Having reviewed the learning artefacts of my fellow INF532 students I think it is amazing how technology has improved the ease and quality of digital interactions for networked learners.
Artefacts that were once the preserve of professional production companies are now being created by university students with the use of tools like:
Ease of use and professional templates make it possible for people to make good quality artefacts, reasonably quickly.
There are still some barriers for networked learners.
One barrier is hardware. Chris’s great podcast with Greg Miller has beautiful sound quality but as you can see from the photo, sound quality requires a good microphone:
I certainly noticed the sound quality in my own learning artefact wasn’t great. I think if I am going to commit to creating more multi-media content I will need to invest in good equipment.
Another barrier is the required investment in services. PowToon requires you to pay a subscription fee as do most of the more polished tools out there. These better tools are often easier to use than the free alternatives. Claire reflected on the difficulties of using QuickTime in her artefact. I have experienced the same difficulty and switched to Camtasia but the full product cost more money than I could justify spending and so I ended up spending a lot of extra hours getting other tools to do the same thing.
Keeping up to date with trends and services is a barrier that Claire identified with her presentation on Google+ communities. As soon as the design of the site changes, the currency of the ‘walk through’ artefact diminishes. I think a challenge for networked learners is not just ensuring they stay up to date with the services but also the type of content on those services. In a earlier post Claire describes this issue perfectly using the example of expectations of what a YouTube video should contain. Kelly’s use of student feedback to identify how the content in her video could be more engaging was an important lesson for me in ensuring that I talk to my audience to get feedback and to iterate on the content I create.
In conclusion, my takeaways from reviewing the learning artefacts and exrgesises (if that is the plural) of my fellow learners are:
- Tools can be costly but once you find the ones that are right for you, it is worth investing in them as they will save a lot of time and increase quality.
- Don’t over-commit your time to ‘walk throughs’ where small changes in layout might make your artefact obsolete.
- Feedback from your audience can help ensure you are meeting their expectations from the medium.
- Spend time finding out what tools and techniques others used to create their artefact (I learned lots of new tools by reading through the exergesises)
List of INF532 Learning Artefacts (sorry if I missed anyone):