Prezi is a cloud based presentation software that opens up a new world between whiteboards and slides. The zoomable canvas makes it fun to explore ideas and the connections between them.
Brett Taylor's insight:
Funnily enough, I was first attracted to Prezi by the name – an Australian-sounding nickname for a presentation tool that was touted as a PowerPoint alternative and more just had to be investigated.
In essence, Prezi is PowerPoint or Keynote - only the single slide you use can be as geographically large as you would like and operate on three layers if desired.
It can cope with a variety of text options, images as backgrounds or features, embedded video but uniquely, it allows the educator to take the learner – even though the learner is perhaps the one driving the session – on a journey of interest across and through content using a multi-point zoomable canvas as the slide.
Further, and this is where it potentially surpasses other presentation tools, it allows real-time collaborative opportunities on both traditional presentations and mind-mapping style outputs – just the constructivist pedagogical space one wishes to be working within.
For me, this is the area where Prezi can afford a significant boost into constructivist teaching and learning and move learner interaction into the transformational end of the SAMR model of Puentedura, which as Loader (2012) notes, “defines a system which you can use to measure your application of technology, or it’s level of use”.
In the community and workplace sector, Prezi has become a common tool for a range of learning activities. From a simple augmented approach whereby health-related content is presented as a visual treatment flowchart for patients through to true collaborative operations that enables department heads and board members to co-create in real time a redefined version of an annual report that will be showcased to members and supporters, Prezi has the scope to offer learning and teaching opportunities across the levels of the SAMR model, but particularly, utilising the sharing options and collaborative features, within the modification and redefinition levels.
Significantly, as Lee and McLoughlin (2011) state, technology in and of itself will not revolutionise education (p. 21), so the effective use of Prezi in the generation of desired learning outcomes is very much dependent on an educator who is aware of 21st Century educational practice and who can contextualise learning to the degree required by both the learner and eventual industry field of practice.
Ranj Serious Games develops the most effective and innovative serious gaming solutions for management training, education, healthcare and communication
Brett Taylor's insight:
If you were a fly on the wall over the weekend watching my children and their friends play Lego Lord of the Rings on Nintendo Wii you would be an immediate convert to the idea that game play has significant value educationally.
Picture four children immersed in a virtual game world, collaborating with each other to solve puzzles, determine routes of progress, locate treasure based on clues and of course, defeat the baddies.
We all wish for that level of cognitive interest, constructive teamwork and centred learning outcomes from our educational activities and programs.
Gaming – serious gaming and gamification – may just provide some of the solutions, and technologically tip our learning well into the transformational end of Puentedura’s SAMR framework.
In fact, gamification is huge, with Lepki (2013) reporting that three year market growth alone is predicted to expand from $2.0 billion in 2012 to $7.4 billion in 2015.
By way of definition, Ranj Serious Games (2013), a Dutch company specialising in the development of health, training and advertising games, note a difference content-wise between serious games and gamification. Serious games are temporary environments in which elements of the real world are implemented and in gamification it is the other way around: elements from the game world are implemented in day-to-day life.
Vision-wise however, there is little difference – it is all about the use of game thinking and game mechanics in a non-game context in order to engage users and solve problems.
According to Designing Digitally (2013), one of the biggest strong points of serious games is their ability to engage young people in contemplation and learning on subject matter in a way that holds their attention effectively and experientially. Games and game design principles, reinforces Bridges (2013), are able to affect positive outcomes in real-world situations.
These thoughts closely mirror the pedagogy that supports constructivist learning theory, in that situational learning is actioned as collaboration between peers and facilitators to arrive at learning outcomes – an arrival that need not follow a set instructional pathway but may in fact enable some freedom in transit. Further, gaming design tends to accommodate this freedom, yet still retain very strong links with the academic and research sector (Bridges, 2013).
Commenting from an industry viewpoint, Burke (2013) indicates that the sweet spot for gamification objectives is where the business objectives and player objectives overlap. For successful learning, gamified applications must be designed to motivate players to achieve their goals.
Speaking at Rotterdam TEDx in 2010, Marcus Vlaar reiterated this point in that one of the real difficulties with educational gaming was getting the flow correct. Flow was described as that balance between challenge and skill whereby the mixture was neither too low, resulting in learner boredom or too high, with resulting frustration. Educational gaming experiences he contended, when designed and delivered well such that flow was correct, actioned clear goals, provided adequate feedback, set challenges just above current learner skill and immersed the learner in the experience.
The game of particular interest in this Scoop, as an example of a serious game that offers transformational learning, is The Great Flu.
In The Great Flu, players meticulously follow the outbreak of a flu pandemic. They are confronted with important tasks, for whilst they are provided with the means to control the outbreak globally, their knowledge, opinions and eventual choices made in the context of the game, determine both the extent of the outbreak and the health and mortality effects globally that follow.
