About Britt Carr

I am the founder and Creative Director for Advanced Authoring, a company dedicated to making learning more interactive and engaging, and sometimes even portable. I have spent the last 15 years consulting as an Instructional Designer and Technology Specialist for multiple universities' Learning Technologies units. I was responsible for helping faculty and teaching staff include learning objects into their courses. In this role I help faculty develop both personal and distance learning websites, interactive media, and advanced presentations technology. From my innovative work in the field, I have been recognized by Adobe Systems as a worldwide Higher Education Leader. Before assisting universities, I worked as an Internet Strategist for Macromedia, Inc. I created and managed Macromedia’s Innovation Award program which highlighted web developer’s talents and ground-breaking use of rich media in the education and e-Learning fields. I am a certified Macromedia Flash Designer and hold a B.S. in Broadcasting from Northern Arizona University and a M.Ed. in Educational Media and Computers from Arizona State University.

Easy Collaborative Learning – Crowdsource With Your Students

It’s often said that students learn better by teaching others. I was contacted last week by a student wishing to build a SmashFact activity for his study group– SmashFact.com is a free site that helps teachers transfer course content into a mobile study app. The student complained that the course content contained a lot of difficult information, and the class itself was a bit dry. The students were looking for a fun way to study “boring course stuff.” Then it hit me. Why not increase student engagement and collaboration by having the students build a SmashFact activity to test their peers? I know that a faculty member’s time is often split between service work,  research, a ton of writing, publishing AND not to mention teaching and advising. So often there’s little time left for enhancing one’s course to make it more engaging. This way, each student spends just a few minutes creating a handful of multiple-choice questions to stump their peers, and the activity builds itself in time for midterm exams.

So here’s how to quickly get the students up and running after creating a free account on SmashFact.com…
  1. Save a copy of our pre-formatted spreadsheet template from Google Docs Templates. Share the “Student Collaboration Activity” form URL with students. Instructions are included in the template.
  2. Divide students into teams. Each team gets assigned a chapter or unit of the course prior to midterm exam. Each student on the team has to enter 3-4 unique multiple-choice questions about the unit designed to ‘stump’ their peers. Have them enter the questions in the form at the URL you send them. All answers will be compiled on an easy to read spreadsheet. See images below.
  3. Review and approve their questions and answers to make sure they are teaching their peers the proper info. This also offers an opportunity to gauge student understanding on topics to date.
  4. Share the document with support(at)smashfact.com when you are ready. Our support team will upload the questions into your SmashFact activity database and prep the activity for your students. We’ll send you all the information they will need to get the study app on their device.
DONE with a custom aligned activity in time for midterms!!!
The Template form students use to add questions and answers to the activity

The Template form students use to add questions and answers to the activity

Google Template Spreadsheet

The instructor’s view of the first student’s effort in the collaborative activity

Google Sheet Result iPad

A preview (on SmashFact.com) of how the study app looks on a student’s device.

The students can repeat this process through the second half of the semester for Final exams. Once the content is shared with the SmashFact support team, SmashFact loads in fresh content every time the student starts the app. Teachers never have to touch it again. And, future students can use the activity for as long as the class is taught!
When we created SmashFact.com, we set out to make the interface as easy to use as we could at the time. But, in effort to further streamline making an activity, we’ve created a few more solutions. We offer to personally help faculty by converting old tests to study activities (reach out to us below), and, I’ve also created a Google Docs Spreadsheet Template that is pre-formatted to help teaching or grad assistants enter activity questions quickly, and efficiently, whether on teams or working alone. These are good solutions. But, an important one that was missing was student collaboration.
We’re baking more serious collaboration into Version 2 of SmashFact. But, using the Google Docs Template is an easy way to get there until then.

Virtual Audience 2.0

Photo by Nighthawk7

I’m creating a new version…

I’ve been receiving a LOT of emails recently, from teachers, students, musicians, Toastmaster members and even a few psychologists asking for the link to be able to download the Virtual Audience.

Unfortunately, the existing version of the Virtual Audience has been removed from he server and is no longer available for download. BUT, I’m creating a new, better version, using HD Video with more features. The new product will meet different kinds of user’s needs rather than just being a generic audience. During the creation process I’ll be inviting users in to help me test, and to provide feedback. If you are interested please email me:
britt_carr (at) advancedauthoring (dot) com

Adobe 2012 Educator’s Choice Awards

Educator’s Choice Higher Ed Grand Prize Winner ‘Type Faces’ by Micheal Cole

I had the great opportunity to serve as one of the judges for the 2012 Educator’s Choice Awards sponsored by Adobe.  The contest celebrates the best projects, lesson plans, and curricula used to teach Adobe tools and technologies in innovative, creative and inspiring ways. There were several hundred entries. Many were fascinating.

The judges picked the finalists, then opened the judging up for the public to vote. Adobe announced the winners this morning! Congrats to all of the finalists and winners. A job well done!

Visit the Adobe Education Exchange and view the winning entries.

Vote for Advanced Authoring in Mission: Small Business

Advanced Authoring is entering the Chase/Living Social Mission: Small Business grant competition. The competition awards 12 small businesses $250,000 each to help further their small business along. Advanced Authoring will use the funding to complete development of the mobile game The American Dream.

Voting takes 30 seconds and is done in 3 easy steps:

  1. Visit www.missionsmallbusiness.com and sign in (you can use your Facebook Acct too).
  2. Search for “Advanced Authoring”.
  3. Click the VOTE! button.

The American Dream is a personalized mobile/tablet/desktop game designed to teach necessary topics of personal finance. It’s targeted to high school and college students. Think: “The Game of Life” meets “The Sims” meets “Survivor”. In the game players have to constantly balance a budget while dealing with unexpected “Life Events”. The game will have both a commercial version, for individuals.  And, educational versions for institutions which involve teachers and parents.

Possible Life Event in the game