Because I’m a soft touch for creative uses of presentation tools, I was completely taken by New Media Consortium (NMC) Vice President Rachel S. Smith’s use of a cutting-edge online resource last Friday during an onsite event at Santa Clara University.
Serving as the first of several presenters at the California Academic & Research Libraries North Information Technology (CARL North IT) Interest Group workshop, “Mashup the Library,” Smith provided an engaging overview of the 2008 Horizon Report on emerging technologies (published jointly by NMC and EDUCAUSE) by using an emerging technology mashup tool: VUVOX.
To call VUVOX a step up from PowerPoint is like calling IMAX a step up from early versions of color television: the relationships and parallels are there, the results dynamically and explosively different. PowerPoint, at its best, offers a series of slides which can be interconnected through combinations of text, images, and links to websites as well as online audio and video files to produce a narrative flow—one slide at a time—for trainer-teacher-learners and other presenters. VUVOX, which is currently in its testing (beta) phase, functions as seamlessly as a Chinese scroll by using every online resource imaginable to provide an uninterrupted audiovisual flow of information. The result is visually stunning. And memorable.
As Smith herself noted in a brief conversation after her presentation, VUVOX was not specifically designed to be a formal training-teaching-learning tool; the VUVOX site itself promotes it as a way to “create one of a kind stories in an instant” by mashing up (combining) whatever video, audio, and text we have available. Recognizing the integral nature of story in training-teaching-learning, however, sets all of us up to explore VUVOX’s possibilities for onsite as well as online learning, and it appears that a well-designed VUVOX presentation can be an effective learning tool for live as well as for asynchronous learning if links to VUVOX presentations are created on a library intranet’s training site.
What was most engaging is that most audience members hardly commented on VUVOX and how she used it. Smith’s presentation, which was created with NMC colleague Alan Levine, is true to the spirit of first-rate training-teaching-learning experiences in that the tool is subservient to the information being shared with any audience she faces. It includes things as simple as copies of the Horizon Report covers for the past five years, screenshots of the Horizon Project wiki, links to videos illustrating the use of emerging technologies such as grassroots video, and an invitation to participate in the creation of upcoming Horizon Project reports. And it is up to the presenter or an individual viewer at a computer monitor how quickly or slowly the scroll moves since it is easy to pause, forward, or reverse the flow of the imagery.
Next: More on What the Horizon Report and Mashups Offer Trainer-Teacher-Learners
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