March 2009 eLearningWatch

Hi everyone
well here we are in March and things are hotting up for the year ahead. ALT-C has attracted a crowd already and ASCILITE 2009 is moving along nicely. I won’t mention the hot weather in Auckland as I noticed the temperature in UK is still hovering around the 5 degree mark, lovely! So still more time to stay in doors and explore the sites to be seen for this month.
There’s an excellent site called ‘Dirt’ which focuses on digital tools for research (Thanks to Tony Bates for pointing this one out), there’s an interesting’ educational’ site called nibipedia, one on teaching with technology, a little older than some but still with some useful resources, everything you want to know abut the Brain, a Flickr commons photostream, an interesting pdf search engine, Google visualisation tools, Vocational education guidelines for e-learning plus a research report, JiscInfonet Blog, Trackstar lesson planner, conferences and the odd one out
1. Digital Research Tools (DiRT)
This site has not only a wealth of information on a huge range of topics, but there’s lots of it under each topic, and it’s growing. There has to be something here for you in fact probably lots of resources you can use for your research and work activities.
Extract from the site
“This wiki collects information about tools and resources that can help scholars (particularly in the humanities and social sciences) conduct research more efficiently or creatively. Whether you need software to help you manage citations, author a multimedia work, or analyze texts, Digital Research Tools will help you find what you’re looking for. We provide a directory of tools organized by research activity, as well as reviews of select tools in which we not only describe the tool’s features, but also explore how it might be employed most effectively by researchers”.

2. Nibipedia. worth exploring to see what potential it may have for your educational endeavours.
Extract from the site:
‘We developed to show an example of how Nibi software can be used in education’

3. UMUC-Verizon Virtual Resource Site for Teaching with Technology. Not the latest and the greatest but theer are some things here that you might find useful

4.Brain Facts. Everything you ever wanted to know about the brain. A Free downloadable book. There’s also lots of other information on the site, all related to neuroscience and some of it quite fascinating

5. The Commons:Your opportunity to contribute to describing the world’s public photo collections. An amazing collaborative project on Flickr. One could spend hours looking at the thousands of photographs and trying to imagine the history associated with them> NZ National Library has a commons photostream

6. A pdf search engine. This is a useful tool. I managed to retrieve quite a number of useful pdfs each time I put in a particular area to search. You can view the pdf you choose online by clicking the magnifying glass to the left of the title; nice little feature. Interesting to note it also works on the iPhone.

7. Google Visualization API Gallery: This one is really for the programmers amongst you, but I think it is useful to others to see what is possible. It’s an interesting site which provides demonstration and examples of visualisation tools and what they can do. There may be something here you could use in your teaching and be able to get someone to make it work for you.

8. Industry Integration of E-learning: Just released from the Australian Flexible Learning Framework a very useful and informative guide which is well worth reading. It’s entitled
Guidelines for supporting learners using e-learning in workplaces

You might also like to read the latest research on how elearning is being used to support National training initiatives in Australia. Some useful stuff here for those involved in Vocational education and training. There are three very interesting case studies within the document which are worth exploring/reading.
How organisations are using e-learning to support national training initiatives: Final report

9. Spotlight: JISCInfonet as always, innovative and up with the play, have launched their own blog to keep people informed of what they are up to. Nice little cameo about ‘Twitter’ is the latest posting when I looked

10. Trackstar 4 Teachers. This is an interesting concept. Created in USA and obviously has a bias to things American. Worthhaving a look at some of the tracks and their structure/content ( click on the’ see all top tracks link). Might give you some ideas. Seems as if it caters mainly for the K-12, but the concept could easily be applied to any level of education. This extract from the site explains all:
‘TrackStar is your starting point for online lessons and activities. Simply collect Web sites, enter them into TrackStar, add annotations for your students, and you have an interactive, online lesson called a Track. Create your own Track or use one of the hundreds of thousands already made by other educators. Search the database by subject, grade, or theme and standard for a quick and easy activity. There is a fun Track already made for each day of the year, too!’.

11.1 ALT-C 2009: ‘In dreams begins responsibility’ choice, evidence, and change.
8-10 September 2009, Manchester, UK.

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.
Beginning to build into a once in a lifetime event. Make sure you are planning to come.
12. Odd one out. Looks a bit busy on first site. however there are lots of fascinating and interesting tips, guides and instructions for all sorts of things which you are bound to be doing in your spare time or you wished you had known about.

An alternative is
5minute Life Videopedia

That’s it until April finds you fooling around again!
Richard Elliott
The Eternal Macademic

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