Current Topic 6, ED 650

In turn, this Current Topic is aimed at doing a quick dive into a literature review for my project proposal. I am again interested in very recent research. This is not meant to be an exhaustive literature review. Rather it is a survey too quickly take the pulse.

Fortunately, Ally et al. in their essay Use of Tablet Computer to Improve Access to Education in a Remote Location, touch on issues relevant to us here in Southwest Alaska. Their project was conducted in Swat, Pakistan. Like us, they needed to expose learners to devices and technology, however, internet access was non-existent. They used an Aptus server to support the tablets. These servers simulate an online experience and provide access to open educational resources. The devices are cheap at $100. Learners can use tablets or computers in conjunction with it and become familiar with devices and skills relevant to the broader online environment.

The Aptus model is ironically a concept that occurred to me when I was in St. Paul, Pribilof Islands. Their internet service is through cellular service. However, in the town, a fiber optic network has been constructed so the local area network is quite good. Indeed, one of the pass times is playing console games. I wondered what kind of learning resources we could set up and deliver locally through their local network.

This particular project aimed at high school age learners. The content was different for each grade. The approach was blended aimed at getting the learners to work independently and or collaboratively as a peer group. The pre-test revealed that nearly 80% of the cohort had no previous experience with devices or online learning. The pre-and post-test showed significant improvements. In a sense, this research tells us a lot of what we know about learners using online resources.  What is interesting is the proof of concept that we might be able to make more of here in remote, rural Alaska.

The second article, “Mobile-Assisted Seamless Learning Activities in Higher Distance Education” is much more focused on the effective pedagogical use of mobile devices in distance presentation of higher education. Mobile technologies included smart-phones, tablets, and laptops.  Flipping the classroom and creating synchronous online cohort meetings we also key to the study. The author adopts and builds on a six-part theoretical model.

  1. formal and informal learning
  2. personal and social learning
  3. learning across time
  4. learning across location
  5. ubiquitous knowledge access
  6. physical and digital spaces

The study cohort was vocational teachers working on certification. The cohort was just forty so difficult to generalize from. The researcher reported on technical difficulties with the “e-meeting” system where video and audio connections were unreliable and required much troubleshooting and user training. Again the results are somewhat to be expected as we know already that when done will online learning, with the added convenience of ubiquitous devices and access, can be a powerful learning experience.

The third article, “Education Working Group Management using Digital Tablets” is several years old. However, it like the first article is focused on specific technology. In this case, the study examines the use of applications in service of building students teamwork skills. The course the authors focused on was a college entry-level engineering course. The projects students selected as groups varied widely, however, the instructors standardized the tools used the methods they used to manage and monitor the groups.

The authors reviewed six cloud computing tools,

  • Dropbox
  • SkyDrive
  • Google Drive
  • 4Sync
  • SugarSync
  • Box

The selected Dropbox for the purposes of their teaching. For managing the classwork they selected TeacherKit from among several:

  • Teacher Tool
  • Teacher Assistant
  • Teacher Aide Pro
  • Visual GradeBook

For monitoring students collaborative work they used Notability and reviewed:

  • New Notes
  • Notes Plus
  • Not Taker HD

Because some of the software for the projects could not be run on tablets they also managed tablet access to a computer where the needed software could be run. They selected LogMeIn:

  • Team Viewer
  • Jump Desktop
  • RDP remote desktop

So, despite this article being four years old, it offered some very concrete solutions for configuring a tablet for group work. The remote login app as well offers a fruitful solution which may have application in our rural site.

 

References

Ally, M., Balaji, V., Abdelbaki, A., & Cheng, R. (2017). Use of Tablet Computers to Improve Access to Education in a Remote Location. Journal Of Learning For Development4(2), 221-228.

Mobile-Assisted Seamless Learning Activities in Higher Distance Education. (2017). International Journal of Higher Education, (3), 70. doi:10.5430/ijhe.v6n3p70

Saorin, J. L., Torre, J. L., Martín, N., & Carbonell, C. (2013). Education Working Group Management using Digital Tablets. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences93(3rd World Conference on Learning, Teaching and Educational Leadership), 1569-1573. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.10.083

 

Current Topic 5, ED 650

In effect, I wanted to write a similar essay as my Current Topic 4, except I changed the source material. Previously, I conducted an open Google Search. For this piece, I searched Rasmusson Library article database. I limited to conference proceedings in the advanced search. My thought being that this would be as current as the popular literature on the web, however, it would be more scholarly. I found two conference papers from 2017.

