Presentation Tools

Universal Design for Instruction Project Poster Summer 2010 UCONN

This Thursday we’ll be talking with Nicole McClure about her online and blended learning experiences through the lens of universal design for instruction (UDI), defined as “the proactive design and use of inclusive instructional strategies that benefit a broad range of learners including students with disabilities.”

Digital presentation tools figure prominently in many online and blended learning environments. In exploring this week’s materials, can you identify ways in which these tools could support our diverse learners? Reflecting on your students and your own learning, how might these ‘next-generation’ presentation tools help students as individuals and as members of a community of  practice?

On Friday we’ll get some hands-on practice with a variety of cloud-based presentation environments, brainstorm our classroom projects and take a closer look at our wiki.

Update:
I’ve placed the link to our recorded session on our LearnCentral Event page. You’ll see it at the bottom as well as the links we discussed. One of our outside participants, Candida, posted her notes and thoughts on our session on her blog. Feel free to leave a comment there and expand our community of practice!

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5 Responses to “Presentation Tools”

  1. carsten01 Says:

    “Are you skilled in using computers and software?” As we have seen in this weeks reading, most students assume they are. More than 90 % of students use technology for school. Yet, as Diana and James Oblinger in Educating The Next Generation argue, most of those students have only as much knowledge as needed to fulfil basic assignments such as writing simple word documents. Using technology for consuming content rather than for professional production might be the gap between “feeling skilled” and “being skilled”. Furthermore, the Oberlingers argue that only 30.8 % of students in their study prefer classes with technology emphasis, whereas 41 % prefer moderate use. Why is it that more than 90 % of students are used to technology but only a little more than 30 % prefer a heavy implication of it in a classroom?
    Students might not know about subject- specific technology or how generally used technology can be applied to a specific field. Thus should there be required classes to enhance technological fluency? It seems odd that in a web 2.0/3.0 world, students are still not required to take classes helping them in using technology. The assumption that, because they grew up with technology all around them they can automatically and professionally use it, is just simply wrong. In-depth training on how to use technology in a specific field might make students more confident in using it, especially in fields where traditionally the use of technology if scarce such as the Humanities.
    But not only students should be trained in using technology professionally, also should faculty. Faculty could, by knowing what technology is out there, try and promote communities of practice among students and demonstrate content in a different and maybe more interesting, clear, and challenging way. But the greatest outcome by training faculty in using technology –I feel- could be a balanced learning experience. It could be an experience which combines knowledge ability and technological outworking of content. A symbiosis of brain work –let’s say analysis- and technological adaption.

    • ntrax84 Says:

      Hi Carsten,
      I totally agree with your post. You’re absolutely right when you ask the question if there should be required classes to enhance technological fluency.
      Yes, we are surrounded by different kinds of technology but that does not nessesarily mean that everybody of familiar with them and knows how to use them. Most of the tools seems to be easy to use, but those people who decide which tools are useful and easy are usually those who are familiar with them anyway. And it is even harder when you have technophobes in your classroom. Especially when you teach languages the chance is much higher to have technophobes in your class (in contrast to teaching maths for example).

  2. melinaanne Says:

    Would I be successful as a teacher/student in an online course? This is a question worth reflecting on. Like we were talking about online today, some people simply perform better on the “stage” than on “film”, and vice versa. As a teacher, I know I would lose a lot in terms of spontaneity because the interaction with the students and the ability to play off them would be absent. I suppose that brings up the point between affective and effective learning/teaching, and I do believe that they go hand in hand. On the other hand, being outside of the traditional classroom environment would allow me a lot of freedom to create new things and explore completely different ways of engaging students. Sometimes a classroom really does feel like a small, closed-in space, with only so many ways to teach in order to accommodate various types of learners (even though with smartboards and technology I do think that the traditional classroom has made progress). I also wonder if being able to “hide” oneself behind a computer would make students more comfortable and fearless in terms of class participation. No one’s looking at your hair or what you’re wearing—if you pronounce something wrong, who’s going to judge you? I’m also intrigued by the idea of using blogs, Twitter, or even facebook to create more authentic conversations/interactions between students. I wonder if participating in this type of communication would make students feel more comfortable—and more natural–with the language. In terms of myself as a student, I am definitely one of the students from the survey we read about—I can use very comfortably a small percent of what my computer can actually do. That being said, I am certainly not opposed to learning more. I would be concerned—but also curious—about my own sense of motivation in an online course. If I didn’t have to look the teacher in the eye, would I be less worried about turning in quality work? Or would I be even more motivated by the sense of the “unknown”? I imagine, with the way education is going, that I’ll find out soon enough.

  3. claudiopi Says:

    I agree with Carsten about the concern of training students and faculty to use technology in or outside the class.
    I personally see SO MANY newly-born tools around the Web: social networks, programs, etc. We are surrounded by multimedia and we barely know all of them.

  4. beatebirkefeld Says:

    I really enjoyed our online conversation yesterday and I was impressed by the number of people who joined the discussion. It was almost as if a new community of practice had just emerged right in front of us. Nobody seemed worried to give out their contact information or to share their work. What struck me most was how motivated and enthusiastic everyone seemed to be about their work. I’m wondering if it sometimes help that people don’t know each other personally and therefore are extremely focused on content. I definitely share Carsten and Melina’s ideas about online learning. Even though I spend a lot of hours online, it still takes me time to be comfortable with a new webpage or blog. Will it take off too much time compared to teaching only face-to-face? I also share Melina’s thoughts about the quality of work in an online class. We’re so used to writing informal notes, shooting a quick email, a fellow instructor recently saw the word “you” spelled “u” in a student’s essay. Do we need to accept such kind of changes?


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