Teague's Tech Treks

Learning Technology and other Tech Observations by Dr. Helen Teague

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Teachers Tell All: Ten Tips for Online Course Success

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Interactive Online Training Course Design~Versal

Versal is an open publishing platform for anyone to create interactive online courses – no coding required. Versal is an engaging LCMS for building interactive courses just by dragging and dropping widgets and configuring content.

Versal brings interactivity to online learning through customizable exercises called “gadgets.” Drag and drop gadgets – simulations, charts and so much more – right into your course. Teachers can use Versal for homework and classroom exercises, independent study, and content delivery.

Outside the classroom, Versal would integrate well to product tutorials, corporate training, and project management timelining.

Versal is flexible, powerful, and open to everyone.

Did I mention no coding required?

versal

Image Source: Versal

 

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Mobile Learning and Engagement: Are you part of the 15%?

mobile devices

Are you part of the 15%?

First seen in this article: The 21st Century Digital Learner by Marc Prensky

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Apps for Language Arts, K-2

What’s New for K-2 Language Arts Apps

Storia This Scholastic e-reader app is designed just for kids. Books are embedded with questions, learning activities, and pop-up dictionary definitions. The app download comes with five free books; additional books can be purchased and added to a student’s bookshelf. iOS and Android. Free.

Super Why! Jessica Millberg, school library media specialist at Central Early Childhood Center in Deptford, New Jersey, loves to use Super Why! with kindergartners and first graders. “It’s easy to navigate for little hands and it addresses rhyming words, letter identification, spelling, word building, and sentence completion,” she says. iOS and Android. $2.99.

Read more by clicking here

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There’s an App for that~A Christmas Carol

CCarolappThis mobile device app. offers a new way to read the classic tale A Christmas Carol

click here to learn more  http://ow.ly/gajr5

 

 

RudolphappFor younger learners, here is an app for Rudolph the Reindeer Christmas Games
In the game, kids act as the red-nose reindeer, deliver presents by directing lights on top of the houses; in the meantime, they have to lead the sleigh flying through the sky dodging airborne obstacles. Kids can collect power-ups and upgrade Rudolph’s abilities.
click here to learn more http://ow.ly/g9lEp

Both of these resources arrive from the iGameMom blog…Thanks, Beth Cheng!

Picture Source: Ebenezer
Picture Source:  Rudolph

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November Resources from PBS Learning Media

November is brimming with teachable moments! Use PBS LearningMedia as a springboard for classroom discussions around historically significant moments like Election Day, (Nov. 6), Veterans Day, (Nov. 11), and the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, (Nov. 19) – as well as themes that tie to Native American Heritage Week and Bullying Awareness Week. To search for additional resources designed to support your social studies, language arts, science, and math curriculum, register on PBS LearningMedia – it’s free!

Examining the Presidential Campaign Map Grades 9-12 | November 6 is Election Day! Use this opportunity to explore the role of battleground states with your students and help them to better-understand the significance of these states in the presidential election.

Historical Perspectives: Coming Home From War Grades 6-13+ | Lesson Plan + Video Veteran’s Day is November 11. Invite your students to compare and contrast soldiers’ homecomings from World War II and the wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

A City Unites to End Bullying Grades 6-13+ | Video Observe “Bullying Awareness Week,” November 12-17, with your class by examining how students in a California town came together to address bullying in their schools.

Living With the Land Grades 5-12 | Video + Support Materials For Native American Heritage Month, invite your students to follow the trail of North America’s indigenous peoples and learn how Native American tribes embraced the land.

The Gettysburg Address Grades 4-12 | Video + Support Materials Provide your class with context around Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, first delivered on November 19, 1963. Listen to former President Bill Clinton and Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. discusses this historic speech.

Harry Talks Turkey Grades 3-5 | Video Thanksgiving Day presents multiple occasions to talk about math. Watch this video, and then have students estimate their own Thanksgiving menu quantities.