Pistoljevic, N. and Hulusic, V. (2017) An interactive E-book with an educational game for children with developmental disorders: A pilot user study. (2017). 2017 9th International Conference on Virtual Worlds and Games for Serious Applications (VS-Games), Virtual Worlds and Games for Serious Applications (VS-Games), 2017 9th International Conference on, 87. doi:10.1109/VS-GAMES.2017.8056575

Salama, G., Scanlon, S., and Ahmed, B., (2017) An evaluation of the flipped classroom format in a first-year introductory engineering course. (2017). 2017 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), 2017 IEEE, 367. doi:10.1109/EDUCON.2017.7942874

The technology in both is pretty yesterday, e-books, and nor is the practice of gamification or flipped classrooms in any way new. So, these conference papers, in that way at least are similar to the popular literature. Indeed, the topics are sharply focused in a way that the popular literature is not.

The project the first conference paper reported on: “The main objective of this project was to develop an interactive educational e-book for early childhood stimulation and to evaluate its effectiveness on learning numbers, colors, novel vocabulary, identification, counting and responding to inference questions (Pistoljevic and Hulusic, 2017).” The researchers were trying to intervene early with children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and positively impact learning demonstrated through the transfer of knowledge or skills to new media or environments.  They built game elements into the e-book. This particular paper aimed to explore the game element of the e-book. As can be imagined the methodology was fairly complex as were the reliability observations. This paper reports on the results from observing ten pre-school age children.  “The results from the pilot study showed that this and similar computer game-based environments, when designed properly, could be used for fast and effective skills development and knowledge acquisition (Pistoljevic and Hulusic, 2017).”

For me, the interesting element of this study is the positive impact for children diagnosed with ASD. It is easy to sit and watch anyone, play a computer game and develop skills relevant to playing other computer games, i.e., to see transferability of skills and knowledge. More interesting is transferring skills and knowledge to different environments. Our common sense observations of young people playing games are not enough then. I think this is a critical nuance when thinking about technology in the classroom and online education. How do we create parallel testing/performance environments that show the application of skills and knowledge in other contexts?

Turning to the second conference paper, we see that it too is an extension of research underway. In this case, the researchers extended their questions from a single section of the course as “flipped” to flipping the entire course. The course is an introductory engineering course that covers broadly fundamental skills: “…programming, engineering design, project management, statistics, dimensions and conversions, technical representation of data and engineering ethics (Salama, Scanlon, and Ahmed, 2017).” Salama et al. define their project in this way:

In this study, we used the collected data to answer the following research questions:
1) Will students have similar usage patterns when the flipped classroom is used in the whole course?
2) Can improvements in student performance with the flipped classroom be similarly replicated with a new cohort of students?
3) Will students have similar perceptions of the flipped classroom when it is extended to the whole course? (2017)

Our authors end up, saying: “In conclusion, the results presented in this paper support our previous results that the flipped classroom can be effective in improving the learning experience of the students in this introductory engineering course (Salama, Scanlon, and Ahmed, 2017).” Given that we have been flipping classrooms for a long time, in my memory nearly twenty years, I find myself more interested in the e-learning module development, methods and results sections of this paper. First, the e-learning development:

The modules thus included
􀁸 Interactive slides summarizing key relevant concepts
􀁸 Simple animations to present more detailed explanations of difficult concepts or examples
􀁸 Randomized and time limited assessments of varying formats including: true/false, multiple choice, multiple responses, fill in the blank, drag and drop etc (Salama et al., 2017)

So it is very cool that they did this, however, none of this is bleeding edge instructional design or technology.  And I mean no disrespect to the authors in saying this, rather, my concern is more broadly about education on the cutting edge of technology. The work of the authors is good and genuine and beneficial to the students. When we review the methods and the results the students themselves tell us so.

In the end, I think we have to go to the independent learners themselves to get closer to bleeding edge technologies. Perhaps we just cannot find it in schools and classrooms? I have beaten John Seeley Brown’s example of the pro-surfers to death, alas. I have as well beaten the example of YouTube entrepreneurs to death. Perhaps the other place to go is the elite educational institutions because they have the deep pockets and they employ tenure as it was meant originally to protect failure and risk-taking rather than status-quo and mediocrity. MIT, RPI, Harvard, certainly it feels galling to drop those names, but perhaps state universities are too embroiled in politics and economics to actually be sites of innovation.  And then we turn to K-12 public education, individual teachers are super-heroes/heroines but bound and gagged by budgets and learning outcomes and standardized testing.

