Archive for ‘Instructional Media’

March 26, 2012

Where to start when choosing technology

by t.e.d.d.y.

Image: chokphoto /

When incorporating technology into your teaching, start by planning your content, audience, and learning goals, and then move to choose the technology you are going to use.  Adjust the technology to serve your goals, not the other way around.  Here’s how:

  1. What are you teaching?
  2. Who are you teaching?
  3. What are you going to accomplish with your lesson?
  4. What type of technology will best fit your goals?

Then start building your digital project.  Use your lesson plan as a plan for building your digital teaching tool.  This strategy will provide a direction and criteria for the end product.

March 17, 2012

Open Learning Sources

by t.e.d.d.y.

Every time I bring up the topic of open-source learning to my students, I get the same question. But why? Why would anyone want to provide anything for free? After all, people spend so much time creating something. And then it just gets out there where other people can access it and what’s more… change it. So what is the point to that?

Well, I joke that they should stop asking and just take advantage of it. But seriously… there are many reasons why scholars and education institutions want to open their research, courses, and training to the public for free. Here are some:

    • To test innovative methodologies and content
    • To attract students to their paid programs by offering free older content
    • To gather marketing data on demographics of interested audience
    • Get feedback from users on content and technical aspects of their programs for further development
    • Pure passion for the subject and sharing it actually is very rewarding for the authors

These are just a few reasons. I’m sure there are many more.

The point here though is, how do we use all that great content to our benefit? It’s really amazing how rich these open-learning environments can be. And they are available for anyone any time.

Below are links to some open-learning programs from a few universities. The list is just a limited list and if you do a more in-depth search on the subject you will find that there are such resources around the globe. These are courses are provided free of charge from universities such as MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and others can be completed by anyone. They are non-credit and do not count towards a diploma from these institutions.

Open Yale Courses

Free courses provided by Yale University.

MIT Open Courseware

Free courses provided by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


Free courses provided through webcasts by University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley)

Carnegie Melon Open Learning Initiative (OLI)

Free courses provided through the OLI by Carnegie Melon University

The Open University (LearningSpace)

European open learning source supported by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation


We heard a TED talk about this project by Rice University.


Platform for open courses by University of Michigan, Stanford University, UC Berkeley.

January 19, 2012

What are your thoughts on the new Apple’s iBooks 2?

by t.e.d.d.y.

Photo by

A much anticipated event by Apple has revealed that the company is reinventing the textbook and offering some interesting opportunities for educators and students.

In case you missed the event, you can watch the video recording from the Apple website. Or you can see how it developed on the CNET live blog transcript.

How do you feel about this new technology?  What are your thoughts?

November 17, 2011

You call this a webinar?

by t.e.d.d.y.

Image: Ambro /

I am participating in a webinar as we speak.  I won’t say what the title is or who organizes it as it is not important.  All I will say is that the audience is training managers in companies.  The important thing here is that this webinar is exactly the same as the last five webinars I attended.  It’s a lecture.

While I’m listening, I am writing this blog post (talk about boring and not engaging enough) but I am also smiling and shaking my head because this webinar is the perfect example of ineffective presentation/training.  And believe it or not, it’s a trend – most webinars are the same.  So despite the huge push in education to move away from lecturing and to use technology as a tool providing interactivity, we are using a web-based platform to reach our audience and lecture them.  Isn’t that a controversy?!  The only interactivity I am seeing so far is a few questions with answers we vote on and then they show us the results.  You can also ask questions on the side which will be answered at the end of the webinar.  In other words, we are using a 21st century technology for a 19th century presentation style.

And yes, I do understand the restrictions… it’s hard to get many people to collaborate or interact in a certain time frame… it’s hard to take all feedback from everyone and respond to it… etc. etc.  But the very definition of a webinar (according to Webopedia) is that its key feature is:

its interactive elements – the ability to give, receive and discuss information.

If we are going to lecture or just transfer information to a large audience, then we need to have a Webcast.  Asking people to answer questions, show them the results to which your only comment is: “Oh these are interesting results!” and then go on with your lecture… is NOT interaction.  That is a survey – one way communication.  A webinar is a workshop – the medium is live online platform.  The medium for a traditional workshop is a classroom face-to-face interaction.

The so-called webinar is still going on… don’t ask me what I remember from this speech (that’s exactly what it is).  I couldn’t tell you to save my life.  There is a bunch of graphs and colourful charts… but still no interaction.  I don’t even know how many people are watching this.  The lecture is one hour long.

