In Support of Excellence

It's all about the students

Bethany International

A Gutenberg Experience

In 1979 my wife an I felt we should start a printing business, this we believed, was something we should do to make a difference. Our journey is quite a story.  We began printing for churcohes and Christian organizations. For 18 years the story of  the invention of moveable type and Gutenburg’s printing press and how his first book off the press – the Bible changed the world was a driver in our lives.  It still inspires us to this day.  We had the amazing experience of seeing some original pages from it  in Germany some years later.

Dan Brokke, President of Bethany International and an old friend from our time running Printing Schools in the University of the Nations in Hawaii,  never realized the impact his gift of this cool new Bible would have on me.   It provides the first bridge I have seen between our old world of print on paper and our new world of teaching and learning with technology.  It is awesome that  it is in fact a Bible….. Johannes Gutenburg would be well pleased.

Life Essentials Study BibleLife Essentials Study Bible  with video tutoring by Dr Gene Getz by  uses QR or BeeTags to give the printed page a link to the Internet and digital assets to support the content. I first started using these tags about 2 years ago and have seen them connect advertising posters to websites and other marketing uses. I have also used them to link PowerPoint presentations to social bookmarking, but Dr Getz uses them to add rich media content to expand the principles of Scripture and provide “good fors” as they are called in JiTT. They answer the students important questions of practical application … What is this content good for?

As I thought about this and explored the book at our time at Bethany College, ideas kept bouncing around my head. What if we extended this concept from rich media (video) support to the printed content and added interactive formative assessment i.e. quizzes managed by a LMS like Moodle.  We could design the “printed content” as self contained, yet linked to so much more when connectivity allows.  We could provide this content on local networks and design it so all content is LTA ( Low Threshold Activities i.e. easy to learn, easy to use, easy to download and low cost) and for use on mobile devices. We could design collaborative networks linked to the content, students could add questions and comments to their peers in group discussion…. Hmmm!  Could this be a new and exciting learning design that would work in the majority world?  Brainstorm anyone?

Truly a personal Gutenburg  moment.  Please add your comments.

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The Cross Walk … a practicum with a diffference

Carol Freeman PhotI saw the six foot cross as we walked into Carol Freeman’s office. I couldn’t help but comment. As Carol, the Dean of Student Mentoring at Bethany International began to explain how it is used in the teaching and learning at the college, I immediately had flashbacks to 1970 and my Army training in Australia.  What a dynamic practicum and situational learning opportunity.  In the military they call it survival training, where they drop trainees  many many miles form camp with little supplies and told to get back.

Listen to Carol in this episode tell the story how they blindfold students and take them 100 miles from the collage and give them a set of criteria and the cross and they have to get back.  This adds a new dimension to the term “field assignment”  :-)  The life changing results testified by the students after the experience makes a teacher know it is special.

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Student Mentoring Unpacked

Carol Freemand Bethany School of MissionsCan we do this using elearning?

One of the highlights of our visit to Bethany International was meeting Carol Freeman, Dean of Student Mentoring. Carol explained the school’s mentoring program that all students participate in as they move through their undergraduate experience.  It’s really intense as you will hear in the podcast episode.  The result is a truly transformational experience for the student.  Their hearts as well as their heads are being seriously impacted.

The question for me as a learning designer using elearning methods and technologies is:  “How do we impact the virtual student at the heart level so that values are informed along with knowledge and skill development?  What do you think – please add your comments below?

Richard Morris

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