Emotionally intelligent signage

I have recently discovered the work of Daniel Pink. He is a business writer, and a master storyteller who encourages others to be the same. In this short pecha-kucha presentation (what’s that? — see another post in this blog) on “emotionally intelligent signage,’ where he encourages anyone creating signs to help others find their way to do so in an intelligent way that also touches our senses in addition to providing information.

This presentation has caused me to rethink how we provide instructions to our students, especially regarding how they should navigate through a course in a typical learning management system like Desire2Learn or Blackboard. Perhaps we should take some cues from Mr. Pink.

Watch this short presentation (7 minutes) with thoughtful reflection about how you communicate instructional material to your students.

Disaster planning and recovery

I recently gave a presentation on Disaster Planning and Recovery at the annual conference of the Oklahoma Association of Institutional Research and Planning. The conference was held on the campus of Redlands Community College in El Reno. The folks at RCC were very generous and accommodating for the conference.

My talk was in two parts. The first part focused on some of the institutional issues are in regard to information assurance. The second part was intended for individuals, to have some innovative and inexpensive solutions to make sure their own personal data is secure and recoverable in case of a data loss event.

If you want, you may download the PowerPoint presentation from this talk in two forms:

1. PDF file of the notes

2. PowerPoint Show

I hope you find these interesting and useful.

Technology for creating screen capture videos

I’ve been using screen capture software from TechSmith for several years to create videos, static graphic images, and more for sharing with students and colleagues. I have created whole courses built around creative ways of packaging narrated screen videos.

In this video, the makers of this software are interviewed about the latest developments in this technology arena. I thought it would help you visualize what the possibilities might be for using them in your own educational endeavors.

Bloom’s Rose: A tool for creating practical assignments at a different levels of learning

I discovered an entry on Wikipedia for Bloom’s taxonomy, called Bloom’s Rose. It was created by John M. Kennedy. The original version had a number of typos and was somewhat hard to follow. So I created an alternative version of it using Mindjet Mindmanager.

It provides, for each of the levels of learning described by Bloom:

  1. a list of verbs that might be appropriate to formulate assignments at that level
  2. a list of types of assignments that might be appropriate for that level of learning

The PDF file is available for download at www.oruonline.net/files/BloomsRose2.pdf. Enjoy!

Rethinking the old PowerPoint routine

I’ve discovered a couple of new approaches to preparing presentations. They are especially relevant to those of us who are deeply steeped in traditional bullet-point approaches using PowerPoint.

One approach and book that I’m really enjoying reading it Beyond Bullet Points, by Cliff Atkinson. Another is an online presentation titled Brain Rules: what all presenters should know, by Garr Reynolds. The second of these builds on a recent popular book entitled, Brain Rules: 12 Rules for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School, by molecular biologist John Medina.

Some companion web sites for these approaches are at beyondbulletpoints.com and brainrules.net. Be sure and watch the videos on the Brain Rules site!

Both approaches underscore the fact that we are all highly visual creatures, and that we normally can focus on only one or a very limited number of thoughts at any given time. They build on this understanding of how our minds work to create a fundamentally very different approach to presenting information. They emphasize engaging the listener/viewer with a cogent STORY rather than a blizzard of facts.

Interesting reading and discovery.

Pictures as communication tools

I recently read a very interesting blog post about illustrations as communications devices. Some research cited found that integrating text ON pictures instead of UNDER pictures as captions was found to be much more effective for information presentation.Common practice used to be to include illustrations as supplemental information to the text of a presentation or document. What recent practice has shown to be even more effective is reversing these roles: The illustration becomes the primary vehicle of information transfer, with any related text being view as supplemental. Quite a change in mindset for many of us traditional teachers and authors of learning materials.

Here is a quote from the article:
“In previous generations, graphics were generally illustrations, accompanying the text and providing elucidation. For today’s Games Generation, the relationship is almost completely reversed: the role of text is to elucidate something that was first experienced as an image.” He goes on to say, “They find it much more natural than their predecessors to begin with visuals and to mix text and graphics in a richly meaningful way.”

This research could have a lot of relevance for those of us who create educational materials.

Read more at the Creating Passionate Users blog.