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Archive for the ‘Teaching Technologies’ Category

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. 

February 17 is Digital Learning Day #DLD

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

The National Training Center (NTC) is all about training and learning. We use a variety of methods to provide training related to National Library of Medicine products and services. And, we strive to provide leadership to the NN/LM related to e-learning delivery methods and instructional best practices for adult learners. Today we celebrate Digital Learning Day #DLD! This event, now in its fifth year, is sponsored by the Alliance for Excellent Education, and offers educators (and students) an opportunity to reflect and tell the story about how digital tools are empowering learning in classrooms, schools, homes, and communities.

Based on feedback from our own evaluations, we have a sense that these online training courses and webinars have been beneficial to you in your work. One of the ways to celebrate #DLD is to tell the story of how you have benefited from digital learning environments. While much of the focus of #DLD is around K-12 schools and learning, we know that increasing numbers of adult learners are taking advantage of digital learning opportunities through webinars, twitter chats, Google hangouts, MOOCs, and more.

To participate in a Digital Learning Day activity, learn more, or tell your own story visit the Edutopia or Digital Learning Day website. Or, join in on some of the conversation via Twitter, using #DLD or #DigitalLearningDay. Digital Learning Day 2016