So I guess when planning a webinar, we should think about our audience and how we can engage them.  One question to ask is: “Would I do this if I was in a real classroom with everyone sitting in front of me?”.  If the answer is no, don’t do it.  Think about a conversation and how to excite your audience.  If there are too many people to include in a conversation, there are ways to manage that:

  1. Split the group into smaller groups and let them choose a “speaker” who will report back to everyone once they have completed a task
  2. Split the webinar into 2 or 3 sessions and repeat the content with different groups of a more manageable size.
  3. Consider doing a Webcast.

When considering a Webcast… there are a few things to take into consideration:

  1. If it’s too long, no one will listen. (people don’t have time for a 2-hour lecture, not even a 1-hour one)
  2. Think about the value of the information you are providing.  Will you be able to hold everyone’s attention for even 15 minutes.
  3. What are the take-aways from your Webcast?  Are you going to provide a recording in the form of a podcast for people to listen later?  Are you providing a handout they can download and use later?

Hm… the lecture is still going on… I’m 10 minutes from its end so I’d better check my email and go for lunch… Hey, at least I wrote a post for my blog. :)

November 13, 2011

Tech startups educators will love

by t.e.d.d.y.

Tech startup companies are known to be the sources of innovation.  As much as educators dread the “tech” word, they will like the concept behind the following startups which followed trends and needs in education and addressed them.

What is Skillshare? from Skillshare on Vimeo.

“Learn new skills.  Share new skills.”
Skillshare is a community marketplace to learn anything from anyone. We believe that everyone has valuable skills and knowledge to teach and the curiosity to keep learning new things. This means our neighbourhoods, communities, and cities are really the world’s greatest universities. Our platform helps make the exchange of knowledge easy, enriching, and fun.

Kaggle In Class

Kaggle is an arena where you can match your data science skills against a global cadre of experts in statistics, mathematics, and machine learning. Whether you’re a world-class algorithm wizard competing for prize money or a novice looking to learn from the best, here’s your chance to jump in and geek out, for fame, fortune, or fun.

  • Branch

Branch is a group blogging/debate platform.

Read about more innovative startups here.

October 25, 2011

Google SketchUp in the Classroom

by t.e.d.d.y.

I found this really interesting video from the Google SketchUp site on how it’s used in the classroom.  Teachers use the tool in their lesson plans to enhance their teaching and engage their students.  It encourages students to be creative and fully involved in the lesson.

Check it out:

October 18, 2011

Free Webinar: “Tapping the Power of Online PD”

by t.e.d.d.y.

I have been posting a lot of events lately but I can’t help it when I see something interesting and free of charge.  The details of this one are below.

To register, click here.

October 17, 2011

Webinar Series with Kathy Schrock: “Resources for Information Literacy”

by t.e.d.d.y.

To join the webinar, click here.

October 13, 2011

“Breaking Down the Walls of the Physical Classroom”: Complimentary Webinar from Adobe and the Learning Guild

by t.e.d.d.y.

Breaking Down the Walls of the Physical Classroom
A Vision for Continuous Learning in a Technology-Enabled World
Thursday, October 27, 2011
10am-11am PT

As workforces have become more geographically dispersed, more mobile and more reliant upon multi-threaded, continuous learning approaches, live virtual training is beginning to take center stage in the organizational training strategy. Simultaneously–and for precisely the same reasons–the effectiveness and relevance of physical classroom training has diminished greatly.  In this exclusive webinar, Martyn Lewis, Principal at 3g Selling, will explore key societal and learning trends that have fundamentally changed the way training experiences must be designed and delivered.  Focusing on learner engagement and motivation, the webinar will provide a pragmatic perspective on today’s numerous learning modalities and which work best for different learners in different contexts. We’ll then look at how–with live virtual as the centerpiece of the organizational training strategy–these modalities can fit together to create an effective and continuous learning environment.

In this webinar, you will see and learn:

  • Societal and learning trends that have changed the face of training
  • How and why live virtual training has emerged as the centerpiece of the organizational training strategy
  • Why physical classroom training has diminished in effectiveness and relevance
  • What drives learner motivation and engagement in today’s world
  • The different manifestations of virtual: why real-time collaboration and interaction is still crucial to training results
How numerous training modalities can fit into your overall training mix to create an optimal (and ongoing) training experience.

