Interesting Pinterest

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Interesting Pinterest

What’s Pinterest? I think of it as a storyboard to help me organize ideas and brainstorm. The board allows me to add pictures, quotes, hyperlinks, and video clips on the board based on the categories that I have created. It is somewhat a social interaction tool as you can view, comment, like, and follow other people’s boards. The Pinterest’s web interface is awesome. It changes the way people view things on the screen. Pinterest allows you to view multiple categories and items at the same time.

You can join the Pinterest by requesting the invitation since it is not entirely open to the public yet. I believe it takes less than 24 hours to get the response from the Pinterest team. They will give you a specific direction of how to sign up an account.

How to add stuff to the board? It’s very easy. You can install the plugin to your browser. Once you install the plugin, you just need to click Pin It button and select whatever you want to pin on your board. Pinterest also provides users with a video tutorial of how to use Pin It button. Please take a look at the video below.

You can do so many things with this virtual board. Here is an article providing you tips for using Pinterest in a classroom. Click here

 

The infogrpahic below displays everything you need to know about the Pinterest (Source: Mashable)

No Clicks for Clickers

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No Clicks for Clickers

For our weekly ILC staff training today, Gurupreet conducted a training session on how to setup and use Clickers in a classroom. Those who have been in a dog/cat training before might have thought a “clicker” as a device that makes a clicking sound, and you use it to train your pets, shape their behaviors, and teach them new tricks. For those who are not sure what it is, please watch the video below to see how a clicker can be used to train your dogs and cats.

I love clickers! Enzo responded very well with the clicker. I have been constantly using the clicker as positive reinforcement to provide him with instant feedback (reward).  Basically this takes advantage of the fact that dogs learn by the immediate consequence of their actions. What this means is that if we provide and control these consequences we will in fact be controlling our dog’s behavior. In clicker dog training the sound of the clicker becomes associated with receiving a reward (i.e., Classical Conditioning). When Enzo hears the click, he will expect a treat! This becomes very useful when Enzo ran out in my backyard, and I needed him to come in the house. All I had to do was push the clicker, he would run for his life to me, and he surely expected a treat.

Clickers for dog training

Enzo Ferrari

Nevertheless, Gurupreet did not demonstrate how to use that kind of clicker…. Ha! The clickers we learned today were remote personal response systems using infrared or radio technology to transmit and record student responses to questions. Clickers look like small TV remote control devices. Instructors will have a receiving hub connected to a computer in front of a class. I ran across an article about the Clickers. If you are interested to read about the application of Clickers, please click here.

Clickers - Response System

I remember that 4-5 years ago I were asked to lead a project called Workshop Collaboration Tool (WCT). I assisted in designing the graphical user interface, developing the program algorithm, installing and testing the tool, and managing the project. I worked closely with a programmer to develop the tool. The purposes of WCT are to use in conferences or workshops where participants provide feedback to presenters or facilitators, work collaboratively on policy development, and make decisions as a whole. The WCT allows participants to submit questions during a presentation. Presenters can ask participants to answer questions, vote, and rank items. The tool also displays the results at the end. The WCT was used in several conferences and well received although several areas needed improvement.

The WCT shares the same concepts with the Clickers, except the Clickers can operate only basic functions. For example, students can press either numbers or letters on the Clickers. Students cannot elaborate more on their responses and answers. Students will have to discuss verbally as a group. But, I do like the fact that it is easy to create questions in Microsoft PowerPoint and operate the Clickers. That statistical results display very nicely. However, during the training we ran into a huge problem when starting a set of question, all the Clickers could not connect to the receivers. We could not do anything. We did try to turn it on and off several times, but no luck–no clicks. Oh..well..we definitely need to test them out again and find out what the issues are. It is possible that it is the software issue.

 

Last week I found a new tool, called “SoapBox.” It is very interesting. SoapBox has all the WCT’s features and more. Although SoapBox is pretty new and still a beta version, it has great potential. Students can access the tool via the Internet, smart phones, and mobile devices. I would love to test it out. You can view demo videos of SoapBox below.

