Thursday, January 29, 2009

A New Educational Experience

I participated in an interesting educational activity this week, with a lot of support from technology. There were video clips that were used to present the point of view of one of the presenters, who also used Powerpoint slides to convince the participants of her point of view. This experience could have taken place in many different classrooms, but it didn't; it was in a courtroom. The person using video and PowerPoint was one of the attorneys, and I was an alternate on a jury in a criminal case. I won't go into the details of the case, but just my impressions of the process.

The other attorney did not use any visual aids, or use PowerPoint to make his points. From my professional perspective, the arguments of the technology-using attorney, supported by her Powerpoint slides reinforcing her points, along with the support of the video evidence, contributed to a more convincing case. When I talk about the evidence in a portfolio, I often use the metaphor of an attorney in court, creating an argument around a piece of evidence, using it to prove a case; in an educational portfolio, the case is the achievement of a learning outcome, goal or standard; the evidence is a piece of work, and I am more convinced about the power of video. In my latest learning experience, both attorneys were making logical arguments. I was more impressed by the presence of video evidence, and the obvious preparation of the technology-using attorney. It just reinforces for me the power of multimedia evidence when trying to convince someone else to agree with your opinion, especially related to achievement. But I also recognize the importance of a good argument (reflection) to support the multimedia evidence.


Knaus said...

To me, even more in important than the technology is the preparation. It doesn't matter if you use powerpoint and video or an overhead with color copies of things you've found. The effort that you put into something before you present it is key.

Sure video and images help. No doubt. However, I've sat through many powerpoints that haven't been done well and presented effectively.

Technology is a mean to an end. It is not the end. Preparation, no matter what your technology use, makes for effective teaching, lawyering, educating, leading, facilitating and many more.

My two cents.

Helen Barrett said...

My reflection in this blog entry was from the perspective of an impartial observer (a member of a jury), not from the perspective of the presenter (the attorney). I agree with what you said, but that was not the point of this blog entry. I was simply reflecting on my experience, which reinforced some of my other entries on developing electronic portfolios as "evidence" of learning/achievement. I believe the inclusion of multimedia makes a difference in making that case. While technology is obviously one of the tools used, and not the end goal/outcome, I believe the outcomes can be influenced by the effective use of technology. We can look to Activity Theory to back up this assertion, along with the research that is starting to emerge about the positive impact of the effective use of technology on learning. Of course, what "effective" means is the challenge.

As a piece of trivia, the technology-using attorney prevailed in this case. There were a lot of other factors (the evidence) in this case, and technology was only one... I just thought it "closed the deal" for me, even though I didn't get a vote.