Sunday, May 23, 2010

Podcasts better than live lectures?

Students watching podcast of lecture did better on exam than students who attended the lecture in person. !!! Result could be because those watching podcast could pause whenever, take notes, reflect, etc. But note this was a very limited sample of 64 students for one lecture and one test. Still, it is thought provoking. Found while reading a blog re teaching sociology. Original study in Computers & Education, Volume 52, Issue 3, April 2009, Pages 617-62. (full text available through ScienceDirect)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Using Cartoons/Graphics to Convey Info

I've always been struck with some of the creative uses of graphics to convey information. I was particularly impressed by the way Global Kids at Holy Meatballs used graphics to present qualitative research data. The teens had conducted an open-ended survey of other youth about how they use and relate to digital media. Instead of a text only summary of replies, the Global Kids prepared a much more interesting results report by using illustrative graphics to accompany each survey answer. Kept me reading in a way that text-only reports might not have.

I assigned my students to experiment with similar graphical approaches when summarizing an article about the obstacles facing inner-city teens trying to navigate the online financial aid application process. (See “Low-Income Urban High School Students’ Use of the Internet to Access Financial Aid" by Kristan Venegas)

I suggested the students might try using PowerPoint in a graphically intensive manner (not the traditional bullet points) or they might try making a "comic book" using the ready made cartoon elements at

Above is the first panel of one student's cartoon rendition. Check out the complete cartoon/comic book on our class wiki.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Non Traditional PowerPoints for Digital Storytelling

To show students what I mean by a non-traditional PowerPoint, I created a presentation about Ada Lovelace in the style of the classic children's Golden Book series.

For those interested in learning more about Ada Lovelace and George Babbage or comparing with a more traditional Powerpoint, I am including another slideshow here.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Corvida Raven: Geek Girl

For the last week of class, I assigned students to research a woman who has made an important contribution to the development of computers and/or the Internet. I also asked them to present their findings in an interesting digital storytelling mode - perhaps by using Voicethread or Prezi. In any event, they were not to use a traditional bullet-style PowerPoint.

One of the students chose to research Corvida Raven, one of the youngest contributors. I thought the student did an excellent job of matching the style of her presentation with Raven's style. And I thought others might enjoy it also.