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Assignment 3 – ePortfolio

Assignment 3 – ePortfolio

ePortfolio for Paul Bienvenu

For this ePortfolio, I choose to look at two posts that contained a number of graphics, videos and audio files that I felt were representative of the learning I did in this course. I have linked each post below, and then included some analysis of the pieces, and links to the theory I used to support the creation of these media pieces. I would love to hear your feedback!

Media Piece One: Infographics and Interactive Graphics for a Lesson on Shakespeare’s Theatre.

Description and Explanation of Graphics:

I was not particularly happy with some of the graphics and video I made earlier in the course, and so I went back to create a few others to support a lesson I created on Shakespeare’s Theatre. 

The infographic that I include near the beginning of the lesson was created using Canva. I wanted to couple images and text together, in order to aid student understanding and ability to remember key information. I also know that it is hard for students to visualize the layout of the Elizabethan stage without having seen examples, and so wanted to expose them to at least one visual representation. The text I used included bolded words, as I attempted to use the Principle of Signaling (Mayer, 2014, p. 390) to highlight essential concepts.

 Several open source images were included in the graphic which were drawn from images created around Shakespeare’s time period. I debated whether to use Johannes Witt’s print of The Swan, as it has text on it that is in another language, and I knew that this would complicate the processing experience for students, but in the end, I left it in, as it was one of the few authentic contemporary sources available, and was certainly the best of the open source diagrams of Elizabethan theatres that I was able to source. 

Dunlap and Lowenthal’s article reminded me that “Educators need to ensure that all the visual elements are contributing to the conveyance of the instructional message and eliminate those that only function as decoration,” (Dunlap, 2016). I found myself challenged to present the information in a visually appealing way, but not include decorative features. In the end, I got rid of many elements I felt were decorative, and tried to keep the graphic as simple as possible. 

I also included a second graphic, this one an interactive one that I made using HP5. This original image is of the modern Globe Theatre and was taken from Wikicommons. Different points on the image can be interacted with and textual information about that area of the stage appears. As Dunlap and Lowenthal’s article states, “visuals help improve memory and recall,” and I wanted to include several different types of media so that students would have the opportunity to draw information from more than just textual sources. The textual description of The Globe included in the lesson is quite thorough, but I wanted to include depictive references for students to use to draw inferences about how big an actor would have looked on stage, or how close audience members would have been to the stage (Schnotz, 2021).

I have often been caught up in the trap of encouraging students to write more and longer compositions in order to explain themselves, as “I thought that encouraging students to improve their writing invariably involved encouraging greater depth, adding more detail, crafting more complex sentences” (Vogelsinger, 2014). However, I keep having to remind myself that more isn’t always better, and that my being concise and to the point is both helpful for students, and models behaviour that is important for them to learn. The infographic I included attempted to highlight a number of key points from textual sources included later in the lesson, and was to serve as an example for students who wished to summarize their understanding through the creation of an infographic. 




Media Piece Two: Videos for a Lesson on Shakespeare’s Theatre.

Description and Explanation of Videos:

I included two videos in this lesson that I felt were worthwhile in providing students a greater understanding of the layout of Shakespeare’s theatre. Both of these videos were filmed simply, by using a smartphone camera attached to a tripod using a rubber band. I kept the soundscape very simple, opting to focus entirely on my voice without any additional music or background noises. The video was uploaded into iMovie where it was cut into several smaller pieces, before being uploaded to Youtube.com. By uploading it to Youtube, I took advantage of the accessibility options that are available through that platform, including the closed captioning feature, the ability to easily access full screen viewing, and the inclusion of timestamps alongside the ability to pause and rewind.

 In creating these videos I decided to use several techniques to aid in student engagement. Following the recommendations for making an engaging video outlined in Guo et al.’s 2014 article, I tried to do three things with purpose: pre-plan to allow the videos to be relatively short, include free flowing movement with my hands and extemporaneous speech, and allow my enthusiasm for the topic to come out. Although I feel that my drawing of diagrams was a little suspect, and my handwriting certainly was less than ideal, the authors of that article also pointed out that personal and informal videos are often more engaging than those created with a big budget studio feel, so I decided to include what I had created. I also know that in order for a video to be effectively used in the classroom, it has to get made, and from my perspective as a classroom teacher and administrator, I often balk at making videos to support student learning because I tend to want to make them perfect. If I can allow myself to publish a video that is not as polished or perfect as it might be after fifteen takes, I can realistically find the time to create effective videos like these, which can support student learning. 

