Feargal Sharkey, Environmentalist and erstwhile front man musician, talks watervoles and chalk stream ecosystems and their demise.
It matters to make a difference. My goal is to create elearning that meets a need or tackles a problem NOT to indulge a person, department or institution by creating sexy creations which many bells and interactive whistles that achieves nothing.
Working with Special Education Needs & Disability Students could not be more sharply and clearly defined as making a difference - and in a digital environment where many of them feel confident.
Working in education the ever present pressure though is on resources: financial and human. We cannot and could not operate as an agency taking a brief, calculating needs and costs and schedulnig the work load for a team of people to then research, write and execute.
Here I have to make do being a 'Jack of All Trades' and work around the limited availabiity of teachers.
Courtesy of Stagecoach I got on a bus to take a series of 360 images that will then be stitched together into a clickable 'Tour' for Special Educational Needs students' Independent Travel Training.
This will shortly have sets of clickable tags, a video clip and hotspot and perhaps a simple quiz.
It's official ! I know my stuff. I can use all the tools and teach others how to use it too.
ThingLink Certified Educators are asked to complete several expertise modules as part of the certification process. The educators are required to complete 5 modules using all ThingLink features and share their work.
At the 2019 Armistice Day ceremony at the Cenotaph yesterday organised by The Western Front Association and now in its 25th year, Cerys Matthews read from Dylan Thomas's poem 'And death shall have no dominion'.
> VIDEO : http://bit.ly/33zVPAB
I am the Digital Editor for The Western Front Association - the website, social media and newsletters are my responsibility. I took an MA in British History and the First World War to get my head into the subject and to justify my position. I could spend a lifetime researching the topic.
What happens when you add a degree to you day job / life is that you get to a certain kind of freneticism, of always having something to think about and to write about.
So I have filled time left by the vaccuum of a Masters Degree with; Digital Editor for an educational charity (The Western Front Association), Head Coach of a swimming club (Hailsham SC), and a Town Councillor (Green Party, Lewes) and assorted hobbies.
Delighted that Stagecoach have been so supportive in my efforts to create an interactive 'Independent Travel Tour' for SEND students. They are not only OK with my taknig photos on the bus (just speak to the driver), but also offered to lay on a bus at the depot.
McDonald's, the favourite destination of the students, were good too.
A set of 360 clickable images in a 'Tour' will then taken the students from the college, across a couple of roads, to the bus stop, onto a bus, into town and through the shopping mall to McDonald's - and then back again!
I'll share the link here >
All to be shot on a Ricoh Theta SC and stitched together on ThingLink.
This is a piece of voice over recorded by one of our performing arts students
There are also simply video clips on how to swipe in and out of the centre, and how to login to a computer
The idea is that anyone will find it easy to create interactive 360 tours such as this for all kinds of different reasons.
Where do you think the applications are going to be most powerful?
‘Beautiful images’ said CEO of ThingLink, Ulla Maaria Koivula
I had a delightful exchange with Ulla Maaria Koivual the Creator and CEO of the burgeoning interactivities platform ThingLink this morning.
Being in Helsinki and over from the US she can more easily take up a Skype call. Otherwise this would have been late evening last night for her, breakfast for me.
I told my story, in part, with the ThingLink platform over the last 18 months. I couldn't honestly remember why or how I ended up trialing ThingLink. We had one 360 camera, bought a couple more and I started to take images. Then we looked for a host platform and tried more than one. At some point, probably because of an email making positive noises from ThingLink we got a free trial that was extended many times. Breaching some parameters summer 2018 when we got a lot of visitors I had to beg to keep us online until I pushed through a tiny spend shared between Learning Resource and Met Marketing. They were happy to oblige - keen to see the platform being used.
I shared how interest in the platform would wax and wane and how I try to sell myself to tutors as their very own agency and support and facilitor. I offered reasons why something is not followed through: students back from holidays, curriculum and time pressures ...
I gushed about the recent upgrades:
Ease of creating a 360 tour with Thumbnails
Ease of adding text and massive plus for Immersive Reader for accessibility reasons.
And just added, on the fly, a bit of audio yesterday (this to a video clip of hands pressing the Ctrl, Alt an Delete keys at a computer keyboard.
Nervously I dug out on the fly the gmail sign ins for Marketing and for Learning and Ulla was immediately able to see what I was doing, the plan we are on and much more besides I am sure.
I introduced GB MET and the advantages of being a vocational college covering things such as: construction, carpentry, aeronautics, motor vehicle workshops, performing arts, theatre, props and special effects, textiles, fine art and fashion and so on.
Ulla, coming from a teacher background some eons ago - maybe 10 years I think, wants the platform used in the classroom for collaborative project learning. Later I explained to someone how I saw this happening, say a trip behind the scenes at Glyndbourne with students taking images then tagging and annotating what they saw as a project to submit as course work. Then the act of doing this work itself embeds and ingrains the knowledge they have created and thought (and fought) over.
My experience qualifies me as a Educator. I go beyond meeting the basic criteria. Am I the first person in the UK to gain this recognotion?
It is hoped that I will be able to attend Bett Jan 23 to 26th in London and that some of the work I have created for GB MET will be showcased.
I joined the ThingLink Facebook Educators to be part of the community of active users.
Using ThingLink to create a simple, clickable, 360° tour of the Learning Resource Centre (LRC) at one of our 5 sites at GB MET for SEND students (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) I simply shot this clip on an iPad, which uploaded to my Google Photos album. I could have edited but had no need to do so. Labelled and downloaded I simply added the clip which can play on a loop until the user clicks away. I clicked on a microphone 'audio' button and added a simple commentary and we're done.
