This question did not give me any indication of what aspect of technology to target for my artefact.
This supported my personal observations and discussions with teachers and students.
This indicated that there was some understanding of what could be achieved by developing some social media components for teaching.
Of all the possibilities blogging seemed to be the most likely target social media to succeed in classrooms.
Teachers at my school are generally very disinterested in Twitter. Only two others that I am aware of have accounts.
This gave me confidence to proceed with my proposal for the artefact.
Like me, my colleagues use Facebook more for personal connection rather than professional. Interestingly our school has a very active Facebook following which the marketing review realised was well worth tapping into. Some teachers use closed Facebook groups through this medium, but many students are not comfortable sharing this space with their teachers.
The answers overall confirmed that Social Media was an appropriate focus for the artefact, and blogging was the best platform to emphasise.
The next phase was to consider the best platform to use for artefact creation – a time consuming and frustrating process! Products evaluated are presented here.
I started thinking about this task from the perspective of where our staff are at with their ICT. In order to confirm my intuitive understanding, I created and circulated a survey using Google Forms. The results can be found here. Our school is a relatively small, regional college offering both curriculum and co-curriculum options equal to those conducted by far bigger schools. This means our teachers are incredibly busy, and professional learning needs are thinly spread to cater for our diverse programs.
We have had interactive whiteboards and tablet PCs provided in our workplace since 2007 yet the change in pedagogy has been minimal. There has been an assumption by some of our leadership team that ICT does not need further professional learning opportunities because the need has already been met. Given the nature of the changing technology and software programs, this means that teaching and learning through technology has primarily been focussed on presenting and processing.
Since 2012, year 9s have been issued with a tablet PC with digitised pens similar to those used by staff. The power of the pen is something that has been seen as critical by the team choosing the device (and research is now starting to support this decision). The students new to devices, years 6 to 8, will be issued with an iPad. In order to prepare for this, all staff working on the senior campus have now been issued with an iPad so that they can prepare for next year.
This decision has been met with concern, and there has been a groundswell of discussion about why our current devices are educationally appropriate, and the new devices will not offer the same power or flexibility. It is this educational future that I wished to target with the design of my artefact.
When we commenced work on our digital artefact, Powtoon was the first platform I investigated, and the content I included summed up what I was hearing from my colleagues. The clip is incomplete in terms of content, as I ran out of time – an issue with using free versions of such software! I have not attempted to add a voice over – just wanted to set the scene.
I also investigated the new Office Mix add in for PowerPoint as an option. This would work well for teachers who have a number of already created PowerPoints and would like to revamp them for the digital world. This option allowed me to use some beautiful images but the recording of voice plus music wasn’t obviously possible and the end result was not well rendered. The mobile quality was very poor. This is the lower level of computer quality which was better. Note how the transitions make the voice over patchy.
The third option was using screen capture software to create a film of something that was on my computer screen. For this I learned how to use Microsoft Lync recording. This is the Internet based phone system in our school, and offers webinar capabilities and screen casting. Last year I used the meeting capability for my Creative Coffee morning to include two of my classmates from CSU (Liz and Deborah) in our local event. You can read about it here: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/msimkin/2014/09/15/creative-coffee-inventive-format/. The list of conversations between the two external participants was exported straight from the Lync “chat”.
This is what the screen capture option looks like. You can see why I rejected this option as unsuitable for this task: I could cope with my name and school appearing at the start but the “looks like you’re the only one in the meeting” did not convey the professional finish I required. I believe I could have edited this out, but I ran out of time to work out how.
The program chosen affects the end product. Several scenarios were considered during the design phase: a circus type theme (ladies and gentlemen… plus drum roll); magic potion or superhero; and the selected beginning – and animated smile and voiceover inviting participation. This was considered more authentic, easier to deliver and more inclusive. It is important to have a story that allows the audience to feel included, and which quickly indicates why the message is important for each individual (Air, Oakland, & Walters, 2014, p. 34). That’s why some of these examples are so different from the finished product.
So, in summary, teachers wishing to make digital artefacts need programs that offer the easiest option for creating and publishing the end product. Our role is to assist with the learning process, and too much time taken away from our primary focus is a disadvantage to our students.
