Archive for the ‘OnlineLearning’ Category

Wales history online

May 31st, 2012 by Graham Attwell

People’s memories of watching television footage of some of the most significant events in Wales from 1950 – 2000, can now be viewed on a new website funded by Jisc for researchers, teachers and the general public.

Historical events such as the Aberfan disaster in 1966, the Miners’ Strike in 1984 and the Queen’s Coronation in 1953 are some of the important events to have been documented and placed on the website, created by Aberystwyth University as part of Jisc’s investment in opening up valuable content online.

As well as interviews with contributors and film footage the website, which is called Media and Memory in Wales, also includes maps, documents and photographs.

Happy birthday icould

November 7th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

What a difference the Creative Commons License makes.

According to the icould web site:  “icould gives you the inside story of how careers work. The icould storytellers relate, in their own words, their real life career journeys. There are over a thousand easy to search,varied and unique career videos as well as hundreds of written articles. From telecoms engineers to police officers, from landscape gardeners to web designers, from engine drivers to zookeepers; they talk about what they do, what it’s like, how they came to be where are and their hopes for the future.”

The service has just celebrated its second birthday. A email from Director, Dave Arnold says:

Happy birthday to icould! We launched icould two years ago this week and although we are still in our infancy, we are growing well and becoming better known. We’ve doubled the visitor numbers to icould.com in the past year and also now have icould content streamed on key sites such as Guardian Careers, Career Wales, Skills Development Scotland, TES and the Frog schools learning platform, extending icould’s reach to millions of young people across the UK.

We’ve continued to add to our career videos and written content, with recent additions featuring advice on student finances and more practical tips for getting a first job. We’ve also created a new ‘Focus On’ area, designed to demystify certain sectors and types of work, exploring all the jobs and career possibilities within that theme.  These Focus On areas consist of around eight to ten new video stories, new written content, competitions and specific guidance on training opportunities and company information.

Focus On Music was the first new area on icould.com sponsored by BlackBerry.  Launched over the Summer, it looks at careers of people behind the stars in the music industry. Focus On Music profiles the unseen heroes behind a music star, for example Jesse J’s choreographer and music video director and Tinnie Tempah’s publicist and photographer. We wanted to show that you don’t have to be behind the microphone to have a successful career in the music industry and hopefully we give young people an insight into the breadth of careers within the industry. This area was launched in July and has attracted considerable media attention as well as several successful partnerships, one with the iconic NME which has resulted in an icould user being offered a work taster experience with the Editor. We have also created some new free teaching resources to complement this new initiative.

……..

We’ve recently launched the next area, a Focus On Finance sponsored by Standard Life, which looks at the range of careers and skills needed in the Financial sector, proving that you don’t have to be an expert with numbers to work in finance!  We have a number of other areas in the pipeline, including a Focus on Media, which will launch in the New Year.

We continue to listen and respond to your feedback and are currently undertaking further research on the usage of icould.com to inform future developments.  We really appreciate your input, so please keep your comments and suggestions coming in.”

Obviously icould is on a roll. But lets use the Wayback machine to take us back to spring, 2009. I don’ t know, but I suspect that at that time iCould was struggling to make much impact. And here is one of the major reasons why. The Terms and Conditions of use at that time stated:

“Use of the icould website

Unless otherwise stated, icould owns the intellectual property rights in the website and material on the website. All these intellectual property rights are reserved.

Unless otherwise stated, you are entitled to use the icould website for personal use in any way, providing you do not reproduce any of the information as your own and/or seek to profit from it. Personal use constitutes viewing the icould website online and printing pages and/or documents for review offline.

If you wish to reproduce any materials accessible on the icould website including information, graphics, images and other design elements in printed or electronic form, you must obtain written permission first. Please use the contact details at the bottom of this page if you need to obtain permission.

Linking to the icould website is permitted, although displaying our pages within a frame of another website is not as this constitutes reproducing our content as your own.”

Now let’s forward to the present day. Under Terms and Conditions we find the following statement:

“…..we give permission to use the contents of the Site on a creative commons licence which can be found at:

Attribution-Non-commercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported

This licence gives you permission to broadcast icould.com pages over the school network or use them on a whiteboard in a classroom.  You can circulate articles, use the worksheets and so on. This applies in any education or training context.

