Geology Instructor, Alvin Coleman, gave hisÂ students options this semester.Â Students were divided into groups and ask to research and present on a specific geologic/environmental disaster.Â The oral presentation did not have any specific visual requirements.Â Alvin left it up to the individuals groups to decide theirÂ presenting the material.Â Â Coleman did, however,Â introduce a new visual tool toÂ his students. Prezi, a free web-basedÂ presentation software.
Prezi is non-linear. Think of it as aÂ concept map rather than a typical slide (Power Point) presentation.Â
Perks of Prezi
Access anywhere, anytime.Â You don’t have to worry about carrying around your flashdrive.
Real time collaboration- can have up to 3 people working on a presentation at the same time.
Presentations are stored “in the cloud”.Â 500MB of storage if you join with an education license.
Ability toÂ download a flashÂ copyÂ of yourÂ presentationÂ to your computer.
The design and specficationsÂ of the assignment were clearÂ and provided toÂ the students.Â Coleman also provided a detailed grading rubric in addition to the project requirements.Â
Here’s a look at some of the Prezi’s groups created….
Have you ever experienced the ignition of a spark behind some one’s eyes during instruction or a lecture? I’m not necessarily referring to the classic “aha!” moment. This spark lies deeper, it’s the moment some one’s eyes say to you, “Yes I get it, and not only that, I can’t wait for other people to get it too.”
To bear witness to moments such as this are rare and beautiful. It is infectious and captivating. While conducting a workshop on Digital Storytelling last month, I saw it. I saw the exact moment of the “reigniting of creative passion” as she so delicately worded it herself in a recent write up for the English Department’s newsletter. It was then I knew I had a partner in my Digital Storytelling pursuit (ahem… obsession).
Originally a communications major, BridgetÂ Floyd worked asÂ a DJ for the local radio station in Morehead, NC.Â But working in the limelight left Bridget with a desire to reach out and do something more for humankind. She wanted to make a difference in people’s lives.Â To inspire.Â Bridget wanted to teach.Â So,Â Bridget headed back to her Alma mater, East Carolina University, to pursue a Masters in Creative Writing.
Bridget Floyd has worked in the English Department for the last seven years andÂ even has her own family within the CFCC family.Â Her hubby is Justin Floyd, the talented graphic designer.Â [side note: the story of how these two became one. wicked cute. ask them.]
It quickly becomesÂ clear on your first encounter with Bridget that she has an inner strength and passion for life that most can only hope for.
Tech-NO-logy.Â The technology-infused-instruction spectrum is vastÂ that is for sure.Â On one end you have the “I just–I am justÂ NOTÂ good atÂ technology” attitude toÂ Jimmy Fallon’s Â SNL character Nick Burns: The ComputerÂ Guy. Â Â Watch it.
Yes.Â As quick as technology advances, it becomes outdated.Â Â WeÂ begin to convince ourselves and others that it’s a waste of precious instructionalÂ time to learn the “newest” thing.Â Â Soon it willÂ become just another useless object sitting in the corner ofÂ a classroom, right?Â Â Bridget was brutally honestÂ Â in her write up Reigniting Creative Passion Through Technology when sheÂ stated, “Our students are the generation devoted to fast paced technology, and some of us, mostly me, are still stuck in the year 2000.”
No. This admission does not make Bridget Floyd an ineffective teacher. Quite the contrary.Â Bridget felt a need to try something different.Â She signed up for a 60 minute Digital Storytelling Workshop.Â
The crux of the Digital Storytelling workshop was to introduce the participants toÂ the wonderful world of Animoto. This is a lovely place where anyone can create a professional looking slide show simplyÂ by: uploading images, writing 32 or less characters of text, selecting a song, and clicking the ‘Finalize” button.Â Animoto does the production work for you somewhere off in cyberspace and sends you a confirmationÂ email when they’re done.
