Category Archives: Technology

What is a Virtual Conference Presentation?

EdMedia 2013 Slides

Click the slide above to open the slide-deck on SlideShare

I recently presented our paper Learning and Teaching as Communicative Actions: New Ways of Learning – Transmedia at EdMedia in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada for Leila Mills, Scott Warren, and me. It wasn’t like any conference presentation I had done before because the presentation was virtual. That is, no travel, no hotel cost, no being lost in an unknown city, but managed from my computer, and all green!

Thirty-one papers had been accepted for the EdMedia virtual presentations. These were either posters, corporate showcases, or similar to ours; virtual briefs. The submission process was the same as for submitting to the actual conference in Victoria, except for choosing the virtual presentation option, the final paper was submitted on the same deadline as other accepted papers, and the registration fee was due when all attendees’ fees were due. The first real difference was that virtual presenters were required to upload their PowerPoint presentation.

The presentation space was set up on a platform called http://academicexperts.org/ where each registered attendee receive their own dashboard, i.e., a space where to customize the profile information, upload their publications, a message center, a friends area, and privacy settings. There was also the discussion area that was specifically related to the conference presentation. The dashboard further included a menu bar, which linked to Add to Planner, Discuss, Share, Download paper, View Slides, and Download Slides. All facilitating communication and participation at the conference.

EdMedia Presenter Dashboard
My conference dashboard

Clicking the Download Paper option, the submitted conference paper was downloaded by other presenters and likewise the PowerPoint could be either viewed on the website or downloaded for viewing on the individual’s computer. The upload option for PowerPoint had included either submission of a pptx file or a pdf file. I chose the pdf option to bring down the file size as I had large photos on our PowerPoint. This resulted in the snafu that the presentation did not show online, however, it could still be downloaded. EdMedia had sent out an email mentioning that virtual presenters would be contacted about an optional voice-over recording of their presentation. This never happened, so I was glad that I had added more text on my slides than I would normally do.

The second difference was that virtual presenters were required to post an initial discussion question or discussions starter in their presentation discussion area. This was to spur online discourse around the presentation. The discussion was to be maintained by the presenter throughout the conference. Most active discussions and most recent discussions were shared on the virtual conference dashboard.

EDMEDIA2013-dashboard

Conference dashboard with most active and newest discussions

The conference lasted four days, June 24-27. There was not a lot of discussion going on. One comment was posted as a reply to my introductory discussion prompt, which I replied to, however, beyond that there was no discussion. It appears this was the case with other presentations as well. When I reviewed the most active discussions thread after the conference had ended, the one with most post had ten posts in total with comments from only 3 different participants.

We are still learning to present over computers, and we will get better at it in the future.  With practice more people will start communicating with each other during these venues and virtual presentations do provide a convenient way to get your work out there, and shared with other researchers. The AACE EdMedia and SITE conferences provide virtual presenters with the same publication option, i.e., to index and publish the presentation in EditLib following the conference: http://editlib.org/.

Overall, I am pleased with the virtual presentation and can definitely consider it again as it provided a convenient option to share my most recent work even when my travel funds were limited and for the benefit that I could review what other researchers are working on.

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Presentation slides: http://www.slideshare.net/jwakefield/edmedia2013

Back from AERA 2011

Last week I went to New Orleans for the AERA 2011 conference. I had submitted a paper called “What’s Up with Gender and Math Technology – A Gender Gap Persists at the Higher Education Level” together with my major professor Scott J. Warren, Ph.D. and it got accepted as a poster to my delight. Delight, especially because I submitted it in the summer of 2010 when I was taking my very first course in the ECMP Doc program. I realize in hindsight that this was a very brave move for a novice such as me, but my decision was supported by my professor so I just went with it. In a sense, I submitted it because I was angry and wanted to stop being angry, but that is whole other story to be told the day I graduate from the ECMP program. Continue reading

Insight at SITE

Back from the SITE conference in Nashville, where I was presenting with two peers, I have come to insight on how much I have learned in my first year in the UNT Learning Technologies ECMP Doctoral Program. Thinking back to last year, when I was in the Master’s program, I recall what it was like attending and presented at TxDLA in Continue reading

Scott J. Warren, Ph.D. “Emerging Ethical Issues in Virtual Worlds” March 11, 2010 at UT Dallas

Dr. Scott J. Warren was invited as a guest lecturer for a Metta Alsobrook’s seminar of 83 engineering students at UT Dallas on March 11th, 2010. I held an introduction to Second Life and how UT Dallas got their three new islands in August 2009, and what we are currently doing with these islands: Undergraduate students have been teamed with campus clients to develop content for the clients on the islands and at the same time learn the emerging technology and create competitive portfolio for themselves for the future. I developed the program called Students Second Life Success and am running it during spring semester.   Continue reading

Participatory Learning

Interested in learning more about Participatory Learning I sought out some videos on YouTube where MIT’s Henry Jenkins speaks.

Participatory Learning is about working and learning together using the rich variety of technology tools available today. Our new digital citizens use wikis, blogs, smart phones, virtual worlds, and games to come together, share ideas, and experiences. Digital learners use the upwards process; building on existing knowledge and constructing new knowledge. But not only that, they work in groups, with peers, or in social networks teaching each other in a viral way. These learners are the participatory learners that combine learning and social life. Using the rich flora of freely available media and technology tools gives these learners a stake in the learning thus making learning very stimulating and inspiring. Eradiating and sharing your passion, inpiration, and knowledge could thus be seen as tools to change people’s attitudes.

Looking closer at this new theory though, can these learners really teach themselves and their peers? Is the role of teacher passé? Are the students content experts enough to be able to carry a good dialogue substituting a guiding teacher? Are learners learning what they need to know in the future, just from each other? Is the social communication enough to produce the scholars we need tomorrow to keep the US as a world leader?

We need the communication, for sure. We hunger for it and use the Web 2.0 tools available to connect and share. But we also need the teachers, the educators, the professors to guide and facilitate our conversation, the dialogue, the discourse. How else would we stay on track and reach our goals? Who would help us develop goals? If not given goals many people choose not to make their own, even knowing having goals enriches life. How would this course have turned out with Participatory Learning instead of Learning and Teaching as Communicative Action as a guiding theory?

Let’s Change the World!

Dr. Lisa Dawley, Department Chair of EdTech, Boise State University, presents to the EdTech 597 class (Social Networks Learning in Virtual Worlds) on Participatory Learning, Online Learning, and Social Networking in this 52 minute audio recording from 11-12-09.

WMA file (37 MB – Windows Media Player required)

MP3 file (47 MB)

Dr. Dawley’s slides that go with the audio presentation are available through Slideshare. Run them while listening, for a unique experience.

Captured and published with Dr. Dawley’s  permission.

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Virtual Office Hours

docwarren

Dr. Warren decided to hold virtual office hours mid semester. This is what I have been waiting for, an online professor with the will and skill to meet and greet students in-world. It adds so much to an online course when you’re able to talk real-time instead of just shuffling emails back and forth and, in worst scenario, misunderstanding the message.

I had talked to our client earlier this week about “cues”. She was concerned, and with all rights to be so,  that she wouldn’t be able to see the students anymore. What I conveyed to her was that using voice in Second Life is the way that she will get back the “cues” that go missing when you turn a F2F to an online course. Since Second Life doesn’t really allow for you to see the students facial expressions in the real, what you’re left with is the ability to hear what might be wrong by using voice conversations. Now comes the fun part to actually make everyone use voice! I prefer it, but not everyone does.

Kudos to you Dr. Warren for your initiative and for expressing your enthusiasm over in-world meetings!