In simple terms:

  • You can copy, distribute, transmit the work and display the material with the exclusion of full length versions[i] of stories.
  • You may create derivative works with the exclusion of full length versions of stories.

Under the following conditions:

  • Attribution: You must give icould credit and make clear the resources come from icould.com.
  • Non-commercial: You may not use this work for commercial purposes or make any charge for the work.
  • Share Alike. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a licence identical to the Creative Commons licence.

This means you could, for instance, create electronic worksheets or create electronic careers posters or include them in an e-portfolio or personal learning environment.”

Not only that, but icould provides an API key to make it easy for developers to incorporate icould materials in their own sites.

There is a lesson here for developers and content providers and indeed for many education and learning projects. Few of us have the clout to make it on our own. But through allowing use of our materials and projects we can build impact on a vastly greater scale. And whilst going creative commons closes off some business models it opens up others.

Congratulations to icould for opening up their content. And happy birthday. Lets hope they continue building on the success they are presently enjoying.

Involving participants in online presentations

November 2nd, 2011 by Graham Attwell

This is interesting stuff from Nancy White taken from a presentation on the #Change11 Massive Open Online Course. The Contents are well worth a watch. But why I have linked to it is the process. I guess this presentation was using Elluminate. And most presenters in Elluminate – or for that matter other online conferencing applications – struggle to involve participants. Nancy has no such problems!

The Elephant in the Classroom

October 3rd, 2011 by Graham Attwell

I am not sure that I agree with Jon Dron’s idea of  ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ technologies. But there are many ideas worth thinking about in this presentation. Terry Anderson comments “We had a bit of discussion if holist isn’t just a term for appropriate use of all three pedagogical generations, which we argue for in the paper, thus making the need for a fourth term redundant – just as modern distance education uses multiple generations of communications technologies (print, video, web etc.)”

Technical woes – do online meeting systems really work?

February 8th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

I spent a lot of time yesterday evaluating ‘virtual classrooms’ or spaces for online simultaneous communication.

The background: over the last two years I have recognised, presented and participated in a considerable number of seminars, workshops and conferences using Elluminate. Whilst it has its bad days, in general Elluminate is reliable and I am fairly confident in getting people online and in facilitating communication on the platform. So when I was asked to help organise an online course for careers guidance professionals, I based it around a mix of self directed activities using PBWorks and simultaneous online sessions in Elluminate.

Then came the problem. Elluminate is a Java based application and requires both Java to be installed and the opening of a couple of ports which are sometime closed by systems administrators. Indeed the ports had been closed but that obstacle could be overcome. But, for one reason or another (I am not quite sure what), the application could not be got to run on Windows XP machines on the clients network. So I was left looking for an alternative.

First on the list was Net Webinar. I was not much taken by this given the web page marketing hype (and the price) but we had been recommended to use it by our client. It is Applet based avoiding the need for Java or downloads and I could set up a free month’s trial. The application seemed very much to emphasise the role of the presenter. There was no shared whiteboard and the main role of participants seemed to be to ask text questions. Sadly last night the person I was collaborating with was unable to access the webinar I set up (I suspect an issue with Windows 7 netbook version). Today I tried again with another colleague and it all worked quite well but I couldn’t hear any audio from her. The manual is also curious, seeming to focus more on toll paid telephony than anything else!

Next we looked again at Flash meeting. Although I use it regularly for project meetings I had never tried it with the whiteboard and tools enabled. For interactivity, this requires each user to have their own account. Furthermore the design does not really work, neither are the presentation tools far developed. Flash meeting is as the name suggests a meeting tool, I think.

On to DimDIm. I like the design, although functionality is limited by only five microphones being available. And the big failing of many of these system seems to be that the Flash system they use is unreliable. When switching between modes – whiteboard, presentation etc. it seemed to do things to my audio. And this morning, trying it amongst three of us, one person could hear everyone, whilst two of us could not hear each other. Promising but two buggy to risk with a non techie audience.

At this point I tried a skype shout out. The first reply was from Nergiz Kern. “NergizK @GrahamAttwell @cristinacost Maybe a bit unconventional but what about http://www.scribblar.com/ ? (If all else fails).” I liked the approach , unconventional or not. But once more the audio failed miserably. On skype someone (by now I have forgotten who) recommended WizIQ. oh dear, the moment I tried to invite Cristina Costa (who by now I had inveigled as a fellow tester), the whole site went crazy on me. Things were moving all over the place. More Flash problems I suspect. Another one ruled out.

