Learning is in the Air!

Bronwyn Lapham, the senior technical officer here at eWorks, recently spoke with Keeli Cambourne of the Sydney Morning Herald for an article called ‘Learning is in the air‘. This article talks about an exciting cloud-computing project using the NBN in New South Wales.

“A classroom in the cloud sounds like the stuff of fantasy but for students and staff at TAFE New England Institute, the concept is only weeks away from becoming a reality,” introduces Keeli.

The project, called Cloud 9, takes “advantage of the opportunities afforded by access to high-speed broadband”, continues Keeli.

Bronwyn adds that “for rural and regional students and employers, […] Cloud 9 will make huge productivity improvements.” She then gives a more detailed explanation of the actual and potential benefits of the project for Australian education.

Updated Teacher E-learning Toolkit

Three compartments of a toolbox labeled Brakes, Headset and Wheels

Trainers wanting to use new and innovative online delivery methods are frequently confronted with issues of access to appropriate functionality to facilitate e-learning. (Commonly a teacher wants to innovate online only to find options blocked by the organisational firewall.)

Since 2008 the Teacher E-learning Toolkit has provided guidance for the type of functionality required by teachers as well as technical specifications for informing training organisations and their IT departments. An updated version of the VET toolkit, together with its companion document ‘Commonly-used E-learning Applications and Tools in VET‘, is now available on the New Generation Technologies for Learning website.

The toolkit specifies the minimum web and desktop-based functionality requirements needed to support e-learning in the national training system. The companion document contains a list of software tools that are commonly used by teachers and trainers in VET.

The document updates, funded by the National VET E-learning Strategy, have been informed by a comprehensive research and consultation process with teachers and technical personnel, including an online survey and in-depth interviews.

The current review interviewed a more diverse range of respondents, including those from non-metropolitan institutions as well as community training providers, covering a broader spectrum of activity. 74% of respondents said they had previously used the toolkit.

A common concern of respondents was how to deal with the complexity caused by the emergence of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) scenarios. The updated toolkit has therefore endorsed the need for functionality facilitating cloud and social applications to help augment activity on a wide range of mobile devices.

Updates to the documents include:

  • cloud-based storage and sharing
  • using and delivering learning and assessment on mobile devices
  • e-portfolio approaches
  • new case studies (added to the ‘Commonly-used Applications’ document)

Also, a designated forum is now available on the New Generation Technologies for Learning website for practitioners to help keep the information up to date.

The toolkit “is a useful summary of the range of functionality required by VET practitioners and as such has been a reference to developing an eTools kit for all staff across the institute”, said one survey participant.

“The summary of technologies that these documents provide is a good overview and guides me as to where to start looking for other e-learning tools”, said another.

Photo: Bike tools, by rubberdreamfeet on flickr

Offline Activity in Moodle

Today, one of our clients (Geoff from Wodonga TAFE) asked us on Twitter: “Where do you find offline assignments in Moodle 2.2?”

When adding new activities to a course you get an option to add offline activities in the left menu:

Thanks to Eric Kuncoro for the solution.

Improve your E-learning Capability

Are you wanting to know more about the exploding Mobile Learning landscape? Do you want to explore this in greater detail and what it means for you, your organisation and your learners?

Are you looking for the capabilities to use the Grade Book and Lessons feature in Moodle, and how you and your organisation can leverage from this?

Then eWorks’ upcoming face-to-face e-learning sessions will provide you with the knowledge, skills and technical capabilities to do just that!

  • Mobile Future: Thursday 27 September

    David Drinkall will lead these 2 sessions focussing on ways to capitalise on the powerful computers our students and trainers are carrying around with them everyday to achieve better outcomes. You will take away practical ideas for delivering content engaging learners and collecting evidence of competence using mobile technology.

  • Advanced Moodle Practices: Thursday 11 October

    eWorks Moodle officiandos, Sarah Phillips and Bernadette Parry, will guide you through the tricky activities ensuring the Grade Books and Lessons features work and how you can make the most of them for your courses and organisation.