Sharing technical innovation in education

Francis Kneebone, eWorks Accredited ConsultantFrancis Kneebone is CEO of Cognition E-learning and an eWorks Accredited Consultant – a training, learning and development specialist offering consultancy across the spectrum of digital learning and associated solutions. Not surprisingly, Francis is passionate about the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning, so much so that he has launched the E20 Best of 2015 – a digital showcase to share innovative teaching and learning. Here Francis tells us a little more about the showcase and how to enter.

Teachers innovating teachers

When it comes to digital technologies in education there is so much to learn from other sectors. It surprises me when RTOs in particular don’t realise that they can get relevant and practical ideas about e-learning from sectors outside their own. Take early childhood, workplace training and special education, for example. These sectors might have different groups of learners, but the challenges and triumphs of each sector in digital learning are sometimes best shared through cross-pollination of ideas. With a little creativity and innovation, a solution implemented by one teacher in a particular educational setting can be effectively applied to your own context and learners.

Let’s consider early childhood in more detail for a moment. A prep teacher needs to solve problems around the implementation of digital learning through mobile devices (iPads), cloud storage and privacy issues, manage bulk app deployment and peer device-sharing issues. An RTO trying to solve the same issues could find the best solutions to these issues have been resolved not by another RTO, but by passionate educators like themselves from other sectors. So you see my point – sharing ideas and innovation can only enhance the teaching experience for both teachers and learners. Unfortunately, however, we often miss the opportunity to share best practice across sectors – that is where the E20 Best of 2015 comes in.

Do you have an innovative teaching and learning project?

If you have run an innovative teaching and learning project this year it is time to share it with the world! Entries are now open for the E20 Best of 2015 – an exciting digital showcase offering passionate teachers, also known as passionate learners, the opportunity to:

  • share ideas and experiences
  • learn from other teachers across a range of sectors
  • be recognised for their work (with awards), and
  • win prizes
  • share best practice with other sectors.

E20 Showcase of innovation in education

Eligibility

The only condition of entry is that your project was run in a teaching and learning setting between January and October 2015. We mean this in a very broad sense including K-12 schools, libraries, higher education, special education (SPED), workplace training and more. We already have some exciting projects that you can view on our digital showcase website, such as The Future Builders project entered by Brett McCroary of TAFE ILLAWARRA. This project shares the restructuring of a fully face-to-face, hands-on trade course to utilise a blended delivery model to:

  • increase student numbers
  • allow greater flexibility, and
  • Improve completion rates.

The course is now delivered over one year using Moodle and Adobe Connect.

How to enter

To enter a project you simply need to make a short video and write about 400 words describing your project in terms of:

  • impact on teaching/learning in your sector
  • innovation and use of technology (eg. SAMR), and
  • embedded practice and long-term impact

Entries close October 2015, but the earlier you enter your project the more exposure you get! View the digital showcase or enter now.

The E20 Best of 2015 is a not-for-profit activity in collaboration with the E20 Network, State Library Queensland, JNXYZ and Cognition E-learning.

Any questions?

If you have any questions about the E20 Best of 2015 or the world of digital learning in general, simply ask Francis. You might also like to consider his excellent advice about designing for accessibility.

Design for accessibility first – or else

Francis Kneebone, eWorks Accredited Consultant and accessibility advocate

eWorks’ Accredited Consultants are training, learning and development specialists. The Consultant Program allows us to work with industry thought leaders to champion our award-winning learning solutions. Let’s meet Francis Kneebone, eWorks Accredited Consultant and an accessibility advocate.

Why design for accessibility?

Design for accessibility first. It’s far too important to ignore and too hard to add on later. An accessibility-first approach also makes sense from a design perspective. The best way to make an educational video is to write a script, which can then be used as your plain-text alternative. It is the same when you write text content for a course – it would be bad practice to write your first copy in Authorware; it’s a better idea to make a plain-text version first. So when creating a digital object from scratch, your early output should include:

  • plain text
  • heading hierarchy
  • labelled images
  • transcripts for videos or animations
  • colour schemes and more.

A better experience for everyone

Accessibility in e-learning can sometimes become all about meeting government requirements or ticking off on web standards. It should really be about ensuring a better user experience, for everyone. If you want best practice in accessible e-learning, work with your learner group to go beyond the standard to improve your user experience. This will mean talking to your learners and asking them what could make their experience better. Standards are one measure, but mix this with the feedback from your learners and you’ll be on your way to approaching accessible products. And that means happier users in general.

Find out more

Not convinced? Or maybe you feel as strongly about all of this as I do? Either way, read more on the BlendEd website.

Want to become an accredited consultant for eWorks? The Accredited Consultant Program offers everything a consultant needs to start delivering eWorks’ e-learning solutions. Comprehensive training is provided, together with full ‘eWorks Accredited’ branding.