Monday, April 28, 2014

513 Week 14 Digital Story Project

The timing for this project could not have been more perfect.  I just returned from a wonderful spring break vacation with my kids and my dad.  So many memories rushed back to me that the dialogue for this story practically wrote itself.  It is a story about sharing our favorite childhood experiences with our children.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

513 Week 11 Coherence Analysis

1.  What is the Coherence Principle and its most important constraints/criteria?

According to Moreno and Mayer, “Students learn better when extraneous material is excluded rather than included in multimedia explanations.”  This is mostly due in part to the fact the human’s . . . “capacities of the visual and auditory working memory are highly limited.” (Mayer)

2.  Describe and/or include one example of successful and one example of unsuccessful attempts to apply the Coherence Principle in actual instruction and training you have experienced, especially as it might be implemented in PowerPoint-based instruction and training. Have you ever seen this principle violated or abused? Identify the violations, including citations as needed from your textbook.

I recently taught a lesson about the Social Psychology concept of “Evaluation Apprehension.”  On the same slide with the term evaluation apprehension I included a picture of a basketball player who is an example of what evaluation apprehension can do and another image of a different basketball player who is an example of someone who is resistant to evaluation apprehension.  My fear is that when my students recall the term and images, they will remember both images as being examples of evaluation apprehension.  I should have made two separate slides or not included the non-example at all. 

On several occasions, I have used music, comics, or stories that are loosely related to the topic to introduce a concept or to spice up a lesson.  The mistake is that the music, comic, or story is not an accurate example and it either distracts them from the main idea or confuses them as to what the concept really means.

3.  Discuss the relationship of the Coherence Principle to other Multimedia Learning Principles examined thus far in your readings.

Both the contiguity principles reinforce the idea that essential words and corresponding images should be on a slide in close proximity and at the same time.  (Mayer)  I also think the modality principle is designed to help the students focus on the important things that are being said while they look at the image instead of trying to read and make sense of sentences or paragraphs that are written on the slide. (Moreno & Mayer)

One that I don’t recall reading or learning about yet that I think really goes hand in hand with the coherence principle are the visual/auditory split attention principles.  If you have background sound while you are narrating a slide or if you have overly complicated animation or irrelevant visual prompts they can distract students and prevent them from focusing on the key concepts and their explanations. (Mayer)

4.  Discuss the relationship of the Coherence Principle to fundamental theories of psychology as described by Clark & Mayer in your textbook.

According to Clark and Mayer many instructors attempt to justify their use of extraneous sounds and images on the arousal theory.  “Arousal theory predicts that students will learn more from multimedia presentations that contain interesting sounds and music than from multimedia presentations without interesting sounds and music.”  (Clark & Mayer p. 156)  Clark and Mayer counter this theory by pointing out that our working memory has a limited capacity and when our students focus in on the extraneous sounds, music, or images they can’t focus what the instructor is saying or the main concept of the lesson.  They also added that a subject needs to be interested in and of itself, no amount of extraneous sounds, music, or images can make something more interesting that it actually is.  (Clark & Mayer. p. 156 & 161)

5.  What do you personally like or dislike about this principle? Present a coherent, informed opinion and explain why you hold this opinion. Are there any limitations or qualifications of the principle (caveats) which the authors did not consider and, if so, what are they?

I like that this principle is based on a physiological limitation that most humans have.  We can only take in or process so much information at any given time.  I like that it encourages teachers to be more deliberate in their curriculum design and instruction.  I have tried to fight against this principle for much of my career and I have paid the price.  The most common questions and comments I get are, “I don’t understand how that is an example or illustration of what we are learning?” and “Where are we and what am I supposed to be doing right now.”

What I do dislike about it is the fact that there are songs, stories, and activities I like to use in class even if they are not right on the mark and now I know that not only are they not helping students learn, they are actually disrupting student learning.

Clark, R. C., Mayer R. E. (2008). E-Learning and the Science of Instruction, John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Sanfrancisco CA.

Mayer, R. E. (1999). Multimedia aids to problem-solving transfer. International Journal of Educational Research, 31(7), 611-623. (PDF file download)

Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (2000). A learner-centered approach to multimedia explanations: Deriving instructional design principles from cognitive theory. Interactive Multimedia Electronic Journal of Computer-Enhanced Learning, 2(2), 2004-07. Retrieved March 1, 2009 from

Monday, March 24, 2014

513 Week 9 Intro to Blended Classrooms Podcast Series

I am starting to like Audacity more and more each day.  I even figured out how to cut unwanted pauses and filler words our of my podcast.  I did include music, but I used a rough work around.  I will work on the fade in and out next time.

As my podcast explains, our school is working towards a 1 to 1 model that we hope to implement in the 2015-2016 school year.  My podcast series is designed for our faculty members who may not be well versed in educational technology and blended schools specifically.  My first podcast is an overview of blended classrooms, the concepts we hope to incorporate  the misconceptions in regards to a blended online environment, and the jargon that is used in the EdTech world.

Here is the link to my: Intro to Blended Classrooms

As for the AECT standards, I have labeled the ones that I think apply.  I think that 2.4 is the most applicable because it is the first time I have used a pure audio recording to deliver a message.  In additional, that audio recording, or podcast is being made available through my use of Dropbox and my blog.  It's amazing how it all comes together.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

513 Week 5 Multimedia Instruction

The timing for the assignment was excellent.  Tomorrow I will be teaching a lesson in my World Geography class about the break up of Yugoslavia.  We will discuss the factors that hold a nation together or help to pull it apart.  For years I have wanted to put together a quick case study about the conditions in Iraq prior to the U.S. invasion and see if the students could apply the lessons learned in Yugoslavia to the situation in Iraq.  So for this assignment, I finally put together the Iraq Case Study.  Here it is:

I think I did a good job of limiting the text (coherence principle) and keeping the text that I did use concise and properly paired up with the images I selected (modality principle).  I also used the subject heading of each slide to "signal" the tone, focus, and message of each slide.  As I got the end of my presentation I went back and "segmented"/reorganized or deleted slides to make sure that it was all in a logical order and manageable chunks.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Creating My Learning Log

This has been a learning process, I made this page for a class last summer and I have since used it for a few other classes.  I was able to keep it all categorized by putting each classes posts on separate pages as opposed to actual posts on the main blog page.  As I went about trying to figure out how to create "Labels" I discovered that you can only attach "Labels" to posts and not to page updates.  So I have moved my EDTECH 513 Learning Log out onto my main page.

(Here is what I wrote earlier when I was hoping to keep it all on a single "Page")
I'll begin with full disclosure, I have created several different web pages and blog sites for different classes in this program.  I am very relieved that we are encouraged to use Blogger for this assignment.  Where I am stepping away from the approved guidelines is I am hoping that it is okay that I set this "Learning Log" up as a page on my "Stevenson's Teaching Tools" pre-existing blog.  If this is going to be a problem, I can pull it out onto the overall blog and post all my learning logs as posts and not just as entries onto this one page.

AECT Standards: 1.2 Message Design, 2.2 Audiovisual Technologies, 2.3 Computer Based Technologies

A Blog is a combination of the above three mentioned AECT standards, you are using a computer based system to deliver audiovisual samples to communicate a specific message.

After working through the "Label" process, it appears that if I want to attach Labels to my posts, I can't just make updates on a single page, I need to make my weekly responses in an actual post.  So I am now posting this on my main page.