Wednesday, April 23, 2014

PFL .... Hyperlinked Writing

Licensed under Creative Commons by Will Montage.
Licensed under Creative Commons by Will Montage.[/caption
 We read a lot of hyperlinked text nowadays on the Internet, but how can we be on the "creation" end of this process? How can we develop a new culture of hyperlinked writing  with our students? Thinking about High School where there is a considerable amount of formal writing, is it possible to hyperlink such "traditional" text to adapt to the modern world? Or we will just be able to embrace hyperlinked text with a very different type of writing?

I decided to explore this topic with High School students after talking to Silvia Tolisano and reading her blog posts on hyperlinked writing. Silvia talks about blog writing and she mentions an interesting Twiiter dialogue with Terry Heick, where he states that:

  "The linking is a kind of art in & of itself independent of the original art of composition. With fluency, can be done together".

So as High School students are learning different writing styles, in a first step towards creating a culture of hyperlinked writing, is it possible to create links as a second stage of "writing"? Different teachers in High School have asked me that question about hyperlinked text. This question seems to be more easily answered for student papers that use parenthetical citations. In that case, the parenthetical citation could be replaced by a link to the source using corresponding words in the text. But when you consider creative writing, then is there a place for hyperlinking?

Hyperlinking a Chronicle: Offering possibilities

Licensed under Creative Commons by Ramunas Geciauskas.
Licensed under Creative Commons by Ramunas Geciauskas.

I had an opportunity to try out this idea in a Portuguese as a Foreign Language class, with Laureana Piragine, where students had finished writing a chronicle. My question was whether it would be possible to  add hyperlinks to "amplify" the reader's experience in the following areas:

Amplify context

LIcensed under Creative Commons by The Italian voice.
Licensed under Creative Commons by The Italian voice.
So as I was reading some chronicles from the students I started to imagine what was in the author's mind and added the following links to experiment on providing a layer of context:

"Luiza se encontra sentada num banco dentro do museu. É o lugar favorito dela, onde pode pensar, relaxar e admirar......  Por que ninguém pode amar estas pinturas como vocês e eu? ela pensa .......    Como eles podiam dizer isso no “templo” da Luiza?... "

 "Luiza is sitting on a bench in a museum. It is her favorite place, where she can think, relax and admire .....  Why nobody can love those paintings like you and me? she thinks .....   How could they say that at "Luiza's temple"?

Amplify discussion 

LIcensed under Creative Commons by Filipe Varela.
Licensed under Creative Commons by Filipe Varela.
In the chronicle excerpt below, the student raises issues about excessive use of technology, so I tried linking to sources around the topic to allow the audience to think further:

"Se é sobre todos usando seu telefone celular durante o jantar, sobre o difícil que é usar o computador, ou algo completamente diferente, eles sempre têm alguma coisa contra a tecnologia..... “Wow”, ela pensou, “Desde quando as pessoas são tão dependentes da tecnologia?"

"If it is about all using the cellphone during dinner, about the difficulties of using a computer, or something completely different, they always have something against technology ...."Wow"he thought, "Since when people are so dependent on technology?"

After sharing these possibilities for hyperlinking a chronicle, students started working, with the option of hyperlinking inside the text or providing "extra" links  at the end of the text to allow continued reflection.

Students' interpretations about hyperlinking

After showing the two possible ways to hyperlink  for context and information, students still made interesting decisions, which made their misconceptions visible. After intervention, most students changed their hyperlinks. Those misconceptions are listed below and they can be used in mini lessons  to support students in the creation of powerful hyperlinking.

Misconception: Adding mood with music video

Licensed under Creative Commons by Geralt .

In this situation, students provided links to songs, which added a certain mood related to the theme of the chronicle. This may have happened because students were talking about how stories reminded them of songs. But I don't know where they have ever seen links being used this way. It seems like an idea related to "background" music to a media product. In the example below, even after intervention and a suggestion to link to a site about Pasadena, the student kept the same link.

Original student text in Portuguese: "Andando pelas ruas, eu senti uma emoção estranha. Eu senti que eu tinha voltado para casa. Mas isso tinha sentido. Esta era minha cidade de origem, Pasadena Califórnia. "

Translation: "Walking on the streets, I had a strange feeling. I felt I had come back home. But that made sense. This was my hometown, Pasadena, California".

Misconception: Illustration with static image

LIcenses under Creative Commons by Arnold Chao.
 Licenses under Creative Commons by Arnold Chao.
In this case students chose to link to a static image that could have been used as an illustration to the text. Even though students had the choice of not using hyperlinks within the text, several chose to do so with an image that could have been an illustration. In this case, after intervention, the student decided to remove the link.

