Another dot in the blogosphere?

Posts Tagged ‘prezi

I have added two new “static” pages to my blog.

The first is a link to my e-portfolio. It is not complete (nor will it ever be since it will evolve) and I do this mainly to illustrate how one might maintain an e-portfolio outside the confines of an LMS.

The second has links to my Prezi presentations. This page, along with the others will spread the portfolio out in logical, more manageable chunks.

Today, I present to the executive committee of the Office of Teacher Education some directions that the Centre for e-Learning (CeL) might take under my stewardship.

CITE to CeL PreziLink to my Prezi

My tool of choice is Prezi because I can embed YouTube videos and PDFs as well as move about the canvas more flexibly.

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Video source

This is a YouTube video based on a Prezi presentation that speaks for itself.

Yes, there are spelling errors in the presentation. But guess what? You can reuse the Prezi, correct the mistakes, improve the presentation and then share it. That is another example how we should be teaching and learning in this day and age.

On Wednesday I conducted a professional development session for a few of my Learning Sciences and Technologies (LST) colleagues. It was more a conversation than a lecture.

I shared what I explored in our ICT course in the area of educational game-based learning. The Prezi below is something I used right at the end of the series of tutorials, rather than at the beginning, because I borrow a gaming approach: Provide experiences first and relevant content only later.

While I was aware of some other colleagues who tried this approach or topic, I learned that we looked at it from different lenses. Their approach might be considered the pragmatic or traditional content-based approach: How might teachers/students use games to teach/learn specific content?

My approach was quite different. While I had one content and curriculum based station (Station 3), my other stations had other themes:

  • Station 1: contextuality, complexity and compassion
  • Station 2: competition, communication and collaboration
  • Station 4: cardio and coordination
  • Station 5: cognition (minds-on)

In other words, I was (and still am) more interested in exploring ways that games might influence specific thinking skills or learner values and attitudes, and how these might transfer into traditional teaching and learning.

Another difference that emerged was on how we might scale up this approach.

As not all of our colleagues were comfortable or knowledgeable with game-based learning (GBL), not all our ICT classes experience GBL. My approach has been to influence the mindsets of teacher trainees in my classes and hope that a few go on to implement these ideas when they get posted to mainstream schools. The risk is that they won’t because they neither have the infrastructure nor the support of their colleagues or school principal.

An alternative that a colleague suggested was to somehow get a few self-selected teacher trainees who really wanted to design and implement innovative lessons. NIE had previously offered electives, but these were discontinued due to heavy trainee course loads (this is why I think that a one-year diploma course is TOO SHORT!). The suggestion was to have the trainees be either part of a research effort or a special programme (e.g., Post Graduate Diploma in Education, Specialization in Educational Gaming). These trainees would be posted to schools that wanted to innovate this way and have supervisors and cooperating teachers that would support their efforts. I thought that this was a brilliant idea!

So how are we moving on? I will keep doing what I do because I will reach more trainees. I also believe that the approach has short and long term benefits. Teachers tend to teach the way they are taught, so there must be alternative models for them to observe, experience and critique.

We might also look for ways to make my colleague’s idea a reality. Working towards a special diploma is an administrative nightmare. However, someone with the bandwidth to take in another research study might consider submitting a grant to, say, conduct a longitudinal study on teachers trained to conduct game-based learning lessons. 😉

The group will certainly be having more conversations about gaming now. I also hope to include a few more colleagues in other departments who like the idea of playing games.

I have led my ICT classes through another game-based learning module. After a bit of tinkering, I think I have something I can suggest to my colleagues.

This semester I included a different presentation at the end of the module: My favourite Prezi presentation platform!

prezi_educational_gaming

Most of my teacher trainees have been actively blogging about their gaming experiences. If you asked me for one that stands out, it has to be Verin’s reflection after the second gaming session. She linked some of James Paul Gee’s learning principles after experiencing gaming from a student’s perspective. Putting on a teacher’s hat, she came to this conclusion:

It is not necessary to engage in games, per se, to be involved in game-based learning in the classroom. This is because we should look at the strategies behind them and incorporate them into our teaching.

Exactly!

Speaking of blogs, a friend on Facebook sent out a notification that the Jurong Regional Library is having a gaming session. See the Rambling Librarian’s blog entry for details.

This was recently featured in the Straits Times.

sl_not_a_game

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Second Life (SL) is not a game. There are no levels to go through, points to get, or game bosses to kill. It is a multi-user virtual environment (MUVE).

There are MUVE games like World of Warcraft, but SL is not a game. As its name implies, SL is another life you can live. It can be as mundane or as exciting as you want it to be. You can recreate your existing life or live out a fantasy. If you wish to create a game-like environment, you can. But SL is not a game in itself. It is a virtual space to create and collaborate.

Newspapers do a disservice by spreading this sort of misinformation. Label SL a game and other layperson perceptions creep in: Violence, addiction, anti-social behaviour, no educational value, time-wasting, etc. This could not be further from practice. Half the battle to win the minds of an overly critical but ignorant public is lost.

This is one reason why I include SL and other 21st century learning environments in the ICT course that I facilitate. I offer a Prezi presentation on educational SL to any and all who are interested. But the best thing you can do is get a SL avatar, try it out for yourself and read about the powerful things that people are doing with it to promote meaningful learning.

I just received email notification from Prezi that they are going public on Apr 5.

What does this mean for those with beta accounts? Prezi says:

On April the 5th if you don’t already have a Pro license, your account will change: You will go into “Trial” mode which means that you can do 3 more Prezis before you will have to choose between a free or two paid licenses. All your existing presentations will stay intact.

What if you don’t already have an account? Go get one (or view the showcase) and see what the hype is all about!

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