I chose to do a “whiteboard style” video not just to support student engagement, but also because it adhered to a number of the principles that Fiorella discussed in their chapter entitled “Multimedia Learning with Instructional Video”. By drawing the diagrams of the theatre in real time, or “drawing while explaining,” (Fiorella, 2022) I was adhering to the segmenting principle, and presented information “part-by-part” rather than as a whole. In order to reduce extraneous processing my hand served as a way to direct “students attention to the appropriate parts of the diagrams” and I used the pen to point directly to specific parts of the theatre as I drew, in order to direct student attention to the section my words were speaking about. I also spoke at the same time as I drew, using the temporal contiguity principle to help manage student processing. Overall though, the reason I choose to draw was because I liked the idea that students observing me draw might gain a sense of partnership, as according to social agency theory students that see an instructor investing effort to help them learn will be “more motivated to engage in the generative processing necessary for making sense of the learning material” (Fiorella, 2022). 

When I first made the video it was almost nine minutes long. Mayer’s Principle of Segmenting, (Mayer, 2014) or breaking continuous narration into smaller segments, suggests that complex lessons should be broken down into more manageable chunks. I realized that one continuous video was really just too long to be effective for my audience of 14 year olds, and I cut the clip into two much shorter sections, and even dropped the entire last half of the video, as I felt that it contained a number of “seductive details” (Mayer, 2020) which distracted from the key learning that I wanted students to take away. For instance I spent almost a minute of deleted video speaking about the flag which flew above the theatre on days when the plays were being performed. This was an interesting detail certainly, but not one that would really help students understand the layout of the Elizabethan theatre.




Media Piece Three: Audio For a Lesson on Poetry

Description and Explanation of Audio:

When I created the audio recording I tried to make sure that my voice was clear,  and I took care to record in a space where there was minimal additional background noise, but I still found it was important to take time to  and that there were silences at the beginning and end of the recordings (Carter, 2012). I found that despite my care in trying to avoid excess noise, I had to use the program Audacity to edit out background noise – the plane flying overhead, and my children playing in the living room for instance- using the noise reduction tool. I also spent a good deal of time editing the work to ensure that the periods of silence before and after speaking were of a length that provided some processing time for students, but were not long enough to cause a student to become disengaged or distracted. While recording I was very careful to avoid “unexpected silences, hesitations, and “um” moments” as these “make the listener have to “work” to remain actively engaged in understanding the information being provided,” (Carter, 2012) and I wanted to help the learner easily develop their understanding of the content being communicated.

For the first section of the recording I choose to use a style of audio recording for this lesson that Carter described as a “personal narrative format,” (Carter, 2012). I tried to use a conversational style, in that I spoke directly to the listener at times, and referenced the audience when I wanted them to perform a task. I kept in several anecdotes about my childhood connection to this poem, as I felt that they were relevant to the task, and provided an example for students to use when thinking about why they might feel a particular way about a piece of text. In other words I felt they were not extraneous, and so did not affect the coherence of the audio (Mayer, 2014). 

When I switched to a “poetic format” while reading the poem I wanted students to interact with, I made sure to include a moment of silence, in order to emphasize a shift. During this section I gave particular attention to the emphasis I placed on “delivery, approach, and inflection” (Carter, 2012) as I wanted students to carefully interact with the words, rhythm and tone of the piece. 

I chose not to add any additional music or sound effects as Carter suggests that “audio instruction should assist learners by eliminating unnecessary complexities,” (Carter, 2012). With this in mind I deliberately chose a less complex poem to record, and was careful in planning out my script to avoid longer sentences and complex vocabulary. In attempting to foster generative processing in my students, I was careful to follow three of Mayer’s principles. I included text and spoken words to align with the Multimedia Principle, used a conversational tone and spoke directly to the audience to align with the Personalization Principle, and made sure that I used my own voice rather than a machine generated one in order to align with the Voice Principle (Mayer, 2014). 





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