The Multimedia Classroom

The Multimedia Classroom, Part 2: The Podcast Reflection

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“walk throughs” are our reflections on video game design

This is an important time for creative teachers – we have maker classrooms, steam classrooms, and now, we have the multimedia classroom. We have the technology in our hands to employ media rich lessons in the classroom, and to allow students to gain experiences in creating these multimedia platforms as well. The latter is crucial: as media rich deployment tactics become more prevalent in the everyday workplace and in fields of innovation such as scientific research, technology, and education, students must be equipped with the knowledge to use these tools in effective, meaningful ways.

I recently posted a podcast reflection with students who had completed designing a video game using RPG Maker. Utilizing the podcast reflection vs. a written reflection for students, I facilitated a way for students to critically reflect on their work, while also providing them with a rich media experience in audio production and sharing with their listener community. Their reflections, shared here and on the sound sharing platform Soundcloud.com, no longer lay dormant on the teacher desk with red ink marking it, but are available and accessible to the world to inform and respond to, modeled after the modern platform of social and shareable information. Their experience in this medium will be invaluable, as they will now have the tools and the simple yet profound understanding that knowledge is social, and knowledge is also media rich.

To create podcasts for your classroom, here are some steps:

1. Script your questions and have your students write their responses down in a general outline (Yes! They still utilize their writing skills as well)

2. Utilize the voice recorder app on your phone, or the web-based speakpipe.com to record your conversation.

3. Upload your sounds to an account that you create on soundcloud.com

4. Share your sound on your class website, blog, or social media.

6.*If you really want to get fancy: Have them mix their podcast with intro music and fade out the sound at the end. You can use simple software like Garage Band on ios or soundation.com

The Multimedia Classroom, Part 1: Educator Websites

Recently I switched from mrevearittart.com over to beholdcreators.wordpress.com. A number of factors led to this decision, and having a landing page for my expansion from art education to educational technology was just the beginning of it (another post altogether). But the primary decision for my move was based on the premise that students and teachers need clean, modern, navigable web designs.

I thought about my webpage like it was my classroom: the physical space for my students has to be designed in such a way that cleanly and clearly facilitates and maximizes interaction between my students, myself, the lessons, and the content. That can’t happen in a poorly designed classroom, and it can’t happen on a poorly designed teacher website either. I had to ask myself, is the content on my page responsive? Does the sidebar really need to be there? My web space had to be like my physical space: It has to be welcoming. It has to be modern. It has to be designed with the user in mind. It has to inspire.

Old vs. New

Old vs. New

I looked at my old design, where the font was Times New Roman, the sidebar had a sea of links, an ongoing and unsightly ‘Google doc’ for my updates, and the header and general content looked like a webpage from 1998. I had a calendar embedded somewhere in there that served no purpose at all. Looking at creating a new design, I explored WordPress.com’s themes as templates, and decided on a minimalist design, with a clean, modern look and a simple navigation menu in lieu of the sidebar and multi-tabbed menu. The sleek look and the minimalist features of this site accomplish vastly more good than my old website. By creating posts that can be categorized in the menu bar, I have a landing page where all my content goes to live, and my students can respond and utilize the content they need and find it simply by looking at their destination on the menu bar. Goodbye sidebar, calendar, and Google doc “updater”.

You may be hesitant to get rid of some of the “content” on your old page, but slimming down the design and giving it a minimalist, modern overhaul will greatly increase the usability and investment from your students. Is your workspace clean? Does it interface well with your kids? Is it navigable, or will they get lost in a sea of links and words? These are the deciding factors into whether in your web space is successful or not with your students.