Monday, 27 April 2009

Live Webcast - Increasingly Mobile Work Based Learning

As handheld gadgets such as phones, digital cameras and ipods get cheaper and more widespread, mobile learning is becoming more important for learning providers who want to be able to tap into their potential.

For that reason, during this years annual RSC online conference, Discover-e 2009, we have prepared a session that looks exclusively at mobile learning and explores how many of your learners own tools can be used to delivering learning and assessment away from a traditional classroom.

Di Dawson of DawsonLoane will be sharing some great tips and tricks with us, showing us how we can use mobile learning for capturing evidence, professional discussions, managing video, audio and much more. Di is familiar with both current and emerging practice so there’ll be lots of opportunity for discovery of new ideas.

For the session itself, we will present information live, using the free video conferencing tool Dim Dim, that we also used to deliver our conference sessions last year. This will enable anyone who is new to video conferencing to gain first hand experience of using that too – for free!

The full conference takes place over three days from 19th – 21st May and there’s plenty more in there to accommodate ALL learning providers. There'll be session on using e-portfolios, Moodle, games based learning and much more. To take part, you simply register online and access the live sessions by clicking on a given web address on the day – no special equipment required, just a pc with sound.

Hope you can make it!


Related Wobble links:

Go Mobile - free publication
Mobile Learning in the Work Based Learning Sector
Ten things learners can do with a mobile phone
Kineo's mobile learning guide (pdf)

To read more of Wobble click here.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Google Maps and Street View

I was quite amazed to discover recently just how powerful the new Google maps street view is.

I’ve always used Google Maps to plan my visits to learning providers but now with street view you can now see photographic 360 degree street level images of where you're going. This makes it possible to also see exactly what a building looks like, plan parking, and take a look around the area all before you set off. I can see how this tool would be useful for assessors or field workers, planning an initial journey out to see a learner on site.

The video below tells you more.

With street view still you still get the step by step route plan that Google maps has always had, but now you can see photographs at every stage of that journey. As for the applications outside of work, the mind boggles. I think the possibilities are enormous. It seems that so far there have been a few issues relating to privacy but Google assure us that these are being addressed.

This street view is only available in major cities in the UK at the moment so Birmingham is covered but many areas aren’t yet. (E-guides may well recognise the image below.) I’ll certainly be watching this space - I imagine it won’t be long before most of our homes and offices are on there too.

To read more of Wobble click here.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Accomodating Your Learners with Assistive Technology

All learning providers have a legal duty to ensure that learner’s needs are accommodated wherever possible, and technology can go a long way towards supporting this. In particular, assistive technologies are products that can be used help to improve the capabilities of learners with learning difficulties or physical disabilities. This could include those with a visual or hearing impairment, or learning difficulty such as dyslexia.

On 7th July we will be running an afternoon training session, here in Wolverhampton that focuses on assistive technologies. This will be aimed at those who want to further their understanding of ways that technology can be used to support all learners. It will be an informal session offering people the chance to try out various examples of hardware and software including:

• Assistive keyboards (including large keys and keyboard overlays)
• Mouse alternatives - Trackerballs and GyroMice
• Write assist tools (Read and Write Gold, Word Bar, Clicker)
• Recording tools (digital cameras, mp3 players)
• Pen scanners
• Plus some low tech options (simple coloured overlays, organisation tools)

The session will also look at Accessibility Apps – a USB flash drive which contains over 40 free applications that can support writing, reading, planning and learning, as well as visual and mobility difficulties.

To book your free place, use the link on our website or contact Alison Wootton for more details.

Related wobble links:

An Overview of Accessibility

To read more of Wobble click here.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Copyright Free Images for Resources

My sister reminded me this week of a post that I had written previously about finding copyright free images. I thought it also worth sharing something about this here, as I’ve been showing people how to create their own resources for e-learning recently and finding images that ‘are okay to use’ seems to often come up.

The post she was referring to was here. That has a number of photgraphs in several categories that you can use for free.

FlickrCC is another site I now use, and one which allows you to choose images for editing or for commercial use.

"In a search, the panel on the left of the page displays the first 36 matching photos. You click on any of these thumbnails to get a slightly larger image and the attribution details displayed in the right hand section. Right click the image and 'save image as' if you want to use that size, or click on the link in the text to go to flickr and chose a different sized image. Don't forget to include the attribution text in any work you produce using the picture."

A more recent addition to the image collections options, PicFindr might also be of use, as it searches ten different sites to find images you can freely use in your own work. Thanks to Matt Gallon, our Learning Resources Advisor for that one.

