Emerging Technologies Talk: Location-Based Applications

“Have you been hearing the buzz about location-based applications such as Gowalla, Facebook Places, or Foursquare, but unsure of how to best utilize them? Learn about the services location-based applications provide and how to take advantage of them in the university setting. We will engage in trying out some of the applications, as well as seeing how they can foster connectedness within the campus community. After the presentation we will have time to experiment with the different applications.”

This morning I gave an Emerging Technologies Talk on Location-Based Applications. Around 25 people attended, the audience participated, and I received positive feedback afterward. Attendees commented it was “very informative,” and others held back to ask additional questions! Best of all, most seemed likely to try out an application after leaving.

View the TechTalk visual aid:

Sources and links addressed during the presentation:

Watch the self-critique:

If you would like more information on Location-Based Applications, consultation on how to best use them in your classroom, workplace, or general environment, don’t hesitate to contact me. I would enjoy helping you develop and implement your idea.

Mitigating barriers to video in the classroom

This afternoon provided a useful experiment in better understanding and learning how to improve video set up in the classroom. Tomorrow I’m giving an Emerging Technology Talk on Location-Based Applications, and am using this as an opportunity to increase my level of expertise with video content capture.

Recording allows me to share it with those who cannot attend, better understand the barriers faculty face to using video in the classroom, and to review for personal improvement. Additionally, it might inspire some of those in attendance to try video in their own classrooms!

Integrating video into Wake Forest classrooms faces two distinct barriers, in my opinion. One obstacle is ideological: those that disagree with, choose to ignore, or simply do not understand, the importance of video. Generational differences, privacy concerns, a hesitance to share content online, or just disliking being on camera are some reasons used to explain this ideological gap.

In addition to the ideological barrier, there is the physical barrier. Even if an instructor understands and supports video in the classroom, it is not easy to set up quality video content capture. (We’ll address content creation another day.) Instructors need a certain level of expertise, the proper equipment, and enough time, to integrate video into the classroom. And remember, that is after overcoming the philosophical hurdles, usually a task all by itself.

So today I consulted our Multimedia & Digital Production Services Coordinator, Barry Davis, to set up the video capture in Room 476 for tomorrow’s talk. I aim for the video capture (1) to remain as inconspicuous as possible so as not to disturb the audience’s involvement, (2) include quality sound (3) show an accurate account of what transpires, (4) provide an enjoyable viewing experience, and (5) require minimal editing. I think these goals would align with those of a faculty member.

Barry and I tried multiple combinations of video camera and microphone placement, as well as different microphones, to achieve the desired result. We had no problem with the video camera, but faced some difficulty in determining the best way to capture the voice of the presenter in the front, the audience discussion in the middle, with the camera in the back. Not to mention, room 476 is noisy by itself as the projector and closet vent emit constant feedback.

Preparing for recording the audio involved a lot of “test test 123″ on my part, which got old after a while. A few different attempts with the wireless lapel mics resulted in static. While I could hold a microphone while talking, I eliminated that option. I don’t think it sets the right tone for a TechTalk, nor do I think a Wake Forest faculty member would be too keen on the idea.

We eventually decided that a voice recorder in my pocket with the lapel mic provided the best sound. This eliminates most of the static because there is no wireless transmission. However, I will have to go back later and edit the sound into the video–not a huge concern, but something I would not want a professor to have to do. Additionally, I wanted a microphone on the table so that audience member’s thoughts would be properly captured; however, due to static and that we do not have a microphone stand available, the discussion will (hopefully) be picked up by the voice recorder and the video camera microphone itself.

Overall, this particular set up provided a worthwhile learning experience in increasing my level of expertise with video content capture. If I were to help a faculty member with video in the classroom, I’ll be prepared with video and audio solutions that best suit the instructor’s goals and the physical classroom environment–is the room small? large? tiered? is the class lecture or discussion-based? where and how will the video capture be used in the future?

Looking forward to seeing how well the video capture turns out after tomorrow’s talk.