I had the pleasure of spending part of the day last week at the JIBC Demofest in New Westminster – an event I first heard about way back in 2010 (here’s the link I found in my Diigo collection – video recordings from 2011 – http://onlinecourseshowcase.wordpress.com/) I was working in the Yukon then and looking around for Canadian examples of good online education – course design, learning activities, sims, videos, whatever. I was impressed with the idea of educational institutions getting together for a “show-and-tell” . I was so grateful to be able to access some of the examples afterwards and many of our instructors took the time to review them and be inspired.
One of the bonuses of living on Vancouver Island now is that I can hop the ferry to come to an event like last week’s Demofest. Apparently other educational institutions do their own showcase type events (?) so it was solely JIBC projects (although many of those are partnerships with other agencies – nice to see the cross-pollination of ideas and learning)
I loved the enthusiasm of JIBC’s Billie Byers as she explained her use of iPads encased in protective shells, Adobe PDF Expert and well-designed forms to make the instructor tasks of assessment during outside motorcycle testing much faster, and more effective for students. (Pacific Traffic Education Centre – Motorcycle Training Program) All kinds of benefits ensue from using mobile technologies and good design; students receive feedback faster (videos of their performance and data collected in assessment forms), it’s easier for instructors to gather and share data, and the certification body is happy.
I enjoyed speaking with many of the presenters, although I don’t think I got to everyone (the handout said there were 15 projects!) Some highlights for me were the simulations, particularly the Multi-Agency Simulation Day. I got a chance to speak with Kathy Harms about the challenges of scheduling this event and watched some of the amazing video footage they collected. They were able to collect invaluable information about the transfer points in an emergency event, between different professions involved. I’m told they will be publishing the research and sharing it with their project partners. If you’re involved in inter-professional practice issues or teaching, it might be good to get in touch with Kathy and her team. A complex interweaving of people, professions, institutions, technologies and time – amazing event. A quieter but equally impressive project was right next to Kathy’s table; Bob Walker was demonstrating the UBC/JIBC Interprofessional Health Simulation (Praxis) project. The combination of various learning needs within one learning platform was inspiring. I can see all kinds of areas where this simulation tool could be useful.
And I enjoyed the “Classroom of the Future” as Naz Maghsoudi, Student and Faculty Development Coordinator demonstrated the potential of two new tools she’s been testing to facilitate more effective classroom teaching and learning – wePresent, a wireless presentation tool and Swivl, a lecture capture tool. Apparently, JIBC is looking for cost-effective ways to provide multimedia capacity “…for classrooms that currently do not have screens, projectors and computers connected to a network or the Internet.” (from Dec. 4th post in JIBC News & Events) The wePresent tool establishes a local network that is secure and doesn’t need to be connected to the local campus network. When the presenter (instructor) logs in with a device (laptop, phone, tablet) and can display up to four local devices at one time on a projection screen in a classroom. The range is fairly impressive as Naz demonstrated but hooking up her phone and walking out of the room, down the hall and showing us live video of the events taking place on the ground floor atrium area. I liked the fact that the presenter can control which student devices are displayed (a problem with using Apple TV in the classroom) and apparently all types of devices can be used. Sweet!
The second tool she demonstrated, Swivl, used your tablet or iPhone to record your session, also seemed to have potential to support some easy media capture for building online learning resources for students. Seems a bit fussy to cable up but maybe its just cuz it was fairly new.
I made sure to visit the videoconferencing site to ask questions of the project leader Simon Chau. I’d been curious when I read that JIBC had chosen a full-room model (Polycom) as other institutions seemed to be going for the cheaper web-based options using HD webcams and web services like Webex, Adobe Connect, Gotomeeting, etc. I was a bit disappointed to hear that they didn’t have plans to expand the use of the 3 linked videoconferencing rooms (New Westminster, Victoria and Kelowna) beyond the Advanced Care Paramedic and Law Enforcement Studies Diploma (LESD) programs, although he said they were thinking about it. Beyond using the system for meetings, they haven’t tested links with outside educational or research agencies. That’s something we did in the Yukon and it was really exciting and engaging. Plus we found students who wanted to use it to complete a thesis defense or a job interview in another part of the world. Really interesting connections are possible.
All in all, the Demofest was short but rich – thanks to the TELT staff for their welcome and all their hard work to make this event a success. And thank you to all the participants from a a long-time observer; it was a really energizing and thought-provoking experience. I hope to do it again next year!