Archive for June, 2011

I have been at the eLearning Forum for the Wednesday-Friday sessions. It has been a great injection of thoughts and a real reminder about how great teaching is for those of us who are energised by growth and possibilities. I went to it thinking that I would probably know a fair bit of what was on offer but would consolidate some things to get it ‘right’. WOW, was I surprised. It is one thing to know about something, and another to know how to use it in-depth. Just about every workshop, speaker, or person I spoke to had something to offer. But what was assuring was that I was able to reciprocate on many occasions which felt good. Even one of the keynotes had something to share and I was able to replicate with a tool I use.

As to our week 4 blog I would have to say that I have use Wallwisher for some tasks in class like posting thoughts from students and doing group work with students to identify criteria and a framework for peer assessment. This was good as the students could continue to add thoughts as we went to expand and direct the discussion of other students work as they stumbled upon differing dimensions. I think though that Wallwisher is not as good as This works faster and is a better interface for students. It can be used in exactly the same fashion. The other visualisation tools haven’t really been that useful to me as they are a bit to ridged. I also don’t have much us for them as such yet as this is something I have been using as a desktop application in Inspiration. Students use this in my classes for brainstorming and theory response structures. It is useful to give students a messed up group of items and ask them in small groups of 3 to connect them and then share their connections and reasoning for the links. Discussion often provides higher order responses.   

As to the Google Suite, I would have to say the Sites was okay but I began to see it as a labrinith that you could just end up getting stuck in. It might be good to use as a LMS (Learning Management System) if you didn’t have one operating in your school already. II looked at it as a way to create ePortfloio’s of students course work and subjects groups. The embedded gadgets and iFrame tool would have to be the best tools in there, or just the count down for assignments and events. I still think, Twitter, FB, and Blogs are great ways to stay in touch with students and keep them engaged.

If anyone is interested in the eLearning Forum, it would be a great venture and a way to get some amazing PD next year. Keep and eye out for it. Beijing 20102. The Twitter hashtag is #elfa. (For those who don’t know what that means, type that into  and it will show you all the related Tweets from the conference, or at least those that posted using that hashtag.)


To encourage life long learning we should be using free applications for students to continue to use after they leave our tuition. Something they can continue to use and build on into the future. Today I am looking at Google Sites as an option for setting up an ePortfolio. It is great way to combine information such as RSS feeds and a place to access remotely to take notes and get feedback. With a range of privacy settings the site can be personalised to public or private, and customised to suit the users purpose. It is primarily built on a wiki platform so adding content is very easy. Sub folders and categories can easily be set up. A disadvantage is that there are no page level settings so you have to share everything or nothing

Some of the disadvantages would be that in this day, mobile friendly should be a pre-requiste but this is not good with mobiles/ If you need a lot of space this only provides a 100mb, but when you have the links to Youtube and other gadgets this might be enough.

With the Google Sites, other people can’t see these unless they have an account with Google. This can be done with other email addresses other than Gmail accounts. You can send people you want to be able to access the site a link which they can access the page through. The other way is to make it completely public for people to search the web for. If it is just for personal use you can completely close it. 

Embedded Google docs is really what this is good for. If you want to share PowerPoints then this is what you would use. Ofcourse, Mind42, Prezi’s and other online Web tools can be embedded as gadgets. Possibilities are great with this but as usual, I need time to sit down and try to work out what I would use this for.

Not too bad if you want easily accessed information for students to use.

I am sitting in a workshop with some social media guru’s. They have given us a crash course in the use of Social Media and how they use it in classes and on their own.


Announcements – reminders of due dates. New tasks with links to source

Supplimentary information – small snippets of information that they can extend their knowledge base in a particular area without making students read the articles.

Live microbloggoing – communication like what I am doing now as I am in the conference workshop taking notes. But those of you that follow me can see what is happening

Connections/PLN’s – (Siemens, 2004 – Connectivism) I am preaching to the converted. ut using hashtaggs like #edusocmedia or #elfa which is the conference hashtag you are able to build the network immediately in Twitter.

Collect real world data –  if you want to send out your students and they can Tweet the information back to a central course live. The information can then be gathered.

Twitter Polls – during Rick Von Feldt keynote he used or but they could use this instead

Back channelling communications – we have used it for conversations.

Other? – CAT’s like asking questions to see what they have understood about an area of information. It can be used to shape lessons prior as to what they understand and need clarity on. These can be Tweeted with a hashtag, the teacher can access the content that is needed.

It can be used for very short reflection of a lesson to summaries the lesson to see what they got out of it.

