I have some bad news. 😦 There won’t be a ‘September 2011’ Newsletter as I will be going on leave for 3 weeks at the beginning of September. Yippee….relaxing times ahead for meeeee!! [big grin] Oh, of course I would be more than happy to take a break from all that relaxation to spend a couple of days putting together a September Newsletter for you, however I’ll be ‘off the beaten track’ and will be completely disconnected during this time. Sorry ’bout that. 😉 Anyway, the good news is that there is definitely an August edition…so read on….
EASY WAY OF CREATING SCENARIOS
We see a lot of whizz-bang game technology, but sometimes simple is better (not to mention easier, quicker and cheaper). Using scenarios to ‘build a story’ and present learners with decisions to make, is a fabulous learning tool and I’ve recently come across Twine which does this in a simple but effective way. Cathy Moore provides a great overview plus an example. There are even some short video how-to demonstrations. Give it a go and let me know what you think about it.
Twitter. “You probably already have a scowled look on your face about this superficial, nonsensical method of communicating in 140 characters or less..” I didn’t say this although I couldn’t have said it better. [chuckles] It comes from the article Teaching Lifelong Learning Skills with Twitter: A Lesson for Leaders which provides some food for thought. If you’re ready to get your feet wet, I would suggest How to Start Tweeting (and Why You Might Want To), and then perhaps 28 Creative Ways Teachers Are Using Twitter. It takes a while to ‘get it’..I love Twitter but it wasn’t love at first sight. Heh, heh
TIPS FOR ENGAGING YOUR STUDENTS
Having happy, engaged students is a Holy Grail for educators, as the alternatives aren’t pretty! 🙂 Check out this video for some ideas….
If you use Moodle, it might be worth having a look at Lightwork which is “…an application for the management and marking of assignments. In addition to making the process of working with assignments more efficient, Lightwork aims at encouraging good marking practices.” Basically it adds additional features to the Assignment module. You’ll learn more by first reading the flyer and then perhaps going through the Guidelines, however the explanatory video is the ‘get my head around it quickly’ method. 🙂 There’s also value in knowing what other’s think about it.
A BIT MORE ABOUT MOODLE
I won’t go on and on about it as I know not everyone is a Moodle-user, [grin] however for those who are I’ll quickly share a few links such as Teaching Do’s, Teaching Don’ts, and 42 Interesting Ways to use Moodle in the Classroom. The guys over at Wodonga TAFE have also created a simple ‘what to do when the course is finished’ resource called After the Party. Very useful! And for something completely useLESS, did you know that if you put (martin) anywhere into text within Moodle, you get a Martin Dougiamis emoticon. (He’s the guy who created Moodle). Like I said…useless….but fun!!! [winks]
I was having a look at Weebly...a website builder…when I noticed Weebly for Education. They say “Create a free class website and let your students build sites too.” Hmmm…[I thought]….this might be useful. Imagine giving your students each a website where they could showcase their work! I love the fact that it’s ‘drag and drop’ and doesn’t require any technical skills. This simple video explains how it works….
MEASURING THE COST OF E-LEARNING
We live and work in challenging economical times so measuring the cost (ROI) of any investment is important….including e-learning development. If this is your brief, the Framework site Measuring Return on Investment may be your first port of call. It has some basic information including an ROI calculator. But is the measurement of e-learning only about the dollars? What about the more intangible assets such as improved responsiveness to clients… or the ability to be more innovative…or increased effectiveness of core functions…or being able to be more strategic? Continue your research by having a look at Not Your Father’s ROI and ROI and Costs.
LOOKING BACKWARDS…LOOKING FORWARDS…
Did you know that email is 40 years old? Mind you, I think most of us didn’t come on board until halfway through this journey. [grin] What’s more important though, is what is in the future as the whole way we work is rapidly changing…sometimes it’s so quick it’s scary! Do you have the work skills required for a future workplace, or are you at least working on developing them so that you ‘grow’ with the changing times? What actually are these work skills? Rose Grozdanic alterted me to the report Future Work Skills 2020 which lists ten essential skills (page eight) and states “To be successful in the next decade, individuals will need to demonstrate foresight in navigating a rapidly shifting landscape of organizational forms and skill requirements.” Hmmm…perhaps I’ll just retire. [winks]
Stephan Schmidt was telling me about FeedDude, and I thought “Ahah…this looks useful!” 🙂 Let me explain. RSS feeds are incredibly useful things as they allow one to stay updated with information from any website which provides an RSS feed (more basic information about RSS here) but what if, for example, you want your students to stay updated with information from an industry website, but it doesn’t have an RSS feed? Well, you make your own…and FeedDude is a super-easy way to do it. Once you’ve got your feed you can even direct it straight into your Learning Management System, such as a Moodle block. Here’s a little video which shows you how to do this.
We (and our students) get new words and terms thrown at us constantly, so I was interested when I found Wordnik. What is it? Basically, its a website/tool based on the principle that people learn words best by seeing them in context. Just type a word into the search box, and you’ll see what I mean. 🙂
SOCIAL MEDIA….AND THE WORKPLACE
These two terms were once thought to be poles apart, however this is rapidly changing. Click on the video below…
If this makes you nervous, then perhaps it’s time for some in-depth research … how about The World’s Simplest Social Media Policy. [grin]
Anyway, I’m off to start planning my leave break – I have to make a list of ‘things to do when your mobile can’t connect and you don’t have a computer”. Any suggestions? [laugh] I’ll see you in October!