December 2008 ElearningWatch

well here we are in December, so where has the year gone I can hear you saying? In Auckland we are having a bad spell of ‘whether’, mind you during the past two weeks the weather has been glorious so can’t really complain.
Now is a good time to get down to planning what you are going to do in 2009. Top of the list should be a presentation for ASCILITE 2009, followed by planning for a trip around NZ after the conference. After that you might as well have a look at the range of Web resources in this month’s posting.
There’s an educators reference desk, a meta dictionary, mind mapping resources, online course design, an online rubric, call for papers in mobile learning, digital resource site, podcasting stuff, conferences and the odd one(s) out .
May I wish you all a pleasant and relaxing festive season. The eLWatch will return in February 2009 but don’t forget to visit the ASCILITE 2009 Website in between!
1. The Educators’ reference desk. As it is approaching the festive season you will have plenty of time to sit on the couch and develop resources for the next semester. Where better to start.
Extract from the site:
‘From the Information Institute of Syracuse, the people who created AskERIC, the Gateway to Educational Materials, and the Virtual Reference Desk, the Educator’s Reference Desk brings you the resources you have come to depend on. 2,000+ lesson plans, 3,000+ links to online education information, and 200+ question archive responses’.

2. 99 Mind Mapping Resources, Tools, and Tips. I haven’t come across this site before. The information was published late last year and it certainly contains a wealth of resources. So if you are into Mind Mapping this is right up your street (so to speak)

3.Mobile and Contextual Learning
A special issue of ALT Journal, Research in Learning Technology.
Not too sure that this might be a bit late for action, but at least you can explore and find out
The aim of this special issue of ALT-J is to develop and publish a timely collection of papers representing current research, developments and ideas in mobile and contextual learning. Of particular interest are papers that go beyond descriptions of objects and activities to build links between practice and pedagogy, and offer conceptual, methodological and analytical rigour.
Full details of how to submit can be found at:

Papers should be submitted via the Manuscript Central online submission system at

before 15 January 2009.
4. Podcasts: Create your own podcast for Free using your mobile phone and a toll free number. I haven’t tried it, but I have it on good authority that it really is free and works very well. There’s a lot more to it than reaches the ear. Go explore.

5. teAchnology: The Online Teacher resource.
Extract from the site
‘We provide free and easy to use resources for teachers dedicated to improving the education of today’s generation of students’.
The site has a wide range of resources for use in primary through to University education. Many of the resources are free. There has to be something here for you. The link below takes you to the tools section. It’s worth exploring the rest of the site.

6.Oaister catalogue of digital resources.
Extract from the site:
‘What is OAIster?
OAIster is a union catalog of digital resources. We provide access to these digital resources by “harvesting” their descriptive metadata (records) using OAI-PMH (the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting). The Open Archives Initiative is not the same thing as the Open Access movement’.

You might want to have a look at the following paper which is related to the Oaister project; it makes for interesting reading.
Google Still Not Indexing Hidden Web URLs

7. Onelook Dictionary search. Here is a site that is a meta-dictionary. Enter an English language word or acronym, and OneLook will search in 934 dictionaries.

8. Online Learning Studios: Podcasting Basics. A free introductory course to podcasting. Click on the Podcasting Basic course link.
Extract from the course:
‘Welcome to our introductory course on the basics of educational podcasting, designed for educators wanting to find out more about this exciting topic.
The learning objectives for participants are:
To gain awareness and insight into educational podcasting
To acquire knowledge and understanding about how to create, publish and subscribe to podcasts
To explore ways of using podcasts as a curriculum resource and personalised learning’.

9.Center for Online Learning, Georgia Southern University: Online course design
This is a very comprehensive site with a raft of useful resources and information on the pedagogy and design of online courses. Some is directly related to Georgia Southern University (which one would expect) but most is applicable to any online course design process.

10. A Rubric for Online Instruction has some examples of rubrics that are aimed at assisting the development of high quality online course. You might not agree with all the advice but it should get you thinking.
Extract from the site:
‘This site is designed to answer the question being asked: What does a high quality online course look like? It is ourhope that instructors and instructional designers will use this site to learn more about the Rubric for Online Instruction, and be able to view examples of exemplary courses that instructors have done in implementing the different components of the rubric’.

11. 2008 National e-learning Benchmarking Survey for VET sector in Australia has just been released. This is an annual survey into the use of e-learning in the vocational education and training sector and provides some interesting and useful information on trends, patterns, uptake and progress. Worth looking at how the use of e-learning continues to increase and where the biggest changes are occurring

12. Conferences
12.1 ALT-C: The next conference ALT-C 2009: In dreams begins responsibility:
‘choices, evidence, and change’ will be held in at the University of Manchester.

12.2 ASCILITE 2009: “Same Places, Different Spaces” AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND: DECEMBER 6- 9th.
The website has just be born and will grow rapidly over the next few months. So to check important dates, consider the theme and sub themes and where your presentation will fit and check out the current keynotes go to

13. The odd one(s) out
As you will have a prolonged holiday and plenty of time for the kids, animal, wine , food and reading, there’s a couple to amuse and educate
This site is quite fascinating and is dedicated to ‘American Memory’.

For a taster have a look at

This next site will keep you occupied for hours (and the kids if they have nothing to do but moan about the ‘no batteries included’ in their new digital devices).

Until the New Year dawns, that’s it. Except to wish you a Happy New Year as well of course!
Richard Elliott
The Eternal Macademic
New Zealand

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