S.A. E-Learning Newsletter

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

April 2011

Hi everyone,

Oh, wouldn’t the world be a better place if technology was as polite and understanding as this? [wistful look] … Anyway, back to the real world where technology doesn’t give a toss about how we feel, and crashes and loses things and never, ever offers an apology, let alone wine!  [laugh]

SO WHY DO WE USE TECHNOLOGY?

A quote from the following video…”because it is the single most powerful thing that is happening today.”

SIMPLE TOOLS FOR SIMPLE TASKS

Sometimes simple is absolutely the best way. Saaay…you are always being asked for directions to your office and have to type it into an email every single time.  In fact there are lots of occasions where you end up giving the same information, over and over again. Dates when assignments are due?   ShortText.com is a simple tool to post text online with minimum fuss. No sign ups, no logging in, just instant web presence with a unique URL to send out – you can even share via Twitter & Facebook.  But of course you can make it private if you prefer.

TEACHING ONLINE

Let’s talk about teaching online.  And I don’t mean uploading resources…I mean teaching online i.e. interacting and communicating with learners in an online environment.   One of the most common tools used in e-learning is the humble forum as this can replace classroom discussion, encourage interaction and sharing between students and provide a means of support.  For those of you into Moodle, the video ‘Opening a Forum‘ will show you the nuts and bolts of setting them up and the article ‘The Instructor’s Role in Online Discussions‘ provides some good advice about using them.  But what about the human side of interacting in this way?  Do you think you should make friends with your students? (Feel free to leave a comment) And how does one build a sense of community in this type of environment?  Building Community in the Online Classroom offers a list of 20 ideas, and the following video from Curtis Bonk is provides some real examples:

A PLETHORA OF HOW TO’S

Speaking of teaching, Teacher Innovations is a one stop website that presents free and easy tech tools that may inspire new ideas for your classroom.

TEACHING WITH TWITTER

I haven’t mentioned Twitter in the last few Newsletters, however despite some of the groans (and cheers) I can hear out there in training land [grin], I think its about time the topic came up again. 😉 Let’s begin with 25 ways to teach with Twitter, where Sonja Cole presents 25 ways that teachers and trainers can use Twitter to ask for help, get lesson plan ideas, book and professional resource recommendations, connect with other professionals, and even host an online book club.  Not convinced?  A very recent study The Effects of Twitter in an Online Learning Environment may provide some interesting perspectives (some of them not so positive) however the Top 20 most influential tweeters in eLearning, training and HR may not necessarily agree! [laugh]

SOCIAL NETWORKING = INFORMATION OVERLOAD!

Twitter…Facebook…blogs….you get new info thrown at you left, right and centre until you feel like you are drowning!!  Aaargh!  Came across Summify recently, which apparently distills your social feeds, boiling it down into a summary of the top five or ten most important and relevant stories, and delivers it straight to you. Hmmm…[she thinks]…worth investigating… Might prevent premature insanity or at least help me cut back on the wine.  Heh heh

YOU SUCK AT POWERPOINT

I don’t mean it! [laughs and ducks].  It’s just the name of the following video which aims to demonstrate what to avoid when creating a Powerpoint.  Check it out…

This particular presentation has been uploaded to Slideshare, which is a fabulous way of sharing your Powerpoints with others…beats emailing them around!  And again for those of you who use Moodle, here is a video showing how to embed your Powerpoint into Moodle, using Slideshare….but I’m sure the principle would be similar for most learning management systems (LMS).

HOW TO BE AN E-LEARNING WINNER

It can hardly be a recipe because there are so many aspects to e-learning, however the article 5 Ways to Prepare & Be an E-Learning Winner offers some broad categories which made me stop and think about my own learning journey…although I’m not sure about the term ‘winner’ [grin].  Perhaps you’re not into e-learning yourself, but have to manage innovative people…quite the challenge, hey? 🙂 The article How To Motivate Innovators might provide some ideas.

YOUNG PEOPLE ONLINE

Do you work with youth who use social networking sites? Want to know more about privacy settings and how to use them? If you are in the position of needing to advise young people, the Office of Youth website on Cybersafety is a terrific resource.  We tend to make the assumption that ‘young people know technology’, but figuring out what to press and click is not the same thing as understanding implications.  You’ll love this newspaper  article Students face up to the pros and cons of Facebook where a Director “...took photos from girls’  Facebook pages and put them up on a screen during a seminar on social media.”  Shock tactics?  Do you agree or disagree with this stragegy?  Why not leave a comment.   By the way (BTW), if you would like to follow some bloggers from the youthwork area, try Youth Work Online.

TEACHING WITH GOOGLE EARTH

To finish on something a little different, check out How to Teach With Google Earth  which includes many examples of how educators are using Google Earth.  It’s a little bit ‘high school oriented’ but many VET contexts might still find it useful.  Here are some examples  of how Google Earth is being used in education (eg Renewable Energy), and a User Guide if you would like to know more.


Whew!  That lot should keep you going for a month.  [grin]  If you like this Newsletter, why not forward it on to a colleague, and suggest they subscribe.
I hope you all have a wonderful and relaxing Easter break. 🙂

Cheers,
Marlene

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