Whilst operated as a single player experience, constructivist learning theory is embedded within the gaming process, as direct information and feedback from experts, including health authorities, research teams, scientists and field workers, plus constant media alerts and updates, lends a strong sense of constructive collaboration to the learner as they attempt to rationalise and prioritise resources to combat an exponentially increasing global health problem.
As the intervention choices made by the learner and the order in which they are made, directly and immediately impact the situation, the learner is able to develop their own experiential reality – a pandemic is very difficult even for the experts to control - the learner may require multiple variations of action in order to construct a successful resolution.
This gaming experience sits well into the transformational level of the SAMR framework. As an observer only, the game technology affords the learner the chance to enhance their experience by viewing in virtual real-time the progress of a pandemic.
However, as an active participant, the learner is able to modify and redefine this experience – they become directly responsible for the key informed, balanced decisions and their timing of action upon a global health setting. The game truly allows a learner the means to quantify their actions against real world consequences.
A powerful learning experience, according to Ranj Serious Games (2013), can be realised within a gaming environment as long as eight key factors are present – positive flow experience, learner motivation, an opportunity to understand complexity, appropriate social context, active learner exploration, situational immersion, continuous feedback and high retention-efficiency levels.
Interestingly, some weeks after the launch of this gaming resource in 2009 as part of a viral disease exposition in Europe, the swine flu broke out worldwide – hundreds of thousands of players participated in the game.
The health and broader community sector are prime candidates for learning through gaming experiences. Topics of significant personal, social and financial burden can be presented in situated scenario-based contexts, with learners having the opportunity to assume the role of any number of different but inter-related personnel – specialist, allied health, community group, patient, family - in the complex web of interactions that revolve around the identification, treatment and ongoing support of most lifestyle associated diseases.
Perhaps an informed appreciation of the range of possible health issues across the disease spectrum through exposure to and participation in such a transformational learning experience, via gaming technology, will enable positive trends to be measured over time.
To quote the tag line of Ranj Serious Games, “Serious Gaming: the ancient learning method of the future”.
A nice example from the secondary school physical education and sports science sector where the teaching use of a standard, and quite common, piece of sports performance training equipment - a heart rate monitor - has been matched to the SAMR framework.
Usage is detailed from early substitution style learnings where the monitor acts as a stopwatch, right through to a redefined level where the technology engages the learner in creating specific training programs for a given population based on the range of data available through the monitor.
Collaboration between peers features strongly at this transformational level of learning engagement and resonates well with the underpinnings of constructivist pedagogy.
Interestingly, outside this noted school environment, the majority of community members using a heart rate monitor would do so essentially in an augmented fashion with learning style very much behaviouraly influenced via data receipt as reinforcement.
It would not be until perhaps the semi and professional levels of training that a cognitivist-constructivist blend of learning would be offered, where the technology would be more akin to modifying learing outcomes.
The whole notion of gaming as a valid learning tool has been challenged so often in the adult environment in which I am involved such that the majority of activities have lost what elements of fun and semi-competitiveness they may have had.
Adults like to enjoy the learning process too and perhaps it is time to engage in the serious game concept more fully for this audience.
Nice infographic ... really need to distribute this amongst many in the community education field who often see 21st Century education as something they could never be involved in as they feel "untrained" - looking at the key terminology used though many would be able to more than adequately enter this space and really perform.
Have been following this blog - very much a how-to piece about Articulate Studio and Storyline software - for a while.
Lots of tips for creating content using PowerPoint and often free templates, fonts and images too.
A real focus on the idea of push versus pull approaches to learning whereby the challenge is to really engage learners constructively to "pull" the information and skills they require from the body of knowledge as opposed to a behaviourist approach at pushing perceived information requirements onto the learner.
Often the complaint or stopping point in the development for community level competency training at the industry endorsed level ... "We can't check competency online!".
There are really plenty of options though, from "selfie" videos of presentation delivery or skill demonstration, web-conference with video, Skype, FaceTime, YouTube upload, viewing and selecting the correct/incorrect video from a list ... the simple fact that creating video for distribution/sharing is almost too easy - a simple Press Here to publish online sometimes - means there really shoudn't be any need not to progress the online competency assessment model.
Visit Nike.com in Australia and experience what's new at Nike including sports, training, athletes, and shopping.
Brett Taylor's insight:
The Nike+ Running application for use on iPhone and Android units at first glance may well appear to be just another application to add to your phone and use from time to time to see how far you have run or how long you took walking the dog – a substitute for a stopwatch or pedometer - and it does have that functionality – but it also has over 35 thousand user ratings on the iTunes US store alone.
It is the more advanced features of this application - integration of a range of popular social media platforms, direct collaboration with selected peers and high levels of performance analysis – that sets it apart as a digital artefact worth considering in the drive to transform the learning process and subsequent outcomes.
