Friday, April 26, 2013

Week 1

This week has been quite a learning experience… finding out that the little barcode images plastered all over the place are called QR codes... and that they can link to all kinds of resources.  I don't think I'd ever scanned a QR code before and I found myself charged with making one of my own… so off I went on my week one IDML13 microMOOC adventure.  The task? Create a short instructional video and share it using a QR code.  I'm not an instructor so I was unsure of what kind of lesson to make.  After a faculty member came by to see me about creating a Google spreadsheet, a colleague of mine suggested I create a video about that.  Ah-ha!  She's brilliant.  So now, armed with an idea for an instructional video,  I got out the iPad and did some app store searches to find an app that would allow me to narrate and annotate screen shots... voil√†... I found bContext.  I took screenshots (on the iPad) of my Google drive to illustrate the process of adding and sharing a spreadsheet.  I added the images as slides to bContext and recorded narration using a set of Apple headphones.  I shared the video using the bContext cloud service. qr code

Next I had to create a QR code to link to the video.  Back to the app store I went to find a free app called QR Code Maker.  It was easy enough to enter the video URL and create a QR code image.  Then I just tweeted the image using the IDML13 hashtag to share the video with my microMOOC classmates. 

I realize that the text size may be difficult to see on a phone, but did not see a way to zoom in on parts of the image using the free bContext app; however, the resolution is good if you zoom in on it using your phone.  Because I used my mobile device to create and publish this tutorial there were some other limitations.  There weren't any audio or video calibration or editing capabilities included in bContext.  Mobile learning modules should be more interactive so it's probably best to create the content using a more robust desktop application rather than relying on the limited resources of a mobile device.

In other activities this week I heard about some new resources such as Sound Cloud, Voice Thread, and Poll Everywhere.  I also learned about educational applications of other resources such as Pinterest.  Although it sounds like the initial setup might take some time and critical thinking, Pinterest could be a useful tool for sharing resources and other information.

I'm sure we have several resources in our online courses that could benefit from mobile (re)design.  We have vocabulary exercises that are currently delivered as matching questions.  These activities could be designed as interactive puzzles to help engage students with the necessary vocabulary.  Similarly, the glossary itself could benefit.  Currently the glossary is a massive text-based resource.  This could be designed as flashcard activities that could also incorporate multimedia and interactivity.  The flash card entries could include QR code links to audio or video files that would provide more in-depth information.  These activities would incorporate simple consistent navigation, multimedia content that actively engage and entertain students. 

To incorporate the 4 Rs, the flashcards could allow student annotation, bookmarking and other tools to record or create information individually.  Reinterpreting the information could be accomplished by including external resources (via the QR codes) that would help expand on the information.  Recall could be addressed by adding a search function, which would allow students to find a term (or search for a definition if they have trouble remembering the term).  Perhaps the flash cards could include a wiki for students to add their own comments for helpful mnemonics or other ways that have helped them remember particularly difficult vocabulary terms.

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