References

Pistoljevic, N. and Hulusic, V. (2017) An interactive E-book with an educational game for children with developmental disorders: A pilot user study. (2017). 2017 9th International Conference on Virtual Worlds and Games for Serious Applications (VS-Games), Virtual Worlds and Games for Serious Applications (VS-Games), 2017 9th International Conference on, 87. doi:10.1109/VS-GAMES.2017.8056575

Salama, G., Scanlon, S., and Ahmed, B., (2017) An evaluation of the flipped classroom format in a first-year introductory engineering course. (2017). 2017 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), 2017 IEEE, 367. doi:10.1109/EDUCON.2017.7942874

Current Topic 4, ED 650

I am intrigued to read survey articles that discuss this year’s trends in education, or business. Mostly I am left feeling disappointed. I feel disappointed in several ways usually, first, is that the obvious is frequently stated, second, the nerdiest and intriguing topics avoided, and finally, little is said about a mindset that visions a different future.  A Google Search on this year’s trends resulted in many articles. In Technology that will Shape Education in 2017, we hear from Low, about eight directions:

  1. Virtual Reality
  2. Augmented Reality
  3. Learn from Anywhere, Teach from Anywhere Mobile Devices
  4. Collaboration Technology
  5. Gamification
  6. Coding
  7. Evolving Learning Spaces and Styles
  8. The Maker Movement

Many schools, libraries, and nonprofit centers are already deeply involved with the “maker movement.” Schools in rural Alaska, serving villages of 400 people have “fablabs, ” and the kids are using them on a daily basis.  So hardly cutting edge technology.

Jones, by contrast, calls out the cost, danger, and impracticality as reasons indeed “cutting edge” technology will not be in the classroom this year.

Some of the newest inventions that are finding success in medicine, science, engineering, and technology are not likely to be teaching aids soon. Some technologies–such as nanobots, quantum electronics, molecular sensors, and universal translator devices–may have teaching benefits but are too costly and impractical for schools to own. New inventions in the worlds of DNA hacking, cyber warfare, drone engineering, and many of the other technologies frequently in the news will likely stay out of the classroom in the near future for their dangerous possibilities.

His list: Google Drive, MOOCs, and 3D printing seem far more likely and equally tame as some that Low lists.  So this creates an exciting criterion for sorting through Low’s list. So, Virtual Reality is too expensive and experimental; Augmented reality is just not there yet. My post Augmented Reality explores some of this more deeply. All of the rest of Low’s list is very yesterday, like Jones three most likely.

So, instead, I want to look at Jone’s list of unlikely technologies. It makes no sense that drones will not be in the classroom soon. Why not? Every YouTube content creator has one. Hacking is probably just banal and belongs on yesterday list. A Google Search on Cybersecurity summer camps reveals a host of programs aimed at 7-12 graders.  For example, the NSA offers the GenCyber Program as one example of its ubiquity. Even those technologies that are indeed out of reach for practical classroom experimentation are probably precisely the ones that teachers should be exploring with students. Since those will be accessible and ripe for use for this cohort at their graduation. I am routinely struck by the truism that we are preparing people for jobs that do not exist yet.

What if instead of asking “what are the cutting edge classroom technologies?” We propose instead just about future trends in technology.

Infographic: A Timeline of Future Technology
My daughter did work on Carbon Sequestering in both here Chemistry and Engineering programs. It makes perfect sense to me that K-12 students should be learning about these technologies that we are at early stages on. Both because it inspires curiosity and excitement and because it creates a curriculum of practical need. If a youngster is excited about Cabon Sequestering, then many of the fundamentals of Chemistry, Biology, and of Engineering a situated in a context and motivated by a personal curiosity as is entirely normal my daughters’ interests have turned to other topics, and we would expect young people still in K-12 to have several turns of curiosity. But in truth that is a good thing and a way to cover many technologies and subjects. It is also an essential technique of the futurist of sampling and scenario building. We likely need to think more deeply about how we raise a generation with the skill set of futurists considering along with technical skills for making and doing. Of course, the weakness and the superficiality of my survey here are that I am ignoring the burden of State and Federal learning outcomes and as well local social reactionism. These constraining factors loom large in the minds of educators, teachers, and administrators, alas. This crucial limiting factor is aimed precisely at status quo and the stability of business as usual. And this in a country that prides itself on entrepreneurial thinking.  Perhaps then entrepreneurship like technological innovation is being learned somewhere else then schools?

References

 

Jones, George (2017, January 16, 2017). Classroom Technology: What’s New For 2017? Retrieved November 9, 2017, from http://www.edudemic.com/classroom-technology-in-2017/

Low, Mei Lin (2017, 15 March 2017). Technology That Will Shape Education in  2017. [Weblog]. Retrieved November 9, 2017, from    https://www.educationtechnologysolutions.com.au/2017/03/technology-will-shape-education-2017/

ED 659, Screencasting Assignment

Jon B. a case study, a YouTube, content creator. Blog posts where I write about Jon B.

The (Creative) Commons

Theoretical run-up on Elements of Digital Storytelling

Initial Exploration of Structures and Boundaries in Creating a Web Presence

I am not in love with what I have produced here. I tried to use Screencastify and just got annoyed. So, since I have Camtasia on my work machine I just fired it up and started recording. My first attempt was merely with an oral narrative, see the Gold Glove recording below. I then redid this Jon B. recording with the inset reaction camera. Technically, these both are Screencast recordings. However, aside from the topic, I am uninspired with my use of the technology.

