S.A. E-Learning Newsletter

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

November 2012


E-learning ConversationsHi everyone,

This newsletter is OK for what it is…a way of letting you all know about what’s happening in e-learning.  But sometimes I wish we could just sit down together and have a conversation.  I’d like to hear your opinions…understand more about your context…explain a topic further…toss around different ideas…and generally get a ‘two-way thing’ going.  This Newsletter has a Comment feature, but commenting is hardly a conversation! [rolls her eyes] Also, I’d love it if you could bring up a topic, or tell everyone about something new that you’ve found. So, I’ve started a brand new Group on LinkedIn, and I’ve called it E-LEARNING CONVERSATIONS.  Come and join me on the lounge…get comfy and let’s reeeally talk! 🙂


Finding TimeWe all know the value of learning new stuff and keeping our skills up to date.  This is well explained in The future belongs to those who take charge of their own learning…. but it’s not so easy to find the time.  I recently came across Micro-learning – 15 Minutes a Day where the writer says “If we take 15 minutes a day to learn something new, it adds up to over a week of learning per year.”  Wow! There’s a similar message in another article simply titled Fifteen Minutes. (If you’re looking for inspiration, you could start with 10 Sites to Learn Something New in 10 Minutes a Day),  When it comes to e-learning, how do you stay up to date and learn new skills?  And how/where do you find the time?  Hop over to E-learning Conversations and lets see if we can brainstorm this together. I’ll meet you there. [grin]


TackkThis is  neat little e-tool.  Sometimes you just want to pop something up online, but you don’t want to go the whole hog with website building.  Enter…Tackk. Nothing to download and you don’t even need a log-in!  Here’s a little something I was playing with [chuckles].


I’m sure you’ve heard of the NBN (National Broadband Network) as it features frequently on the 6pm News with one political party or other spouting forth about it [cheeky grin].  But media-hype aside, what is it and how will it affect you? You can trawl through national sites such as http://www.nbn.gov.au for information, but sometimes it’s good to have something explained…preferably in words of less than 3 syllables. 🙂  The video below is the starter for a small group of explanatory videos on Broadband Explained:

If you’re searching for meaning as to how it will affect education, the Skills Institute in Tassie recently completed an NBN project…with great results!  (They were one of many) I’d really love to know how you feel the NBN is going to affect you though, or your work.  Drop by at E-learning Conversations and let’s chat about it.


Powerpoint logoSo you’ve created a fabulous Powerpoint, and wowed your students with it…but it’s so…well…limiting!  Is it?  Have a look at 9 Ways to Re-use a Powerpoint Presentation for some ideas.  If this whets your appetite, you could also have a look at Free Authoring Tools for eLearning….but be careful about turning things into Flash as the National E-Standards state that they “…no longer recommend Flash (swf) as a content format for delivery of learner content in the VET sector...[and that]….content developers should consider transitioning to alternative methods of delivering accessible interactive content, such as JavaScript/HTML.” Back to Powerpoint though…if you’re looking for help with just creating that fabulous one, have a look at 100 Powerpoint Tutorials.  Should keep you busy [grin].


MOOCCheck out What is a MOOC if you’ve never come across this term before, as it’s going to pop up more and more.  UniNSW launched one only last month, and there is much discussion about whether this is the future, eg Radical rethink: how to design university courses in the online age where the author states “MOOCs are courses available for free online from some of the world’s best known universities – they’re revolutionary in many ways but above all, they are leading the way in course design.”  There are even articles appearing which aim to support eg Ten Tips: Keep Learners Motivated in Your Open Online Cloud Course or MOOC.  My question is…..do you think this is the future for VET too?????  I’m really keen to know your thoughts, so drop in to E-learning Conversations and let’s debate! [sly grin]


Links to Powtoon websiteEnough heavy thinking…time for some fun! I recently stumbled across PowToon …a “Do-It-Yourself tool that enables you to easily create an animated video or dynamic presentation with a professional look-and-feel.”  Best of all, they’ve got a Special Education Edition which is completely free for teachers and students.  Heaps of examples of what you can make…looks useful, especially for keeping those bored learners engaged!


