The Scenario (from Walden University, EDUC 6135 – Distance Education Week 3 Assignment)
“A high school history teacher, located on the west coast of the United States, wants to showcase to her students new exhibits being held at two prominent New York City museums. The teacher wants her students to take a “tour” of the museums and be able to interact with the museum curators, as well as see the art work on display. Afterward, the teacher would like to choose two pieces of artwork from each exhibit and have the students participate in a group critique of the individual work of art. As a novice of distance learning and distance learning technologies, the teacher turned to the school district’s instructional designer for assistance. In the role of the instructional designer, what distance learning technologies would you suggest the teacher use to provide the best learning experience for her students?”
The history teacher in this week’s example is faced with a two-fold challenge. First, how does she give her students a look at the artwork in an exhibit at a museum a country away, and do so in a way that is engaging to her students? To simply show them pictures of the art would be tiresome for many and unendurable for some! When it comes to performing a virtual “tour,” the first technology tool that may come to mind is the use of a Virtual World – commonly referred to now as virtual reality. Simonson et al (2012, p.132) observe that virtual worlds have “exciting potential for…experiences in other places and times that would otherwise be inaccessible”, a seemingly perfect fit for this teacher! Yet, in the same paragraph, Simonson’s team note the limitations of bandwidth required for such an enterprise and the immense amount of time it could take to create such a tour.
This brings us to a second technology – one I believe to be perfectly suited to the high school history teacher’s desire for an engaging tour experience for her students, is prezi (www.prezi.com). Prezi takes the best aspects of an older technology, PowerPoint, and recreates the “slide-by-slide” experience into an interactive delight! Using prezi, the school’s ID could create a floor plan of the museum, and as the students click around and through the floor plan could be treated to views of the museum pieces and even, depending on what was available from the museum, even short video segments taken in and around the exhibits! For an excellent example of how this might look, please visit Cutco Cutlery’s online demonstration of their product at www.viewcutco.com, one of Prezi’s 15 most popular prezis as of this writing. Pay special attention to “slide” 5, the first segment to show video, and notice exactly how the viewer gets to the video! This slide in particular demonstrates how to bring the learner “into the museum” – a big win for our teacher.
The tour, though, is only one aspect of the teacher’s challenge. The second, named above, is to find a way for students to work together on a group critique of certain pieces from the museum collection. I recommend having student groups each set up a wiki – noted by Simonson et all (2012, p. 129) as “an excellent tool for collaborative online writing assignments and group activities.” Using the wiki concept, our teacher could break the assignment into its component parts, having the students first contribute individually to the wiki (which would allow her to grade them individually), and then compile their findings into a group critique (enabling her to grade their ability to collaborate and compile their ideas). Wikis have been used for some years now to enable both students and educators to collaborate and build on each other’s work. Here is a link to a wiki about wikis: http://educationalwikis.wikispaces.com/Examples+of+educational+wikis
I can’t wait to see how our history teacher’s class turns out! Can you?
Cutco Demo. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.viewcutco.com
educationalwikis – Examples of educational wikis. (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2013, from http://educationalwikis.wikispaces.com/Examples+of+educational+wikis
Prezi – Ideas matter. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.prezi.com
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and Learning at a Distance: Foundations of Distance Education (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.