elearningwatch December 2010

A few more weeks and a well deserved break from the challenge of change in education, if only for a short while. This is the last elearning watch for the year. It should be back in business in February 2011, so this edition has a few extra links to keep you occupied:-)
There’s been a lot of different reports published in the past few months and I have resisted sending out links as they have appeared, so some of those included here you may have already seen. Please pass them onto others who may not have had the opportunity.
Thanks to all those of you who have provided feedback on the ‘eWatch’ throughout the year and remember if any of you no longer want to receive the digest, just email me and you will be painlessly removed from the email list.
This posting includes a link to a new search engine, an excellent guide to teaching practice, several reports including the NZ and Australia Horizon report, a bumper list of resources for teachers, mobile learning patterns, open learning networks and the like, wikieducator, student centred learning, eportfolio resources and an anatomical atlas to complete the body of links. as well as conferences and some odd ones out.
Ascilite 2010 is in Sydney from the 5th December. I hope some of you will not be missing an important event on the calendar.
May I wish you all the best for the festive season and any enological experience you may have the opportunity to indulge in. Buy NZ to keep us afloat, and besides it produces some of the best in the world.
February is really not that far way. Which is sobering.
1. A new Search Engine: Blekko
I have tried it a few times. Not too sure what it’s advantages are, but it’s always worth trying something different.


2. A guide to Teaching and Learning Practice at Florida State University
This is an excellent document, some 220+ pages, and one that someone has put a lot of work into. Populated throughout with good examples of practice that works and some equally useful guides. Although it’s written for a specific American University, the principles and practices that are described within the document could easily be applied in any educational institution. Well worth perusing
Extract from the intro:
‘It offers strategies used by experienced instructors and presents instructional methods and techniques following four components of Instructional Design: Course Planning, Lesson Delivery, Student Testing and Grading, and Course Revision and Evaluation’
Individual chapters of the whole ‘booklet’ can be downloaded from the site. Please note that this is copyright material and if you find some of it that you can use, you might want to contact FSU to get permission.


3. Mobile Learning – 7 Interesting Patterns. An opinion piece which makes for interesting reading. You may agree with some of the sentiments regarding the changing patterns and directions of elearning.


4. The H O R I Z O N report: 2 0 1 0 A u s tra l i a – N ew Z ea l an d E DI T I O N.
Released on 18th November. Worth reading even if you only read the executive report. For me the statements on p4 are significant:
‘Even where technology for learning is strongly promoted, there remains a clear need for professional development opportunities around emerging technology’
‘Where technology is promoted without an accompanying commitment to
professional development for staff, learning suffers. This challenge continues from year to year, as emerging technologies change by their very nature, while professional development opportunities fail to keep up with the pace’
I’m not sure that it’s the opportunities for PD that are lacking, more the lack of real understanding of many CEO’s and their ilk of the increasingly critical role that technology plays in student learning environments. They need to exercise some leadership and ensure that within their strategic plan, PD for their staff is clearly a priority and is supported by fiscal, physical and human resources. Those who think it can’t be done are usually run over by those who are doing it!


4.a New JISC report: Managing students’ expectations of university.
The full report can be downloaded from the link underneath the title.
The purpose of the report (extract from the site):
‘As part of the JISC-funded Student Expectations of University project, aimed at enhancing applicants’ understanding of university experiences, the 1994 Group have produced this report to illustrate innovative and excellent practice in the areas of: communicating with prospective students; providing information, advice and guidance (IAG) to applicants; and managing student expectations of university’.
A very interesting report and one that should be read by those who are interested in providing useful and accurate information and critical guidance to their prospective students.


5. Student perspectives on technology – demand, perceptions and training needs Report to HEFCE [Higher Education Funding Council for England] by NUS [National Union of Students in UK].
Read the executive summary and then explore areas of particular interest. Nothing really surprising in the report. I did not that in section 6 of the executive summary the following
‘Students are concerned about the ICT competency of lecturers and academic staff
There are varying levels of ICT competence on the part of lecturers and staff and, whilst some are clearly skilled or at least able to function in an IT setting, others lack even the most rudimentary IT skills; 21% of students thought their lecturers needed additional training’.


