Day 1 Flex:Ed July Forum

Today’s forum sessions were fun! There was Wink and wiki and audio, not to mention weird echoes! 🙂

Diana’s session on using Wink to capture your lectures and audio was a hit, as was Aaron’s discussion on using wiki in your classroom. Participants began to compile a list of ideas on how to engage learners in discussion on a wiki – a great collaborative activity in itself! I think a very useful guide will develop from this.

Moir’s session on adding audio lecturers to your online course was simple, effective and downright practical!

http://www.tomrafteryit.net/

Image: http://www.tomrafteryit.net/

Sue and Kerry went to town on using ARED(v2) and this is now available for CIT teachers via a quick download to your log-in profile. ARED is a quick way to get your content looking great and is easy to use – no special web design knowledge is required!

Day 2 of the forum looks set to engage as well, beginning with your virtual presence at the CIT strategic planning meeting – jump into VET Virtual and have your say about CIT’s future. Colin will be facilitating the online aspects of this discussion.

Marg Robson presents some tips on getting interactive with VET Virtual, while Anne and Moir tell us about their e-learning innovations project. Following that, David bravely jumps into the world of quizzes, and then we finish up the forum with a look at the national LORN, with Kerry and Sue.

What a great way to see in the semester break, don’t you think!

See you online tomorrow…! 🙂

Toolbox Workshop News

The Customising Toolbox workshop of June 4 held in B107 went down well. The coffee was hot and most came early so there was time for introductions and a chat. Sixteen Trainers from ActewGAL, Retail and Office Training Centre, ACT Education Learning Technologies, LEAD, Supabarn, Accolade and CIT attended. They brought with them family photos on thumb drives so they could immortalise loved ones and valued pets in customised learning objects (forever beautiful, digital and forever here). They took away free and open source software packages for web editing and image manipulation. Ive already had one phone call about video files and NVU. I expect a few more as everyone learns to feel comfortable with WYSIWYG web editing.

There were more than a few trainers who had little knowledge of Toolboxes (shock, horror). It turns out they are from newly ACT registered RTO’s who have recently opened for business. Just as well or Marketing and National Positioning would have my (in late anglo saxon terms) “guts for garters“.

My thanks to Tenille Piagno for helping out with patience, grace and that ineffible 20 something unflappability!!!

Come to the next workshop and see what I mean: Web 2.0, Toolboxes and Toolbox learning objects
Web 2.0 has given us wonderful social software applications like Blogs, Wikis, Youtube and Widgets that we can use to add new levels of interactivity and collaboration to our online learning. The challenge for VET teachers is to make use of these tools for teaching and learning and to incorporate them into existing e-learning resources such as Toolboxes and Toolbox learning objects. This workshop shows you just how easy it is to embed, frame, RSS and link Web 2.0 applications in Toolboxes and Toolbox Learning Objects Some examples of Web 2.0 applications: Wiki, Voicethread, Youtube, Blog, Flickr, del.icio.us

WHEN Wednesday, June 18th, 8.15am to 9.30am
WHERE B107 B Block, Upstairs
Southside Campus , Canberra Institute of Technology
Cnr Ainsworth Street and Hindmarsh Drive, Phillip.
Register: Call or email Helen Lynch, 6207 4031 or helen.lynch@cit.act.edu.au

Flexible Learning Network Gathering, May 30

We had a gathering for CITFLN at Reid campus on Friday with a number of things on our agenda, some of which we didn’t get to as time ticked away from us!

One highlight was a demonstration by Moir of a digital graphics pen which Moir has trialled with her Physics students (most of whom work in the AFP) in a tutorial fashion online.

Moir showed the pen in action and then showed an online whiteboard through which she encourages students to interact (if you have no pen you can still use a mouse apparently). The service is partly free and is called Skrbl. The possibilities for such interactions are endless – you could develop a floor plan with interior design students, map out an orienteering course for sports students, annotate images and graphs (as Moir does) – even animated gifs work on the whiteboard too! 🙂 In fact, Michael Coghlan also blogged about a similar setup recently.

The bringing together of virtual and physical activities is the real key here. Connecting students with one another is one aspect, but connecting students to ideas and support is entirely different. Engaging in practice is paramount for students who are isolated from a classroom setting where a teacher is on-hand to offer timely pedagogical support. The interface between teacher-student communication and the ability to interact in the way the pen and online whiteboard show, affords much in terms of hands-on activities that at one time many said couldn’t be done online!

