• Transmedia Storytelling with Rick Ramsey at Now/Next in learning

    by Rick Ramsey, Education Director for Visual Arts, Full Sail University

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    Interested in learning how storytelling can enhance connections inside and outside of your course? We have the professional development opportunity for you. Now/Next in learning– a new ed tech event happening April 22-24 in Scottsdale, AZ – includes a Storytelling Workshop with The Moth and Rick Ramsey’s session on Transmedia Storytelling. Learn more about Rick and what drives him to transform education experiences in our conversation below.

    What inspires you most about teaching/education?

    What inspires me the most about education is change. For centuries the educational institution has been seen as the breeding ground for change. It was where relative social and political ideals were discussed, discoveries were made, and experts molded young minds. Today the educational institution is being assaulted by change.

    As educators we are in a race to keep up with how technology and digital social platforms have affected how the learner receives and shares learning moments. We no longer have the expert voice. We can no longer simply open the doors of the classroom and expect the learner to be mentally present.

    For the first time in academic history the educator and the learner run the risk of being separated but also have the opportunity to interact in ways we never thought of before and this need to change how we teach and how the learner learns inspires me to find new modes of teaching.

    In the past 5 years, how has technology changed the way you teach?

    There are so many changes in the technology landscape that has definitely affected how we teach. The two I feel are the most impactful are accessibility and connectivity.

    Today the student has access to so much more information via websites like Wikipedia and YouTube that they can gather information on a subject within seconds, but they often lack the skills to critically evaluate that data. This is the new role of the educator to curate and apply critical thinking skills to the plethora of information portals out there.

    When it comes to connectivity the educator is challenged with matching the accessibility that the learner has become accustomed to with new technology. With students having options to text, post, and interact with multitudes of subcultures at varying degrees of involvement, the educator not only has to compete with multiple messages but has to interact at a more direct and personal level if they want to break through the digital noise.

    How do you connect what’s going on in your course with the outside/”real” world?

    I think of it more as connecting what’s going on in the outside world with my course. Maintaining relevance has always been a responsibility of the educator but now it has become almost a daily upkeep. I keep the connection constantly updated by inserting examples from recent events into standard discussions.

    What’s your secret to keeping learners engaged?

    I don’t know that there is a secret. I think one thing is to understand that the learner’s expectations and communication modes change and to make sure you are not only aware of these changes, but are redesigning your lessons to make optimal use of them.

    What’s the biggest obstacle you face in education today?

    I think the biggest obstacle in education today is trying to satisfy new user expectations with outdated teacher demands. For example we treat online education as more of a self-study and believe that if we post the same materials we use in the classroom with more detailed instructions the student will experience the same level of satisfaction.

    We forget that students can like a subject based solely on their like for the teacher. If the teacher’s personality isn’t present in the online experience then we have no right to expect the student to have the same desire to learn.

    Marshall McLuhan said, “the medium is the message.” I say, “the teacher is the message,” holds true as well. Educational institutions need to limit student loads on educators so they have time to create more engaging online materials and have one-on-one time to spend with students.

    Describe the ideal classroom.

    That is a big ask but if I were to answer I would say the ideal classroom allows the campus and online student to interact with each other as well as the educator all at the same level. Online social networks serve both groups of students and the class, like a YouTube channel, consists of avid followers who subscribe to both the message and the messenger, or educator. A system where online and campus students feel the same level of connectivity as well as freedom to explore the digital landscape together.

    Don’t miss the opportunity to engage with Rick at Now/Next in learning!

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