This is an archive of the 2013 version of ocTEL.

Comparing Resources: From Khan to MacBeth

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    Comparing online resources

    Khan Academy: Interesting and engaging, but a bit overly dramatic – not everybody needs to be kept watching by drama, when the facts would do. But I’m not knocking it. Khan is big with homeschoolers because it makes things interesting and I like anything that helps explain things. But these could be good for any students of a certain level. They seemed quite specialised topics. They are not so different, fundamentally, from some of the stuff I’ve explored via ocTEL; like mini TED talks, or lectures. My young son also told me about Vsauce, which are similar but possibly for slightly younger learners, with just a talking head with graphics and also very interesting (ie topics like can we ever travel to outer space? And Is the 5 second rule true?). They are open to viewers’ topics suggestions too.

    E-Learning Games: Quite a slow loading site and at first I wondered why we’d been sent to look at this mish-mash of stuff. I wasn’t at all interested in the games per se, though some people would be. I was only interested for the sake of the activity. I did the Creative Persona one but was a bit sorry to find it was just an advert for Veer stock images. Was I supposed to do this one? What was the point – it was just like a magazine quiz and just as pointless educationally…but great as a promotion because I admit I was curious to find out my creative persona (The Rock, by the way!!)! I did wander off in the site and found the interactive museums and investigated the Boston Tea Party one (motivation – might be going there) but for anyone else not really much learning about the Tea Party, just about a tourist attraction. Liked the way it was kind of 3D but an infographic would have done just as well. Some things made “interactive” a bit pointlessly, I thought. Also viewed the interactive MacBeth graphic novel (which I’d seen before) which did hold my attention for the 1 minute demo (!). Might be useful for revision for English Lit students and would certainly be useful for learners with dyslexia. Helped show how the words could be spoken, whereas Shakespeare can be confusing when just read. And it seemed to have quite a lot of drama in a good way – dynamic graphic novel composition and all.

    I also watched part of the ethics video set and was quite interested, but somehow missed the “brief” so wasn’t quite sure what I was supposed to be doing with them in terms of making an ethical decisions “end product”. Liked the way you could make realistic-seeming choices en route and there was an engaging sense of finding clues and the need to make the right decision. I could imagine quite a lot of ethical issues being done in this or similar ways for quite a wide range of students levels. The interactivity seemed to mimic reality rather than just being there for the sake of it. I’m assuming that the videos were for medical students as there were so many unexplained acronyms, but this kind of thing would be great for exploring any kind of ethics/citizenship or even political history and even business studies – anything where decision-making takes place.

    All of the above could be quite good for preparatory work for seminars (online or off) and would probably get conversations and debates going. The Khan academy might also prompt further discovery learning or research. I think that once again you’d have to deliver most of these with a good set of expectations and reasons for doing them – ok, that probably applied to everything educational. The same could be said for any YouTube video or animation that you’d explored and decided to use with your learners.

    Sancha @GraphDesProject

    James Kerr


    You are correct – Defining expectations and rationale should frame every exercise in educational resource use!  Once a primary, authoritative, and acceptable resource is identified, then it can be properly introduced into the learning experience.

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