04 December 2013

Have fun with photos at photofunia

I found this terrific "photofunia" site via Vivian, one of the teachers at Glenroy Neighbourhood Learning Centre. She uses the site for students when they first join a class there. The idea is that students upload a photo of themselves and do something fun with it, for example turn themselves into the Mona Lisa, or a design on top of a cappuccino.

It's kind of an ice-breaker, but people are also learning basic skills in web browsing and file management (upload, download files, remember where you saved it etc).

Teachers at PRACE were a bit interested, so I made this help file for their students. Let me know if you find it useful.

  1. photofunia dot com
  2. the help file (in pdf format - stored in google drive)

(Cross-posted from the e-learning at PRACE blog.)

=> By Michael Chalk

10 October 2013

Jane Hart's Top 100 Tools for Learning, 2013

She's done it again. For the fifth year running, Jane Hart has compiled a list of the top 100 tools for learning, as ranked by educators around the world. Over 500 educators listed their own top 10, and Jane's put them all together somehow to come up with this massive list. 

What I like most about the original list was that each tool would link back to its category, where you could see for example all the "video learning platforms" on one page and compare them. But that feature seems to have been dropped now. Can anyone find it? 

I did vote in the first couple.. but keep missing it since then. 

What about you... what would be your top 10 tools for learning? 

..let us know in the comment section. 

The presentation slides version:

...or the text version on her own site.

17 September 2013

Around the region... new adventures

It's been wonderful to meet people who are relatively new to e-learning, as well as to catch up again with those of you who are continuing your journeys. So far this project, we've discovered:
=> At Glenroy NLC, teachers are looking to connect students from different locations, using web conferencing software known as Lync (microsoft).
=> People at Richmond CLC are starting to explore mobile learning and introduction to tablet apps (the iPad).
=> Out at Community West, they've been investigating how to make powerpoint more interactive for students engaged in language learning.
=> At Tullamarine Community House, the manager wants to get a group of volunteers together to start managing their social media presence more actively.
=> At Yooralla Adult Education, one woman is working out how to put some modules for the Work Education certificate into a "learning management system (LMS)" known as moodle. She's been working on a thing called "ADDIE" - a framework used by instructional designers, incorporating "Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, & Evaluation"
=> Teachers and co-ordinators at Jesuit CC in Collingwood are aiming to build a web presence for young students on a Certificate of General Education for Adults (CGEA) course that combines art practice and outdoor education. Probably using wikispaces.

=> And there's more going on in the far Northern regional stretches of this massive North-West region too. Out at Murray ACE Inc, they're finding ways for students to build an "e-portfolio", possibly using a web-based tool known as "google sites".
word cloud via wordle.net
[ word cloud via wordle.net ]

Leave a note in the comment section if you'd like to know more about any of these projects.

NB: there are many ways to make a "word cloud": try this list of 10 for starters.

Michael Chalk
for the North-West e-mentor team

17 June 2013

It's Roadshow Season! Please join us. Friday 28 June.

If you haven't noticed already, there's an e-learning Roadshow coming to you very soon. In Melbourne's metropolitan region, we're setting up the show on Friday 28 June, the last day of term 2.. at the CAE in the heart of the city's coffee-scented Degraves street haven.

Don't miss out.. book now for this terrific opportunity to network with your colleagues, share your stories and find out what e-learning educators have been up to all around the state of Victoria.

There will also be regional roadshow days, for example Mooroopna on Wednesday 17 July.

And yes we are coming to the end of this 12 month e-learning mentor project.. but never fear, you will be able to re-apply for the next 6 months, for more individual support from your local mentors.

06 May 2013

an interview with Carmen Harris

Recently I spoke with Carmen Harris from Yooralla adult education. Carmen was involved in the North-West e-learning mentor projects back in 2011. She told me all about the amazing work they've been doing with literacy and technology over there, including blogs, facebook, email lists and zines.

You can listen to the interview right here. I was aiming to edit down to 5-8 minutes, but Carmen just kept on saying interesting things. Highly recommended for an insight into creative classroom practices.

