August 29, 2008


Hi everyone

this edition of the eWatch is coming to you from the UK so I can't complain about the rain in Auckland. The ALT-C 2008 conference will shortly be under way and I'm looking forward to being inspired (the 1st keynote was GREAT!). In the meantime I've been looking at a number of sites again and I trust you will find the following selection useful.

Included in this posting are some open source stuff such as a web authoring system and a slide show system, a screen reader for all platforms, Google video search, a health science site, evaluating digital libraries, 21st century learning, assistive technologies and educatioal technologies, plus conferences and the odd one out

As an aside I was listening to a group of educators debating the need to embed ICT (information and communication technologies) into student learning and teaching environments. The word 'can't' was mentioned on several occasions which immediately reminded me of the old adage:

'Those who think it can't be done are usually run over by those that are doing it !'

Innovation comes from within, if you can think it you can do it. It might involve some risk but hey, adrenalin is good for you!

October is not that far away.

1. Nvu ( pronounced N-View) is an open source Web authoring system for Linux , Windows and Mac users. It's well worth trying out if you are not a Dreamweaver or Frontpage users ( and even if you are)

Extract from the site:

'Finally! A complete Web Authoring System for Linux desktop users as well as Microsoft Windows and Macintosh users to rival programs like FrontPage and Dreamweaver. Nvu (which stands for "new view") makes managing a web site a snap. Now anyone can create web pages and manage a website with no technical expertise or knowledge of HTML

2. WebAnywhere:A Screen reader on the go. This is another interesting open source development which provides a very useful Web-based screen reader which will run on any machine regardless of operating system. It's especially useful for computer users who are blind.

3. Educational Technology. This site, maintained by two education technologists, provides links to guides and advice on the use of educational technology. Have a look at the 'Digicam in Education' guide for a taster. The site also includes links to a large number of e-books, many of them free. Nicely designed site.

4. Google video has been around for a while and has hundreds of videos to view. A colleague provided me with a simple way to search for what you want. works very well. Try the following in the search field: genre:educational chemistry.

Replace the 'chemistry' with a subject of your choice and see what happens

5 . Route 21: a one-stop-shop for 21st century skills-related information, resources and community tools. There are a number of very useful tools and links to educational materials and standards which can be downloaded as pdf files Most of the Matrices have very much an American focus but the concepts can easily be used elsewhere

6. The e-Learning Portal from Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.

Extract from the site:

'This HST eLearning portal offers technology-enabled educational materials to the global academic community. These innovative materials include full courses, course modules, and other educational resources'.

Need I say more. If you are involved with Health Sciences, there has to be something here fro you

7. Evaluating Digital Libraries: A user-Friendly Guide. I looked at this one because I noticed Thom Reeves had a hand in its creation. It may not be for everyone but makes for interesting reading. It's very comprehensive and I agree it's easy to read. The elements of the evaluation plan could be used for other projects

8. TechMatrix:

'is a powerful tool for finding educational and assistive technology products for students with special needs'.

Apart from providing information on a range of tools and resources it also has some useful links to research in the area of assistive technologies

9. 280 slides: Create your presentations on the Web , show and share. This is open source software which has received very good reviews. It's created by the people from 280 North

Try it for yourself.

10. Cluuz (beta) is another search engine which claims to be different.

Extract from the site:

'The difference between standard search engines and Cluuz is in the fact that Cluuz does some work for you. A standard search engine shows links in a list. Cluuz instead peers into the searched web pages, extracts important terms and images, clusters them and gives them in chart format (semantic graph) and in a tag cloud where you can click on any entity to further focus your search'

Certainly is different and maybe will take a bit of getting use to. Try it

11.1 Elliot Masie's invitation to be part of Learning 2008, October 26-29 Orlando Florida.

11.2 ASCILITE 2008: The ascilite 2008 conference theme is: Hello! Where are you in the landscape of educational technology?

Nov 30 - Dec 3
Where: Deakin University Burwood Campus
221 Burwood Highway
Burwood Victoria 3125

Call for Papers:

You are invited to develop proposals for full papers, concise papers, posters and workshops for ascilite 2008. The submission deadlines for all papers and proposals can be found at this link:


11.3 Innovating e-Learning online conference 2008:Learning in a Digital Age - Are we prepared?

This is the next online conference in the very successful series initiated by JISC. Join with the rest of your international colleagues and enjoy some challenging and productive discussion and insights into e-learning at the frontier of education.

Venue Online conference
Date 4-7 November 2008

'Themes for Innovating e-Learning 2008 focus on the productive and energising tension between the tried and tested and the wholly innovative. e-Learning may now have established a foothold in learning and teaching, but are the demands of delivering the curriculum restricting its innovative potential? How can we plan to ensure the best possible e-enhancement of learning in the future?'

11.4 The MoodleMoot NZ08 in Napier HAwkes Bay. THE place to be seen.

8th October Workshops:

1. Developers workshop with Martin Dougiamas
2. Graphics and Themes with Julian Ridden
3. Moodle for new Teachers with HRD.

9th-10th October - conference days - Technical, General, and Teaching streams.

Excellent location for conference dinner Thursday 9th - The Old Church
Hosted by Eastern Institute of Technology in Napier, Hawkes Bay.

Early bird registration is now open! Make sure you are there!

11.5 The New Zealand eFest 2008 - Connected Learning

will return to it's original September time slot this year, but shift from the traditional Wellington venue to Auckland. Dates and Location: 8, 9 & 10 September at SkyCity Auckland Convention Centre.

12. Odd one out: The Encycopedia of Life. This is an interesting venture with the ambitious aim of building a site which provides key information about all life on earth. There's some fascinating stuff here already and as it grows it could become a very rich resources. The Website owners have recently introduced the use of Microsoft Photosynth which adds a new dimension to the study of animal life.

Have a wander around.

That's it

Richard Elliott

The Eternal Macademic

Director eLearning Watch Ltd
New Zealand

Posted by richard at August 29, 2008 10:07 PM