Post Eight

As I am writing my final post, I realized that even through this blog, I could have potentially missed the bar on reaching my audience.  And even more than that, I wasn’t even that creative in writing my posts.  I wanted to make sure that I correctly delivered the educational information, so that you can better your own presentations or lectures.  Just like teachers are trying to educate students first and foremost.  But at some point, information just becomes a blur and unless we are actively intrigued and interested what is being placed before our eyes.  Along the way, I have discovered multiple tools that will help students, teachers, and professionals upgrade their next seminar or big idea.  But what will help me deliver my final product to the class?

Throughout the semester I’ve observed that any time there is food, specifically cookies or Brazilian chocolate cake involved, it is guaranteed to get everyone’s attention.  And I mean everyone.  If you watch as the cookies are handed out or the cake is served, there is a social interaction that takes place where each person is completely focused on the other and the dessert at the same time.  So, in a way, you can compare serving treats to delivering a presentation.  You have to have at least three subjects: the baker (presenter), the eater (student), and the educational material (cake).  If the baker is friendly and presents the dessert to anyone, more people are willing to accept and take a bite.  If the cake is delicious, someone will most likely inquire about the recipe, praise the baker for their talents, and ask for more.  This is the goal of education.  We want our audience to listen, ask, and come back the next day ready for more, but how do we achieve this everyday in the classroom?

Like I mentioned earlier, the success of your presentation is all determined in how you deliver your information.  Different teaching styles produce vastly different outcomes.  Teachers and presenters must first be aware of their strengths and weaknesses in order to develop an engaging presentation.  I encourage teachers to find technologies that bring out the strengths.  Let’s say Professor Cupcake is extremely energetic and passionate about the process of icing a cake, but he has trouble organizing his thoughts into a logical step-by-step example when he is in the moment of his lecture.  He currently does not use Power Point slides and rarely sends his students e-mails.  The class is never fully prepared for class because they do not have access to materials.  This presents a problem that many students face today, but something as simple as creating a chart for the process of icing a cake and using technology to share it with his students will help Professor Cupcake be more successful.  On top of that, his students will be actively involved in the learning process.

In learning and in teaching there are different routes to success.  You have to find what works for you as an individual first.  Then observe how others learn around you.  Ask for feedback.  Be curious.  Keep your thoughts organized.  And be flexible in the learning process.

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Post Seven

As we all know, gone are the days of plainly presenting behind the stand.  Technology has revolutionized how we prepare, present, and engage our presentations.  With access to technology, teachers now have the ability to pull content from all types of sources.  This gives students a reason to pay attention while also engaging them.  These resources also allow students to express their creativity by use of technology.

Let’s take a closer look at these tools.

Prezi is a presentation software and storytelling tool for presenting ideas on a virtual canvas.  The software allows users to create a space from nothing and continue to build whatever their imagination can create.

Glogster is a social network that allows users to create free interactive posters, or Glogs.  Readers can interact with its content.  This site is great for final projects that students will create and need a visual.  This could also be useful in a graphics design class.

Post Six

After exploring multiple tools that professors can use to enhance student participation, I am faced with the question of how does all of this technology help the learning process.  Just because a student uses a hashtag to reference a presentation or retweets a lecture point does not necessarily mean they are learning.  On the other hand, another question to explore is does this technology fit into the teaching style of the professor.  Some professors prefer lectures while others encourage collaboration among students.  Each class is structured very differently.

According to Five Ways Teachers Can Use Technology to Help Students, schools must use technology that empowers teachers.  Teachers do not want devices or apps that will distract students from the class instruction.  The article mentions that the best education technologies are the ones that allow teachers to do more with fewer resources.  This is a great point.  It is difficult to balance multiple lesson plans, grading exams, and organizing the class outside of instruction.  The fewer things you have to think about the better.

Since I have been focusing mostly on college classrooms, we will continue focusing on technology for university students.  Let’s say a traditional lecture professor is hesitant to implement technology in the classroom.  Starting with a mobile application that helps him organize lectures and grading requirements could be the first step in a technology transition.

Post Five

I’ve been having trouble finding technology that specifically links engagement to learning.  This comes as a surprise to me considering all of the technology that brings us together.  Bringing education into the mix steadily becomes more of a challenge as I move forward with this project.

I have recently discovered the Notability App for the iPad.

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Notability claims to transform how you work, sketch ideas, annotate documents, keep a journal, teach a class, and more.  Notability is a cloud based note annotation system that allows you to keep notes organized and be creative while you work.

