S.A. E-Learning Newsletter

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

December 2013

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Hi everyone,Christmas stress

You haven’t got time to be reading this!  You’ve got assignments to mark and resources to prepare for the new year….new students starting…..so much to do!  Eeeek!  Now…pause for a moment and say to yourself….”Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” 🙂 Let’s set the scene for this edition with  10 Ways to get into the Christmas Spirit or at the very least, take a break and have a browse through the following links, ideas and inspirational videos.  The work will wait for you.  🙂


Christmas brings out a flurry of YouTube videos.  Some of them are ads but this doesn’t detract from their entertainment value…like this beautiful video which makes one feel like a child again:

Another one which is a actually an ad but still a lot of fun is the WestJet Christmas Miracle.  Perhaps you’d like a video to email to overseas friends and relatives or put onto their Facebook page…something with a distinctly ‘Aussie’ twist? [grin}  Try this one:

There are some ‘oldies but goodies’ around still, and you can’t go past The Digital Nativity for sheer genius.  There are also those which hit the social media and go absolutely viral!  I’m sure you’ve been sent the link to Capella Rendition of Little Drummer Boy already but if not, it’s a must see!


Taking videoKnowing how to make a video can be a very good skill as videos can be fabulously engaging resources, and now is a good time to learn.  [chuckles]  I can just hear the chorus of protest…that you’re going on leave soon and you’ll be too busy when you get back.  But who said anything about  making work-related videos!  Here’s your chance to have some fun with those bits of holiday footage you’re going to take with your phone camera…you know, the mayhem around the Christmas tree or dear Aunt Mabel asleep in the chair after lunch.  You could even get the kids (or the grand-kids) to help and make it a family project!  At the end of it you will a) have a lovely video memory, and b) you will have learned some new skills all ready to put into practice next year.  [grin]  Convinced you?  Let’s start with How to Make a YouTube Video and maybe back that up with Three Easy Steps to Recording Better Videos on Your Phone or Tablet.  If you’d like to turn your video into more of a story, then The 7 Steps of Good Storytelling is a good guide.  Go on…have fun with it!


Christmas Graphics logoYou might be looking for ‘Christmassy’ images for your end-of-year Bulletin, or perhaps a final email farewell to students.  FreeDigitalPhotos.net has a large selection of free images include lots with a Christmas theme.  You do need to attribute them though, and this is fully explained.  If you’re just needing some Christmas clip-art that you can use without needing to attribute, you can get these from Free Christmas Graphics.


Live.Picsio logoBut wait…they’re in another state, or another country! Of course you can email then or send a link to your Flickr account, but it’s just not the same as having a glass of wine together and flicking through photos while you talk about them with your friend, and they can ask questions.  Well I’ve found the answer!  Live.Picsio is a simple site which basically allows you to drag photos into a ‘space’, and then it generates a unique chatroom link.  You send this link to your friend and voila….you’re in the same ‘room’ and you can talk about your photos!  You don’t even need to register.  Check out this explanation or watch the explanatory video.   Oh…you’ll need to tell you friend that they have to supply their own wine though.  [grin]  (Hmmm…just had a thought…maybe a tool to support distance students?)


Elfster logoPhyllis Diller once famously said, “What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.”  [chuckles] It’s great to get into the Christmas spirit but it’s also important to keep good relations with work colleagues.  Lots of offices do a ‘Secret Santa’ these days, and I’ve found the perfect way to organise it so that it doesn’t get too time-consuming…it’s called Elfster. In their words, “Elfster is a free online Secret Santa organizer and social networking platform for gift-giving. Elfster gives time-strapped party planners and gift givers the tools to rediscover the joy of gift giving by organizing a Secret Santa exchange.”  Here’s a tutorial video.  Oh…of course it would also be fabulous for family gift-organising!


Tired of workA recent survey found that 70% of people are more likely to look for a new job after they’ve had some holidays.” This is a quote from the article 8 Ways to Keep Your Employees Happy, and I thought I’d throw this in seeing as it’s ‘that’ time of year and there might still be time to fix whatever might be making your employees think twice about coming back to work [laughs].   If you are the employee…well….you could spend the Christmas break turning your LinkedIn profile into a resume and perhaps get some ideas/templates from ResumeSocial. If you’re not in the market for a new job, you could pass these links on to your students and suggest they spend their break writing a good resume. Well, you can always suggest… [grin]


Online shoppingI don’t know about you but I find the whole Christmas shopping experience a less than wonderful experience….all the crowds, trying to find a park etc.  I guess others feel the same way and that’s why more than 50 percent of Australians shop online.  If you’ve never ventured down that path and have some trepidation, why not read the Shopping Online section of ForwardIT which explains the basics.  I did some shopping online last year but I’ve noticed the difference this year, as retailers are really getting the message!  Some  have useful ‘gift finders’ to help you choose (eg XmasEbay), and some even have free postage (eg HardtoFind).  Start with Five Best Websites for Gifts but also try Bookworld and Hart&Heim.  You’ll need to hurry though…time is running out!


You have to bookmark the NORAD Santa tracker to ensure you know where the big man is on Christmas Eve.  You might know about this site but it has changed this year …on December 24th the site will enable a 3D globe and you’ll be able to zoom in on Santa’s stops throughout the evening.  Cool!  🙂 And I can’t resist…one more ‘feel good’ video to help with bolstering that Christmas spirit [grin]:

Marlene in Santa hatWell that will have to do for now, because I just heard a champagne cork pop and I believe the Christmas party has started without me!  I truly hope you have a relaxing break and come back to 2014 refreshed and ready to experiment with more ‘e-learning stuff’! [grin]  There won’t be a January Newsletter so I’ll see you back here in February.  Merry Christmas!


Taking video:  CC licensed Flickr photo by RalphVenema
Tired of work:  CC licensed Flickr photo by dickuhne
Santa hat from http://santahat.me/

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