Original student text in Portuguese:  "Caminhando devagar em suas pernas fracas e frágeis não é difícil observar que ela é quase a única entre estes corredores sagrados. Por que ninguém pode amar estas pinturas como vocês e eu? ela pensa."

Translation: "Walking slowly with her fragile and weak legs it is not difficult to observe that she is almost the only one around these sacred corridors. Why can nobody love these paintings like you and me? she thinks".

Misconception: Hyperlink words and connection to meaning

LIcensed under Creative Commons.
Licensed under Creative Commons.
 The student in this example chose a video to illustrate the power of music in movies, using the word "horrible" as the hyperlink to indicate that he would not like that to happen. After clarifying the importance of the choice of words and their association with the hyperlink content, the student changed the hyperlinked word to "movie without music".

Original student text in Portuguese:"Eu acho que a vida sem música  seria muito simples. Também, perderíamos uma maneira de nos expressar e nada seria divertido sem a música. Imaginem assistir a um filme sem música ou dançar sem música, eu realmente não quero pensar nisso porque isso seria horrível."

 Translation: "I think that life without music would be too plain. Also, we would loose our ways of expression and nothing would be fun without music. Imagine watching a movie without music, or dance without music, I really do not want to think about it because it would be awful". 

Correction"I think that life without music would be too plain. Also, we would loose our ways of expression and nothing would be fun without music. Imagine watching a movie without music, or dance without music, I really do not want to think about it because it would be awful".

Writing challenge: Predict hyperlinks

Licensed under Creative Commons by xyrcon.
Licensed under Creative Commons by xyrcon.
Here the student provided a link to a great video about third culture kids, but only at the end of the text as a "Know More" option. That was indeed an alternative students had, so they were not forced to hyperlink within the text. But this link could have been embedded in the text if the student had thought about it while writing, or revising, by including the words "third culture kids", for example.

Original student text in Portuguese: "Tudo o que eu aprendi na Guatemala sobre as novas culturas, idiomas, escola, amizades, etc., foi uma vantagem para quando eu mudei para o Brasil. Eu cheguei neste país preparada, pronta para todos os futuros obstáculos da vida. .. Eu posso dizer que eu sou muito afortunada de viajar pelo mundo e nunca vou esquecer o que meus pais fizeram por mim. Eles me deram um presente que ninguém poderia conseguir na loja mais cara do mundo: uma vida cheia de aventuras internacionais.

Translation: "All I learned in Guatemala about new cultures, languages, school, friendship, etc, was an advantage when I moved to Brazil. I arrived in this country prepared, ready for all future obstacles of life... I can say I am very fortunate for travelling the world and I will never forget what my parents have done for me.  They gave me a gift that nobody could get on the most expensive shop in the world: a life full of international adventures.

Now what about the reader?

A concern voiced by the teacher was about the reader's experience of the chronicle. For her, reading a chronicle is about how it impacts the reader to think further into the issues presented, and hyperlinking could distract the reader's focus and deeper thinking. That is a good point and my suggestion to the class was to experiment reading with hyperlink and without hyperlinks, then debate the impact of such different experiences.
Here are some questions about hyperlinked reading that I proposed to the students for  feedback:
  • Did hyperlinks distracted you as a reader?
  • Did anyone first read the entire chronicle and then explored the hyperlinks?
  • Did hyperlinks add to your reading experience?
  • What type of hyperlinks did your prefer?
The students feedback on the experience of reading hyperlinked chronicles from their friends was mixed. Some liked hyperlinks within the text, others preferred links only at the end, and a couple thought it was distracting. Here are some highlights of students' thoughts:

  • Hyperlinks provided focus on keywords.
  • Hyperlinks provided explanations for terms.
  • Hyperlinks within the text were better because they were in context.
  • Hyperlinks were a distraction because the tendency was to open the links before continue the reading.
  • Hyperlinks after the text were better as extra information.

  • So here is the eMagazine for Portuguese readers, created from the students' chronicles! This work was a collaboration between the PFL teacher, Laureana Piragine, and the HS Academic technology Coordinator, Silvana Meneghini.

