EdVET 2017 Recap

The EdVET 2017 conference was held on Friday 29 April 2017 in Docklands, Melbourne. A month on and the eWorks team are still thrilled by the success of the day. Here is a short summary of the conference.

In April, eWorks held the inaugural EdVET conference together with the International Specialised Skills Institute (ISS) and Chisholm’s Professional Educator College in Melbourne. After many years hosting the conVerge conference the eWorks team was excited to be back in the conference space with some great speakers lined up.

International guest speaker Trina Hoefling kicked off the day with an enlightening keynote panel discussion alongside Phillip Murphy and Geoff Young. Trina engaged the audience with a highly informative panel style presentation discussing how a student focused approach and simple effectiveness strategies will guarantee positive outcomes.

The agenda for the day then saw a range of topics covered, from using social media to attract and support learners, and using technology to meet student expectations through to developing training to suit industry needs and quality assurance. There was truly something for everyone.

Andrew Douch closed the day on a high with his keynote on technology that amplifies learning in the classroom. Andrew, as usual, delivered his highly polished showmanship combined with a sound understanding of issues facing contemporary educators and innovative solutions, leaving the audience with much food for thought.

What did the attendees think?

We have received a lot of positive and helpful feedback following the event, including:

  • “Words cannot describe the excellence and generosity represented by these two exceptional speakers / facilitators!”
  • “Andrew has inspired me to make my students become self-directed learners.”
  • “An inspiring, light bulb moment filled day of learning and sharing knowledge.”
  • “Enjoyed the day on a whole host of levels and went away inspired.”

What’s next?

eWorks are excited to be working with ISS Institute and Professional Educator College again later this year to host blog and RSS pioneer Alan Levine. Watch this space!

Do you know who Andrew Douch is? Six reasons why you should

Andrew_Douch_croppedAndrew Douch is an independent education technology expert with 22 years’ classroom experience. He has won numerous awards for his work with emerging technologies in education, including the Microsoft Worldwide Innovative Teacher of the Year. His mantra is ‘You don’t need to be very good with technology to do very good things with technology’.

Here he offers six tools to bring excitement to the classroom, and gives us a sneak peak at his EdVET 2017 presentation.

Gone are the days when teachers needed to be tech-savvy to harness the power of technology to make learning more engaging, exciting, and participatory. Today, even non-technical teachers can do novel things at little expense, that just a few years ago were either inconceivable or costly.

At EdVET 2017 Andrew’s workshop will cover a range of emergent tools which bring excitement to the classroom, improve learning outcomes and capture the interest of students. Andrew has found that each of these tools has made a real difference in the classroom because they meet (at least most) of the following criteria.

E – Easy.  They are easy enough for non-technical teachers to use.
N – New.  They allow teachers to do something not possible without the tool.
G – Gainful. They are focused on pedagogy and improving student learning outcomes.
A – Available, They are Affordable and available, and therefore easy to adopt and share with colleagues.
G – Gives Back Time.  Once learned, they save more time than they took to learn.
E – Exciting. Students want to use them, without needing to be reminded, nagged or bribed.

EdVET 2017

At EdVET 2017 in April Andrew Douch will join a team of bright minds in online and technology-enhanced education including international speaker Trina Hoefling, a virtual management pioneer, author and co-founder of The Smart Workplace. Presentations will include:

  • Teaching tomorrow’s workforce today
  • The many faces of social media: Attracting, supporting and retaining learners
  • Using tech to meet rapidly changing ESOL student expectations
  • Towards a Moodle quality assurance framework.

For more information and to register for this inspiring event please visit the EdVET 2017 website.

Who gives a Moodle about learner engagement? Auditors!

Jo Norbury

Jo manages a range of e-learning content services including Flexible Learning Toolboxes and the VET Commons online community. An enthusiastic and passionate e-learning advocate, Jo specialises in design and delivery that focuses on take-up, usability and engagement – so helping learners to learn. But how do we measure this learning and provide evidence to auditors quickly and easily?

Once upon a time…

in a pen and paper land far, far away, no-one had heard of Moodle and teaching meant face-to-face in a classroom. Nowadays not only are trainers expected to put their courses online and offer a blended delivery approach, they also need to demonstrate:

  • learner access
  • attendance, usage, and
  • engagement.

But how do you find engaging content, use it to engage your learners and then prove you did it?

A modern learning strategy

The demands and expectations on training and delivery are higher than ever before. But that’s okay – we have digital learning! Predictions, forecasts and trends discussed in multiple reports suggest that in 2015 98% of organisations will use e-learning courses as part of their learning strategy, and that by 2016 98% of organisations will use video. In the new IoT (Internet of Things) smart devices capture everything. Smarty-pants Moodle can track everything too, but if the data isn’t there our poor friend Moodle has nothing to capture!

