Thinglink and InVision are two of the tools which have been used by IDEL students to create their metaphors this week. They are similar in that they allow an image to be overlaid with more information and commentary.
Susie and Stephanie used Thinglink:
And Yoyu (to add an overlay to her brilliant drawing) used InVision:
As readers/viewers, we were able to add our own comments to the creations; this function was more structured within InVision:
These tools have real power and potential. They offer the possibility for collaborative commentary on/explanation of images and a way of undertaking analysis which is not driven, necessarily, by a linear structure.
I engaged in some loop input practice and developed a presentation of my responses to the reading and discussion around MOOCs using InVision (I selected this, rather than Thinglink, as it offered numbered comments, allowing for the development, I thought, of a linear argument; this turned out to be moot). The three core ‘texts’ were Adams et al, this IDEL discussion and Christine’s blog about EDCMOOC.
First, I took some snippings of the core text and some of the key points raise in the discussion and added them to Photoshop in order that I could create an image to be used in InVision. This was time-consuming and raised questions of how to order the snips on the canvas; I determined (perversely, given the medium) on a fairly linear structure which followed the structures of the Adams et al’s original paper and the discussion which it prompted. This process in itself was time-consuming and, part way through, I wished that I had determined to simply offer a standard blog entry on my reading.
I then added the image to InVision. Interestingly, it was only when I did this that it became apparent that InVision has been created to enable prototypes of designs to be built and shared with a wider audience for testing, comment and feedback. It’s great that Yoyu and IDEL have now appropriated this tool for education: affordance in action.
I then got a bit stuck. My canvas was there but that was it. There was a lack of an interface and a moment of ‘now what?’:
So, I watched the help video. And found comments. I could progress.
The outcome is here. It’s not perfect – Christine’s blog extracts are a little too small on the screen and the canvas is a little chaotic. Lessons learnt. If you view it be sure to switch comments on:
What did I learn from engaging in this process?
It was difficult to create the arc of an argument within this medium; my responses to individual snips felt piecemeal. But then we don’t always have to follow the trajectory of a beginning and a middle and an end within written academic reflection. The breaking of the ‘typical’ structure also broke my notions as to how I should be expected to respond in an academic context and as I result I felt less constricted and restrained in my thinking and my writing. It was telling that my writing in the comments slipped, on occasion into a clipped, note form and I certainly felt that my tone was less formal that it would be in a traditional essay. I felt I was freer to be discursive, to posit questions, half-thoughts and half-ideas. There is value in the fragmentary, in the partial ideas which may gestate into something fully formed or may not. All of this is part of learning. What’s also exciting is that this medium offers the potential for the plurivocal construction of analyses through multiple comments; the possibility of real dialogic engagement with ideas.
These lessons are valuable; I’m forming nascent ideas about how I can use Thinglink and InVision in my practice for starter activities, crowd-sourcing ideas and building learning communities.