Summary of pros and cons:
I did have problems rendering the scribe to film, and I contacted @Sparkol and @VideoScribeApp via Twitter. They advised me to lodge a ticket with support and provided the link to do so. I was really pleased to get a punctual reply. Unfortunately, it was too late to save my original production, which I had altered dramatically in order to meet the deadline for this task.
This reflection is on the process and programs that were used to create my artefact which you can find here. The reference is produced by the VidoeScribe team and is useful for any type of digital artefact, although it is based on scribing as the presentation device.
Air, J., Oakland, E., & Walters, C. (2014). Video Scribing; How Whiteboard Animation Will Get You Heard. Sparkol Limited.
References relating to the power of social media, which informed my Videoscribe narrative:
Andersson, A., Hatakka, M., Gronlund, A., & Wiklund, M. (2014). Reclaiming the Students – Coping With Social Media in 1:1 Schools. Learning, Media and Technology, 39(1), 37-52. doi:10.1080/17439884.2012.756518
Barrett, T. (2013). Can Computers Keep Secrets? How A Six-Year-Olds Curiosity Could Change The World. Edinburgh: No Tosh.
Rheingold, H. (2012). Netsmart: How To Thrive Online. London: MIT Press.
Richardson, w. (2010). Navigating Social Networks as Learning Tools. In 21st Century Skills: Rethinkig How Students Learn (pp. 285-304). Bloomington: Solution Tree.
Walker, J. R., Blair, K. L., Eyman, D., Hart-Davidson, B., McLeod, M., Grabill, G., Vitanza, V. J. (2011). Computers and Composition 20/20: A Conversation Piece, or What Some Very Smart People Have to Say about the Future. Computers and Composition , 28, pp. 327-346.
Wong, S. L., Hanafi, A., & Sabudin, S. (2010). Exploring Teachers’ Perceptions of Their Pedagogical Role With Computers; a Case Study in Malaysia. Procedia: Social and Behavioural Sciences, 2, pp. 388-391.
If you didn’t already get it, this animated image really shows you – David Weinberger really was correct (Weinberger, 2011). Those of you who studied with me in INF530 might remember that I was not a fan of his “Too Big to Know “, and yet I keep acknowledging that his thesis in relation to the amount of data out there is accurate – he just pushed the point too much. How can we, as educators, hope to keep abreast of such massiveness as this animation indicates?
This graphic, as much of any of the reading we have been undertaking, proves to me that the days of sage on the stage should be declared gone. There is even a point where groups within classrooms should not consider one person in that group the only guide on the side. We really need to think of classes as collections of learners gathered together for a common purpose – to learn more about whatever the content is deemed to be at a given point in time.
(Gerstein, The Other 21st Century Skills: Educator Self-Assessment, 2015)
The next sentence is not intended to diminish Jackie’s work. She provides us with many wonderful graphics such as this one on her blog, but the image above, and others like it, are focused on the teacher, what they establish, and the various ICT tools and concepts to which they expose their students. It’s time to look at such constructs from a learning perspective, where the students are co-creators of the program (as far as mandated curriculum allows) and everyone shares the leadership and the solutions – which can be many and varied.
Here are two examples of student work (VCE History Revolutions) where building blocks were placed in the room in two piles with whiteboard markers nearby. Excitement came first, then question: – what do we do with them? Answer: what are we studying at the moment? Statement: let’s make timelines of our learning so far. Only imposition: write on one side of the blocks only (aiming for brief summary). Once the timeline was made, the suggestion was to change the order of the blocks – ranking by importance.
In typically frustrating fashion, the class I have this year, a small group of 4 boys, 3 of whom were part of the same Year 9 cohort, won’t give any of these kinds of activities a go. I guess this is part and parcel of educating in a time of significant change. What do you think?
For my artefact for this subject I hope to create a film clip that will encourage my colleagues to have a go at connecting, collaborating and co-learning. Next year all our students will have a device in their hands, so, no doubt our school will be contributing to the data shown by Penny Stock in the graphic at the top of this page. With some judicious planning the data may also contribute knowledge to the wider learning community that is now accessible to most people on earth.