Teaching and Learning

  • Why open is not only good, but necessary

    From David Wiley, this is one of the most persuasive set of slides arguing for  institutions to consider the benefits of being more open about content. My institution needs to begin this conversation in a more coordinated way, and this presentation really nails the argument in my opinion.

  • visualization tool plus plus and amazing instructional design

    Two great new discoveries this week… Via downes, VUE is an open source application that pushes the envelope in the visualization/concept mapping department.  I have a  few projects that can take advantage of the ability to link nodes to local or public files, display images, and allow tagging and categories to be assigned.  Again, it passed the 2 minute tool test, and some of the more advanced features are well described and demonstrated on the Features page. The other item making the rounds in the Canadian Copyright world is an astounding piece of work from Appropriation Art.   Not only is the topic one that is of concern/interest to me, but that…

  • word of the day

    flickr photo originally uploaded by VROG …to describe the countless hours I seem to be spending filling forms and dotting my ‘i’s’ and crossing my ‘t’s’–paperganda (or paperazzi, if you prefer). But instead of whining, I’ll try to turn this into a constructive thought… My (lack of) patience for paperganda mirrors my escalating impatience with technology that is overly complicated and requires too much of my valuable time fiddling to get to work. Admittedly, I am a bit equipment challenged–cell phones, VCRs, etc–but I’m hardly a technophobe…I like to think I kind of get how computers and software and digital technology in general works. Today I needed to test a…

  • Screencasting for just-in-time teaching and learning

    Via OL Daily–and the timing couldn’t have been better–a list of screencasting tools from Mashable.  I’m a big fan of using (short) screencasted clips to help students–but mostly instructors–get oriented to tech tools. I’m reminded of a time (circa 2000 or so) when I was a digital media student at a small college where the instructor’s idea of ‘teaching’ was to print out the online manuals for the software and distribute them to the class, then hide in his office while we ‘learned’ Photoshop, Director, and Premier.  Sure, there’s a lot to be said about learning by doing, but when one of the students came across a site full of screencasted tutorials…

  • Teaching wikis, blogs, RSS, and social bookmarking

    I want to pass on a great resource for instructors who need to explain wikis, blogs, RSS, Google Docs, social bookmarking and other such tools to their students. Common Craft have created some of the most effective, to-the-point, and entertaining instructional videos I’ve ever seen; many of the topics they address in their unique, short videos fall squarely under the ed tech category: RSS in Plain English Wikis in Plain English Social Bookmarking in Plain English Blogs in Plain English Google Docs in Plain English All of these tools are easy to use but, admittedly, can be hard to describe. Common Craft completely demystifies them. Have a look:

  • Pecha kucha and the end of death-by-PowerPoint

    While it is probably too much to hope that pecha kucha (pronounced peh-chak-cha) will revolutionize the way slideware is used in the classroom, instructors and students should know that pecha kucha is great for keeping slideware presentations focused and the audience’s interest up — arguably two of the biggest challenges facing PowerPoint presenters.   Like haiku or the sonnet, pecha kucha imposes a strict form on the content. In this case the medium is the slideware presentation. Presenters must show twenty slides — no more, no less — and show each slide for twenty seconds; again, no more, no less. This permits you a mere six minutes and forty seconds…

  • catching up

    During my blogging hiatus, which corresponded with my move to the Canadian Polytechnic where I now am employed and a subsequent maternity leave (identical twins!!), I was jotting down on a post-it note new tools that I thought would be useful for instructors and students, but needed more time to explore.  I came back to a very tidy cubicle (thank you tidyers) but no post-it.  I’m trying to recall some of those tools, and bubbl.us came to mind.  I remember liking bubbl.us because like my old standby, Gliffy, it passed the 2 minute test and the drag, drop, click interface works nicely.  But bubbl.us is definitely more suited to concept…

  • Tools for Teaching

    As an instructor, I like the idea of having a digital space to share files with students, provide resources to supplement face to face teaching, and to give the opportunity for some kind of extended dialogue. But I like to be able to create and add to the digital space quickly, with a minimum of effort. I also like the space to be able to navigate, and provide little effort and time on the part of the student to access and retrieve. Of course, WebCT or another CMS can allow all this, but requires a certain amount of planning and coordination with others to enable it. For distance courses, this…

  • PBL tutor training

    I’m impressed with the problem based learning approach that is being used here in the Faculty of Dentistry, and feel privileged to be working Leandra Best, who works closely with faculty, tutors, and students in implementing this approach. One of the projects we are currently working on is moving some pieces of PBL tutor training online, and doing so in a way that will be engaging and inspiring for prospective tutors. Of course, we’ve done the obligatory google searching to see what other institutions might be doing online, but we haven’t really turned up anything. So, this post is an appeal for input–if your institution is doing some part of…

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