April 2011eLearningWatch

No fooling around today. However, I did hear someone bark the other day that ‘nobody is perfect’. Quite a common expression really, steeped in evidence based practice I believe. I just wish I was nobody (some probably think I am, so thanks to the perceptive amongst you).
Now the trivia is finished, it’s onto the real stuff, (overshadowed sadly of course by the recent tragic world events of earthquakes and Tsunami. Let’s hope that recovery and some degree of normality returns quickly to the stricken places and people).
Locating useful learning and teaching resources on the Web ought to be easy. It all depends on who thinks what is useful and why. The nature, variety, level and quality of resources varies immensely as does the degree of accessibility. There is however an increasing number of ‘free’ resources across many disciplines. This is to be applauded. Knowledge sharing in education should be an open source bottle, with refills ad infinitum. Some of the links this month reflect the generosity of people and institutions in making their materials available for the common good and for ultimately the benefit of student learning.
I will watch with real interest the rise and rise of the iPad in education. Apparently, iPad 2 sold more units in a weekend than iPad1 sold in a month. I wonder how many are already making an impact on student learning?
This posting has stuff on facilitating learning, iPads in education, teaching tools, an encyclopedia, worksheets, digital content, a new infoKit, an online social teaching and learning platform,instructional resources, a VET publication, conferences and the odd one out.
If you are passionate about teaching and learning excellence supported by elearning technologies, don’t forget to go to the only event in NZ that won’t disappoint you ,the NZ Share-E-fest!
MAY, CU again.
1. Charles Darwin University: Facilitating Learning
Although this site is not particularly focused on elearning, the concepts and principles discussed are highly relevant and in most cases transferable to the online dimension.


2. The Digital Content Guide for Educators


3 Ipads in Education. An interesting online discussion group sharing thoughts and activities on the use of the iPad in education. Join up and contribute. There’s bound to be a few ideas you can use in your own teaching.


4. Business Intelligence kit from the JISC InfoNet stable.
Once again a vey useful set of ‘tools’ have been incorporated in a practical infoKit for organisations to examine and analyze their business processes. infoNet describes a Business intelligence system as
‘A system that compiles and presents key internal and external information in a concise, pictorial format, to support decision-making, planning and strategic thinking. It provides easy interactive access to reliable, current, good quality interdepartmental information, when needed. It allows senior management to be confident in the integrity and completeness of the information as they move between an overview and a detailed view. Advanced BI systems provide reliable, comprehensive information to all interested parties and include flexible user-defined views for senior managers and planning staff, and fixed views for public access and other users’.
Effective and efficient communication in its various guises underpins the usefulness of the system.
Although it has a strong UK focus, it’s well worth exploring as principles and practices are transferable. Look at the associated strategy infoKit and the survey questions for the BI. All very informative and in some instances deja vu rings some bells.


5. Sophia. A different kind of learning and teaching experience?
Extract from the blog:
‘Sophia, a first-of-its-kind online social teaching and learning platform that offers academic content to anyone, anywhere free of charge is now available in a public beta’.
I had a good look around and tried some of the mathematics problems at various levels There’s over 250 ‘learning packets’ contributed by lots of different people. There’s some nicely constructed learning packets , most of which , going by the ratings are useful resources for learning and reinforcement learning. Have a look and join in.


6. Instructional Resources from the University of Maryland.
Extract from the site:
The following is a collection of annotated links to online resources organized by topics related teaching and learning with an emphasis on online learning and use of instructional technologies.
Lots of links to guides and advice on using a wide range of technologies in etching and learning.


The rubric for online instruction and associated resources could be very useful in designing and operating online courses.


7. Tools for Teaching
This book has been around for a long time. It is available for purchase and the authors are working on a second edition. In the meantime ,several chapters are online and the content provided highlights a sensible and practical approach to teaching. Most of the advice and guidance, tools and tips, can be transferred to the online learning environment., like the section ‘Encouraging Student Participation in Discussion ‘. Worth a peruse even if only to reinforce your own thoughts and approaches to teaching


8.infed: The encyclopaedia of informal education.Exploring informal education, lifelong learning and social action.
There’s a wide range of well written articles and information pieces on all sorts of subjects from the historical to the present’. I did a random wander through the index (not to be encouraged if you can’t put your finger on what you want) and had a look at animation and John Logie Baird, television and lifelong learning. Both very interesting reading.


9. The benefits of vocational education and training. A publication from the European Centre for the development of Vocational Training, based on recent research. If you are interested in VET, this publication is a useful document , providing insights into the importance of VET and the social and economic benefits. Focused on Europe and maybe a bit different from this snide of the world but non the less there are lessons to be learnt form the outcomes of the research.
An extract:
‘Research on the benefits of education has a long history in the economics of education, but the same cannot be said about research on the specific benefits of vocational education and training (VET). Yet policy decisions need to be based on sound evidence if they are to succeed at their goals’.
Download from


10.Worksheetworks. A revisit to this site as it continues to produce an increasing number of very useful resources for worksheets in maths, language and geography at various levels of education. Each worksheet has all the answers as well, just in case you get stuck! As they say ‘millions of combinations are possible’.


Key Conferences
11.1 ascilite 2011, Changing demands, changing
directions will be held at Wrest Point Casino, Hobart, Tasmania Australia,
4-7 December 2011.
ascilite 2011 has three sub-themes:
Equity of experience
Evidence-based practice
For more information about ascilite 2011 visit the website at:


11.2 ALT-C 2011. Thriving in a colder and more challenging climate.
The 18th international conference of the Association for Learning Technology will be held at the University of Leeds, UK, 6-8 September 2011.
Key dates
Presenters’ registration deadline 27 June 2011
Earlybird registration deadline 4 July 2011
Registrations close on 12 August 2011
Full details from:


ALT-C is always worth attending, especially if you want to be really aware of challenges, changes, trends and success stories about technology supported education
11. 3 Inaugural International Conference on eLearning Futures 2011: Unitec Instittute of Technology. Auckland New Zealand
Full details can be found at [no indication of registration fees as yet].


11.4 Follow the Sun: Learning Futures Festival Online 2011
13 to15 April 2011
Three countries, three time zones, a non-stop global conference.


12. NZ happenings
Shar-E-fest 2011 will be held in Hamilton on July 11- 12th. Prof Thom Reeves from the University of Georgia, Altlanta, will be the keynote presenter and workshop facilitator. Many thanks to Ascilite for being a contributing sponsor again this year.
First call for submissions to be made in this month (March),
Second call for submissions in April
Final Call for submissions in June.
This event is focused on innovative and passionate NEW ZEALAND practitioners who care to share their experiences and be part of an active authentic elearning community supporting student learning. Unlike a full conference, there is plenty of time to get to know your colleagues and make new friends and contacts.Last year was an unqualified success. Mark the dates in your diary AND aim to be there
GO to the Website for more information:


12.1 The erudite team at URBANVOYAGE go from strength to strength, developing a range of excellent 3D resources for authentic task oriented, education and training.
Contributing to the development of interactive materials and resources which bring education and training alive is a prime focus. Have a look at what they do and contact Richard for more information He will be at the NZ Shar-E-fest this year.
13.Odd one out: after all of the above you deserve some time wasting relaxation. Can be addictive!


Self directed learning 500BC:
‘Every truth has four corners; as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three’.
Richard Elliott
The Eternal Macademic
New Zealand

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