The shortness of the Tweet can reinforce the ideas due to its small nature.

An important factor is to archive incoming Tweets which can be done with for a specific hashtag that you develop for your class like #Visual Arts 

Also check out the Youtube channel for Facebook and Twitter to expand your understanding of privacy settings. The videos highlight changes and what you should think about changing.


It helps students stay connected as a community, both as a small group, and as part of a larger community that has common interests. I can be used to distribute news letters, assignments, events, items of interest such as exhibitions, book releases, Youtube links, etc…. These can then be commented on and you can identify interests and trends in your classes. They can also have the opportunity to contribute to this also. 

The structures of the Facebook account needs to be intelligently controlled for what you want to use.

The FB pages can be used as a very similar way that Twitter can be used the same way. The bests format that they recommend for classes is Fan Pages. This is open and shared but the barriers between teachers and students is still there. Worth trying.

I have just made the AIS Photographic and Digital Media  fan page in Facebook so I will see what happens with the students with it.

eLearning and LAMS — Baaaah

Posted: June 9, 2011 in PLN

One great thing that I have seen which can embed eLeafning tools into your lessons is LAMS. It is a open source software which can be used free. The learning community can be found at It is hosted in Australia and has about 7000 members with approximately 900 learning sequences shared for editing and ideas. The use of web tools and structures to support learning are available. If one is not available for you, designing your own is simple with the functionality available. Well worth the discussion it can produce just about the structures that differentiated learning opportunities that it provides with path points in lessons structures.
Many other ideas have come about throughout the three days at the conference but as is always the case, so much information and so little time to explore these aspects.
If you are interested the next eLearning Forum will be in Beijing in April 2012.
If you are interested in the any of the presentations I can scan the notes I have from them and email them to you. Check out the eLearning Forum web site as it has a schedules and list of speakers.

I am sitting in a eLearning Forum Asia 2011, which is discussing what the future of learning will be. The overwhelming opinion is that this environment will be the Collaboration Revoltuion. The aspect that highlight this is the link to the idea of social media and the role that teachers have in engaging in the use of FB in the classroom. the fears of what this has to hold is central to the way forward. How do we make it better and remove the fear is a similar parallel to the development email. It is healthy for us to look at what it offers to students rather that the issues that it has. Students have overwhelmingly stated a interest in this. I personally will try to grasp ways to overcome these issues rather than facing the barriers as unsurpassable. The inclusive nature of this system of communication may just add to the information overload that they receive through other avenues of online sources.
At the forefront of this is that we need to focus on the systems of using it, not the actual applications like FB, and Twitter. they need to be taught about being responsible online citizens.
Are teachers going to be taught about social networking in the classroom through undergrad courses?
One other aspect that has come up is the relinquishing of control of the classroom from a teacher driven content and delivery system. The term 1+1 = 3 is a common term in this forum and the idea of social learning is the value of sharing.
The idea that we as teachers are now teaching information sourcing and sorting rather than content retention is also a key factor about the design and development of tasks for assessment. We need to look at the role of higher order thinking strategies and systems.
The question that is been discussed currently is about, what is the role of the library in 2020 with the digitization of knowledge and instant searchable archive. The analogy of the post office to send letters, versus email. You still need the post office as it still has a role to send packages and service public. Libraries will still have a role as providing learning spaces, specialist resourcing, discussion forums location, guidance on suitability of sources, and enlightening people on the possibilities of information sources. Knowledge is now 24/7 and is moving from paper to digital access. Wikipedia is nor the primary source of information retrieval. Support for students learning by helping teachers with the appropriateness of tasks. The big question is, “why don’t librarians band together to rewrite Wikipedia pages so they are correct?”
The establishment of a millennial council ( students born after 2000) in a learning organization is a great idea to address these questions. What do the students, users, and stakeholders have to say about this.

Privacy and FB

Posted: June 6, 2011 in PLN, Uncategorized

I am just been bombarded with stuff about social networking and issues with the use of it in schooling by teachers. I have a fairly open perspective on it and I use FB to contact students as I know it is probably better than trying to contact them via their school email address. I don’t have current students as Friends on Facebook but I do keep in contact with ex students.

Someone sent me the Youtube video today and I felt that it was very interesting the negative connotations that this hs on Facebook. It really highlights the need for people to be aware of what they are sharing and who they are sharing it with.

The PLN  has shown me that there are a lot of issues associated with it but also that FB is not the only one in the spot light. Not much has been said about the role that Twitter is playing in this. I wonder why that is?