Too many snow days requiring you to figure out how to make up content outside of class? Not that tech savvy? Do you fear making online lectures or have no idea how to go about doing it? Fear not! Knowmia is here to help!
Knowmia (pronounced “KNOW-me-uh”) is a fantastic new presentation tool that allows you to do many cool things as an educator. We have all seen PowerPoints, many of us have seen Prezis, but Knowmia brings a whole new aspect to teaching.
A few reasons I like Knowmia is because it is easy to use (especially on the iPad), you can create online lectures easily, and there is even an ‘assignments’ function! How can this relate to Sex. Ed.? Let’s cover the basics first…
Easy to Use
First of all, this app is completely free. Free registration, free app, free access to the lesson library–all free. Once you have the app, creating lessons is as simple as adding slides and pictures. You can add pictures from files, draw pictures, manipulate pictures and much more. Knowmia allows you to record your voice while creating lessons as well. I could go on and on, but there are a bunch of video tutorials on the site that allow you to see how the app works. For those of us who STILL have a hard time understanding how to use technology, they also offer free training for teachers, which is a really considerate service demonstrating dedication to education.
Once a lecture is created, it is very easy to post online. The app allows you to “publish” your presentations onto the Knowmia site. Anyone can view them because it goes into the lesson library. You do, however, have the option to take it offline if you don’t want people to be able to search for it. Unfortunately, that means that people you would like to show the presentation to cannot view it either. This function allows technophobes easy access to creating online lessons. This also means that there are some pretty terrible teachers who are now able to make their lessons available via mass media to help cure internet-surfer-insomnia.
So you don’t want to create a lesson of just you talking at the viewer, eh? You are sensitive to the need some students have to actually do things in order to learn? That’s why Knowmia has the Assignment Wizard (also with a tutorial video). Assignments allow you to break up sections of a video lesson and insert interactive material like multiple choice questions to answer, links to visit, or essay questions to answer. You can try out a sample assignment in history or chemistry if you wish.
Now we get to the important part: How can we use this tool to teach about human sexuality?
The answer is simple: as a presentation tool.
So much of sexuality education is largely focuses on an individual’s personal becoming, growth, and development (Hedgepeth & Helmich). Sometimes, this is hard to do without personal interaction. While the Assignments on Knowmia help, little can substitute for effective personal communication.
That being said, there is a great power in visual material to which one does not normally have access in the classroom. Viewing different parts of anatomy can be unclear for many students based on simple book drawings. What exactly does the ejaculatory duct look like? Does the urethra run outside the prostate? Above? Below? Through? How does the uterus stay in its place? What muscles are being flexed with Kegels? Knowmia presentations allow you to use pictures that are often lacking in text books to make material clearer.
On the video page (or the link you send out that has your video on it), you are allowed to add links. This is an immediate resource guide for students. If one is giving a presentation on resources for homeless trans youth, STIs, or 3D images for anatomy, this place allows you to put links for immediate access rather than in a hand out.
Story telling can be a powerful tool in the field of human sexuality. Since this is a presentation tool, you are able to put video of yourself in the presentation as well.
I have created a sample lesson that you all can view if you would like. I have minimal tech skills, so it may not be the BEST presentation out there, but it demonstrates some features that I discussed about. Check it out!
One critique of this tool is that it does not have tags or categories for sexuality education. I am currently talking with the CEO about changing that. He says that we need at least 50 lessons in one category before it opens as a “new category.” Only 49 more to go!
With many more minds on Knowmia, more information and education can happen on a much broader scale than ones own classroom. I can show you the door, but when it comes to the creativity to make things visually appealing…well…my gifts lie elsewhere.
Hedgepeth, E., & Helmich, J. (1996). Teaching about sexuality and HIV: Principles and methods for effective education. New York, NY: New York University Press.