Thursday, 29 May 2008

online MaSh-Ups


The image above was edited with picnik

Picknik can edit photos and link to flickr a huge database of shared images. You can now geotag images to place them on a map, thus creating a mash up.

As an alternative you could use the new Adobe Express web applicaton to edit images online:

As well as Picnik (above ) Photoexpress links to your Flickr account allowing you to open and edit and re-save back your own Flickr account - which can be shared with the world. Don't forget the flickrCC website that allows you search for images that can be used copyright free for education, etc.

* From Flickr you can embed the image as above or simply link to it :

* Create free logos with website :

* What does the RSC do? > have a look at this PPT on Slideshare >

* What do I mean by mash it up? > example this blog + esnips or this blog + slideshare or this blog + my videos on vimeo

* I have an esnips account for hosting videos and slide shows and a vimeo account for my monthly ebulletins. They offer similar a servies to you tube.

* Then there's my new blog + a mind map , which has a link to the mashup awards, with examples like this

** Finally - the dissemainate part **

We've looked at blogs and wikis as both creators of the written medium, aggregators of other web services, (my videos and slides shows embedded in my blog), but they are valued "platforms" of information delivery, along with flickr or photbucket for sharing images, esnips, vimeo or videojug for sharing videos, gabcast (record by phone) or gcast for creating and sharing podcasts.

Then we have my shared bookmarks (where you can find all of these links ) , and free social networking tools similar to facebook or myspace such as crowdvine, ning, or elgg, all can be hosted within your organisation. These social networks can provide methods of dissemination, discussion, informal learning and feedback.

rss feed


Perhaps the most effiecient is the RSS feed, which pushes the latest information to your subscribers I have created a feed of my blog, my bookmarks and my wiki all together ! >

Google reader or Igoogle, pageflakes and feedburner are all examples of this. All good blogs and wikis have the ability to create a feed which can be subscribed to. You can event get a blog to automatically post updates to blog subscribers using feedblitz.

No more fruitless or excessive time spent searching, information comes to you once you've subscribed to your favoutite sites. And reduces that inbox - which is nice .

* Lets go back to that slideshare presentation to have a look at blogs and wikis links. The allows you to search, tag ,and share, and use others slides = saves you time! Even if you only use a few slides per lecture, it's all up there. Sharing is good :o)

* Google docs has a entire suite of online tools to create and share , including a wordprocessor, a spreadsheet, a calendar, a group wiki, share and edit images using Picassa, a free 3d Modelling application and Google earth, which is nearly as good as the MS earth thing! The latest is Google sites, which allows group editng of a wiki (group work made easy!) Google even offer a special download for educational establishments to host off of these services.

Another easy wiki to use is wetpaint

* Podcasting is free and easy with Odeo, gcast , or gabcast allow easy postcasting using the telephone - how simple is that!! + theres the cast yourself site :oP

As well as esnips which allows you to add a narration to a slideshow, slidehare now allows slidecasts (with synchronised free music or recorded voiceover) , plus voicethread allows you to create digital stories with ease - as a discussion point , group work, contentious issues, etc

Sign up to this wiki to get some pedagogic planning tools - to provide inspiration.

Lets finish on the dissemainate part , back in the old blog >>

Further reading on web 2.0 theory slideshow

These videos exaplain web 2.0 in plain engrish :oP

The web 2.0 ideal - 2007 JISC report

My web 2.0 ESCalate article that includes a piece on REAP

And finally anoher JISC report on "what is web 2.0"

Case studies

  • The National work based learning blog has created a set of shared bookmarks which highlights case studies

  • Sally Mcconville a lecturer in nursing at Wolverhampton University has written a short paper entitled " Widening Participation: A Virtual Approach to F.E. Collaboration". I met up Sally & discussed this logical approach of using a VLE with her. It turns out that using the VLE in an attempt to bridge the gap between FE & HE trainee nurses helped both staff & students understand what to expect and how to adjust. Sally has also previously used video clips in her teaching on a VLE to good effect. Sally has really utilised a VLE to it's full and realised the untapped potential of using a VLE to enhance learning and engage across the FE/HE divide.

  • Recognising the difficulties faced by many HE students, Belfast Metropolitan College initiated an innovative project in January 2007 called Think Clever - Work Smart HE Mentoring Project, aimed not just at those experiencing difficulties but at improving the learning experience of all HE students in the FE College. The project is delivered using both e-learning and F2f activities. The students have e-mentoring support in the form of learning mentors who communicate with the students using a blended learning approach including using e-mail, f2f seminars, VOIP (Skype) support sessions on a Sunday evening and SMS which is used in a variety of novel ways.
    The centre for recording achievement has a set of HE case studies here: . Look at their website to find lots more.

  • North Warwickshire & Hinkley College, Burton upon Trent and Bishops Burton Colleges, have all recently opened new HE centres promoting HE ethos in FE.

