Goodness…didn’t Autumn arrive quickly! Not only did the calendar turn over to Autumn on Monday, but I woke to a day which already had a nip in the air and a ‘not so balmy’ wind in the trees outside. Apologies to all those of you who love the winter, but I’m wishing I could wind the calendar back to the beginning of summer and have it all over again! Oh well…you’re safe… my influence doesn’t reach that far. [laugh] I’ve spent the last month collecting all sorts of bits and pieces that I’m hoping will be useful though…so here we go for March 2010!
SOCIAL MEDIA – WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?
“I am a beaten man. Defeated. The arguments with friends and colleagues about Facebook won’t go away; they grind me down to abject submission….Not participating in mindless online social networks now is like not having a telephone 20 years ago.” This is a quote from a blog posting called Social-media suicide, and it’s an interesting reflection on the escalating social networking trend. Social networking and social media are indeed a revolution, and this YouTube video will throw all sorts of fascinating data at you…and whether or not you agree with it all, I promise it will make you think! Also, take the time to read 10 Ways Social Media Will Change In 2010: “2009 will go down as the year in which the shroud of uncertainty was lifted off of social media and mainstream adoption began at the speed of light.” Are YOU part of the trend or are you resisting the trend? What will that mean for you in the future? Nothing? Everything? Think about it. [grin]
If you are part of the social networking trend, you might be on Facebook… Plaxo… LinkedIn… Delicious… Twitter… Aaarrgh!!!! How do you make sure all your sites are updated with your latest news? Do you have to go to every one of them, every day, just to post your status update? Of course not! There are sites that will do that for you, and Ping is one of them. “Ping.fm is a simple and FREE service that makes updating your social networks a snap!” I use it and it’s a real timesaver – I just type in one message and it gets ‘pinged’ out to every site that I’ve linked it to, all at the same time. Easy peasy! 🙂
E-PORTFOLIOS: FUNDING, EXPLANATIONS & EXAMPLES
Let’s start with the important bit of news first…the money! [chuckles] Very soon, RTOs will be able to apply for a share of $25,000 to participate in E-portfolio Implementation Trials. Applications will open on 24 March and close 21 April. There will be three trials, with the maximum amount available to any single RTO being $9,000, and if you scroll halfway down the page you will find links to the 2009 trials, which will give you an idea of what organisations have done last year. But if you are wondering “What on earth is an e-portfolio” [grin] then you might first have a look at this YouTube video ‘e-Portfolios for Starters‘, and then check out the Framework’s E-portfolio site for more information about what they are, and about the Framework’s E-portfolios Business Activity. We’re lucky here in South Australia as although it’s a national Activity, the manager (Allison Miller) is right here in little ol’ Adelaide! You can call her on 08 8348 4075 for more information about the trials.
WRITING BUSINESS CASES FOR E-LEARNING
You know you can trust me to let you know every time I hear about any funding for e-learning [grin]….but I’d also like to help you make the most of the opportunities! It usually comes down to having a good business case for what you want to do, and explaining it well. Mind you, this applies even when you just want to put your ideas to your own management to get your own local project off the ground. “The new economic realities mean that every manager up and down your organization is going to have to fight to spend money on anything.” There are quite a few useful resources which can help you get that business case spot-on and everyone on your side. Perhaps start with the few short tips in Making the Business Case for E-learning, and then you might want to check this tutorial: How to Write an Effective Business Case. Want to be taken through step by step? Then have a look at this online ‘course’: How to Write a Business Case for E-learning. You’ll be an expert in no time and people will be throwing funding grants at you! [cheeky grin]
RAPID E-LEARNING DEVELOPMENT FOR DUMMIES
If you haven’t clicked on the last link in the previous paragraph, do it now….I’ll wait. [hums to herself] Oh, you’re back…did you recognise the format? No? It is an example of ARED! “ARED is designed to allow practitioners, with little more than basic computer skills, to easily build their own e-learning resources using six dynamic templates. The templates are based on media-rich interactions that are commonly used in e-learning materials and remove the need for practitioners to learn the multimedia skills commonly required to build such resources. ” Even if you know zip about HTML, SCORM or other weird technical languages, ARED will produce files that meet the E-standards for Training that were developed by the Framework. The object you create will slip easily into a Learning Management System (LMS) such as Moodle…and everyone will think you are an e-learning guru!! [grin]
LET’S TALK ABOUT RSS
I really appreciate the great feedback I’ve received about this Newsletter, but I have been asked the question numerous times about how I find all the information and links. Do I spend days trawling the web? Heck no! Who’s got time?! [giggles somewhat hysterically] Basically, I let other people do it for me! [cheeky grin] I do this by ‘subscribing’ to various websites and blogs and then just go to one single site on a regular basis, and do a quick flick through to see if anything interesting jumps out. I usually do this with a coffee in one hand (or a sandwich), and it doesn’t take that long because it’s all in one spot. If you’d like to know more about this, start with the video RSS in Plain English and then read the article What the Heck is RSS? I personally use Bloglines but there are many others just as good…it’s only a preference thing. 🙂 But…what if the website you want to keep track of doesn’t have an RSS feed? No problem, just go to Page2RSS and pop the URL into the box at the top to get a ‘feed’. You can even send it to your Outlook and keep track of changes to the website when you are checking your email!
