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.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

E-Portfolio Certification at Reduced Rate

Here at the RSC we are about to launch an exciting new eportfolio project offering training, hands-on experience and official Mahara certification.

Our main objective is a very practical one; we want to help you begin to use eportfolios for teaching and learning. This project will focus on using just one system, Mahara, an increasingly popular open-source (free) eportfolio. Mahara can be used as a standalone tool or integrated very easily with Moodle VLE.

To remove any skill barriers at the outset, included in the project package will be accredited Mahara training by an approved provider. The Mahara Certificate course is aimed at beginners and will help you to fast track through all the skills you need to use Mahara effectively with your learners. Although there is a charge for the training it is offered at a special one–off rate available to the RSC for this project only, you will not be able to complete this training at this price anywhere else. The usual cost is £510 but we are offering this training at a one off cost of £168 (inclusive of VAT) offering you a huge saving of £348 for an accredited course! In addition you will be given ongoing support from the RSC during the life of the project.

If you are considering implementing eportfolios for your learners or wondering if they would be useful to you, this is a really good opportunity to learn how to use the software and implement that knowledge, while having support on hand during you first trials with students.

To take advantage of this offer you will need:

1. To be able be to complete both days of the training and participate in some online activities in the week between the two training dates (in order to qualify for the Mahara Certificate).
2. Identify a group of your learners who will create eportfolios
3. Make use of what you have learnt by using Mahara with your identified learners group for a minimum of 4 weeks
4. Use Mahara yourself to maintain a blog about your experiences throughout the project (maximum project span 3 months). This will allow you to share your experiences and findings with us and will replace the need for you to produce a final project report.

The four minute video below offers a quick demo of some of the capabilities of the Mahara e-portfolio platform on which this project is based. Certainly worth a look at what this e-portfolio option offers, for free.

To register your interest in this project or to find out more, please contact myself ( or Christa Appleton ( Places are limited to twelve providers (eleven now!) so to take advantage of this offer, don’t delay!


Related wobble links:

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

To read more of Wobble click here.

Super Book of Web Tools for Educators

Stumbled across this useful book today, "The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators", a comprehensive guide for using technology in the classroom. It’s American so uses American terms when referring to the sectors it covers, but it has loads of useful inks to tools which can be used by various types of learning providers.

Its introduction notes “There are teachers around the world who want to use technology in their classrooms, but they’re just not sure where to start. That’s why eleven prominent bloggers, teachers and administrators got together to create this free eBook.”

The book highlights loads of free web based resources that can be used for teaching and learning. You’ll find some fairly popular tools covered (wikispaces, skype, googledocs, facebook) as well as some more obscure tools that cover everything from uploading to shared webspaces (dropit to me) creating animated books (flipbook), editing web pages for printing (print what u like) and more. The list of tools referenced is certainly a long one.

To get the most from the book, I’d suggest you pay little attention to the headings they fall under as many of these tools can be used in a number of settings. All in all, a very good publication - I’ll certainly be saving my own copy and checking out a number of these resources myself.

To read more of Wobble click here.

Giving Learners the Best Support: Key Issues for Learner Support Staff

If you support students in a non-teaching role, you are invited to a briefing event run by RSCs West and East Midlands, taking place on 9th February. The event focuses on a range of key issues for support staff and introduces the following topics:

* E-safety
* Copyright
* Accessibility and inclusion
* Information skills

The event is designed to be a very interactive day and will be an opportunity for delegates to meet and share ideas with colleagues from both regions.

You can find out more or book a place using this link.


Related Wobble links:

Safeguarding Learners – Tips for E-Safety
Finding Resources to Re-use in Teaching
Accessibility Overview

To read more of Wobble click here.