I am sooo enjoying the warmer weather!! [does a little dance on the spot] Something about the sunshine, warm breezes and flowers just peps me up and gives me energy for this last burst of effort to get to the end of the year. So let’s talk about having some fun…. 🙂
Why does education and training have to be boring? [scratches her head] Nope…can’t think of a good reason! So next time you need to tell your students that their assignments are due, or that they have only 4 days left to get their work reports in, why not use one of these little images from ImageChef and get their attention! They can be downloaded straight to your computer for adding to your email, Moodle, website etc. A quick and easy way to make your reminder emails a lot less like nagging. [cheeky grin] Another site is Custom Road Sign but it doesn’t have the variety.
Read a great blog from Wodonga TAFE the other day, and thought I’d pass it along as it explores some ideas about using e-portfolios for RPL. (By the way, did you know there was funding available (up to $9,000) for E-Portfolio Implementation Trials? Applications are due by 29th October ….call Allison Miller on 8207 8872 for more info). Anyway, my personal belief is that there is a better way of conducting an RPL process than telling somebody to go away and collect a lever-arch file full of paper, just so you can spend hours and hours wading through it all. [sigh] If you’re looking for some basic information about RPL you can’t go past the info on the training.sa.gov.au website…it even has some great fact sheets. And if you’d like to explore the e-portfolio idea a bit more, you might like to read the report E-portfolios for RPL Assessment ….or just get an idea of what others are doing/have done by going to the Innovations Project Profiles, and putting the word ‘e-portfolio’ as the keyword search. If you or your organisation are doing something with e-Portfolios, can you please let us know? Also, the Framework is putting together some guidelines so we’d really appreciate you filling out this little survey so your views and experiences can inform the organisers. Thanks.
Wouldn’t it be great to have an endless supply of printable Maths sheets that you could have ready in 10 seconds flat? Enter…..The Math Worksheet Site! They say “The intuitive interface gives you the ability to easily customize each worksheet to target your student’s specific needs. Every worksheet is created when you request it, so they are different every time.” If you don’t teach numeracy…hey….I think these would be great to use with your kids because they could create their own sheet and then complete it – maths revision by stealth! [falls around laughing] Oh, and you’ve heard of Youtube….BUT….have you heard of MathATube???? 🙂
If you battle to get students excited about learning some of the basic stuff that they say is boring (heaven forbid! [grin]), then check out The Futures Channel for movie clips about some fascinating jobs, and what learning is required to do this type of work. It’s inspiring! They also include lesson sheets that ‘match’ the movies. Oh, and Douglas Purcell sent me an amazing flyer advertising Future Jobs which paints a picture of the job-world that’s just around the corner. Anybody want to be a Vertical Farmer or join the Weather Modification Police? (If you want to read the full report, you’ll find it here).
The recent announcement of funding availability for SA e-learning projects brought a flurry of applications, and now it’s time to announce the nine who made the grade! Ta Da!!! (Oh, I sound like a Coles ad now[grin]) Anyway, here is a link to the nine successful SA projects together with details about what they will be doing. And yes…you’re right that there are already 13 projects still underway for 2010 – you can read about what they are up to in their mid-project reports, and/or come along to the Innovations Showcase Cocktail Party on 19th November to actually see what they have done, and talk to the leaders first-hand. What a great opportunity! Free champagne!!!!
LET’S TALK ABOUT ASSESSMENT
What kind of assessment processes do you use? Peer assessment? Questioning? Self-assessment? E-learning has enormous potential to drive much needed change in the way assessment is approached and this article about e-assessment might get you thinking. It might also be worth
checking out the mini-report E-Assessment: Challenges & Solutions. When it comes to assessment online, I often hear the age-old question “How can I be sure it is actually the student doing his/her own work?” And my answer usually is “How were you sure of it back in the ‘old days’ of correspondence courses?” [cheeky grin] The reality is that this issue has always been around and isn’t related specifically to e-learning, however it may come up more often now with e-learning enabling more distance learning. I came across this list of ideas which might be useful, or maybe this one How to Detect Plagiarism & Cheating. And if you are contemplating an electronic plagiarism detection service, you might want to check out Plagiarism Detection Tools before you pay out any money. 😉
At the recent SA Moodle Meet-up, everyone was teased with all the great features coming with the new version of Moodle…such as a docking feature, completion tracking, site-wide groups and new themes. If you are interested in ‘having a play’, KerryJ from Brightcookie has set up a trial site. You can also have a look at a Moodle2 site for a fictitious school, which you can enter as a student or teacher. For all you ‘Moodlers’ out there, here’s a question: What are 3 things you wish someone had told you in your first week using/developing moodle? Now scan this list of collective wisdom – so much to learn here! [grin]
NAVIGATING THE SOCIAL MEDIA MAZE
It’s bad enough working out social media for yourself (ie do you get a Facebook account to keep an eye on your offspring, or should you share your personal photos on Flickr?) however when you start contemplating the intricacies of using social media for training….or as a business strategy….it can sometimes feel very overwhelming. [big sigh] Perhaps you think it is all a bit of a fad. Hmmm…perhaps check out this video before writing it off altogether….
