Winter has hit with a vengeance, so pull up a chair to my warm fireplace, and let’s have a cosy chat about what’s happening lately in the world of e-learning. [grin] But before we get into it, I need to let you know that there won’t be a July edition of this Newsletter as I’m escaping this cold climate for a (temporary) break to hang out in tropical north Queensland and defrost for a while. I’ll throw a couple of logs onto the fire before I go though, so the E-learning Conversations can continue while I’m away. 🙂 Meanwhile…let’s get on with this month!
Everyone loves games…especially on cold winter nights. But games are also a wonderful way of reinforcing learning, helping students to grasp concepts, and especially to make it engaging! One of my recent discoveries is a site called Try Engineering which has a stack of little games to play. I’ll admit to being just a teeny bit distracted for a while but I had to try a couple, just to make sure they were good enough to tell you about them….right? [smirks] I particularly liked this one which had me guessing about Energy Flows. I learned a lot! 🙂 For different kinds of games, check out Edheads….or…this is a simple little game to practice maths. If you’re keen to incorporate games as part of your teaching, perhaps check out 5 Best Practices for Incorporating Games into Training Courses.
E-LEARNING COURSES – DETERMINING QUALITY
I was recently alerted to A Free Checklist to Assess the Quality of an E-Learning Course (thanks @alisonbickford) which can “…help assess the quality of off-the-shelf e-learning courses before purchase, self-assess an e-learning course you are currently developing or the quality of e-learning courses on your LMS.” Cool! If this list is a bit too detailed for your needs though, maybe check out A compact Instructional Design Review Checklist for an alternative. Speaking of quality…ssshh…gather ’round [looks over her shoulder]…I can tell you that that FLAG currently has a national pilot project underway, and the outcome will be a checklist/model which can be used to determine quality of your e-learning offerings… from the point of view of RTO compliancy. Never be worried about audit time again! Stay tuned and I’ll keep you updated with this one. 😉
GOOGLE GLASSES – WOULD YOU WEAR THEM?
Apparently Only 10% of Americans Say They Would Wear Google Glass ……would you? Pop your answer into the poll below, and let’s see if SA E-learning Newsletter subscribers feel the same way! 😀
If this is new to you, have a quick glance at Google Glass: what you need to know, and then come back to vote. Myself, I’m still deciding, but I did appreciate the reasonable view of one of the people who commented “...I never wanted a pager when those came out… or a cell phone when they came out, or an iPhone when it came out, but in every case I ended up with one. The majority of people need to wait till their friends show them how cool it is before they want one.” And I do think these things are going to be cool!! [laughs]
Q: HOW CAN YOU MAKE REVISION FUN?
With a quiz! Let’s start with QuizSlides, as I quite enjoyed playing with this one [oops…shouldn’t admit that should I…researching is meant to be work!) Heh, heh. Anyway, I like QuizSlides because it just uses simple Powerpoint slides to create the questions, yet it ends up looking quite professional. It works well on the iPad/tablet too…always a bonus. Here’s an explanation:
I tried out the Chocolate Quiz, and did quite well! (Well, I know a lot about chocolate) 😉 If you were looking for something more game-based that you could use in a classroom, you can’t go past good ol’ Jeopardy, and eQuizShow is a simple tool designed especially for educators, which creates just that. It’s not a sophisticated tool and I think it would work best with a teacher as Game Show Host, but well worth a look.
GETTING HELP WITH FINDING GREAT WEBSITES
You’re well aware that if you want to find something about e-learning, you Google it. Yeah…well that’s all very well but when I type ‘gamification’ into Google I get 4,430,000 results [rolls her eyes], and who’s to know whether the top ones are any good anyway! Sheesh! There are some great bookmarking sites around but the ideal would be a bookmarking site that was all about e-learning. Enter…eLearning Tags! (thanks @lawrencejames). You can find out more from the blog post eLearning Tags – The 1st eLearning Social Bookmarking Site! where they say “eLearning Tags is a social bookmarking site where you can discover, share, vote and discuss interesting and remarkable content related to the eLearning field!” There are 12 main categories so it’s fairly easy to narrow down a search, but I’ve just subscribed to the RSS feed so I get to know about the new stuff. It’s the perfect lazy-person’s research tool. [chuckles]
RSS FEED…..SAY WHAT???
If you are new to using online tools, you may have balked when I mentioned ‘RSS feed’ in the last paragraph. No problem….I can explain. [smile] You’ll find a reasonable explanation at RSS Feed explained for Teachers, but I still think the Commoncraft video (below) is one of the simplest explanations. Since Google Reader gave up the ghost, I’ve been using Feedly for RSS feeds…and loving it!
TEACHING WITH TABLETS AND APPS
Some organisations are purchasing class-sets of iPads and tablets for use in the classroom, but my opinion is that we are increasingly moving into a BYOD world (Bring Your Own Device) where learners will bring their own…whatever…into the classroom. This means that teachers and trainers will need to become confident with using mobile devices – check your competence at 23 Things Every Teacher Should Be Able To Do With An iPad. (Yes, it’s referring to iPads but the same guidelines would apply for Android/Windows devices). If you’re well into it and just looking for ideas for cool apps, try 10 of the best Apple and Android apps for education in 2013 and/or 15 excellent apps for learning activities in BYOD classrooms.
A FEW THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT YOUTUBE
For instance…did you know that you can blur faces in a video? Might be useful if you have video showing students, and you want to use it for a general resource. Another one – did you know that you can turn a video into slow motion? Perhaps handy for showing how something mechanical works. Did you know that you can add a hyperlink to a video? Or create a Slideshow with audio? No? You’ll find information and tutorials for these (and more) at 8 Overlooked Useful YouTube Tools. Oh…one more….did you know that YouTube run free online courses to learn more about…ummm… ‘everything YouTube-y’? On a slightly different but related topic, how about this for an assessment idea….students could produce a ‘How to’ video (eg how to construct a mitred corner) and post it onto YouTube. How To videos get a lot of ‘hits’ so your students would feel famous [grin] but importantly, they would have to know the skill well to demo on the video. Hence…competency achieved!
A MIND-MAP OF LEARNING THEORY
A one-stop-shop mind-map explaining learning theory….wow….that would have come in handy back when I was studying for my teaching degree! Not to mention being able to explain the reason why my latest online course has a ‘sound pedagogical’ foundation. The image is clickable for further explanation. While we’re on the topic of mind-maps, if you’re looking for an online mind-mapping tool, one of the most popular ones lately seems to be Mind-Meister – here’s a video demonstration.
A DISASTER CALLED….THE INTERNET
“The internet was one of the greatest disasters to befall mankind. Now its survivors share their experiences of the tragedy. [sound of ominous music in the background] The video below is a documentary, brought to you from the year 2068. You just know this is going to be tongue-in-cheek, don’t you. [giggles]
Well, the fire is burning down and I must be off, but please continue the E-learning Conversation while I’m away….I’m leaving you all in charge of keeping the discussions and debates happening, and I’ll be back (sporting a tan) before you know it. 😎