Thursday, 8 December 2011

Little Guides for Digital Media Topics

JISC Digital Media have created a series of 'Little Guides' to address some of the queries and questions that they are often asked. See below for the list of current titles (all in pdf format):

The Little Guide to Finding Digital Media Resources
The Little Guide to Copyright
The Little Guide to Cloud Computing
The Little Guide to Podcasting
The Little Guide to Screencasting

If you would like to suggest a 'Little Guide' subject area yourself you can do so, just comment using their helpdesk form.

I look forward to seeing more of these little guides emerge as they are useful for signposting and nicely summarising some of todays popular topics.

To read more of Wobble click here.

Discovering Mentoring and using it to Enhance Student Experience

Wherever you work in the FE and skills sectors, the forthcoming changes in our education system increases the pressure to stay competitive. This makes it important to meet or exceed student expectations and find new ways of enhancing the student experience.

Providing mentoring opportunities, from peers and partners, offers opportunities to fulfil this need effectively, helping to improve retention and student success. What's more, mentors and mentees can gain confidence and skills that will be of substantial benefit to them personally.

A free webinar will take place online next Wednesday (14th Dec) between 12:30 and 13:45 and will offer an overview of Mentoring – outlining what it is & how it may be useful, followed by actual examples of schemes that are running for current students in the region. It will also talk about encouraging new learners and bringing employers and students together. The session will define the concept of mentoring and its benefits examine processes and technology for putting mentoring schemes in to place and illustrate these with practical working examples aimed at first or final year students.

The event is suitable for all staff concerned with employability and learner experience including senior managers, e-learning and quality managers, course leaders, particularly those involved in HE teaching provision, and support staff concerned with student welfare, careers, retention and employability. HR staff may also be interested with regard to staff CPD.

Find out more or register for your free place on our Event booking page.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Same great service – one new website

JISC Regional Support Centres (RSCs) are pleased to announce the launch of their new website -

The 12 RSCs - operating as a UK wide support network - have a proven track record across the sector for providing expert advice and guidance in the effective use of technology. The website provides a common route to news, events and resources, increasing user access to a richer seam of information from all RSCs, whilst maintaining regional connections.

Key features of the new website include:

  • Seamless access to information from both a UK and regional perspective

  • Up-to-date news and event listings

  • Advice and guidance on how RSCs support you and your organisation - from maximising efficiencies to enhancing the student experience.

***The West Midlands Regional Support Centre's website can now be found at Please note that although our old website address has a redirect in place (which will take users straight to the new website), you may need to update any existing bookmarks***

Thursday, 17 November 2011

E-Learning for Beginners

Each year we run a free one day event that is aimed tutors and trainers working in the Further Education and Skills Sector, who are completely new to e-learning and ILT. The aim of this event is to offer them a taste of e-learning and a chance to see what technology can do to support education. It's also a chance to be inspired and see what technologies or topics might be emerging that could help you with your teaching practice.

This year the full day event will include sessions on:

  • Sharing and finding electronic resources

  • Using the IFL REFLECT e-portfolio to record CPD Practice

  • Assistive Technology Workshop

  • Tech On A Budget

  • Emerging Technologies (or 7 Things You Should Know About)

  • Using a Wiki to Support your Teaching

  • The Wonderful World of Word Clouds

  • Teaching and Learning safely online

The event has proved very popular in previous years and has therefore been limited to three people per learning provider with places being allocated on a first come, first served basis.

This event is free to attend, with lunch and refreshments provided. To book visit the page on our website.

We look forward to seeing some of you there!

Preparing Learners for a Digital Future

I’ve previously noted the importance of digital literacy for education, which essentially involves learners (and staff) having access to a broad range of skills and resources that they are able to apply to using digital tools.

It’s an area of growing concern and much is being done to help learning providers discover ways that they can support digital literacy for their own teaching staff and learners. This has obvious benefits, not just in terms of engagement with technology for teaching and learning, but also to support work in an increasingly digital age.

To support this area the RSC West Midlands is working jointly with the East Midlands to host an event in Birmingham on 9th December, which introduces the concept of digital literacy and how you can develop it among your learners.

This includes:

· An outline of the JISC Digital Literacy programme and support available
· Definition of Digital Literacy and what attributes a digitally literate learner has.
· How can you move forward as an organisation in developing Digital Literacy?
· Exploration of the 7 Pillars model of Information Literacy and its relevance to the wider Digital Literacy topic
· Local case study of good practice in promoting and teaching Digital Literacy
· Review of national Digital Literacy good practice examples

Click here for further information, or to book. (Spaces for this are limited so book early to avoid disappointment!)

For more on digital literacy in terms of helping teachers to integrate the development of students’ skills into everyday teaching and learning, this previous post highlights some staff development resources which might also be useful.

This post also shows how students are already engaging with technology which demonstrates how by their own volition they are embedding some digital literacy into their everyday practice. Even more of an argument for getting teaching staff on board!

To read more of Wobble click here.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

LSIS Funding for Excellence Gateway Projects

The Excellence Gateway is undergoing significant development at the moment. To support this work the Excellence Gateway team at LSIS has recently announced funding opportunities for six provider-led projects which will help them to further improve access to the Gateway's content and services.

They are planning to fund the following areas of work:

  • Review and improvement of a nominated area of content, including retagging of items. Total funding of up to £75,000 (inc VAT) is available for this strand of work, which will consist of three projects, each funded up to a maximum of£25,000 (inc VAT).

  • Creation of resources to support users of the Excellence Gateway, including user guides. Funding of up to £25,000 (inc VAT).

  • Sustainable development of key National Learning Network (NLN) materials, which are currently hosted by LSIS. Total funding of up to £20,000 (inc VAT) is available for this strand of work, which will consist of two projects, each funded up to a maximum of £10,000 (inc VAT).

The deadline for completion of each of the projects is March 31st 2012. Further details, and the closing date for applications, can be found on the LSIS website.

To read more of Wobble click here.