All and all, I like Clickers’ concepts and simplicity, but I prefer to use some kinds of tools that can handle more than just yes/no answers, polls, and basic responses. It would become more effective tool if students can post questions anytime they want during a lecture or presentation, they can elaborate or describe their responses or answers, or they can rank items. Also, the tools should be easy to operate and access. With those features, it would be such fun and engaging learning experience for students.

When Did You Join Twitter?

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When Did You Join Twitter?

I have been thinking about conducting a survey about the use of Twitter at the University of South Alabama for a while, but it was quite difficult for me to do everything by myself. My friends and colleagues do not appreciate Twitter much. Some of them have an accounts, but tweet only a few times and never tweet again. Some of them don’t even care for it.

Thanks to Sylvia who starts to appreciate Twitter! She reads and tweets regularly, and she is interested in conducing the survey with me. Yay!! So, we have been working on questionnaires for a week or so. We should be able to collect data soon. Our survey focuses on the use and popularity of Twitter at the USA, and then we want to create an inforgraphic.

An Example of Infographic

And  then I asked myself when I joined Twitter? Hmmm I forgot and I could not find the joining date under my profile! Well, I used google to find a tool to answer my question. It’s very easy. If you are like me wondering the date you have joined Twitter, go to http://www.whendidyoujointwitter.com. Type your username and click “Find Out!” button.

I joined Twitter since March '09

Wow.. it has been two and a half year since I joined Twitter! I have quite an experience with Twitter. Just like any relationship, I have ups and downs with Twitter. I can see why people stop tweeting after they have joined Twitter only a few weeks or months. Twitter has no fun if you cannot interact with your Following and Followers. You can follow people as many as you want, but it doesn’t mean that those people will follow you back. It is like one-way communication when you follow a person, but that person doesn’t follow you back. You can only receive information or tweets from that person, but that person will not see any tweet updates from you unless he/she visits your profile or timeline. Guess what? It  has no fun for stalking people or one-sided love relationship.  People might say they enjoy reading Following’s tweets, but I wonder….for how long?

What I am trying to say is that Twitter will become more enjoyable when two-way communication has occurred — a good balanced number of Following and Followers. And, it’s not easy to gain numbers of Followers because it takes time to build your own Twitter fan club who enjoy reading your tweets. I probably will blog about ways to increase your Followers next time I blog about Twitter. Basically, the more people follow and read your tweets, the higher chance you get mentioned on Twitter if you tweet regularly. That’s how 2-way communication, interaction, and engagement have occurred, and the number of Follower comes into play.

So, it will be interesting to see how Twitter has been used at the USA, how many people heard about Twitter, but never used it, how many professors currently use Twitter in their courses,  how many students enjoy using Twitter, etc. I’m looking forward to the results!

OK… don’t forget to FOLLOW ME!

Wordle

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Wordle

Have you ever wondered how to create a typography graphic? It might take a good amount of time to create such a graphic in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. But, with Wordle you can create the typography graphic within a minute!! You have a full control of the words, colors, fonts, and layout. Ton of options are available! Please visit Wordle to create one online. Type, create, and print! Enjoy!

Thanks to Sylvia. I saw her Wordle on the twitter and I loved it!

Paper.Li

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Paper.Li

Today Sylvia and Mary showed me their Paper.Li pages, and I liked how easy it is to publish the content. I also like the feel of newspapers on the screen. Paper.Li creates a paper by retrieving content from either your twitter and/or Facebook account. You can even filter the published content with keywords. The automatic publication feature is also awesome. You can set the time and frequency of your publication. Background is customizable, too!

I already started two Paper. One is “My Twitter Daily” and another is “Golffy Newsletter.”  I will publish the newsletter weekly. The screenshots of my paper are below. If you are an active twitter user, you should try this Paper.Li!! Don’t forget to visit Sylvia’s and Marry’s papers!

