Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Netbooks - everything you need to know!

One of RSC Scotland’s newsletters has just caught my eye with an interesting article on netbooks or ultra mobile pcs.

In their latest edition of "E-Quality - a netbooks special", Martin Hawksey, eLearning Advisor for the RSC Scotland North & East discusses the pros and cons of netbooks. He discusses a number of things learning providers should consider before investing in them, focussing on their operating systems, issues relating to connectivity, screen resolution, storage and size. He then goes on to address the all important question…

...Which Netbook should I buy?

Net books are becoming increasingly popular in work based learning because of their size, portability and their affordability. They are also useful because a lot of data and applications are now being stored online and staff and students can access these resources from anywhere using these devices. On his blog, Tony Vincent also discusses why they’re making such a big splash.

Like Tony and Martin, I expect we will see a lot more netbooks making their way into education and training, making this E-Quality article useful pre-purchase reading.

We are running several projects ourselves at the moment that focus on how netbooks can be used for teaching/training and will feedback on the experiences from these when completed. In the meantime, this Excellence Gateway case study shows how Nottinghamshire County Council are using these and outlines some of their findings so far.

Monday, 16 February 2009

E-Portfolios for Starters

This short animation shows the benefits of owning and using an e-portfolio. I think its a nice introduction outling some of what an e-portfolio can do. It refers to a learner based in a university but the same could easily be applied to a work based learner.

Thanks to Derrin Kent for sharing it with me.

Related wobble links:

New Midlands E-Portfolio Group
Use of e-portfolios in assessment
Legal Issues of E-Portfolios (and Web 2.0)

Friday, 13 February 2009

Free Training in Creating and Finding Electronic Learning Resources

If you’re delivering any kind of learning you will know that effective and engaging learning resources can make a real difference to your learner’s experience. Similarly, the success of any e-learning owes much to the quality of the electronic resources it uses.

To support this area and help learning provider staff discover and create engaging electronic resources, RSC West Midlands are holding a free one day workshop that focuses on resources for e-learning.

In this workshop, staff can learn how to create their own e-learning materials using a number of free software packages including the popular Photostory. We will also show you how to search effectively for resources using the web and will show a sample of existing materials that are available for the work based learning sector to freely access.

The day is all about discovery, so all delegates are asked to bring along at least one object or resource that they use in their teaching and that they have found to be useful or popular. (We believe it’s good to share!)

The full day event will take place at Wolverhampton Science Park on 11th March. Places will be limited to two per learning provider and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

For more information or to book online visit the events page of our website. Look forward to seeing you there!

Photo credit: Andres Rodriguez

Related links:

Create your own Jigsaws Online
Digital Storytelling with Photostory
Creating E-Resources, Trainers Doing it for Themselves

Upcoming Webcasts - Accessible from where you are

This month and next RSC Scotland have some interesting subjects lined up for a series of webcasts that they’ll be hosting online using Instant Presenter. The webcasts will all be accessible from simple web links and will allow participants to interact with presenters discussing particular topics. Viewers can also interact with other online attendees via text chat.

The following sessions are lined up for the next month:

Using Blogs for teaching and learning (17th February)
Access this session to find out more about blogging and how it can be applied to teaching and training.

Using Voting Systems for teaching and learning (3rd March 2009)
This session will look at the various types of Electronic Voting Systems on the market and how they can be used to make lessons more fun.

Mobile Technologies for teaching and learning (31st March 2009)
This session will outline the possibilities for the application of mobile technologies for teaching and will also highlight some of the issues that need consideration by learning providers.

To access any of these online sessions you’ll first need to follow the urls above and register your interest, RSC Scotland will then take it from there. Then on the day, log in with your allocated url, sit back, listen and enjoy!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Go Mobile - free publication

I’ve just stumbled across an interesting looking publication on a colleague’s desk called “Go Mobile -Maximising the potential of mobile technologies for learners with disabilities”. This new publication has been developed jointly by the Learning and Skills Network (LSN) and JISC TechDis to showcase stories from the Molenet projects. It focuses on the use of mobile technologies for learners with learning difficulties, but also offer of examples of ways that mobile devices can be used more generally to engage all learners.

The case studies show how learning providers nationally are using mobile technologies and once again it’s great to see examples from this region included (good work New College Worcester! As I’ve noted before, us Midlanders really are keen on learning!)

The 60 page booklet also comes with an accompanying DVD ROM which enables everyone to get involved in mobile learning. Its title “Upwardly mobile – getting started in inclusive m-learning” highlights its role as a toolkit for those new to m-learning.

Over in Wales, Helen Hodges notes that the DVD….

“.. contains a huge amount of information with loads of really easy to follow guidance on how to create text, image, audio and video resources (from both the tutor and learner’s point of view) for the mobile devices, using a lot of things that are free or you are likely to have access too already. My favourites so far are:

* using Powerpoint and a free GIF animator (UnFreez) to make animated images for a mobile device …
click here for a ‘walkthough’ of how to do this
* making use of a BT phone with the 1571 answerphone service enabled and access to the account online to create an audio mp3 recording …
click here for more details...”

I have a few spare copies of the booklet with DVD to give away so if you would like a free copy for your own organisation, send me an email with your name and address and I’ll get one out to you.


Related links:

Mobile Learning in the Work Based Learning Sector
Ten things learners can do with a mobile phone
Kineo's mobile learning guide (pdf)
Moleshare site for mobile learning resources

New Midlands E-Portfolio Group

With a growing number of e-portfolio users in the Midlands area, the East and West Midlands Regional Support Centres have jointly launched a new online forum to support the region.

The forum "Midlands E-Portfolio Group" or MEG for short, has been set up to offer support for people who are either using e-portfolios or thinking of using e-portfolios as part of their practice. The site should also prove useful as a point of reference and as a place to ask questions of other e-portfolio users.

The online group will also be supported by RSC organized face to face events, which provide opportunities for networking and show and tell sessions to share best practice amongst e-portfolio users.

You don't have to register to use the site, however its worth noting that by registering you will get to actively participate in discussions and ensure you are kept fully up to date on issues relating to e-portfolio usage. To join the group, post messages or register to receive the latest updates, you simply create an account using the 'join the group' link on the right of the main page.

To get started, learn more or read the current discussions simply visit the Midlands e-Portfolio Group page. We look forward to keeping you posted.