How to engage and prove it

Keeping your auditors happy without spending all of your time doing it is about making sure you have a delivery system with trackability functionality and then getting it set up properly from the start. Here are just a few factors you might like to consider:

  • What are the main engagement metrics?
  • Which activities can be used to demonstrate engagement (and which can’t)?
  • How to source and use engaging content (including videos).
  • How to use the SAMR Model (Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition) to transform tasks into engaging activities.
  • How to track and ‘prove’ engagement in general.

Are you going to Moodlemoot 2015?

Don’t miss Jo’s presentation about all of this on the final day of the event, Wednesday 8 July. Now is your chance to:

  • find out whether you’re doing what you need to be doing
  • how to do it if you’re not, and
  • share ideas with peers.

Can’t make it? Don’t worry! Subscribe to eLink for a follow-up summary, including easy tips and tricks.

OZeWAI Accessibility Conference highlights

OZeWAI - Australian Web Adaptability Initiative

Since 1998, the OZeWAI conference has brought together people from all over Australia and the world to share experiences and advances in web standards, with an emphasis on inclusivity and accessibility. Over the last few years delegates have met in facilities among the beautiful trees on Latrobe University’s Bundoora campus in Melbourne’s north east. This year the conference ran from 8th to 10th December and was sponsored by Web Key IT, Digital Accessibility Centre and Media Access Australia.

Jacqui van Teulingen, Director of Web Advice and Policy at the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) delivered the keynote asking the question “Are we there yet?” referencing the National Transition Strategy deadline that had the goal of all Australian federal government websites being WCAG 2.0 Level AA conformant by the end of 2014. While progress has been made, the ambitious goal was not met but there has been a significant cultural shift, and the “Digital by Default” strategy is expected to continue the trend towards inclusivity.

This was followed by an update on W3C/WAI, ISO and GPII (Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure) activities from various contributors, then how universities are tackling inclusion and accessibility with representatives from LaTrobe University, Melbourne University and Monash University.

We saw presentations discussing social media and cloud computing accessibility, and a presentation from Andrew Arch on the beautifully meta subject of a standard for standards writers, describing what they should consider to incorporate accessibility in their standards. Yes, my brain exploded.

Mark Rogers of PowerMapper gave a demonstration of screen readers, and shared their fantastic screen reader comparison resource. See which screen reader supports which web technology (eg ARIA, CSS, HTML5 etc) in which browser, what caniuse.com is to HTML5, the PowerMapper Screen Reader compatibility matrix is to screen readers.

I was privileged to present the E-standards Accessible HTML5 Media Player, developed by Sean Norrey at Kangan Institute. I spoke about a little of its history and gradual enhancement which culminated in it winning the Deafness Forum of Australia’s 2014 Online Captioning & Digital Innovation Award. Of course, technology was waiting to bite me (despite my extensive sacrifices to the demo gods), and the projector’s screen resolution interfered with my demonstration.

This was followed by a session on accessible documents including Leona Zumbo introducing Vision Australia’s Document Accessibility Toolbar for MS Word, and Rosemary Spark and Rebecca Stringer Krein talking about training in MS Word accessibility.

Miran Choi, visiting from Korea, presented her work in accessibility requirements for language learning using text-to-speech technologies, and was followed Leona Zumbo introducing the study of the PDF format undertaken by Vision Australia for AGIMO. Mark Rogers also spoke about the WCAG Sufficient Techniques.

An interesting session on natural search user interfaces was presented by Ying-Hsang Liu from Charles Sturt University’s usability lab: “User-centred design and evaluation of information retrieval systems”, including trials of an alternative pointing device (literally – a glove). They used FaceLab’s EyeTracker to identify where people look for information: top left wins again.

Scott Hollier, Gian Wild and Dan Craddock discussed ongoing problems with PDF use. Dan shared stats on PDF use from the Consumer Affairs Victoria site which showed 0.18% of publication views were PDF downloads vs 99.82% page views. When the argument “but what about the aged?” was raised, retirement village stats did show a difference at 0.82% PDF downloads vs 99.18% page views. Andrew Downie gave his perspective on the Alternative Text conundrum – a picture tells a thousand words (but not to screen reader users, those with limited vision, a cognitive disability or a slow connection). Alt text is essential – afford it the same importance as the image.

The elephant in the room—cognitive disability—was the subject of the next session. There are two million Australians who identify as having a cognitive disability, which by the way does NOT equal an intellectual impairment. There is assistive technology for those with cognitive disabilities, but problems arise when trying to explain how it can be used.

The last session was by Gian Wild who described which accessibility-focused activities to perform at which stages of a website development, with a reminder to include periodic reviews after launch. Gian was followed by Justin Brown of Edith Cowan University, who spoke about the accessibility attributes of content management system authoring environments.

The conference finished up with the OZeWAI Annual General Meeting, discussing the possibility of holding next year’s meeting in Canberra and electing the office bearers for 2015. Presentations are expected to be shared on the OZeWAI website soon.