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Interactive Media

Simplifying the Design Process- One Canva at a Time

To all designers and creators: have you ever opened Photoshop, PowerPoint, Word, or even social media sites and asked yourself now what? How about those who fear the Adobe Suite or even Microsoft Office?

Canva, a design app, simplifies creating posters, flyers, presentations, business cards, Facebook covers- you name it. With a selection of professional, pre-designed graphics and stock photos to choose from, you can finish a project within minutes. Be aware that most stock photos have Canva watermarks or you can pay $1 to omit it.

Most of the design process is drag-and-drop. Choose what background, layout, and text you want in your project, then fill in the blanks. Customizing their templates is no problem either. Click on an object to move it, change the color, edit the text, or delete it.

Designs and graphics are great to embellish presentations- especially “PowerPoint-esque” ones. They catch audience’s attention and intrigue listeners. Be aware though, too much text and over the top graphics can just as easily detract your audience. Learn your medium before giving a presentation.

Below are examples of posters we made in less than five minutes:

UWB Learning Tech LT Mission

What can you create on Canva?

Using Badges in Higher Education

In a recent blog post by Trent Batson on The Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning’s (AAEEBL) website, an interesting topic about centralization and democratization of education emerged from the use of information technology. Either side of the issue, whether to centralize and control technology or to allow students to have control over their own learning in higher education, was compared to identify both the profitability of centralizing control of technology and/or the efficiency of giving control over to students to enhance learning.

To assess either side of the issue, Batson talks about the use of badges in online learning scenarios as a way “challenge how grading is done”, while creating a system of “micro-credentialing”.

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Enhancing Foreign-Language Learning with “Telecollaboration”

Having accessible technology provides many opportunities for enhancing the learning experience for students. In the case of learning a foreign-language, such as Spanish or French, what better way to learn the language than from an actual student from Spain or France?

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently posted an article about a Portuguese class at Virginia Commonwealth University that uses video-conferencing software, such as Skype and Google Hangouts, to connect VCU students with English-learning students in Brazil to facilitate “authentic language-immersion experiences.” Using teletandem, or telecollaboration, allows students from both countries to teach each other their native languages, creating a genuine and highly engaging language-learning experience.

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Mobile Learning Practices in Higher Education

A recent study published on Educause takes a look into the mobile learning practices of students in higher education.

The study notes that mobile device usage has increased significantly among college students, and that they favor small and lightweight devices such as smartphones and tablets. However 85% of students still consider a laptop to be the most important device for academic success.

As mobile device use expands on campus, the study looks to understand how the students are using their devices. Students were given a survey to determine device prevalence and if they were being used for academic purposes. The study found that 91% of student owned a smartphone while only 58% of those students used them for academic purposes. Tablet ownership was only 37% of those questioned, though 82% of owners used them for school.

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The UTeach Institute Partners with Verizon to Help Teachers Integrate Mobile Technologies into STEM Teaching

In an article published by MarketWatch, the UTeach Institute Launch Program has recently partnered up with Verizon to launch a program that aims to provide teaching support and assistance for future teachers wishing to effectively integrate mobile technology into STEM programs. Students, who are interested in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math), will benefit from this program, which ultimately hopes to improve student learning and interest in STEM at the higher education level by providing a relevant and exciting approach to teaching and learning in the STEM subjects.

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