May already! I remember dancing around a maypole when I was in primary school. I know, I know….reeeeally showing my age here! [laugh] But in some obscure way, aren’t maypoles a bit like e-learning? You take different coloured ‘ribbons‘ (perhaps a resource here, a quiz there, some social networking and an e-assessment), and you weave them all into something which is quite different than each of the parts. Often something quite creative. Anyway, I’ll give the whole nostalgia thing a rest now and get onto something more useful for you. [chuckles to herself]
GET OUT YOUR DIARIES!
So much happening this year, so mark the following in your diary (PDA, iPhone, Outlook calendar…whatever) and at least you won’t double book yourself accidentally.
- 17th May: The ‘23 Things for Educators and Trainers‘ 6 week online e-learning course begins. Limited numbers so be quick for this one if you’re interested!
- Right throughout the year HEAPS of e-Skills workshops have been planned including Moodle, Facebook, Google Docs, Digital Audio and How to Keep up with E-learning. Keep an eye on the Calendar
- 18th June: E-learning – Expanding Your Knowledge (flyer coming very soon which will include full detail and how to register)
- Morning: E-assessment challenges and solutions
- Afternoon: Copyright for education (Can I put that photo into my PowerPoint?)
- 25th June: Innovative and Professional Practice in Assessment (This is a DFEEST Quality Directorate/Framework collaborative event)
- 7th July: ‘Building a skilled workforce – Learning online‘ (This is a Business SA/Framework collaborative event)
- 2nd/3rd September: Moodle event…still in planning stage and as yet un-named. See paragraph below for more information.
- 19th November: Another un-named event which will be a bit like a ‘mini-version’ of E-Dayz…it will include a Showcase of the 2010 Innovations projects.
POWERPOINT TIPS AND TRICKS
I think everyone has used Powerpoint…and of course I’m sure that YOU aren’t the person who has 156 slides in 10 point font, with masses of dot points – and who then reads out every one to the audience. Of course you aren’t. [shakes her head vehemently] And because you like to use Powerpoint in an engaging and creative way, I thought you might find a few tools and tricks useful. Lets start with ‘How to compress image files/pictures in PowerPoint‘. And what about ‘How to play Youtube video in PowerPoint‘… or…what about using PollEverywhere to poll your audience using text messages or Twitter, and then have the results show in your Powerpoint? You can always convert your Powerpoint to Flash with iSpringFree and of course, put your Powerpoint onto the internet with Slideshare. How about some free templates or some advice from ‘12 tips for creating better presentations‘. But then again, maybe you DO have 156 slides in 10 point font, so to help everyone drop off to sleep, you’ll need ‘How to Set Background Music for a PowerPoint File‘. [cheeky grin]
My thanks to Jenny Morros who passed on the link to Learning Styles Online, a free site that helps with the identification of different learning styles. “This site is dedicated to helping you better understand learning styles, as well as providing an easy way to discover your own styles.” They actually have an online questionnaire which might be useful for those either determining their own learning style….or perhaps to gain some insight for a class of students.
I’ve heard that some of you might be toddling across the border in July to attend the Moodlemoot AU 2010 conference in Melbourne. Lucky you…some fantastic Keynote Speakers! But I don’t want the rest of you Moodle fans to despair, as I’ve got a secret to share. Shhhhh….. [looks over her shoulder] I’m in the process of trying to put together a ‘Moodle Mini-Moot’ for South Australia. What do you think? Would SA be interested in…say….a Keynote speaker from Moodle, some local examples of what people are doing… and maybe some MasterClasses? Hmmm??? [grin] Click on the Comments link below and let me know if you think I should continue trying to make this happen. I’m thinking 2nd/3rd September…but only if anyone would be interested. 🙂
And while we’re on the subject of Moodle, there’s been some conversation lately about running Moodle offline… like when you have to deliver training out in the back of beyond where the only bandwidth is a carrier pigeon. [laugh] Have you heard of Poodle? (No, not the dog [rolls her eyes]) I was alerted to this tool by Peter Allen and it seems to fit the bill: “Poodle (Portable Moodle) is a software tool designed to allow for the delivery of Moodle content offline.” Another idea along similar lines is ‘Moodle for Windows on a USB Memory Stick‘. I have to admit that I haven’t tried these so if you know more about them, please leave a comment to share your experiences.
