Archive for the ‘Teaching Technologies’ Category
Have you ever tried to follow steps for using a website or database, but had to keep switching back-and-forth between the instruction screen or video and site you were trying to use? The University of Arizona libraries developed an open-source tool called Guide on the Side for creating interactive tutorials that helps alleviate this problem for users. The left frame of the screen contains instructions and can also have quizzes or links to other information, and the larger, right side has the live website to interact with, without losing your place in the tutorial.
Guide on the Side is an open source PHP and MySQL program and needs to be installed on a server. The program requires a handful of common PHP packages enabled. The full requirements can be found at https://github.com/ualibraries/Guide-on-the-Side/blob/master/README.md#about. Once installed, it is very easy for someone without programming experience to create interactive tutorials. One of my favorite aspects is that it can be very easily updated if the interface of the database or other web resource your teaching about changes — no re-recording of audio-visual tutorials!
Last week I shared with you a list of Top 100 Tools for Learning from the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies and how we at the NTC take advantage of the top 5 tools. This week, I’ll continue to share some of the technologies on the list and ideas for how you might use them in your own teaching and learning. Of course, we welcome your feedback and ideas for additional ways to take advantage of what the technologies offer.
6. Evernote: Evernote is a tool I use daily in my work environment, but not one that the NTC “officially” uses. I keep short-term and long-term to do lists (I love the checkboxes), a list of books to read, and a standard packing list in Evernote. I use it to take and organize notes at meetings and conferences. One feature I really like is that I can take a picture with my tablet or phone and embed the picture in my Evernote note. This is especially useful if you just took a bunch of notes on a whiteboard and want to capture them for later. Your notes synch across your devices, so you always have them available.
7. Dropbox: Dropbox is a file storage tool that synchs across platforms and can be great for collaborating. When we travel for classes, I keep a copy of class materials in Dropbox just in case I have trouble accessing any of the other 3 locations where I have them stored. You can share files and folders without having to email them back and forth.
8. WordPress: You’re seeing our version of WordPress right now! We use WordPress as our webpage, the home page of which functions as a blog. While the content of the home page changes regularly, we keep semi-static pages as well. Do you use a blog in your own teaching or work? We’ve worked with one librarian who created a blog for a group of pediatric residents and posted any of their presentations from Grand Rounds so they would have them all in one place and could also use commenting features to ask questions. She also posted reference questions and resources to the blog as well.
9. Facebook: Are you following us on Facebook? We post our blog content on Facebook, as well as advertise new classes, post photos from our in-person classes and occasionally post a survey. Do you use Facebook in a teaching or learning capacity? We’ve heard of libraries and librarians that answer basic and reference questions on Facebook, but let us know how you use it!
10. Google+/Hangouts: The NTC doesn’t have Google+ account, but I’ve used the hangout feature for a larger group meeting (7 or 8 people), and it seemed to work well. It allows you to take advantage of webcams and you can share screen as well. Have you used hangouts?
11. Moodle: Moodle is the NTC’s course management system, so if you’ve ever taken a class with us, you’ve used Moodle. Moodle is a pretty versatile platform – we can create quizzes, have a discussion forum, share videos and tutorials, and many other types of content. It’s free, and open-source which gives it a little extra appeal. You can try out Moodle’s demo site as well.
In September 2013, the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies released a list of the Top 100 Tools for Learning. The list is the result of a survey of more than 500 learning professionals in 48 countries. You can click on each item in the list to see comments from the survey participants and how they use the tool in teaching and learning. Today, I thought I’d share with you how I use the top 5 tools both professionally and personally.
- Twitter: The NTC has a Twitter account (@nnlmntc) that we use to send out news about our classes, changes to PubMed, TOXNET, and other NLM databases, share teaching or presentation tips and tricks, and ask questions of our followers. We follow health sciences libraries, health care agencies, government agencies, and teaching or training organizations to learn about new developments and what they’re sharing. Twitter can be a great way to learn about new resources or generate ideas. I also use Twitter personally. I find great information and conversation from following other librarians and non-librarians. I find it’s a great way to keep up with topics that interest me. There’s even a hashtag for medical librarians – #medlibs.
- Google Drive/Docs: The NTC does not use Google Docs formally, as we have other shared, collaborative spaces. However, we have heard from participants in our classes that have used it in their teaching. You can create a form or survey to have students respond to during a class or as an evaluation at the end of the class. You can also use it as a collaborative space for students to share ideas or questions.
- YouTube: While most folks have enjoyed watching a silly or amazing video on YouTube, how many of us have used it in teaching or learning? I frequently use YouTube both in my work and at home to figure out how to do things either with technology or around the house. The NTC has a YouTube channel where we aggregate the various tutorials we have created for our classes so they can be viewed at any time. We know many users prefer to learn from a video, so we plan to expand the video offerings here. What about you? Do you post videos on how to accomplish common tasks at your library, or videos to answer FAQs? Do you have a video tour of your library?