Principles of Successful E-Learning

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Principles of Successful E-Learning

Before going to bed, I like to read articles in a variety of contents, such as Food & Cooking, Fashion, Technology, Entertainment, E-Learning, Web Design, and Higher Education. I have been really enjoying the Zite app. I encourage iPad users to download and give it a try. It’s a free app, too!

Last night I read an article discussing principles for successful E-Learning. The authors listed 10 principles and provided brief but concise description for each principle. The principles are quite different from the principles I read from the E-Learning and the Science of Instruction book by Clark and Mayer (multimedia, spatial contiguity, temporal contiguity, coherence, modality, redundancy, individual differences, practice, learner control, and professionalization).

The authors of this article pointed out some interesting principles. Those principles are generic and focus more on the pedagogic principles. The principles were defined and proposed by Professors Anderson and McCormick. Ten principles of successful E-Learning are the following:

1. Match to the curriculum – all the activities, assignments, and content should be relevant to course objectives.

2. Inclusion – the pedagogy should be universal design (accessible to broader audiences)

3. Learner engagement – the pedagogy should motivate learners.

4. Innovative approaches – technological tools are implemented to support learning process.

5. Effective learning – the pedagogy should be designed to fit learners’ different learning styles.

6. Formative assessment – the pedagogy should provide formative assessments

7. Summative assessment – the summative assessments must be reliable and comprehensible to instructors, learners, and parents.

8. Coherence, consistency & transparency – the pedagogy must be internally coherent and consistent with the objectives.

9. Ease of use – E-Learning should be easy to use.

10. cost-effectiveness – technology solutions should be affordable and costs sustainable.

You can read the article HERE, or you can download the White Paper here.

In my opinion, based on my experience I have to disagree some of the principles listed above. I’m not sure about the concept and benefit of the principle 6 and 7. Moreover, the principle 8 is redundant – it is similar to the principle 1. However, I do strongly agree with the principle 9 and 10. The E-Learning platform should be easy for learners to use. The platform should also be cost-effective.

US Chamber of Commerce

In addition to those principle listed above and principles proposed by Clark and Mayer, I have my own principles that I used when designing and developing an E-Learning program. My personal principles for successful E-Learning are listed below:

1. Principle of perception – I always cautious about people’s perception. In E-Learning, a lot of time learners interact with a computer and monitor screen. Gestalt principles are often applied to my program interface design to reduce a risk of miscommunication. These principles also help me organize all the design elements and content displayed on the screen in the way that makes senses to the learners.

2. Principle of flexibility – This principle is similar to the principle of learner control, proposed by Clark and Mayer. Most of E-Learning programs are self-pace. It’s very important to design the program that allows learners to start and stop the instruction anytime they want. The E-learning program should provide the learners with a sense of user control and program flexibility. For example, a video or audio clip should have a progressing bar, so the learners can pause or rewind it when they need to.

3. Principle of visualization – This principle is not the same as the principle of perception which deals with content organization. The principle of visualization rather focuses on the look and feel of the program. The multimedia using in an E-Learning program should be clean, consistent, relevant, and high quality. The instructional designers should be cautious about the effects of using colors, graphics, symbols, tables, and other visual displays.

What do you think about my principles of E-Learning? Do you agree or disagree? If you have your own principles, please share!

Dissertation Defense

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Dissertation Defense

Today I had my dissertation defense with the committee members. It was such a good experience presenting the summary of my own research study and sharing my knowledge and thoughts with others. I really appreciate all the support, guidance, and suggestion from my committee. I know this is not done yet, but it is good to know that I’m one step closer to the finish line.

I went a little over the top with my PowerPoint presentation. My research topic was about chart design, and I would like to make a statement by using the infographics to present the survey results. I was so happy with what I created.

Last night when I was looking  for tips to prepare my dissertation defense, I found some interesting comics that made me smile. Take a look at them and let me know what you think!

Sakai Part 1 and 2

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Sakai Part 1 and 2

Today I was a backup for the Sakai Part 1&2 workshop at the College of Business. Sakai is our new Learning Management System which is going to replace eCollege soon. We trained USA faculty how to access the eCampus, set up a project site in Sakai, manage site tools, import contents and resources from one project site to another, and activate the gradebook.

