Saturday, May 12, 2012

YouTube and D2L... Content Curation for Students

Next year is going to be interesting. We are about to implement a new mathematics curriculum in Level 2. If I were a teacher in the face to face classroom I would be excited. Publishers now are providing all sorts of electronic resources for the face to face teacher. There are interactive objects, TI-Nspire document files, Smart Notebook files, e-books, etc... the teacher can use in their teaching. With these resources already provided to a regular classroom teacher, their focus can be on such things as pedagogy, differentiated instruction, etc... It's a good time to be a face to face teacher of mathematics in our province.

Online is different. Publishers do not seem to want to take the lead role in creating content that fits nice within the structure of a Learning Management System. I guess that until blended learning becomes more the norm, there really isn't a business case for doing so.

As a teacher, although I may have the technical abilities to create this content independent of a development team, I do not have the time to invest in such an extensive undertaking. And besides... much of it is already done and free. It just needs the careful eye to curate the content in a logical way for students.

The solution seems to be YouTube. The amount of video resources created for any subject area is huge. There is a video for just about every topic in mathematics you can imagine. And it is free...

The curation is where the work comes in. Inside YouTube there are videos that are really well done and then there are those that are not so well done. After some extensive searching, the videos from Khan Academy and from BrightStorm seem to have what is needed... So I will use both.

The next issue comes from whether to embed videos within D2L constructed HTML content pages or to QuickLink videos inside content.

To QuickLink videos from YouTube is a very quick way to create content that can be tracked. However pop up blockers can be a real hindrance to students accessing content.

To embed the content requires the creation of a new HTML D2L course page in the content manager. From there the embed code from YouTube needs to be pasted into the HTML page using the built in editor. The advantage in doing it this way seems to be that one avoids the pop up blocker. In addition it creates a HTML page on which you could place more relevant content information for students. This seems to be the way I will go for next year.

The only unknown for me is how this will all work on mobile devices. I know that I have had some issues with embedding video and D2L's mobile capabilities. With the latest D2L upgrades I am hoping that these issues have been resolved. Testing further will resolve those concerns.

For the majority of teachers in our province, the implementation of the new curriculum, because it has been properly resourced, will be challenging but not overwhelming. For those of use that teach online, we have some work ahead in the coming months. However, by next year this time, we will have an online course/resource created that will be an example of what publishers should be creating for any Learning Management System and not just their own... if it exists.

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