PhotosWe all know that “a picture paints a thousand words” and we try to use images rather than blocks of text…but where to get them?  Probably good to bookmark some of the sites at The Ultimate list of Free Stock Photos Sites for eLearning but be aware that even though they say they’re free, you still need to attribute them (as explained here).  Which brings me to the whole minefield of copyright….and what might happen if you get this wrong [shudders]  Advice on copyright issues relevant to the VET sector is available at the Smartcopying website.  They have a stack of presentations that you can use to educate your students…or maybe your trainers? 😉  Creative Commons has been the answer for many as it has cut through so much of the legal stuff associated with copyright – here’s a  nice little video about it called Wanna Work Together?


EyejotI don’t know about you, but sometimes it seems I spend waaaay too much time on email …typing…typing…typing …[sigh] Wouldn’t it be easier if you could just ‘talk’ them?  Well, I’ve started using Eye-jot which is an “…online video messaging platform ideal for both personal and business communications.” Basically, you just look at the camera, talk, then click Send.  Your recipient gets an email saying they have a message, and when they click the link it’s you talking to them! Quick, easy and much more personal. (Mobile apps available too) Not sure what that might look like? This video shows a business application, but imagine using it with students!


Maybe its a video, or even just a Powerpoint with masses of large images, but email rejects your large file with something that sounds like “spppptt!!”  What to do? There are heaps of nifty little tools that do this job exceptionally well, and you will find some of them at
A List of Online File Sharing Tools to Send Large Files  …or maybe 7 Best Websites to Share Large Files for Free or even  Transfer Big Files: The Top 7 Tools You Should Use. .  If you aren’t sure what would work best for your particular situation, check out 2012 Best Online File Sharing Service Comparisons and Reviews.  Problem solved! [dusts her hands]


Social mediaI started with the topic of ‘finding time’….so perhaps it’s fitting that I point you to the article Why Educators Should Spend 15 Minutes a Day on Social Media (wow…there’s that 15 minutes figure again…spooky!) 🙂 The writer says “Busy schedules are one reason why educators don’t collaborate and connect through social networking platforms. But a lack of time isn’t the main issue. It’s priorities.” But what do you do in that 15 minutes…write random tweets or wander into LinkedIn for a bit?  [laughs] Perhaps Making Social Media Work Professionally might give you some ideas of what professionals actually DO.  Another great resource and ‘how to’ is 100+ examples of use of social media for learning.

MarleneWhew!  That’ll do for now…but can I please reiterate my invitation to come and join me at E-learning Conversations so that we can continue talking?  It won’t take you more than 15 minutes. [cheeky grin] Invite your friends and colleagues to join us!

Author: Marlene Manto

I live in Queensland, Australia. I love to paint, walk, travel and blog.

2 thoughts on “November 2012

  1. HI Marlene
    Thanks again for another fantastic newsletter – will see you soon in the E-leanring conversations. Lots of great tips and tools, on the subject of MOOCS, readers might in interested in the recent Ernst and Young report the Future of Universities,http://bit.ly/Rxafq0

    Just heard that Melbourne Uni has just opened up some of its courses to MOOCs in partnership with Coursera. I think that VET might be more of a challenge – especially as there are already so many online courses and a proliferation of providers but certainly at the Diploma level there might be some developments. Keep up the great work – I always enjoy your finds.

    • Thanks for the link Melanie…can I encourage you to go over to E-learning Conversations and post it there too in the MOOC conversation? (http://tinyurl.com/bhvha9e) I particularly note the comment “Australian universities will need to forge new business models that are dynamic, modern and are fit for the decades ahead.” When we are talking MOOCs we are still referring to Higher Ed, but I’m wondering if this will all turn out as a blended model with VET merged with Higher-Ed and moving into similar business models?
      I’ll meet you over in E-learning Conversations and let’s debate this [cheeky grin].