EdTech 531: Minedraft

This particular assignment took a bit to problem solve what I wanted to create.  Once I had my preliminary design idea, I used Minedraft to map out what my structure would look like.  I went for a practical creation or recreation rather.  I decided to recreate the lab classroom I teach in at The Founders Academy.

The challenge as a relative newbie in this build that I ran into was creating computer monitors while still keeping the scale of he room.  Using the pictures on the wall was relatively easy.  Wherein the problem lies was in creating this same look on freestanding tables.  When all else fails, this teacher turned to the experts for this assignment.  None other than my students.  The amazing creative and resourceful individuals gave several suggestions to creating the effect I was looking for.  I settled on using glass to attach my pictures to get a sense and feel of computer monitors in a lab setting.  For the overhead lights in the room I used glow stone rather than using torch lighting.

TFARM160ComputerLab.mp4
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EDTech 513: Personalization Theory

Problem Scenario

You have been working on a script for a narrated lesson. As a teacher, you are convinced that a more relaxed, less formal conversational style is the way to go. However, you need to get this approved by your instructional design team, one of whom is an English major and a stickler for “proper” English and grammar. When you show him your script, he is aghast. How might you respond?

 

Dear Script Naysayer,

 

I appreciate your point of view regarding wanting to use “proper” English and grammar to create a professional piece of instructional material.  However, there is research that backs the model for which my script for the lesson narration is based.  We want the learner to engage with our content.  This can be a challenge in a virtual learning environment such as the one we are creating for this course.

 

According to Clark & Mayer and the Principal of Personalization, “The psychological advantages of the conversational style, pedagogical agents, and visible authors is to induce the learner to engage with the computer as a social conversational partner.” (p. 180).  This can make the learner feel more engages in the learning process rather than in a more formal model where learners feel less connected to the content. Given the cognitive theories of how the human mind works, using a conversational style in a multimedia presentation conveys to the learner the idea that they should work hard to understand what their conversation partner is saying to them (Clark & Mayer, p. 184)    I feel that I have created the fine balance in the script where the conversational partner is both engaging but not so informal that it becomes distracting from the instruction.  We have chosen to have an actual human voice because research states that learners respond better to this that that of a voice that is more computerized.  In addition, we have chosen a female voice for the instruction given the fact that the course we are designing is for teachers which tends to be a predominantly female profession.  It has also been found that learners rate the female narrators more positively and show better problem-solving performance from a female-narrated lessons (Clark & Mayer, p 189).   I feel that if the voice selection will enable our learners to be better problem-solvers of technology use in instruction then this is a solid choice.  I was thinking of creating machinima that was dressed professionally in a virtual classroom that mimics that of the age group of students that the teachers will be instructing.  This will allow elementary teachers, middle school, and high school teachers all to envision themselves as integrating the technology into their day to day instruction better.  In addition, I felt that the narrator and coach of the instruction would be more believable if we used terms such as “I,” “we,” “our,” “we,” “you,” and “your.”  (Clark & Mayer, p. 202).

 

As you can see the elements included in the design have been carefully considered given sound instructional theory.  I hope you will take a second look given what I have presented with an open mind as we move forward to collaborate on this project.

 

Thank you in advance for your consideration


Clark, R., & Mayer, R. (2011). E-learning and the science of instruction proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

EDTECH 513: Coherence Principle

The Coherence Principle

 

According to Clark & Mayer, the coherence principle may be the single most important of those presented.  In summary, it basically states to not over do it with extra unrelated graphics, sound, and media.  This principle appears to bring all those discussed up to this point together in a cohesive form.

  • make sure for those with little prior knowledge there are relevant graphics presented with word (these must be connected)
  • Audio narration of animation (if this is done; don’t use music too)
  • Avoid extraneous graphic as they can be disruptive to the learning process (Clark & Mayer, p. 159)
  • Avoid graphics and media that create distraction, disruption, & seduction
  • Keep images simple
  • Short concise narration is best
  • Use signaling such as: headings, bold, italics, underlining, capital letters, larger font, color, white space, arrows, and related techniques to draw the learner’s attention to specific parts of the display or page. (Clark & Mayer, p. 173)

 

Coherence in Action

In my own practice as an elementary educator, I have made the most use out of signaling to draw the learners attention to key information.  When creating step by step directions for students I make actions bold on the page.  Any screenshots showing students where buttons are in a software application have arrows pointing to where they need to look on the screen.  Give the fact that students are using these tools for the first time, I include a lot of screenshots embedded into project directions so students always know what the next step looks like.  I have also found video modeling to be very helpful.  Initially, I recorded a project as one long video file.  I found this was too long for students to track.  As a result, I now chunk the video modeling into chunks of about 3-5 minutes.