Tonka and Sylvia did a great job as usual. I just helped around and made sure the faculty complete all the assigned tasks. I also tried to remember what needed to be trained for the part 1 because I will have to teach next month. Part 1 is very important. The overall concepts and Sakai basic tools and settings were introduced to the faculty in this part.

So far our training approach has been working very well. We introduced the tools, let the faculty watched the tutorial videos, and asked them to complete the activity. They can use the given job aids or ask for any assistance during the hands-on activity.

After long hour workshop, we stopped by Cold Snap yogurt ice cream shop. It was OK, little pricey. But, I liked the concept of make-it-yourself ice cream. They offered a lot of toppings and they all looked yummy!

 

 

Kaltura Media Gallery

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Kaltura Media Gallery

Yesterday Jason conducted the ILC staff training on Kaltura Media Gallery in Sakai. Kaltura is an open source system that serves as a media respository. It handles a variety of media on the sever, such as audios, videos, and graphics.

We learned how to access the Kaltura via Sakai, upload a file, create a collection, and change the privacy settings. Although the Kaltura is still under development, it will be available to the USA faculty in the next couple of months.

Click here to read the data sheet of Kaltura MediaSpace for Education

 

 

A Quick Storyboard

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A Quick Storyboard

Did I mention yet how much I love the Zite app on iPad? Zite is the must-have app for iPad users. It’s a personalized e-magazine that will create a collection of content in which you are interested. You can personally customize the content that you would like to read. It could be any topic content, such as food, fashion, higher education, web design, social media, etc. And, yes, Zite is a FREE app!

So, a few days ago I read the article, The Art of Storyboard, from the Zite. The author emphasized the usefulness of the storyboard for e-Learning project development. He used three analogies for viewing the storyboard as a tool, an art, and a project. I also view the step of storyboard development as an important step when I worked on any such projects as websites, computer-based programs, and multimedia presentations. I create storyboards for almost everything.

To me, a storyboard helps me organize ideas in my head, create a visual prototype, plan an interface design, and convey my thoughts and ideas to other team members and clients. Also, a storyboards is like a business plan but  in an informal visual aid. So, without a plan any project can easily become chaotic. As an Instructional Designer and training platform developer, when designing an e-learning project, I used the storyboard to plan, design, and control the program structure, navigation, interaction design, multimedia placement, and scripts. It sounds a lot of work but necessary to plan them all out before the development starts. The storyboard needs to have enough details in order to allow other team members to see a big picture and the design details, as well as to keep everyone on the same page.

A storyboard can be created quickly and easily using common software application, such as MS Word, PowerPoint and Adobe Photoshop. I used Photoshop to design a mock-up program interface. Photoshop allows me to select a color scheme very quickly. You can also design a program background and navigation buttons in Photoshop. Then, I brought all the design elements into MS PowerPoint to figure out the placements of buttons, texts, video clips, and graphics. It’s easier to go through each slide in PowerPoint when you are dealing with multiple pages/screens. If you have a narration script to go with each screen, you can put the text under the Note section for each slide. Also, you can create internal links to jump among pages/screens, so you can design the program navigation and interaction. If you have any media that going to be used in the program, you can import to the Powerpoint too.

Remember that the storyboard is just a prototype or mockup version of your project. You should not spend too much time to make everything look perfect, but you should cover all essential design elements so that you can visualize what the final project is going to look like. Some people even create a storyboard by sketching everything on a piece of paper. I think that’s OK too, but it might not be effective when you have several people working in the team and trying to figure out what you wrote and what you drew. In addition, it’s a lot easier to archive and treat the storyboard as a design document if you put everything in digital format using MS Words, PowerPoint, and Photoshop.

I hope this post would help you realize how important the storyboard is and provide you with small tips about the tools I used to create a quick storyboard. If you have any questions and would like to know more, leave me a comment!

Note: Images used in this post retrieved from Google.