Be an eTeacher!
Come check it out! Elearning at your fingertips.
So you want to be an eTeacher! Excellent stuff!
With such a large variety of platforms available, including both offline and online, it can be daunting as to where to begin your eteaching adventure.
So how do you design for online?
Well, EWriter is designed just for that. This artical is written entirely on EWriter!
Lets start with pdf online notes.
PDF notes are often created from MS Office, etc and are thus designed for large screen displays. Te size is typically A4. Understandibly these pdf's become very clumsy to use on cellphones. Irrespective of the brilliance of the content, the challenges of zooming in and out, and continious horizontal scrolling makes it a very frustrating experience.
So, if you are making pdf notes, take into account font sizes, diagram sizes and how it may display on smaller devices. Pdf notes display very well in EWriter! And you can can AUDIO to your pdf notes!
Also, in EWriter, you can create many SEPARATE pdf's, for the same topic, as oppsoed to one very long file. Essentially EWriter has a built in pdf management system.
It is not a question of notes, it is a question of style.
Creators of elearning content must reguarly read up on latest technologies in order to take full advantage of what is available. Every website is now supposed to be responsive. So your content has be designed to be responsive as well. As as example you must consider how small text in your diagram may appear, should it be dispayed in a small cellphone. The text may be so small that it cannot be easily read even though the diagram itself looks ok on a computer. EWriter will automatically make your pdf responsive!
A little bit of effort is required for you to unlock the vast potential of the world wide web!
Just a collection of information, that is bland and boring, will not capture the attention span of the modern youth. These notes need to be choreographed for the new audience!
Content needs to be fast, dynamic and exciting, and on the same standards of modern marketing of products as seen on tv adverts! We need to get our message across, all of it, and we need to do this fast. So we desperately need to change the way we are currently doing it. Classrooms must not remain boring.
Content creators need a little bit of exposure to a few simple skills. Be brave, just fiddle around with these things and you good to go!
- effect of colour choices
- mindmap creation software - Word does a good job - hand-drawn is good too!
- basic audio creation and mp3 formats - Audacity is very good, and free
- how to use digital pens
- use of the very popular Onenote - works very well with digital pens
- taking screen shots of your work - Windows 10 snipping tool is more than adequate!
- screen recording - this lets you make a video of your work as you write on a computer
- editing videos and Youtube uploading - very simple really!
- scanning of hand-drawn content - this is very useful, especially in Maths and Science since using Word etc for equations can slow you down
- reducing file sizes of both images and pdf - for quicker loading times
The above list may appear to be a lot, but each takes about 5 minutes to get going.
Audio is such an effective learning tool!
Which youngster is not using headphones!
Have you considered audio notes? And it is magic when combined with the above pdf notes!
To create audio notes is actually very simple. On computer, one of the most popular and effecting recording programmes is Audacity and it is free (google it). In addition to being super easy to use, it is just as easy to edit and create your masterpice of notes! A few clicks later, you have it in mp3 format. (You can even change your voice! Seriously!)
For audio recording for cellphones, there are many to choose from. Some are free with ads, and some are free without ads. Some audio recording apps have to be purchased, but make sure you select one that can record in mp3 and has easy editing features.
Audio notes has many applications. Obvious uses are study of Languages, History, Social Sciences. But I assure you it has huge applications in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics as well!
Go ahead! Make some audio notes! Have fun!
Browser based content is very important.
With so many devices on the market, and that fact that many a person has more than one device, it is crucial that elearning content works seamlessly on all such devices. An easy way to ensure compliance, is to simply make content browser based. Applications such as EWriter is designed just for that purpose. Being completely browser based, and needing no coding skills from the user, content is made ready for any device.
So what can a teacher do?
Teachers are not IT specialists. They are specialists in their subject areas, and have specific ways of teaching the content.
So an entire mindset change is needed. And to break through the fear of the unknown digital space. Teachers can use Facebook, and Whatsapp, as well as PowerPoint, Excel and Word. And a few other applications as well! So they already have the necessary skills.
So now we just need to get used to a few new things! And we must NOT just digitise the existing physical books! We must redo content, not just re-write, not just copy-paste! A whole new way of thinking and designing of content is needed.
From books to elearning is easier than you think!
Tablets, touchscreens and digital pens are superb!
Touch screen computers that are designed for digital pens is superb especially when using Microsoft Onenote. There is a certain friendly factor with handwritten notes, especially in Maths and Science.
Of course, one can use writing tablets for non-touchscreen computers. These are cheap and very user friendly. Examples are Genius, Wacom (upmarket), and a host of others. Most writing tablets are available easily from online stores. You just load the driver, and connect to a USB port. I assure you it takes about 5 minutes to get used to it!
Drawing, writing equations, and then taking screen shots of relevant sections using the built in Snipping Tool in Windows 10 is more than enough to get a good piece of work done.
So, you can type your notes directly into EWriter, scribble some equations in OneNote and screenshot that equations. And upload all to WEriter!
Once you are hooked to the digital pen, trust me you will wonder how you managed without it!
Most of all, you have to get used to the modern tools.
Screen recording is magic!
So you want to make videos of your maths solution? Are you trying with a cellphone video camera, or video recorder? There are better ways!
Screen recording software is a very useful method to make videos. A screen recorder just keeps recording whatever you are doing on the computer screen, and turns it into a video. And you can record audio as well. It becomes a normal video.
Of cource you would need decent screen recording software. Some are free, but lack many useful features, and will most likely embed their watermark on your video.
You can buy screen recording software, and they range in price from around entry level at R700 to many thousands for full featured products. Entry level is suitable, but select one that comes with an editor. A video editor is necessary to remove errors etc. These videos can be uploaded to Youtube. Try to keep videos around 4 minutes long. This way they upload quicker. And is easier for the student.