Friday, 29 March 2013

Is PowerPoint Obsolete?

In our PIDP3240 class there has been a lot of discussion around the use of PowerPoint as an educational tool. The general consensus is that PowerPoint is over used and often misused.

This video presents the hilarious truths about how NOT to use PowerPoint...

And that is just it, Power Point presentations are becoming laughable. In businesses we see the projector out on a table during a meeting and it's like "oh here we go, the same old routine we already know". Power Point is often long-winded, text heavy and BORING.

There is a glimmer of hope! Pecha Kucha 20 x 20 has swooped in the save the day. What is Pecha Kucha you may ask? Pecha Kucha is a structured effective use of PowerPoint. essentially it is a presentation consisting of 20 slides and 20 seconds each slide, and little (preferably no) text. The format was originally seen in Tokyo in 2003 as a way for designers to share their thoughts and ideas in a public format. It was an architectural firm that hosted the very first Pecha Kucha event, and they invented the format because simply, people talk too much.

Now Pecha Kucha nights are hosted all over the world, and presentations are on any topic imaginable. To find more information check out this website There are also dozens of presentations to watch. I find this format of presentation fun exciting and brief. It really lends itself well to the shrinking attention spans of students today. 

The structure of the Pecha Kucha format tends to eliminate the "do nots" listed in the presentation above.

There are other ways to update the idea of digital presentations. Take a look This Web 2.0 Tool called Prezi Here is a sample video of a presentation made using Prezi...

Prezi is dynamic and exciting. The transitions are beautiful and music and other enhancements can be added easily. It makes the presentation much more creative. Prezi can also me used on a variety of mediums, online, offline, even on portable devices.

PowerPoint isn't going anywhere, but the way that people use it needs to change. PowerPoint can be an effective tool as long as presenters take the time and follow some "rules".

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Web 2 point what.....

Web 2.0 tools
(web two-point-oh)

What the heck does Web 2.0 mean. I sure didn't know that the term even existed until I took this course. PIDP3240. The truth is, people use Web 2.0 tools every day, multiple times a day.

Simply, Web 2.0 is a term used to describe developements to the world wide web that have changed the way that the general public uses it. Web 2.0 makes the internet interactive. It is using the internet for purposes other than the passive viewing of content.

This ia an image of a Web 2.0 Map.
Go here: for a full sized interactive version of the map.
When you click on the links in the Map it takes you directly to the wikipedia page of the same title. All of the words in this map are ways to describe Web 2.0. The Map itself is a Web 2.0 tool.
Web 2.0 tools number in the thousands. There are many that can be used in an educational capacity in nearly any subject. I found this great image below that maps tools into catergories...

The best Web 2.0 tools allow users new ways of collaborating and editing and creating material on the internet. A blog is a Web 2.0 tool that has all these qualities. All social media is Web 2.0.
I found a great list of Web 2.0 tools here As I read through the list, I realized that I have used so many of these, and found many others that I would like to learn to use. This highlights were as follows, click on the titles to go to the official web pages!
Skype: Skype has revelutionized affordable long distance education. Skype has allowed group work and collaboration over great distances to become as easy as working with our neighbours.
Wikispaces: Wikispaces is an easy and intuitive way for anyone to create and edit informational web pages.
Dropbox: Dropbox is an easy way to share documents over the internet, and access them from anywhere.
Youtube: Youtube is an endless educational video resource. Videos on youtube are made by amateurs and experts alike. You can learn anything from makeup techniques to advance string theory on here.
Amazon: Amazon has almost any piece of media for sale, and they will deliver right to your door. There are a ton of aducational and hard to find titles. Prices are often competiive!
These are only a few examples. Are there any examples of Web 2.0 tools that you know of? Anything that I have to know about! Let me know...

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Copyright, Fair use, and Creative Commons

So Today I added a creative commons license to the ltop right corner of my blog. It was really easy. This made me decide to write my Blog post today on Copyright and how it affects us as educators.

Lots of people think that it is okay to use any material any way they want as long as it is for education. Truth is... That is not true. There are a lot of licenses and laws that can prohibit use of material, limit use of material, and govern how material is used and where. Educators must be very careful when they plan to use material that they have not licensed or created themselves. I am going to summarize the differences and similarities between Copyright, Fair use and Creative commons.


Copyright laws were created to protect the authors of original work. It oulines who gets paid for their original work and also who has to pay for that work. Copyright lasw vary greatly between different countries, and even different forms of work. As a general rule in Canada Copyrights protect work for the life of the author and an additional 50 years after the author's death. Unless someone renews the copyright, or in other special cases the work becomes part of the public domain. Using copyrighted work without permission can result in legal action, commonly law suits, claims and injunctions.

