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POT Cert Week 15: screencasting and multimedia

Creating Class Elements Part 3: Screencasting and Multimedia

This week, screencasting and multimedia forms the 3rd and final topic within the POT Cert series, ‘creating class elements for online learning’. In this post I’ll consider a number of applications covering presentation software, mind mapping software, polling/survey tools and screen capture. However, before I launch into that, I’d like to look at the question(s) posed by Ko and Rossen, “why would an instructor choose to spend the extra time and effort to create or integrate existing multimedia” (p.278) and under what circumstances is it best not to have the addition of multimedia and Web 2.0 tools?

Multimedia provides another approach to learning.

In answer to the first question, Ko and Rossen offer the following points:

  • To illustrate the mechanics of how things work
  • To clarify or emphasize abstract concepts
  • To provide another approach or perspective to learning
  • To enliven or illustrate unfamiliar material
  • As the basis for an assignment

These are all laudable reasons but, as Ko and Rossen go on to ask, “how much is too much when it comes to the time and effort involved in creating and assembling these multimedia elements?” (p.280). In their response, they address from the outset the matter of institutional support and the tutor’s own priorities, recognising that if the institution doesn’t provide ample incentives or support, then the effort to create these resources really comes down to the question of how much experimentation with these new tools and new forms of expression actually means to the individual tutors themselves. After all, although many tools have become more straight forward and intuitive, they still take time to learn. To ease the process and assist in selecting the right tool, Ko and Rossen signpost Bethany Bovard’s checklist.

It’s remarked that many instructors find the incorporation of multimedia elements and Web 2.0 tools provides “a refreshing and stimulating element to their teaching” (p. 282), such that the enthusiasm of the instructor is communicated to students. I fully concur, and with the corresponding sentiment that this in itself may be valid enough reason to embark on these activities.

This week, relating to screencasting and multimedia applications, we were asked to

  • Take a look at a presentation application called Prezi
  • Create a short poll
  • Use a mind-mapping program to map a concept or unit from a class
  • Create a short screencast that goes over the mind map and embed it in your blog post.

Prezi is usually viewed as an alternative to Microsoft’s PowerPoint presentation software, and as such often draws connotations with¬† ‘eye candy’. Certainly, Prezi, with its zooming approach and appealing visual design, is marvellous for creating non-linear presentations. However, some people find its zooming feature to be a distraction and although the visual design may be captivating, it might be said that compared to PowerPoint, Prezi falls short in delivering text and content. Personally, I think because I’m used to PowerPoint, consider myself to have a good level of design ability with it and have never had to design a non-linear presentation then I don’t have any reason to use Prezi at the moment. I wonder what other folks think about it.

Using Polldaddy, here’s a quick poll¬† to see what people think of Prezi as a presentation application.

[polldaddy poll=6759518]

Mind mapping is a quick and effective to illustrate relationships between concepts and ideas. In the past, I’ve used an installation application called Inspiration, but now there are many browser-based collaborative applications. I quite like iMindMap because of its speedy fluidity.

Finally, screencasting software that shows onscreen movements can be used to provide a recorded demonstration or explanation of a topic. I used Screencast-O-Matic to explain a mind map I’d created previously about ‘factors that can influence the integration of technology into education’ (gosh, if this isn’t learning in public. I don’t know what is!!).

[wpvideo E8hyBdEM]

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