August 01, 2011


G'day everyone, snowbound or not!

the 'NZ elearning in practice symposia' and the accompanying NZ Shar-e-fest 2011 went extremely well. Prof Tom Reeves and his wife Trisha were a real delight to have in New Zealand. That Tom did an excellent job in providing numerous presentations and workshops at the seven institutions we visited, goes without saying. The feedback has been nothing but positive. Trisha was also kind enough to provide presentations at several of the institutions and once again her input was greatly appreciated and well received.

Needless to say the NZ Sharefest 2011 was an outstanding success. Once again a real community of practice enjoyed the friendly and very collaborative event. If you want to have a look of some of the presentations from Tom, they will be available on the site Shar-e-fest along with copies of slides etc from some of the other presentations.

I would like to acknowledge all those who contributed to the success of the series, especially those in the audience, the presenters and specifically the local organisers: Lisa Ransom and Mark Northover (Auckland),Jeanette Stephens and Lisa Ransom (Hamilton), Terry Marler, Bronwyn Hegarty. Jenny McDonald and Kerry Sheppard (Dunedin), Stephen Marshall,(Wellington), Mark Nichols and Angela Page (Lower Hutt), and, Mark Brown,(Palmerston North) Musn't forget John Clayton, the Director of the Emerging Technologies Centre (Hamilton) as he had the original inspiration for the series. Thanks to Wintec the major sponsor ,with Ascilite following closely on its heels. This year for the first time Template Ltd NZ also contributed to the sponsorship.

I could wax poetic about all the things that came out of the series and how Tom Reeves was an inspiration to many. His message was really that we need to do better with online learning and focus on changing our teaching and learning methods to provide greater impact on the student learning and the environment in which they learn. Tom contends that there is more than enough research to show that there's no significant difference between traditional approaches and online learning. A real commitment to change in attitude, focus and methods will be needed to initiate any significant change to students learning online or in a blended mode.

I would venture to suggest that maybe pedagogy needs an overhaul (someone is already into iPadogogy). But there again I can still remember the words of Angela McFarlane at an ALT-C conference in Bristol some years ago (1999). What I heard her say was,'pedagogy gets in the way of learning'. Maybe she's right when it comes to ensuring the effective transition from the traditional teaching approaches to the Web based and blended dimensions of the student driven learning environment and experience.

Some of the links in this posting reflect the thinking of Tom Reeves, others are here to make you ponder and think, they include reports on some trials from the Australian Flexible learning framework, the conative domain, design based research, future schools,student feedback,librarians,virtual environments, wheels for the mind, RSA animate series. conferences and the odd one out.

More good things on the horizon for September, maybe even the weather.

1. 21st Century Schools: A comprehensive report on what school so fhb future could be. Written in 2004, you might find it interesting to see what, if anything, has actually transpired in the past seven years and whether what was predicted for 2024 now needs a change in direction. Predicting the future is an interesting exercise. My crystal ball has a few cracks in it, so some things have fallen.

2. A Wiki for those VIP's, the Librarians, whose role is often undermined by some but really appreciated by the enlightened.

3.Australian Flexible Learning Framework.

Some interesting and useful reports on trials of e-portfoilios and the use of HTML5

E-portfolios Implementation Trials: results

and some outcomes on emerging technology trials using HTML5

4.Student feedback. I'm always very interested in how student feedback is obtained and more importantly how it is used to effect change and improvement in the student learning experience on and off the Web. The articles below are worth reading (pdf downloads)


5.EdutechWiki: Design Based Research

A useful 'primer' on the nature and scope of design based research. Tom Reeves is a strong advocate and some of his contributions to the field are included here.

6. Conative domain. If you've got your head around the nature of conation , there are some interesting viewpoints in the links below (if you have the will to explore )


7.Wheels for the Mind, has been around for a long time and is a publication of the Apple University Consortium, essentially for Universities but is available for distribution to anyone who has an interest in development in Higher education (any level could see some benefit from some of the articles). The Autumn 2011 edition is available for download. There's a couple of interesting short articles on the iPad and on the LMS.

8.Educational Designer: Journal of the International Society for the Design and Development of Education.

Another timely article from Tom Reeves 'Can Educational Research Be Both Rigorous and Relevant?' Well worth reading along with the other two articles in the same issue.

9.MultiUser Virtual Environments: An interesting paper that I haven't seen before but thought might be of interest to the e-Watch community as simulations and virtual worlds vie for a place in the learning environment.

Community of Enquiry and Learning in Immersive Environments by Ross McKerlich and Terry Anderson from Athabasca University (pdf download).

You might find this article interesting in the context of the one above

Compliant Collaboration & Learning in Virtual Immersive Environments
by Karl M. Kapp, Bloomsburg University.

10. RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms:
This animate was adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA's Benjamin Franklin award.

You may be interested in some other videos of a similar nature . The one on
The Internet in Society: Empowering or Censoring Citizens? is quite fascinating and maybe a snapshot of the 'real' world and the Internet?

11. Conferences


The 28th ascilite annual conference will be held at Wrest Point Casino,
Hobart, Australia on 4-7 December 2011. ascilite 2011 reflects on the theme
of 'Changing demands, changing directions'.

Conference details are available at:

11.2 ALT-C 2011 - "Thriving in colder and more challenging climate", our 18th international annual conference. will be held 6-8 September at the University of Leeds.

You can make your booking(s) [Note deadline of 12th August 1700 BST] via

Keynote speakers will include
Miguel Brechner, Head of Uruguay's Plan Ceibal, under which all children and teachers in public schools in Uruguay have received their own laptop and connectivity to the Internet;

Karen Cator, Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, and previously head of Apple's leadership and advocacy efforts in education, where she focused on the intersection of education policy and research, emerging technologies, and the reality faced by teachers, students and manager

John Naughton, Professor of the Public Understanding of Technology at the Open University, and the Observer's technology columnist.
Conference co-chairs: John Cook, Professor of Technology Enhanced Learning at the Learning Technology Research Institute, London Metropolitan University and Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University.

The hashtag for ALT-C 2011 is #altc2011

Full details at :

[Information on ALT-C 201, obtained from Association for Learning Technology Fortnightly news digest]

11. 3 Inaugural International Conference on eLearning Futures 2011: Unitec Institute of Technology. Auckland New Zealand

Full details can be found at:

13. The odd one out: Pass the time. Exercise the conative domain and break from academia for a moment or two and learn some new games and tricks.

That's it then

Richard Elliott
The Eternal Macademic
New Zealand

Posted by richard at August 1, 2011 07:15 AM