S.A. E-Learning Newsletter

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

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August 2013

Digital footprintHi everyone,

I just typed “Marlene Manto” into Google, and it came up with 5,060 results i.e. my digital footprint.    What happens when you Google your own name? (Note: if your name is John Smith or something similar that brings up a lot of hits that aren’t you, you may need to add another identifier).  Go on…try it….I can wait. [hums to herself and taps her fingers] What did you find? I think we are all starting to accept the inevitability of a digital footprint….but how do you actually feel about it?  Sometimes an initial reaction is to refuse to put anything into an online space and cut yourself off from the social media world, but is that a good thing?  Isn’t it better to control what a search brings up?  Most searchers don’t go past the first couple of Google pages so if it’s filled with what you have consciously put online (eg your LinkedIn profile and that great presentation you put up on Slideshare etc), then any dodgy stuff from your mis-spent past will end up on page 17…where a future employer or other searcher is unlikely to fall over it. 🙂


Have you ever thought about the fact that this is the first time in history that we have to think about ‘what we leave behind’…digitally?  I mean…what happens to all our ‘stuff’ when we finally shuffle off this mortal coil?  I remember reading a thought-provoking blog post a while back called Identity, memory, death and the internet which challenged some of my thinking at the time.    Google has recently introduced Digital Estate Planning and this TED talk provides insight into where this might all end up:

All of this makes me wonder if we have a responsibility to help our learners with their digital footprint.  Why not start by reading 5 ways you can help your students manage their online reputation then showing them the video Protecting Reputations Online.  Oh, and you could put this cool poster up in your classroom or online course.  Let’s teach the next generation about being digitally responsible.  After all…it’s what we will all leave behind.


Quibblo logoEnough seriousness for now….let’s play games!  Came across Quibblo which is probably intended for the young generation, however you can ignore the quizzes about pop stars and create your own.  I created one called E-Learning Jargon so feel free to give it a go.  It did demonstrate one annoying aspect though….it throws in an extra question (the random one on the end) so just ignore that one if you try the quiz.  It’s not bad…gives you a synopsis plus compares your results with others.  It’s free and you can make your quiz private.  I think puzzles and games can be a good way to introduce and reinforce terminologies and language too, and for this I like Crosswords and Wordsearch games. If you aced my previous quiz, here’s a crossword puzzle about online training terminology you can try. But if all you want is something to kill an hour on a rainy afternoon (Sudoku…anyone?) then try Conceptis Puzzles.


LearnMoodle logoI usually post something about Moodle (after all, it topped the list of 20 Most Popular LMS), so I thought it was about time I put up something for those who are right at the very beginning.  Let’s start with a video Moodle explained with Lego…just to get the ball rolling…or little bricks….whatever.  [grin]  Then…and this is exciting news….Moodle.org have announced that they will be running a Moodle MOOC (free, 4 week online course) with registration opening on 19th August!  If you don’t know a lot about Moodle, this might be good way to get your head around it and learn some basic skills.  For small and medium businesses who are thinking about using Moodle, you could also download a copy of the e-book Moodle for SMEs.  My recommendation is usually to have Moodle hosted (rather than have the hassle of looking after it yourself), and while your ‘very robust compliant system’ [puts on a serious face] is probably best hosted by a Moodle partner or equally reputable and local host, you’ll find there are a growing number of free hosting options if all you want to do is trial a course.


You know those stock images that you find online but then you realise you have to pay for them. Aaargh….such a pain when you have a budget of $0 but want to make your online course/material less ‘texty’.  Hey, don’t fret….did you know those commercial images eventually go somewhere to die….and you can pick them up for FREE?   🙂   You’ll find the morgue at MorgueFile.   This site also has commercial images though, so when you do your search, make sure it says ‘Free Photos’ next to the search box, and the tab clearly says ‘morgueFile’. When you click on the image, it allows you to alter the size and download it.  I found this gravestone image from there…happy searching!


