Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Autumn Winter RSC Newsletter now Available Online

The Autumn Winter edition of the regional RSC West Midlands newsletter is now available. Packed with hints and tips for helping you to get more out of e-learning this free newsletter is a great way to keep informed about issues that affect all sectors.

Kirsty Hill, our Information Officer has now done a great job in sharing this edition and several back copies for you to view in a readable format online and share with colleagues at your leisure. She has also put a link to our newsletters and Senior Management Breifings on our website.

Of particular interest in this edition there’s:

1. Latest e-Learning Good Practice From Our Region
2. My StudyBar Saves Organisations £500,000
3. A Guide to Screencasting
4. LSIS Introduce Regional Development Managers
5. Save Yourself Time Online: RSS Feeds
6. Getting the Most From Moodle
7. RSC Launches Network-in-a-Box
8. Apple iPad is a Hit with the RSC
9. Green Tips From the Team
10. Regional Survey Results

If you’re a West Midlands based learning provider you should receive your own printed versions of our newsletters in the post, if for any reason you don’t please do get in touch.

If there is anything you would like to see covered in future editions of the newsletter please do let us know, we are always happy to receive feedback.

Happy reading!

To read more of Wobble click here.

Creating an Interactive Classroom

Last week saw the very first Interactive Classroom event run by RSC WM at the Science Park in Wolverhampton. This was a brand new taster event which introduced various pieces of technology and looked at ways these were being used in education.

Sessions in the morning covered two key brands of Interactive Whiteboards; Promethean and Smartboard and also offered a chance to try out the portable wireless mimeo whiteboard.

Later on, attendees were shown examples of some popular Learner Response Systems – these included Activote, Active expression, Turning point and Quizdom. Attendees also received a free DVD that helps to identify best practice in teaching and learning in terms of these systems. This lively session was followed by a demonstration of a text wall highlighting its uses for capturing learner voice and other possible uses.

The last session of the day highlighted the potential that Apple products such as the iPods, iPhones and the new iPad have for bringing additional interactivity to your classroom. Case studies based on these devices were shared and delegates were invited to try out the devices for themselves. Lots of ideas were generated for possible uses of these tools and particularly in the case of the iPad there were a lot of people saying they want one (this may be why!)

All in all the day was a lively one, with lots to see and try. It was the first we’ve done of these and it was certainly well received. Delegates commented:

“Gave me ideas on how I can incorporate some of the demonstrations into my everyday lesson to help learners progress and record their progress.”

“As a new teacher with very limited experience, I found the day invaluable.”

“Excellent look forward for more of these”

“Demonstrations on interactive board ... enabled me to identify how I could possibly use the tools and techniques available in my own lessons”

For those who couldn’t make this one, we hope to be running another of these days in the New Year so watch our events page for more. There is now a supporting wiki page available that now hosts many of the resources used and has lots of links and further information relating to the technologies covered.

If you would like any specific information on how you can incorporate interactive technologies in your own classroom please get in touch. As always, we are happy to discuss the needs of regional providers on an individual basis.


Related Wobble links:

The new iPad
Using Interactive Whiteboards: A Video Case Study
Interactive Whiteboard Links and Resources
Using Voting Systems with Interactive Whiteboards
Using iPods for Teaching
Things Learners can do with a Mobile Phone

To read more of Wobble click here.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Create and Convert for Accessible Learning Resources

For those not yet familiar with the Equality Act, Matt Gallons recent blog post is an excellent starting point for understanding its implications for learning providers. If you are familiar with the Act, you may be aware that it now puts the onus on learning providers to take reasonable steps to ensure that their information is accessible.

Good news - Create&Convert has been designed specifically to help learning providers comply with this Act.

Create&Convert is a free tool that can take documents in common electronic formats (like MS Office, Open Office etc) and turn them into ‘epubs’ or talking books. In very simple terms it’s a suite of free software tools that learning providers can use to support learners who are print-impaired, experience difficulties with reading or who prefer to access content in a flexible and multi-sensory format.

How do I get Create&Convert?

There are two versions of Create&Convert - Microsoft Word 2003/2007 version and OpenWriter. Both versions are free to download and both work portably from a USB pendrive. The Word 2003/2007 version can also be run from the desktop.
Download your own copy from the RSC Scotland website here.

Other help for accessible resources

To learn more about ways that that you can make your own documents more accessible or understand the duties of the Equalities Act, West Midlands based providers can also contact our Regional Accessibility and Inclusion Adviser, Alison Wootton (E-mail a.wootton@rsc-wm.ac.uk or tel: 01902 518984) The posts below also highlights a number of resources supporting accessibility which you may find useful.

Related Wobble links:

AccessApps - Free Portable Software on a Stick
Learning Technology Loan Initiative
Accessibility Overview
Portable Video Magnifier for Learners with Visual Impairments

To read more of Wobble click here.

FREE online courses for your Moodle (and training in how to use them)

TDM have created 10 free Moodle/Xerte courses that cover the ten business critical areas outlined below. They are now offering a number of training sessions that aim to demonstrate how these resources can be uploaded as courses into your own Moodle and adapted to your own organisational needs. (In addition these face to face sessions offer you the chance to ask more general questions about using Moodle and Xerte in your own organisation).

There are currently free resources available that cover the following areas:

* Business Improvement Techniques
* Business Systems / Processes
* Teamworking / Communication
* Customer Service
* Sales & Marketing
* IT User
* New Product Design
* Finance & Credit
* Cash-flow & Profit Management
* Risk Management

Available course dates for the training sessions in this region so far as follows:

1/2/5th November at Riverside Training (Hereford)
9/10/11th November at TDM (Bewdley)
16th November at BCTG (Oldbury)

Watch this space for more.

These resources were created using funding from the LSIS Flexibility and Innovation Fund that I shared details of previously. Its great to see the results of this funding now benefitting the wider work based learning sector.

For more information on these training sessions or the resources available contact Glenys Bradbury at TDM (glen@tdm.info, 01299 405 719)

To read more of Wobble click here.