Gold Glove, a case study, of a YouTube, content creator. Blog posts where I write about Gold Glove.

Exploring Digital Citizenship

Initial Exploration of Structures and Boundaries in Creating a Web Presence

I don’t recall what free Screencast program I used to create the following video. However, I think my storytelling is better and overall this is a better use of technology to aid in telling the story. The pacing on this is languid, and that is a flaw.

I told the same story as the first two screencasts, but I experimented with tools and techniques in making this one that make the viewing a little more dynamic a little more interesting.

On the whole, I am concluding that I have a learning curve that is still steep and rising when it comes to making screencasts. I’ve struggled in the past trying to use free versions of the software. Using Camtasia again involved challenges and frustrations however the experience of the technology was better than with other products. I believe as well that a step by step sequence or a clear storyline makes for a better cast. The conceptual discussion just doesn’t work very well, at least at my skill level.

Project Proposal, ED 650

iPad Distance Delivery of Student Services

Executive Summary:

Bristol Bay Campus in fulfillment of Title III grant objectives is charged with delivering Student Services to the four main hubs in the Bristol Bay region. This proposal is for the purchase, setup, distribution, and usage of iPads in Dillingham, King Salmon, New Stuyahok, and Togiak. The iPads will be configured with files, bookmarks, and applications which support Student Services functions (e.g.,  course applications, financial aid, career and academic advising, etc.), as well as resources that help student retention and program completion. Established audio conference communication protocols will be used to guide and communicate with the iPad users. While this pilot is focused on Student Services, it is a small reach to imagine using similarly configured devices

BBC:

Bristol Bay Campus is a rural campus located in Dillingham, Alaska.  The campus is under the umbrella of University of Alaska – Fairbanks College of Rural and Community Development. It specializes in applied science and vocational programs. Most courses are offered online. BBC’s service region extends from Bristol Bay to the Aleutian-Pribilof region covering more than 100,000 square miles.

Rationale:

Online learning is in ascendance and for locations with reliable, fast internet that is both a strategic and tactical move that all educators need to be making. However, in rural southwest Alaska internet is constrained both in bandwidth and in the amount of data. It is also prohibitively expensive and unreliable. Nevertheless, given the vastness of our geographic service area and the thinness of our population density educators have to take distance delivery seriously. BBC has a reliable infrastructure of audio conference lines.  By augmenting audio delivery with iPads, we can efficiently provide Student Services to remote locations throughout our regions. Moreover, we have Title III grant objectives that this project addresses.  Specifically, the objectives include deployment of technology and the recruitment of cohorts in hub communities.  An important aim of Title III grants projects that are sustainable after the grant is fulfilled. Deploying iPads and using existing audio conference lines to coach and advise remote learners on student service topics is more viable than flying personnel to remote locations.   And it avoids – or at least offers – an alternative to the conundrum of the slow and expensive internet.

Implementation:

It is proposed that five iPads be configured for each location. Each location will need a secure place to store the devices and a method for checking in and out. Cases to protect the devices and additional power adapters will be provided with the devices. Also, a plan for regular system and file updates will be implemented.

iPads are particularly useful because, first their portability, as well they can operate online or be set up with files and used offline. Since the students are required to interact with online interfaces, like Google Apps, UA Online, and BlackBoard this versatility is essential.

Screen captures of routine online interactions, UA Online, BlackBoard, will be created, saved in pdf format, and then saved to the devices. Similarly, video or audio files used as tutorial resources will likewise need to be selected or created and loaded. Browsers will need a standard set of both academic and student service resources.

One of the grant objectives speaks to using technology in the rural communities. Facebook analytics shows that our customers predominately use mobile devices to interact with our page. Accordingly, iPads are a small reach from iPhones and Android. Hopefully, our use of these devices, because of their ubiquity, will be transparent and require little instruction.

Managing iPads Inventory:

Part of this proposal is to review and learn about configuring, controlling access to settings, and proxy server settings as well as pushing applications and updates to the devices. We will explore the requirements of bulk purchasing, licensing of iPad applications, and the setup of customized printing based on each Center’s network and printers. Tools and plans for mobile device management (e.g., Apple Device Enrollment Program, Apple Configurator) offers device enrollment, configuration, set up, and assignment. The main thrust of this initiative is focused on delivering Student Services, particularly Career and Academic Advising to the rural areas and Centers of BBC’s catchment area.  A secondary benefit is that the project will serve as a pilot for learning both the back office aspect of mobile device management and the front end use.  As our learning curve accelerates, BBC will expand its delivery of instruction using iPads.