If you are struggling to see how social media can be used in learning, browse through 100+ Examples of the Use of Social Media in Learning, and get inspired, or check out 10 Ways Social Media Will Change In 2010. I think an important point is that social media isn’t something you just read about though…its something you have to immerse yourself in to some extent. If you need to get your head around just a few of the most common social media tools, start with Social Media Tools 101 (From Blogs to Wikis). My opinion? [smiles] I think it is rapidly becoming a literacy and this blog post from Howard Reingold (Attention, and Other 21st-Century Social Media Literacies) seems to agree. But please Respond and let me know what you think.
Sounds like a strange question, but I was at a conference recently and saw people using the camera on their phone to take a photo of the projected image so they could ‘capture’ the information. Smart idea and sometimes easier than taking notes but from where I was sitting, the screen was distorted and a bit glary, and I didn’t think it would come out well. Hmmm…so I did some searching and found Qipit. I’ll let them explain…”Qipit White makes any whiteboard an electronic whiteboard by turning your iPhone into a portable copy machine. Just point at the whiteboard, paper board, flipchart or other large-format information, and take a photo of it. What is created is more than just a picture, it is an easy to read, share and print digital copy.” Cool, hey?
I’m talking about what you find when you ‘Google’ something, of course. [grin] The topic of new literacies that I mentioned in a paragraph above has reminded me that ‘crap detection’ is also a literacy that our learners need to develop. In his blog post Crap Detection 101, Howard Reingold says “The answer to almost any question is available within seconds…The real difficulty kicks in when you click down into your search results. At that point, it’s up to you to sort the accurate bits from the misinfo, disinfo, spam, scams, urban legends, and hoaxes.” The answer might be The CRAP Test (no kidding!) which is a way to evaluate a source of information found on the internet….a handy little tool to pass on to your students perhaps?
Have you ever wanted to make a class website….perhaps somewhere that your learners can put up information (perhaps a list of great links), share their experiences (such as on-the-job work experience), or maybe just for you to create a resource for them like the E-learning on a Shoestring resource that I created a while ago. It isn’t hard you know, especially if you use a Wiki – no knowledge of html needed at all!!! (It must be easy if I can do it! [laugh]) Richard Byrne writes a blog called Free Technology for Teachers and he posted some great resources recently which explain in different ways, the ‘how to’ of setting up a Wikispace of your own. If you would like to look at what others have done, check out The Kuyu Project Wiki, Book Trailers for Readers or CoasttoCoastChroniclesEd (links from this page). When you’re ready to go, create your own account on Wikispaces. If this is all new to you, you can find out more about Wikispaces here…but perhaps you just want to know what on earth wikis are about…in plain English:
It doesn’t matter what file-type you have, quite often it is not the one you need. You have a bitmap image…and the wiki/website will only accept a jpeg. Or you have a Word document and you need it in html or PDF so you can upload it somewhere. Stephan Schmidt sent me this neat little converting tool called YouConvertIt…seems to change anything into anything! [grin] He also sent me an easy-to-use web tool called ShrinkPictures that makes your huuuuge photos into any size you need – much better for uploading to Moodle or perhaps a small photo for your profile picture. Or one that looks even easier to use is ResizR. Take your pick!
Well that’s enough for now. I’ve been feeling guilty as I always try to get this Newsletter out to you around the beginning of each month, but I’m just a teensy bit late this month. Sorry ’bout that. I hope that somewhere in the list above you find a ‘gem’ though, that will make it aaaall up to you. [grin]