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

    Art Exhibit .. Augmented Reality for amplified learning

    Cross post from

    Augmented Reality allows you to expand the experience of the real world with information, video, sound, GPS data, and so on. If well utilized, it can be much more than just another cool tech thing... You will see below an example of how Augmented Reality was used to expand the experience of visitors to our school's Art Exhibit. Students in Mrs Carpenter class had to reflect on and verbalize their artistic choices, an augmented reality layer was created for viewers of the exhibit. In the process, students were excited about sharing with an authentic audience and had to really recall and reflect.  It created a hyperlinked reality that enabled amplification of the viewers' learning experience that was much more engaging than text.

    aurasma1  By pointing a tablet or smartphone at a painting, through the viewing lens of Aurasma App, visitors could learn about the artist that influenced the work and techniques that were applied. Through Aurasma, an "overlay" video appears to be coming directly out of the painting and the student starts talking to you. 

    But wait... this engaging effect of merging the video with the real object does not happen automatically in Aurasma Studio. It was consciously created to provide the "real" augmented reality experience, through the use of green screen effects. In order to do that, the overlay video had to be superimposed on the image of the real object, which is easily done with the GreenScreen by Do Ink App on iPad . So we first took a picture of the painting that was then inserted as a background  at the Green Screen App. As we hold the iPad to record the student, we would already see the painting image on the background, allowing the correct positioning of the iPad camera to give the desired illusion. This is a very easy and quick process if you have a green screen already setup in your school and the students were able to do the recording by themselves.

    Green Screen effect to create Augmented Reality Overlay
    Green Screen effect to create Augmented Reality Overlay


     Below you can watch the overlay video for the Horsehead painting created with Green Screen by Do Ink, and check the type of content on artistic choices and technique. Aurasma was used only to create an "Aura", which is a combination of the "trigger" image (picture of the real object, in this case the painting) and the "overlay". This work was a collaboration between the teacher, Mrs Carpenter and the HS Academic Technology Coordinator, Mrs Meneghini.

    Dane M res
    Original student painting


    How to:

    Step 1: Take a picture of the real object for your Trigger Image
      • Tip:
        • If the trigger image is not detailed enough it will generate an error.
        • Crop the image on its more detailed parts.
        • The resulting Aura will be focused around the cropped part, but at least it will show.
    Step 2: Use a Green Screen App to create an Overlay Video
    • Install Green Screen by Do Ink from Apple Store on iPad or Cell Phone (Tutorial)
    • Add the Camera to record over green screen
    • Add the Trigger Image (the same as the real object - will show on the background)
    • Place camera so actor appears in the right position over background image
    • Record
    Step 3: Use Aurasma Studio to create an Aura
    • Prefer the online Aurasma Studio to the App
    • Add a Channel
    • Add your Trigger image
    • Add your Overlay video
    • Create / Add an Aura:
      • Select Trigger image
      • Select Overlay
      • Choose Channel
    Aurasma Studio
    Aurasma Studio windows: Trigger Images, Overlays, Auras 

    Step 4: Provide instructions for Viewers
      • Install the Aurasma App
      • Search for your Channel
      • Follow the Channel
      • Then point to the real object and see the Aura come to life!

    Thursday, February 13, 2014

    BSS 9 ... Urban patterns analysis with Google Earth

    Mr Youssef 's Brazilian Social Studies 9 class is learning about the first urban society that was developed in the Portuguese America. For this purpose, students have to analyze the urban characteristics of the main 17th Century cities of Minas Gerais, in order to identify whether the Portuguese colonists forced a urban pattern. The students have been on a school trip to those cities earlier in the year, so this activity is a follow up of the trip.

    Google Earth was chosen as a means to support such urban analysis, looking at different types of buildings and urban characteristics, including street design. In class, students learned the rationale behind their Google Earth activity looking through the SAMR model lens, as shown below. The class activity was at the Modification level.

    At this level, students could use a Google Map to individually draw/highlight street patterns and buildings. Substitution happens through a transfer from a paper map to an online map.

    Using Google Earth to go on Street View to visualize urban characteristics and refresh the memory of the school trip is a way to enter the Augmentation level. And so is the use of images, text and links to explain and illustrate pinned locations.
    Augmentation element: Visualization to connect with school trip.

    Augmentation element: Adding explanation, links and images.


    In Mr Youssefs’ class, students worked in groups, cooperating to identify the urban characteristics of their chosen city, and later sharing with the whole class for comparison and analysis.

    Collaborative City Urbanism 

    Sharing with whole class for comparison with other cities

    A Redefinition level could involve using those Google Earth maps to support a video conference with an Urbanism specialist to discuss students' analysis. Students who live in those cities could also be contacted to add their view of how they see their own city urbanism and any heritage from the Portuguese. Based on such feedback, students could review their interpretation of their maps and perhaps better highlight important characteristics.