elearningWatch December 2012

2012 has been an interesting year with education on all fronts being challenged to use the new and emerging technologies to actually make a difference to student learning and the environment in which they learn. It’s not all about the students. Educators need support and encouragement to be innovative and connected with the students needs through positive professional development time and experiences plus the opportunity to network on and offline with like minded colleagues. Conferences like ALT-C and ascilite provide excellent forums for debate, inspiration and networking. Unfortunately,(in my experience anyway), back at the coal face many of the bean counters and bureaucrats demand more for less especially if the see the words ‘open source’! At the ascilite 2012 conference ‘debate’ one of the panel said ‘..some are more interested in learning incomes than learning outcomes’ Well said! The ascilite conference had interesting keynotes and invited speakers and the presentations I went to were of a high standard. It was good to have the opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues and milk the network in the process. MOOC’s, the Cloud,learning analytics and mobile learning were top of the list for discussion. Dale Stephens did rock the boat very nicely with his views on educational institutions and wether they were really necessary. The effervescent Grainne Conole was an invited speaker, ran a full day workshop and also launched her new book ‘Designing for learning in an Open World’. You can view the chapters or buy the book
All in all a very well organised and successful conference .Mark Brown and the organising committee are to be congratulated for a job well done.
This the last Watch for the year. It will return in February 2013, In the meantime I trust you will enjoy the festive season and have some time for rest and relaxation and the odd enological experience, if you are so inclined maybe more than one).
In this month’s Watch there are links to
Quality assurance in elearning, 21st century learning,edtech and Mobile learning,blended learning, Plagarism, open source resources, action planning, ipad evaluation, you and your identity, conferences and the odd one out.
Happy Holidays
1. Quality Assurance in e-learning: New version of a free manual. You just need to ‘tweet’ to download the full manual although you can download individual chapters. Very useful manual with plenty of material for you to assess the quality of elearning.


2. Inquire. ‘A Guide to 21st Century learning’ Samplers.
‘Inquire is a complete learning guide, covering 21st century skills, traditional study skills, the inquiry process, and project-based instruction’.
You can’t miss out on these. The ‘samplers'(there are two of them) are full of very useful tips, advice and guides for teachers and students. Nicely constructed and presented. Plenty to give your neurons a real shake up. You can buy the entire book
Student handbook


Teachers guide.


3.Infographics from Education technology and Mobile learning.
The main reason I came here was to look at the infographic on an explanation about MOOC’s. There are are lot of useful IG’s on this site part from MOOC’s.


Have a look at the range of teachers guides while you are there. The guide to the use of Facebook is both topical and well written


4.Blended learning portal
Extract from the site:
‘Blended learning support portal is created for getting acquainted and encouraging teachers, VET trainers and other educational professionals to use blended learning concepts in their work’.
This is an European initiative and the ‘Blended Learning 4 all’ guide provides some interesting and useful advice on challenges and advantages of blended learning.
‘The Guide begins with an overview of Blended Learning including the advantages and challenges of implementing Blended Learning pro- grammes. It looks at the issues of content and media development and examines different technologies’.


The main site is


5. Recognizing and Avoiding Plagiarism from Cornell University.
Whilst this guide is aimed at Cornell students, it is applicable to any student or educator creating material for public consumption. Logical and nicely put together.


6. Learning to Teach Online (LTTO) has been around for more than a year and its use is increasing. The award winning project leaders gave a presentation at the recent ascilite conference so I thought it worth a revisit. Excellent resource and resources available.


7. Action Plan teaching Strategies
Extract from the site:
‘The suggestions described below may be helpful in addressing your students’ learning if student ratings reflect the following types of concerns:
The course was not challenging for the students.
The students indicated that they did not learn much in the course.
The students did not develop an understanding of major course concepts.
The students’ critical thinking skills were not further developed.
Time spent in class was not worthwhile to the students.
The students’ interest in the subject area was not enhanced’.
Some useful comments and advice.


8. iPad Scotland Evaluation Study.
Recently released and worth reading if you are interested in the use of iPads(or tablets for that matter) in learning environments.
A couple of little snippets:
‘Use of tablet devices such as the iPad was found to facilitate the achievement of many of the core elements required within the Curriculum for Excellence framework and could be further developed in order to achieve these aspirations’.
‘The majority of parents are now aware that mobile devices have considerable potential to support their child’s learning both inside and outside of school. There is no doubt that parent’s participation is another crucial factor for success’.


9.Open source resources
Open Source Textbooks. Where are they, how do you access and use.


Interactive simulations. A large number of learning and teaching simulations for science subjects such as Physics and Chemistry.


10. You Are Not Your Name and Photo: A Call to Re-Imagine Identity. An interesting article in Wired year ago. Has anything changed?


11. Conferences
11.1 altc2013 Building new cultures of learning
The 20th annual conference of the Association for Learning Technology will be held at the University of Nottingham, 10-12 September 2013.
More information is at:


11.2 ascilite 2013. Macquarie University, Sydney , Australia
1 to 4 December


11.3 International Council for Educational Media.’ we-learning, content community and Collaboration’. Singapore
for information.


12. The odd one out: Christmas games for all the kids, big and small


Once you have exhausted yourself and walked the plank, let the kids have a go at landing Santa’s sleigh on a roof or two.


Hope the New Year is good for you. CU in February
Richard Elliott
The Eternal Macademic
New Zealand

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