Category Archives: Dynamic Media

New themes and Concrete 5

As you may have noticed, I have switched the theme on the blog to something other than the default WordPress install. I did this in anticipation of eventually getting my Google AdWords campaign back running at the bottom of the page.

Concrete 5 Logo
Concrete 5 Logo

Along with the new theme I installed Concrete 5 on the Linux server to evaluate it and eventually move my site to the software. Concrete is a Content Management System that I believe has great promise. It balances the need for attractive front ends on websites and allows for powerful customization ala PHP. It is straightforward out of the box too. Check out my default install. The link will open the Concrete site in a new window. I applied one of their themes to the default site but have not yet done anything with it.

Installation was extremely straightforward, possibly even easier than installing WordPress. The goal with Concrete will be to integrate my Facebook information, blog posts, and any other services that I use with OpenId authentication. I want it to be easy for my friends and family to check out what I am up to when I am away this summer wrapping up my student teaching.

I am very impressed with the Concrete product and am excited to start making it my own.

Using Dynamic Media in the classroom

Citation: Bull, Glen & Garofalo, Joe. (2009). Dynamic Media. Learning & Leading with Technology, (36, 5), 40-41.

Summary: Dynamic Media consists of six characteristics, Cultural: media that can be remixed, shared, and is social. The authors use YouTube as an example of Cultural Dynamic Media. You can post video, share it with others, and rate the videos themselves. Google Earth is an example of technical Dynamic Media: Interactive, Multilayered, and Mobile. This new media needs to be used in the classroom to engage students and encourage them to gain a deeper understanding of the content.

Response: Before reading this article I did not really consider interactive applications such as Google Earth as dynamic media. The piece mentions mashups, that was my initial thought of dynamic media when scanning the article. After a thorough read the shift towards Dynamic Media is great. As more and more portable devices that can connect to the internet become available, this type of media will be more useful. Imagine a lesson where you as a teacher post a google earth route that students need to follow. Along the way they need to collect evidence of where they have been. Aggregating data from several sources the students can add to the path you created. At the end of the lesson you can fly through the route and record it as a movie and have each student explain what they found and why they chose to include it on the trip. That is interactive and engaging. The author’s mention a book titled Remix by Lawrence Lessig. Lessig discusses, ” ‘interest-based’ learning.” This type of learning is possible with dynamic media. I encourage all future educators to read this article and let your imagination go wild.

Information Literacy – Paramount to deep understanding

Citation: Diana, G. Oblinger and Brian, L. Hawkins(2006). The Myth About Student Competency Our Students are Technologically Competent. Retrieved March 03, 2009, from http://connect.educause.edu/Library/EDUCAUSE+Review/TheMythAboutStudentCompet/40622

Summary:
Oblinger and Hawkins assert that students must be trained in information literacy, not just technological competency. Most students already posses the tech competency but need help learning how to filter the massive amount of data that they can access via the computer. They pose 5 strategic questions for us to consider.

  1. What skills do students and faculty need in a digital world?
  2. Do we have an operative definition of IT literacy?
  3. Do we help students acquire the skills they need?
  4. Is IT literacy integrated across all units?
  5. Do we know how well we are doing?

Response:
I think the last question should be answered before addressing the prior 4. The importance of developing a measuring system is important because what needs to be taught is dynamic in IT. Focusing on Information Literacy, this fluidity which is IT, can be constantly revisited without having to rework the metric. Since IT is fluid, the evaluation system needs to be fluid as well. Possibly a set of authentic tasks could be presented to the student and using the appropriate technology and literacy skills, an answer could be formulated. Again, due to the rapid change in IT, understanding of the concepts and skills should be sought, not raw answers that may not be constant from one day to the next.
Doing this would allow teachers to integrate technology in ways that are authentic to their discipline and not superficial. In this way we help students achieve the skills they need in the content area we can honestly help them with.
Questions 1 & 2 are both nebulous and could be debated for years, I will leave them to others to shed light upon.

MISESS – An interesting project

Citation: Zuhal Tanrikulu (2006). MISESS: Web-Based Examination, Evaluation, and Guidance. Retrieved March 02, 2009, from http://connect.educause.edu/Library/EDUCAUSE+Quarterly/MISESSWebBasedExamination/39955

Summary:
The MISESS system is outlined and the design considerations are discussed in this article. Systems design is difficult and Tanrikulu does a nice job of touching on the main considerations he and his colleauges went through while designing this system. MISESS really was a pre-cursor to the types of course management systems that now exist. It is always good practice to evaluate past attempts at system design before embarking on a new system.

Response:
MISESS – The Management Information Systems Electronic Support System is a very cool idea. As described it sounds similar to Blackboard or Moodle with the additional feature of the Guidance Subsystem which allows instructors to link course notes to the questions on an exam. If you get it wrong, you can look at why you got it wrong rather than just knowing you missed points. I think that is a great feature and would be interested to find out whether Blackboard or Moodle currently support such a feature. MISESS seemed very cumbersome for the System Administrators, it seemed counter-intutitive to have them enter all the info. The students and instructors could do it just as effectively. 1000 data entries is mind-numbing. Errors were bound to creep in. I could not find mention of MISESS on the University of Boun’s website. Perhaps it was not scalable enough or modular enough running on Access, to succeed. It would be interesting to see the full table design of the system, the article leaves alot to the imagination. If the Guidance Subsystem does not exist in other education CMS’s I hope it is added.