Store your MP3 on Box.com, embed the player, then embed your presentation. Files stored on box.com can be embedded and viewed on your website, just like a YouTube video. You can also embed a Google or SlideShare presentation as I’ve done here.
Demonstrating how you can embed a Google Presentation and attach an MP3. A decent work-around if you can’t get SlideShare to work or if you need a little more privacy.
Sample Audio (Download the file or open link in a new tab/window, then come back here to click through the slides along with the audio.)
Narrated presentations are quite popular these days. I’m sure you’ve seen more than a few examples by now; we’ve used Articulate (expensive and not mobile friendly) and SlideShare (free, kinda clunky) in the past but have still not found the perfect solution. The problem is not creating the narrations (PowerPoint has had a narration feature for years), it’s distributing them with a manageable file size. Since PowerPoint does not compress the audio, a 10min. narrated presentation could be about upwards of 5GB! That would take a long time to download, even on the fasted connection. My solution utilizes two awesome and FREE web-based tools, which means there’s nothing for you or your students to download:
I’m speaking with the lovely people from BGSU Recreation and Wellness tomorrow for a brief overview of blogs and wikis and how they can leverage those tools to promote programs and collaborate on projects. Check out my notes. Did I miss anything?
COBL adopted the recycling station located outside our door in University Hall and I was asked to create a few posters explaining how online courses and our department are helping to reduce the university’s carbon footprint. Check them out below!
Most online courses are designed to be asynchronous – we communicate with each other via message boards, email, etc. on our own time. But sometimes you just need to talk it out in real time. Tutoring sessions, office hours, and group collaboration can be difficult to coordinate without the cooperation of all participants, especially since we all have our own calendar of choice. Enter Tungle.me. Tungle is not a calendar. This is an online service that accesses and syncs to your existing calendar (no matter the platform) allowing you to broadcast your availability to your team so they can request a meeting with you. Watch the video below to see how it works.
This is great for setting up virtual or in-person office hours, as well as group meetings! A student or group leader can request a meeting by selecting a time that fits your availability and their schedule(s). Tungle pretty much does the rest – notifies all participants of the request, prompts you and other guests to accept a time, and then adds the meeting to your calendars (provided an email client with a calendar built in, like Mac Mail, Entourage, Outlook, or even Gmail is being used). Added bonus: there’s no need for your students to sign up for a Tungle account.
(Note: Sharing the titles of your calendar events is ON by default. Make sure you select the box to only broadcast your availability if privacy is important to you)
One minor problem I noticed is that the options to share the link to your calendar on social sites are pretty well hidden, meaning, I stumbled across them once and can’t find them now. In theory, you should be able to post the link to Twitter or Facebook just by clicking a few buttons on your Tungle page. As of right now, you’ll just have to post the link to your calendar manually…which is still pretty easy You can also add your link to the contact information you provide on your syllabus and inside your course or in your email signature.
Try it out for yourself! It’s free and only takes a minute to set up.
“Interdisciplinary experiences…where you’re reading on paper, you’re watching on television, you’re tweeting…when those things relate, it can be an amazing story telling experience.” -Nick Bilton
As instructional designers and teachers, we try to keep our content as multi-modal as possible (without getting out of hand) to ensure a valuable learning experience for all our students. We do this by collecting resources and trying our best to keep it all connected; text in paper and digital form, audio, video, images, etc. I generally fall into the “throw away the textbook” camp. However, advances in bar coding and mobile aps could help keep textbooks alive and make them relevant again. The video above (via TechCrunch), sparked my interest because of how technology is changing the way we read and interact with content. In this example, the reader is directed to relevant resources if he/she so chooses by using the camera on their smartphone. Sounds simple enough. Is this the textbook of the future?
I’d like publishers to give this a shot; textbooks with bar codes that lead the reader to web content such as relevant news or articles, videos, assignments, quizzes, and comments or full blown discussions. Wouldn’t it be cool if the teacher who requests a certain book is also given administrative access to the digital resources? I’m not sure how it would work logistically, but that would help them create unique learning experiences for their students. I suppose this could also be accomplished by referencing publisher-provided resources, as well as their own, on a course website, blog, or wiki
As cool as this sounds, I still go back and forth on the need for an actual textbook, especially since digital books have the potential to make the collection of all these resources a little more seamless. But, let’s face it. Some people still like to hold a physical book in their hands. I appreciate the efforts of publishers who are trying to please as many people as possible by offering (or at least entertaining the idea of) interactive paper books as well as e/ibooks and mobil aps.
Side Note: This book should be required reading for anyone in the education field.
Class participation a little dry, or even worse…non-existant? It’s normal to have peaks and valleys in the discussion board. Unfortunately, it’s also common to see a downward slope after the first few weeks of class. Here are some ideas to help your students actively communicate all semester.
