NKU Day Two

Another busy day at NKU.

I spent my first two hours this morning playing with Google Sketchup looking for backgrounds to use for the platform for the MCC Math & Technology Workshop, which will be built mostly with Adobe Flex. For those of you who are interested in coding, you may want to check Flex out. We discovered today that WizIQ (mentioned in several previous posts) runs off a Flex platform.

If you just want to look into Google Sketchup, download the free version and import files from the 3D Warehouse. I was playing with gardens, castles, scenes from Lord of the Rings, buildings from College and University campuses, and all sorts of other creations. It was fun even just to look.

Mike and I spent some time discussing Multiverse vs. Second Life. In particular, Multiverse is, as Mike put it, more “objective-oriented” (think – game-style objectives). The multiverse worlds are themed and they are obviously more designed for gaming than just a “3-D chat platform.” So here’s my thought (as we were thinking about what’s best for education). What if we put up learning modules in Multiverse (similar to the learning modules of Connexions), where the “objective” is to learn enough to earn some kind of prize at the end of the module – perhaps a “badge” that shows you have mastered some kind of content. Then you can wear your badges (or perhaps they show in your profile) so that you can easily see what kind of learning everyone has mastered. Rather than thinking in 15-week chunks, perhaps we think in concepts instead – a badge for differentiation, a badge for limits, a badge for Volumes of rotation where MASTERY is required to earn your prize.

Also this morning, I spent some time with Matt (one of the students who works in the instructional design office) working our way through iClone. In particular, we wanted to take a full-body avatar and put her on my online calculus screen and have her point to buttons and explain what they do (this is for my online orientation for a future semester). So we are working up a little demo of that – stay tuned for more tomorrow (we’re still refining!). It took a while to figure out how to create our own motions and to learn what the software was doing when it altered our added motions… so maybe Matt will post a tutorial to help me when I get home and realize I’ve unlearned this week’s worth of stuff.

At some point in the day Amanda (another ID student) showed me the platform for their Faculty Learning Community – which I may poach a lot of the code for my Math Workshop from.

After lunch I showed one of the NKU instructors (together with Mike, Amanda, and Matt) how to use WizIQ to facilitate online students participating in live classes, and then we went on from there to talking about more pedagogical issues, recording with camtasia, editing videos to make them a richer media, etc.

That’s when Mike realized he should’ve had me speak to the whole Faculty Learning Community in addition to the math department. So I was sent over to my seminar today trailing two students armed with a video camera and tripod (and I hear they are coming back tomorrow too). Thus begins my own version of “MARIA talks” – I am about to crash here, so maybe someone can think of a clever “TED”-like acronym for MARIA.

Lessons learned from the talk:

  • When you can’t get your laptop to project properly, you should consider it an opportunity to free up your mind from the nervousness about the presentation, and apply it to nervousness about the technology instead.
  • Make sure you enable the SOUND on the laptop if you plan to play sound.
  • Make sure to plug your portable speakers into the HEADPHONE jack (not the mic jack)
  • Keep a clock or timer in sight so that you don’t run out of time!
  • I thought I would be nervous about the video recording – didn’t bother me in the least bit. Totally forgot about it – except that I occasionally wondered why the girl in the back of the room was standing up (Amanda was recording). Probably I am more nervous about SEEING the recording.

I saw a former student, Meg, who goes by “Mighty Meg” in the blogging world and is often commenting on this blog. Meg’s now a math PhD student in Lexington (she says she was tricked). It was fun to see her and Steve, and their two dogs Gator and Katie.

My most useful bit of the knowledge for the day comes in this useful little tip that Andy, my host here at NKU, passed along – this is one of those tips that seems obvious (now that I know it)…

I like to use Windows Journal during live class recordings because the interface is simple to use and it doesn’t get flickery when it is being projected and recorded simultaneously. I had been snagging images from my other files (like parts of Word or pdf files) and pasting them into Windows Journal.

Andy pointed out that in the “Print Options” in Word, Adobe, etc. there is a Print option for Journal Note Writer. Using this option dumps the file into Windows Journal and then you can write on it with all the functionality of the Windows Journal palette. Wow! I was totally doing that one the hard way!

As for Robert (who asked about ICTCM presentations on Casting Out Nines)… I’m giving three and I am planning to bravely hope the Internet works. I have ONE backup plan. For the hour-long talk, I have asked a friend with a wireless Internet card in his PC to attend the session. If worst comes to worst, I will use his laptop to run the presentation. If a conference on technology can’t get their technology to work then … well … it’s probably not worth coming back to next year!

And for Jason (who is probably watching for the post on the elaboration technique)… I have not forgotten about it – I’m probably looking at next week at the earliest to get that posted.

I’m looking forward to all my plane flights as a time of rest and relaxation …. um … maybe to get some papers graded too.

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  1. SplineGuy says:

    I have enjoyed reading your blog since Robert over at CastingOutNines pointed me in your direction. I’ve already had my technophile horizons widened by you through some technologies I had not been aware of, the latest being Multiverse. I look forward to meeting you at ICTCM.

    [Natural Blogarithms]

  2. Robert Talbert says:

    I certainly HOPE that all the tech stuff works in San Antonio. I’m not encouraged by the fact that a lot of the pages on the ICTCM website have just a little bit of info on them, followed by the statement “More details coming in January 2008”. But that’s why I am bringing ten different backup plans.

    You’re giving three talks at ICTCM? Geez! I’ve been upstaged.

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