During the workshop, the participants were askedÂ come up with their own definition ofÂ ‘digital storytelling’ using Animoto as their medium.Â But, Bridget didn’t stop there, she went home that nightÂ and created an Animoto of the English Department’sÂ Welcoming of Spring Celebration. She sharedÂ it with her fellow faculty.Â AndÂ we have lift off.Â Â
Ground control to Major Tom
In less than a month, Bridget has successfully created and implemented two new Animotos on rhetorical modes (check out her one on ‘Argument’ below) and has plans to complete the other three this summer.Â Bridget said that the fast-paced movementÂ and musicÂ inÂ the Animotos haveÂ herÂ Developmental English students begging for more.Â
Bridget also worked withÂ Margo Williams toÂ introduce Animoto toÂ studentsÂ asÂ an option for using itÂ with their creative writingÂ Â projects. When Bridget’s students read The Color of Water novel this fall,Â she has plans to strengthen students critical thinking skills by converting ‘images to text’.Â And how will they doÂ this? You guessed it, Animoto.
Â Can you hear me Major Tom?
Bridget Floyd not only reignitedÂ the spark of passion within herself but me as well.Â While she was at home that nightÂ creating a beautiful slide show of her faculty comrades, I was atÂ homeÂ daydreaming ofÂ co-teaching aÂ free Digital StorytellingÂ WorkshopÂ to the community. ImagineÂ the many magnificent life stories our residents could tell if only they had a means…
Thank you Bridget for reminding me of why I became an instructional technologist, and thank you for agreeing to be my Digital Storytelling partner-in-crime.
Most seasoned veterans of CFCC are aware of Portals Annual Literary andÂ Arts Magazine.Â But for newbies like me, I began to wonder why I kept seeing red rockets (see below) in flight on inconspicuous walls and bulletin boards around campus.Â Curiosity led me to the English Department’s webpage and… “voila!”Â Suddenly, I was immersed in beautiful works of art and literature created by Cape Fear Community College’s pride and joy – the students. With an online archive dating back to 2004, anyone can get their fill of poetry, fiction,Â essays, artÂ and photography.
In The Beginning
The origins of Portals began in the late 1990′s as a small xeroxed “handout”, if you will, of student pieces.Â A collection of their hard work throughout the semester, a keepsake.
[Fade to black]
In comes Margo Williams, English instructor, who gave new life to Portals.Â Margo, with the help of another instructor and a coupleÂ of student interns publishedÂ an online versionÂ of PortalsÂ in 2003.Â Â With a vision and a school grant from the CFCC Foundation, Margo brought the magazine (in classy black n’ white fashion) to print in 2004.
It Takes a Village…
As theÂ revitalized literary and arts magazine gained popularity and status, Williams recruited fellow English Department members to the Portals team. One can imagine that publishing a magazine is no easy task.Â The 2010Â issue, headed by Meredith Merrill,Â had a grand total of 32 members of faculty and staffÂ (12 English department and 20 CFCC faculty/staff recruits) who collaborated to getÂ 1000Â copies into print.Â Editors, editorial assistants, judges, art and photography editors,Â layout and design.Â Merrill lead the committee from 2005-2010 andÂ is due some serious credit for securing additional funding and increasing readership of the magazine. Â HeadingÂ up the 2011Â Portals CommitteeÂ is the beautiful, talented writer/instructor, Jada Ach.Â SheÂ has what it takes to coordinate something of this magnitude, passion and youth.
…AndÂ an Artist
Does the imageÂ below Â look familiar?Â It should,Â it’s everywhere–and catchy. You can’t help but stop and admire the eloquentÂ selection of font type, object placementÂ and color scheme. Â Â This year’sÂ flyer was designed byÂ one of CFCC’s most talented artists (who just happens to be on our payroll), web designer, Justin Floyd. Justin has designed the Portals flyer for the past 3 years. Fan-tas-tic design? Yes.
The Good Stuff
To publish a magazine you need content.Â The English Department has done an unbelievable job of encouraging students to submit a piece of their work.Â As added incentive to “get published”, cash prizes are awarded forÂ 1st, 2nd and 3rd place writing pieces and if your photograph gets selectedÂ for the cover art…100 bucks. And if that isn’t enough to entice the students, new this year is the Louise McColl Award for Literary Excellence (350 smackers!)
