Wikis and Online Presence

While doing an online induction recently, for some of the latest round of the E-learning for Participation and Skills Project, I went on to Wikispaces to look at shared workspaces for projects. It seems to work well for collating knowledge into an easy and familiar place for educators (as well as getting them familiar with the learning advantages of wikis :-)).

Live-Chat window showing one message: 'Hi there! Thanks for dropping by. Can I help you in any way?'

Live-Chat with Marlene Manto

It was wonderful to see written in the bottom right hand corner of the screen “Marlene is Online”. It was Marlene Manto, the Strategy E-learning Coordinator for SA, who also provides technical support on Wikispaces for all teams. The new Wikispaces functionality opens a 1-on-1 chat with Marlene enabling instant personal support. Unfortunately, only one person can chat with Marlene – or whoever is available – at a time. However, in this age where we expect to see presence in online spaces as we do in Facebook, it is a terrific innovation that will translate well into teaching.

The functionality, called Live-Chat is provided by ClickDesk and integrates with a number of platforms including WordPress and Drupal, alas not Moodle just yet.

Wikispaces has also just released its app for the iPad. Until now, Live-Chat has not been working well on the device, although I was able to get it working in Skyfire.

To those in E-standards who are running the Emerging Technology Trials, you can take advantage of this functionality right now: E-standards are going one step further by getting projects to blog their progress as well as reporting into Wikispaces, taking advantage of the many features of blogging platforms that wikis cannot provide, and hopefully mixing content from blogs into wikis in some interesting and innovative ways.

M-learning Standards Update

A computer and an iPad on a desk

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

With the proliferation of mobiles, tablet devices and e-readers, teachers and training organisations delivering e-learning have a myriad of delivery possibilities.

In addition, the emerging phenomenon of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in training and education is adding a layer of complexity to how learning can be achieved.

VET M-learning Standards assist e-learning practitioners to keep ahead of current m-learning developments. The revised and updated standards can now be downloaded from the New Generation Technologies for Learning website, together with a practical guide for teachers.

Funded by the National VET E-learning Strategy, and based upon research commenced in 2006 and reviews undertaken in 2008, 2010 and now 2012, the revised documents include:

  • recommendations on technical standards to support the creation, storage, discovery, delivery and usage of mobile enabled content;
  • findings and recommendations on m-learning good practices in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector – from educational, technical and standards perspectives;
  • information about new ways of utilising m-learning in VET,¬†identified in the 2010 and 2011 Emerging Technology Trials; and
  • advice for teachers, trainers and content developers seeking to create, select or use mobile learning content and technology for teaching and training, with consideration to the educational purposes it may support.

Mobile learning can be defined as learning that is facilitated and enhanced by the use of digital mobile devices that can be carried and used anywhere and anytime, such as mobile phones and tablet devices. Challenges specific to m-learning are related to the use of devices with reduced screen sizes, lack of standard input devices (such as a mouse and keyboard) and reduced computing power.

For more information, please visit the New Generation Technologies for Learning website and follow VET_Estandards on Twitter to receive updates and be notified of media releases.

Photo: byod, by howard61 on flickr.

VELG 2012

The eWorks conference stand

eWorks’ booth at VELG 2011

Joanne Norbury and I are looking forward to the upcoming National VET E-learning Conference (VELG), 21-22 September. The conference has attracted nearly 600 attendees last year which must have been a vocational conference record.

We will be hosting a booth to have conversations about the TrainingVC and our other products. We are also giving away an hour of free training on ‘Getting started in e-learning’ and ‘Adding Web 2.0 to your e-learning’.

I will be presenting ‘From Trainer Development to Client Engagement: Twitter for Educators and Case Studies from RTOs using Facebook.‘ on the Thursday afternoon. This session looks at what you need to get started and running with Twitter, understanding its contexts and grammar, how to leverage this to enhance your Personal Learning Network and what the social network’s role is in terms of training and education. The presentation will also address some of the issues with introducing Facebook into your organisation.

The hashtag for the conference is #2012nvc.

Take the time to come and say hi to us! We’ll be in booth no39.