Discounted Mahara E-Portfolio Training

In this previous post I shared a video which outlined the benefits of using an e-portfolio. Incredibly that was over two years ago, and certainly e-portfolios have come a long way since then! It will come as no surprise then that various types of e-portfolios have now been adopted by learning providers who have been quick to realise their benefits for helping their learners to:

  • Review and plan their learning,

  • Provide evidence for an award or an employer;

  • Reflecting on activities and plan future directions;

  • Give appropriate views of achievement to appropriate people, for example, teachers, mentors, careers advisers, potential employers

  • Linking achievement and work with the skills required by employers.

  • In support of this growing area we have run a number of e-portfolio events in these past two years, the most recent of which introduced the open source Mahara E-Portfolio system. This offered teaching staff the chance to get to grips with Mahara and receive accreditation for the training that they had received. We were also fortunate enough to be able to offer that course at significantly reduced rates for our supported providers.

    That last event was oversubscribed and the feedback was also very positive which has led us to repeat this course, again with significant reductions in price, exclusively for our supported providers in this region.

    Usually this course is offered at a cost is £510 but we are able to offer it at £225 (inclusive of VAT) offering you a huge saving of £285! What’s more, to enable you to make the most of the training, we offer all attendees a Mahara e-portfolio, hosted by us until the end of the academic year.

    To find out more or your book your place visit our website.

    Delegates comments from the last event:

    “… the course provided a good range of examples and different experiences from the other course members as well as detailed training on the use of Mahara.”

    “…Now I have a better understanding of the capabilities of Mahara I can recommend a number of possible applications”.

    “…the training allowed me to ask questions that were specific to my college. Without these answers, I may not have been able to go ahead with Mahara so confidently.”

    “…I learned how to export an ePortfolio into a standalone web page format, which was really helpful, as it can allow students to use Mahara in different ways outside of the college.”

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Tuesday, 25 October 2011

    Developing e-Learning Skills and Course Design

    Are you looking to understand how to create e-Learning that is instructionally sound? If yes, then read on for details of a course designed to introduce you to approaches to e-Learning and creating informative e-Learning courses.

    Approaches to e-Learning and Developing a Pedagogically Sound e-Learning” is an eight week online course that has been developed by e-Learning Studios. Its aim is to educate vocational trainers and educators in a range of e-Learning methods, innovations and technologies to better connect them with a new generation of learners. The course consists of a series of webinars, e-Learning modules and a learning network where learners can share ideas and engage in peer to peer learning.

    The course aims to:

    Provide an introduction to a range of different approaches to e-Learning

    Provide guidance, resources and opportunities to vocational teachers and trainers for practice in creating and delivering a range of different types of e-Learning

    Help you to understand and apply pedagogically sound principles to e-Learning design, gain basic instructional design skills and apply the principles of good practice to e-Learning.

    This course also includes an accreditation certificate in the subject of e-Learning.

    Typical areas covered include:

    · WebQuests and podcasts
    · Creating videos for your e-Learning course
    · Delivering training sessions through a virtual classroom
    · Instructional Design
    · Visual design and storyboarding
    · Developing an e-Learning course using a rapid authoring tool

    It also considers quality and good practice in e-Learning and the effects of culture and diversity.

    The next course starts on 17th November 2011 and costs £495 plus VAT. Places are limited but there is still some limited availability. To apply please contact Parul Thakrar for an application pack at:

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Wednesday, 28 September 2011

    Tablet Project - Good News and Bad news…

    Many thanks to those of you that submitted applications for our new 2011 Tablet Devices Project. During the past few weeks we have received some fanatic proposals for ways that these can be used for education and training and we are excited to see how these pan out in practice. If it works as well as the last Mobile Learning Project we expect we will be able to share some great feedback with you all regarding the use of tablets for teaching and learning.

    So, the bad news…

    We have had unprecedented demand for this project and so now we have suspended taking any new applications at this stage. This is merely to avoid delay and disappointment as we would like Learning Providers to have an appropriate amount of time to trial the kit effectively.

    And the good news…?

    We have now purchased an additional set of devices which will mean that if you are on the project list, you will now receive your set of devices sooner than would’ve otherwise been the case. We are currently scheduling the project loans and will be in touch with all participating Learning Providers in due course.

    In the meantime we will continue to post findings about this project on the project wiki page as they emerge. We have already recently updated the page with a selection of CNET reviews that might help anyone interested in evaluating tablet devices make judgements on the usability, pros and cons of each.

    Related Wobble links:

    Your Chance to Evaluate Tablet Devices
    Lessons Learned - Learning Journey Made Mobile
    Using Tablet Devices in Learning, Teaching and Education

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Upcoming Webinars - Training Where You Are

    We have a number of online RSC events coming up over the next few months. These will be conducted via webinars so to attend you don’t have to leave the comfort of your office! All you need to take part is:

    · a computer with an internet connection
    · a headset (with microphone if you wish to speak in the open mike part of a webinar)
    · a headset or speakers

    (See the Beginner Guide to webinars for more.)


    Our upcoming RSC e-safety seminar will examine the challenges faced when educating ourselves and our learners to be eSafe and suggest ways to raise e-Safety awareness.

    This session will also highlight our NEW e-Safety Review service and point to a number of useful online resources that offer e-Safety advice and guidance from both operational and strategic perspectives.

    Measuring Moodle Usage

    A second webinar will demonstrate the RSC West Midlands free Moodle Stats application. Many learning providers in the region use Moodle as their virtual learning environment (VLE) but how do you measure the impact of Moodle on the learner’s experience? A good place to start is to evaluate how much Moodle is actually being used.

    This event will showcase a Microsoft Access application that uses the Moodle log to produce reports and charts which will help learning providers analyse their Moodle usage.

    Staff Development Managers Forum

    The aim of this session is to facilitate discussion on good practice relating to staff development issues and e-learning across the West Midlands region. The agenda will focus on two areas. Firstly, the role and services of the RSC West Midlands and what we can do for you. Secondly, participants will have the opportunity to discuss any issues or highlight good practice.

    Topics covered will include:

    The updated RSC e-Progress Review Service, new RSC Assist Mentoring project, Technology Loan Projects and Initiatives, Accessibility, Take Away Moodle course and Fluke Network Diagnostic loan. This will be followed by an Open Mike session for participants.

    More information and booking forms for any of these events can be made on our Events page.

