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!!!!!