I tried another two systems this morning. Similar results. With he notable exception of Flash meeting, the implementation of Flash in these systems seems very buggy. It might work on a good day for most people. Or it might not. And even in Flash meeting we spend a lot of time saying “can you hear me.”

I didn’t try Adobe Connect. I cannot afford it. And the trial version is too limited to use for the sessions I am trying to organise. It should also be remembered that Elluminate is not free – it is just that I am lucky to have access to an install.

So my conclusion – Flash doesn’t really work. And none of the free systems are yet good enough for working with non technical first time users. Disappointing really. My latest thinking is to re-jig the session and use an embedded slidecast, along with an embedded chat room in PBWorks. It is all free and with a bit of luck and a following wind it might work. Or perhaps to use Edmodo.

I’d be very interested to hear of your experiences of using these, or any other online seminar or workshop tools.

Changing Practice

January 12th, 2010 by Cristina Costa
Today’s been a complicated day, if for nothing else because I hate chairing meetings!!!!!  On top of that this was a meeting that touched on a very sensitive area: changing practice. Although this allows me to kind of stick my nose into someone else’s practice and look at ways how it could be improved, especially [...]

Extraordinary Educators

November 29th, 2009 by Cristina Costa
Today a really good friend of mine emailed to tell me about her impressions on a conference she has recently been to about innovation and creativity. Her thoughts and feelings about it are interesting…what (I think) she let us read in between the lines of her reflection is even richer. For those who can’t read Portuguese, Teresa [...]

Twitter and Flickr in 5 Minutes

February 25th, 2009 by Cristina Costa
I thoroughly enjoyed today’s session as part of Buth’s workshop. There were very though provoking questions there! It is great to connect to new people all the time…it’s just brilliant to be challenged by people’s ideas and experiences. It makes me think, it helps me reflect, and most important it helps me see things from [...]
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    Teenagers online in the USA

    According to Pew Internet 95% of teenagers in the USA now report they have a smartphone or access to one. These mobile connections are in turn fueling more-persistent online activities: 45% of teens now say they are online on a near-constant basis.

    Roughly half (51%) of 13 to 17 year olds say they use Facebook, notably lower than the shares who use YouTube, Instagram or Snapchat.

    The survey also finds there is no clear consensus among teens about the effect that social media has on the lives of young people today. Minorities of teens describe that effect as mostly positive (31%) or mostly negative (24%), but the largest share (45%) says that effect has been neither positive nor negative.


    Robots to help learning

    The TES reports on a project that uses robots to help children in hospital take part in lessons and return to school has received funding from the UK Department for Education.

    TES says “The robot-based project will be led by medical AP provider Hospital and Outreach Education, backed by £544,143 of government money.

    Under the scheme, 90 “tele-visual” robots will be placed in schools and AP providers around the country to allow virtual lessons.

    The robot, called AV1, acts as an avatar for children with long-term illnesses so they can take part in class and communicate with friends.

    Controlling the robot remotely via an iPad, the child can see and hear their teacher and classmates, rotating the robot’s head to get a 360-degree view of the class.

    It is hoped the scheme will help children in hospital to feel less isolated and return to school more smoothly.”


    Gutenburg

    According to developer Gary Pendergast, WordPress 5, Gutenberg, is nearing release.

    Pendergast says: “As the WordPress community, we have an extraordinary opportunity to shape the future of web development. By drawing on the past experiences of WordPress, the boundless variety and creativity found in the WordPress ecosystem, and modern practices that we can adopt from many different places in the wider software world, we can create a future defined by its simplicity, its user friendliness, and its diversity.”


    Adult Education in Wales

    Learning and Work Institute is organising this year’s adult learning conference in partnership with the Adult Learning Partnership Wales. It will take place on Wednesday, 16 May 2018 at the Cardiff City Stadium.

    They say “Changing demographics and a changing economy requires us to re-think our approach to the delivery of learning and skills for adults. What works and what needs to change in terms of policy and practice?

    The conference will seek to debate how can we respond to need, grow participation, improve and measure outcomes for citizens, and revitalise community education.”


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