Win a Free One-Day Workshop!
Participants who register for and attend the webinar will have the opportunity to qualify to win a FREE one-day, onsite consulting workshop from 3g Selling. The workshop offer includes facilitator travel and accommodation and is valued at over $5,000.

3 Steps to Effective Continuous Learning: Creating an Architecture that Enables
Click to learn more about this workshop.
This one-day workshop takes an innovative yet pragmatic approach to defining an overall learning architecture that is required to enable a continuous learning environment for the organization. The workshop will help define the optimal training approaches, vehicles and plan for your organizational learning requirements.

September 12, 2011

Looking for funding for your next education project? Talk to the crowd!

by t.e.d.d.y.

Crowdfunding: What it is and how it can help educators?

What is Crowdfunding?
According to, crowdfunding is “an approach to raising capital for new projects and businesses by soliciting contributions from a large number of stakeholders”. Wikipedia defines crowdfunding as “the collective cooperation, attention, and trust by people who network and pool their money and other resources together, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people and organizations”. In other words, crowdfunding provides a creative platform for you to get that brilliant project idea become reality by presenting it to interested people who will contribute financially to it. In short, this is an opportunity to spread the word, find sponsors, and complete your project.

The idea is really useful in education as budget is always limited especially to extra curricular projects and activities. There are many websites offering a platform for crowdfunding and I will mention a few of them below.

Choosing the type of funding depends on a few things:
1. Personal preference
You need to decide which one appeals to you the most

2. Scope of project
Some platforms are for small projects only so do your research before you post yours. If you need more substantial funding, posting on a website for small projects may not be a successful venture.

3. Type of project
Some websites are focused specifically on the arts. Others focus on business startups. You may find some to be more general than that or perhaps specifically dedicated to education. Again, if you do your research, you will find the right one for you.

So what are the types of funding? (from

  • Donations, Philanthropy, Sponsorship

This type of finding does not require any return on investment and stakeholders do not expect financial gains by offering to help.

  • Lending

This is quite self-explanatory. People lend you money to complete your project and they expect you to return it.

  • Investment in exchange for equity, profit, or revenue sharing

In other words, this is sort of a barter. For example, if you invent a brand new instructional tool for teachers which has the potential to become super popular and you expect your profit to be millions of dollars, your investors may ask for a share of that profit in return.

How does crowdfunding apply in education and how can educators benefit from it? It’s simple. From school-wide projects to classroom projects, you can list anything you need extra funding for and see what you get. There are certain criteria, of course, on what constitutes a good project. Every crowdfunding website has terms and conditions as well as rules on how to present your project so it looks attractive. Whether it is an exhibition you are organizing and need to rent a hall, or it’s a field trip you want to take your student to… try the crowdfunding websites to get some additional funding. A great advantage to such an undertaking is that you can make it a class project and involve your students in it. you can literally watch the pledge grow by the numbers and your students will like the positive outcome. Once your project is posted, you can notify friends, family and coworkers about it and they can add money as well. If you decide to go with the donation type of funding, you can think of a gift you can mail to all your donors – a handmade “thank you” card made by your students, or something similar. It’s a nice gesture and you will teach your students a few lessons along the way.

Let’s take a look at some of the websites that offer crowdfunding:

This is a platform specializing in education projects. It was mentioned as an innovative idea on TED. Here’s how the creators describe their service:

Funding4Learning is a new and revolutionary way for people around the world to fund their studies and educational campaigns. F4L provides a simple online platform where anybody can raise money fast, with no hassles, and with a global reach.

This website is specializing in the arts, education, technology, writing, social enterprise, etc.

Thousands of people visit Sponsume each week. This is your chance to show your project to the world, gather support, and raise the funds you need to make it happen.

Usually for small businesses, art, theatre, design, food, technology, writing & publishing, games, etc.

Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative projects. We believe that: 1) A good idea, communicated well, can spread fast and wide. 2) A large group of people can be a tremendous source of money and encouragement. Kickstarter is powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where project must be fully-funded or no money changes hands.

This website offers project funding for writers, school builders, filmmakers, crafters, community builders, singers, animators, inventors, etc.

IndieGoGo is an easy online platform for anybody in the world to raise more money, from more people, fast. With IndieGoGo you can turn your passion into a funding campaign, promote your idea, engage a fan base, and get funded. We provide all the tools you need to build a campaign and share it with the world.

This is just a very short list of crowdfudning websites. You can explore more and find the one right for you.
Best of luck with your projects!


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