Related Wobble links:

Internet for Image Searching
Finding Resources to Re-use in Teaching

To read more of Wobble click here.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Trying E-Learning, Hands On

Last week a colleague, (Jane Edwards) and I spent the day with staff from two regional training providers, as part of some staff development which offered an introduction to e-learning. Whilst there, we highlighted a number of tools that can be used for e-learning including voice recorders, pocket projectors, ultra-mobile pcs, ipods, digital cameras and more.

The most popular of these devices seemed to be the small digital video camcorders and digital notepads, which are generally proving popular in the sector right now.

During the afternoon we looked at a number of tools for creating resources that could be used for marketing your centre or as interactive learning materials. Here we focussed on a couple of tools that were also featured in last week’s e-guide conference as they’re not only free but very popular because of their ease of use. The first was Exe, a free authoring tool, and the second was Microsoft Photostory.

We were inspired to see their finished results at the end of the day, movies made entirely of photographs taken during the session and interactive multiple choice exercises, converted from paper to run as web pages with learner feedback. (The image above shows the work in progress!)

Overall it was a good day, and great to see such enthusiasm for the potential of e-learning. Thanks to all the staff from Protocol Consultancy Services and Birmingham Hotel & Catering Academy who made the event both enjoyable and interesting!


Related Wobble links:

Pocket-sized Video Camcorders
Digital Notepads and Their Uses
Creating E-Resources, Trainers Doing it for Themselves
Digital Storytelling with Photostory

To read more of Wobble click here.

Using Interactive Whiteboards: A Video Case Study

This five minute video features staff, managers and learners talking about their experiences of using whiteboards for delivering NVQs. It highlights the many ways that a particular provider is currently use their whiteboards, including using “Who want to be a millionaire” type quizzes at the start of session to recap.

The short film, focuses on a Stockport based provider, Lite Ltd, and was recently produced by the Excellence Gateway as part of their “Excellence Gateway TV”. It’s an inspiring video and great to see how all those featured in it now see the whiteboard as a core part of their training delivery.

Good to see that you can now also download this video, as this could be useful for any other providers wanting to share it locally with their own staff. (Through a Virtual Learning Environment perhaps or a dedicated shared area for whiteboard resources.)

Following on from the three Interactive Whiteboard sessions that we have run at the RSC I’ve also previously set up a wiki page full of links and resources that support using whiteboards. Feel free to use and share those.

There’s still much demand for support of whiteboards so we may offer some additional support in this area in the future - as always, watch this space or our events page for details. Speaking of watching, I’ll also be watching more Excellence Gateway TV for snippets of info which focus on effective ways of using technology in work based learning!


Related wobble links:

E-Learning Case Studies by Sector and Region
Interactive Whiteboard Links and Resources

To read more of Wobble click here.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

E-Learning Events: Dates for Your Diary

The following E-learning events are taking place in the next few months:

West Midlands E-Guides Forum - Thursday 23rd April

This half day forum, aims to support the growing number of e-guides in the West Midlands region. As well as the usual sharing of best practise, experiences and ideas, this one will also include a presentation on how various learning technologies can be used within work based learning. Jane and I will also feedback on last weeks e-guides conference events for anyone who missed it. Booking for the forum is through our website.

RSC West Midlands Online Conference - 19 May to 21 May

This year’s annual RSC West Midlands conference, runs over 3 days and takes place completely online through our virtual learning environment, Moodle.

If you’ve never experienced an online conference before, or are unfamiliar with Moodle this is a great way to see it in use and discover what all the fuss is about! With another 16 training providers in this region recently signed up for their own ‘Moodles’ it’s evident that it must offer some benefits for work based learning!

This year’s themes are personalizing e-learning, managing access to e-learning and game for Learning. Topics covered will include Mobile learning, E-portfolios, Games-based learning and more. Registration is through the website.

Association of Learning providers Annual Conference – 13th/14th May

Finally, it’s worth noting that this year’s ALP conference will be held next month at the East Midlands Convention Centre, Nottingham. ALP have been a key player in the development of e-leaning in the work based learning sector - through their recent programme of Learner Innovation Grants they have funded e-learning projects to the tune of approximately £10 million so far!


Related wobble links:

Last years online video conference
E-Guides Leading by Example
ALP's Learner Innovation Grants

To read more of Wobble click here.

What to Look For in a Digital Voice Recorder

Digital voice recorders are being used more and more in work based learning and previously I have been asked what to look for when buying one. I recently noticed that Jay Dougherty had done a good job of answering that particular question in this post.

What Jay considers are points to note:

* Sound quality
* Storage
* Features
* Controls
* Batteries

The full article explains these in more detail.

(Jay notes that prices range from ‘a low of just over 20 dollars to over 200 dollars’ which is in the USA. In the UK, a quick search shows products ranging from less than £20 to over £300).

If you’re thinking of investing in voice recorders yourself, that post is a good first place to start. A second is here or here for examples of ways they are already being used in work based learning.

To read more of Wobble click here.