Tuesday, May 15, 2012

MentorMob Creation Day 2

As I continue to work on my MentorMob playlist, I'm realizing there is so much more to the program that I initially thought.  Originally, I thought of it as a curation tool.  Well, it certainly can curate a nice bundle of links if you'd like. But, MentorMob is really a learning tool.  It provides a platform to create engaging lessons.   The big bonus is the ability to collaborate with others in creating these lessons.  As their video notes, just like Wikipedia allows others to come along and add to content to improve it and make it richer, the very same thing can be done with MentorMob.  So, imagine a teacher workshop where the teachers begin to put together a lesson for their students.  They begin the work together, sharing ideas and finding great resources to add to the Playlist.  They add some documents, a PowerPoint Presentation, a quiz (Yes, you can create a quiz in MentorMob), and some discussion questions for students to answer within MentorMob.  Planning time ends and the teachers go on their way.  What usually happens is, well, nothing.  The work done becomes stagnant because the teacher
s don't have the opportunity to get together again and create.  But MentorMob solves that problem because collaborators can add to work that's already begun, edit, and enhance from wherever they happen to be.  

In fact, this takes the possibility of collaboration and quality to a whole new level because, with the right permissions set, I can allow educators worldwide to join me in creating a enriching and high-quality Playlist that literally combines the best of all worlds together and in an easy and efficient way.

So, once I began the MentorMob process in earnest, I found it easy.  I learned how to make the "Steps" in MentorMob reflect an appropriate picture.   There's a secret.  Set up your Step and see what pictures MentorMob offers you based on the tile of your step.  If one is good (and there are only about 4), highlight it and accept it.  If not, simply change the title to something that gives you a different set of pictures. So, for instance, in my earlier blog entry on MentorMob, I noted that the graphics weren't very good for one of my steps.  The title had the word "Introduction" and I wasn't given great choices for my Step cover picture.  I simply changed it Firefox and saved my Step.  I went back into Edit on the step and I had a new choice of pictures and these contained the Firefox logo which was perfect. I selected the best logo and then changed the title back to "Introduction" and saved again.  Bingo!  I had my "Step" cover with the Firefox logo and the title Introduction.  

Another thing I learned is that the Step titles need to be short so keep it concise.  For instance, "Introduction to the Firefox Workshop" would be too long so stick with something simple like "Introduction."  This is probably a good thing.  Keeps it short and clear for the students.

Now, the MentorMob steps require that you choose between options in terms of skill level of the card (Beginner, Intermediate,and Advanced) and I'm actually not sure about whether I like this feature or not.  You also must enter a description and this I applaud.  It drives me crazy when I see a resource provided and no explanation for it in an educational setting.  And, there's one more item selected which is  Type, either Article or Video.  MentorMob, I know you're listening  and this is just too limiting.  I am SURE it will confuse users and creators.  The fact that this is also indicated on the front of the Step Card in the MentorMob Playlist makes it even more critical.  I would recommend Document, Presentation, Video, and Resource.  These are 4 clearly different items and are the right indicators for students or learners using a Playlist.  This request has now gone to the very top of my MentorMob Wish List because I think it detracts from the learning experience.  Does it detract so much that I won't use MentorMob?  Absolutely not!  But, it detracts enough to impact learning so it needs to be addressed. 

I should mention again that it is very easy to order the Playlist "Step" cards.  It is also easy to add or delete a card.  One thing I noticed I couldn't do was edit the type of card that I selected once I made it.  When you make a MentorMob Step Card, you select between "From a Link," "From Upload," and "Add Pop Quiz."  If you choose "From a link," you'll need to create a whole new card if you decide to change the content of the card to a PowerPoint  upload, for instance .  Since creating cards is easy, this isn't a problem.  It is just a little time-consuming.

 I intend to continue my discussion of my MentorMob Workshop that I've created/.  I have invited my grad class to be my students and I'm using the Pro package to view their progress in the class so I will have a lot to share and some new insights as my MentorMob Playlist takes on life.  In the meantime, I sincerely hope you'll take a look at MentorMob and see what it's all about.  I highly recommend taking a look at the Playlist that have already been created and collaborate with a few of the Playlist creators to get an idea of what this learning environment offers.


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