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Wednesday, 31 August 2011

    Your Chance to Evaluate Tablet Devices

    As we all continue to experience the government’s austerity measures, the evaluation and acquisition of new technologies can sometimes fall by the wayside. If only there was a way that learning providers could access a collection of cutting-edge pieces of technology to evaluate their relevance and suitability to support business objectives...for free?!

    Well, due to the recent success of our mobile technologies project we have elected to once again provide a similar opportunity to all sectors in a new initiative, our Tablet Devices Project.

    For this project we are now looking for learning providers who wish to explore a variety of popular tablets devices and to see how these might benefit their own organisation. There are six brands of tablet devices available, each with differing features and specifications. This is to offer providers the opportunity to evaluate a number of sizes, specifications, and models.

    Learning providers will be able to loan a set of five different devices for a period of six weeks. During this time you are encouraged to use them with staff and learners and at the end of the period feedback your findings to us via a short survey. RSC staff will support you throughout the duration of the project and via our usual support channels and answer any queries you may have about the devices.

    At the end of the period, the tablet devices must be returned to us. At that stage we hope you will be better informed as to their potential and perhaps in a position to make your own purchasing choices should you wish to do so.

    Who can apply?
    This initiative is open to all of our supported learning providers; all that is required is a willingness to see what tablet devices can do for you, and to complete a short survey at the end which will be used to feedback your findings.

    Where can I find out more?
    A wiki page has been created to offer further information about the project. Here you can find out more about the aims of the project, which devices are available, how to apply and how to gain access to a number of tools and resources to support you during your evaluation of the equipment.


    Related Wobble links:

    Lessons Learned - Learning Journey Made Mobile
    Using Tablet Devices in Learning, Teaching and Education
    Alternatives to the iPad

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Tuesday, 30 August 2011

    New LSIS Leadership in Technology Grants

    LSIS have made more funding available to support the deployment of technology in the Further Education and Skills Sector.

    They are inviting bids up to a maximum of £6,000 from learning providers for project grants for technology based improvement interventions. The grant is designed to support providers who identify a particular improvement that can be tackled through the innovative use of technology and organisational development. The scheme aims to use sector expertise and best practice through mentoring, coupled with support from targeted LSIS Technology for Success programme activity.

    To qualify for the grant organisations are required to:

    • Identify a particular area for improvement that can be tackled through the effective deployment of technology.

    • Identify the change management that needs to take place to embed effective practice and show how this will be part of the organisational improvement strategy.

    • Select a mentor from another organisation.

    The LSIS LIT grant based intervention is only open to organisations in England whose primary function is as a provider of further education and training. Eligible providers will be SFA/YPLA funded organisations.

    Please see the guidelines and application form on their website for full details.

    The deadline for applications is 12.00pm on Monday 26 September 2011.

    Supporting documents:

    LIT Grant Guidance document (PDF, 173KB)
    LIT Application Form (DOC, 222KB)

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Monday, 29 August 2011

    Why Students Love Technology

    Some very interesting facts and figures showing how today's students engage with technology...

    Students Love Technology


    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Saturday, 27 August 2011

    Prezi Meeting for Working Together

    I shared a post recently from a library that had used Prezi to share information relating to their use of Facebook and add some zing to their presentations. I’ve since discovered that Prezi now has a feature called Prezi Meeting which allows a number of students (or staff) to work together to produce presentations in this exciting format.

    Prezi is a popular, free web-based presentation application and storytelling tool that uses a single canvas instead of traditional slides.

    Rob Newberry, the Director of Education Technology at Chatsworth International School has been using Prezi for a while now. So rather than me outlining the benefits myself, here’s what Rob had to say after using Prezi Meeting with his students in the classroom:

    “ …Prezi Meeting allows students to work with students in other classes, and then other schools, ultimately work with students in other countries around the world.

    Prezi is nothing new for Rob: as a teacher he finds it ultimately engaging – the way information is laid out makes it so much more accessible. Similarly, the fact that it is collaborative, can incorporate multimedia, and lends itself nicely for embedding in student’s ePortfolios make it a very powerful tool for organization, presentation and displaying learning. After having used it for a few weeks, Rob thinks the best part of Prezi Meeting is that after one invite – that Prezi is always collaborative. He doesn’t need to keep inviting students to collaborate, and once they invite each other – they are collaborators forever. ..”

    There’s a video on the Prezi website that shows how it works, and an introduction embedded below.

    For anyone who is trying to move people away from powerpoint, but has not yet tried Prezi, see what's great about it here.

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Tuesday, 2 August 2011

    Using Tablet Devices in Learning, Teaching and Education

    David Massey has recently published a very good article on his blog that nicely outlines some of the many benefits of using tablet devices in education.

    Looking specifically at the new HP TouchPad, the following are just a few of the benefits he has noted:
    • Delivering presentations (either using the tablet to view the slides as you face the audience or class and could be used to display a presentation script)

    • Recording attendance (quick mobile method of recording attendance instead of using a traditional paper form, tracking spreadsheet or other electronic tracking system)

    • Use to display a variety of content to learners in order to demonstrate, explain concepts or use questioning within subject area, for example, like traditional flash cards

    • Acts as an extension to the main computer, allowing you to continue to access files, resources and other content on the tablet when away from the computer

    • Access Learning Management Systems (such as Moodle) as you continue to move around classroom or through learning areas and rooms, allowing you to conveniently check progress, assign tests and due to the mobile portable form factor discuss aspects whilst with the learner if carrying out a review.....

    There are more noted in his post which can be accessed here.

    He also notes that:

    "...In terms of accessibility, due to a disability or other difficulties, then the TouchPad tablet is flexible in being able to resize the on-screen keyboard to your own preference (extra small, small, medium or large) or alternate between settings depending on the task being carried out."

    This is exactly why we have included the new Apple iPad in our collection of Try Before you Buy kit (Currently available for loan!).

    For work based learning in particular, David notes that :

    "...tablets can be used in all sectors of education, whether primary, secondary, post-16 or workplace learning. Especially convenient for training and assessing in the workplace for recording actions of the learners whilst being able to move around with it, due to its space saving size and form factor. It is also a useful flexible tool for assessment purposes and to record progress, as the included camera could be used for evidence purposes, where as compared to using traditional methods, you would need to use a computer, which is probably away from the required work area, separate camera and then upload pictures to record assessment evidence."

