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Archive for the ‘Teaching Technologies’ Category

2 Backchannel Discussion Tools for Librarians

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

Backchannels have been around for awhile. A 2010 Educause 7 Things You Should Know About Backchannel Communication called them “a secondary electronic conversation that takes place at the same time as a conference session, lecture, or instructor-led learning activity.” Backchannels provide a space for real time conversation, alongside the primary activity. Twitter is an example of a backchannel. Here’s two more backchannel tools you might find useful.

Today’s Meet

Todays meet

Screenshot of Today’s meet website

https://todaysmeet.com/

Today’s Meet is a freemium backchannel chat service for educators. Create a login, name your chat room and open it for a duration from one hour to one year. Responses are anonymous- users only need identify with a name they make up on the spot. You can also limit who joins a room, keep tabs on users, and download chat transcripts. There is a 140 character limit, so not the best place to record one-minute reflection papers, (as someone from our recent Teaching Topics observed), but maybe just right for a question from a timid student.

How would a librarian use this? 2 ideas from Matt Miller’s 20 Useful Ways to Use Today’s Meet in Schools are online office hours or hosting a contest (first person who correctly posts in the TodaysMeet room wins!). I’m sure you can think of more. Post your ideas on our very own NNLM NTO Blog backchat: https://todaysmeet.com/NNLMNTOBlog

 

Flipgrid

NTO Flipgrid

Screenshot of NTO Flipgrid website

https://info.flipgrid.com/

One tool that I would not necessarily label just a backchannel is Flipgrid, a social learning tool developed by the University of Minnesota. Their slogan is use video the way your students use video, and the idea is participants can view and post video responses to discussion topics. Essentially, it’s a video-based discussion board. You get one grid with a free account – a grid is where students go to view topics, record responses, and reply to classmates. Each grid can contain multiple discussion threads. Grids can be private or open, and can be integrated into learning management systems. Admin tools allow comment moderation, while assessment tracking is available in the subscription version.  But the real power are in the Flipgrid apps. Download the free app to your phone and start a conversation.

How would a librarian use this? Flipgrid could be useful for a video journal club, for discussions in a distance learning program, or even a library scavenger hunt (first person to find the printer & post to Flipgrid wins!). We’re looking for ideas, so why not play around? Check out the NTO Flipgrid Sandbox: https://flipgrid.com/8kamw76. (Enter code 8kamw76 to see this in the Flipgrid app.)

Backchannels are a way to facilitate side discussion during a learning activity as well as enhance learning, conversation and networking after your class is over. What do you think? Tell us on the backchat:

NTO Blog on Today’s Meet: https://todaysmeet.com/NNLMNTOBlog

NTO Flipgrid Sandbox: https://flipgrid.com/8kamw76

3 Free EdTech tools Useful for Library-Instructors

Monday, December 19th, 2016

As a librarian-instructor, I’m always looking for new tools to use in my classes. My rule of three is: they must be free, they must be easy to use, they must encourage learning. Here’s three free tools that fit the bill.

Screencast-o-matic

http://screencast-o-matic.com/

Create online videos & post to YouTube or other places online.

Screencast-o-matic is similar to Camtasia and other video editing software. To use it you must download a little software package. Webcam recording is integrated into the software, which is nice. You can see an example of how the webcam and video capture work on this demo video I just made. The tool is easy to use, and fast. The demo I made took about fifteen minutes from downloading the software to processing and uploading the video.  The free version limits recordings to 15 minutes, and you can export an MP4 video file. The free version does not include video editing. Overall the free version of Screencast-o-matic looks useful for quick one-off recordings that do not require much editing.

Powtoon

https://www.powtoon.com/

Create animated  videos and presentations.

Powtoon uses storyboards to conceptualize your video or presentation, which is useful from a instructional design standpoint. The free version includes ability to export to PDF or PPT, or share the video on a number of sites including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. However to get an MP4 video file, you must upgrade to Premium. Powtoon is easy to set up and use, with several templates targeted towards instructors. Here’s a demo I made. Again, the whole thing took about 15 minutes from start to finish.

