User Generated Education

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Posts Tagged ‘collaboration

An Instructional Activity: Student-Produced Viral Videos

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I implemented my plan to have my undergraduates (mostly 18 to 20 year old students) create “viral” videos for one of our in-class activities.  The first part of this post is geared towards educators and administrators.  It provides a rationale for this type of learning activity.  The second part describes the characteristics that help define a viral video so that these attributes can be presented to the students.

Young People’s Use of YouTube

The rationale for this activity is based on How Teens Use YouTube & Social Media: The Online Generation Gap:

  1. Teenagers today see online video as a normal every-day type of activity.  During middle school and high school years, YouTube is always a hugely popular platform. Most teens consider it to be the “normal” way of watching video (as opposed to television). Certain YouTube videos would take the younger generation by storm; they’d be talked about in the hallways of schools to even the dining table at home. It’s just about impossible for teens to remember the days before YouTube and other online video websites.
  2. Teens Share More Videos Than The Older Generation. Teenagers consume these videos as they would gossip and TV shows and magazines – whatever video makes an impression on them, they share.
  3. Creating videos for this generation comes as naturally as creating an essay in school. Teenagers are not only creative; they are very impressionable. They express their findings in life both verbally and visually, through all means of technology.

Encouraging Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity

Given these “knowns”, asking teen and young adult students to produce their own videos related on the content begin covered in class should facilitate an engaging and authentic learning activity.  This learning activity also addresses some of the 21st Century Learning Skills:  the 4 Cs – communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity – as proposed by Ken Kay (via Edutopia) and the Partnership for 21st Century Learning.  P21 & FableVision collaborated to release an animated film about the 4 Cs:

Assignment – Producing a Viral Video

My young adult students will not be interested in any of the above information.  This is provided for educators and administrators to gain an understanding regarding how and why integrating the production of videos can enhance learning.  They will be interest in the characteristics of what makes a viral video.

  • Make them laugh.. or cry. The best way to compel someone to send a video to friends and family is to stir up emotion, whether it’s laughing or crying. There are some common traits among the most viral videos — “music, dancing, attractive women, Candid Camera-style pranks, children and topical and political references’ (Lauren Dell).
  • Keep it short and snappy.  A video needs to be easily “consumed by a multitasking generation” — viewers shouldn’t have to watch a long-form video to get the joke. “Keep your clip or video short, interesting, edgy and give us a surprise that makes us want to forward it to our friends” (Lauren Dell).
  • Surprising Contrast.  When we see two things that don’t normally belong together, and someone finds a way to make them belong, the reaction it creates is one of surprise. For example, Big guy with a little voice; small girl with big voice – Do you remember the little girl who sang opera on YouTube and how quickly her videos spread? (Jim Chao)
  • Three things every video should have:
    • Authenticity
    • Connection—humorous (The Annoying Orange), touching (Transcending), or surprising (Susan Boyle).
    • Visceral—We’re all really, REALLY busy.  Unless we’re moved on a gut level, we won’t forward anything (L. Drew Gerber).
  • Include one or more of the following as viral videos tend to include these types of content:
    • Pranks
    • Dancing
    • Music
    • Children
    • Political humor
    • Song parodies
    • Video blogs
    • How to (Eric Olson)

In-Action

These suggestions were presented to my interpersonal communications students (18 to 20 years old) along with the desirable content – to demonstrate via different types of nonverbal behavior as presented at Nonverbal Modes. They worked on these in small groups during class time.  Here is one example:

           

The results are not that great as you can see but the students were engaged (quite difficult with this particular class of young college students) and they learned about nonverbal behaviors.

. . . and this parting shot of a short clip written and produced  by my gifted students from a few years back.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

October 26, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Future of Online Education: Online Learning or Education of the Future?

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I read several posts this week about recommendations for the future of online learning. These are summarized below.  First, though, I know we are currently differentiating between online-virtual and face-to-face, place-based education.  We also have added blended education into this discussion about how and where education takes place.  This is probably a moot point as the education of the future will be where, how, and when the learner chooses.  Lines will be blurred with some education face-to-face, some virtual – depending on the learner’s interests, skills to be learned, and knowledge desired.  These recommendations should be discussed as best practices for all types of education.

Two articles, one from the Chronicle and one from Mashable, discussed the following:

  1. Education needs to reflect the ability of the web to keep an ongoing and current pulse on global events and information.
  2. Education needs to embrace the collaborative, social aspects that attracts users to social networking.

Real Time, Current, and Authentic Knowledge

What’s required are innovative approaches to course design that set aside old models of instruction where theory often trumps actuality. Online course providers must embrace the web’s potential to match students with the kinds of timely knowledge and skills that address current issues head-on, and enable them to thrive in the global marketplace.

It’s not enough for a course to be accessible online, it must also be designed in a way that keys into the digital pulse of current events, trending topics and insider knowledge endemic to the web.. The web, as a real-time medium, is begging us to build innovative courses that can be used for the rapid delivery of education designed in a way that integrates current news, information, insights and research about topics like the oil spill and thousands of other current issues.

Networked Learning

To attract and retain the typical college-age demographic, as well as the larger population of adult learners in search of relevant and engaging educational content, the next generation of online education must be characterized by courses that build in the social, real-time information capturing components that have made the web such a dynamic medium for sharing information and knowledge.

We’ll see more collaborative endeavors in online-learning offerings. It will be more social than what it has been. New technologies are moving that way. The rise of social networking, Web 2.0, and the participatory web.  At the center is the social interaction between individuals. Right now most courses that are based on content-management systems are not focused on interaction between participants. They’re focused on, let’s put together this weekly module, and then that’s where the experience happens. The student goes there to read about the weekly module. The future is where the center is the student, and the people comprising this online learning community. The student and the community are collaborating on the content. It’s no longer possible for universities to be offering distance-education courses that are isolationsist or individualistic when people’s experiences outside of the university are social and connected.

Claims have been made that the MTV generation forced educators to have to be more like entertainers to keep students’ attention.  I believe that such boredom existed throughout the institutionalization of education – that students of the MTV generation just realized the potential of media to engage, entertained AND educate them.

An American lecturer believes he has found the secret of engaging the “MTV generation” who have an attention span of “minutes”.  Stressing that his undergraduate experience was in the United States, he said: “The worst thing in the world for me was these one-way lectures. I sat through so many lectures that were just so boring.”  But while he put up with it, he said today’s young students were less tolerant.  “The old guy who stands there and just lectures to the class – these days are gone. Their attention span is in the minutes now,” he said.  Mr Dever said that studies as far back as the 1970s had shown attention spans of only 15 to 20 minutes at a time. But today’s bricks-and-mortar institutions now faced a threat from online courses that engaged students and avoided the problems of one-way lectures.

The same is true, in my perspective, for the claims being made of online learning.  Human beings have a natural propensity to stay informed, to work socially and collaboratively, and to help with global stewardship.  The technologies are now providing the opportunity to do so.  Users of the Internet are now the learners. These consumers of education will just insist, as did the MTV generation, that their educations of all kinds, face-to-face and online, contain the elements of real time and authentic information and connection.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

August 11, 2010 at 1:12 am

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