S.A. E-Learning Newsletter

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

February 2013

21st Century SkillsHi everyone,

I think everyone would agree that the work-world is getting a bit tough….budgets are often cut to ridiculous levels, there’s heaps to do but never enough hands to do it, and it’s getting harder to keep up because skill-requirements, business models and technology seem to be changing at accelerating rates!  For lots of people, ongoing employment is a concern (me to!) and there’s that ongoing pressure to maintain one’s skills in order to remain employable.  But what does that mean?  I have found 12 Skills That Will Help You Thrive in 2013 quite useful as not only is it good advice, but I’ve used the headings to update my e-portfolio and CV. [grin] (Oh…this might be useful too – The 33 Digital Skills Every 21st Century Teacher should Have).


3DprinterWhile I’ve got you terrified of the future, I might as well keep going!  [chuckles]  The 2013 Horizon Report is out.  Now even though this version has a Higher Ed focus, it’s quite applicable to other education sectors.  Game-based learning is on the 2-3 year horizon and I talked about that last month in the January edition, and as for 3D printing (4-5 years)…well we’ve got the 3D Fab Lab right here in Adelaide – they would love you to visit (and maybe take your students).  Wearable technology is on the list (also 4-5 years)… check out Project Glass: One Day and then imagine doing away with all those computers and having your remote learner just ‘beam in’ his or her assessment activity.  I’ve started a new Discussion in E-learning Conversations where I’m trying to find out who is doing what within these horizons…where does VET sit?  Pop over and let me know….I’d appreciate it.  🙂


Blubbr logoEnough heavy thinking…let’s have some fun!  Came across Blubbr this week (whoever thought up that name!) and was immediately sucked in. Basically, you create interactive quizzes out of existing YouTube videos…yours or somebody else’s.  The way it works is that the user gets to watch a short clip then they have to answer a multiple-choice question related to the content, with instant feedback.  To get the idea, have a look at Bloodflow through the Heart or HTML Tutorial.  There is an Educational Section but why not have a go and create your own.  At the moment it does require a Facebook or Twitter account to get in and play, but hopefully this will change…it’s still very new. (Your learners don’t need a log-in to do the quizzes though.)


Blog on a KindleI’m not even sure when the first blog was born [grin], but I was blogging my holidays waaaay back at the beginning of the century!  Such a useful teaching tool too and trainers have been using them for developing language, recording project progress, documenting work experience and a zillion other things. For those getting started,  Blogging in the Classroom: A 4 Step Guide is a nice little resource but Starting a blog : a guide for teachers is possibly a tad more practical.  HOWEVER…with those accelerating technology changes I alluded to above, a blog these days does not have to stay a blog!  You could use Ebook Glue to turn it into a downloadable e-book.  Or…you can convert it into a podcast feed using text-to-speech technology, with Podcastomatic.  The world of developing mobile learning content is now eazy-peazy!


Where do you think it is going?  I was sent a fabulous video recently (thanks @PetaPash) which I would highly recommend.  It’s not a quick view (20 minutes) but perhaps watch it while you’re having lunch.  I also think it would be great to show at a staff meeting to initiate a discussion about where you are all heading.


Triptico logoThe reality is that most of VET is a blended model of delivery, which means that there is still an awful lot of teaching done in classrooms (and nothing wrong with that!).  But just because you’re in a classroom doesn’t mean you can’t use technology and make the learning more interactive and engaging.  🙂  Have you heard of Triptico?  I know quite a few trainers use it to create game-based learning, and to add interest to what could be boring (heaven forbid!) lectures.  [cheeky grin]  Turn Your Class into a Gameshow is a good explanation of how it can be used.  Basically, Triptico adds a heap of resources as an app on your Desktop eg Bingo, Pinboard, Timer, Scoreboard, Word Mix…and tons more, many explained on their blog.


Sometimes stop-motion is the only way to go….like when you need to video something which happens veeeeery slooooooowly, like building a pergola.  Or maybe you need to make something move, that normally wouldn’t (like Lego blocks) to create a learning resource such as Lean Gone Lego, for the Manufacturing industry.  Jellycam is a simple stop-motion tool you might like to investigate…check out this demo:

If you’re keen to give it a go, start with How To Create A Stop-Motion Film In 5 Minutes With JellyCam.   Another option  is The Vine.  It is a phone app and the reason I didn’t focus on it was that, at this stage, it is only available for the iPhone and not Android or Windows.  Hurry up developers!


Twitter image

I haven’t mentioned Twitter for a while, but maybe it’s time to touch on it again.  Now all of you who are reaching for the mouse to quickly scroll down…wait up a bit! [laughs] Maybe you’ve looked at Twitter before and thought ‘it’s not for me’…..but sometimes things need to grow on you. I couldn’t see the point when I first tried it, and now although I’m not an avid user, I do use it…and I like it for what it provides ie connection with my networks.  A quote (actually a tweet) on Tweet to Learn says “Twitter is everything a teachers lounge should be… Inspiring educators with engaging ideas.”  Did you know that Twitter is the fastest growing social platform in the world, even ahead of Facebook? Some teachers are even using it as a delivery method, as explained in Training Hospitality Students With Twitter, with other suggestions for its use in 12 Twitter Tips for the Tenderfoot.  Me…I just use it for my own learning as I can ask questions and seek opinions of other learning professionals without leaving my desk.  If you’re new to Twitter, try Twitter 101 or Beginning Twitter for Professionals which is a free course.


Moodle imageSometimes it can be a struggle to turn your Moodle page into something which lines up with what is in your mind, however the use of tables can often help.  Using Tables to Format in Moodle is a useful video, and I notice there are many others on this ‘channel’ which are probably worth a look too.  Another area which can seem tricky is dividing your class into Groups.  The video Configuring Groups in a Course covers the process for separating a class into groups and then configuring an activity for use with the defined groups. Or maybe you’re looking for something to make Moodle look like Facebook…so your students feel at home? [chuckles]  Don’t forget that e-Skills offer Moodle Training if you need extra help, and that (if you’re SA based) they will also provide a free Moodle (2.3) sandpit so you can try things out.  Or if you’re more of a “I’ll teach myself” sort of person, try 105 Free Moodle Video Tutorials. That oughta keep ya goin’! [grin]


A “digital scribble space” and “great tool for brainstorming in the classroom or workplace“. This describes AnswerGarden, which I came across recently (thanks @pennybentley). I had some fun by creating one…give it a go!

It can be embedded on a webpage, it generates its own QR Code, or you can send it out via your favourite social networking tool.  Cool, huh?  I even had a go at embedding it in a Moodle page…and it worked! [smug grin]  Here’s the Quickstart Guide.


Webinar You all know about the ooodles of freebie webinars available on the SA PD Calendar...which means you are very knowledgeable about what we mean when we talk about webinars…or web conferencing…or virtual meeting spaces.  All the same thing really!  I’ll do a plug right now for one I’m running on 8th April called Web Conferencing to Engage Your Learners where I intend to share all my deepest secrets about making these spaces fun and engaging. [grin]  If you were keen to get your own webinar software, then you could check out 15 Free Web Conferencing Tools …but actually I’d suggest you look at my recommendations on the bottom of this page…and/or give me a ring to discuss it.  Before signing your life away on a big contract.  😉

MarleneI think that might give you enough to browse through and research for the next month.   If everyone fills in my little AnswerGarden brainstorm tool above, that should make putting together the next edition a piece of cake!

Don’t forget that you can contact me anytime with your specific questions, or even just to have a general chat about e-learning.  I’d love to hear from you.  🙂