Screen Capture, ED 659

In this document, I drafted and illustrated directions for using GIMP to edit images. The same tasks I described doing with Photoshop in the photography unit for this course.

Screen Capture Assignment

To create this screen capture, I went old school and used the Print Screen key, Paint, and MS Publisher to layout the document.

The download time and volume on SnagIt killed the motivation to use that tool. As well that I was past due on the assignment caused me to go with efficiency.

Whatever my shortcomings in making a screen capture I do encourage folks to explore GIMP it is an outstanding photo editing program.

https://www.gimp.org/

It is different from Photoshop obviously for patent and copyright reasons. That means you have to Google and YouTube how to’s because it is different, but it is full-featured and robust in its own right.

Statement Paper 3, ED 650

Chapter 6

Indeed, for a moment the bedlam of “learning styles” chatter caught my attention. However, I did struggle with the exclusiveness of some of the categorizations. Also, that I am not a teacher allowed me some distance from the theorizing. I find our author’s suspicion and criticism of learning styles to be refreshing. “Moreover, their review shows that it is more important that the mode of instruction matches the nature of the subject being taught, visual instruction for geometry and geography, verbal for poetry, and so on. When instructional style matches the nature of the content, all learn better regardless of their differing preferences for how the material is taught (146).” I think this is what I was intuitively resonating within the “learning style” discussion; I recalled my struggle as a learner in school being taught with mismatched instructional methods. Mismatched instruction is different from learners having different styles of learning necessarily.

I resonated with the turn to “intelligence” and particularly Stenberg’s analytical, practical, and creative model (150). Interestingly, our cultural moment has the IQ test to capture analytical ability, but not an equivalent for estimating practical and creative intelligence we kind of fly by the seat of our pants when estimating these, and perhaps with 20/20 hindsight. Warren Buffet we surmise could score well with practical intelligence, and “the artist formerly known as Prince” on creative intelligence. I also resonated with the examples of practical intelligence, Kenyan herbal medicine, as being suggestive of some of the phenomena we see in rural Alaska. Many young men do better with snow machines, four-wheelers, hunting, and fishing than the classroom. Conversely, many young women do better with computers, writing, and the work of the office comparatively displaying a higher analytic ability. As our authors mention, the family situation may explain children of different families excelling in different areas. But, in Alaska, we need the same family situation to interpret the various gender expressions. Schools seem to reinforce these by passing women through and preventing men. But, is this cast in concrete?

Dynamic testing is a tool to identify which intelligence(s) are lagging strikes me as a far more valuable diagnostic than learning that I am in the 95 percentile for verbal and written skills or 75th for math and analytics. Alas, what is unclear to me is that we have well-developed techniques for developing practical or creative intelligence? School just does not seem the place to remedy shortcomings in those intelligences, at least not as we have it configured currently.

Structure Building

Indeed, this is a strategy that I engage in as I map out mental models of known content. I try to find that fine line where I have stripped away everything but the essential elements versus the moment where I have torn away one feature too much, and the model falls apart. I learned the core elements of the piece stripped away, and I discovered the function in the model. I have as well learned to test my models in different situations this also reveals when I have stripped away too much or a flaw in the knowledge itself and then I engage in the creative process of grafting on an element, sometimes this is elegant more often a kludge until I find something better. Moreover, this is the third aspect of my structure building, the provisional quality of the builds.

Rule Learner

I tend as well to be a “rule learner” though again my rules are provisional and modifiable as I encounter exceptions. Trying to hold in memory all of the possible examples or counterexamples has felt too cumbersome to me. The efficiency of structures and rules has informed my learning.

Chapter 7

I have to say that this section was positively inspirational and I rarely enthuse like that. The chapter is lengthy and offers many examples. However, I like the pithy conclusion.

  • effortful learning changes the brain
  • growth mindset
  • self-discipline
  • grit
  • persistence
  • conscious mnemonic devices

Chapter 8

Is a summary of the entire book as such it works as a handy annotated table of contents. Also, they offer case studies of leaning and the importance of learning beyond school, business, professions, and so on with applications of their concepts. This book has an extensive bibliography and a useful index. Yes, it is written by scholars, but for a popular audience, so the style is accessible while still being credible and rigorous.

This graduate degree has been a long haul for me. Unfortunately here at the end, it has collided with job changes and relocation. So a lot of the shine has worn off for me. However, this book is quite inspirational. I have always prided myself on being a life-long learner and have been pretty good at it. However, I see in this text ways to become better and a bit of a prompt to do so and follow through. I am intrigued as well as I achieve late-middle age with practicing the memory techniques. Neuroplasticity and neurogenerativity are intriguing concepts to an old-dog wanting too learn new tricks.

