Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Zooming Into the Future of Visual Learning

It seems that my post earlier this week was the equivalent of discovering an entire subculture of web 2.0 tools that have been thriving right under my nose! My Prezi post received one comment thus far from "anonymous" (thank you!) who shared links to ahead.com and zoomorama.com, two more intriguing tools that demonstrate how flash technology is providing a new platform and entirely new anatomy of a visual presentation. Based on "zooming" in an out, rather than clicking linearly from slide to slide, all of these slides are based on similar design concepts but each seem to have individual interfaces. I'm a novice to them all and, by no means, have this mastered but I really like what I see.

Of course, I keep thinking about creating educational content with these tools for online classes. Keeping in mind that the majority of online enrollments in the United States occur at community colleges and most CC faculty need to rely upon their own skills rather than those of an instructional designer or multimedia support specialist to create content for them, at least this has been my own reality as a community college faculty member (and not one that I think is effective by any means), the interactive content created with these visual tools is beautifully engaging and dynamic and easy to put together.

But, as is commonly the case, here is the predicament...flash is a technology that does not engage with a screen reader, an accessible technology that blind users rely upon to decipher the content that appears in the window of their web browser.

I found this stellar example of an educational example about modern art on Zoomorama which appears to be a collaboration between Adobe and Bridgeman Art. If I were teaching online, I would love to use this link as an online activity for my students to engage and leverage content about modern art.

Finally, I'm left envisioning a college classroom twenty years from now. If Prezi, Ahead and Zoomorama offer us tastes of the wave of online visual presentations online, how will we ensure the content our students are shared through academic presentations in the classroom break from the static, linear, text-driven model. The visual content in which we are immersed each day -- through the media, easy to access video on iPods and phones, YouTube sharing, web 2.0 editing, and now these dynamic presentation tools -- has created and continuous to retexture a new generation of visual learners.


Alex Francisco said...

Hi Michelle,

Great post. Thank you for sharing these awesome tools. Can't wait to blog about them myself and have a chance to use them with my students. ;)

candee basford said...


Thank you for sharing ideas and conversation. Keep it up. Even though I don't comment often, I'm out here reading and following. I do find that I'm less interested in creating educational content with these tools and more interested in ways that support students to inquire, reflect more deeply and share their voice, insights and findings. Ahead.com, zoomorama and Prezi look promising!

Unknown said...

Alex and Candee, Thanks so much for your comments. Candee, I appreciate hearing your support for using web 2.0 tools for student generated content. I fully agree that's certainly the most engaging use for them, as well as the most effective way to harness their power to develop 21st century skills like collaboration, critical thinking, presentation skils and creativity. Thanks for letting me know you're reading! I appreciate your thoughts.