This week I came into work after a lovely, relaxing long weekend. Unfortunately only 4 states had a long weekend on 11th March….which meant that I started my week confronted with an In Box containing a gazillion emails from the other half of the country! OK, maybe I’m exaggerating and it wasn’t quite a gazillion [grin] but it was a lot. Are we over email yet? Australia Post’s CEO certainly thinks so, as he stated that “...email is passé” and some companies “...look set to be email-free internally by the end of 2013.” How do you minimise your email? In my team we use Skype (or Twitter) for those internal back-forth emails which are really conversations. What do you do to make it bearable?
HOW TO MAKE SPEECH BUBBLES
I’m sure you’ve seen those photos on Facebook and elsewhere…the ones where somebody has added a funny speech bubble. I was thinking it might be an enjoyable orientation activity for students….ask them to upload a photo of themselves (to Moodle, if you use this) together with a witty saying which says something about their character. Phrase.it is a very basic tool where you simply upload your photo (or select it from Facebook), add your bubble and text and then save it. Here’s one I made for practice. 🙂
APPS FOR EDUCATION
If you use a smartphone, you know what an App is (but if not, mosey along to What the Heck is an App? to find out). Many educators and trainers are starting to use them to assist with learning, so I thought I’d point you to Love Apptually…and no, that’s not a spelling error. [aghast look] 🙂 It’s a list of apps which support learning, specifically to develop foundation skills and to help with accessibility. If you’ve been researching apps yourself, I would suggest going to Evaluating Apps to get the Checklist and Rubric…..very handy! Perhaps you are considering building your own app – then How to Build an App: 25 Great Tutorials is a good place to begin.
MAKING VIDEO MORE ACCESSIBLE
You’ve found this nice little video online….or maybe you’ve created your own and uploaded it. Great stuff! But what if you had a student who was hearing impaired and couldn’t hear the video? According to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines you need to provide a text alternative…but this isn’t exactly engaging or an ideal solution. Hey…what about sub-titles! “The video doesn’t have sub-titles“…you say? I’ve just found the coolest web application called Amara, that makes them for you! OK….it isn’t quite that magic as you actually have to type them in, however I had a play and while it would be challenging for a ‘hunt and peck’ typist, it isn’t that difficult as it plays in 4 second ‘grabs’ while you add the text. Here’s an example…watch the video with the sound turned down to get the idea.
COPYRIGHT – HOW TO GET IT RIGHT!
If you’re in Adelaide then you might be going to the Copyright Workshop on 4th April, however for those who can’t get there, I thought I’d at least provide some information and links. If you’re keen to find out more about copyright in general, I would start with the Smartcopying website, as it is “The Official Guide to Copyright Issues for Australian Schools and TAFE”. This site contains heaps of useful information such as the Internet and Websites section. Another useful place is the Australian Copyright Council …I particularly like their ‘Find an Answer’ section. The Educator’s Guide to Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons is a good, overall guide – they say “The legal jargon with respect to digital copyrights can be confusing...” Really??? 😀 The best hint I give to everyone is to use Creative Commons materials, and abide by the licenses. Best way to keep out of trouble. If you’re not familiar with Creative Commons, here’s brief video then chuff along to the Creative Commons site and use their ‘Find’ functions.
FREE IMAGES GALORE!
While we’re talking about what you can’t take off the internet, I thought I’d let you know about a great site called Pixabay which says “You can freely use any image from this website in digital and printed format, for personal and commercial use, without attribution requirement to the original author.” What they call ‘public domain’. (Note that this does not apply to the Shutterstock images on the site….they are a sponsor and their images aren’t free). But the majority are gloriously free and easy to download! I typed in ‘chocolate’ (it was on my mind [grin]) and found this great little Easter image. (Note: I added the Pixabay logo).
AUGMENTED REALITY – TOO FAR INTO THE FUTURE TO WORRY ABOUT?
Think again! There is so much happening in this field! What about…ummm…Occupational Safety Scaffolding or would you like to test drive the Toyota Hybrid Auris? Perhaps you would like to check out the latest IKEA catalogue…except the furniture isn’t flat anymore! 😀
FOR THOSE WHO LOVE TO USE VIDEO FOR TRAINING…
…and why wouldn’t you? Sooo much more engaging that reams of text! You can show them in your classroom and embed them in your online course. My colleague Stephan Schmidt alerted me to TubeChop…. which basically chops up that long YouTube video you’ve found, leaving you the relevant parts only. I tried it on the video The Future of Learning – great video but it’s 20 minutes long and I only wanted the small bit about personalised learning. So I chopped it down to 1:30…and here is my version – The Future of Personalised Learning.
MOODLE DESIGN…WHAT IS BEST?
This is a very emotive topic as everyone who has created a course in Moodle thinks theirs is the best. [chuckles] Fair enough, but perhaps a few other ideas wouldn’t go astray. There’s a discussion in E-learning Conversations called Course Design – Let’s Put our Heads Together where we will put a Moodle course ‘under the microscope’ and brainstorm how it might be improved. A great way for experienced designers to strut their stuff…and for newcomers to learn and ask questions! You might find other ideas in Moodle Course Design – What is best practice? For more of a focus on the ‘look’ of the course, check out Designing aesthetically pleasing Moodle courses. (By the way, I got the example Moodle course from MoodleShare….free Moodle courses ready to download!)
VALIDATION OF LEARNING AND ASSESSMENT – OPEN BADGES
Open Badges are just creeping onto the educational scene, but we might be seeing more of them in the near future! In a nutshell, open badges are a new online standard to recognize and verify learning (both formal and informal) which can be displayed…say….on an e-portfolio or LinkedIn profile (as an example). You can find out more at the Mozilla Open Badges website or better still, why not register to join the free webinar on 21st March – Backpack and Beyond: Open Badges for Skills Sharing. Here’s a video which explains more about Open Badges and how they can be used:
CREATING A WEB PAGE IS EASY-PEASY!
Well…it can be if you use a simple little tool like Strikingly. They say “Absolutely no code or design experience needed. Do everything on one screen. Click anything to edit, and publish instantly. Set up a beautiful page in under 30 minutes.” How about this for an idea – you get your students to create a webpage for a project activity…or an assignment…or to showcase something they’ve made. They could show their friends/family and it would be lasting evidence of their learning which they could use to show achievement. I really like this tool because it automatically formats the content for any device…computer, tablet or smartphone. For instructions and more information, go to
Create a Responsive Site In Minutes With Striking.ly
Anyway, I need to get back to my gazillion emails so I’ll leave you with these links, sites and ideas to explore.
Please call me if you need any help or direction with e-learning….or even if you just want to chat. I’m not too hard to find and always love to talk about e-learning! [grin]