Browser-friendly version

Friday, October 29, 2004

Second wave of E-guide recruitment

NIACE, in conjunction with the NLN, is now recruiting for the second wave of the national E-Guides Staff Development Training programme. (Although I have also been told that its possible to join at other times - so if you're interested but unsure of the timing it might still be worth enquiring)

What is the E-Guides programme?
The E-Guides staff development programme has been designed to support Adult and Community Learning staff in embedding the use of e-learning across the curriculum. The programme aims to increase the use of e-learning in Adult and Community Learning through developing the skills and knowledge of E-Guides to support colleagues from all subjects in their use of technology in teaching and learning. E-Guides will be able to contribute to raising the quality of teaching and learning throughout their organisation.

More information on the E-Guides programme can be found on the aclearn website.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

E-learning attracts the 'usual suspects'

"Despite Government efforts to promote 'lifelong learning' and a more equitable and inclusive 'learning society' there is little special or new about adult learning in the digital age, according to research at Cardiff University.

The Adult Learning at Home project which was funded by ESRC, concluded that ICT has not increased participation and achievement rates in adult education. Instead, e-learning tends to be associated with the same factors that determine school-leaving age, such as sex and socio-economic background."
It would seem that patterns of participation in adult education are not being changed for the better by changes in education policy," says Dr Neil Selwyn.
The study, which was one of the first large-scale research projects to focus specifically on information and communications technologies and adult learning, shows that despite 'universal' levels of access to computers and the internet, actual use is limited to just over half of the adult population. Using the internet to learn a language or other new skill was secondary to communicating with family and friends, producing documents and searching for specific information and general knowledge."

More details on the project can be found on the Adult Learning at Home project homepage.

Originally referred to by Stephen Downes, OLDaily.

OneLook Reverse Dictionary

"There are certainly times for everyone where they cannot seem to remember a certain phrase or word, and it may become rather vexing and frustrating. Fortunately, there is now the OneLook Reverse Dictionary website which can help persons confounded by this situation. Essentially, users can type in a concept into a search engine and receive a list of words and phrases related to that concept…

There are several other uses to the site, including the ability to explore related concepts or to answer basic identification questions. Perhaps the most important function of the Reverse Dictionary is that users (if they are so inclined) may also use the database to solve crossword puzzle clues."

This ties in very nicely with a link I have added to the sidebar for a daily crossword to go with the other quick link stuff. Sounds like this reverse dictionary could prove very useful...but hey, no cheating now!


Via Ray Schroeder’s Educational Technology

Search engine watching

Marcus P. Zillman pointed out a new UK based search engine today, UKWizz.

"UKWizz is a UK based internet search engine. Our aim is to provide UK users with a search experience that is both Relevant and specific to the UK. There are many excellent search engines out there so what makes UKWizz different? UKWizz has been designed for and targeted at UK internet users. We try to keep our results as UK specific as possible. We believe this is a great benefit to the average UK searcher.

When you use UKWizz you will see that almost all of the results returned are related to the UK. If you carry out a search on most search engines your results could be coming from anywhere in the world. Our index is not 100% UK specific, although our technology is designed to index as high a percentage of UK web content as possible."

Several days ago I was also introduced to another search engine that I happened to like (sorry can’t remember how I came across it now). It was called Exalead.

Although this one does not specifically cater for the UK it does have the following features:
  • Related terms (other terms you might want to search)
  • Related categories
  • Limit results by format or location
  • Limit results to multimedia content (pages that include links to audio and video content)
  • Spelling suggestions
  • Thumbnail images for all results can be turned on/off.
  • You're able to open a result link directly inside a frame.
  • You can also bookmark pages. Bookmarks can be transported to your IE favourites file.
I liked the interface which allowed me to glance at the search results visually before decided which one I wanted to explore further. It also helped me to recognise a site I was after by seeing its thumbnail rather than its name in a list. Thats besides all of its other bells and whistles.

Although UKWizz does have a nice uncluttered interface, I do prefer the look of Exalead. It’s still a beta version at the moment but I’m keen to see how it develops.

E-learning Showcase

Do you want to see what types of e-learning exists and see examples of what e-learning producers are creating? E-learning Guru’s e-learning showcase lists demos of award-winning e-learning courses and material.

Some of these are just great! They do vary in length but these three short ads for e-learning are amongst my favourites…(you will need to turn your speakers on)
You will need Macromedia Flash to be able to view them but if you don’t have this already installed you can get a free copy here.

Reference to this article came from elearningpost.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

back to work...

Yep. I'm back to work today. I've had a break from blogging for a while but I feel that now it's time to get back to it. I can hardly beleive the withdrawal I've felt from not posting anything for just a few weeks! Funny 'cause I chuckled when other bloggers discussed blogging addictions when a survey was doing the rounds! (Based on that I don't have to worry about possible addiction though, I only scored 44 which rates me as just a casual blogger!)

