S.A. E-Learning Newsletter

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

April 2012

Hi everyone,

You can believe everything you read on the internet…right?  🙂  I was recently sucked in…big time.  It was the Official Australia Google Blog (a normally reliable source) and I was fascinated to read that Google had found an innovative way to capture outback images to include in Google Street View…using kangaroos! Amazing! But then I noticed the date on the blog posting….[chuckles to herself].  Yep…1st April.  I think I’ve been had.  Heh, heh.


URLThis is an incredibly important skill that we often need to address with students, as the ability to research online doesn’t just come naturally along with the ability to download the latest games! A resource I like is Building Literacy Skills for the Information Age – it’s aimed at kids but I think anyone can learn from it. Another one is How to Evaluate a Website which uses four key questions. If you’re looking for something you could use as a handout for your students, try Website Reliability Checklist. (If you have difficulty with this link, it is because your firewall blocks Google Docs – try this alternative checklist.)


National VET E-learning Strategy websiteWe’ve been called the National VET E-learning Strategy since January and have now properly left the old Australian Flexible Learning Framework behind…because we have a new website!  It’s the same address as before… (www.flexiblelearning.net.au)…but it’s had a clean-up and a re-vamp.  What do you think? 🙂


crosswordIt’s a simple activity to help students to get their heads around terminology, or industry jargon, however making them can be time-consuming.  I came across this very simple crossword-maker called Just Crosswords.  Give it a try


Send to Dropbox logoIf security of your files is a concern, and carrying them around on USB sticks is annoying, then Dropbox is THE answer.  I absolutely love it! [does a little dance] It means my files automatically ‘synch’ between my work and home computer, plus my phone… automatically! And there’s an extra copy ‘in the cloud’ just in case everything blows up at once. [grin] The article 3 Reasons Why Students Should Be Using Dropbox points out some other uses such as collaborative work, but if you’re already using it you might like to check out 4 Unique and Cool Ways To Use Dropbox.. My latest favourite?  Send To Dropbox lets me quickly send a file (like an email attachment) straight to Dropbox, even from my phone. Talk about productivity tools!


BuildingOh dear…I’ve heard this so many times and always feel the need to ask “Have you looked at what is already available?” …and…”Have you considered re-purposing what you already have?” Check out Buy or Build which includes a flowchart, or for something a bit ‘meatier’, the white-paper e-Learning Content Advisory Paper looks at internal vs external materials development. I created an e-resource a while ago called Creating Content but my overall tip is…don’t spend money on anything until you’ve trawled through the Toolboxes and the Learning Object Repository first. If you find something that is ‘OK but not quite right’, then consider customising it using the Tutorials for assistance.  A lot cheaper than building from scratch!


I remember waaaaay back in the last century when I was teaching students [grin] and I used to help them log into the computers for the first time.  They had to choose a password and I would say…not your kid’s names…not your pet’s name…not your partner’s name etc etc.  I guess we are still trying to teach internet safety to our students so maybe this video is something you could show them….

If internet security is something that really concerns you, then note the tips in Six Ways to Protect Yourself From Online Hackers …and then… relax.  Just like in everyday life, you do what you can to protect yourself and your family, but you can’t spend your life under the bed. 🙂 The internet world is here to stay and you are better off becoming aware and educated in this environment, than hiding from it.  OK…off my soapbox now.  [slaps herself on the wrist].


It’s a catch-cry these days, and one often sung by those in charge of budgets as e-learning is sometimes seen as a cost-cutting exercise for workforce development.  In the article What It Means to Modernize, the author states “…some organizations are dispensing with face-to-face delivery in favor of online courses. And I think it’s a mistake.” But do staff need training per se at all? The article Learning Without Training describes a different approach and How do you learn best in the workplace lists ten different.ways.  I would encourage you to do the survey as research into what works best for workplace training is becoming essential.


Wikispaces logoWikis are like a whiteboard where people can write and ‘add stuff’ (like a Word document)… except they are online.  What a fabulous way to get a class collaborative exercise happening…or a brainstorm…or a project…or…or…  To get started try the resource How To Create a Wiki or there are some great How To Set Up a Wikispace videos which will step you through the process – use the drop-down menu at the top to see all the different ones available.  Once you’ve mastered the technical skills (and they aren’t too onerous), you might find 50 Ways to Use Wikis for a More Collaborative and Interactive Classroom is a useful resource. Or alternatively, Basic Principles of making a wiki work in education.


Moodle logoYes, I know I have something on Moodle in almost every edition of this Newsletter, but it is the most commonly-used Learning Management System (LMS) in South Australia…so I’m simply responding to the masses. [grin]  I recently conducted a beginner‘s session to help people get started with Moodle (1.9) and I’m happy to share the e-resource..(it’s a list of video tutorials).  If you’re using Moodle 2.2, then this list should provide something similar. If you’re looking for some more individual assistance with getting started, the e-Skills Moodle Mini-Course has already begun, however you can still call and get your name on the waiting list for the next one.


Shelfster logoThere are lots of ways to collect different types of information (pictures, documents, links etc) but the problem is that the collections then end up in different places.  Susan Brunner from TAFESA pointed me to Shelfster which seems to solve this issue.  They say “Shelfster is a free solution that allows you to capture information from everywhere and create online documents with all the gathered information at your fingertips.”  They explain how it works but I think their demo helps it make sense.  (Useful for everyone, but perhaps particularly for students collecting stuff for assignments/projects?)

Email me!I think that lot should keep you going over the next four weeks so I’ll stop now. [grin] Don’t forget that I do more than write Newsletters…my real job is to help organisations with e-learning so please email me if I can provide any assistance.  You don’t even have to know what questions to ask…we’ll work it out between us.


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