S.A. E-Learning Newsletter

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


April 2010

Apologies to all, but the bottom link in the email sent out  on the mailing list has brought you here to the APRIL edition.  Please CLICK HERE to go to the MAY edition.

Hi everyone,
April FoolIt’s April already….but I’m sure you’re no April Fool!  Some time ago I came across a saying that has stuck with me, although I can’t remember who said it.  “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there!“.  [raises her voice] 😉 I think it can apply to all parts of life but it certainly applies to e-learning.  Lots of people make a start on changing how they deliver training/education ….but then they just SIT THERE and don’t move forward. [shakes her head] But that’s not you, is it, because you are reading this Newsletter which means you are definitely forging ahead!  [grin] Maybe some of the following can help…..


FrameworkResourcesThere are an abundance of e-learning resources available to help you with e-learning, but tracking down what you need can be the challenge. [nods her head knowingly] You have to plan your strategy, find your content, create content where it doesn’t exist and then embed the e-learning into your training.  Need some help with that? 🙂  The Framework has a stack of tools and resources and here they are in a neat list under these headings. So much easier to find everything you need.  And don’t forget I’m here to help…you only need to ask.


Came across Animated Explanations which is “…a website full of animated movies, interactive tutorials and instructional videos, all free for you to view and to embed in your website.”  This is great because not only are they useful little resources, but you can embed little vids such as How to Choose a Safe Password‘ into your Moodle or other LMS, for your students or clients.  How about ‘Easy Exercises to Relieve Back and Neck Pain at Work‘…or ‘How to Create an Attractive Presentation in PowerPoint 2007‘…or…’Sorting through huge amounts of e-mails‘.  OK, OK..American accent, I know [grin]


Let’s talk about information.  “...information used to be authoritative…  The change that the Internet has brought is that anybody is able to publish anything, so there has been an explosion of information that’s available.  It’s up to the consumer of the information, not the publisher of the information to test the authenticity of that information.”  This is a quote from an interview with Howard Reingold which may be of particular interest to librarians and those who work hard at teaching research skills to students.  We all know that not everything on the internet is true.  No…really!!! [laughs]  Just Googling can bring up all sorts of rubbish however I thought you might like to know about ‘Research Beyond Google’ which has a list of 119 authoratitive databases, search engines and general research areas on all sorts of topics.  Finally, this ‘How To Research a Paper‘ YouTube video is a pretty good resource.


What the heck is Augmented Reality? Basically, it’s about adding an overlay of information on top of the real world. If you’ve read the 2010 Horizon Report,you’ll know that ‘Time to Adoption’ is 2-3 years. But what on earth is it all about? Let’s start with this great video ‘Augmented Reality Explained by Common Craft‘.  If this has captured your imagination, check out some demonstrations of what is coming, such as Mirror Worlds, where students have created a tour of a campus that switches between a view of an avatar in a virtual world and augmented reality superimposed on the real world.  A company have already developed software that allows users to tag themselvesthe video explains it.  And what about Augmented Reality in a Contact Lens? Yeeks!!  “Augmented Reality is …expected to be used by more than 30% of the mobile workforce by 2014“. (Reference)  Hold onto your seats…the future is happening right now!


Is your organisation the best training provider?  Do you think that what you’ve done with e-learning deserves recognition…and preferably an award?  Time is running short but there’s still time to enter the LearnX Awards 2010 for E-learning & Training.


¡¡¡¡¡ʍou sıɥʇ pɐǝɹ   You’ll need to stand upside down to read this sentence.  [falls around laughing] Came across  Flip Text, which you might first think serves no useful purpose at all, but how about using it as a ‘grabber’ first line when you email your students!  It will certainly get their attention!  😉


Are you interested in the use of e-books for education and learning?  A new EdNA Group has begun which invites all educators to come and find out more,and to share their thoughts and ideas. There are a growing multitude of e-books (many of them free) – have a look at ‘E-books galore…for free!‘ and ‘Education e-books‘. You probably realise that the music industry went through great turmoil with the advent of digital music – well it’s only just begun for the publishing industry as you’ll read in ‘The Platform: E-Books—This Time It’s Real‘.


