Tuesday, April 7, 2009

PRESENTATION - Personal Brain

The video above is part of my presentation on the Personal Brain, a mind-mapping tool I discovered, used and gave rave reviews about early in the course (see my March 12, 2009 post below). When I heard that another student was having trouble with the tool, I chose the Brain as the subject of my presentation.

Following up on a Moodle exchange between two participants in the course, I consciously chose to use the tool itself to present the tool -- so that the presentation environment would also serve as an example for the users.

I wanted to keep this presentation as simple as possible while meeting the following learning objectives:
  1. Introduce the tool
  2. Demonstrate its basic functionalities
  3. Provide working samples
  4. Provide sources for further information
I also wanted it to be as intuitive as possible for the user; to be rather than to describe.

I integrated into the tutorial both the company's web site and a video documenting how I produced the presentation of the Brain on the Brain. The idea is to have the final product demonstrate how it itself was produced.

I used SnapzPro X (for Mac) for the video/audio capture and this time (after my harrowing experience with the video essay) I did the entire thing in one take, after some careful storyboarding. I uploaded the exported .mov video to my new Blip.tv account and linked to it there from the presentation.

There's a small glitch in the logic of the video that attentive watchers will catch -- it's revealed at the surreal moment in the presentation when the Blip.tv video begins to play within the presentation video.

The presentation itself was produced using the Personal Brain, exported as SiteBrain HTML, and then uploaded onto a server, from which it can be accessed on the Net.

I'm quite happy with this final product, although I'm not sure if I've accomplished my objective of producing an intuitive interface. On first glance, it's nondescriptness can be confusing and the user experience will be altered depending upon what is clicked first.

Nonetheless, it took a lot of careful planning to come up with something that was simple, in the sense that it provided basic information and a springing-off point for the user to go ahead and try the tool.

That for me was the value of doing this assignment -- understanding the amount of behind-the-scenes work it takes to simplify the final learning experience for the user when it is mediated via (and informs about) a new technology.

The most gratifying part of this experience for me was when my co-student told me that she had used the tutorial and found it helpful; what's more she went on to give the tool another try for her next assignment.

Yee haa! Nothing better for an educator to hear.

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