May 01, 2012

elearningWatch May2012


April has been an excellent month weather wise, almost an Indian summer. Alas the rain has arrived and it will be downhill from now on. Time to spend indoors on everything elearning. not.

As I was reading the new book by Diana Laurillard, I thought of a couple of statements, one , 'if you put technology first, then learning comes second', and that's not what education is about. Secondly, my signature line of my email address which has been around for over 20 years 'Learning in the Driver's seat, Technology turning the wheels'. Both . I think reflect some of the issues and approaches Diana raises in her book.

My first impressions of Diana's book, Teaching as a Design Science:Building Pedagogical Patterns for Learning and Technology', lead me to believe if you haven't go a copy, you should get one.It's very readable and presents some very sound reasons why and how teachers need to/can design their learning events through employment of 'reusable pedagogical design patterns' which can be used creatively to support and enable the effective use of existing and emerging learning technologies in support of learning.Sharing of the outcomes of such initiatives is a must to promote collaboration and understanding of the critical role learning technologies can play in enhancing learning and teaching.Maybe more active Communities of Practice within educational institutions can facilitate the process of collaborative and mutually beneficial educational design endeavours. I've got a little way to go to reach the end of the book. so more on my thinking next time.

This month's posting includes, open library resources,new learning design projects,an unusual 'periodic' table, teaching and assessing soft skills, student centered learning, open textbook catalogue,password creators, EdTed,iPad Apps, Googleart project, conferences, NZ Shar-e-fest and the odd one out.

Nought else. Enjoy the surfing.

1. Learning Design projects: The Learning by Design project is an attempt to address the emerging needs of new learners via the intensive practical, pedagogical and professional development of teachers. Teachers involved in the Learning by Design project are engaged as reflective co-researchers. The following website provides access to some of the projects born out of the initiative. Some are quite impressive and provide lots of room for thinking differently.

2. A Periodic table but not as you know it. This represents a novel approach to providing some basic but useful information on many aspects of elearning, teaching and education in general.

3.Teaching and assessing Soft skills is a booklet with a number of contributors providing advice on how to teach soft skills to students.
This is a very large and comprehensive document with contributors from five European nations.

There are some very interesting viewpoints and techniques, for instance, the table on p83 identifies individual soft skills and provides an example of where it might be used. Many employers see soft skills as being extremely important and desirable in today's workplace.

and for a look at teaching these skills online

Yes you can: Teaching soft skills with e-learning.

4.University of Minnesota Open Academic Textbook Catalogue. Always good to see efforts being made to ensure educational resource scan be obtained freely and with minimum cost or no cost at all. This initiative is great and isoprene to any faculty world wide.

5.The Open Library. Is an ever-growing repository of books of all types and subject. It is an open project: the software is open, the data are open, the documentation is open, and contributions are welcome. Already the site claims to have over 1,000,000 free e-book titles. Plenty you will recognize and maybe read or direct your students to.

6.The GoogleArt project. An excellent educational resource with thousands of fascinating paintings from all over the world and objects and artifacts of historical interest. If you haven't seen it , well worth exploring such an incredible wealth of materials at your fingertips. I spent a lot of time exploring the The J. Paul Getty Museum, mind-blowing.

7. Innovative iPad Apps for Education . A review of some of them.
App Roundup for iPad April 2012.

8. Ed-Ted. A new website just launched with a focus on educational videos. This site focuses on the use of videos in education settings. Not just TED videos but any from YouTube. Take the video tour which explains the thinking behind the initiative. Great learning and teaching resource and let's hope it moves out of Beta real soon.

9. The BBC Learner centered Toolkit: An aid to designing learner centered experiences. There are two parts to this and you need both I think to get your head around what's behind the toolkit. Certainly a different approach and worth perusing
Part one is an explanatory 'booklet'.

and Part two consists of a set of 'cards' to guide you in your deliberations. Have fun.

If you are keen on looking at something on the same subject but a very different approach download the toolkit from the lifelong learning programme in Europe. Useful stuff.

10.Password creators. Ever had trouble creating passwords for your various sites, repositories, email etc? Here are couple of sites that are easy to use and modify to generate a password which might be more secure than the dog's name. and

11. Conferences

11.1 ALTC 2012
Registration for ALT-C 2012 - a confrontation with reality is now open.

'Early Bird' discounts are available until 17.00 BST on 3 July 2012.

You can register via .

11.2 ascilite 2012: Preliminary information

Dates are 25th to 28th November, Wellington New Zealand.

12. Other New Zealand events

NZ Sharefest 2012 and regional elearning in practice symposia will take place from 1 - 12 October 2012. The actual NZ Sharefest event will be in Hamilton on 1 and 2nd October.

We are delighted that Professor Diana Laurillard has accepted an invitation to give a presentation and discussion session on her latest book, 'Teaching as a Design Science:Building Pedagogical Patterns for Learning and Technology' This will be via a live video link.

We are also really pleased to inform you that we have managed to secure Dr Geoff Mitchell as the main keynote speaker for the Shar-e-fest and regional symposia. Geoff has an international reputation as an excellent educator, keynote presenter and researcher. He is the Director of the Integrated Help Services Department in the Technology, Information and Learning Support Division at Queensland University of Technology in Melbourne

More good news, Echo 360,has announced that it will be a Silver sponsor of the NZ Shar-e-fest 2012. We appreciate Echo360's involvement and commitment to improving education. Many thanks to Jocasta Williams the Director, ANZ operations, for facilitating the sponsorship.

More details will be posted on the Sharefest site as they come to hand.

Just make sure you put the date in your diary with a commitment to attend this not to be missed event on the NZ calendar. CALL for presentation
submission will begin in July.

13. Odd one out. Something very simple but quite intriguing. You could spend forever trying to figure out how it works. try manipulating a few of the parameters(twiddling the knobs).

That's it for now. The Watch will return in August. Other commitments are getting in the way.


RIchard Elliott
The Eternal Macademic
New Zealand

Posted by richard at May 1, 2012 09:59 AM