Friday, November 18, 2016

H5P.org - Thanks to the CrazyTeam in Tromsø , Norway

Today I am reviewing one of the coolest things I have come across in ed tech in a hot minute.  H5P is a project that was undertaken by a team of HTML5 programmers in Norway that were interested in devising a platform for creating interactive, HTML 5, multimedia content for all kinds of purposes in a way that was incredibly user friendly. This means that it was not specifically designed for education, however, the ease of use of these applications for creating educational content makes this a formidable competitor with some of the most expensive and more difficult to use content creation software out there....And, it's free.  No, you heard me, it's free. 

So what does all this jargon mean?  The first thing to understand is that the H5P project is a collection of content creation tools for hosting any type of content. This means that much like PowerPoint allows us to put our ideas and content into a presentation form, H5P offers us the ability to do this in an interactive way.  It is also the case that it allows for tracking information on how learners are doing as they work with the content.  There are a multitude of different content types you can create as well.

They have a whole page of examples and downloads to check out. All the samples are berry-themed (yum!)


Types of Content

    History of Strawberries Timeline

Interactive Videos (all you need is the link!)
Games                                                            
Collages
Dialog Cards
Flash Cards
Find the Hotspot
Timeline Creation
Drag and Drop (Question Style)
Drag the Word  (Question Style                                                                

There is also the course presentation tool which allows you to place multiple instances of each of the other different content types into one presentation on a topic. This allows you to create a presentation that contains an interactive video, a collage of images, and accordion menu with information topics, and dialog cards all into the same presentation along with knowledge checks that include different types of questions to make sure students are remembering and can apply what they are learning.

Check out this one I made for my PowerPoint class. If you click on the correct area in the image you will notice that you get a confirmation that your choice was correct. 

PowerPoint node

Here are some screenshots of what I consider to be the genius part of this whole toolset: embedding in your LMS.


                                       

So, what is required to make this work? If you are simply looking to do smaller, less-space demanding projects and you don't mind some restriction of options, the H5P Project site offers people the ability to sign up for a free account.
However, if you want tons of space to store your creations and full functionality, you will need a web host for it. This can be very simple or very involved.  We set one up using Drupal off our school website and it requires a minimum of update and backup time (ours is getting more involved as we offer new tools that are connected to H5P).
Development lead time for creating content can be as involved as you would like and attending to the requirements of accessibility for differently-abled students is built in as part of the content creation process. You will be asked to provide alt text for images, for example as you create.  This is not to say that all tools make everything magically accessible but the HTML5-based content creation tools make it possible, for the first time to use an interface that allows for and encourages the creation of accessible content. Previous creation tools utilizing flash or javascript were not nearly so flexible or open to manipulation for accessibility purposes.
Okay, so now what do students think of this? I have had very positive responses to my use of this technology in the classroom. It seems to have alot to do with what content I present in it. Remember that amazing technology is not a substitute for carefully developed content or sound pedagogy. Students need the instructor to be present and tie the content created to what they are learning in the class. The two most popular tools overall seem to be the interactive video, which combines various types of questions and interactive activities to a video they are assigned to watch. The activities are an overlay on the video and each time an opportunity to interact appears, the video can be set to pause. Students like that they can interact with the video itself and are simply passively viewing and trying to absorb the content.
Students also really like the hotspotting tools.  Offering them an opportunity to view a piece of religious iconography or a software interface with clickable areas that give them close-ups or offer them information about what they are seeing is a wonderful way of combining the visual with the text-based learning experience.  Each hotspot should offer just a small bit of factual information or perhaps a close-up of a particular part of something and the student can then put all of these pieces together to get a more informed overall picture.
To wrap this one up, H5P changes so much of how we approach e-learning and also the way we use e-learning to support face-to-face instruction.  It's toolset represents thousands of dollars of e-learning software that you get for free and with a little bit of a sense of tech adventure.  The best part is that all the tools and the content are in the cloud so you can literally be anywhere with internet access and work. It has great accessibility features and offers students the chance to interact with learning material in all kinds of pedagogically sound ways. This one is a no-brainer folks.  
Cons:
  • Tools require a web server setup like Drupal or Wordpress. This can be time-consuming to set up if you are wanting the full version of the tools or unlimited space for development.
  • As with any content for a class, you must have the time to invest in creating content or placing already existing content into these formats.
  • It is an app so there is time that needs to be spent learning how to use the creation tools.

Pros:

  • Tools are free and easy to learn to use so development time is minimized and the learning curve is slight. Really great tutorials for each type of content make the learning process more sane.
  • Tools have great accessibility features and make the process of making content accessible very simple. This is integrated into the creation process.
  • The tools are pedagogically sound in terms of engaging the student visually, with text, or with media.
  • Did I mention they were free?
  • If you are an SRJC faculty member, you already have a web platform hosting these, just go to de-assets.santarosa.edu and request an account. 
  • If you are looking to try this out and want to make smaller pieces of content, H5P offers free accounts .


The Teacher Lady Rating:

Easy to use: 8/10
Flexible: 9/10
Fun: 10/10
Power Level: 7/10
Functionality:10/10

Affordability: 10/10


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