Let’s say a teacher is giving a PowerPoint presentation.  This App allows students to download the presentation and insert notes from the lecture or ideas the student may have.  The marked presentation can then be exported to DropBox for later use.  Notability allows for different fonts and colors to be used, so that users can express their creativity.  This allows students to interact on a higher level than just listening to a presentation.  They can better write down questions on slides and refer back to them in later classes.  Notability has the potential to increase communication, collaboration, creativity, and innovation in the classroom.

However, the only downfall is that in order to use Notability, students must have access to an iPad.

Post Four

This week’s post is a little different.  It’s not as much interacting with the audience, but rather engaging the audience through giving them what they need to achieve meaningful learning.  My boyfriend is an Emory student, and he was telling me about an app that his class uses to update class information.  This useful app is called BlackBoard.

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Fortunately, I had the opportunity to explore the app and see what it’s all about.  It is extremely easy to navigate and classes are impeccably organized.  BlackBoard prides itself on, “giving everyone the power to engage everyone on their terms and devices.”  BlackBoard takes the University of Georgia’s eLC to another level.

I’d like to take a minute to highlight BlackBoard’s features.

Customization

Teachers and students can rename, hide, reorder, and color code courses.  How awesome is that.  It’s like a personal organizer for your schedule.  You can organize classes by each day of the week.

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Discussions

Discussion Board is a key tool for communication and collaboration.  This tools allows students to engage in sharing content.  Students can ask and answer questions with instructor supervision.  This could be a great tool for a flipped classroom session.

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Blogs

Students can read blogs and content posted by fellow students.  They can interact via posting comments and uploading supplemental attachments.  This is a great study tool to keep a thread of information going.

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Dropbox

You can link your Dropbox account to BlackBoard.  This helps students and instructors organize their materials in the same place.  It also provides another level of security, so you don’t lose your documents.

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Post Three

Today I have been exploring the use of Twitter in presentations.  I’ve found multiple articles addressing this topic, but one stuck with me: Five Ways to Integrate Twitter In Presentations.  The post explores the best practices for integrating Twitter in a presentation.  Twitter offers many benefits for audience involvement and engagement since it is update in real time.  Let’s explore the ways to integrate Twitter.

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Hashtag

Set up a hash tag for your presentation or your classroom, so you can track the progress through a period of time.  Listeners will be more likely to engage in the presentation.  Plus, all of the tweets used with that hashtag will be archived and grouped, so that you can later access the posts.

Questions

Use Twitter as a polling method to gather answers or opinions.  Allowing your audience to engage through media gives them to opportunity to give you more detailed feedback.  Certain people may be more willing to open up via typing than talking.

Moderator

Have someone present in the room keeping up with the tweetstream, so that you don’t miss any crucial action.  This person could also bring questions and comments to your attention during the presentation, so that you could offer answers or advice during the lecture.  This gives a real time feel to the presentation.

Live Action

To enhance real time display, project the tweetstream on a screen.  This allows everyone in the room to see tweets in real time.  This is only recommended when you feel showing the tweetstream adds value to your presentation.  This has the potential to be distracting, so use with caution.

Feedback

Rather than waiting until the end, ask for feedback in real time.  Topics will be fresh in the mind and this gives you a chance to address any comments or questions.

Post Two

Engaging an audience has become an extremely difficult task.  Not only should we interact with them and invite them to participate, we have to consider technology in the mix.  According to an online presentation workshop, 20 minutes is about as long as an audience will be engaged without a break or being involved.  College lectures last 50 to 75 minutes and some professors do not allow laptops, tablets, or mobile devices in their classroom.  Technology can be a distraction or a tool to aid in the learning process.  I chose this topic to show how useful and beneficial technology is in the learning process.

I believe that technology can be a strategic factor in the success of a presentation.  For example, Prezi can be used in place of Power Point to produce a connected outcome.  Google Docs can be used to ask questions in real time.  Social Media can be used to enrich presentations.  It has even been implemented in the classroom.  We live in techtopia, and this technology can be used to help us learn and grow.

Each week I will explore a new technology or presentation tactic.

Technology enhances meaningful learning, drives communication and collaboration, and improves creativity.  A learner must always be engaged, so that he or she has the opportunity to learn.  This is the first step towards meaningful learning.  Once engaged, a learner must interact and communicate to achieve the next level of learning.  Communication enables collaboration.  Technology aids in the implementation of these processes.

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