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Curriculum Chunks Optimize Learning

Chunking content guides learning through content scaffolds organized in logical progression.  Our brains process information best through progressive and logical sequencing. Which is why in a play, Act I always preceds Acts 2, 3 and so on.

Karla Gutierrez at Shift’s eLearning Blog posted three ideas to consider when “chunking” eLearning content:

Consideration #1: Rank and prioritize content

Begin with your curriculum standards or Common Core standards. Then, Gutierrez writes, “organize information in a logical and progressive way by defining modules, then sections and finally topics. Start by separating conceptually related content in large pieces and use them as modules. Divide modules into smaller pieces, these will become your sections. Continue this process until the content divided into themes or topics.”

Consideration #2: Organize the content on each screen appropriately

Transition from one content point to the next. I think it is important to embed “back” and “next’ arrows for easier flow. I recently reviewed a course without these simple-to-add tools and the cumbersome navigation was distracting.  Gutierrez explains, “The truth is learners tend to scan content…they don’t ready 100% of what is on the screen. By chunking information you can get them to learn what it’s really important. So remember: start with basic and broad concepts and build upon them. If a screen seems to have a lot of text, strategically cut it into 2 different slides.”

Gutierrez provides 9 tips for organizing information at screen level:

  1. Organize content on the screen clearly, and in a logical flow.
  2. Place suitable amount of information (Short paragraphs of no more than 3 to 4 sentences is recommended)
  3. Use white space appropriately to increase the screen’s visual appeal.
  4. Preferably each paragraph should communicate a single thought or idea.
  5. Avoiding long and complex sentences is a must.
  6. The transition from one ‘chunk’ to another should be smooth.
  7. Use bullets and numbering to convey the main points.
  8. Break content into steps if possible.
  9. Rewrite, reorganize and synthesize your content when moving classroom based content online.

Consideration #3: Think in terms of the students working memory

Gutierrez cautions, “Remember that learners DO NOT want courses loaded with text-heavy, time-consuming content. Therefore, don’t include all content that is in front of you. Ask yourself first if you really need to include all the information.”

Once you determine what is the most relevant, add links to the remaining or extension content or create an infographic to convey information. Also, query students as the course progresses to ascertain their level of comfort and mastery of the information provided. This will greatly add to the effectiveness and longetivity of the inevitable re-writes “tweaks” of your course content.

3 Considerations when Chunking eLearning Content

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Building eLearning courses

Building eLearning courses? The following list highlights 20 principles of learning every teacher/trainer should know.

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eReader Comparison Chart

It is quite a challenge to find and purchase the best eReader for students and faculty. Durability and ease of use are criteria but paramount is cost: cost effectiveness, cost to benefit ration, and cost without up-charges that pummel the budget bottom line.

Miguel Guhlin at Around the Corner has practical and sagacious advice based on a commitment to economy and performance. His post called Revisiting eReaders in Schools has important information and something truly essential: Miguel provides a cost/specification/use comparison chart that can be easily downloaded and included in grant proposals and budget requests. Click here to see the chart and Miguel’s comments.

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Add Puffin Browser to your Browser Wardrobe

Browsers are a lot like a wardrobe of coats.  Just as you would never wear a windbreaker to a snowy, night football game, you also need the best browser for your mobile, iPad forays as well.

If you are using an iPad or Galaxy S, perhaps consider the comfort and ease of the Puffin Browser. http://www.puffinbrowser.com/

Puffin Browser helps webpages load more quickly on iPads than on traditional laptops and desktop machines. (Question: for those of us born born man walked on the moon, is the phrase “traditional laptop” an oxymoron?)

Ok, I digressed, now, back to the Puffin Browser.
Because the Puffin servers preprocess and compress web pages, speed is at a premium, even on slow mobile networks.

Puffin Browser gives you the full experience of a desktop version website, and the option to switch to mobile mode.
~From the Puffin Browser website

It is also an available app on iTunes

Think of browsers as a wardrobe of choices. Sometimes you need the anorak, sometimes only the bulky chainmail will do.

Think of the Puffin browser as a sleak, no-wrinkle option to life in the mobile fast lane.

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