Hi everyone
2011 is on the horizon and on this side of the globe, education will begin to wind down for the Christmas /New Year break, but there’s still time to think of what changes to learning and teaching are going to occur in the future.
I was reading some stuff on ‘classrooms of tomorrow’ and then an article on ‘future classrooms’. In conjunction with the reading I noted that the ‘Learning Perspectives’ e-book (see below) has a number of authors talking about changing the nature of classrooms.
I couldn’t help but think about the word ‘classroom’ and how it tends to govern the thinking about where learning occurs. What I mean is, I have always looked upon learning as something that can occur anywhere in any environment at any time. So I have always thought in terms of a learning environment as a flexible entity which can provide for the individual needs of the learner.
If one talks in terms of classrooms then classrooms will inevitably influence the thinking on the nature of the student learning environment.
The environment could of course be a ‘classroom’, but that term instantly conjures up a vision of four walls, a teacher and control. In this context I often think about a pertinent statement made some years ago in a book on Science. Here I quote;
“All control should not be in the hands of the teacher, because the students would not see learning as an act for which they are responsible and would become indifferent to the information given to them; but too much control cannot be given to students because they do not know enough about what they do not know to choose the best direction to follow” [White, R. (1988). Learning Science, pub:Blackwell.]
It’s simple. It’s all about balance in an environment that encourages and supports learning.
A similar thought I have is in regard to use of the term ‘instructional design’ versus ‘learning design’. The thought processes involved with each approach have the potential to be diametrically opposed. Learning is what it’s all about so why not start the conversation or discussion with learning as the focus? Instruction smacks of direction and control.
In any case whatever you do to alter direction and approaches to elearning in your institution you should consider employing a change management process to involve all concerned. If this fails, then change management:-)
Enough of the ramble and rant . Plenty of other stuff to occupy you in this months posting.
This posting includes llnks to a ‘similar’ search engine, learning perspectives, eportfolio roadmap, learning design tool, cellsalive,, technology summit reports, video converter, some views on iPad and iPod in education, hypecycle, conferences and the odd one out.
December is not far away
1. Looking for something similar
Google often includes a link to ‘similar’ items or articles from a main link from the original search. This search engine is designed to directly identify similar items or articles to your search term. An alternative way of searching which seems to work well.


2. “Learning Perspectives: 2010”.Contributions by 40 Global Learning Leaders
Edited By: Nigel Paine & Elliott Masie and Published by: The MASIE Center & The Learning CONSORTIUM
This is a free Open Source Print & e-Book: CreativeCommons License.
There are lots of pages to investigate and some interesting views and opinions to contemplate. I skim read a lot of the contributions. All have something useful to say.
If you don’t have a lot of time, read, ‘What Problem are We Really Trying to Solve?’ (p15) by Julie Clow from Google.
Learning Perspectives: 2010″ can be downloaded for free at


3.The VET E-portfolio Roadmap: A strategic roadmap for e-portfolios to support
lifelong learning.
This publication was produced by the Australian Flexible Learning Framework, to aid the creation and use of e-portfolios for students and their supervisors in vocational education and training. It provides some very comprehensive and useful information and guides about e-portfolios and how they can be used to support the student throughout his/her career. Currently a survey is being undertaken for VET E-portfolios Storage of Learner Content Guidelines. Results will be published in 2011.


4. AVS video converter
A free open source application for converting a wide range of video formats into DVD for playback on different devices.


5.Box of tricks. Technology and Education.
This site has a wealth of resources and examples of their use in the classroom and elsewhere. Some of the comments are worth reading and following links to particular resources. There’s a lot to wander through (as well as the odd ad).


6. Blog: Developing Education:Using leadership, professional learning and mobile devices to inspire deeper learning
iPad or iPod: Which Should Rule the Classroom?
An interesting article with some useful insights and comments on the use of the iPad and iPod in education.


7. Cellsalive.
This site has been around for quite a while and if you haven’t seen it, it is well worth perusing. Some excellent resources, animations, quizzes, puzzles and the like, for your students which are continually updated.
Extract from the site:
‘CELLS alive! represents 30 years of capturing film and computer-enhanced images of living cells and organisms for education and medical research’.


8.Learning Design Tool from the Australian Flexible Learning Framework.
Extract from the site:
‘ The Learning Design Tool is a FREE online resource which guides you step-by-step through the stages to write high quality, learner-focused course content, and to create your own learning design template.’
This is an excellent resource and well worth exploring and using even, if you are just interested in the concept of learning design.


9. NMC Convenes Strategic Technology Summits in Australia, New Zealand.
Mainly for educators on this side of the world but might be of interest to our friends elsewhere. The summits were organised by the New Media Consortium (NMC) with input from a variety of educational organisations and related bodies at both the Australian and New Zealand events.
The purposes of the two summits were similar, to create an action plan to advance a better understanding of the place for ICTs in Australian and New Zealand higher education and society at large, and to clarify the urgency with which national, state level, and sector focused initiatives should be moving forward.
The occasion for the discussions was the imminent publication of the NMC’s 2010 Australia New Zealand Edition of the Horizon Report, the third in the annual series.
Read the outcomes to get an idea of the direction the ‘experts’ think we should be going. I and a number of colleagues certainly support the intent of the second point in the NZ report:
‘We should champion Creative Commons licensing for educational resources’
The reports from each summit are available as PDF downloads.


10. Gartner’s 2010 Hype Cycle Special Report Evaluates Maturity of 1,800 Technologies.
Just a fascinating read whether you agree or not. Someone put a lot of work into the diagram!


Conferences and the like
11.1 ascilite 2010 ‘Curriculum, technology & transformation for an unknown future’. is the 27th annual ascilite Conference. The conference will be held in Sydney, New South Wales Australia. It is being jointly hosted by The University of Technology Sydney, The University of Queensland and Charles Sturt University.
Workshops have now been posted on the site
Full Details from:


11.2 JISC Online Conference Innovating e-Learning 2010
Bringing Innovation to Life: from adversity comes opportunity
The fifth JISC international online conference
23-26 November 2010
Full details from:


11.3 ALTC 2011, 6 to 8 September 2011 in Leeds. ‘Thriving in colder and more challenging climate’
Keynote speakers will include:
* Miguel Brechner, President of the Uruguayan Centre for Technological and Social Inclusion (CITS), and head of Plan Ceibal, Uruguay’s One Laptop Per Child (and Teacher) project, under which all children and teachers in public schools in Uruguay have received their own laptop and connectivity to the Internet.
* John Naughton, Professor of the Public Understanding of Technology at the Open University, a Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, the Observer’s technology columnist and co-founder of the technology start-up Cambridge Visual Networks.
Conference co-chairs:
* John Cook, Professor of Technology Enhanced Learning at the Learning Technology Research Institute, London Metropolitan University.
* Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University.
Full details at:


web-resolution a4 flyer at:


12. Odd one out: Mapping worlds
A fascinating site which provides a world map which will change in accordance with the dataset you select. Try ‘Pigs’ under the ‘Planet’ tab, for starters. Very interesting and educational. The more you explore the more you learn.
Extract from the site:
‘SELECT a subject from the top menu and watch the countries on the map change their size. Instead of land mass, the size of each country will represent the data for that subject –both its share of the total and absolute value’.


That’s it until December
Richard Elliott
The Eternal Macademic
New Zealand

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