Ever needed to make a timeline?  Perhaps the history of your family, the progress of your business, how the computer has evolved, a record of events, progress of a project…or just your own life.  Here’s a nifty little tool that lets you get started in less than a minute.  Preceden is a free web 2.0 timeline visualization tool that lets you you make simple, powerful timelines for just about anything.


“...the dividing line between rapid and more complex authoring may have more to do with what is included in each project and less to do with the tool you use to create it.”  Rapid E-learning is a phrase that has been coined to describe e-learning development that is quick, simple, ‘just in time’ and contextualised to what you need – right now.  There will always be a place for professional-standard learning resources, however like the old gestetner handout (showing my age here!!), the ‘quick and dirty’ stuff is useful too.  Have a read of ‘When a Rapid Approach Makes the Most Sense‘.  Not too quick though!!  ‘10 Things to Consider Before Your E-Learning Course Goes Live‘ will hopefully prevent some disasters.  [grin]

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lady-madonna/147066705/LET’S GO BACK A FEW STEPS…TO BLOGS

Let’s go back to some basic e-learning tools…such as blogs. If you are just dipping your toe into e-learning, I would recommend you first watch the video ‘Blogs in Plain English‘ which will help you get your head around it all.  You may have tried blogging yourself, but have you considered using blogs with your students, or starting a class blog?  I know an educator called Sue Waters, and she has created a great resource of step-by-step instructions for getting your class started with a blog.  It begins with ‘Week 1 – Create A Class Blog‘ and it then continues in 6 parts.  Sue says “Blogging isn’t just about writing posts; it’s about sharing your learning and reflecting on what you have learnt“…a valuable exercise for students. You might like to check out ‘50 Useful Blogging Tools for Teachers‘…I particularly liked the template for a Blogger’s Contract which is something you could customise to hand out to your own learners.  Once you’re really into it and want to start getting fancy, have a look at ‘HOW TO: Build a More Beautiful Blog‘ for hints and tips.


What is a webinar?  It’s actually shorthand for web-based seminar and it can be an effective tool to replace the classroom if you are wanting to offer a synchronous lecture.  Unlike Moodle and the like, a webinar requires an ‘all in at the same time’ approach…although they can often be recorded. Ready to get started?  You can pay HEAPS for this kind of platform but why don’t you try VETVirtual first…which is FREE.  “Vet Virtual is a Web Based communication or conferencing application designed specifically for education in Australia“.  There’s a pretty good How-To section to get you started, but the best way to learn is to just play! Alternatively, you may have heard of Elluminate.  This is NOT free however if you want to check it out, they do offer a Three for Free VRoom through LearnCentral – this is not a free trial…it’s actually a free room.  What’s the catch? [grin] The catch is that you can only have 3 people in it.  Great for small meetings though! Other ones which others are using are DimDim or Vyew.  Once you are on your way with webinars, you might like to check out Tips for Effective Webinars so you can learn to be the very best e-presenter, ever! [grin]


I thought it was important to let you all know that E-Dayz will not be on this year in it’s ‘old’ format.  (Oh dear..what’s that sobbing I hear?) 🙂  Let me explain.  The E-Dayz conference was always a fabulous way to learn about who is doing what with e-learning, and to network with like-minded colleagues.  But it was only on for two days out of the whole year, and if you couldn’t get to it…well, you missed out!  What about if we could spread E-Dayz out over the whole year, offering MORE workshops and MORE presenters and MORE special guests and MORE opportunities to learn, network and share?  So wipe away those tears and watch your email In Box for notification of exciting things to come!!


If you were at E-Dayz you might remember that he was a Keynote Speaker.  Professor Martin Westwell, is the first Director of the Flinders Centre for Science Education in the 21st Century and one of the leading educational thinkers of our time, and he was a very popular speaker at E-Dayz!  A little birdie told me (thanks John!) that Professor Westwell will be speaking on  Creating Capacity: New Approaches to Evaluation in Education‘ on Tuesday 4th May (4.45 – 6:30pm) at the Education Development Centre, Milner Street, Hindmarsh.  This is a FREE event.  If you can’t make it there, the session will also be live online using Centra.  You can download your invitation and all info here.

MarleneOK, is that enough to keep you going for April?  Some of you will be having a wonderful break over the next couple of weeks…lucky you!  I’ll still be here though and I’m sure I’m not the only one who will be back at work after Easter.  I hope you all have a relaxing Easter break though.  Enjoy!