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.

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.