Friday, August 25, 2006

Value adding to online 'presentations'

I've kept my brief conversation with Michael Nelson in the back of my mind (and the various comments from others on Michael's post), about attempting to close the gap between step one (starting out with online learning) and step two (moving forward from just learning the tools)...

I've come back to this in the last couple of weeks due to a run of workshops we've been doing and have been reflecting on ways to reconcile the IT needs of teachers and moving them into thinking about ways to use technology to value add to what they do - that is how can the technology generate news ways of doing things that can enhance teachers' work online as well as improve the online student experience?

I agree with MIchael and Kathy and others, it's got a lot to do with "what's in it for me" factor and also, how do you make your online subject really ROCK! without having to step too far away from what you already do (i.e. will it increase my workload if I do this?).

In working with teachers over the last few days where we've looked at including powerpoint slides on their WebCT sites, I've asked them - why do they want to? How will it add value for students and their learning? What does the presentation provide students?

Image: stefanrechsteiner

And also, what do teachers feel they've achieved by including the presentation online?

So, we undertook the task to break down the slides to see what they could really add to students' learning and what else was needed to support the information the slides provided, in moving the information to the online environment.

We considered interactivity...

  • What could students DO with the information?
  • Could they manipulate it?
  • Include comments? Make notes?
  • Have a space to ask questions or talk to each other about it?

We considered various formats...

  • Was it worth maintaining the information on slides?
  • If much of the presentation is text, how else could we format it?
  • Can some text work with images or diagrams?
  • How could we consider ways to present information textually, visually and aurally?

We considered learning activity...

  • What sorts of activities encourage learning?
  • What do students need to know to do a learning activity?
  • How do we get students 'doing' things online?
  • how do we support them online?
  • How do we measure what they are doing?

It was great to hear one of the teachers say that they didn't want to be doing all the work and that they could begin to see how students could find their own bits of information for the activity. The slides offered just enough to students to send them on their way to learn more.

From one presentation there can be much activity, interaction and many ways to present the information itself that takes us not only beyond the powerpoint presentation, but also in to ways of reconfiguring (or my fav, remixing) information and learning and most importantly, contextualising a learning experience to make it 3D, meaningful learning.


Image: Kathy Sierra

And I can't resist adding this gem from Kathy Sierra about killing presentations! :o)

You might like to pay particular attention to the "Do you need slides" test and the "Do my slide suck" test! I reckon these also apply to the online setting as well as face to face settings.

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