    He concludes...

    "...Over recent years, tablet devices have become a popular new market area and in the future I believe they will continue to grow further for general use as well as within specialist areas such as learning, teaching and education."

    I agree, and recommend this article as useful background reading to anyone wondering why tablet devices are creating a buzz in education.


    Related Wobble links:

    Learning Journey Made Mobile Report - This looked at how several learning providers had used tablet devices in the West Midlands Region

    Learning Technology Loan - New Devices Now Available
    20 Free Apps for the IPad
    20 Useful Android Apps for Students
    Alternatives to the iPad

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Monday, 1 August 2011

    Facebook for Libraries (and others)

    A colleague shared this presentation with me earlier, which outlines some of the things to consider when using Facebook in libraries. The same hints and tips could also apply to most other education providers who are considering or already using facebook so I've shared the presentation below.

    I love the format of these type of Prezi presentations and think this one in particular gets the points across very well.

    If you want to have a go at creating your own, click here.

    PS If you're an existing facebook user, why not add us as a freind? Find us here.

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Friday, 29 July 2011

    More e-Learning Kit Available to Try Before You Buy

    I’ve mentioned our Try Before you Buy scheme on wobble previously. Basically, this initiative allows you as a learning provider, to loan a number of e-learning devices for a fixed period. This is so that you are able to evaluate their potential usefulness within your own organisation.

    Each collection of kit contains a wealth of items which aim to help you to bring the benefits of e-learning to all your learners whilst supporting accessibility at the same time. A full list of the devices available for loan can be found in this post, and feedback from providers who have taken part can be found here.

    I have a couple of updates to this scheme to share:

    1. The first is that the list of kit available has now been updated to include some very exciting new tools! The new additions include an Apple iPad, a Live Scribe pen (alternative to the ZPen) and a Sony Dual Video camera (this is to replace the Flip Video cameras which are no longer manufactured).

    2. The second update is that Alison Wootton, our Adviser for Accessibility and Inclusion, has recently produced a report which shares some of the findings from people who have already trialled these bags of kit. Many providers reported that this initiative has really helped them in evaluating a range of technology that is available to support e-learning and accessibility in particular. You can access this report here.

    This initiative is still open to all our supported learning providers in this region. All that is required to loan a complete set of kit for a period of six weeks is:

    · You must commit to an hour’s initial training, (to introduce you to the tools and outline the project aims), and
    · You must complete a short end of project review in which we would discuss your use of the technology.

    There are no costs associated with taking part in this initiative. To apply to borrow this equipment, you need to register your interest with me and I’ll add your name to the list. My contact details are also here.

    I suspect the chance to try out a brand new iPad for six weeks will be an attractive prospect in its own right (here’s why). As before, registrations will be treated on a first come first served basis so act quickly if you want to take part anytime soon!


    Related Wobble links:

    Learning Technology Loan InitiativeTry Before you Buy – Feedback so Far
    20 Free Apps for the IPad
    Accessibility Overview
    Sanyo Xacti Digital Video Camcorder

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Thursday, 28 July 2011

    Digital Literacy - Professional Development Resource

    This morning a colleague shared some information with me relating to Digital Literacy after a provider requested some advice for their staff development planning.

    Why include Digital Literacy in staff development? This resource answers that as follows:

    “Digital literacy is ..coming to the attention of educators as they recognise that not only does the teaching profession have a role in preparing learners for a digital world, but that a sustained engagement with technology and media is now integral to the development of knowledge across disciplines and subjects.

    To be digitally literate is to have access to a broad range of skills, practices and cultural resources that you are able to apply to digital tools. It is the ability to make, represent and share meaning in different modes and formats; to create, collaborate and communicate effectively; and to understand how and when digital technologies can best be used to support these processes.”

    That’s where this Futurelabs Professional Development Resource comes in. It is designed to support teachers integrate the development of students’ digital literacy into everyday teaching and learning.

    The collection of activities, which can be undertaken by a single teacher or a small group of practitioners, is divided into sections. The first section aims to develop practitioners’ understandings of digital literacy and its relevance to their own contexts. The materials in the second, third and fourth sections are designed to help teachers plan activities they can integrate into their everyday teaching to support students to develop both subject knowledge and digital literacy.

    These sections include practical ideas for the classroom, including explorations of free web based tools and activities to support planning.

    This looks like a really useful tool and should prove helpful to anyone who wants to ensure that they cover the main components of digital literacy in their own staff development activities. It is essentially aimed at teachers but could easily be just as useful to other teaching staff. If not used as a complete resource, it still has useful sections on:

    · Making short films
    · Creating animations
    · Making podcasts
    · Creating a wiki
    · Creating a website
    · Free Online Tools Resource Bank

    Thanks to Matt Gallon, our Learning Resources Advisor, for sharing.

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Your Support - Your Say!

    At the RSC we’re always keen to hear your thoughts on how we can shape our support services to meet your regional needs. This is especially important for us at this time of year as we focus on planning future activities that will support you over the next twelve months. Now, I don’t do it often but this time around I’d like to ask for your help and input - and just thirty seconds of your time should do it!

    We have a broad range of activities planned for the next twelve months, including face to face training events, online webinars, in house support sessions, cross regional activities and much more. However, I’d be very interested to hear of any topics or specific forms of support that you feel would help in your adoption of e-learning. All comments and suggestions will be completely anonymous but will help me to ensure that your needs are accommodated within our forward plans, as far as is possible.

    To help me with this, please complete the single question on this page and click submit. (It uses a very simple free Google survey which I mentioned how to do in this previous post).

    I hope you’re able to help and thank you in advance for your time. As Wobble readers your input is very valuable to me.

    I’ll keep you posted on what your suggestions, recommendations are, and what to expect from us in the next twelve months. We look forward to supporting you further over this next year!
    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Wednesday, 27 July 2011

    20 Useful Android Apps for Students

    A colleague recently pointed out that Warwickshire College had posted a link to 20 useful android apps for students on their facebook page. With so many learners now using smartphones/other mobile devices to support apsects of their education and training this might be useful to share.

    The twenty apps that Dean Sherwin thinks would be most useful to students can be found here.