- Google Search: This one’s really evident, right? We know it’s not the be-all and end-all of searching, but tor everything from “who was that guy in that movie?” to “What’s the weather in Chicago?” Google search can come in handy. But what about as a teaching or learning tool? Some librarians in our classes have mentioned that they like to have students compare results in Google to search results in more specialized databases to see what the advantages or disadvantages of each might be. For your own learning, you can also set up a search alert for topics you’re interested in.
- PowerPoint: The NTC regularly uses PowerPoint to create presentations for our classes. We collaborate with NLM regularly and this is an easy-to-use tool that both organizations have access to. It’s a simple way to share images with an audience, and it can be used to create some interactive elements as well.
I invite you also to let us know on Facebook or Twitter (@nnlmntc) how you use these tools so we can learn from you as well. I’ll return next week with some additional tools and how we use them.
I recently had to complete some online training. I put it off as long as I could and now it had to be done. There were 4 modules and a test after each. Things were moving along pretty well; I was making progress. Then, I started module 3. OMG! Noooo! It was all text. Not a picture in sight. Not a “try this” button to click on. I groaned. Yes, out loud. I advanced to the next slide. I groaned again. I felt like a kid in grade school who didn’t want to do their homework. Mom, do I have to?
So, what gives? Why was I able to make my way through the first two modules without too much whining, only to feel like I had hit a brick wall when I got to #3? I’ll tell you why…no interactivity. The first 2 modules asked me questions and gave me the opportunity to test myself as I went along. I was also presented with some matching and I had to move some items around the screen to answer questions. All of which held my interest and kept me engaged. Module 3 on the other hand was long, text heavy, hard to pay attention to and easy to become distracted from.
While it may not always possible to create interactive training modules, I have been to the other side and back and am here to say: please try. Here are some tools that can help:
- Guide on the Side (free; http://code.library.arizona.edu/). The NTC uses this product.
- YouTube (free; https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/92710?hl=en)
- Camtasia Studio (not free)
- Articulate (not free)
- Adobe Captivate (not free)
When designing a class, it’s important to have learning objectives that indicate to the student what they will be expected to learn and how you will assess their achievement. Bloom’s taxonomy is one of the most commonly used methods for writing clear learning objectives and the NTC often refers to it when writing objectives for our own classes.
Virginia Commonwealth University Medical School has designed an interactive online tool based on the updated version of Bloom’s taxonomy to help you choose outcome verbs and match instructional to assessment questions for each level of the pyramid.
Take a minute to explore Bloom’s Taxonomy in Action, and I think you’ll find it useful the next time you are preparing a class.
And many thanks to a student in one of our classes for alerting us to this great tool!
In October, the Pew Internet & American Life Project posted a new report on the use of online video. You can read the full report here or, conveniently, you can watch an online video summary on the rise of online video:
Here are a few highlights:
- 78% of American adult internet users watch or download online videos
- The most widely viewed video types are comedy, education, and how-to videos
- The percent of American adult internet users who upload or post videos online has doubled in the past 4 years from 14% in 2009 to 31% today
Do you use videos in teaching and training, or are you planning to? Many users expect to find answers precisely when they need them, and videos can be a good way to address these just-in-time needs. Knowing that education and how-to videos are among the top three types of videos viewed, your efforts to create videos will likely be appreciated by your users. You could use videos to address frequently asked questions, take virtual visitors a tour of the library, or provide tutorials on how to accomplish common tasks.
A few tips to consider in making videos:
- Keep it short
- Make them shareable and post them on your social media channels
- Be sure they are easy to find
- Ensure that they work on mobile devices
- Make them accessible
Here’s your chance to tell us what type of content you’d like to see here on the NTC blog! Please take a minute to answer this two question survey to help us keep the NTC blog filled with content that’s most useful to you. Thank you for your time.
Recently the NTC has been trying out a new tool for creating tutorials, called Guide on the Side.
Guide on the Side was developed at the University of Arizona, and it received the ACRL Instruction Section Innovation Award and an award from the American Library Association for cutting-edge technology. Guide on the Side is free tool that allows you to create tutorials with an interactive instruction panel on the left side and a live website on the right side. In the instruction panel you can give directions for interacting with the website, embed quiz questions, and link to additional resources. The content can be divided into chapters to make it easy to return to a particular point in the tutorial. The two panel tutorial makes it easy try out what you’re learning right away and avoids the inconvenience of flipping between instructions and a website. Creating the tutorials is simple — it uses a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor.
Those who have tested the NTC Guide on the Side tutorials have indicated that it’s a fun and easy way to learn about a database.
For more information on how to install Guide on the Side or the technical requirements, visit the Guide on the Side site.
Are you looking for some fresh alternatives to PowerPoint and Keynote? A recent post in the Free Technology for Teachers blog lists alternative programs with different features, some of which may be new to you: Empressr, SlideRocket, Prezi (which now allows you to embed audio in the presentation), Google Slides, and Haiku Deck (for iPads).