Tuesday, May 13, 2008

On E-Learning

Endless Possibilities

I remember this scene from a movie (it was "Red Dragon") where the blind girl was saying she remembers what a tiger looks like because she was able to see one before she got blind...but she admitted that the picture in her head must resemble something more like a goat--her visual memory was a bit foggy, she said. 

I just started realizing the unlimited potentials of presenting and delivering lectures through the internet and using video for teaching. It was said in the course reading that there is an 80% recall with audiovisual presentation, and remembering that scene from one of the many movies (a favorite actually) I've seen is just proof that we remember these stuff better than hearing or reading about it.

What really stuck to me while I was reading the course material was that the audiovisual material isn't for entertainment only--its purpose is to achieve the learning objective and when making presentations like this, it's important to get people interested in it so that they'd learn it by heart... It's 'infotainment' or 'edutainment'.

Experiential Learning

 In teaching forestry, it is important to take students to nature and personally experience it.
 That's why in our classes we have lots of field trips and study tours.  However, there are times when we can't afford or be able to get them to the field physically and that is when audiovisual materials are important.  For example, I'd like to show them the differences in ecological urban conservation here in Leuven (bikes, waste segregation, other systems) and in our country, pictures won't be enough. I think what will stick to them is when they actually see me (or someone familiar)in action-doing this stuff for real (right?).  There is just so much visual impact in movies that we're able to make quick recalls and associations with them with lightning speed.

I mainly discuss the social aspects of forestry and communication so I did a lot of experimentation back home with multimedia materials.  I'm a little bit familiar with some of the concepts, hardware and software discussed in the course reading but it was just NOW that the mystery behind it was revealed to me. So I was really engrossed while reading about the mechanics of compression and lighting & recording terminologies.

But what I really found interesting was QuicktimeVR, where you could post 360 degree pictures with interactive features! I wonder how I can integrate that in my courses? I'd really like to use it... maybe I'd do a virtual tour of a typical indigenous people's tribal village where the hotspots would be historical and anthropological artifacts that would reveal something about the tribe...that would be interesting, wouldn't it be?

I'm also planning to make a website where I could upload course materials so that students can find learning accompaniments with class lectures and discussion.  It would also be nice if I could put a discussion thread there... but I don't know how to do that...yet (maybe you can help me with that?) 

What I would like to learn more about is podcasting because, having a class with an age group of 16-22, podcasts are really popular, I think it would make them interested. And getting their INTEREST is the first thing to learning.  If we would be able to make our courses worth learning and studying then students would go and discover on their own... and that's always the best way to learn.