    A useful list for android users, the list of tools compares nicely with the Top Twenty free iPad apps I shared earlier in ther year.

    (Thanks for sharing Kirsty).


    Related Wobble links:

    Alternatives to the iPad
    20 Free Apps for the IPad
    Lessons Learned - Learning Journey Made Mobile

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Moodle Courses for Training Providers

    I've been asked recently about any Moodle courses that are freely available to download or build upon to save training providers from re-inveting the wheel when creating resources.

    Below is a list of Moodle courses that have developed by various RSCs that can be zipped, downloaded and then installed on any supported provider’s own Moodle. The courses themselves aim to model effective practice in Moodle course design; they are not simply repositories so of course you will have to exercise a bit of discretion in their use.

    It’s also worth noting that a number of business focussed Moodle resources were also recently developed by TDM and made freely available to the sector here. (Mentioned on Wobble in this previous post).

    If you have any of your own Moodle courses that you are particularly proud of and would like to make available to other providers, please do get in touch – it’s good to share!

    Hope the following is a useful starting point.

    Creating Learning Resources with Free Tools
    This course looks at a range of free software that can help with producing richer and more engaging e-learning materials. It provides suggestions for the efficient and rapid production of resources and includes links to relevant free-to-use products.

    Accessibility: an introduction
    This course aims to introduce staff to some common accessibility scenarios and provide suggestions as to how the tutor can respond.

    Using ILT to capture the learner voice
    Provides ideas and examples of using technology to help capture learners’ views and experiences in a richer and more informative way.

    E-learning and E-Safety
    This course aims to introduce tutors/managers to the issues involved in making information technology safe for learners - whether they are children, young people or adults.

    How to use Moodle
    Some of the resources used here were first developed for the RSC Wales course ‘Getting to Know Moodle’ and have been modified slightly. This course was developed as an introduction to using Moodle.

    Improving your videos
    This short course focuses on the video production skills needed to make higher quality video recordings for applications such as staff development, marketing and promotion and re-usable learning materials. It assumes you have a suitable digital camcorder, a computer and editing software and are able to use these to do basic shooting, capturing and editing.

    Top tips for blended learning
    This course has been devised by a partnership of RSC East Midlands and EMFEC so you can benefit from exploring ideas for improving teaching and learning in the context of the revised Ofsted standards, with particular attention to the use of technology.

    Introduction to Running Online Meetings
    With an increasing need for flexibility, cost efficiency and reduced environmental impact, online meetings and training sessions are becoming an attractive prospect in education. This course provides an introduction to web meetings and covers what you need to set up and deliver a succesful online session.

    Using Video in Education
    This course focuses on the use of video in education. Rather than addressing the technical "how-to shoot and edit video", it looks at where you can find video clips online and what you need to know to be able to use them to enhance teaching and learning.

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Future of the National Learning Network Resources

    The National Learning Network materials are interactive learning packages that can be used by LSC funded work based learning providers for free. I’ve mentioned them previously here. The service has recently undergone some changes and with effect from last week (22nd July) is now owned and managed by LSIS.

    An LSIS survey in December last year confirmed that:

    * practitioners continue to value the materials themselves and the service;
    * a large body of learning provider VLEs contains embedded links to the site that would have to be reworked if the site closed

    This has led to a number of questions arising as to their continued use, so if you are a current user of these resources or indeed would like to become one, please see the FAQs below for what to expect of the service from this point on.

    1. Will the National Learning Network (NLN) materials service continue to operate for the foreseeable future?

    YES. LSIS have worked with Xtensis, who developed the service, to ensure its continued operation for the next two years. Xtensis has kindly granted a free license to use the software that delivers the site, so it will look and perform the same as it does now.2. How will it work?

    Exactly the same as it does now:

    * the NLN materials will continue to be available at
    * all existing links to links to the site - Learner URLs, VLE links and Noodle links - will continue to work as now .
    * individual Learning Objects (LOs) and Permanent Collections will still be available for download.

    3. What will change?

    There will no longer be:

    * registration and/login .
    * the facility to create collections

    Users who want to create new collections or store any pre-existing collections associated with their login can copy them across to a new service provided by Xtensis, called XtLearn.4.

    4. What happens now?

    The site will be run by LSIS from the summer and work has already started on the new version of the site.

    5. What next?

    Some of the materials no longer work, either technically because they were based on redundant technology, or in terms of their content (old-fashioned, outdated practice etc). The LSIS survey identified a wish by users to see them brought up to scratch. It also identified members of the community who would be willing to join or lead such developments. LSIS will work with partners to facilitate these developments as far as is practicable.

    6. For any other queries about the NLN service

    See the User Guide and FAQ page on the NLN site, where many issues and procedures are comprehensively covered. Both are available via the Help Viewer, and the Support box on the home page.

    For additional support and help with the NLN website and/or the Excellence Gateway service visit:

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Thursday, 23 June 2011

    Lessons Learned - Learning Journey Made Mobile

    Earlier this year, myself and Jason Curtis (our Learning Technologist), initiated a new Mobile Project which aimed to explore and potentially increase the use of mobile technologies in the work based learning sector. This involved awarding successful bidders small amounts of funding which could be used to buy mobile devices that would enhance aspects of the learner journey.

    The eleven successful applicants that were chosen to take part have now purchased and evaluated their chosen mobile devices and reported their findings back to us.

    The report below summarises what these providers found, highlighting what technology they bought, what were the main challenges, what benefits were gained and what their plans are now after using their chosen device. Click the image for the report.

    The illustration below offers a snapshot of what was bought by the group and shows just how varied their choice of technology was. (Click the image to enlarge.)

    More details and full project information is now available on our supporting project wiki page. This includes a snapshot of who bought what and why.

    We hope you find our findings useful in your own technology choices.

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Monday, 20 June 2011

    New Digital JISC Inform Magazine

    I’m loving the look of the new format of JISC inform which is now a nicely presented digital magazine. The aim of this online publication is to still share JISC’s work to support learning providers but also give you the opportunity to share your experiences by commenting on what you are doing in your own organisation.

    Throughout the current edition you’ll see comment boxes and functionality allowing you to upload your own links to video and add comments to the articles. Each article also has its own url, which means if you find a particular topic or article of interest, you can forward it on to colleagues or add the #jiscinform tag to blog and Tweet about it.

