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Weekend – A time waster for your next project – Design the perfect logo.

May 23rd, 2015 by Cameron

Just add this  Acronym Generator and all the important work is done http://acronymcreator.net/

perfect-logo-design-infographic

How to Design the Perfect Business Logo (Infographic) – See more at: http://www.companyfolders.com/blog/design-perfect-business-logo-infographic#sthash.WIz2Jr7i.dpuf

More assessments should look like this!

May 22nd, 2015 by Cameron

“Forty-nine students in an animation class at the University of Newcastle drew Taylor Swift’s video for the song “Shake It Off.” They each were assigned to rotoscope 52 frames and give it their own style.”

taylor swift

https://youtu.be/RhT_gVh_73w

I’m not sure what the BusEco equivalent would be?

What if blockbuster had tenure?

May 20th, 2015 by Cameron

This short thought experiment by Joshua Kim at Inside Higher Ed is interesting.

https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/technology-and-learning/what-if-blockbuster-had-had-tenure

Does having secure postions make academics more complacent, or does it make them more willing to challenge the decisions in their organisations?

As always the best stuff is in the comments.

Would the academics at the University of WA have been as comfortable speaking up about the governments attempt to place a conservative “business as usual” Climate centre on the campus if they were on unreliable short term contracts like many TAFE teachers?

http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/apr/24/university-of-wa-academics-demand-end-to-deal-with-climate-change-contrarian

Social Media Literacy – willfull misunderstanding and malicious editing

May 19th, 2015 by Cameron

A video of a student advisor has recently gone viral.  It shows her threatening to call security because a student is waiting to see a student advisor.  There is also posting of an email exchange which supposedly backs up the claim that this person is unreasonable.  People (with no real stake in the issue) are in a froth and as a result someone’s career is at stake.

https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2015/05/15/video-rude-academic-adviser-goes-viral

toys pram

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:An_Early_Silver_Cross_Coach-Built_Pram.jpg CC BY-SA 3.0

Now this person may be at fault, but there is no actual valid evidence presented to back this up.

As someone who has had an office near an academic standards manager who regularly dealt with students who expected the world to conform to their requirements regardless of the rules and regulations (which they had chosen to ignore), I would like to know a bit more before I get out my flaming torch and pitchfork.

Judging from the comments, people have chosen a side based on their world view.  While social media provides the opportunity to widen our perceptions and understandings, in reality what often happens is it provides greater opportunities to find people who are just as ideologically hamstrung as ourselves.

“Confirmation biases impact how people gather information, but they also influence how people interpret and recall information. For example, people who support or oppose a particular issue will not only seek information that supports their beliefs, they will also interpret news stories in a way that upholds their existing ideas and remember things in a way that also reinforces these attitudes.”

http://psychology.about.com/od/cognitivepsychology/fl/What-Is-a-Confirmation-Bias.htm

Having said that, I think it’s worth at least looking for ‘good’ evidence that backs our position rather than just saying “hell yeah” to any crap bouncing around our echo chamber.

A couple of things about the video

1. There is no evidence that this is a fair representation of what actually occurred.  A few things to note.   The person pushing the record button has the option of:

  • using their calmest, most reasonable voice.
  • choosing which part of the recording best suits their position.
  • selecting the footage that shows at their target at their most unreasonable.

If I see a video showing an adult throwing all their toys out of the pram, I’ll want to see the lead up before I make a judgement.

2. Don’t try this at home.  Australian universities are government owned, and are not public spaces.

While no one gets too fussed about students taking photos of their friends around campus, if you take an image of a staff member and maliciously post it online, the university is fully entitled to take a legal swat at you and you don’t have a leg to stand on.

At Monash we have this statement in our privacy documentation.

CAN I TAKE PHOTOS OF STAFF AND INCLUDE THEM ON OUR WEBPAGE OR STAFF NOTICE BOARD?

No. You must first obtain consent from staff to use their photos for a webpage or staff notice board. Consent can be obtained at the time of taking the photo. It is important to be aware that staff may revoke consent in the future and if they do, the photo must be removed from the webpage or staff notice board.

http://www.privacy.monash.edu.au/docs/privacy-compliance-manual.pdf

About the email evidence.  Again it is a small (and selectively chosen?) exchange.  On it’s own it could easily be an exasperated response from a person dealing with a student who doesn’t like the answer they are getting.  Again pick you own bias.

I’m not sure what the answer is.  School curriculums  in Australia already deal with clear thinking and media analysis, but I think it needs to extend to the creation of digital media, and to the issues related to comments and re-posting.

Weekend – The ideal gift for your clever kid

May 17th, 2015 by Cameron

“Plug Makey Makey GO into the USB port of your laptop and then Alligator Clip an object to the Makey Makey GO board. For example, a banana. When you touch the banana the Makey Makey GO sends the computer a keyboard or mouse message. The computer just thinks Makey Makey GO is a regular keyboard or mouse. Therefore it works with all programs and webpages, because all programs and webpages take keyboard and mouse input.”