TAKING CARE OF YOUR OWN PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (PD)
Who has the responsibility for your professional development? Your manager? Your organisation? You? Many people are now using a Personal Learning Network (PLN)to assist with their own PD so I thought I’d collect a few resources together to give you some direction on developing your own PLN. Let’s begin with 5 Things You Can Do to Begin Developing Your Personal Learning Network…which suggests 5 simple ways to get started. But you may already be underway with a PLN…what stage are you at? “I too have been thinking about how one goes about starting a PLN, how do you monitor it, and how do you learn to shut it off. We all continue to push teachers to start PLNs if they haven’t already. Learning from the collective knowledge of educators around the world.” This is a quote from Stages of PLN Adoption which is a fascinating read. If you would like to be part of a ready-made PLN, check out The Educator’s PLN. And finally, in response to all those cries I’m hearing in the distance…”but I don’t have any time!!!”….Do you havejust 15 minutes in your day to devote to your own learning?
First one is Admin3 which assists people working in or planning to work in business administration, and provides business administrators and managers with a range of learning activities to develop skills and understanding of more complex business practices. Second one is the latest TAA Toolbox which supports delivery of 13 units from the new Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. Check them out! If you’d like to know more about Toolboxes in general, you can check out the Toolbox website, wander through the Toolboxes FAQ and/or contact our local SA Toolbox Champion (Douglas Purcell) on 8348 4074.
HAVE YOU HEARD THE BUZZ?
GoogleBuzz that is. It’s the latest gadget/tool from Google and I thought I should tell you about it…of course you can make up your own mind whether you want to jump on board! [grin] Basically, it sits within Gmail so you have to have a Gmail account, but then it allows social networking right from your email site, with the people on your existing network. Check out this YouTube video for a better explanation than I can give. There has been quite a bit of controversy about GoogleBuzz…mainly about privacy issues…but it’s really taken off! Here’s a blog posting about it called Google Buzz Has Completely Changed the Game: Here’s How . So if you never got on well with Twitter and you want a ‘one stop shop’ for social networking, then mosey along to How to Use Google Buzz and give it a go! Connect to me while you’re there…I’m feeling a bit lonely. [chuckle]
“It has never been easier to have your students make a podcast and publish it to the Internet.” There’s a new tool around called iPadio which allows you to broadcast from any phone to the internet live, and best of all, it is FREE. Even the number to ring is free as it is a 1800 number. Brilliant! Apparently it is simple to use, nothing to download and the quality is really good. I actually haven’t tried it myself [embarrassed look] but here is a blog posting from an educator who explains all about it, and how he uses it with his students. Podcasting made easy!
BUILDING AN ONLINE COURSE
When people first start to think about e-learning, it is often all about the technology. What groovy gadget to use. What is the latest trendy tool. The reality is that a really good online course can be built from very little, and with little knowledge of technology…. PROVIDING it fits your learners needs! One of my favourites is the Learning Design Tool from the Framework, which is a step by step process to developing a pedagogically sound e-learning course. It does need to be downloaded, unzipped and installed on your computer though, so maybe you might like to start by looking at A Roadmap for Building an E-Learning Course. SA will be running some workshops on developing online courses this year..so stay tuned!
RESOURCES FOR TRADES
This is just a quickie. Recently I did a presentation for a group of people who were working within Trades areas. I created a wiki so that they would have a ‘one stop shop’ for a few things that I thought might be of interest to them….and then I got to thinking that it may be of interest to others as well. So if you are working in Trades, feel free to check out Resources4Trades. Oh, and by the way, if YOU have a group of people and would like me to come along and talk to them about e-learning….just ask!!!!
BEING AN INNOVATOR
“We are on the cusp of a fundamental change — a worldwide change in the skills everyone needs to succeed, in the nature of organizations, and in how businesses must be led.” This quote is from an article called Get Ready To Be a Changemaker. Apparently the ability to innovate is a learnable skill and the article Five Secrets of Great Innovators sheds some light on what distinguishes innovators from less creative colleagues. The Framework also conducted some Australian research called The impact of e-learning champions on embedding e-learning which found that “...e-learning champions manage upwards, regularly communicate successes and build strong allies within the organisation…” Are you an e-learning champion?
Well, is that enough to keep you going for a month…until the next edition of this Newsletter? Please use the Poll and the Comments to let me know what you like the most, so I can ensure that you have more of what is useful and interesting for you, and less of what you find boring and pointless. [grin] And don’t forget that I am just an email or a phone call away if you have ANY questions about e-learning, or would like help to get started or move forward. It’s my job! I don’t mind…really! [huge, inviting smile]