S.A. E-Learning Newsletter

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

September 2012

Hi everyone,Julia Gillard's Opening Remarks to APEC CEO Summit on 8th September

Sometimes the simplest tools can provide soooo much!  I was reading a recent blog post where the author used Wordle (a tool that analyses text and creates a ‘word cloud’) to compare the speeches of Obama and his opposition. Go and check it out, I can wait a sec. Well..I thought…I wonder what would happen if I popped in PM Julia Gillard’s speech to the APEC CEO Summit last week…and this was the result. Make of it what you will [grin].


Evernote logoEvernote is my current, favourite tool.  I like to give the impression that I have a heap of knowledge [chuckles]… but the reality is that I just come across a lot of stuff. 🙂 The trick is to be able to file it and retrieve it…quickly, and from anywhere. Evernote is a tool which allows you to save everything in one spot and then synch it across all your devices.  For example, I recently attended a meeting and documented some stats straight into Evernote on my Netbook (could have been an iPad or any tablet).  A week later, a question came up while talking with a client…and voila…I was able to whip out my phone, access my notes from the Evernote app, and spout the stats I would never have remembered.  More info and tutorial videos at How to Use Evernote for Bookmarking and More plus you can download How to Use Evernote:  The Missing Manual. Give it a go!


Compliance checkWe need to step back from the standard knee-jerk response that compliance training is a necessary and effective way (and often the only way) of improving levels of compliance...”  This is a quote from Compliance Training:  Does it Really Work? which describes some examples, but also looks at positive ways to make compliance training effective.  One idea is presented in The Illusion of Choice: Making Compliance Training Compelling which suggests that one solution is to make the learners feel that they are in control. These Powerpoint Tutorials (showing how to build interactive e-learning modules) appear to be an example of providing choice….but I’m still not convinced that any kind of training which is essentially only an e-resource, can be ‘compelling’.  What do you think?


Example logoLet’s say you want your students to create a ‘brand’ for a project, or maybe you need something to jazz up a website or wiki.  GraphicSprings creates simple logos which you can then download (as a jpeg).  What do you think of my effort?  [giggles]


ToolkitI subscribe to a blog called Free Technology for Teachers – it is K-12 focussed however the information is often relevant across all sectors.  Recently I saw a post called 12 Awesome EdTech Tools for 2012-2013 which looks at ‘essential tools’ for teachers (Evernote is on it…heh, heh).  It is a shorter list than the VET Teacher E-learning Toolkit and is probably more ‘web 2.0’ focussed.  Either way, both of these are lists of what is recommended…if you want to know what people are actually using then you can’t go past Top 100 Tools for Learning. Oooh…stop press…just found 50 Education Technology Tools Every Teacher Should Know About.  We’ll need to start a list of all the lists!  [chuckles]


WizIQ logoMany people ask me about webinar platforms…virtual classrooms…web conferencing…call them what you like.  It is often because they need to deliver learning at a distance, sometimes into regional areas, or it’s because they would like to ‘beam in’ guest speakers for their classes.  There are many options when it comes to web conferencing/virtual classrooms, and some free ones include Big Blue Button and Vyew.  If you have a small budget though, you could try WizIQ. A single, stand-alone room is only $190 per year if you go through eLearn Australia  (Australian distributors), and their larger packages can include integration with Moodle. Probably cheaper than sending your trainers out to the sticks! 🙂  For more information download the flyer and/or the brochure.


UnlearningUnlearning is this emptying of our cup. It is more difficult and uncomfortable than learning because we have to let go of knowledge that has served us well. In today’s rapidly changing environment, our success depends not on how quickly we learn but on how quickly we unlearn.”  This is a quote from Emptying Your Cup: Unlearning to Learn and I’m often reminded of how difficult it can be to UN-learn, when I see educators struggling with the concepts of teaching in online environments…often needing to unlearn some of what they hold near and dear from their own student experience, and even from their teacher training.  Another perspective is Nuts and Bolts: Unlearning which underlines ” ...the implications of the unlearning problem as we move from formal training experiences to learner-created content…[t]hat memorizing pieces of content and passing a “test” isn’t really learning.” Many of you have moved well along this ‘un-learning’ path…what would be your advice to others?


Moodleshare logoEnough brain-bending thinking…let’s get down to the basics…of Moodle.  When people first start with Moodle, there is often the desire to ‘see somebody else’s Moodle’ however the reality is that most active Moodle courses are locked away behind passwords.  However I thought I’d point out Moodleshare which is…well…what it sounds like!  Nobody is saying that these are ‘best practice’ examples but the developers have chosen to share them freely, which is a good thing!  A couple of different places are MoodleCommons.org and FreeMoodle.org. When you’re ready to start playing yourself, ask for your own ‘sandpit’ at the e-Skills Moodle 2.3 site…watch the tutorials….and start Moodling!


…is simply putting lipstick on a pig.”  You’ll need to watch this video to understand:

To take this a step further, in TOP 5 tips to Convert your Traditional Course into an eLearning format, the author also refers to the “…same mistake again and again. They believe that by simply moving their content such as PowerPoint presentations, videos, audios, and documents to a Learning Management System that they have converted their face to face courses to an eLearning format.” My thinking? I’ve seen quite a lot of apparent ‘e-learning’ which ended up as just an ‘e-resource’. [sigh]


BYODAnd no, that’s nothing to do with bringing your own drinks.  [grin]  You’ll start to hear this acronym more and more in the future…it is Bring Your Own Device, and it refers to new policies where individuals (including students, employees etc) bring their own technology into the school, TAFE or workplace, rather than expect a computer to be provided.  The report 10 BYOD Classroom Experiments (and What We’ve Learned From Them So Far) is useful…but very USA based so I searched around to see what was happening more locally.  First I found a great opinion-piece in ‘to BYOD or not to BYOD?’ and then came across this article from Optus which lists the concerns that need to be addressed. Finally, I found a case study from a Queensland school which reported “…Students in the trial have been extremely happy with the results while IT staff have experienced minimal increase to their workload.”  I believe it’s where we’re heading. Do you like that idea…or not?


TodaysMeet logoImagine you’re giving a presentation where you can read the mind of every person in the room. You’d have an amazing ability to adjust to your audience’s needs and emotions. That’s the backchannel.”  Well, that’s the blurb on Todays Meet, and while I’m a bit dubious about reading minds [grin] I’ve always gained a lot when I’ve participated in a backchannel via Twitter at a conference.  But sometimes Twitter isn’t right.  Maybe not everyone is on Twitter…or you want more privacy eg a backchannel with your students.  Todays Meet fits that need and it’s sooooo quick and easy!  Here’s a story from a teacher who used it with his students, but I can see it might be useful to chat to a colleague during boring meetings.  [coughs] Ummm…you didn’t hear me say that.  😉

MarleneOn that note, I’d better finish! [laughs] I’m letting you know in advance that I won’t be putting out an October edition of this Newsletter as I will be on leave and out of range of any technical device.  Which might be a good thing for me. [grin]  I’ll be back for November though!


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