I don’t know about you, but I’ve really had enough of winter. [theatrical sigh] Roll on the warm sunny days! Speaking of warm, sunny days, have you heard that you can now seek directions on Google Maps.…and ask for the best route via bicycle? You can read more here, but imagine it….riding along with the sun on your back. [wistful look] Anyway…time to stop dreaming of warm days and get back to work!
TURNING IMAGES INTO ‘LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES’
I was asked the question “How can I create multiple hot spots in an image which link to learning content such as video?” Well, of course this is quite possible…but what if you have precious little in the way of technical skills….like most of us? [grin] A bit of research brought me to Thinglink which “…makes it possible to embed audio, video and rich media links directly in images and share them across the web.” Here is more information and the video below explains how to use it.
GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT GAMES
Game-based learning has been discussed for years now however there is a misconception that this model is only useful if your learners are young males. In Game-Based Learning for the Corporate World the author says “… the largest consumer of games is not the teenage boy, but rather a 37-year-old, 42 percent of whom are women.” Surprising, hey? Games can even be used to market your business, explained in How to use Game Mechanics to Power Your Business. Wanna see some examples of games? I thought you’d never ask [grin]: There’s Fatworld (teaches nutrition), Climate Challenge, Stock Exchange and Edheads Virtual Knee Surgery. You can spend a million bucks on developing a game….or you could just use Powerpoint to create a simple activity. Or how about incorporating reward badges and leader-boards into your Moodle course?
MOODLE 2.3 IS OUT – LET THE DRAGGN’ & DROPPN’ BEGIN!
Moodle users may have heard that version 2.3 has been released. I’ve had a play and it’s pretty good! Soooo much easier to use with the ability to drag and drop files straight into it, plus it’s much more usable in lots of ways eg Assignments have been made simpler. Hear the views of others, or check out the video below for a a short demo of just a few of the changes.
“If you have a next button with slide after slide of content followed by a multiple choice quiz at the end, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!” So says the author of Students Are Smarter Than Your Old eLearning Design…..and this is borne out in a story on From classroom training to eLearning – what goes wrong? So how do you get good e-learning design if you don’t have experience (or buckets of money)? How to Design An Elearning Course on a Budget may provide some ideas, but essentially it is about really considering what you are trying to get across (with regard to the learning), and then planning the best way to do it. Clicking slides in a classroom may work as you are there to explain, but the Powerpoint is only a resource, and doesn’t teach all by itself. So it won’t in your online course either. Some of the ideas in Design experiences, not information may help get the discussions started.
PASSWORDS – HOW SECURE IS YOURS?
Came across the How Secure is My Password site….cool! Apparently it would take a desktop PC about 769 years to crack my password, so I’m feeling pretty secure. [smug look] Why not have a go yourself…and point your students to it too. If you’re at all worried about hacking, you can check if your email address has been compromised at Should I change my Password. Another one I like is ReclaimPrivacy.org which scans your Facebook privacy settings to make sure you aren’t inadvertently sharing what you shouldn’t be sharing. It’s not about shutting yourself off….it’s about keeping yourself informed and being sensible. Here endeth the advice. [grin]
TODAY’S LEARNERS…ARE WE RELEVANT TO THEM?
You may have heard on the News about the 9 year old who’s blog was banned because she posted photos of her school lunches. Snapshot of a modern learner also introduces you to a student called Santos. “His teachers use technology as an event. Outside of school, he doesn’t separate technology from other activities. For him, it is air or water, something that he doesn’t really think about because it’s always available.” The article Why Gen Y Will Be Running the Country by 2020 is US-centric, however the stats wouldn’t be that much different for Australia. The question I ask myself is….are we teaching them the skills they will need for this future workforce? Hmmmm….what do you think?
YAMMERING AROUND THE WATER-COOLER
The quest for the online water-cooler experience discusses the water-cooler effect…those incidental discussions that encourage in-house business communication. Yammer is a tool which has become widely used and which does this quite well…it’s sort of like a Twitter or a Facebook, but private to your organisation. Drivers of Yammer use in the corporate sector explains how it is being used, and here’s an example of how accountants are using it. (Now that would be a conversation worth eaves-dropping [cheeky grin]) TAFE SA are using it, and it is allowing communication across all the campuses of SA (anybody with an @tafesa email address can join the private chat simply by registering.) Why not start some in-house conversations at your business? Here are some instructions for getting started.
COLLABORATIVE STORY-TELLING – WITH QWIKSTORY
Remember that game we played as kids? One person begins with ‘Once upon a time’…and provides the first few sentences of a story…and then it is passed along to the next person to continue…and so on. It developed skills in language and communication as well as a heap of others related to working collaboratively. I thought I’d introduce you to Qwikstory, which basically does the same thing. Oh, and yes…the stories can be made private if you would like to try this with your students. The author of Qwikstory Puts a Creative Social Spin on Storytelling says “It’s classic storytelling, just with a social network twist.” Here’s an example, so you get the idea.
LOOKING FOR A JOB?
I just had to share How to Ace Your Interview for a Teaching Position, as although it is obviously referring to teaching, I think you can swap that term for ‘trainer’, ‘business manager’, ‘e-learning designer’ etc etc. The author says “What I want to know is can you use the latest technology and methodology to facilitate learning, collaboration, problem solving, and creative thinking?“…and…”Because we are living in a digital world I don’t want to see this stuff in a three-ring binder with a cute cover!” Still trying to get that interview? Why not check out 20 great ways to find a job using LinkedIn. Good luck!
PLAYING AROUND WITH IMAGES
I had a little look at Cropp.me which…according to them, is an…”uber cool and easy-to-use online tool for auto-cropping.” It’s free and there’s nothing to download, which is always a plus. Just upload an image then choose your size. If you ‘mouse-over’ the sizes it tells you what that size is commonly used for, which I found quite useful. If you’re always on the look-out for images you can use (because of course you can’t just take any image off the internet), try Pics4Learning - it’s a free image library for education. Or if you just want to have some fun with images, try RedKid.Net. Here’s one I prepared earlier…. [chuckles]
That should be enough to keep you occupied during these wintry days! One day when I get sick of getting up in the dark to commute to work, I think I’ll be a grey nomad.[chuckles] Already it is possible to access Digital TV in regional and remote Australia…and with the NBN stretching out across the country, I’ll soon be able to write this Newsletter from my camp in the middle of nowhere!