Watch this video for an introduction to our Embellisher™ Platform.
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The Embellisher (TM) Multimedia Educational App Platform
After years of development and testing, you can now install a completely mobile app that allows your school to teach directly to your online students through their mobile devices. Whether your students are on a Smartphone, iPad, Android, IOS, or Chrome browser, they can immediately login to the instructor’s personal application and get the latest teaching lesson available. No more loss of instructional time teaching students how to interface with Blackboard or Moodle. All they do is register in the app for the course they’re taking, and they will become immediately connected to all the multimedia and interactive materials they’ll need for the semester. Not only that, but when they move from one mobile device to the next, as long as they have registered in the app, they can instantly pick-up where they left off in the course.
When I was an online instructor at Caltech, before I went into the private sector, I would get students enrolled in my classes who had 4.0 GPAs and above. Suffice it to say, one must learn quickly to provide a student-centered approach to learning in order to be successful in that environment. In point of fact, I believe this teaching approach can work for any level of instruction, including K-12 and college. Students around the world are content-centered because of mobile devices, and unless they’re given the freedom to learn by doing, they quickly become frustrated, and their performance levels can dwindle.
What does a “student-centered” approach to learning accomplish? For one, it creates a country like Finland that out-paces other countries around the world because it implements what we were providing to students at Caltech: assignments which played to the core interests of the learner. It begins with a simple philosophy: a student will work harder if he or she is doing something he or she is interested in doing. In point of fact, the entire United States educational system today ignores this very important philosophy, for the most part, due to the “teaching for the test” mentality pushed by the government and by the giant corporations who profit from this “top-down” system of big data instruction.
My entire business venture was developed to give students the most mobile-accessed and creative way to do multimedia lessons that they invent, along with their teachers, with the goal of team building and developing projects that can be shown to be popular and even commercially viable at the end of the lesson. Why shouldn’t our students see if their creations can be commercial successes? They are already plugged into YouTube and all the other social media “instant success stories.” My platform, called the Embellisher™ Mobile Publishing, Education and Learning application, allows students and teachers to collaborate on ePub3 (multimedia) projects aimed at commercial success. Let’s face it, with the world of Virtual Reality and multimedia eBooks fast approaching, unless we begin to teach our young people how to create for this new market, we will be at a loss for content.
My students at Caltech were always eagerly looking forward to the commercial world waiting for them, so why shouldn’t all students be included in this world-shaking paradigm shift? With mobile devices, and cross-platform delivery, even Third World students can be part of this new era of student-centered creativity, and I hope that is the case.
As an instructor, you can easily import your list of students’ eMail addresses from other LMS like Blackboard or Moodle. You can also send instant eMails to your class by copying and pasting the address list into your favorite eMail program.
Here are some ideas to use when implementing the “student-centered” model of instruction with our application:
- Know your students. Depending on the size of the class, this could mean knowing their names, majors, and backgrounds. But foremost, it means that you know a student is in your class, and hopefully more. Most students relish this recognition and it empowers their engagement to learn.
- Style of instruction. Faculty are encouraged to keep the class interactive. One aspect of learner–centered instruction is providing students the opportunity to teach their peers. It also serves to further student responsibility or ownership of class objectives, including the learning process. The time-honored Socratic method of teaching continues to be a vital means of engaging students.
- Make the course relevant. Many students have clear educational and/or career goals or may simply ask, “Why learn this?” We are encouraged to relate the class to historical or societal issues where appropriate, or students’ future goals. The learning goals of the class need to be perceived as relevant to the student’s aspirations or experience. In some classes, this can mean the use of current topics or case studies extended to problem-based learning.
- Active teaching. This is as important as ever, including the role of humor and even story telling. Faculty are encouraged share their passion regarding the subject and to feel free to get personal by offering their own anecdotes. The use of eye contact, variation in voice volume and tone, provocative questions, and the long entrusted pause to wait for answers continue to be important methods for drawing students into the learning process. In large classrooms, one can leave the podium and walk the aisles to further involve students in the new learning mode. Once they have it, let them explore. This is when we need to give full rein.
- Faculty availability to students. In any research university such as Caltech, our work often competes with time devoted to students. All of us post “office hours,” which can often be underutilized by our students until the times of midterms and final exams. Some of us have office hours at redundant times during the week, which can be an impediment to student access. Faculty are encouraged to stagger posted times of availability. Many Caltech faculty have augmented office hours with stated times of “open door” availability. E-mail correspondence has also aided access and should continue to be encouraged.