 

As for the acquisition of new vocabulary into working memory with younger students, I find using digital flashcards that have pictures and words very powerful.  Just last week I was using the interactive whiteboard as a whole group lesson on shapes using Quizlet.  We first previewed the shape vocabulary with word and image showing as phase one.  For phase two students matched the image with the correct work using the word using the scatter game.  It made for a great whole group lesson using digital tools to support learning.


 

Clark, R., & Mayer, R. (2008). Applying the Coherence Principle. In E-Learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.

 

Mayer, R. E. (1999). Multimedia aids to problem-solving transfer. International Journal of Educational Research, 31(7), 611-623

 

Moreau, R., & Mayer, R. (n.d.). IMEJ Article – A Learner-Centered Approach to Multimedia Explanations: Deriving Instructional Design Principles from Cognitive Theory. Retrieved March 21, 2015, from http://imej.wfu.edu/articles/2000/2/05/index.asp

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EdTech 513 – Multimedia Design Dilemma

Design Dilemma:
Your school principal has asked you to explain why you don’t include text to match your narration of multimedia instruction. (S)he cites different learning preferences as being the reason, along with adding additional modalities to improve learning. How would you answer?


According to the Modality Principle it is helpful to have printed words on a screen concurrent with graphics when you have a student that is hearing impaired and therefore can’t access audio or when bandwidth, sound cards, headsets are not available or up to par within the learning environment creating more of a hindrance with using narration. (Meyer, p. 120) Given the bandwidth concerns and digital divide within the community when we are designing multimedia instruction we need to be cognizant of the factors as they will make our overall network slow if we use these in all classrooms simultaneously on a regular basis. It can be helpful to have labels in conjunction with graphics when the graphics are complex or the flow of the instruction is fast paced in nature. When providing audio is not possible then we should limit the text to only that which is necessary as to not overload the viewer of the multimedia instruction. Presentations should be concise and not be lengthy when possible. The attention span of the end user needs to be considered when designing multimedia presentations. When students are viewing images and there is text also present they are taking in both the graphic representation and the text in through their eyes this will overload the visual portion of the brain actually decreasing the students ability to process information. This is the case when the text is present as a portion of the written words an instructor says. However, if we use audio narration with the visual image and limited labels this will actually increase students retention of the content because the instruction will not be over stimulating the visual pathways. Learners also need time to process content so it needs to be chunked into digestible bites.

The Redundancy Principle states that in certain circumstances it can be helpful to have both text and narration (Meyer, p. 143). I appreciate your concerns about ESL students and those students that may have auditory processing issues. For these students we could have a different presentation they access without the audio that has the text present. These particular learners are the exception to the rule of multimedia best practices under the present circumstances as they would benefit from having the narration in a written form rather than in an audio form. Having these options available would assist us in making sure that we are 508 compliant.


Clark, R., & Mayer, R. (2008). Chapter 6 & 7. In E-Learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.

EdTech 513 – Audacity Audio Recording

Audacity Audio Recording

I’ve attended workshops about Audacity use in the classroom, however, this is the first instance where I’m using it myself.  I found this free tool for the creation of audio files very user friendly.  To make my sound recording I use Chester Creek USB headphones with a build in Mic.  I found the sound quality to be very clear.  As a result of the ease of this experience I can see using Audacity more often in the future to create sound files, podcasts, and narrations in the future.

EdTech 513 – What makes good online coursework?

What does good online courseware look like?

 

Good online courseware takes into account students various learning styles.  Not all students will absorb information in a digital platform via text without some sort of interaction with the content.  There needs to be  multifaceted content that meets students learning needs in a variety of ways as with any well designed instruction.  Students should have the opportunity to read, view, listen, and discuss the content just as they might in a brick and mortar setting only it takes place in a digital setting either synchronously or asynchronously or even in a hybrid blended learning setting.  As with any instruction, clear learning goals should be established and the best tool given the learning goal should be selected to guide the student in the learning process in order to maintain balance between the psychological and behavior motivation factors involved in student engagement.  Multimedia for the sake of multimedia doesn’t work.  Those curricular enhancements should be carefully selected in alignment with the learning goal and student outcomes given the goals of learning the particular content.  Good online courseware has a balance of video, audio, and text elements.  It may even have some choice about which way to access the content give learner needs.  For example, some students may prefer written directions to learning a new software program while others may learn best from viewing a video with the same instructions.  On the student experience both options could be presented and the student could make the choice to  use one or the other or even a combination of the two.

Ideally courses in an online environment would have a blend of both synchronous and asynchronous activities in the learning process. In a course experience where there aren’t synchronous meetings there needs to be clear established ways for students to share and discuss in order to create a sense of community within a class.  Such a through a discussion blog, Voicethread, or other social mediums in which there can be interactions via text, audio, and video response this fosters deeper growth and understanding of the course content.