April 2008 elearningWatch

I thought about putting all this lot in backwards because of the date, but as you are all forward thinking I didn’t think I’d fool you, so I thought I’d leave it as it is.
Anyway this is not a fools errand and this months posting looks at some ‘free’ statistical tools, online educational resources, some useful stuff on must have Web tools, a couple of sites for elearning and Information and communication technologies in business and vocational education.
There’s an educational wiki, an interesting report on migrating to a new learning management system, the latest Horizon report, a survey on elearning trends in USA, a site with a wealth of health science images plus one that plots world changes and of course the odd one(s) out.
As an aside I came across a report which indicated that exporting content from Moodle to another repository was not an easy matter at this point in time. Would this be of concern if you suddenly decided to migrate your content to possibly an even better LMS in the future?
May will be here before we know what’s happened so until then, peruse the following links at your leisure.
1. The Impoverished Social Scientist’s Guide to Free Statistical Software and Resources.
I’m not really that good at playing with numbers, but this site has a fascinating list of all sorts of ‘ free’ software for those of you that are.


2. enAble: This site is like many of the projects undertaken by the flexible learning people in Australia, very well done. It’s nicely designed and navigation is easy.
If you a re involved in elearning you should find the wealth of resource here very useful, even if you are not involved with business development. That’s who it’s designed for, but the way it is created the information can just as easily be applied to most disciplines.
Extract from the site:
” enAble is an interactive 4-step model which will enable small to medium sized businesses implement e-learning within their business. This model includes interactive questionnaires, valuable information and additional resources that you can download and modify to suit your purposes”.


This resource is one of many produced by Jane Hart. Its an interesting compilation of ‘free’ tools’ , many of which you are probably aware of. It’s a resource that’s being constantly updated. Well worth exploring and getting to grips with some of these useful tools. One of the nice things about the site is that it provides you with some simple tasks so you can get an idea of what each tool does.
I particularly like the concept behind iGoogle and there are indications that there is an upsurge in the use of this tool by students to combine their interests, mail, homework, studies, information sharing etc
Extract from the site:
“25 Tools
These are the 25 current must-have free tools. Clicking on a link brings up a tool activity. Each activity comprises a number of tasks to help you find out more about the technology behind each tool, the tool itself and why it is so popular, how to try out the tool and reflect on its use for your own teaching and learning and for productivity and performance support. Many of the tool activities are inter-related, so you will also be using other tools for different tasks”.


4. EduTech Wiki : Like a lot of Wikis, this will always be a work in progress. It does have some very interesting articles and information and is worth spending a little time wandering around and maybe adding some stuff yourself.
EduTech Wiki is about Educational Technology (instructional technology) and related fields and was built at TECFA – an educational technology research and teaching unit at University of Geneva”.


5. ICT Hub: When I first looked at this site I thought it was mainly of use to not for profit organisations. However on diving deeper into the site, I think there is a lot of very useful information for anyone involved in developing ICT skills and knowledge. There are some very good articles here with lots of tips and guides for Macintosh and Windows users. Worth perusing.
Extract from the site:
“The ICT Hub is a consortium of voluntary sector organisations who have come together to plan and deliver a co-ordinated framework of ICT guidance, good practice, advice and support for voluntary and community organisations, accessible at a local leve”l.


6. An Outsourced Open Source LMS and a Pot of Gold?. This is an interesting presentation in Educause Connect. It provides an overview of the journey of a university changing from one learning management system to another with some very interesting results.
The Abstract:
“Like many WebCT campuses, SUNY Delhi must select a new LMS and complete migrating to the new system in the next year. The total cost of ownership comparison led us to adopt a remotely hosted open source solution. We’ll examine the facts, figures, and progress of moving from WebCT to Moodle and integrating with Banner”.


7. 2007 Distance Education Survey Results:Tracking the Impact of e-Learning at Community Colleges.
Although this is based on data from community colleges in USA and Canada, it is likely it reflects trends worldwide. So if you are interested in the current trends with regard to the use of learning management systems and other online activities read the report. [This is a pdf download]
It would seem that Moodle and Angel are the big winners in LMS adoption with Blackboard use indicating a downward trend, and will this trend continue??


8. This could be a useful site for those of you involved in health science teaching and learning. There are numerous links to sites on the Web where you can find some excellent images, animations, atlases, videos and a number of downloads. Have a heart and click on cardiovascular for starters. Yale Cardiothoracic imaging is particularly comprehensive and very useful.


Yale (in case you have tachycardia)


9. The 2008 Horizon report on emerging technologies is now available. It focuses on at least six emerging technologies that will have an impact on higher education during the next five years. Some of those covered in this report include Grassroots Video,Collaboration Webs, Mobile Broadband, Data Mashups, Collective Intelligence and Social Operating Systems.[this is a pdf download]


10. Gapminder World
Now this is something else . A fascinating display of data in timeline form which explores various parameters of the changing world. Select a country and evaluate the stats. Look at the CHART as well as the MAP and activate the drop down menus on the bottom left of the screen and the world map at top left. All very educational and a useful educational resource.
Extract from the site
“This website, powered by Trendalyzer, enables you to explore the changing world from your own computer. Moving graphics show how the development of all countries by the indicators you choose”.
Trendalyzer was obtained by Google in 2007 so the guys there are doing a good job keeping the system going.
Go to and click on “Click here to go to the graph”


Visit the main site as well if you have time, there’s even more fascinating stuff to explore and learn.


11. Conferences
11.1 ALT-C 2008: Rethinking the digital divide
9-11 September 2008, Leeds, UK
Keynote speakers:
* David Cavallo, Chief Learning Architect for One Laptop per Child, and
Head of the Future of Learning Research Group at MIT Media Lab;
* Dr Itiel Dror, Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Neuroscience at the
University of Southampton;
* Hans Rosling, Professor of International Health, Karolinska Institute,
Sweden, and Director of the Gapminder Foundation.
Key dates:
Presenters’ registration deadline: 6 June 2008
Early bird registration deadline: 30 June 2008
Registrations close: 15 August 2008
For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities got to:


or contact Hayley Willis, Events Administrator:


ALT-C 2008: Rethinking the digital divide
9-11 September 2008, Leeds, England


11.2 Elliot Masie’s invitation to be part of Learning 2008


11.3 ASCILITE 2008: The ascilite 2008 conference theme is: Hello! Where are you in the landscape of educational technology?


Nov 30 – Dec 3
Deakin University
Burwood Campus
221 Burwood Highway
Burwood Victoria 3125
Call for Papers:
You are invited to develop proposals for full papers, concise papers, posters and workshops for ascilite 2008. The submission deadlines for all papers and proposals can be found at this link:


12. Odd one out: Breathing earth
Breathing Earth is an intriguing visual representation of the effect each country has on climate change. You move the cursor to a nation on a world map, and then see the number of CO2 emissions that country makes each minute. It also shows total population, and the birth and death rate of each country. In some ways it’s similar to Gapminder. Don’t hold your breath!


for those of you who can take a breath or two try these out and see how the breathing goes


May, we meet again for more Websites to explore.
Richard Elliott
New Zealand

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