Posts Tagged ‘design’
At first glance, this video does not seem like an educational one. Or rather, it might not seem to use any principles of design for educational videos.
But on closer inspection and reflection, I see that:
- The longer, raw video is not as exciting nor does it send the intended message
- A short, tightly-edited video is better at telling a story
- It is important to credit ideas, if not in the video then in the text that accompanies it
- A video is nothing without planning for social interaction around it
I was troubled when I read The Trouble With Online College.
The author of that article made a case that online college or university courses suffered from very high dropout rates and that they did not help the unmotivated, academically-challenged student.
The trouble with online courses lies not only in the numbers game or only in learner motivation, but with their design.
Attrition rates or the fact that online courses seem to attract only the highly motivated is a symptom, not the cause. The cause is poor design.
If a face-to-face lecture is converted to a “talking head” online course, what is the difference between the two? If courses are not redesigned from the ground up, people are going to stay away from them or get bored and walk away. Why should a student attend boring lectures or unhelpful tutorials in person and online?
I am glad that the author makes the point right at the end of the article that poor course design is to blame. But I wonder how many readers reach that point or how or how many non-instructional design savvy policy makers understand that point.
This is probably the third time I am featuring Dumb Ways To Die.
This time round I include a video of the creative soul who shares a bit about the process. He mentioned that the video had three things that made it go viral:
- Socially current (the layperson would appreciate it)
I think that the same thing could be said about designing learning activities, be it face-to-face, online, or blended. Likeable, different, and socially current.
When I have to give slide presentations, I put in a fair bit of effort to doll up my slides.
I remove as much text as possible and try to make them visual. This leaves room for the viewer to interpret (and share that interpretation) and for me to tell a story.
Here are screen grabs of two of my better slides from a deck I used earlier this week.
I use Google Presentations almost exclusively and illustrate with CC-licenced images from ImageCodr.
I like Google Presentations because 1) they are a bare bones tool that help me focus on the message, 2) I can share the presentation online, 3) I can share it and still work on it, 4) I can open the presentation up to critique or build it collaboratively, and 5) I make offline copies (typically PDFs) as backups.
I love consuming resources that make me think. And nothing does that more than good questions.
There are lots of takeaways in this video by Mickey McManus. After telling a story of how some learners created E. coli that smelt like mint and banana, he posed a question that made me pause for thought:
We can make anything, and make it right… The question our children will have to answer is… what is the right thing to make?
McManus believes that design thinking and design literacy can fill this gap. He also makes it clear that design is not (just) about art and wishy-washy statements about creativity:
Design is the systematic, repeatable, practiced creative activity to take someone else’s agenda and actually use that energy to solve their problems. It’s something you can learn, it’s something you can practice, it’s something you can get better at.
Then he talked about design literacy and how it might help reshape education. I think that he was using different terms for the same ends. Educators might refer to his interventions and examples as authentic and contextualized learning. Nonetheless, there were some tips that educators might find useful, e.g., thinking out of the box with the round-robin and “what if” methods, rapid prototyping, etc.
With the help of a few videos, he showed how engaging students in the design process resulted in more motivated and deeper learning.
He also challenged his audience to promote design literacy in our kids early in their lives. To illustrate, he showcased a young boy designing his own game on paper (around the 18-minute mark of the YouTube video).
My immediate reaction: My son does this! My second reaction: We don’t really need to teach or enable them to do this; we just need to encourage it or get out of their way. I think it’s really about nurturing what kids naturally have, seeding what they don’t and managing what they develop over time.
Many thanks to Kom for pointing this video out to me yesterday!
I loved the speaker’s suggestions on designing for change:
- Don’t build a bridge, ask how you cross a river (start with the basics)
- Work with and not for (to give stakeholders ownership)
- Start locally, build globally (start small, scale it up)
You’ll have to watch the video to get the context and to fill in the blanks!
What’s wrong with distraction? Why not take advantage of it?
Those are my reactions whenever I read articles about how slate devices might be a distraction in class. The latest is a glowing review of the iPad for higher education. The issue of distraction was described as such:
In a surprising twist, the iPad’s notoriously cumbersome application switching was too slow for recreational web surfing during class, but still quick enough for Internet research, leaving students more attentive than with a laptop. However, as devices become more sophisticated, this vacation from the distracted classroom will likely be short lived.
So the better performing the device, the more likely the distraction?
I think that students are going to get distracted no matter what. They daydream, look out the window, pass notes or sneak an SMS. They are human after all.
I am of the opinion that if you cannot hold and maintain their attention, they deserve to be distracted. I tell my classes that they can go on Facebook or email or Twitter or IM if what we are doing in class is not meaningful. That is a challenge to me to be on my A game!
I also think that the distraction might be an informal opportunity for learning since the student is pursuing something of his or her interest. In fact, I think that my learners are NOT distracted enough.
My learners are typically older ones: Student teachers, inservice teachers and graduate students. The only similarity they have with school students is the silence you get after asking a question. But ask them to respond online and the joyful “noise” typically goes up! Injecting variety and varying the pace are just some ways to design for “distraction”.
Most of my learners need to know how their learners operate. So I often tell mine to search online whenever we reach in impasse. Never heard of connectivism? Search. Not sure what crowdsourcing means? Search. Don’t know what gamification is? Search.
Then we share, critique and write about the concepts over time. It’s a distraction that lasts the whole semester and it is a joy to watch when different people get their a-ha moments at different times.
Two articles worth poring over
[image source, used under CC licence]
While Byrne is away, his guest bloggers are actively populating his blog. An entry that I enjoyed was Using Technology to Find Students.
As part of the activity, Kristen asked her students:
- How did you help each other?
- How did you respect each other’s ideas?
- Do you think your collaborative response was better than your individual response? Why?
I think that doing this was crucial. Students might forget the technology or the content or the writing skill taught. But they should be reminded of and eventually internalize the thinking and “soft” skills behind the activity.