Teachers Talking | Mr. Bland & Coach Pabon | Book of Bland

We Should All Write A Book

No, seriously.
I believe we all should write some kind of book.
Everybody has something inside of them to contribute to the world around them.

There are those small things that we found ourselves repeating time and time again.
Maybe it’s some kind of quality advice.
Maybe it’s a step-by-step process for doing some kind of task.

  • Achieving a certain kind of style or look with make-up
  • Different way to perform various maintenance requirements for your vehicle(s)
  • Life lessons and how to capitalize on opportunities that stem from “mistakes”

The point that I’m making is that we all have something of value to share.  Maybe it won’t be a book that turns into the next block-buster movie event of the Summer, but who knows?  Maybe it will.

Either way, why not take a chance and just go for it.
I like Mr. Bland’s idea for a book, and I actually think he should write a book.

If you know who Mr. Bland is, and even if you don’t, you should encourage him to follow through with this idea & publish this book.

His youtube channel is: Mr. Bland
You can go subscribe & leave him a comment to get started on his “Book of Bland”.

While you’re at it, I would be most appreciative if you subscribed to my channel:
Coach Pabon.

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What in the World is a Flipped Classroom ???

There has been much talk – and sometimes debate – over this idea of Flipping the Classroom.

Well, many people – including educators – still do not even understand what a Flipped Classroom truly means in order to be able to take an educated stance in favor of, or against this newer concept.

Instead of trying to write a very long explanation, I came across the following Infographic that explains the concept and its origins very nicely.  I came across the website for this Flipped Classroom Infographic when I was looking at the blog of one of my previous professors – brainmeld.

This Flipped Classroom Infographic was published by Knewton.

 

Flipped Classroom

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

 

Best Practices in Virtual Learning Environments

Originally Posted: March 23, 2011


Woman holding a future digital reportBest Practices in Virtual Learning Environments

Dictionary.com defines best practice as “the recognized methods of correctly running businesses or providing services” (World English dictionary section, para. 1).  When based on principles, the same activities that constitute best practices in “traditional education” will, usually, translate well across any medium chosen for course delivery.  For a course to be of value, it has to answer a need – successfully.  This is where Instructional Design (ID) becomes important.  It is the analysis at the beginning that will help determine the “consumer’s” need, and how best to address that need.  Piskurich (2006) states that one of the benefits to employing ID is that it helps to identify the best practices for content delivery, essentially identifying the best manner for the target audience to successfully acquire the intended knowledge.  


Additionally, listing course prerequisites is vital and should, almost always, be mandatory.  Piskurich (2006) further suggests that course prerequisites are important for, both, the instructors, as well as, the students.   With a well-developed set of expected prerequisite skills and knowledge, the instructor(s) have a fair understanding of their students’ ability, and what kind of material they will be able to utilize with their students.  At the same time, potential students have an understanding and fair expectation regarding what information will be covered in their course.  Students that are reviewing course prerequisites can make informed decisions whether or not a course is too basic, too advanced, or just right.


Factors for Success in Virtual Worlds

Andrea L. Foster (2008) reported that educators experienced in utilizing the 3D virtual world, Second Life (SL), for distance education have stated that “…communication among students actually gets livelier when they assume digital personae” (p. 12-13).  Foster also reports that one educator, that teaches a freshman English composition course via SL, suggested that educators getting started in SL should be open to the idea of allowing students to have some control over the course in order to maximize student engagement.  Other suggestions include eliciting feedback and suggestions from other educators and students.  From a personal standpoint, this author believes that VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is essential in order to keep the audience engaged.  Having experienced SL conferences where the main means of communication between the presenter(s) and the audience have been either text chat (only), VoIP,  or a combination of both, it is very easy to say that this author found it more engaging to utilize VoIP with the occasional text chat for a side conversation/question.  Additionally, the use of multimedia such as video and/or presentation slides definitely helped to create the opportunities for increased audience participation.


Application Becoming Reality

The Simulations and Virtual Reality course that this author is currently participating in has really expanded the thought process regarding how to approach the final capstone project, and which tools, skills, and objects will be needed in order to develop a successful product.  This author had already settled on creating a course within Moodle, an open-source Learning Management System (LMS), entitled, “Developing Immersive Virtual Learning Environments”.  However, participating within the 3D world of SL has taken the original concepts to a whole new level of possibilities.