What I did find however, is that using the text box with a video clip sees the clip severely cropped. Next time I will also shot some far wider frames, possibly with a bias to the right hand side of the frame, so that the automatic cropping complements the video playback rather than rendering it useless - It is hardly good practice to show someone the need to press the Ctlr, Alt and Delete buttons together if you can only see one button. The SEND students I am advised have the mental age of children under the age of 10.
Here's the link to this frame : https://www.thinglink.com/video/1244289378725920769
What do you think?
How might these be used?
Health & Safety training and tours of college workshops?
Visits to distance building sites?
Underwater interactive tours of underwater cave systems?
What happens if you shrink to the size of a pea and are then accidentally swallowed?
Now that the development phase is passing into review, first with an SEND tutor and then with SEND studens themselves I am learning:
Value of Video Demo: signing in to a the resource centre, logging in to a computer.
Importance of talking them through things we may take for granted.
As Immersive Reader provides, best to have text on blue, yellow or green background and use Comic Sans as their favoured font as it is less 'harsh' than others.
Not all have Smartphones, say 5 out of 14 have no phone.
360 headsets would be fun to use if we had them, but proper ones!
85% are auditory, or visual/auditory learners
Though my learning from the OU is that these learning preference categories are a nonsence unfounded in any science. Rather in this instance it is a medical aid surely? Someone who cannot see, or cannot hear will have a preference away from seeing or hearing - naturally, with it having nothing to do with learning.
I am delighted to share this with the OU community and my followers. Thoughts and comments please!
I was delighted with the course tutor's response, though I'm mostly awaiting for a response from a number of the SEND students themselves. It has to work for them, and be adjusted, even reinvented so as to appeal to and to work for them!
“Slick, professional … and a lot of clicking which they will love!”
The breakthrough over recent months is the ease to create one of these tours. Here the added benefit is text that can be read by Microsoft's Immersive Reader - this makes accessibility possible with the user in charge over fonts, backgrounds and the way in which the text is read out.
Give it a go! Provide feedback. The tutor for our Special Educational Needs Students has given a resounding thumbgs up. It's the opportunity to click on lots of things, and to repeat peices they keep forgetting without having to forever ask for help (or not).
A few things yet to add and the approach will be developed once I am siting down with the students themselves to see how they respond.
Video Production Kit
PC with video card, RAM and screens
Full HD camera with Manual
Memory - lots of cards
Filters - for shallow depth of field
Fluid head tripod e.g. Manfroto 501
Sound Recorder and Sound Recording Production - Tascam or Zoom HR4N
External microphone - e.g. shot mic AT83JB
Mic stand boom pole
Lighting & Disk Reflector
Editing Software like Hit Film Express or Adobe Pro
External hard drive
And some skill at framing, interviewing, planning, manual settings, light and sound, uploading, manipulating and editing ...
This is ThingLink. Staring out as a tool for adding some interactivity to a 2d image now it embraces 360 images and 360 video and everything in between. You can add text and images, video clips and clinks. Text is now accessibility compliant was it works with Microsoft Immersive Reader.
I'm in a conference call with its creator and CEO Ulla Maaria Koivula and the head of development Ivan Kiprin on Friday to talk about their newly launched, or to be developed 'ThingLink Eductor' accreditation.
The idea is that musicians from around the globe perform one of three pieces, in advance, or on the day, the afternoon of Remembrance Sunday, before 3:00pm and put it online.
I've not sight read a pieces of music in over forty years, so I may struggle! And I don't have my flute anymore either. Once upon a time I played in a school orchestra and a school brass band. Those weren't the days.
You can get all the details here: http://bit.ly/Play4Peace2019
I love this Digital Human. Great show.
I am now in my element presenting these two multi-media platforms to PGCE Students.
It's nice to be able to do everything on the fly.
I have used ThingLink extensively over the last 18 months so am delighted with the upgrades even if several of them require me to learn some new techniques:
Not only is it becoming, far, far easier to use but upgrades include:
· Content can be downloaded to use offline.
· Audio can be added ‘in real time’ to the screen you are looking at.
· All text added using the ThingLink editor automatically includes Immersive Audio greatly improving accessibility.
With education in mind and giving students access to the platform for project work:
· Content can be shared, so a project can be developed collaboratively.
· Content can be developed as an assignment with grades given for responses. So a Health & Safety tour now becomes an interactive quiz with grades given out at the end.
And much more besides!
A choice of 65 instant language versions, tags in 360 video …
Tours themselves are already far easier to create as images are linked by selecting thumbnails of the image you want to ‘teleport’ to, rather than having to use a 27 digit URL.
What do you think? When you've learnt one App you can readily pick up another? I'd prefer to assemble and run a team of experts at this, each bringing their own skill, otherwise it is like being in a choir of ONE, where I have to sing Soprano, Treble, Tenor and Bass all my self.
HP5 will be the platform I have to master in order to create scenario-based learning. This and shoot video. illustrate and all the rest.
Maybe I'll get an illustrator involved. Maybe I'll shoot video or create a photo story instead. Anything to keep it simple.
One of seven examples provided by Anna Sabramowicz in her weekly webinar on Facebook. She runs a private group: Scenario Design Accelerator and an open group Engaging eLearning Group.
I'm delighted to have stumbled upon this the day before the event opens as I will now be going along. I am busily completing a script for a scenario-based elearning course to support SEN students with Independent Travel.
Scripting the learning is one thing. Delivering it with these kinds of tools and this level of functionality is another. Bespoke paltforms let you do this - you build it this way. Off the shelf platform are far more limited.
After a couple of weeks of distractions I am back to trying to master interactive elearning design with Anna Sabramowicz. He informal webinars on Facebook are a great place to get started, and for me to keep in touch and to regain my focus as I develop a project.
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