Please use the comment area to give us your feedback.

Find out more about Carmen's work over here at their LitnTech site.

Tech notes:

We spoke over Skype and I recorded the call using a thing called "Amolto skype recorder". Really impressed with the sound quality.. but it was interesting that the Amolto app gave no warning it was recording. Just so you know.. it is possible that someone could be recording you in a Skype conversation without telling you.

I've used soundcloud to host the audio files, which is a very impressive app used by musicians and podcasters around the world. The free account gives you 200 minutes of sound files.

30 April 2013

Investigative Teachers at Community West

A wonderful project at Community West in St Albans, where Dinna Tayao has invited teachers to join a weekly session of exploration and sharing.

I went out to visit Dinna and her team of investigating educators. They have been running a fantastic in-house exploration of all kinds of e-learning.

Each week one teacher explores a new strategy, software or other resource, evaluates its usefulness in class with students, and then reports back to the other teachers. 2 hours a week. They've had visiting expert speakers as well. Brilliant work from Dinna and the teachers at Community West. What a great job they are doing.

One teacher had researched the idea of using powerpoint to engage students in the colour, language and meaning of signs. What impressed me most was the way she had given such close attention to noticing how the students responded at each stage.

*Question of the Week*

I showed the teachers at Community West how google docs/ drive can work for collaborative writing. There was some enthusiasm around its potential, and also some reservation around the complication of requiring a login (too challenging for lower levels).

And a great question from one of the teachers: tell us who's been using this, and how?

[Oh no, did I really turn up without any case studies in hand? Yeh, I don't think they were too impressed actually, and fair enough.]

So who can tell us of some great examples or case studies of teaching and learning with google docs? Please add your thoughts in the comments below.

best regards, michael

29 April 2013

Collaborate and create documents together - with google drive, desktop edition.

Logo for google apps. No idea who owns this image sorry.
3 Questions:
  • Are you using google docs? (aka google drive)
  • Have you noticed that you can now access your google drive files and folders via your desktop?
  • Have you noticed that you can share any kind of file via this cloud system now, not just google documents?
Google drive is now a lot like dropbox - a place to share files and folders with people in different locations. You get 5gb of storage space, and you can access and manage the filing system via your local file manager*. 

[*eg: Windows Explorer on windows, or Finder on mac.]

Most people are better at managing file systems via their own file manager rather than via a web app - making new folders, moving files from one location to another. Why upload via a web page, when you can copy/paste from one desktop folder to another.

Once you store files in the google drive space, you can share them with other people, either to view or to edit. It doesn't have to be a google doc. You can also publish documents on the web. For example, here's an intro to google drive (desktop edition), a PDF file stored in my own google drive area.

Updated, Dec13: [Download a copy here.]

4th question: is there enough info in this document to get started? What's missing?

Oh wait, I know what's missing. How could this be useful for education? 

Please respond to any of the questions in this post via the comments area below. Thanks so much,

Michael Chalk

PS: I have updated this document to mention that you can allow people different editing rights (thanks Jill for that feedback). 

07 April 2013

What’s the Difference Between “Using Technology” and “Technology Integration”?

Are we just going through the motion or are we making a difference in the classroom with the use of technology? The table below makes a good comparison. Here is the link to teachbytes blog

01 March 2013

Dropbox, an introduction

Michael Chalk and Ian Hall present an intro to Dropbox:

  • How to get it,
  • what it's for and
  • what can you do with it. 
Thursday 07 March, 12:30 AEDT. Location TBA (online - you'll need a headset)

Especially for the folk of the Loddon Mallee and North-West regions, however everyone is welcome. Please indicate here in the comments, or on the ACE network Ning events page (login req'd), whether we'll see you. Come and share your knowledge if you already have some experience.

Still booking an online room, but we'll let you know how to find us.

We'll talk briefly about the other options, for example Google Drive and microsoft Skydrive, but the main focus will be on Dropbox.

45-60 minute presentation, followed by optional conversation and networking, Q & A time.