Pontfications on the field of Educational Technology and Instructional Design.

Bare with me as I ponder the meaning of education in the 21st century from the perspecitive of an instructional designer.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Of Zork and Dorks...

Ok. I admit it. When I was a Jr. Higher I loved to play Zork 1 on the computer. It was an interactive fiction "game" that had no graphics whatsoever. In fact, it was purely text. The game happened in my imagination as I interacted with the computer software and plowed through the adventure. I always assumed that I liked it because I was a bit of a geeky dork who enjoyed such things.

Fast forward 20+ years and Zork 1 is back in my life. I was first reminded of it when I read it on TJ Kopcha's blog, my professor from SDSU, as "interactive fiction". The thought was that there might be some real value in this for education today.

Turns out he was right. I decided to install it in my lab and invite classes down during their reading period to "read" the interactive fiction. Kids absolutely love it. They don't even seem to realize that they are reading intently for meaning, writing clearly, and making decisions about what they are reading. Since then, I've brought it into my own exploratory computers class for a reward activity and kids just can't seem to get enough of it.

So turns out that Zork has universal appeal and that maybe I'm not such a dork after all. Well, maybe.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Very Classy--544 and 572 that is.

What can be said? I really enjoyed working in 544 and 572. I am very glad that I had the opportunity to work out "Digital Story Telling 101" as a unit. I has actually opened my eyes up to the possibility of publishing more and more of my lessons as websites. I think I will migrate the site to WordPress, however, since I really like their features and abilities. They are quite a lot more flexible and design oriented. I already created the site name of http://digitalstorytelling101.wordpress.com. I want to follow this up with http://podcasting101.wordpress.com. This will be used initially for a gate class I'm developing.

So my point is, that these courses really lent themselves well to designing instruction and actually putting the rubber to the road. The projects from both courses really lent themselves well to my whole instructional unit.
I liked that:
  • The courses were integrated together.
  • Their were weekly tips and tidbits for use in the class.
  • The readings were free in 544!
  • A real attempt was made to work collaboratively in groups.
  • The assignments were extremely practical and can be put to use in my classroom and district immediately.

I would recommend:
  • Get the group-work figured out. I loved the idea, but it was a bit hard to manage. Perhaps find a new medium other than Adobe Connect. Perhaps have everyone get Skype and try conference calls. 9 people can video conf. at a time and they also have free addons for file and screen sharing. (ie. Spontanea and pandea)
  • Emphasize to everyone that all projects can (and probably should) be created with an end toward the instructional package. It really enhanced the scope of my unit because I was creating it all semester.
  • Streamline the websites a bit. You might even put them on the same Moodle so it is not necessary to constantly switch back and forth.
  • Work out the schedule a bit more in advance. I was sometimes confused about if we were having class or not.
  • 544-Rename all the readings so that they match up with the assignments given in the Moodle. Perhaps just, Week 1 reading, Week 2 reading, etc... The problem was that their were 3 ch. 4's and the names of the PDF's did not match up with the names in the Moodle assignments.