I recall as a college student feeling cross as I learned some of these techniques the hard way and wishing that someone would just teach them in K-12. As a graduate student and teaching assistant, I recall trying to work some of that into the sections of English 101; I was teaching. As my life took turns away from being a teacher, I thought less about these topics as they applied to others and mostly focused on my learning for my purposes. My learning to learn was jump-started when my son started taking karate and jujitsu Dad joined in to support kid-grit and keep him engaged with activities rather than starting and quitting. And as well since I had to drive it gave me something to do rather than just sit and wait. There are physical mnemonics that martial arts create for memorizing patterns of movements and techniques. As well, there is a similarity between forms that create efficiencies in learning. As well interleaving, effortful learning, and a growth mindset are all regular parts of martial arts practice. I hadn’t made the full-circle connection and brought those techniques back to other types of learning, and in this our text is brilliant.

I had a fascinating conversation with a LEAN Process Engineer working creating standard work for Hospital Operating Rooms. She described how washing the room had been standardized so that when a second person entered the room, they could tell at a glance where the cleaning was at and could pick up and get to work. Likewise standardizing the room setup and equipment needs with “pick cards.” The thing that was impressive for me was the insight that our book was about individual learning/recall, the LEAN engineer was about group learning/recall. Much of the techniques in our text are about making our learning standard work, making systematic and methodical. My learning, however, is an internal process and self-referential, standard work in a workplace necessarily needs communication whether it is the location of a cleaner in a room, or, the same “pick card” for the same procedure. Again the exponential challenge of group learning and recall and at times the profound urgency of getting it right, surgery or space launch.

References

Brown, P. C., H.L. Roediger, and M.A. McDaniel (2014). Make it stick: the science of successful learning. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press

Three Videos, ED 659

So, I think this first video is most in the spirit of the assignment, that is creating an instructional video.  Don, previewed it and made some suggestions about timing the narration a little better and a couple of other fiddly details. And I appreciate that feedback. I have not made those changes mostly to show a progression in learning as we step through the videos.

All of these videos are filmed with a GoPro I borrowed from my son. I assembled them in Movie Maker, well because it is cheap, cheerful and ubiquitous. I used Audacity to create the narrative for the first video. I used Movie Maker’s narration tool in the second video. In the third video, all the narrative is captured real-time with the microphone on the camera. I think that audio quality and balance is a consistent weakness in my videos. If I were to continue making videos I would want to really get control of that element of the presentation. Some of it would be capture equipment, some would be editing software and a systematic approach to making the audio.

If you read other of my blog posts, you hear me riffing on YouTube content creation in two specific ways. First, is,

Initial Exploration of Structures and Boundaries in Creating a Web Presence

second,

Exploring Digital Citizenship.

I return to and explore these themes in other posts. However, in filming for these videos, I was testing my interest and passion for YouTube content creation. If I was a better photographer and perhaps had better equipment, I might be more passionate. I also felt like I struggled self-consciously turning my trips into narratives at the same time I was trying to experience them.

With this video, I begin to meander away from the instructional mission of this assignment. Although, I do get a few factoids into the narrative. I think I also do a better job of timing the story with the imagery.  Technically this video was much more challenging to make. I ended up loading the footage into Camtasia and stripping the audio track (an unpleasant roar of the airplane engine) once I did that recording the narrative was easy.

I think that with this third video I am pretty far afield from the direction of creating an instructional video. However, I like that the narrative filmed real-time hangs together and except for lacking footage of the thunderstorm I have a complete description. I think that better audio capture and a real selfie-stick or a tripod would significantly improve my use of the GoPro. Even better would be to have a digital SLR for the vlogging sequences. Because this third movie breaks my three-minutes or less rule I stayed entirely focused on setting up the campsite, cooking dinner, and surviving the storm. I had some excellent footage of paddling, wind, and waves, to the island, but in the end chose to focus the story.

Statement Paper 2, ED 650

 Chapter 3

I like how our authors call “cramming” out. “Cramming” has always been discouraged in my schooling, moreover, in my experience, I could see that it did not suit me. Interestingly they offer that intervals between study sessions, and allowing for a bit of forgetting seems to be a more optimal approach.  They introduce a multi-faceted concept “interleaving” which switches study between topics or skills and at its best may mix up the sequence of switching between practice sessions, hence stimulating attention perhaps.

I think my first recollection of this kind of learning strategy came from sports practices. Weirdly, it wasn’t until graduate school that I used the strategy intentionally for academic practice. In particular, I recall writing papers and stopping before all my inspiration from the previous day was recorded. I would reflect on the topic and the inspiration and the thoughts that the days writing had produced until it was time to write again on the paper the next day. In this way, I was able to keep the inspiration flowing over an extended time. I find myself necessarily doing interleaving in the workplace. I recall creating a practice of working on multiple projects across a day moving each forward incrementally and switching between them. I found that steady progress allowed me to manage my time better and that time was more productive. As an adult practitioner of martial arts in mixed-age classes, it was interesting to see the Senseis routinely employ all aspects of interleaving in teaching the skills.

