Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Let's Get Visual!

Let's Get Visual!

I don't know about you but I love images, that is why I enjoy spending time taking photos and trying to tell a story through a picture. In the traditional classroom and in the online world I use images a lot. Why?
  • An image, screenshot or video can save me a lot of time explaining. If students can 'see' what I am talking about they are more likely to understand.
  • A picture or graphic is a nice change of pace from the written word; it can break the monotony.
  • Images are perfect for PowerPoint presentations. One of the unwritten rules (OK it is written somewhere) for PowerPoint is "Do not read your slide to your audience!" A way to avoid this mistake is to use an image and just a word or two to prompt you during your presentation. In this way the audience is not reading ahead of you and the image helps them remember the key point.
  • The Human Development Department at NBCCSJ is known for creating and facilitating online courses. All the people involved in instructional design are asked to put an image, graphic or chart on "each" page of the lessons they are creating. This breaks the fatigue or eye strain from following the written word, adds interest to the content and gives another dimension for the participant to connect to in the learning process.
If an image works for you as a teaching aid, then imagine what a video can do! The students who come to our college are accustomed to seeing videos on YouTube, on TV, in games, and online via Facebook and other media. They can take video and images with their cell phones; video is commonplace.

Let's use that to our advantage. There are so many websites where you can find a video to suit your purpose: YouTube, TED Talks, and Forum Network. As with finding the right image it does take time to find the right video to get the point across. The good news is that you will get better at searching and finding the one you want with practice. As with any skill, you need to do it a few times to gain proficiency.

I have been using more videos this year and I have discovered a few things about their value:
  • Short is good. A 2 to 5 minute video can pack a wallop of information.
  • Videos can break up your lecture and change the pace which is refreshing for the learner.
  • They can be used to do a demonstration (hand washing for example), to start a discussion (show the video and then have some questions ready for small or large group discussions), to introduce a topic (a stimulus for what is to follow), a case study (watch the video and then do an assignment to apply learning), or as way of using humour to provoke thought (you will see an example of this in the video that I am embedding below).
  • Although I said that short is good that does not mean that longer is bad. If the video is high quality, well presented and interesting it can go much longer. Don't use poor quality video - you will lose your audience!
Here's a video that I used for my Presentation Skills class. It is 4 minutes long, comical, warns of all the mistakes that people make with PowerPoint and it was well received by my students.

The owner of Flickr image that I used at the beginning of my blog stated that the photo could be used for noncommercial purposes as long as the attribution was provided. This is one of the choices that people can make when they offer photos for others to use under the Creative Commons license.
Attribution -

1 comment:

  1. I am sooo glad that I stumbled across your blog Sue. Being of the visual ilk myself, I'm looking forward to following your ripples.