For the final project of the Simulations and Virtual Reality course this author intends to create one of the lessons for his final capstone course.  Beginning with basic best practices, this author will develop a detailed syllabus that will contain course prerequisites, course requirements, and technical requirements for the final capstone course.  Within SL, this final project will have to make use of multi-media viewers, a magazine and brochure shelf in order to provide external links to various learning objects, and text and voice chat.  Additionally, this author plans to explore the benefits of possibly utilizing SLOODLE which is an open-source project that has integrated SL with Moodle, and may be found in SL at: SLOODLE TeleHub and Fountain: 128, 128, 22 (SLOODLE, Home section, para. 1).


 


References

Best practice. (n.d.). In Dictionary.com’s online dictionary. Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/best+practice


Foster, A. L. (2008). Professor Avatar. Education Digest, 73(5), 12-17. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.nu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=28755255&site=ehost-live


Piskurich, G. M. (2006). Rapid instructional design: Learning ID fast and right. (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.


SLOODLE (n.d.). In Sloodle.org’s open source project. Retrieved from http://www.sloodle.org/moodle

Burning Images with Ken: The Effect of Motion on Stills

Originally Posted: February 24, 2011


Who is Ken Burns?

Many people utilize a video editing feature that is available in many Non-Linear Editors (NLEs), such as Apple’s iMovie, that is known as the Ken Burns Effect. Many people (including myself) never heard of, much less have seen some of the great documentaries by, Ken Burns.

Ken Burns has been an award-winning documentary filmmaker for over 30 years. He is the cofounder of Florentine Films, and has received more than 25 honorary degrees (WETA, 2010).

The Project

The embedded video below is a quick project that displays some of the effects that where made famous by Ken Burns utilizing still images.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 


References

WETA. (2010). About Ken Burns. Retrieved fromhttp://www.pbs.org/kenburns/about/kenburns.html

FlipSnack: Convert PDFs into Stylish Page Flip Books

FlipSnack is an online flipping book software that allows you to convert PDF documents into Flash page flip digital publications. It’s the ideal solution for those who wish to embed a book, magazine, catalog, newspaper, portfolio or any other kind of document into a website or blog.

Once created, you can embed your flipping book collection, download them or share them on social networking websites such as Facebook.

P.S. With FlipSnack you can upload several documents at once, allowing you to embed not only one, but multiple page flip publications in the same Flash widget.

~ FlipSnack

(No registration required – You may use Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, or MySpace to login for FREE).

 

This is a pretty nice service.  As a test, I converted a Teaching Guide that I made for using Call of Duty: Black Ops with High School Seniors in an American or World History class.  This is the FlipSnack version of the original PDF.

Flipsnack

Examining Hybrid Courses: Online vs. Onsite Supplements

Originally Posted: January 15, 2011


Perhaps contrary to what some may believe, distance learning has actually been around for over a century.  “‘Distance education’ has been in existence since the state of New York authorized degrees offered through ‘home study’ in 1883” (Tandy & Meacham, 2009, p. 314).  The differences between 1883 and 2011 are the available delivery methods.

Young Woman Lounging in Living Room on Couch with LaptopOne modern adaption is the hybrid/blended course.  By nature, a hybrid course blends aspects of traditional onsite education with aspects of distance learning; in modern times this is, usually, accomplished through technology (El Mansour & Mupinga, 2007).  The study, “Students’ Positive and Negative Experiences in Hybrid and Online Classes”, conducted by El Mansour and Mupinga provides credence to the cliché that you cannot satisfy all of the people all of the time.  They assert that no one teaching and/or delivery method is ideal for everyone.  Some of the feedback recorded by El Mansour and Mupinga was that students liked the immediate feedback and/or live sharing of ideas with their instructors and/or classmates during the face-to-face portion of their hybrid class(es).  They also liked the flexibility of being able to attend to classwork from almost anywhere with access to the internet, and still being able to maintain full time employment.  Some of the negative feedback included disruptions to students’ social and professional lives in order to attend scheduled onsite meetings, and delays in getting feedback from instructor(s) and/or fellow classmates during the online portion(s).

Horton (2006) provides different levels of blending to consider when deciding to what degree of blending a course should be developed.  At a minimum, course designers should consider Horton’s “Level 2: Strategic Blending” when developing a hybrid course.  This level of blending would be driven by the actual subject matter and course goals when deciding how to combine classroom and web-based evolutions.

