Posted on Nov 19, 2018

Google Translate: Freund oder Feind (Friend or Enemy)?

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Google Translate Venn Diagram

Google Translate is an astonishing program. It converts words and even whole sentences back and forth from dozens of languages through multiple modalities; you can type, handwrite, scan, and even say whatever you want to communicate. Its accuracy—at least in French, German, and Spanish, the three languages that I...

Posted on Oct 05, 2018

A Microlearning Approach to Education

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YouTube on Smartphone

There are two approaches you can take to education, a macro approach and a micro approach, although these two approaches are not mutually exclusive. A macro approach, as the name implies, focuses on education at a larger scale, at the level of institutions, accreditation, academic program design, and so...

Posted on Jul 13, 2018

VideoScribe: A Powerful Whiteboarding Video Creation Tool

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VideoScribe is a powerful but simple animated whiteboarding video creation tool by Sparkol, Inc. Using text, images, audio, and a large library of premade stylized artwork, VideoScribe makes it easy to create professional-quality narrated whiteboard videos quickly and easily with a minimum of other tools or technical knowledge. VideoScribe...

Posted on Jul 09, 2018

Confessions of a SMECWID 2: The Message in the Medium, or Thinking Outside the LMS

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In a culture like ours, long accustomed to splitting and dividing all things as a means of control, it is sometimes a bit of a shock to be reminded that, in operational and practical fact, the medium is the message. This is merely to say that the personal and...

Posted on Jun 01, 2018

Teaching Controversial Materials in the Online Classroom: Forbearance, Turpitude, or Learning Opportunity?

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Two mouths fighting with tongues like fists

“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” —Albert Einstein, US (German-born) physicist (1879 – 1955), no original source given   As news and social media make readily apparent today, almost any subject can be controversial. In fact, contentious debate...

Posted on May 31, 2018

Instructional Design Lessons for Today from 1980s Edutainment Software: Gertrude’s Secrets

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I grew up in a unique time in the history of educational technology, being part of the first generation to grow up with personal computers in the classroom. For context, my kindergarten classroom (circa 1983) had a TRS-80 computer (in the back corner of the classroom, naturally), and the...

Posted on May 23, 2018

21st-Century Content Development: Google Docs and Cloud-Based Content Development Tools

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The rise of email communication in the 1980s and ’90s led to an increase in collaboration on content development projects of all sorts, as it became easy to email word processor files back and forth between collaborators and stakeholders. Emailing files back and forth was certainly cheaper than flying...

Posted on May 11, 2018

Recovering Broken Web Links and Resources with Archive.org

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Italy Columns

Using external web resources, such as online articles, files, and websites in your online courses is a powerful way to include provide a world of information and resources to your students at minimal cost. External web resources, however, come with certain user-experience risks, namely that sometimes web resources are...

Posted on Apr 17, 2018

Getting Over Stumbling Blocks (of Text): Creating Engaging Content Pages

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A collection of letters carved into wood blocks in various shapes and sizes

Online courses today are generally composed of various elements, such as content pages, quizzes, discussions, etc., that are organized by a Learning Management System (LMS). Content pages (i.e., those whose primary job it is to present information) are the bread and butter of most courses, since they contain the material...