Friday, December 27, 2013

MOOCs, Ipads and Smartphones

Been tinkering with these handheld electronic devices to figure out how I could better design classroom instruction to make use of these.  Agreed, they are great at delivering video.  You could say that they are mini-televisions, and so, you can easily use them to deliver short, important content videos to students in or out of the classroom.  If you want, you can "flip" a class around.

They are less useful for delivering text.  The key is the amount of text.  Tweets, instagrams, posts, short passages of text can be delivered pretty well, but longer, more substantial pieces of text can be problematic.  And since I teach history, that is a problem, since the study of history is so much based on texts.  Even reading digital books doesn't work all that well unless you break up the reading into short segments.

Something that I haven't explored, but it might make sense to use the handheld devices as simple, feedback, assessment tools.  For example, the old "murkiest point" tool, where you have students jot down the thing that they least understand from class today; that might work well in the digital world where they can just text those to you as the instructor.


Nelson Stewart said...

Professor Evans I believe you’re right about the most common use of these devices being video. Could there be other applications that would fit the classroom environment? I could envision apps that would enable you, the professor, to visualize the class’s participation in a given topic. The smart devices true benefits are their ability to put course and school information a finger swipe away in the form of apps. R/
N. Stewart

Professor Charles Evans said...

I think that the devices are also good for short feedback quizzes on video material. This is something that a lot of MOOCs make use of.
They are also pretty straight-forward for learning assessment exercises, like the muddies point. An instructor could have students tweet what was the "muddiest point" (what was least clear) in today's class and then do a quick recap.
The devices just don't do a good job when a lot of writing is involved, and unfortunately I like a lot of writing.