Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Documentary Heaven

I am a visual learner.  When someone like me decides to learn, their first instinct isn't to pick up a text book or to attend a classroom where they will listen to a professor speak for an hour.  Our first instinct is to look for something visual.  It may be a PowerPoint, or a flash demonstration or for that matter a full movie on the topic that we hope to learn about.  For me there is nothing more pleasent than learning though a rich combination of visual and audio elements.

In every class you teach or for every online course you design, you will have learners who are just like me.  If you want these learners to become engaged, the use of video will draw them right in.  Of course continue to cater to all learning styles but the visual folks will love a good movie.

I stumbled across a great site that contains videos which seem to actually reside on Google or Youtube video.  It's called Documentary Heaven.  Unlike Youtube or Google Video, this site is organized into full feature length documentary films.  If you maintain a blog like I do you can cut and paste the "embed code" from the video's source on Youtube directly into your blog.  Double clicking on the videos found here will bring you to their source on Youtube where the "embed code" can easily be found.

For example, I love the history of the Mayan people.  Ever since I visited the Mayan ruins in Mexico I have been fascinated with their history and culture.  If I was teaching a course on Ancient Mexico I could embed the following video that I found by simply searching for "Maya" on Documentary Heaven, copy and past the "embed code" into the "Edit HTML" tab of your blog's entry page.  The result is something like this...

Alternatively you could use this during an online or instructor led course as well. Your visual learners like me will become much more engaged and will certainly enjoy learning as well.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Use Screenr to Create PC Tutorials

I'm not an expert on this particular tool (yet), but I discovered it today and see a real application towards e-learning.  Screenr is a web based tool for capturing on screen tutorials and other PC type actions for creating simulations.  If you have already invested in Adobe Captivate or another similar tool then you don't need it, however as free web 2.0 type tools go, this is pretty cool.  Here is a screenr produced by a fellow training blogger Tom Kuhlmann :

So it seems that all you need is a browser, a microphone and a good idea.  As I learn more about this really neat web application, I will post more details, however you  can check out Tom's blog on rapid e-Learning and his other Screenr videos below:

75-year-old immigrant gets her third U.S. college degree -

Really neat how this woman continues to learn and grow even into her 70s. I hope I am as motivated when I'm 75.

75-year-old immigrant gets her third U.S. college degree -