Educreations….edu-destructions

Tags

,

 Project Website:  Getting Started in Accessible Alternate Realities

I am not sure why I do this, but I always choose to explore a new type of technology when doing class projects.  For the final project in IST R685, I opted to test-drive Educreations Online Interactive Whiteboard.  This is a free platform for creating lessons to be shared with either a class or the public.  It was a crash and burn on the last lap. 

Educreations is a great concept and I had toyed around with it a fair bit on the iPad before deciding to try a full on project with it. The limitations are in the way that images are uploaded and the lack of any editing features.  Images can only be in JPEG or PNG format, so I needed to save the PPT slides as JPEGs and then individually upload them into Educreations. And this had to be done for each and every recording attempt.  There is no option to edit the sound track.  It is “trash” or “publish.”  So this project was an exercise in frustration.  Each time that I wanted another “take” on the audio, I needed to upload all 17 of the slide images one at a time. 

This project also reinforced my disparaging attitude towards podcasting or videocasting.  The script sounds scripted and I really felt like a nut-case giving it.  This experiment reinforced my penchant for Socratic teaching.  I really felt out of sorts not getting some sort of feedback from the audience regarding clarity and comprehension. 

In the end, I will probably use this tutorial but it won’t be in a “flipped” model like I was going to try.  I will use it live in a synchronous session so that I can see (in the virtual world) that the audience is able understanding the instructions.

the clouds separated and the whole world opened

Tags

, , ,

In the past week I have been noticing that all of the thematic elements are really starting to overlap for me.  Last night, I got the praxis for this theory.  I am exploring the use of Second Life as an enhancement to my developing online intensive English course for graduate students.  In the typical path of academe, I had been researching all about Second Life and the various tools that are available to differently abled populations.  I have two pages of journal articles, blogs, and wki links.  Then while reading for another class on my iPad, I just decided to try out the Pocket Metaverse app that proclaims to be a “mobile version” of various virtual realities.  The app allows users to input their login data and select grids from multiple virtual reality platforms.  Within 30 seconds of inputting my data, I had an IM request from another “resident.”  We chatted for almost 20 minutes and when she found out about my research and my goals, she suggested that I meet the “head” of the Virtual Ability on Thursday to get help on how to achieve my goals. 

At that point, it all made sense.  I was struggling to type on my iPad, but my “buddy learner” was patient and willing to help me.  The way that she communicated with me was inclusive, yet completely authentic.  Second Life is definitely what my students need to be able to “test out” the language skills that we are learning in the more didactic portions of the course.  It will provide that communicative competence that I was having trouble envisioning in a 100% online writing class where students are geographically and culturally distributed.

I learned more in those 20 minutes of doing than I had in my 3 hours of researching.

Link

Virtual Ability, Inc.

Tags

, , ,

Virtual Ability, Inc.

In the past week I have been noticing that all of the thematic elements are really starting to overlap for me.  Last night, I got the praxis for this theory.  I am exploring the use of Second Life as an enhancement to my developing online intensive English course for graduate students.  In the typical path of academe, I had been researching all about Second Life and the various tools that are available to differently abled populations.  I have two pages of journal articles, blogs, and wki links.  Then while reading for another class on my iPad, I just decided to try out the Pocket Metaverse app that proclaims to be a “mobile version” of various virtual realities.  The app allows users to input their login data and select grids from multiple virtual reality platforms.  Within 30 seconds of inputting my data, I had an IM request from another “resident.”  We chatted for almost 20 minutes and when she found out about my research and my goals, she suggested that I meet the “head” of the Virtual Ability, Inc.

Aside

Mobile learning: Miniblog1

Tags

, , , ,

Image

For some reason, I have a lot to say about the readings this week.  Must be the two days home sick with norovirus. 

I’m breaking down the reading reactions into several posts as they were getting to be a bit too long and paperish for the blog genre.

Smith (2010, 2011)  Pew research center Mobile access 2010 and 2011

Comparing the changes in the types of data collected in these two quantitative analyses and the evolving definition of “mobile” provided quite interesting.  Initially, laptops were included in the categorization of mobile technology.  This struck me as quite odd as I had not really considered laptops as mobile.  I had my first laptop in the mid-90’s and stopped buying desktops in 1998.  For me, a laptop is only quasi-mobile because of  long boot-up time, short battery life, and a low-level of “grab and go” potential.  My definition of “mobile”  involves the ability to just grab the device,  run out the door and use it in a car, train, library, or park without having do a full-on Boy Scout camp settlement.  So reading about laptops with mobile 3G cards helped me to reflect that I have been a mobile teacher since 2003 when I would schlep into Roche Diagnostics in Mannheim, Germany all terminator-like armed with my laptop, PalmPilot, iPod, battery powered speakers, and Nokia cellphone.  I even kept an upcharger in my car to assure that my arsenal was fully juiced.

In the 2011 analysis, Smith focuses solely on the smartphone device.  This made me wonder if in one year there had been such an upsurge in smartphone market penetration that we truly have reached a one-stop shop in mobile devices.  If the data cited in Cochrane & Bateman (2010) of 4 billion cellphone users and 800 million computer is indicative of this trend, then we do seem to have reached a key tool for the democratization of learning.   Smith (2010) notes the fascinating demographics of smartphone users being affluent, well-educated and non-white.  Initially, I was really encouraged by this data seeing a huge potential for a tool to begin closing in on one gap often associated with digital divide. As a literacy advocate, seeing that playing games and emailing were top activities only added further reinforcement of the potential for technology to bridge some of the gaps created by the historical privileging of print-based literacy.

But after further reflection, my socio-cultural brain kicked in and wondered what implications this may hold for  education where the powerbase concentration is solidly middle-class, educated, and white.  Does mobile learning threaten their power structure?  Does this play into the “no cell phone” policies prevalent in schools and college classes?