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.