There are some exceptions to copyright laws. Sometimes the government can give special permission to certain groups, who are generally working for greater public good.

  • Format shifting (reproduction for private purposes)
  • Time shifting
  • Back-up Copies
  • Non-commercial User Generated Content

  • Also educational purposes:
  • Publicly Available Materials on the Internet
  • Distance Education
  • Cinematographic works
  • Reproduction in Class

  • The General rule for using copyrighted material in classroom situation is to ask yourself: Am I reproducing this to save the students purchasing it? If so, then you are breaching Copyright. 

    Here is a link to Canadian Copyright Legislation

    Fair Use

    The basic definition of fair use is that the use of material does not hurt the market for that material.

    Fair Use is an exception to copyright laws that include:
  • Research
  • Private Study
  • Criticism
  • Review
  • News Reporting

  • Fair dealing is a very American Concept, but has been adopted by Canadian Copyright law as well. Canadian laws have more control over Fair Use. To Qualify as fair use of copyrighted material, the material can only be used for the reasons above. Not much else qualifies.

    There is a 6 factor test that the suprme court uses to determine if a use is fair or not. A really good explanantion of this test can be found here

    The basic steps are:
    1. Purpose of the dealing
    2. Character of the dealing
    3. Amount of the dealing
    4. Alternatives to the dealing
    5. Nature of the Work
    6. Effect of the dealing on the work.

    Creative Commons

    Creative commons is a non profit organization that provides free tools to allow anyone to share their intellectual property. They provide free easy to use licences that limit the use of your intellectual property. Their website can be found here:

    This video posted on their website is a really simple breakdown of what they do it's short and full of good information.

    Creative commons provides tips for making sure that the information you use is not copyright proptected, and has amazing resources to find images and music that is free to use.

    Creative Commons is a great tool, and I will definately be using it more in the future

    Sunday, 10 March 2013

    Face to Face

    Well I have been a small hiatus due to a few different reasons. Oddly enough, both to do with education of some form or another. Last weekend I was in Portland Oregon, did some sight seeing and a lot of dancing. I like to social dance, mostly Lindy Hop, which is a 1940's style swing dance. A group in Portland was putting on a 3 day event, so I went with a friend to chec it out.  See the video below for a quick clip of What Lindy Hop is all about...
    Now, I am by no means nearly as good as the people in the clip, but it is something I strive for. Therefore, I take lessons. I have realized that learning onlind and with media alone is not always going to work. Learning this way is largely isolated. Somethings have to be learned face to face. Some things need a partner. Some skills need immediate feedback before bad habits are learned.

    In the rest of this entry, I am going to list a few examples of things that cannot be taught using digital materials or media in anyway, because there is nothing worse than using a teaching method that is completely innapropriate to the material being taught. Don't get me wrong, I really like learning through media, and online, but I thought a cautionary post was in order.

    • Partner Dancing- this cannot be taught alone in isolation by videos , or online media. Sure the steps can be taught in a video, but a partner needs to be there too in order to learn the physical dynamics of the dance. technique is much easier taught in person as well. It is challenging to show all angles in a video for 2 partners at the same time. Solo dancing can be taught fairly effectively through media though, but it would need to be videos, books and drawings will never be adequate.
    • Public speaking- this has to be in a face to face situation, likely even a large  group of students. An essential part of public speaking s becoming comfortable with an audience. Individuals feel much safer online (even if on video) than they do in front of a group of real people.
    • Dental Hygiene- any process that requires fine motor-skills is better taught in person. Again immediate feed-back can eliminate bad habits, or acquiring incorrect muscle memory.
    These are only a few examples that I came up with. I hope that readers might comment with some of their own examples.

    Tuesday, 26 February 2013

    Social Media Couldn't Be Bad Could It?

    I was recently thinking about all this talk of use of Social Media in our PIDP3240 course. So far everything we've been told about using different forms of Social Media is positive.

    This little Picture is a good interpretation on
    how to keep yourself safe on facebook
    The truth is, Social Media can be DANGEROUS, if used incorrectly. I have decided to outline the possible dangers of using Social Media in classrooms ad propose possible solutions.

    Bringing social media into a classroom can potentially open students up to Cyber Bullying. Cyber Bullying is any harmful action communicated through electronic media. Every year there are thousands of cases reported across the country, and this is not just limited to children. 