Blended learning provides the opportunity to capitalize on the pros of both onsite and online learning while, simultaneously, creating the potential pit-falls of the negative things associated with each kind of training environment.  Hybrid courses truly are akin to a double-edged sword.

One other aspect to take into consideration when discussing the pros/cons between onsite, online, and/or hybrid courses, is that of access for those with disabilities.
Tandy and Meacham (2009) provide several examples that support the idea that the sword cuts in both directions.  While onsite courses may be difficult for people with physical disabilities, they provide opportunities for people with other disabilities such as low-vision or blindness.  The opposite side of the sword is that online courses provide convenience for those people with physical disabilities.  However, developing online courses that may be utilized by people that have low-vision or blindness presents some technical and/or financial challenges for the course developers.

Ultimately the quality and success of hybrid course delivery methods will be about the same as regular classes.  There will be the champions of hybrid developed courses, there will be the inevitable antagonists, and there will be those that remain indifferent.  In the same manner that not everyone enjoys the same kinds of music, movies, or sporting events, not everyone will have the same experience(s) when participating in a traditional onsite course, completely online course, or a hybrid course.  Whether or not to recommend hybrid courses would depend on the potential students’ personal preference(s), comfort with technology requirements, and personal goals such as the need for immediate feedback, flexibility to limit social/professional interruptions, etc.

 


 

References

El Mansour, B., & Mupinga, D. M. (2007). Students’ positive and negative experiences in hybrid and online classes. College Student Journal, 41(1), 242-248. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.nu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?
direct=true&db=aph&AN=24628953&site=ehost-live

Horton, W. (2006). E-Learning by design. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

Tandy, C., & Meacham, M. (2009). Removing the barriers for students with disabilities: Accessible online and web-enhanced courses. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 29(3), 313-328. doi:10.1080/08841230903022118

Developing Course Outlines for Online Courses

Originally Posted: January 15, 2011


According to US Legal (2001-2011), the legal definition of a course outline is “…a brief summary of the topics covered in a particular course” (Course outline law & legal definition section, para. 1).  Additionally, Dictionary.com defines syllabus as “an outline of a course of studies, text, etc” (World English dictionary section, para. 1).

McIsaac and Craft (2003) suggest that it is paramount to have a well designed and developed course syllabus/outline in order to improve a given course’s chance of success.  They postulate that this is especially important when courses are web-based since not all students access course materials during “normal business hours”.  Course outlines must be prepared and available well in advance of the start of the course, and must be sufficiently detailed to avoid the need for mid-course changes.  Mid-course changes to the course outline will, inevitably, cause confusion and/or frustration for students that work ahead.  Finally, McIsaac and Craft suggest four elements that should be part of any online course outline:

  • Accurate calendar of due-dates and/or topic discussions,
  • Active resource lists and links embedded within the course readings,
  • Detailed steps for discussions, and
  • Detailed annotations for assignments and tests with established processes for help.

There are several websites the provide insights and/or suggestions for developing useful course outlines.  The Penn State World Campus (2000) Faculty Resources webpage, and the Center for Scholarship in Teaching and Learning (2009), both, provide very detailed guidelines and “best practices” of the things that should be taken into consideration when developing course outlines, in addition to pointing out that detailed course outlines provide the foundation for instructional designers to work with academic personnel in developing final courses which will be made available to students.

 


 

References

Course outline. (n.d.). In US Legal’s free legal dictionary. Retrieved from http://definitions.uslegal.com/c/course-outline

CSTL Teaching Associates. (2009). Suggested guidelines for developing a class syllabus/outline: A best practices document. Retrieved from http://cstl.semo.edu/cstl/resources/contributions/common-syllabus-2009.pdf

McIsaac, M. S., & Craft, E. H. (2003). Faculty development: Using distance education effectively in the classroom. Computers in the schools, 20(3), 41-49. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.nu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?
direct=true&db=aph&AN=12440246&site=ehost-live

Penn State World Campus. (2000). Creating a detailed course outline. Retrieved from https://courses.worldcampus.psu.edu/public/faculty/detailedcourseoutline.html

Syllabus. (n.d.). In Dictionary.com’s online dictionary. Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/syllabus?o=100074