Create an Open Forum. Add a casual discussion area to encourage free-flowing conversations that are unrelated to class material. Opening this “virtual cafe” a few weeks before the class starts enables your students to get acclimated to online discussion without the pressures of finding the “right answer” and is a great way to start building relationships with fellow classmates.
Sharing Experiences. Encourage your students to share relevant information about their daily lives, as it applies to your course. Your discussion questions should challenge your students to tap into students’ personal experiences, opinions, creativity, and so on. Instead of getting the same out of the box response, you will give your students the opportunity to read unique perspectives each time they open the discussion board, thus creating the ultimate personal learning experience.
Weekly Trivia. Use announcements and a discussion forum to create a weekly trivia contest. 1st prize…writing the next trivia question! A great alternative is to turn this into a team building exercise by splitting the class into small groups and asking questions that require multiple parts to form the answer, sort of like a web-quest. Aside from gaining more experience with group work, students will get a chance to practice their research skills.
Ask for Feedback. If class participation slows down considerably or you notice a more serious problem, a drop in assignment/test scores, go right to the source. Talk to your class about your assignments, activities, and tests. Their feedback may help you find areas to improve. Updates to the course could be as simple as re-wording instructions or quiz questions, or as challenging as creating more interesting activities.
As always, if you have any ideas or want to share how you encourage class participation, post your comments below!
Some of you may already be familiar with a great screencasting tool called Jing. This software helps you create annotated screen captures and narrated screencasts very easily. The files can either be stored on your computer or uploaded to Flickr or screencast.com for sharing and embedding.
I still use Jing at least twice a day to create quick images like this…
But when it comes to screencasts, I’ve found something even better. Screenr helps you make quick screencasts for your students and provides you with a variety of distribution methods. If you’re already invested in Jing, you may want to take a second look . I’ve outlined a few key reasons why you should make the switch.
Web-based recorder uses your Twitter account to log in. This is great for two reasons:
1. There’s no software to download and the “bookmarklet” works the same regardless of your browser or operating system.
2. No need to remember another password and makes the next item possible.
Seamless Twitter integration. After you’re done recording, you’re asked to describe your video and given the option to post to Twitter now or on your own later. Your screencast is then processed and posted to your Screenr account. Viewers can discuss the screencast from the videos’s page by Re-tweeting or replying to the author, share the URL, grab the embed code, or subscribe to your rss feed. Watch this video to learn more about Screenr’s user interface.
The videos are mobile friendly. Unlike the Flash-based Jing videos, Screenr publishes multiple versions of your video and all can be viewed on a mobile device. You can download the .mp4 to distribute your videos in podcast form, publish to YouTube, or simply share the URL with your audience any way you’d like. Here’s a quick video to show what a Screenr screencast looks like on an iPhone.
Best of all…it’s free!
Not on Twitter? It’s worth signing up just to use Screenr!
I was doing a little Christmas shopping last night and came across a great feature on Modcloth.com called “Be the Buyer.” The store posts the latest samples from their treasure trove of independent designers and asks their customers to vote on which designs should go into production. After a vote is placed, one can share the item with friends on their social networking platform of choice and discuss their vote with fellow shoppers. Perfect execution of social networking and a great concept all around.
This reminded me of the Choose Your Own Adventure books that allowed us to take stories into our own hands. To decide the fate of our favorite characters. Even though the outcomes are predetermined, this interaction makes us feel more invested and interested in the story. Perhaps that’s why video games are so popular and gaining more recognition in education. So why don’t we do more of this?
Here are two ideas I’d like to run by you:
- Students vote on course material. You don’t have to develop a fancy website for this. Just ASK your students what they’d like to do next. If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, voting is easy by using TwitPoll or Facebook comments and the like button. It may sound like more work, but any teacher who has at least two courses under their belt probably has a treasure trove of their own – filled with great resources- articles, case studies, and anything that could be used as an alternative to the written lesson plans.
- Students vote on their own materials. This is an easy way to implement peer review into your activities and I can think of at least two applications for it.
- Class blog. Whether your students are involved in creative writing or topical analysis, you can post student work on your class blog. After the assignment has been submitted, pick the cream of the crop on allow your students to vote on the best post. A little friendly competition might rev up student participation and improve overall quality of the submissions. You may want to set some guidelines to ensure the same people don’t win every time.
- Student Portfolios. Same concept applies, but the voting is on an individual basis. Take some time, at least a few times a semester, to ask your students to vote on their peers’ best work. We all have tunnel vision when it comes to our own projects. This is a great opportunity to get honest feedback and figure out the ares in which one excels or could use some work.
What other ways can we make learning more interactive? If you want to share your own ideas, leave a comment!