Naïve Art for Educational Media

Media Easy Wins – Part one

In painting, “fine art” involves formal training, skillful technique, and the use of perspective, refined colour palette and subtle representations. Naive art might lack many or all of these qualities, and has been judged as “technologically primitive” by Western academia. It is also recognized as authentic, simple and honest. And it can be impactful. Consider the work of Henri Rousseau, a particularly influential naive artist.

Gypsy-dream

By Henri Rousseau – La zingara addormentata, Public Domain, Created: Dec 31 1896

What does painting have to do with educational media?

The analogy draws attention to the value of video and audio educational media created by amateurs. Many instructors I have met do not have formal training, or the resources to get formal training in creating video and audio learning objects. Help from professional media experts may be difficult to obtain. Subject matter experts are often challenged to create multiple ways to represent their knowledge to students.

In the recording industry, a fair amount of recorded creative work is not used in the final product. In education, unused video or audio recorded content may represent poor planning at best and wasted time and resources in the worst case. Time and budget-constrained educators have to be creative, competent and efficient to make the best use of opportunities to communicate their knowledge to others via video or audio recordings.

Instructors are also in a position to use multiple means of representation (the first principle of Universal Design for Learning) to convey meaning to students, and to allow the same for student assignment submission. Adopting an on-the-ground, essential approach to media production can be an effective way to encourage alternate modes of expression.

The next post in this series offers a few ideas from our recent experience to support the creation of simple, artful, and impactful recordings for educational purposes.

The Lightboard is coming! The Lightboard is coming!

Truth be told, it’s already here. Yes, Douglas College is now the proud owner and purveyor of a Lightboard. After first reading about this technology on Twitter back in 2015, we finally have our own board, thanks to the DC Innovative Technology Projects Fund.

And what is the Lightboard? Actually, it’s very much like a whiteboard, replacing the hard whiteboard surface with glass. The glass is mounted on a desk that can move up and down, depending on the height of the person using it. It’s also surrounded by lights, which, when used with special fluorescent markers makes for a very pleasing presentation.

Lightboard-deskKira-Lightboard-desk

But the true beauty of the Lightboard lies in the fact that the instructor can write her lesson concepts on the board facing the video camera, then through the magic of mirrors, the image is transposed, displaying properly for the viewer of the recordings. By recording your lecture via the Lightboard, you then have the ability to post the recording in your Blackboard course, reusing it repeatedly until the material needs updating.

The ATS team is excited about this new technology and looks forward to helping instructors integrate it into their teaching practice.

 

Our ETUG road trip

Last week, Tim Paul, Mikki Herbold, and I attended the ETUG Spring workshop “Education by Design” (May 31-June 2) at UBC-Okanagan in beautiful Kelowna, BC. Excited for our road trip, we left the Lower Mainland in good time then hit the highway, jammin’ the whole way to some groovy tunes provided by yours truly (after all, it was my car…). We made it to Kelowna in 4 hours or so, then decided to stop for lunch at Memphis Blues. After some relax time on the patio, we got back in the car for the final leg of our journey to UBC-Okanagan. Seriously! What a gorgeous campus!

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We stayed in residence, opting for the true “student experience.” A studio room with bed, desk, kitchenette, and bathroom provided all the creature comforts we were looking for.

After freshening up, I met my fellow SCETUGgers (stewardship committee members) for a brief pre-conference meeting to confirm we all knew our respective duties/tasks during the conference. As for Mikki and Tim, they explored the campus, uncovering the local Starbucks. Good sleuthing, team!

Next, we hopped in a taxi to Freddy’s Brew Pub to meet up with the ETUG participants. It was wonderful to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones, socializing for an hour or two before heading back to campus for some much-needed rest before the start of the conference the next day.

Yikes! 7:30 am comes early–that’s all I’m saying. Thanks to the UBC-O team (with Janine Hirtz at the helm), we got the Reg Desk set up in short order, just outside where breakfast was being served. After some scrambled eggs, toast, and copious cups of coffee, I felt ready for whatever the day might bring.

Starting things off was Dr. Peter Newbury, the new Director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning at UBC-O. His keynote presentation titled “How (you can help) people learn?” was the perfect introduction to this action-packed conference.

With four main streams offered (Learning Design, Ed Tech, Faculty/Ed Development, & Breakthrough Thinking), we decided the best approach was to divide and conquer; each of us attending different sessions. What a selection! Everything from
A New Format for Course Redesign Process to Intro to Wikipedia Edit-a-thon to Design Challenge: Mobile Learning to the FOIPPA Design Challenge–the choices were extensive!

The big social on June 1 was held at Kelowna’s Rotary Club downtown, a super-cool venue perfect for a cocktail party with the smooth stylings of Breaking Band and DJ Draggin (aka Jason Toal, chair of ETUG). And dancing? Yeah, we did a little of that too…

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Friday morning came quickly with another slate of great sessions and presentations such as Open Pedagogy; I Stream, You Stream, We All Stream: DIY Live Streaming; and Okanagan College’s Disrupters Group among others.

And, before we knew it, we had to hit the road to get back to our regular lives. But, for a few days we had the opportunity to share, collaborate, and network about issues, challenges, and innovations at our institutions realizing that we all have similar experiences. Thank you, ETUG. Fun was had and stuff was learned by all.