Watch the video

makey makey

While this is a Kickstarter I think this  product will get made.  It’s a portable version of a product they already make, and they have certainly hit their target.  It’s currently $19 USD to ‘order’ one vi Kickstarter

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/joylabz/makey-makey-go-invent-everywhere-invent-now

Weekend funny – funny fliers

May 16th, 2015 by Cameron

pigeon

http://twentytwowords.com/hilarious-flyers-people-actually-took-the-time-to-create-and-post/

Digital Public Library gets hip with the kids – Now on Pinterest

May 15th, 2015 by Cameron

First the DPLA is a free fantastic resource and they are wonderful people.

“The Digital Public Library of America brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world.”

pinterst

Not content with just providing the resources, they are actively seeking to make their stuff even more accessible via platforms like Pinterest.

They also have apps including one for Historical cat pictures

cat app

https://www.pinterest.com/digpublib/

Using Actors instead of lectures in your instructional videos?

May 15th, 2015 by Cameron

Purdue University have gone down this track.

“The Engineering Professional Education program provides non-credit online courses designed for “lifelong learners,” led by instructors who come from the field. “Our students love them because they’re so close to the content and they’re using [what they teach] in their jobs,” said Vickie Maris, former director of professional development programs who now is the graduate programs director in Purdue’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. Still, student feedback suggested a desire for higher-quality videos in the online certification courses. As a result, Purdue has begun pulling away from the use of subject-matter experts (SMEs) for pre-recorded lectures, replacing them with professional actors instead. The result has been much happier students.”

actors as on-camera talent

There are a few issues to un-pick.  This is a fee based, specialty, online,  short course i.e. they have cash, an audience made up of experts, they are delivering in a mode that has a benchmark of high quality media, and it only requires a limited number of resources.  In this setting there is a business case for using actors.

Do actors reading a tele-prompter present better than academics on screen.  Of course.  Is it a viable option for our courses. Nah.  But we still need to make an effort.

One of the things you gain by using the lecturers involved in the course is it personalizes the unit a bit.  This is an issue for us with our 600 student units.  In terms of who presents, I think having the chief examiner do a unit introduction and information messages is fine, but there is case for getting the best presenter in your team to do the voice work.  The presenter also has to do a bit of homework on how to avoid common mistakes.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7GOP-2kp8Dx1RzcI6XNfrG1LhafM5hGw

It’s also not really worth using actors if you don’t have the professional production to back it up. Which cranks the cost up way up.

For our regular ‘flipped’ videos I think the acceptable benchmark is an instructional video on YouTube.  A good quality webcam and a well lit room gets you most of the way there.  Add a reasonable mic and a couple of desk lamps and you’re almost a professional (by YouTube standards).  if you want to raise the bar a bit you can knock a reasonable mini studio for a few thousand dollars.  Here’s how our Engineering department did it .  https://youtu.be/b0zCxB8hIac

If you add a free product that lets you put your face on your slides and voice overs, like Screencast-o-matic or Office Mix, then you can produce a reasonable product.

If you are cashed up enough that you can afford an actor for your regular lecture content, all I can say is enjoy it while it lasts.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2015/05/13/when-actors-replace-instructors-as-on-camera-talent.aspx

Betwixt and between – Alt-J and traditional lectures

May 13th, 2015 by Cameron

I saw the band ALT-J with my sons on the weekend, and despite liking their music I left the concert a bit nonplussed.

alt-j

The problem is they play quite intricate and quirky music, but they are not performers.  Perfect for a smaller venue like a jazz club with a good sound system.   But in a stadium the sound is too loud and harsh, and you loose their main attraction.  You’re left with 4 guys just standing there on stage with some nice lights behind them (they must have taken less than twenty steps in the whole hour and a half).   I think the only attraction for the fans was just seeing them perform in real life.

Pink Floyd were kind of similar, they just stood there and played, but what they provided was a stage production, an enveloping audio visual experience.  They knew how and when to get an audience on their feet (and they turned the volume down a bit).

pfloyd

For me, ALT-J’s problem is they are too big to play small venues, they don’t have the skills for big venues and are not big enough to afford a stage production (or perhaps not interested).

Which brings me in a round about way to traditional lectures.  Recognizing that all analogies break down at a particular point, let me explain.

Like ALT-J,  in traditional lectures all we are doing is delivering a compromised version of the content.  Content students can get somewhere else, at a time that suits them, and of a better quality.

Like ALT-J, academics are about quality and intricacy and are better suited to smaller venues where that can be communicated (and yes teaching is about constructive activity and two way communication etc, the analogy had to fall over somewhere).

On the other hand, like Pink Floyd, good lecturers know that a concert hall needs something different from a small room.  Good lecturers do more to prepare, they arrange activities, they select interesting media, they frame the content in engaging narratives and scenarios.   For big room lecturers it’s about delivering a message and the setting the scene for what is to follow.  They don’t just stand and deliver.

(Note: If a student is showing up just to watch you and get close to you, call campus security.)

So I suppose the message is, if you’re going persist with big room lecturers be Pink Floyd not ALT-J.

Wonderwoman and the history of EdTech (from Audrey Watters)

May 11th, 2015 by Cameron

Audrey Watters (one of the few EdTech journalists worth reading) recently presented at the Center for Teaching and Learning at Davidson College.

woderwoman watters

It’s an entertaining read – admirable considering the subject matter.

From a presentation point of view it’s worth looking at how she uses pop-culture references to talk about the history and culture  of Ed Tech.

There’s no audio (unfortunately) but the text is here http://hackeducation.com/2015/05/08/wonderwoman/