May 2009 eLearningWatch

Why is it that as one gets older the years go faster? May is upon us already! So much going on……
The paper review process for ALT-C is nearing completion and the call for papers for ASCILITE has just been released.
I attended and co-presented at a industry forum in Wellington where Vocational Education and Training was on the agenda. Well attended with some useful presentations, but sadly no real focus on exploiting elearning for creating new and more flexible learning experiences for the trainees. Good things take time!
At a meeting at Wintec in Hamilton, Dr Stephen Marshall provided an excellent in depth overview of the eMM (elearning maturity model),
and separately the use of cell phones in teaching plus writing apps for iPhones. All very interesting and the first time I have seen real evidence of a presenter asking students to ‘please turn on your cellphones’ in a 300 seat lecture theatre!
In this posting, I’ve included a link to the Australian flexible learning toolbox site and research reports which continues to grow and includes some excellent resources. Also included are links to a couple of blogs on elearning and emerging technologies, how to convert PDF to word, free big book of iTunes. image editors to try, the Google literacy project, etools and tips. a learning technologies handbook , the Flip videocam, a radically different search engine about to be launched, mobile phones in the classroom, conferences and the odd one(s) out.
June signals the approach of the winter Solstice, but more importantly an excuse to have a mid winter christmas party. At least on this side of the globe we know how to party! Until then.
1. The Altimeter by Charlene Li: A presentation: Future Of Social Networks presentation from SXSW.
Charlene is a thought leader on social and emerging technologies and co-author of “Groundswell”

This is an interesting slide show and commentary with some useful insights. Some of the trackback comments also make for interesting reading. There are several other posts on the site that are worth perusing.

2. Netvibes: Social networking takes another stride along the cyberhighway.
‘Netvibes is a free web service that brings together your favorite media sources and online services.
Everything that matters to you, blogs, news, weather, videos, photos, social networks, emails and much more, is automatically updated every time you visit your Page’.

3. Australian flexible learning Framework: etools n tips: How to sessions. This site provides access to all the resources produced from a number of workshops on various etools such as blogs and wikis. there is some useful stuff here. Worth meandering through the resources to discover a gem

4. The Rapid E-Learning Blog:50 Practical Tips & Tricks to Build Better E-Learning
Extract from the site:
‘The Rapid E-Learning Blog shares practical tips and tricks to help you become a rapid elearning pro.
It is hosted by Tom Kuhlmann who has over 15 years of hands on experience in the training industry and currently runs the community at Articulate’.
Have a look at the Articulate products. Some people think they are great.

5. PDf to Word. For those of you who want to convert PDF documents to word documents , this provides an analysis of some of the tools that are available and how well they work.

6. The Big Book of iTunes from the ‘MakeUse Of’ Website: This is a free pdf download providing you with 60 pages of tips, links and information on how to use iTunes effectively.
From the book:
‘This manual was created with the intention of introducing iTunes to beginners and to provide basic information and instructions to perform various tasks when using iTunes on both Mac and Windows. This manual will begin with the very basics, introducing iTunes and organizing music. Then it will move on to more advanced topics like integrating and using Applescripts’.
If you use ITunes at all this is well worth the download. There may be other downloads on the site which will also interest you. Have a wander around.

7. Flip Video. Almost unheard of for me to extol the virtues of a particular product. The Apple iPhone has been the only one in recent years and that is proving to be an exceptional tool for learning (amongst other things).
Now along comes the Flip video camera, a very cheap, small and easy to use video camera with a lot of potential for recording interviews, activities, workshops etc and transferring them to your computer and ultimately the Web.
It’s been around since late last year but you may not have heard of it. I note that CISCO has just purchased the company that launched them, so expect some enhancements to the range ? I’ve seen it in use and think it could be a very good affordable tool to have in the learning environment.

Have a look at the following site for tips on how to use the Flipcam effectively

8. Australian Flexible Learning Framework: Benchmarking and Research Publications.
The latest report has just been released:The Impact of E-learning on Employability Skills Development: Final Report, 2 March 2009.
Worth reading if you are involved with VET or any other initiative aimed at improving the skills of your students. Lots of other reports on the site

9.Sumopaint: Online image editor . Relatively new and somewhat different to some of the others. Have a look and judge for yourself.

Splashup: Another image editor with similar functionality

10. The literacy project: A Google initiative.
If you have anything to do with literacy education,training , this project provides some good information and resources and will definitely keep growing.
Extract from the site:
‘A resource for teachers, literacy organizations and anyone interested in reading and education, created in collaboration with LitCam, Google, and UNESCO’s Institute for Lifelong Learning’.

11. Handbook of Emerging technologies for learning.
Online resources with links to a wide range of material and useful information and guides to keep you up to date with an ever changing technological worls.

12. Imminent launch of a very different search engine. Bookmark and wait in eager anticipation.

13. Mobile Phones in the Classroom: Putting ubiquitous technologies to good use?

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

The ‘Number 1′ conference to be at in the 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)]

14.2 ASCILITE 2009: ‘Same Places, Different Spaces’ AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND: DECEMBER 6- 9th.
Check the critical dates posted on the Website. The paper submission system should be online by the end of June and registration will open in August.

15. Odd one(s) out.
This month I have focused on some of the resources on the BBC site. There’s a wealth of stuff here for all sorts of activities for young and old. See how much you know or how good you are at completing some of the crosswords. While away a few hours with the kids and your students.
Improve your English and maths with Skillswise
Factsheets, worksheets, quizzes and games to help improve your skills.

Skills for everyday life

That’s it until June is upon us
Richard Elllott
The Eternal Macademic
New Zealand

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