February 2009 e-Watch

and a belated Happy New Year!. I guess most of you will have been hard at work for a while, except for the lucky few still sunning themselves on the Auckland beaches (only 26 degrees C on the 25th January).
Already there is increasing activity on the conference front and both ALT-C 2009 and ASCILITE 2009 are gearing up to provide you with excellent opportunities to network and discover what’s new and what’s hot in the world of elearning and tertiary education.
As I am Convenor of ASCILITE 2009 I will now put in the commercial break:
ASCILITE 2009 is in AUCKLAND New Zealand from 6- 9 th December. Put the date in your diary and start planning to attend. Don’t miss it!
This month has the usual range of Websites for you to explore, including the latest Horizon report, some useful elearning indicators for vocational education, a software analyser tool, some online image editors, professional development guides, accessibility check, videoconferencing tools, trends in education, blogs and a different type of search engine plus conferences and the odd one out.
March is not that far away.
1. E-learning indicator reports for 2008 from the flexible learning site in Australia.
For those of you involved in the vocational education and training sector there are several reports here that are worth reading. The elearning benchmarking survey being one:


2. E-learning software analyser tool. Produced essentially for use with materials produced by flexible learning in Australia, it’s a useful tool which could be adapted areas other than the VET sector.
Extract from the site:
‘This tool has been developed to assist you in identifying applications, plug-ins and settings on your computer so that you may successfuly use e-learning content developed to meet the VET e-learning content standards, such as Toolboxes.
Click on the link and see what it has to say about your computer.


3. Online image editor, Pixir.
A free simple to use application that enables you to manipulate/fix photos directly in your browser. You will need the Flash plug in to operate


If you are into editing your pictures a lot, try this one as well. It’s also free and very versatile.


4. accessED is a tool that allows you to test your site for conformance to W3C accessibility guidelines.
accessED allows you to:
Test your website and content in one place
Check that your site has passed international accessibility guidelines in minutes.
Currently It has be designed to be used in Firefox v1.0.5.10 or greater.


5. VideoConferencing tools.
The distance-educator blog recently posted information on the Top 5 FREE Video Conferencing Tools to Teach or Conduct Webinars.
Interesting names that get chosen. ‘Yugma’ is a new one for me and certainly looks pretty comprehensive. DimDim also has some powerful features.Explore them all and decide for yourself


6. Coolris a new type of ‘search engine’ that uses image based searching.
‘Provides a lightning fast, cinematic way to discover the Web. It lets you browse thousands of images videos and more with lightning speed’


7. The Horizon report.
Each year, the Horizon Report describes six areas of emerging technology that will have significant impact on higher education within three adoption horizons over the next one to five years.
The six selected areas for 2009 are : mobile devices, cloud computing, geo-everything, the personal web, semantic-aware applications, and smart objects.
The New Media Consortium (NMC) and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) jointly released the 2009 Horizon Report. It is available for download from


You might like to have a look at another publication in which NMC had a hand
‘The future of higher education:How technology will shape learning
A report from the Economist Intelligence Unit Sponsored by the New Media Consortium’.


8. ICTPD Online professional development
The use of Information and Communication Technologies(ICT) at all levels of education have always been a subject for debate. How to implement them effectively and what support is required for both the teacher and learner are the subject of many discussions and maybe the odd argument.
You might find this free guide, The ICT integration Guidebook a useful addition to your debates and discussions and maybe your planning.


This is also an interesting publication on professional development:
Professional Development Criteria: A Study Guide for Effective Professional Development


9.Blogs. I like to revisit the Australian Flexible learning Framework from time to time as there is such a wealth of useful information embedded in the Website.
The ‘Designing and implementing e-learning’ pages are a good example. Peruse and read all about blogs and why they can be a flexible tool in teaching and learning.


10. Trends Shaping Education 2008 Edition. Produced by the OECD. An extract from the ‘book’:
‘This book is designed to support long-term strategic thinking in education. It provides an overview of trends in the context of education and raises pertinent questions about their impact on education. It gives as far as possible, robust international evidence of the trends’

If you don’t want to read it all , this blog sumarises the findings


11.1 ALT-C 2009: ‘In dreams begins responsibility’ choice, evidence, and change.
The call for papers and abstracts for ALT-C 2009: ‘In dreams begins responsibility’ choice, evidence, and change is open.
8-10 September 2009, Manchester, UK.
Submission guidelines for Research Papers and Abstracts are available from:


Proposals can be submitted via:


Proposal deadline: 12.00 midnight, 16 February 2009
Bookings open: May 2009
Presenters’ registration deadline: 29 June 2009
Earlybird registration deadline: 6 July 2009
Bookings close: 14 August 2009
[Taken from the ALT Digest, a fortnightly publication from the Association for
Learning Technology (ALT)


11.2 ASCILITE 2009: “Same Places, Different Spaces” AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND: DECEMBER 6- 9th.


12. Odd one out
This is a ‘fun’ site which provides some fascinating historical photos and information from around the world. Who knows there might be an ancient picture of where you were born and bred.


Richard Elliott
The Eternal Macademic
New Zealand

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