Kahoot

https://getkahoot.com

Kahoot is a  free game-based learning platform. You can create ‘kahoots’ (games) on any subject, in any language, on any device, for all ages.

Kahoot is by far my favorite free resource on this list. Here’s a goofy quiz I made about the NTO.  Players can join on their phone, laptop or tablet. It favors multiplayer games or teams, but you can configure Kahoot for single game play with some caveats (you will need 2 devices or browsers to play). I can imagine using a Kahoot quiz in group learning settings in both face to face and online situations. Perhaps we’ll see some Kahoots in NTO courses in 2017!

 

Word Clouds as Discussion Starters

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

I like word clouds. They help us see what’s important or most prevalent in a block of text. When the NTO was the NTC, we used word clouds to help facilitate a discussion in our PubMed for Trainers class about the core competencies of PubMed.

We asked students: Is there a set of core competencies that all users need to search PubMed effectively? Students posted their answers in a Discussion Board and then we took the text (after we cleaned it up a bit) and put it into the word cloud generator. During class, we displayed the word cloud and used it as a tool to stimulate a class discussion.

We liked this technique because we (the instructors) already knew what the students thought (as displayed by the word cloud), the rest of the class could see if their set of core competencies matched what others thought and we could ask people to elaborate or ask if there were any surprises.

Word Cloud

Three word cloud generator tools:

  1. http://www.wordclouds.com/
  2. http://www.wordle.net/
  3. Google Docs has a word cloud Add-in.

Here’s a short video by Richard Byrne about using the Google Doc Word Cloud add-in. Note, the add-in mentioned in the video has been renamed Tag Cloud.

Andra…What?

Monday, May 9th, 2016

Anyone who has done teaching or taken classes in teaching methods has likely heard the term “pedagogy.” This term is most widely used currently to mean “the art and science … of teaching,” although the original meaning was actually more specific to teaching children. As librarians, we strive to create instructional materials that are appropriate for the learning needs of our students. For this reason, andragogy may be a better alternative and approach, especially for adult and online learners.

Andragogy as a methodology has its roots as far back as 1833 with a German teacher named Alexander Kapp, although its current usage is attributed to Malcolm Knowles, who adopted the word to describe the differences in the ways individuals – especially adults – learn.

Pedagogy and andragogy are very different teaching models. For example, pedagogy is considered a content model, whereas andragogy is a process model. The process model aims to provide the skills and resources needed to acquire information, rather than simply presenting information. Andragogy encourages the teacher as facilitator, where the emphasis in on enabling the student to learn. For adult learners and online students, andragogy may provide a more suitable teaching model. And, with the increasing tendency toward online classes, students are increasingly self-directed.

This table illustrates key differences between pedagogical and andragogical design.

Pedagogy vs Andragogy
It should be noted that these two methods are not mutually exclusive. It is always up to the the teacher or facilitator to determine the best approach for his or her students.

For more information, please see the full article, “Keeping Up With … Andragogy”

Try the new Q&A Feature in Google Slides for Engagement

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Have you tried Google Slides? I don’t use it on a regular basis, but I just learned about a new feature called Q & A. Q&A is designed to let audience members ask questions during a presentation (anonymously, if they prefer).

What’s so novel about that you ask? Students use their smartphone or other smart device to submit questions to the instructor at any point. OK, but what else can Q & A do? As questions are submitted via a shared URL, students “like” questions that they what to know the answer to. The instructor sees, in real-time, which questions are most important to the audience.

What are some ways to use the Q & A feature in Google Slides?

  • Can be used for in-person and online sessions
  • Fosters inclusion for remote participants
  • Students can ask questions when they come to mind
  • Gauge knowledge; Who knows what in the “room”?
  • Use instead of traditional chat box as a way to moderate chat
  • Meets users where they are, their smart-devices
  • Audience size doesn’t inhibit participation

Here’s a short video by Richard Byrne on how to use the tool.