I've added some links to the sidebar now that list e-learning events in the UK. So if you're looking for staff development or just want to keep up with what's happening in e-learning have a look at what's on. I'd need forever and a day to list all of the individual events that are hapening across the UK so instead I've tried to link to all of the main organisations and agencies that run ACL events for us here. Chances are I'll still have missed some so if there are any that you know of that I've left out do let me know.

You'll see that I've also added a few other quick links underneath that section (the result of a brain wave I had earlier today). They may or may not be relavent, or even useful for that matter but feel free to make your own mind up there.

Anyway, thats it for today. A gentle ease back into things. I'll pick things back up properly tomorrow - for now it just feels good to be back!

Friday, October 01, 2004

Open source - opens learning: why open source makes sense for education

“Because of the rise in popularity and consideration of open source applications in all markets from education to government to business, it is critical for all decision makers to understand what open source applications are and what the implications are for their organization. This is especially true in the education market where budget pressures make the right decision an imperative.

This white paper (Open source - opens learning: why open source makes sense for education) will offer a simple, yet thorough definition of open source in the context of education, describe the new market models, and dispel the myths about open source.”

via elearningpost

Lessons Learned Teaching Online

In his article Lessons Learned Teaching Online, George Siemens discuses how “teaching online is very much like, and very much unlike, classroom teaching”.

He asks “If the process (communication through variety of interactions) or core objectives (increased student learning) don't change from classroom to online, what does?

He then goes on to summarise his own experiences and the lessons he has learned.

George concludes by saying that:
“The highest objective of education is to improve the quality of life for students and to create a better society. This may be achieved through student self-awareness, learning through exploring new concepts, connecting previously unrelated field of knowledge and increased confidence. Online learning has much to offer in achieving these ideals. However, in order for the potential to be fully realized, instructors and educators need to dialogue about what constitutes effective learning online. What is different? What is unique? What is the same? The goal in teaching online is to retain the best of classrooms and improve the worst.”
The article is quite old now (2002) but the principles of online teaching/tutoring remain the same. It’s an excellent summary of the key skills required by for online teaching so if you haven’t already read it, it’s still really worth a read. It will certainly prove useful to e-tutors or those involved in facilitating e-learning.

I came across the article through Teaching and Developing Online.

Your story

A couple of days ago I posted a link to the 24 Hour Museum in the sidebar links. Their city heritage guides had been highlighted as a useful cultural resource by help is at hand. The guides included local history information and features written by community groups and local residents, local news and city trails which outline the citys main sights.

I was impressed, it’s a great site. But the real gem for me was the fact that it offered the chance for you (and me) to be involved in its development and growth. This is done through Storymaker, the 24 Hour Museum's online authoring tool.

They are looking for groups and individuals to send in trails, histories and features that represent different aspects of the heritage of their area. These can fall under any of the following categories:

Group work
They are “particularly keen to receive stories developed in a group context. So if you are involved in a community group, local history group, a reminiscence group, an after-school club or a museum outreach group and would like to contribute a story or online exhibition - please get in touch…” If you are involved in a group project that you would like to digitise and publish on the web they suggest that you can contact them and they will discuss it with you, offering help and advice should you need it.

Trails are longer features that take a theme and then expand it by telling the reader about the different museums, galleries, heritage sites and other locations (such as buildings, homes and statues) that help explain the story.

For example, you may wish to send something that tells the history of your housing estate or your community. You could do this by sending digital photos and words that illustrate the key locations such as houses, businesses, places of worship and social clubs.

Personal Stories
If you have a personal story you would like to share you can also do that here. It have to be too long. It may be a simple account of your working life in a factory or it may be wartime reminiscence or a story about another member of your family.

And lastly they are also looking for reviews of museum, gallery and heritage related events in your city too. So there is really something for everyone!

I know of a local elderly community group who are hoping to capture their past by using IT to document their life stories. I hope that Storymaker is something they could also consider using as an extension to that. That way their stories are not just captured but shared. It is after all, stories like theirs that are the real treasures we should try hard to preserve.

More jobsearching...with a Fuller CV has teamed up with The Fuller CV to bring you the CV checker. Find out how good your CV is by taking this ten-question quiz. By doing so you (or your learners!) can take advantage of a free CV review by The Fuller CV.

Apparently, I fall into a category that has “carefully considered the design and layout, but I should know that the content of my CV is equally important, as it will reflect my ability to ‘add value’ to a new employer’s business.”

Well, erm…thanks.

Seriously though, if you (or your learners) need more job seeking/CV guidance here ’s the link to UK based jobseekers advice that I posted last week. This site it refers to also has a free CV appraisal system (although you have to register for the forums to use it).

I’m amazed at just how many people want to share their expert knowledge with us, for free too. Now you’re just spoiling us!