    The current edition of JISC Inform is in beta because the JISC team are looking for your views. You may find that some elements don't work as you would like but please do let them know if this is the case and they will work to make those improvements before the next edition.

    Some topics of interest in this one....

    Information overload?
    RSS feed readers, taking news from the noise. This copy of JISC Inform looks at how RSS readers can deliver your pre-selected news to your inbox, saving you time spent scrolling through multiple websites.

    Saving money – your questions answered
    Reducing costs is at the top of every learning provider’s priority list as we enter the 2011 financial year. JISC answers your questions about how they can help you trim your budget.

    Debate: Is green ICT a priority in times of austerity?
    Paul Rock is currently leading JISC's storage calculator project to help people in other institutions find out how much energy they would save by using the greener file storage pioneered by Paul and his team.

    I hope you enjoy this new format as much as I do. I think its a great way to easily keep up to date with the support that JISC is offering learning providers across the board.


    Related wobble posts:

    RSC Newsletter now Available Online
    Greener Computing

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Wednesday, 1 June 2011

    Teachers TV Videos now Back Online

    "The entire catalogue of 3500 Teachers TV videos was taken off-line recently when Teachers TV came to an end. However, the people who worked there have formed a new company called Teachers Media and they now have all of the videos back online.

    Many practitioners will be glad to see that these valuable resources are now back! On Techers Media you are now able to:

    1. Stream all the 3500 Teachers TV videos at the highest quality

    2. Easily search and navigate the Teachers TV archive

    3. Access and download documents and other resources linked to the videos

    4. Use the popular Behaviour Challenge interactive training tools

    Visit them at Teachers Media at"

    (From John Dalziel at What DL is Happening?)

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Moodle Users Forum

    At the end of this month the RSC West Midlands will host another free Moodle forum, intended for learning providers in the West Midlands who deliver funded education and skills programmes in the post 16 education and skills sector.

    This forum is a good opportunity for all Moodle users to come together and

    · hear about new developments with Moodle and Moodle partner support activity
    · share practice through show and tell sessions

    This one holds particular interest to the work based learning sector as it will include a demonstration of Totora; a version of Moodle best suited to staff development and competency-based training and assessment delivery such as apprenticeships. Learn more about Totara in this short brochure (pdf).

    The forum will also look at PAL Packs (Personally Accountable learning Packs).

    The forum will take place at 09:30 - 13:00 on 27 Jun 2011, and will be held at Worcester College of Technology, Worcester, Worcestershire. More details and online booking is available through our website.


    Related wobble links:

    Moodle Use in Work Based Learning
    Moodle Tool Guide for Teachers

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Online Training: Podcasting - A Practical Guide

    Do you want to create an effective podcast that people will want to listen to and share? 'Podcasting - A Practical Guide' is a new online workshop, delivered by Newskills, which delivers practical training, information and advice to help you plan, produce, publish and promote your own podcasts.

    The workshop is delivered entirely online. It begins with a session on Monday 20th June, 11.30am-12.30pm, which provides a short introduction to some of the key themes of the workshop, an overview of the web-based training system (Elluminate) and advice in how to prepare for the main training session.

    Then join a full day of online training on Wednesday 29th June, 10:00am-4:00pm.

    Be one of the first 6 people to book and receive a free USB headset (only 6 available).

    Regional Examples of Podcasting in Use

    Below are a couple of examples of where podcasting has been used to support education in this region:

    At North East Worcestershire College, various tutors across different subject areas have incorporated podcasting as a flexible approach to teaching and learning. Available through the College's virtual learning environment, the podcasts have provided a more engaging way of communicating, as well as an effective method for revision and an opportunity to catch up on missed lessons.

    At New College, Worcester they have embraced the use of audio technology to support visually impaired learners. The Head of Science at the college has created a series of MP3s for their students to re-enforce learning and help with revision.

    Podcasting in Plain English

    If you are new to podcasting, or wondering how podcasting can help you, the following video from Commoncraft nicely explains Podcasting in Plain English.

    Commoncraft podcasting in plain english from Rob Sbaglia on Vimeo.

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Tuesday, 3 May 2011

    Discover-e, Our Free Annual Online Event

    Our free online annual conference is fast approaching, hope you've saved the date!

    It's just a couple of weeks now until Discover-e 2011, RSC West Midlands annual online event which this year takes place on 17th and 18th May. This year we will be offering a series of free online webinars and presentations around the theme of Supporting Learning Providers Priorities.
    We will be using our Moodle Virtual Learning Environment to show providers right across the post-16 learning skill sector how learning providers have progressed and applied technology to support their own teaching and learning. Guest speakers will provide live online presentations to explain how their organisation has used technology to support their changing priorities. Using this format of virtual meetings, not only will you not have to leave your own desk you will also still have an opportunity to discuss and post questions to guest speakers as well as interact with other delegates.

    If you haven't already booked your free place through our website we hope you will do so soon. As you will see from the agenda there is lots for everyone, plus competitions, some fab technology to be won and more.

    We look forward to seeing you online...!

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Wednesday, 30 March 2011

    Online Event - Using Open Source in Education

    An online presentation on the benefits of using open-source software in education, within both student-facing and back office systems.

    Open-source software is “free” in the sense that one does not pay a license fee to use it, and is often a cost-effective option for providing certain IT services. Although, the open-source virtual learning environment - Moodle - is widely used in this region, decision-makers may not be aware of the wide range of open-source software products available.

    In this free online session, Mark Taylor of Sirius IT will talk about areas where open-source software can be used, and discuss the factors that may influence the decision of whether to use open-source or proprietary licensed software.

    Find out more or book your place on our website.


    Related wobble links:

    Open Source Software – JISC keeps us informed

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Thursday, 17 February 2011

    How to Teach With Technology

    In some of his recent blog posts Nik Peachy has done a great job of showing us how to teach ourselves to teach with technology. He has used blog posts to publish a series of tasks that would prove really useful in supporting teacher training, or be of interest to anyone who wants to know how to use some of today’s popular e-learning tools.

    He has devised a set of eight activities which are accessible from his blog, or available to download in pdf format to use offline. These activities are structured so that you can pick and choose which you would like to look at and just focus on those.