Best practice exemplars

As of June 08:

  • WebPA wins a bronze IMS Learning Impact award Each year the IMS Global Learning Consortium invites submissions for their Learning Impact awards with finalists invited to discuss and demonstrate their projects at the IMS Learning Impact conference. We are delighted to report that WebPA, a JISC funded project building an open source online peer assessment system, was awarded a bronze award at the conference. Well done all at WebPA:

  • Wolverhampton University QAA best practice protocols (There is also a booklet entitled Introduction to Computer-assisted Assessment - (Word doc - 919KB) This was the basis of a workshop given at the University by Joanna Bull

  • In a recent blog post I mentioned the excellent JISC/ Wolverhampton University epistle website, which contains some very handy tips on implementing an eportfolio system. . The blog post also mentions some local case studies (TCAT) and the new JISC infonet booklet (containing elearning case studies).

  • Kidderminster College deserve a note for their management of applications and development of a 3rd party IT support business model for local Colleges. They provide support and back up for Moodle and will help with access management issues. They have even managed to fit Moode on a portable pen drive:

  • My bookmarks ……. Has masses of links covering all things elearning, there will be many exemplars of best practice and case studies I’ve booked marked.

Monday, 19 May 2008

DIUS by numbers

Strategic posts by the DIUS and DCSF continue to bombard us on a weekly basis at present. The latest tranche of policies and strategies are tightly summarised again by Colin Besley's policy watch. This latest offering by Colin compliments two recent posts covering a CBI skills survey and an appearance of Lord Leitch at a recent select committee. He was asked questions regarding the scare mongering thats surrounded his "up skill or we'll be the third world" report. If you think its all scaremongering, I was speaking to a colleague last week who informed me that in the last 3 years , China has created 10 new Universities, each the intake size of Birmingham. Not thats not scaremongering, that genuinely scary. Especially for all of those UK Uni's who are relying on foreign students to boost the coffers! They wont want to come to the UK when they've got it all in China now, will they? Watch the Shift happens video on globalization ( on my old blog ) that puts all of this into perspective.

...If you want to understand where post – 16 education policy is headed, then this recent DIUS Business Plan ‘Investing in our future’ is pretty useful. And if you like numbers, it’s even better for the Plan is stuffed with them including 7 top ‘corporate risks,’ 8 strategic messages, 15 key policy deliverables, 18 partner bodies and agencies, let alone 2 critical Public Service Agreement (PSA) targets and 6 Departmental Strategic Objectives (DSOs.) And it may not stop there, “our immediate priorities” the Plan outlines, “will evolve on an ongoing basis in line with the developing DIUS agenda and Ministerial priorities.”

Two New websites + 10 case studies

Did you know that we have recently launched a new look website @ URL

Then there's the revamped QIA excellence gateway, choc-a-bloc full of new elearning case studies. The case studies have been created by the new information officers that reside within our own UK RSCs. Kirsty Hill our information officer is busy rounding up new successful case studies. I mentioned Kirsty in a post about our new wiki on my old blog. Contact us if you want to share good practice on a our new collaborative wiki or via a QIA case study. Peruse the latest case studies here>

Most of these case studies are gleaned from the FE sector.

Integrating your learning platform, MIS and staff portal:

Improving Institutional Effectiveness Using U3 technology

Implementing an interactive acceptable use policy

Effective use of available classroom technology

Developing virtual revision tools

Personalised learning spaces - the next challenge for ILT

Councils Co-operate to benefit adult learners

Learning technologies shape the design for new academy for the deaf

MP3s for learners with visual impairments

Space saving technology for effective learning spaces

Mobile learning on the Duke of Edinburgh Award

Using social networking sites in teaching and learning

Pathfinders projects

HEA funded projects : Pathfinders cluster F

The HEA pilot projects have already produced a series of interesting briefing papers summarising the participants experiences. A similar set of papers is planned for these projects too. Further information is available from the HE Academy pathfinder blog and associated wiki. The briefing papers are listed in the right hand column of the blog. Each cluster had a critical friend. For Cluster F, Professor Betty Collis was the critical friend. She has a free book co-written with Professor Jeff Moonen. On line @ URL

The 96-page book, An On-going journey: Technology as a Learning Workbench” was prepared by us to commemorate the end of our service at the University of Twente (1987-2005). The book expresses our philosophy about technology and learning after many years in the field. The first part of the book gives this overview; the second half gives a personal reflection on how we came to our shared view of learning technology.

The cluster F projects were:

  • Canterbury Christ Church, - DEBut project - A very exciting and innovative approach to changing the way staff dev is conducted. A move away from the "install new software and (attempt to) train everyone up to use it" blanket approach. They have adopted a much more pragmatic and "user centred" approach. Whereby, they discuss individual needs of volunteers to the program. They then gave them a choice of 24 ILT tools to use and then instruct the volunteers use at least 6 of these [in an attepmt] to improve their teaching and student learning. No pedagogy change, but at least they are using a wide range of tools , specific to individual needs underpinned by the digital literacy theory.