Chapter 4

We meet a highly motivated Marine who discovered or recognized her fear of falling in being assigned to parachute school. The emotional tension, in this case, served her well heightening her motivation. The authors recycle the notion of “testing” that they introduced in the first two chapters here. The describe every practice session as equivalently a testing session and emphasize the importance of that.

They then begin to develop their notion of learning and develop encoding, consolidation, and retrieval as key elements.  “Encoding” moves sensory input to mental representation. “Consolidation” I love that they use a trope of writing an essay as an example of the mental process of stripping away the noise and focusing on the essential elements of an information/skill (consolidating information/skill is a personal favorite technique). “Retrieval” hinges on a healthy consolidation process that moved memory from short to long-term additionally is making associations either to existing knowledge/skill or some other set of recall cues.

The intensity of effort involved in the recall significantly improves they combine this with interleaving to create a potent tool for learning.  A personal favorite is a practice of creating of mental models, and the authors identify this as a major factor in their effortful learning model. Building mental models is a powerful technique because it allows one to test their knowledge in different situations. Testing refines the model and makes the knowledge/skill available in various locations rather than just one.

They continue developing their ideas with three additional concepts, fostering conceptual learning, improving versatility, and priming the mind for learning.The heart of interleaving is conceptual learning and interleaving with real variety. Repeating the martial arts advice “practice as you play, and you’ll play like you practice” they define their meaning when speaking of versatility. They describe the unfair but critical moment where a learner is called on to solve a problem before being shown how.

All of this work on “desirable difficulty” puts me in mind of concept I learned about as an undergraduate taking a course on enhancing creativity. The notion was “activation level, ” and the point was that we could optimize our creativity by managing our “stress” so that we were at an ideal, though uniquely individual, level, eustress rather than distress. And when I turn to our authors’ discussion of “undesirable difficulties” it seems these are parallel constructions.

Chapter 5

The authors explore the illusion of knowing.

The truth is we’re all hardwired to make errors in judgment. Good judgment is a skill one must acquire, becoming an astute observer of one’s own thinking and performance…. One is that when we’re incompetent, we tend to over estimate our competence and see little reason for change. Another is that, as humans, we are readily misled by illusions, cognitive biases, and ths stories we construct to explain the world around us and our place within it.

So how do we interpret the stories we construct so that we can get back to the data as it presents? I like their recipe.

  • Testing — practicing retrieving learning from memory
  • Peer Instruction — social process aimed at understanding, explanation, feedback, and comparison
  • Cues –mental models, integration, with existing knowledge
  • Feedback — strengthens retention, delaying it may produce better
    • Teams — collaborative problem solving (need to avoid the Bay of Pigs)
    • Simulations — necessary to “practice as you play, and you’ll play as you practice.”

Important to each of these techniques is that all can be or are necessarily social. So the message is that other people can be both a source of reality. And accessing that is through the systematic use of these techniques.  However, what about when all the people we can access share an illusion, cults, or the team that ok’ed the Invasion of the Bay of Pigs, for example? Perfect learning isn’t the same thing as perfect or even correct knowledge/skill/outcome. Perhaps, we are aiming at helping folks discover better ways of asking questions, of being self-suspicious as well as, practicing techniques like the ones listed above?

References

Brown, P. C., H.L. Roediger, and M.A. McDaniel (2014). Make it stick: the science of successful learning. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press

6 photographs Assignment, ED 659

Photo manipulation is daily work for me.  My job involves sizing and optimizing images for the web, and print. I am handy with Adobe Photoshop. That is not to say that I am a good photographer. I started using 35mm film SLR when I was a kid. My Grandfather tried to teach me about his retirement-passion amateur photography. So, I am familiar with some of the concepts of this assignment.  I use a Canon EO5 at work. I purchased an iPhone just last year when I moved to Dillingham. I have amused myself a little with the native camera app. So, the charge to take six different quality photographs is perhaps the more challenging facet of this assignment.

Office Still Life
Office Still Life

The photo was taken with Canon EO5 Digital Rebel XSi camera; the lens is EF-S 18-55 on a tripod. Original image dimensions 4272 x 2848 at 72 ppi., exposure speed 1/6 second, aperture f/9 with the default ISO of 400.

I was surprised that the picture was at 72 ppi and that caused me to optimize this image for web use. It also caused me to explore the camera setting to adjust the pixels per inch setting. (And I learned that that setting was not a camera setting but a Photoshop setting.) I cropped the image for composition. I changed the RGB levels individually just shaving off the high and low end of the histogram leaving as much data as possible. I then adjusted the curves selecting Brightness and Contrast for this image. Finally I “saved for the web” this involved resizing the image to 600×450 and changing the quality to medium at 512k (I use 512k as my default for rural Alaska) this gave me a file size of 17.1kb for speedy web browsing.