    Here is what he’s covered so far:

    1. Creating a learning journal – this task shows you how to create an online journal using Penzu.
    2. Create online storage for your teaching images - In this task you create a Flickr photo sharing channel.
    3. Create an online speaking activity - In this task you'll learn how to create an online speaking activity using VoiceThread.
    4. Create a blog with a video activity for your learners – Here you can create a simple blog and use it to make a video based activity for your learners. Once you have created the blog can use it for other tasks in the series.
    5. Create digital books with illustrations – Here you can create a digital image book which you can also embed in the blog you created in the previous task if yoiu so choose.

    Nik has since added to these popular five activities and has now also shown us to:

    6. Creating a video review activity - In this task you’ll learn how to create a film trailer review activity using film trailers from YouTube and an online notice board called Wallwisher.
    7. Creating screenshots using Jing - Jing is a really useful free tool that allows you to create and annotate images grabbed from the screen of your computer. This can be really useful for creating instruction sheets like the ones used in this series and helps you to grab images to add into websites or other documents.
    8. Create your own YouTube channel - Video has become one of the most useful resources on the Internet for language teachers.

    These are great resources and a good way to get started with one or two tools to enhance your teaching practice. I look forward to seeing the series develop!

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    ePortfolios Conference

    For those training providers who are currently using e-portfolios or are interested in finding out more about how they are currently used in education, there’s an ePortfolio Conference taking place this month (28th February) in the South West at Taunton School. This event costs just £40 to attend.

    The South West Regional Support Centre is offering this cross-sector event which aims to:

    * Raise awareness of the range of eportfolios available
    * Showcase innovative use and good practice in the application of eportfolios
    * Share new ideas and solutions in addition to established successful practice

    The event will focus on how organisations have successfully employed these technologies to improve and enhance the learning experience for their students (and the teaching experience for staff).

    The programme includes speakers from the University sector, from Further Education Colleges, and from the Adult and Community Learning and Work Based Learning environments.

    JISC Consultant experts will also be presenting, giving insight into the national picture and potential future strategies to encourage usage of e-portfolios.

    Bookings can be made online at the cost of only £40 per person or for more information contact Lyn Bender.


    Related wobble links:

    E-Portfolios for Starters
    E-Assessment Online Toolkit
    Use Of E-Portfolios In Assessment

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Thursday, 27 January 2011

    Safeguarding: Guidance for Learning Providers

    This four-page leaflet addresses the main considerations regarding e-safety guidance for learning providers. This content will support your duty of care for the safe use of technology and contains a checklist for developing effective strategies and policies.

    It’s one of a series of four publications currently focusing on the area of ‘Safeguarding in a Digital World’. Other publications in the series (all free to download) include:

    This series of factsheets is available on the Becta website along with a number of other useful publications for learning providers. However, the website will be closing on 31 January 2011 so to get your own pdf copies to save locally you will need to download them very soon!

    See other Becta publications on the publications area of their website.


    Related Wobble links:

    Safeguarding Learners – Tips for E-Safety
    Getting WebWise and Staying Safe Online
    New eSafety JISC Mail List

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Tuesday, 25 January 2011

    Regional Workshop - Instructional Design for e-Learning

    In March, Netskills are running a new e-learning workshop in Birmingham, "Instructional Design for e-Learning". This brand new workshop aims to bring together techniques and technologies to help you create high-impact learning resources, focussing specifically on your learner and their experience.

    The workshop is aimed at anyone with an interest in the design, development and delivery of online learning materials, particularly teachers, lecturers and trainers wishing to investigate the production of online learning, or review the effectiveness of their existing online learning materials.

    To book or find out more information visit the Netskills website here.

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Monday, 24 January 2011

    Making Savings through Greener Computing

    As part our remit we can help regional learning providers with issues related to Greener Computing. This includes offering advice on infrastructure, IT and business support services with the aim of helping you to make cost savings on your bills whilst being environmentally friendly in the process. For work based learning in particular there are so many ‘quick wins’ that can greatly increase your efficiency when using IT and offer significant costs savings too!

    Our E-Learning Adviser responsible for this area would like to contact staff within regional providers who have the responsibility for your IT with a view to sending them an online survey and also to encourage them to engage with a community of practice. Through these communities of practice learning providers in the region can come together (either physically or virtually) to share experiences, hear news about the latest legislation, learn about new ways to be greener with ICT and find solutions to problems.

    If you would like to learn how your organisation can become involved, or learn more about making savings through Greener Computing, please contact Jane Edwards at


    Related Wobble links:

    Greener Computing

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Sunday, 23 January 2011

    Apprentice Learning Technologists

    I often hear from Learning Providers about how they would love to implement e-learning but don’t have the technical knowledge in house or dedicated staff to be able to do this. Fully trained or experienced Learning Technologists come at a price too. So I was pleased to learn recently of new E-Learning focussed Apprenticeship scheme that’s being run by one of our regional learning providers.

    The Development Manager (TDM) now have funding to run a special 'Learning Technologist/VLE administrator' Apprenticeship for providers. Basically, if a learning provider employs a 16-18 year old on a minimum wage, TDM could teach them to manage your Moodle, or help with other aspects of your e-learning, free under the scheme. (Worth noting the age of the apprentice isn’t just limited to 16-18, they could be older). TDM are also using the scheme to teach people how to run and manage E-portfolios such as Mahara and Infolio, as well as Content Management Systems to run websites. The exact modules that are taught can be modified to meet individual’s provider’s needs and apprentices will also complete mandatory units of Health & safety, developing personal & organisational effectiveness, and interpersonal and written communication.

    Employing an apprentice in this way can offer a fairly cost effective way of making e-learning a key part of learning providers work. However it must be noted that this arrangement might not suit all employers, it will depend on their size and the support they could offer the employee.

    Where it is feasible to take on an Apprentice in this role, the on the job training can be usefully tailored to the providers needs, helping them to focus those aspects of e-learning they wish to improve or develop.

    More details about this regional scheme for Apprentice Learning Technologists or VLE Administrators can be found on the TDM website.

    Further information about employing apprentices generally is available on the governments Apprenticeships website.