You have no idea how many times I’ve heard somebody start a sentence with these 3 words! [grin] And oh…how I wish I knew the answer every time. But then again, if I did I could solve world poverty and possibly run for Prime Minister! [chuckles to herself] Anyway…I digress…what I was going to tell you was that I have come across WikiHow which is basically a How To Manual that YOU can edit! “ wikiHow is a collaboration to build and share the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Imagine if everyone on Earth had an expert coach who could teach them how to do anything.” I’ll leave you to browse, but I’m off to practice ‘How to Do the Tim Tam Slam‘. [giggles]
How well can you answer this question? Where is your organisation now? Where would you like to be? How do you plan to get there? “Completing an e-readiness survey will give you a good indication of how ready you, your staff and your clients are to embrace digital education and training.” Read more about readiness and try out some of the resources and tools on the latest Flex-e-News Tip of the Month. While you are there, why don’t you subscribe to Flex-e-News…it’s a great place (apart from this Newsletter of course [grin]) to access lots of fabulous information about e-learning.
IS YOUR E-LEARNING JUST SLABS OF TEXT?
Of course not…but I thought perhaps you might like some ideas for ways to make learning really engaging for your students/clients. What about ‘How to save the world with elearning scenarios’? This is an adapted presentation which Cathy Moore did at the E-Dayz conference last year, but it is a great example of what can be done. Another type of instructional design I really like are WebQuests, and you can find some examples at Best WebQuests. Or what about problem-based learning…here’s a video that explains what it is, but imagine what fun you could have if you developed something around this model in an online environment…or combining classroom and online? There’s no rule that says that it’s only the students that should be engaged and having fun! [grin]
I’ve come across a tool which is only experimental, but I’ve had a play with it and I think it might be truly useful. It’s called Readability and they say that it is “…a simple tool that makes reading on the Web more enjoyable by removing the clutter around what you’re reading.” If you go to the website and have a play with the buttons, you’ll get the idea. But it got me thinking. What about students who have vision impairment, or those who get easily confused and really need ‘clean text’, or the elderly or…or… All you have to do is set the buttons to how you want to read something, then drag the badge onto your bookmarks. That’s it. Next time you’re on a site with lots of text (perhaps a report or blog) just go to your Bookmarks and click the Readibility button…and voila! A white screen with large, clean text! I’m impressed actually, but click the comments link below and let me know what you think. (If you need help with installing it, the little video is very good).
I don’t know about you, but I never have time for everything I need to do in my FIRST life so maybe having a SECOND life is the answer! [grin] Seriously though, there are heaps of people who are already using SecondLife for both delivery and assessment, and many resources have been developed to help others follow them along this VERY interesting road. (Just don’t bump into a tree or something…which I tend to do when wandering around Second Life [laugh]) Last year there was an Innovations project done by Tabor Adelaide which focussed on using SecondLife for their students, and you can find their website here (it includes lots of useful links). Another really useful place is the ‘Jokaydia Virtual Worlds Wiki‘. You would be surprised how much education is actually happening right now within virtual worlds…see this article ‘Educators explore ‘Second Life’ online‘. If you are still a bit vague about what SecondLife actually IS, then check this out to find out more. There are heaps of ‘Getting Started in Second Life’ resources like this one and this one…perhaps see which one works best for you.
USING A BLOG IN YOUR TEACHING/LEARNING
I was contacted recently by Diane Lee, who informed me that she has been using blogging as an assessment tool with her Advanced Diploma of Marketing class. I would recommend that you read her posting entitled ‘So You Think Your Students Can Blog?’ She literally gives everyone some step-by-step instructions on how to do the same. Well done Diane!
This one’s just for fun (heh, heh)….you can make your own comic strips with MakeBeliefsComix – it’s only a simple little tool but instead of emailing your students to remind them when their assignment is due, you could email them a comic strip that says the same thing…but the message would definitely be more memorable! [laugh]
Well that should be enough to keep you going for the month of May…give you something to do in all those spare moments you get. [falls around laughing] Don’t forget that the staff of the SA Framework Unit are here to help you with all your e-learning questions – you only need to contact us.