Faculty and staff, feeling left out? There’s even a separate category for us! $100 award for a writing piece. Sorry Charlie, we’re too late for this year’s entries, the deadline was in November 2010.
Over 300 pieces of literature and art were submitted for entry this year.Â Â Entries must adhere to strict guidelines and are onlyÂ accepted through anÂ online submission form. All submissions are directed to a special PortalsÂ Groupwise email account.Â The entire process is cyclical in nature.
This April, the awardsÂ ceremony for PortalsÂ will be held in Tabitha’s courtyard.Â The ceremony includesÂ readings from winners, a performance from CFCC’s orchestra, light refreshments and a jolly good time.Â Bring yourself and a friend and support CFCC’s most talented writers and artists. I know I’ll be there on a lovely spring day.
It’s no secret that the Math Department has got it goin’ on when it comes to technology infused instruction. But, since my arrival at CFCCÂ last November, I’ve heard a name repeatedly dropped into theÂ “techie” conversations.Â It’s almost like a whisper…Clauuuuude Mooooooooooore.
Where to begin?
Dr. Claude Moore was paving the way for technology integration when I was still taking my dolls for a ride in theÂ Radio Flyer.
Example #1 in the early 1980′s Claude had a student who was leaving for a few weeks one semester to go to NYC and study design.Â Rather than having her withdraw or get grossly behind in class, Claude videotapedÂ all of his lessons and mailed the videocassettes via FedEx to New York. Talk about innovation and dedication!
Example #2 while working at Danville Community College in Virginia, Claude was the first instructor to deliver class through satellite television.
Example #3 he started his own math webpage in 1997.Â It’s still active!
Math Department and Moore…
The Math Department works hard to prepare students for the work force.Â Â From screen captured lesson recordings using Camtasia to interactive web-based lessons created with Soft Chalk, the students are in abundanceÂ of resources to help them in their mathematical endeavors.Â TheÂ Math DepartmentÂ has initiated Student Workshops andÂ work together organizingÂ the upcoming events using the collaborative tool, Google Docs.Â Department Chair, Kenneth Hufham,Â definitelyÂ keeps ahead of the curve and just recentlyÂ purchased web cams for every math instructor.
Claude MooreÂ is spritely, full of energy, knowledge and ideas. After spending over 40 years in the field of education and teaching, this is a rare find. Claude began working at Cape Fear Community College in 2005.Â He is the webmaster for the Math/PE Department and the Math Lab page.
It’s the students that count
When it comes down to it, Claude Moore is dedicated to his students and a master of his craft.Â Everything Â (class notes, lectures, problem examples, etc) is posted onlineÂ and available 24/7 for his students.
The Business Technologies Department is without a doubt up-to-date with current technology trends.Â Melissa Watson, CIS 110Â & 111 instructor, is the MVP of the VCL at CFCC (how are those acronyms for ya’?).
Virtual Computing Lab, or VCL,Â is just that, a computer lab ourÂ students can access from home.Â North Carolina State University, who houses the project, hasÂ partnered with community colleges in NC to spread the use of the program.
WithÂ studentÂ enrollment approaching 600 forÂ CIS 110/111 distance learning sections for the year, Melissa Watson recognized a need. Students who “do not reside near the campuses or who use a Mac computer are now provided with an opportunity to use a computer from home that includes all the software required for their courses without having to travel to one of the school’s’ Learning Labs”, states Watson.
Recruiting the help and expertise of both Dom Friant (IT Services) and Pat Hogan (Business Technologies Chair), Watson has successfully providedÂ students with access to 20 virtual computers.
How does it work for students?
Head to the lab! Turn onÂ the PC or Mac and head toÂ the VCL homepage toÂ login.
Make a reservationÂ Â Strictly on a first-come-first-serve-basis, students reserve anÂ environment (ex: WinXP), date and duration for use of the virtual machine.
Transform At the time of reservation the student’s computer is literally transformed into a CFCC imageÂ while running the app.