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Thursday, 13 January 2011

    Dropbox - Sharing and Synchronising your Files for Free

    I’ve had a request recently to explain the system I use to synchronise my own files across a number of PC’s whilst sharing some of them with my colleagues in the process. As well as Googledocs, which I’ve used for a while, the method I’ve been leaning more towards of late is using DropBox. Here’s why:

    For synchronizing files across devices...

    Dropbox allows you to synchronise your files online and across all your computers automatically.

    · You get 2GB of online storage for free.
    · You can synchronise files of any size or type, photos, documents, pdf files and more.
    · You can synchronise files stored on all your Windows, Mac, and Linux computers.
    · Dropbox automatically synchronises all your devices when new files or changes are detected.

    File Sharing...

    It makes sharing files with my colleagues and friends easy.

    · Shared folders allow several people to collaborate on the same files.
    · You can see other people's changes instantly.
    · You can use your "Public" folder to link directly to files.
    · You can control who has access to your shared folders.
    · You can automatically create shareable online photo galleries out of regular folders.


    Mobile Device Access - You can get a free application for iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, and Android that lets you access and manage your Dropbox on the go.

    Web Access - A copy of your files is stored on Dropbox's secure servers. This lets you access them from any computer or mobile device.

    Online Backup - Dropbox backs up your files online without you having to think about it.

    Security & Privacy - Dropbox uses encryption methods to both transfer and store your data.

    This youtube video offers a demonstration of how Dropbox works. The video on the DropBox site also shows you how it works in a very simplistic way.

    You can also download the software from here or watch a tour here that outlines its features in more detail.

    (Hope this is useful to Savoy Centre staff who requested that I share details of Dropbox. Do let me know how you get on with it!).

    To read more of Wobble click here.

    Monday, 10 January 2011

    20 Free Apps for the IPad

    With the number of tablet users on the increase (especially since Santa’s visit!) I’m increasingly asked about any iPad apps that I can recommend. I currently have only free apps on my own iPad but a number of our team have bought ones which they find quite useful. To keep this post short, below I’ve shared details of some of the free ones we use and in a future post will post a list of some of the paid ones.

    (Debbi, I hope this is enough to get you started!)

    Free apps for the IPad:

    1. Ideas Sketch - An easy and simple to use mind mapping tool. You can create numerous ideas and return to edit them as and when you wish. The app allows you make notes and select different colour schemes for different strands of thought / ideas. Ideas can be imported into other apps, e.g. pages, saved to photos or emailed to other people.

    2. Dragon Search - A way to search online content on your iPhone using your voice. Simply speak your search queries and get simultaneous results from a variety of top websites and content sources

    3. Dragon Dictation - Dragon Dictation is a voice recognition application that allows you to easily speak and instantly see your text or email messages. It’s supposed to be up to five times faster than typing on the keyboard. Using this you can also dictate status updates directly to your Social Networking applications (Facebook and Twitter) or send notes and reminders to yourself….all using your voice.

    4. iBrainstorm - This is collaborative / productivity app designed to capture thoughts and ideas using virtual post-it notes (on a virtual corkboard) to which comments can be added using the keyboard.

    5. IQ Gym - IQ Gym is a mathematical educational game. The user must solve mathematical questions within a time-limit to get to the next level.

    6. Dropbox – An easy and free way to sync and share your files online and across computers.

    7. Lockbox - LockBox lets you store and protect sensitive info such as credit card numbers, bank accounts, passwords, pin numbers, private notes, and any other secret information on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

    8. SugarSync - This application requires you to download software to your computer and set up a free account with SugarSync. Once you have done this you transfer the files you want to access into your “Magic Briefcase”. Once this has been done you can use your 3G iPhone or wireless enabled iPad to access these files.

    9. BBC News - Mobile version of the BBC News website.

    10. Globe - Globe for iPad is a Geography app which shows the countries of the world on a 3D globe - you can manipulate the globe with the normal iPad gestures — drag your finger or use a rotate gesture to rotate the globe; pinch to zoom in and out.

    11. Wikipanion - Although Wikipedia can be accessed via safari, what gives this app a bit of an edge is its ability to allow you to bookmark topics and review your browsing history within the app. Wikipanion also has one or two nifty search options, e.g. Wiktionary ( allows you look up terms without leaving the page. You have to option to view in safari and there is a Tweet function for the Tweeters.

    12. Sounds right - British Council's first pronunciation chart for learners and teachers worldwide.

    13. - Dictionary & Thesaurus - The free app delivers trusted reference content from and, including nearly 1,000,000 words and definitions and 90,000 synonyms and antonyms. No Internet connection is needed for word look-ups. The app also features audio pronunciation, voice-to-text search and’s popular Word of the Day and Hot Word blog.

    14. NASA (HD) - Excellent graphics, a wealth of information about the planets as well links current space exploration and discovery. There really is a great deal lot information available here. Links are provided to NASA centres and it is possible to learn about the mission and function of all current NASA satellites.

    15. i-reflect - The app is very simple to use, (although keep in mind it does not have the same capacity as the main Institute for Learning site) IFL members can create a thought or activity asset which can be added to your reflect portfolio.

    16. FeedlerRSS - RSS feed reader, which syncs very nicely with Google Reader.

    17. The Telegraph (News) - free for a limited period in partnership with Audi. The app brings you the editors' selections from the daily newspaper – from reporting to sports analysis and columnists.

    18. Pocket Pond - Just for fun. This app shows off the I Pad's multimedia capabilities and particularly its high quality sound.

    19. Angry Birds – (As recommended by our ACL Adviser!) - The survival of the Angry Birds is at stake. Dish out revenge on the green pigs who stole the Birds’ eggs. Use the unique destructive powers of the Angry Birds to lay waste to the pigs’ fortified castles.

    20. Solitaire – (another one from our ACL Adviser) The Solitaire game now on the iPad. With the exquisite touch screen on the iPad, you can now literally touch your cards and move them as you play the game.

    21. A couple of my colleagues also recommend Flipboard - a fast way to flip through the news, photos and updates your friends are sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader and Flickr. See your social media in a magazine layout that is easy to scan and fun to read.


    Related Wobble links:

    Alternatives to the iPad
    The new iPad
    Creating an Interactive Classroom

    To read more of Wobble click here.