Pencasting and other ways to incorporate videos in your classroom

In a recent Teaching in Higher Ed podcast (#153), Douglas College instructor Brandy Dudas explains her use of pencasting and other ways of introducing videos into her classroom. She says it all started with students asking her to post videos online, enabling them to review difficult concepts repeatedly to ensure they really grasped the necessary learning. She even has her own YouTube channel called Accounting Videos with Brandy, which is clearly popular with her students.

Grab a coffee and your iPhone, then give this podcast a listen. It’s passionate educators like Brandy who are truly making a difference in students’ lives.

 

Douglas College’s new EdMedia Program for faculty and staff

Media creation (videos for class instruction or promotional activities, podcasts, etc.) is everywhere these days. Think YouTube, Lynda.com, the Khan Academy. This is the new way of acquiring knowledge and delivering your message to large audiences.                                                         

Creating video and audio recordings can serve to humanize the online environment, convey deeper meaning, and provide a catalyst for social and instructional presence. Some of the uses for educational media include:

  • short instructional/promotional videos or audio recordings
  • just-in-time tutorials
  • collaborative peer assignments
  • formative assessments
  • digital storytelling projects

At Douglas College, we just rolled out our new EdMedia Program, which,  once completed, will provide participants with the skills to create their own educational media designed for their specific purpose, whether that means producing a video or launching a podcast, and ultimately, reaching your desired audience. Graduates leave with a deeper understanding of the creative process and assets that can be used in the classroom, in online courses, or for promotional purposes.

Now for the details. The program consists of six workshops held over a six-week period. Enrollment is limited to ensure a meaningful hands-on experience. Participants have the opportunity to work in recording/editing studios alongside like-minded colleagues and creative professionals from Academic Technology Services. A certificate will be awarded to participants who complete the following courses; however, courses can be taken individually and accumulate towards the certificate.

  1. Recording Foundations: Pre-production and planning
    Thursday, May 25, NW MousePad (room N3142) 9:00-11:00 am
  2. Video Recording Techniques: Lights, camera, action
    Monday, May 29, Studio (room N3272V) 9:00am-12:00pm
  3. Guerrilla Filmmaking: Portable device techniques
    Thursday, June 8, Dance studio (room N3260) 9:00am-12:00pm
  4. Camtasia Desktop Editing: Producing professional-looking videos
    Monday, June 12, NW MousePad (room N3142) 9:00am-12:00pm
  5. Audio Recording: Editing with Audacity/Podcasting
    Thursday, June 15, Studio (room N3272V) 9:00am-12:00pm
  6. Showcase and Next Steps. Next steps to integrate recordings into courses (e.g., Blackboard tools, WordPress sites)
    Monday, June 19, NW MousePad (room N3142) 9:00am-12:00pm

If you’re a member of the DC community and are interested in registering, click here.

An ISW-Collaboration Classroom-Blackboard Mash Up!

The three-day version of the Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) has mixed blessings: although time efficient for busy instructors, it doesn’t allow as much time as longer versions for transmitting information and developing familiarity with the lesson-planning resources provided. Instructors get going on Day 1 delivering their mini-lesson to peers.Two affordances proved beneficial in helping develop a convivial environment without feeling rushed in the process. We used a Blackboard course to provide advance knowledge of the lesson-planning model, the feedback process and some foundational theory for the workshop. An “Introduce Yourself” discussion forum helped participants learn a bit about each other, and get to a deeper engagement level right away.This was the first ISW in the new flexible learning space, the Collaboration Room (S0620 at the New Westminster campus). The ability to reconfigure the room helped us easily set up several learning environments:

  • The eClassroom setting for conventional lecture mode (with the added feature of being able to see the presentation on a rear monitors if desired).
  • A central round table for shared discussion.
  • Two areas to demonstrate content, concepts, and tools.
  • Three interactive monitor areas for participants to present their lessons, and allow participants to shift smoothly between stations.
  • A library: a resource and book area.

Continue reading “An ISW-Collaboration Classroom-Blackboard Mash Up!”

Serendipity Strikes

Open-GroundHave you ever started going in a direction, and something completely unexpected, valuable and delightful popped up? This can be a transformative experience.

It started when a few faculty and staff were in a lively conversation about student interest (or lack of interest) in innovative learning environments. The discussion was mostly opinion, with some research references thrown in. We needed something more to sustain our inquiry into “what students want”.

And then we discovered an article that changed our direction. In What Learners Want , Ross Laird, Ph.D. writes about his experience spending a full day with 20 diverse university learners at different stages along their educational paths “…talking about the kinds of learning environments and experiences that work best for them. With great candor and enthusiasm, the learners worked together to craft their vision of a contemporary learning environment.”

We started meeting people who were familiar with his book Grain of Truth. We became more aware of his work with indigenous groups, addiction issues (including technology addiction), and the Amazon Field School. We learned about his interests, accomplishments, and educational contributions. A new direction took shape, and interest in bringing Ross to Douglas College grew.

Each time we’ve met with Ross, we have been inspired, entertained, and stimulated to hear more. With support from individual faculty members, the Learning Technology Steering Committee, Academic Technology Services, and funding from the College Wide Faculty Development fund, we’re thrilled that Ross facilitated a series of well-attended sessions at Douglas College. We’re excited about the emerging community of practice that has met several times since those sessions, around the educational themes Ross brought to us with his work, including:

  • Emotional safety
  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Character development
  • Facilitation skills
  • Mentorship

Related content: Storming the Ivory Tower: A Workshop on Transforming Post-Secondary Education (notes, slides and recordings from the Ross Laird sessions at Douglas College)

to be continued…