Friday, February 22, 2013

Infographics To Think About: Part 1

The rise of Web 2.0 tools, access to big data, and availability of easy-to-use image editors have produced a plethora of infographics in the last few years.  One can find infographics on anything from Star Wars profits to world water usage to real and artificial Christmas tree usage.  They can be quite useful in creating a visual summation on a range of complex information and data. 

In fact, there is even an infographic explaining just "What Is an Infographic."
What Is an Infographic -
Click to see full graphic. Source:
In this blog post, we're going to take a look at some of our favorite infographics that deal with technology, education and college.  This first infographic actual identifies and explains different concepts and elements of technology and education.  It professes to be an "Edtech Cheatsheet."
EdTech Cheatsheet Infographic
Click to see full graphic. Source: 
Next, let's take a look at textbooks.  Those costly but sometimes essential resources for a college course.  This infographic explores the benefits and challenges of digital textbooks.
Digital Textbooks Infographic  -
Click to see full graphic. Source:
This infographic looks at how the digital world is impacting student experiences and learning.  
Student Cyborg Infographic -
Click to see full graphic. Source:
Similar to the one above, this infographic considers the go-to Apps that are impacting education for students and educators alike.
Apps & Education Infographic
Click to see full graphic. Source:
Continuing along these lines, this infographic considers the impact on the classroom that digital technology is impacting. 
Digital Classroom Infographic
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Here, we have an infographic on gamification in education (which if you want a sense of what that looks like, I encourage you to check out Jane McGonical's TED Talk, Gaming Can Make a Better World).

Gamification in Education Infographic
Click to see full graphic. Source:
 Interestingly, this infographic explores usage and interest among faculty and instructors with regards to social media.  We're familiar with students' usage, but there isn't much talking about instructor usage.  
Instructors and Social Media Infographic
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These last two infographics explore the future of higher education.  
Future of Higher Education Infographic -
Click to see full graphic. Source:
6 Emerging Trends in Higher Education -
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Infographics are not beyond your own abilities.  There's lots of advice about what makes a good infographic.  There's also resources and tools out there to help you make an infographic. 

What infographics do you enjoy?  What are some of your favorite sources for infographics?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

ANGEL Tip #7: Customizing Your Course Home Page

As you navigate your ANGEL course shells, do you ever think, “Boy, I wish I could do …..?” Sometimes you want to rearrange the course home page to better appeal to your particular students.  You may see some components you would like to take off the page and some you would like to add to the page.  I, personally, like the course home page to highlight any announcement I make.  I do this by  having only the announcement component on my course home page.  A Math instructor, however, may want to have a calculator on his/her course home page or a Composition instructor may want to include a dictionary.

You can add and remove components on your course home page very easily.  Right under the title of your course, you should see an “Edit Page” link.  If you click on that link, it will open up the editing page.

Home page identifying "Edit Page" placing.

To delete a component, just hover your cursor over the shaded area of the component title and click the "X" button on the right hand side.  

Course Anouncements Pencil

If you want to add a component to the home page, just click the “Add Component” button and check the box in front of the title of the component  you would like to add.  Click the “Add Selected” button and the "Save" button.  And it’s done!

Visual showing which options to select.  "Add Components" "Check Desired Options." "Click Add Selected."

You can also have a color theme for your course.  This will also provide a background image to the course that you can relate to your subject matter.  For instance, if you teach History, you may want to add a globe or, if you teach Early Childhood, you many want to add a theme of little hands.  This is also very easy to add.
  1. Go to the "Manage" tab in your course.
  2. Under Course Settings, click the "Course Theme Selector" link.
You should see available themes under the drop down arrow. You can look at how your course will appear by clicking on each theme.  However, your course theme won't change until you select the "Apply" button and then the "OK" button.

If you have any questions please contact

Let us know what themes you are using and what components you use on your home page for your courses.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Using Prezi Without Losing Your Mind

We had a great series of workshops prior to the start of the Spring 2013 semester, including one on Prezi.  Since it is a great tool for learning inside and outside the classroom, we thought we'd follow up with this blog post for those that couldn't make the workshop.  You will also find the Prezi that we created for this presentation and here is access to the handout that we provided.

So what is Prezi?  It's most basic description is that it is 3-dimensional presentation tool that can used to align and present information in a more meaningful way.

BENEFITS: As a web-based program, Prezi has a lot to offer.
  • Free:  A free account is available to anyone.  If you register for their education license with your school email address, you will have an enhanced account with more space and usages rights. 
  • Easy to Use:  After checking out some introductory and how-to material, you can easily begin work on a Prezi using mostly pointing and clicking.  No programming skills needed and no software to download.
  • Single or Collaborative Use:  Like other Web 2.0 tools, users have the option of working on it together or singularly at the same time (and at different computers).  Additionally, one can present a Prezi online to another audience that is not present. 
  • Visual Appeal:  In lieu of the standard PowerPoint, the ability to move from slide to slide on screen adds a bit more visual stimulation for presentations (so long as the tool isn't overused). 
  • PowerPoint Integration:  If you already have created PowerPoints, you can upload and integrate them into a Prezi very easily.  You can also integrate PDF files as well.

CHALLENGES:  Though Prezis are enjoyable to use for education, there are certain challenges to contend with when considering using them.
  • Limited Space:  Even with an education license, you're limited to 500 megabytes.  That amount may be more than enough, but if you're teaching several different classes and plan to use one for each class, you might fill up that space quickly.
  • Clunkiness: Because of the nature of Prezi working within a browser, occasionally the program can get a bit clunky and you'll be unable to drag or move around the way you want.  Typically when this happens, you will need to save the Prezi, exit the Prezi, and close the browser and/or clear the cache and then return to it.
  • Getting to Advance:  Prezi can be easy to learn but it takes planning and practice to develop a rich presentation that fully utilizes the tools that Prezi has available.  We recommend looking at a lot of the examples made available on the site in order to get a stronger sense of what can be done.
  • Movement Overload:  Because of the movement feature in Prezi and how it can draw attention, early users often use too much motion.  They mistake the availability of movement for the relevance of movement.  Movement should be selective and relevant--otherwise it becomes a gimmick that doesn't help keep focus (as well as occasionally induces nausea).

USES:  Keeping those things in mind, we turn now to consider what are some of the best ways that you can use Prezi for education.
  • Standard Presentation:  There certainly isn't anything keeping you from uploading your PowerPoints and using Prezi as a straightforward presentation tool.
  • Conveying linear-based ideas:  Prezi works great when trying to convey information that is formulaic or process-oriented.  Telling a story, explaining a pattern, or moving through a routine all lend themselves well to being displayed in a Prezi.
  • Conveying nonlinear ideas:  Prezi also works great for grouping related information communicating differences according to space and alignment. If you want to identify features of a culture or elements of a story, you can use Prezi to differentiate the different pieces. It's also useful for honing in on elements of a contained piece.  For instance, you can move about to focus in on different aspects of an image (a cell, painting, landscape, etc.). 
  • Visualizing Integrated Concepts:  When working with a complex system, Prezi really shines.  This is where layering your information and using the depth of a Prezi can help communicate the "big picture" as well as the smaller pieces (that is, see the "Forest" and the "trees").
  • Brainstorming & Mindmapping:  Finally, Prezi can also be used to help students or even the instructor to bridge connects and ideas.  This could work well in groups of students working on a project as they could all be in a Prezi (by collaborating) at the same time and connecting their ideas.

Do you use Prezi?  How useful have you found it?  What are your students reactions to using Prezi?