Developing Us . . . Online

Flex:Ed held it’s first Forum on flexible learning for the year, titled Developing Us…Online!

The sessions were short and sweet at half an hour and we ran these back-to-back over three days – full on! We tried out VETVirtual, the virtual collaborative space developed through the Framework as part of the Access to Bandwidth project.

HUGE thanks to Chris Richter from the VETVirtual team for stepping in to most (if not all) the sessions to see how things were running! Kudos Chris! We had a very annoying echo at the beginning which Chris sorted out for us in no time!

Kerry and Colin supporting the VETVirtual sessionsThe sessions were facilitated by CIT teachers sharing their experiences in online learning and teaching, using wikis, slideshows, videos, even old man WebCT! We looked at game-based techniques for interaction, Toolboxes and learning design, virtual world (Croquet) and e-portfolios – the list goes on!

A HUGE thanks goes out to the faciltiators for devoting their time to facilitating these conversations! And thank you to all who participated in between their calsses, virtually or otherwise. The VETVitrual sessions won hands down over the face-to-face sessions – it has been a busy time of year too.

We will be running more sessions shortly, after much feedback about when the next forum will be!

The Champ reflects on the Toolbox Workshop Program 2007

Why Workshop?
The “open-to-all VET practitioner” workshop series lets the Toolbox Champ reach into the VET community and connect with teachers, trainers and managers who have an interest in Toolboxes, flexible learning and the Framework. VET educators see the word Toolbox next to words like Web2 or Self Opening CDRom or WebCT/Learning Management System and are instantly curious about the workshop subject matter. They are happy yo come along to a workshop to find out what its all about. The workshop registration process and post workshop follow-up often leads to invitations to deliver organization specific Toolbox training and showcases…. because when teachers have the chance to experience a Toolbox for the first time they are always impressed by the sheer quality, innovation and relevance of these resources. Veteran Toolbox users continue to enjoy the workshop series because each event is a chance to catch a new ideas, pick up a new skills and meet other teachers and trainers. Smart people don’t come to these events for the coffee.

So.. what are some of the 2007 additions to the workshop series?
Customizing with Web2 shows users just how easy it is to incorporate Web2 applications in Toolboxes and Toolbox learning objects in order to add further immediacy and interactivity to Toolboxes resources.
Building on the way Toolboxes have spaces for educators to add chat, email and forums – framing, syndicating, embedding and linking are methods by which teachers can incorporate youtube videos, news sites, blogs and del.icio.us tag clouds in a way that is sympathetic to their use of the Toolbox. The workshop gets teachers and trainers discussing when it is best to frame or embed, link or syndicate from an educational perspective and shows how easy it all is to do using sites like htmlbasix.com and feed2js.org that generate the html script for you! ( Thank you Alan Levine for creating this site some time ago).

From the Repository to the CD was very popular with small RTO’s who have limited server technology or just want a way to use TLO with students via a different format or with students who perhaps have limited or no internet access.

We need to remember sometimes that when we step outside a capital city in Australia (and in the ACT we don’t have to step far) we step into a world of pretty poor ICT infrastructure, little choice of ICT provider, and into towns and villages where incomes are generally much lower: both these factors can make internet access a bit of a luxury. The CD can plug the gap between the internet haves and the internet have-nots by at least making sure both have access to the same Toolbox or TLO resource.

Toolbox Learning Objects and WebCT is directly designed to support teachers who are trying to incorporate a TLO as a resource for teaching an element of competence or part of a subject topic and who are doing so through a learning management system (LMS) such as WebCT. LMS’s have different ways of dealing with such objects and these are not always obvious, easy or satisfactory!!!

There are of course other workshops that have been added to the series, but these have not been about customization but about, among other things, unconventional ways to apply Toolbox resources in the ACE sector. Customization issues still remain of keen interest to experienced and new Toolbox users and continue to attract workshop participants.

Sourcing Workshop Skills
These workshops have been developed with the knowledge of people like Moir Holms, who first raised the Repository to CD idea with me, and with the flexible learning expertise of fellow FLS educational designer Margaret O’Connell and the Flexible Learning Team at Canberra Institute of Technology.

Developing the simplest and educationally sound approaches to framing and embedding, and working out how to do the CDRom stuff – was something I had to discover for myself!!!!!