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Live Broadcasts

on March 1, 2013

My son must attend a live collaboration lesson for English or Leadership once a semester on a particular topic. So this time, I sat in on two of them with him. The first was the English assignment on betrayal which would become the study of Julius Caesar. Jake really struggled through the live webinar. It’s purpose is to engage students enrolled in the class in a collaborative setting. It’s drawbacks to Jake, at least, include the speed of it – it goes to fast for him. He finds them confusing. The voice of the teacher is usually too southern or high-pitched. He was just bored and tuned out within ten minutes of the hour long presentation. It was so dissatisfying that he could not even respond to the final component for a grade of attendance. He failed. However, in his tutorial class on Julius Caesar, he is passing with 90s and above. So the format was not successful for him.

In his leadership class, he had the option to attend a live webinar. Based on his past experiences, I had the inclination that he would not choose to attend. He did, but it was special. Mawi Asgedom was the presenter. He is the author of Of Beetles and Angels: A Boy’s Remarkable Journey from a Refugee Camp to Harvard © 2011 Associated Press. Jake has found him inspiring throughout the course. That is why is choose to attend the hour long webinar without complaint. Here is what he wrote about his experience:

I was at the Mawi live lesson on 2/19/13.
There were many things that Mawi talked about but mostly was about bullying. He talked about something that he does to help teach other students how to stand up for themselves. For me I have been bullied for most of my life until I was home schooled. These stories were very nice to here because it shows that other people will stand up for you.

Jake received a 100. It was interactive and you could write in questions. Jake choose not to, but he did choose to stay engaged the whole time and even talked more about it to us at dinner that night. What a promising difference between the English webinar and the Leadership one.

While, the above was a personal experience, I also discovered my own preferences. I am a big fan of TED.com. I had downloaded the EDUCATION topic with Sir Ken Robinson, one of my favorite presenters, and had a chance to watch and listen to one of his newer conversations: Bring on the learning revolution. I also searched for other broadcasts from the list provided. I tried some out, but become quickly bored with them. While the titles and descriptions intrigued me, the content did not hold my attention beyond 10 minutes. The one that I really wanted to delve into was not being broadcast until later in the month which posed a timing issue. So, I went back to my iTunes library and refreshed my memory of my favorite presenters.

The show format of TED.com is strength. I cannot allude to any weaknesses. It is caring, passionate, and poignant. It is not rambling. The presenters bring energy to the stage. You want to listen, take notes, stay engage and re-listen or re-watch. I find myself saving the broadcasts to participate in future shows. But even though I am not participating directly like in other types of broadcasts by exchanging my name or actually meeting the facilitator, I actually feel that I am because TED.com gives me the opportunity to listen, reflect and add to my library of quotes, expressions, and useful commentaries.  This type of webcast can be incorporated into the classroom in a variety of ways depending on the teacher and ages of students.  As a learner, I prefer choice as with this assignment. The task was clear, but how we arrived at the answers for discussion purposes relied on my choices. It made me care more – generally, a missing factor for preteens and teens sitting in classroom desks. While I like watching video within a classroom, I prefer watching independently. I can start, rewind, review, takes notes and/or pause on my terms which keeps me more engaged. Another example might be pre-watching in the classroom, and then having the opportunity to independently watch.  If I had a classroom, I might use TED.tv programming like I use Pinterest or blogging. I would want students to create their own collection of TED.tv webcasts that have the most meaning to them. It would be my job as the facilitator to introduce the topics, and the students’ job to collect a library of favorites in a blog devoted specifically to favorite TED.tv shows. I would want students to be able to find a quote used, the title to the referencing to a book or author and save it to their blog. For example, Sir Ken Robinson, referenced a quote from Abraham Lincoln and the poet W.B. Yeats. It had meaning to me, so I added to my collection. While this is a time heavy task, it is an added value and brings perspective and meaning to the table.  Since the collaborators of TED.tv has assigned creative commons license, it allows me as a broadcaster to incorporate clips that might be relevant to a webinar that I might produce. It offers me creative licensing which allows for a better integrated message.


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