Office Still Life II
Office Still Life II
Office Still Life II Version II
Office Still Life II Version II

Getting this image was an iterative process I tried to frame it with the camera as opposed to relying on Photoshop for cropping.  However, in Photoshop I selected the 5×7 crop and the Golden Spiral layout after seeing the plant leaves flowing to the KDLG logo. I had to turn the plant to emphasize that flow. I then experimented with shutter speed and aperture to see if I could distinguish any depth of field differences.

The photo was taken with Canon EO5 Digital Rebel XSi camera; the lens is EF-S 18-55 on a tripod. Original image dimensions 4272 x 2848 at 72 ppi. For the first version, I set exposure speed .8 second, aperture f/8 with the default ISO of 400. For the second version, I adjusted the shutter speed 1/5 second and aperture f/4.5 and ISO 400 because I wanted to see the effect on depth of field (meh). I cropped the images for composition. I changed the RGB levels individually just shaving off the high and low end of the histogram leaving as much data as possible. I then adjusted the curves selecting Dark & Light and the snap to neutral mid-tones for this image. Finally I “saved for the web” this involved resizing the images to 600×428 and adjusting the quality to medium this gave me a file size of 25kb, and 22kb respectively.

Because the point of an assignment is to learn something I decided to install the Camera! the app on my iPhone and see what that was about. On installing it, I learned that it wasn’t updated for the operating system on my phone. The one bug I’ve found so far is being unable to delete images. The app offers some interesting features over the native camera app. The effects, and some photo framing guides I was quick to discover. I am amused to use a phone to create a print quality image, so I offer this potted plant.

CameraAwesomePhoto.tif

I used an Apple iPhone 5SE shutter speed of 1/40 second, aperture setting f2.2 and an ISO 25, with a forced flash. Original image dimensions 2417×3912, 1.54 MB. I selected the “Roadtrip” fx setting in the app. I messed around with it in Photoshop to size 1200×1942 and adjusted it (if I left it at 2417×3912 at 300ppi the file would have been 27MB). This file is pretty large for the web at 7MB and the wrong format .tif to preview, but you can download it from the link I set the resolution at 300ppi so it will print nicely.

Freezer Image

I used an Apple iPhone 5SE shutter speed of 1/60 second, aperture setting f2.2 and an ISO 25, with a forced flash. Original image dimensions 3042×4032, 1.23 MB. I selected the “Roman Holiday” fx setting in the app. I messed around with it in Photoshop to size 1200×1600 and adjusted curves and levels. This file is pretty large for the web at 5.5MB and the wrong format .tif to preview, but you can download it from the link I set the resolution at 300ppi so it will print nicely.

Monitor images intended for display on a monitor perhaps as a desktop image.

Dillingham Panorama

Both of these images were taken with my iPhone and accordingly the f/2.2 and exposure were 1/2000 with an ISO of 25. Both were modified in Photoshop. The one called Dillingham Panorama I used the healing tool to work power lines out of the image. I adjusted levels and curves and sized for monitor desktop. The sunrise image I adjusted levels and curves. Weirdly the camera meta-information doesn’t display with that image. I am not sure what that is about. However, it is within parameters normal to an iPhone.

A quick and dirty review of one of our required readings. This useful but slightly dated article explains Braddeley’s Working Memory Model the authors then do an extensive literature review it appears both of research they then connect that model with learning theory starting specifically with multimedia learning. The literature review is extensive. They conclude: “Accordingly, we can conclude based on this review that working memory, by and large, is working during learning from text and pictures in the way one would expect it based on Baddeley’s model.” They also point out some inconsistencies between the theory and the way the model has been used in research. Accordingly, because the theory seems to be holding up they suggest several methods for more precise use of the model in future research.

While this is a very technical review article it puts me in mind of the text for my other course this term, Making it Stick. One point those authors regards the importance of retrieval of information/knowledge/skill in their definition of “learning.” In Schuler’s article, we learn about different memory channels, verbal and visual (for a quick and dirty summary) and they indicate that working two different channels doesn’t seem to overload adding to memory. However, reading (translating character’s to verbal, and visual, a picture) may compete for the same channel. Perhaps, rather than writing about an image speaking about it is better for embedding both image and thoughts about the image?

References

Brown, P.C., H.L. Roedinger, M.A. McDaniel (2014). Make it stick: the science of successful learning. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press

Schüler, A., Scheiter, K., & Genuchten, E. (2011). The Role of Working Memory in Multimedia Instruction: Is Working Memory Working During Learning from Text and Pictures?. Educational Psychology Review, 23(3), 389-411. doi:10.1007/s10648-011-9168-5