•The concept of digital literacy is at the heart of the DEBUT project.
•Digital literacy is the ability to understand and use the information which is conveyed from a wide variety of sources via an increasing array of electronic or digital tools.
•It is as much about attitude and application as it is about skill or process, and it is a relative concept.
•Allan Martin (DigEULit) defines the elements of digital literacy as:
•Awareness of the ICT and information environment
•Confidence in using generic ICT and information tools
•Evaluation of information-handling operations and products
•Reflection on one’s own eLiteracy development
•Adaptability and willingness to meet eLiteracy challenges

It's worked very well, and an excellent by product of this is the 24 page staff handbook they have created which summarises the tools (wiki,blog, flickr, etc) into 1 page summaries. An extremely well put togehter publication that we could all make use of. It's really very good. You could use each page of this booklet as a poster.

  • Exeter University , Talked at length about the use of different pedagogies and practical methods of video conferencing, across their remote campus'. Some useful pointers here to the use of protocols that map directly into the webcasting environment as well .

    They also have a good set of videos that have captured good practice in these new staff development sessions:

    nb. Somehow I can't help but think that video conferencing was a technology that appeared way before the networks had the capacity to make it operate correctly. Now that we have webcasting capabilities at a fraction of the cost, the technology is going the same way a Phillips laser discs., and other now defunct technologies.

    I purchased a polycom endpoint @ a cost of 25K recently, and all it was mainly used for remote meetings in China. Which did save money. When we used it for a live session covering experts in global warming, the system crashed because we had 1 weak link in the chain. Overall a very expensive "toy". Mind you, Staffordshire University are offering the use of their systems on a bookable basis if you want to experiment with the technology (which is what I should have done).

    • Kingston, Discussed effective use of CAA
      The Kingston R3 project conducted research on mobile technologies to supprot timely feedback and diagnostic and formative assessment. Various different tools were trialled, inlcudeing wireless keyboards, voting systems, ipods and mobile phones. THis also inlcuded encouragibg students (and us) to text questions (to an online number) that were answered at the end ofthe sessions. On the day we also saw how a wireless projector widget that plguued into the tabletPC, ensured that the tablet PC could be remote from the projector (roaming around the classroom). Overall an interseting presentation, but no real surprises. It seemd like they were having real problems getting people on board the project. Felt like a "fred in the shed" model of dissemination, and no real change in pedagogy. Apart from one lecturer, who was now podcasting his once traditional lectures. He now uses his lectures as a tutorial type of event, whereby the students discuss the podcasted lectures. Now thats progress.

      • Wolverhampton, discussed innovative use of ePDP in first year.

      This presentation discussedthe embedding of ePDP at level 1 using the PebblePad eportfolio tool. The cleverly uses mentoring model for developmental & organisational change. This new staff developement model was to use strong peer networks as agents for change. There were 5 stages:

    • Rapport building
    • goal setting
    • core period / progression
    • winding up
    • moving on

    The very successful stafff development retreat days were used to structure this model. Follow link for more information :


Transforming Staff Development

As mentioned in an old blog post on rapid Cop. I've been exposed to two new methods of problem solving recently. The first being the appreciative enquiry model, which was employed when JISC & the Academy locked horns to thrash out some ways of collaborative working back in Dec' 2007. Incidently Jo Smedley & Sahron Waller have compiled a wiki to help us collaborate easier - which is nice & very useful.

THe second method is the the World cafe method, which I've used in a recent Second Life event we ran, which was also employed at the JISC/HEA. Both required some planing and facilitaion but are designed for conversation and active participation.

A recent SWAP academy staff dev' event I assisted with could well be construed as an unconference, as it was a clever mix of hands on and some traditional presentations to groups. It was held at University of Birmingham in their new social sciences building and consisted of opportunities for groups of staff to book my time as an elearning consultant to create a learning object during the 24 hours of the event. During this time there was also opportunity to watch presentations covering current technologies. The day went very well, and I was certainly impressed with the format, as Julie Waldman said at the start of the event;

"this is not like any other event you've been to, it's up to you as teams to decide how you want to best spend your time."

I must say there was a few minutes of "you mean we're not going to sit here passively all day and be preached to" by the delegates, but everyone soon adopted a positive approach, and realised that they were very much in control of the day. I met some very nice people and really experienced my first staff development unconference type event. And really enjoyed it.

To sum up :

  • A booklet was given to predetermined project teams (4 max)
  • A project plan was required to be completed befoe the event
  • e-learning consultants time (me, Simon Ball, etc) could be booked by teams
  • Breakout rooms could be used for small group work
  • video and cameras and web technologies were made availble to delegates
  • Parallel traditional sessions were conducted in the main room (could have been in a side room?)

The day was organised by Julia Waldman who is leaving the academy. It was a fab day Julia.

I know Professor Gilly Salmon has promoted the use of groups for staff development for a while now. As does Greta Barnet of South Birmingham College whom I assisted back in Easter . She developed two sessions running for 2.5 hours using groups who had to create, upload and present their CAA types to the group
(the blockbuster quiz was a favourite for all). Both sets of staff really did well and it was a rewarding day. I can throughly recommend the group method of staff development. I've experienced it twice this year and it really works effectively (if planned and supported well).

NOTES: Ensure you have a planned timescale, and plenty of helpers to assist on the f2f sessions. In both sessions, there were plenty of e-learning experts around for staff to call upon.