    Cyber Bullying is NOT illegal. Most of the actions included in the act of bullying are though. They are usually considered harassment. I found some really interesting educational resources on the RCMP website. Including a game that outlines steps to take if you are a target of cyber bullying.

    Play the game at the link below...

    Cyber bullying rarely takes place on faculty sanctioned pages, or on school property, but there are steps that teachers can take to minimize the chances of it occurring...
    • Educate students of the existence of Cyber-Bullying
    • Do not create Social Media that you do not have complete control of
    • Put disclaimers on the Media of the consequences of posting anything inappropriate
    The Canada Safety Council has a great list of things that teachers can do to curb cyber bullying. Take a look
    Another common pitfall of using Social Media as a Teaching tool has nothing to do with the students, and everything to do with the teacher. There are a slew of ways that teachers can rack up potential law suits, copyright infringements, the list goes on and on.

    But according to this article here: there are ways of minimizing the risks.

    Here are some examples:
    • Follow your institution’s established guidelines or policies regarding use of social media
    • State the purpose of the site on the site itself
    • Educate students in the class regarding the site and its purpose
    • Monitor the site carefully and consistently
    • Become familiar with copyright laws as they apply to social media
    • Always follow your institution’s policy regarding copyright
    • Use links instead of posting full articles
    • Educate your students regarding copyright laws and policies
    • Obtain written permission from the institution before using its logo or mascot on your social media sites
    • Use the institution’s logo or mascot only on sites that pertain to your official job description, such as a class facebook page—not on personal sites
    • Identify opinions expressed on your sites as your own, making it clear that you are not speaking for the institution
    Alternatively there is a 90 minute Audio Online Seminar on the issues of using Social media in the classroom called "How Administrators Can Avoid Social Media Landmines". To bad it is so expensive! If you purchase it, let me know and I will bring the popcorn!

    Saturday, 23 February 2013

    Keen Observations

    Because I'm not really in a teaching role in my work! I use this blog more as a sounding board for observations about the way that adults learn, and one thing that I find the most useful in learning to teach adults, is discovering how I learn. I am an adult after all, regardless of whether I feel like one all the time or not! I was reading an article for my PIDP3240 class today.

    The article had a section discussing significant trends in learning. The trends are listed below...

    •  Many learners will move into a variety of different, possibly unrelated fields over the course of their lifetime.
    •  Informal learning is a significant aspect of our learning experience. Formal education no longer comprises the majority of our learning. Learning now occurs in a variety of ways – through communities of practice, personal networks, and through completion of work-related tasks.
    • Learning is a continual process, lasting for a lifetime. Learning and work related activities are no longer separate. In many situations, they are the same.
    • Technology is altering (rewiring) our brains. The tools we use define and shape our thinking.
    • The organization and the individual are both learning organisms. Increased attention to knowledge management highlights the need for a theory that attempts to explain the link between individual and organizational learning.
    • Many of the processes previously handled by learning theories (especially in cognitive information processing) can now be off-loaded to, or supported by, technology.
    • Know-how and know-what is being supplemented with know-where (the understanding of where to find knowledge needed). 

    What I have learned, is I AM A TRENDSETTER! Who knew? I took control of my education at a very early age. I am currently working in a field that has nothing to do with my education. Formal education was not my cup of tea, so I discovered ways around it. I like to learn, I imagine myself in some sort of "school" for the rest if my life. I've always been a firm believer in "know-where". A lot of adult learners would fit into a category or two on this list, and as the rest of the article goes on to state, that current learning theories are going to have to change to accommodate a learner that is more aware of their learning style, and what they want out of their education.

    These PIDP courses teach me more and more about myself every time I complete an assignment!

    Saturday, 16 February 2013

    HELP! I'm New to the World of Blogging

    Well, I've done it. I've created my very first blog. I've never really gotten into blogs. I'm really guilty of never even reading or paying attention to them. My best friend lives in England, and keeps a travel blog, and I don't even read that. It makes me feel like a terrible person. I am going to learn to blog, and I hope that I can gain an appreciation for blogs!

    I've created this blog as part of an assignment for a course I am taking called "PIDP 3240 Media Enhanced Learning" with the school of Instructor education with Vancouver Community College. This is the fifth course I have taken in the program, and this class been the most challenging so far, and we're only 2 weeks in.

    I have decided that the purpose of this blog is going to be to post resources that reflect different tools that can be used to teach adults in the real world, in an easy to follow interesting, and attention grabbing way.