Upside down houseOf course I’m talking about Flipped Classrooms….the second most talked about contemporary model of teaching (next to MOOCs).  You hear so much about it, but is it really the holy grail of teaching methodology?  Can any class be ‘flipped’?  Does it ever go wrong?  I thought I’d offer some information and differing perspectives, just to bring you up to speed with this rapidly growing educational trend.  If you aren’t familiar with the term, begin with Flipped Classroom Quick Start, and flip (pardon the pun) through the slides for a quick overview.   Then scan through Five Best Practices for the Flipped Classroom which asks pertinent questions to help you decide whether flipping is right for you. Next you might want to consider Three Questions to Consider Before We All Flip which continues on the theme of encouraging you to reflect and consider your context.  A balanced view is always good of course, so quickly check through The Flipped Classroom: Pro and Con….and maybe finish up with The Flip: End of a Love Affair.  By now you should be ready to make an objective decision about whether to flip or not, and maybe run a trial or two to see if the model works for your learners.  (PS:  If you’re an ESL teacher, check out Flippin’ for ESL)


TedEd logoMaybe you know about the TED talks (I sometimes embed them in here)…but have you come across TED-ED  yet? I was reminded about this valuable education resource recently (thanks @CoachCarole).  If you have just read the previous paragraph about flipping your classroom, this might be a good place to begin as “...within the growing TED-Ed video library, you will find carefully curated educational videos, many of which represent collaborations between talented educators and animators.”  You can use, tweak, or completely redo any lesson featured on TED-Ed, or create lessons from scratch based on any video from YouTube.  If you’d like to see some examples, have a look at The New Science of Marketing….or…..How Big is Infinity.….or….How to Take a Great Picture…or….The Mysteries of Chronic Pain.  All is explained in the video below….or browse the FAQ to have your questions answered.


logoThe infographic is a current trend….in a nutshell, they are ‘graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge’…..and they are popping up everywhere!  You’ll find infographics for diverse topics such as Creative Commons, the ADDIE Model, 10 Twitter Mistakes, How to Avoid Information Overload, the Flipped Classroom Model…pretty much anything you can think of.  Now that’s all very well, however have you considered what a fabulous learning activity it might be to get your students to create one?  Think of it…all that boring data or information and their mission is to turn it into an informative and pictorial image.  They might accidentally learn something while they’re having fun! [cheeky grin].  You can start your research with 70 Tools And 4 Reasons To Make Your Own Infographics but my recommendation would be to use Piktochart who say “…The ultimate key is simplicity. All you need is to drag, drop and voilà! informative yet stunning visuals can be created with just a few clicks.” They have some useful tutorials ..such as How To Create an Infographic in 5 Minutes.  So why not try it out!


DominosOnline games are a ‘thing‘…a tool…a resource…a learning object.  But gamification is different as it describes the process of turning the learning process into a game.  In Whitepaper: Future of Compliance Training they say “…the techniques used in gamification makes existing tasks feel more like games, thereby leveraging people’s natural desires for achievement, self-expression, and competitiveness.”  ‘Gamifiying’ (is that a word?) generally involves turning traditional training into a game by the use of levels, badges, leader boards etc.  It can work well for many types of training and I think compliance training is definitely a good place to start! [chuckles[.  If you’re interested to know more, start with Game-Based Learning Is Probably Worth Looking Into as it explains the basics and then maybe progress to How Gamification Works.   There is also an official Gamification Portal that would be worth a browse.  But beware [wags her finger]…I’d also suggest you scan through 7 Ways to Royally Mess Up Your Gamification Campaign before you go too far.  I mean, you don’t want to ‘royally mess it up’ now, do you.  LOL


Twitter2….as opposed to Twitter for politicians, or celebrities, or sports stars etc.  And there is a big difference because while you may have been turned off the whole idea of Twitter because of the scandals and rubbish you see on TV, it can be an amazing tool – both for your own learning as well as a useful teaching tool.  10 Ways to Learn From Twitter has some great ideas for how Twitter can be used personally including getting breaking news, using it as a search engine, getting instant advice and sharing content.  According to 10 Reasons why Teachers use Twitter as a Professional Development Tool, teachers are using it to “...share and learn from each others expertise.”  As for your students, get some ideas from 22 Effective Ways To Use Twitter In The Classroom which maps strategies and ideas against Bloom’s Taxonomy.  You can’t get more kosher than that!  😀


It’s so important for us all to keep our eyes on the horizon, as the use of technology for education is moving so fast and it will be easy to be left behind.  Give yourself a quick update by checking out The Biggest Online Learning Trends Of The Year.   And have you ever wondered if we are truly preparing our students for a successful future?  The 7 Skills Students Must Have For The Future  lists some of the skills which we should ideally be instilling in our learners…along with industry skills.  Finally, I’d like to encourage you to find 7 minutes out of your busy day, and sit back to watch this video.  It may scare you….it may excite you…..but one thing’s for sure….you’ll gain important insight into what’s just down the road a bit……

MarleneWell, we started with leaving behind footprints when we die…and we finished with an inspiring look at what our future might bring!  I hope I’ve finished on a high note! [grin]  Don’t forget that I’m only a phone call or email away if you want to talk about e-learning, or if you need any help.  I’m very approachable.  :-)