  I think that by having students use technology from such as young age make them so much more connected, even their learning, this young gal is proof.  She made a valid point about the learning being her choice as to the how and the when; quite often, it is nice to work at your own pace.  Overall, I think allowing the students the freedom to work on the internet will make them accountable in their learning and make them digital citizens.

The article on Connectivism has really illustrated how technology has reorganized life.  I believe that it is difficult to keep up with the changing knowledge; I understand this from the perspective of a Grad Student who has to find current research.  It is amazing that knowledge doubles every 18 months, wow!  As for informal learning, my brother always gave me a hard time about taking classes, he often pointed; out he could just read the book and be as smart as I am. Another valid point is the know how has changed to the know where to, quite often we turn to YouTube tutorials, online forums, or the web when we are looking for information on how something is done. Just today in my class one of the boys said, “Search it up” as we were chatting about the process of a grape turning to a raisin.  The fact that even young students understand that you just need to know how to Google something and voila you have the answer instantly.  My husband has noticed a decline in what he calls the “Bullshit factor”, buddies can no longer easily bullshit each other cause everyone has a smart phone and will challenge you on something that they don’t feel is accurate.

networked
In the final article, Attention and Other 21st Century Social Media Literacies the author makes note of the disengagement from students.  As a teacher, I know that eye contact somehow equals attention; I am forever waiting on a student to pay attentional and look up front.  I know that while I am attending university class, it is respectful to pay attention and avoid distraction; I have even heard a Prof Stress that phones should be shut off and put away. Even as an adult, I am guilty of using my laptop at a staff meeting for multitasking, total partial attention.  I have run into problem with too much technology in the classroom, I thought about asking the school division to change the Wi-Fi password as too many students are distracted on Facebook during lessons, I understand the necessary intervention that banned the internet use in university classrooms.  Many people in society are always attending to media, I am guilty as I can’t even watch a TV program without googling or face booking, my husband is the same way.  Even when people are in a group, someone typically has their cell phone out.  I enjoy making the connections with the articles to my teaching and my personal life, wow I am networked!!