Friday, 10 December 2010

Celtx: Amazing Media Pre-Production Tool

My grade 8 students are making their own short educational videos. While they are all about something different, they still use the same process and once again, the design cycle has been very helpful in keeping us on track. While searching for a good tool to help them make storyboards, I came across Celtx. Their website claims that over a million media creators from 170 countries have used the software, so I guess it isn't a much of a secret. But it was new to me and has since become a great tool that our Drama and English teachers have also started to use.

Celtx can do much more than storyboards. it is a complete media pre-production suite that helps you organize everything from your script to your cast and crew, from background information on your characters to the production schedule.

And the best thing is, it's free! Celtx is an open-source project and there is a large community of users sharing tips and tricks and other useful information. You can download Celtx here. And you can find 101 tutorial videos here.  There is even more information on the Celtx wiki.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Serious Games in the Classroom: Throwing Constructivism a Lifeline?

I am putting together the final essay for my Foundations of Educational Technology class for my MET program. I thought I would post the abstract in case people might be interested. I will add a link to the rest of the paper when it is complete.

*edit: Here is is the link...

Richard Clark’s article, “Learning from Serious Games? Arguments, Evidence and Research Suggestions” and the many emotional responses it has elicited, clearly illustrates the sharp division with Constructivist thinking on one side and the sort of direct instruction propounded by the Cognitive Load theorists on the other. While the use of simulation-based computer games in the classroom tends to be justified by a Constructivist vision of pedagogy, which has recently come under attack in outcomes-based educational reforms, I will argue that simulation-based computer games can accommodate both arguments and presents a powerful teaching tool that should not be ignored. Although there are theoretical shortcomings, most of the criticisms levied against Constructivism (and Constructionism) in education are based less upon pedagogical concerns than on economical ones. This essay will come to terms with critiques and merits of Constructivism as a learning theory and will examine the role that simulation-based computer games can play in alleviating some of the concerns.