6. Educause Quarterly: Envisioning the Post-LMS Era: The Open Learning Network, Johnathan Mott.
This is a well written article which poses a few interesting questions and maybe a few challenges. Are OLN’s really the next big thing for education? are they already well established? and will the LMS as we know it, metamorphose?
As always there are some useful references to pursue, depending on your particular bent.


7. Some resources for educating the younger set (K-12)
7.1 Teacher toolbox. A wide range of tools for teaching a variety of subjects for different educational levels and abilities, but mainly for the youngsters. However, some of these can be useful in improving the literacy and numeracy of older students. Have a quick look at e-Learning Today TV. It’s different!


7.2 Compare e-Learning Today TV, with elearningTV. Not sure about this. Even more different, almost a commercial break! Somewhat contrived? Does provide some useful information on applications.


7.3 The intel Showing Evidence tool. A useful application for developing critical thinking skills
‘The Showing Evidence Tool provides a scaffold to support students as they create a claim and then support or refute it with appropriate evidence’.


7.4 Learning Standards from Victoria Australia.
Lots of debate, discussion and arguments in New Zealand about national standards and their place (if any) in the education system. I like to think of the current national standards as essential guidelines not tramlines and maybe there should be more more flexibility in their interpretation and application. This Australian site is quite nicely done and provides some novel and useful material to help understand the scope and intent of the various standards within each discipline (domain). Just meandering through the various domains is a useful exercise and maybe compare with the NZ approach.
Try starting with working through the levels of the information and communication technology assessment map.


7.5 Concept to Classroom: I quite enjoyed the workshop on constructivism. Nicely put together and very informative.
Extract from the site:
‘Concept to Classroom is an online series of FREE, award-winning professional development workshops covering important and timely topics in education. The workshops are intended for teachers, administrators, librarians, or anyone interested in education — and there’s no technical expertise required’.


8. WikiEducator: Some milestones:
Microsoft release of an Open Source Filter for Mediawiki.


and a report on the Learning4Content project.


9. Helping Students Learn in a Learner Centered Environment:Developed for MCC by Professor Terry Doyle Ferris State University
When I first saw this I was a bit skeptical that it would be a standard set of bullet point slides with some useful (and perhaps not so useful) information. Not so. I found the majority of the slides to be both informative and thought provoking. I guess you would need to have been at the actual presentation. However, it’s worth moving through the slides and considering some of the things that Terry has to say. There’s a real ring of truth throughout. A book of the same name has been published by Terry Doyle. Might be worth dishing out a few dollars.
Go to the page below and scroll down to ‘Helping Students Learn in a Learner Centered Environment and download the slides’.


10. Interactive Atlases: Digital Anatomist Project
For those of you who have a medical/ health science bent. Some good animations and resources to help the students out.


11. Curriki: A website for sharing and collaborating on open source and free curricula. Good set of links to various education resources. Start here and then peruse the rest of the very comprehensive site.


12. E-portfolios : Australian Flexible Learning Framework
Useful resources for guiding you through the process of develoing and using e-portfolios.


The roadmap is a good place to start if you don’t have a lot of time.
VET E-portfolio Roadmap [PDF]


Conferences and the like
13.1 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, 5 -8 December.
It is being jointly hosted by The University of Technology Sydney, The University of Queensland and Charles Sturt University.
Workshops are filling fast
Full Details from:


13.2 ALT-C 2011, 6-8 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:


14. The odd one(s) out: Panoramic exploration of London and elsewhere
Touted as being the best panorama of London ever, it’s a fascinating site to explore. Click on the ‘start/stop’ tour button and enjoy the ride, amazing. The resolution is mind blowing. Might have to wait a few seconds for the real closeups to come into focus. I guess it will depend on your broadband speed.
Look for other well known places on the site as well.


and to keep the kids involved:
The Tree of Life Web project
The Tree of Life Web Project (ToL) is a collaborative effort of biologists and nature enthusiasts from around the world. On more than 10,000 World Wide Web pages, the project provides information about biodiversity, the characteristics of different groups of organisms, and their evolutionary history.


Richard Elliott
The Eternal Macademic
New Zealand

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