S.A. E-Learning Newsletter

News from SA (supported by the National VET E-learning Strategy)

February 2011


Hi everyone,Relax

Woah…what’s happening with February!  It’s just slipping away!  Aaargh!  Do you sometimes feel like I do…like you are trying to grasp at the hands of time but no matter what you do, there just never seems enough of it.  [sigh]  So let’s just all try to stop stressing [she says with authority, being the absolute worst culprit [laugh])  I think we need a break so let’s have a cuppa and just chat about some of the interesting stuff happening in the e-learning world.  Go on…go and get your cup of tea or coffee…I can wait….[hums to herself]

Excellent, you’re back!  Now let’s settle back and just relax….


Did you know that e-books are going to become firmly established within the education environment in the next 12 months?  Or that gesture-based learning will be commonplace in the VET sector in the next 5 years?  You’ll find out more about the key trends in the 2011 Horizon Report.  If you’re feeling too relaxed now to bother with reading reports, [chuckles] just click on the YouTube video below…explains it all in 3.5 minutes. …


Firstly, if you’re still deliberating over whether to do the 23 Things for Educators & Trainers course, you’re almost too late but if you ring 8226 4345 you’ve still got a chance.  🙂 It starts 28th February.  AND…the exciting news is that we’re also in the middle of developing an online course in e-Facilitation!  No dates or details available yet but I can tell you that it will have a practical component…something most don’t.  If you would like to put your name down on the Expression of Interest form, we’ll keep you informed.  While we’re on the topic of online courses, I’ve also heard about a FREE course for for educators who want to learn more about open education resources, copyright, and creative commons licenses…starts 21st March.


MeetingWords is a neat little tool for collaboratively taking notes at a meeting or conference…or wherever.  Basically, Your text is saved on the web, and more than one person can edit the same document at the same time. Everybody’s changes are instantly reflected on all screens.  One of those really simple tools but they can be quite effective.  Thanks to Michael C from TAFESA for pointing me to this one. 🙂


I’ve gotten a bit hardened in my old age [sound of creaking joints] 😀 but the following video actually brought a lump into my throat.  I know its rather ‘school-based’ but I think the message is the same for all trainers, teachers, lecturers…and anyone who works with young people.  I dare you to listen to the words carefully and not feel for these kids…  (turn your volume up)


I’ll start by telling you about Read the Words…a little tool I found which turns text into speech.  I thought this might be handy if you have learners who experience difficulty with text for whatever reason…they could just paste in the text and have it read to them! 🙂  But then I got to thinking that audio is a good alternative to have in your learning materials anyway, to cater for different learning styles.  So perhaps start with How to Create a Podcast for e-Learning which is a great guide,  and then check out Tips for effective use of audio in eLearning.  Finally…in case you haven’t seen it before…here is a link to the TAFE SA Podzone which has a wealth of examples.


Its an important area of industry and business, and the Framework has just released a report called ‘Enabling workforce development: Insights from industries using e-learning‘.    This report investigates the impact of e-learning on workforce development in nine industry sectors funded.  The report identifies the type of critical workforce development challenges e-learning can help overcome. This is analysed at three levels of economic activity: individual, workplace and industry.


Perhaps you teach in an area where you need up to date information on…well….anything!  Here is The 70 Online Databases that Define Our Planet and it provides data on the climate, health, finance, economics, traffic and lots more.  I’m sure its useful, but I just had 5 minutes of fun looking through what’s available… heh, heh….


Those of you who are experienced online facilitators know that an ice-breaker at the beginning of a course if even more important online, than in the classroom.  It’s crucial that everyone feels ‘part of the group’ and an ice-breaker is the way to go….but….how…and what?  Here are some great ideas for online ice-breakers, and if you have your own idea, why not click the Comment link and share it with us all!


I often think teaching online has gifted me with a better sense of how to explain certain concepts…I cannot rely on physical cues (e.g., the look on a student’s face) to know if the student “gets it,” and I have to find other ways to gauge whether the student does or does not understand the material.” This is a quote from a great article written by an online teacher called ’10 Things I’ve Learned About Teaching Online‘ – it’s an interesting read.


There…I’ve said it.  I love DropBox.  I had heard of it some time ago but it took me a while to make the move, and now I am in love!!! [does a little spin] So I’m sitting at my desk at work and I save a file in the usual way, except I save it to DropBox (which looks just like your usual file structure ie My Documents).  Big deal you say?  Aaaahhh…but then I go home, turn on the computer in the study and without doing absolutely anything, my file is just there!  Synched!  Not only that, but if I need that file while I’m out and about, it’s also on my phone!!!  Cloud computing made very, very simple.  [big smile] The video on the front of the website explains it all…and now…what might this do for your students?  Check out 3 Reasons Why Students Should Be Using Dropbox (thanks  Stephan S for this link).

Well you must be finished that cuppa by now so that better be my last little tid-bit. [grin] Why don’t you forward this Newsletter on to a colleague or two?  And don’t forget that offer of a free consultancy I made last month…it’s still going and I’ve been meeting so many of you wonderful and enthusiastic people!

Cheers for now,


5 thoughts on “February 2011

  1. Thanks for your newsletters, I look forward to them each month. As you, I too like Dropbox. Unfortunately it has been blocked by TAFESA and they will not support it.

    • Hi John, Have you checked on DropBox lately? I have been told that this application has now been unblocked by TAFE SA.
      Cheers, Marlene

      • Hi Marlene,
        I received this email, as late as yesterday, from the DFEEST SS ICT Service Desk: “Dropbox is not a supported application and it’s use will be blocked by the proxy server eventually.”

      • That is a shame, isn’t it. Obviously the ICT Shared Services need to support the applications they are contracted with (Microsoft Live and SkyDrive, in this instance) however it isn’t comparing apples with apples as the functionality is quite different. I guess you can only hope that ‘eventually’ is a long way off. 🙂

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