At the entry level, this application simply operates to enhance learning and thus performance. As per the SAMR model of Puentedura, its use can simply slot into the initial level of the framework as a substitute for a stopwatch or pedometer in terms of recording how long your exercise session took to complete, or a guide to the distance of your journey pathway, whilst any music you listen to while running, could equally have been heard via a myriad of other mp3 player systems.
In a sense, there is an element of behaviourist learning theory at play with your performance being regulated by the provision of positive reinforcement by the teacher, in this case the “app”, in the form of personal feedback on distance and/or time each time you choose to practice.
With little effort on the part of the learner, use of this application can augment learning in that it is capable of providing functional improvements to the learner, specifically in terms of the pace of a workout – not only an average pace but a real time and immediate value as well. The fact that this data is captured using GPS attributes and can be mapped either on the device itself or to a linked computer for a comparison overlay to prior run courses, provides a significant enhancement in the level of performance feedback and thus learning available to the user.
Data across time, distance and pace can now be built upon with each subsequent run, to create a performance profile that is quite data rich. Whether you have access to an external coach, or regard the application as a pseudo-coach, with the enhancement provided by this piece of technology you are able to judge performance versus terrain and seek to improve your efforts in areas specified within the data - a very cognitivist approach to learning outcome modification given the building process in action to accumulate data into memory and the real context of its creation.
As noted earlier though, it is the advanced features that lift this technology into the transformational learning realm and lend it the collaborative style of constructivist facilitation so desired.
Closely aligned to social media platforms Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Plan, and a free Nike driven online membership entity, Nike+, application users are able to publically or privately journal their run activity – time, distance, terrain, weather , comments – as well as attitudinal markers related to perceived performance. The significant modification here is the ability to share this data via social media such that a “like” of a pre-run broadcast post or status update on Facebook will generate what Nike terms “in-ear cheers” – crowd applause and cheering played on your device whilst running upon receipt of the like as personal motivation from your selected peers.
Further, tagging the Facebook friends who you run with enables sharing of a map of your route with friends and family. When synchronised with Nike+ online, users can view their own maps and that of linked friends, plus set new individual or shared group performance goals, and find Nike+ suggested top running routes in their area. These functions are also supported in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish.
These collaborative capabilities are for me what makes this application more than an enhancement of learning with technology.
New features, including Nike+ Tag and Nike+ Challenges promote peer collaboration even further and allow the redefining of learning whereby new shared tasks can be performed that would not be readily feasible without the integration of the technology. I’m reminded again of the Sir Ken Robinson quote noted by Wes in his blog post New Toys for Old Tricks – SAMR Model and Education 2.0 - Learning for Uncertainty, when reflecting on technology and change he comments “we oftentimes use the new technologies to do old things. It is transformational when we use new technology to do new things."
The Nike+ Running application enables those new things. In fact, this application may well be an example of a technology that provides an opportunity for new design models of education and training that will better prepare citizens and workers for a knowledge-based society (Lee and McLoughlin, 2011, p. 21).
Challenges allows the user to select a run distance, invite linked friends to participate and compete asynchronously in their own geographic space – individual and group progress can be tracked, the shared leaderboard records updated results, group motivational “chats” are facilitated via the Nike+ site, with one person eventually achieving the “medal”.
Similarly, Tag, based on the chase and catch game concept, enables users to share their proposed run start time and date, and “chase” their linked friends with the goal of outrunning them before the agreed closing time/date.
In all, the motivational factor to perform and the shared pursuit of a goal is vastly reinforced by use of the technology.
One of the unexpected benefits of scooping this artefact is a pleasant increase in my own fitness – in order to really take advantage of the social media elements inherent in the application, I can say, as of right now anyway as I write this insight, that I am coming second in my Nike+ Tag group and I’m not too far from the lead in a 5km challenge.
Education 1, 2 ... 3 - really need to allocate time as an individual and with my team to putting some serious thought into where we would like to see community and workplace education heading - don't wish to be the one working in the realm of 1.0 while other educational sectors are at 3.0+!
The Rude Baguette e-virtuoses puts France on the map in the world of serious games The Rude Baguette grandevirtuose Last week I attended one of, perhaps, the best kept secrets in games conferences e-virtuoses 2013, which took place in the northern...
Brett Taylor's insight:
Like a lot of technologies, you have to be able to find the right combination of content, context and learner.
Not all topics will necessarily lend themselves to a gaming approach to learning construction but given the user interest a game can generate it would certainly be worth investigating the merits or otherwise of gaming in a given situation before dismissing it as not serious enough.
Read a fascinating post about serious games development & their potential for social change & education in this Designing Digitally, Inc. blog post.
Brett Taylor's insight:
Finding the right mix will probably be one of the most difficult pieces of solving this puzzle - how do you create a fun, engaging, social and collaborative piece of gaming that ticks the constructivist learning theory boxes but at the same time avoid the possibility that the only "take home" for the learner may well be the fun factor.
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