I’ve got exciting news! Well…it’s probably only exciting for me but I’m telling you because a) I have a tendency to overshare [grin], and b) because it will affect this e-Update….temporarily at least. And the exciting news is…[drumroll]….I’m moving interstate! Queensland. Airlie Beach, to be precise. If you need to ask why, you haven’t been experiencing Adelaide winters of late. :-D Things are getting incredibly hectic as I’ve discovered that it’s not an easy thing to uproot one’s entire life and possessions and move them 2,532km!! Hence, I’ve made an executive decision that I will need to skip the next edition of this e-Update in order to keep at least a level of sanity intact. Don’t worry….I’ll be back and writing the next edition under a blue sky and palm trees. [huge grin] Now, on with the show!
HELPING STUDENTS PRESENT THEIR WORK
Handing up final assignments to the teacher is so old school. Not only does it seem a waste of time for the student (only one person gets to see what they’ve slaved over) but it prevents valuable peer discussion. Why not suggest to them (maybe as an option) that they can present their work online instead. Tackk is a free tool which makes this easy. It is essentially just a template but allows the student to write text, upload images and video, choose themes etc. Here’s a story from one teacher who integrated Tackk into her organisation’s Learning Management System (LMS). 20 Ways to Use Tackk in the Classroom actually uses a Tackk.🙂 If you would like a step-by-step tutorial on how to get started, try the video below. Oh, and if you would like to look at a couple of other options so you can compare and decide, check out Page-o-Rama and Populr.
QR DOES NOT STAND FOR QUEENSLAND RELOCATION🙂
Well, not in this instance anyway. [chuckles] People are discussing QR codes over at E-learning Conversations. If you are are not sure what QR codes are all about, the video What’s a QR Code will bring you up to speed in just a couple of minutes. 🙂 Anyway, there seemed to be a big flurry a few years ago with everyone integrating QR codes into their courses and resources, however the current debate is about whether or not they have gone out of favour. What do you think? I’ve come across examples in some strange places (like IKEA’s use of them for dog adoption), but many great education examples have also been shared in the discussion eg the Emerging Tech Trials (thx Bronwyn), Tracie’s examples of use in teaching, and also community examples eg labels for a food garden (thx Jane). Creating a QR code is dead easy…try QRStuff or QRDroid. How would you like Add Your Own Voice to a QR Code…and what about the QR Code Treasure Hunt Maker for a fun activity! I had a go and made the one above…which, theoretically, should lead you to photos of the place where I’m moving…just to make you jealous [wicked grin]. (If you’re not sure what to do, go to How to Scan a QR code.) If you’re an old hand at QR codes, why not make yours more beautiful?
VOCAROO LET’S YOU ADD AUDIO TO (ALMOST) ANYTHING
Let me tell you a bit about Vocaroo because I’m quite impressed with it. It’s simple, free, requires no logins or passwords and…well…it just works. Here is my little test message to you. To be honest I did try to actually embed the Vocaroo file right here but it didn’t work…however this is the fault of WordPress (which is this platform) as it doesn’t like many embed codes. I tried it in a number of other places though (including Moodle) and it worked really well…you can even send them as an ordinary email. It even creates a QR code if you want one! Below is a little video showing how to use it. Wouldn’t it be nicer just to talk instead of writing more screeds of text? [grin]
ARE YOU A DIGITALLY SAVVY TEACHER?
Came across the 7 characteristics of a Digitally Savvy Teacher….check to see if you can put a tick to all of them. 🙂 I agree with all the points, but particularly the first one…”You can integrate digital skills into everyday life“. I have occasionally spoken to trainers who want to (or need to) teach online, yet when I ask how they are using tech elsewhere in their lives, it is met with the response “Oh, I like to keep my personal life separate…I don’t use technology for anything else but work.” I think that’s making it harder for themselves as it is the everyday use of tech which provides the experience and confidence. Anyway, all to their own. :-) The article How Teaching Is Changing points to many ways the skill of teaching has altered, including “…taking all of the mechanical and gadget-borne stuff … and making it “whole” for the person standing in front of you. This is not new, but the complexity of making this possible on a daily basis is.” You might want to check out 24 Hours in the life of a virtual facilitator …whew! That’s enough to put anyone off! [laughs] If you’re keen to learn more about teaching online, the UNSW course Learning to Teach Online might be a good start.
BIG DATA, AND WHAT IT HAS TO DO WITH E-LEARNING
I don’t think I’ve talked about Big Data before but I probably need to because it is phrase which is bubbling up everywhere. Let’s start with the Wikipedia definition and the mind-blowing stats in This is what happens every single minute online ie that Google receives over 4 million search queries…..every 60 seconds!!! In this one single example, consider the fact that this data is recorded somewhere, and then you’ll start to realise just how BIG Big Data can be. If you’re a business, you might want to read 5 Things All Small Businesses Must Know About Big Data ….together with the warnings in Small business and big data defines the digital divide. But what has Big Data got to do with e-learning? According to When E-Learning Technologies Embrace Big Data, “Big Data is set to revolutionize the way E-Learning is designed, developed, and delivered. Introducing this technological innovation into E-Learning has opened the door to vast possibilities in making learning more effective; it could help design and deliver more personalized and adaptive learning programs for our learners.” I think the roller-coaster of technological change will still forge forward, but some are trying to put the brakes on with cautionary advice such as Stop tracking your learners. Care for them instead. I guess it’s a case of…watch this space!
THE GENTLE ART OF BLOGGING
“The idea of sharing an article is second nature to most educators today. Three words have transformed the world of collaboration: copy, paste, and send.” That’s a quote from Do Educators Really Need Blog Posts? and it points to a long known fact that to stay relevant in the teaching world, we educators must collaborate, share and help each other to keep up to date. If you would like to start a blog, you could use something like this platform (WordPress) but to be quite honest, unless you really need all the bells and whistles I’d suggest something that just lets you write. You might find the perfect tool at 16 Blogging Platforms That Won’t Distract From Your Writing. Perhaps time is your biggest issue? Then 9 Tricks to Write a Blog Post in Less Than 30 Minutes might help. Or maybe it’s ideas that you’re short of…then try the Blog Topic Generator. Finally, blogging is a wonderful teaching tool that you can use with students, and A wonderful blogging rubric for teachers and students might be a helpful assessment tool.
WHERE TO FIND IMAGES (FOR FREE) AND EDIT THEM
I mention this topic fairly frequently but it’s a popular one so I’ll keep letting you know when I come across any new places or tools. [grin] You might just want to bookmark The Ultimate Directory Of Free Image Sources as a good place to begin (but my favourite is still Pixabay). If you’re looking for something specifically in the bio-medical field, try Wellcome Images. Keep in mind that ‘free’ doesn’t necessarily mean that you can just take them willy-nilly though, as most are licensed Creative Commons which generally means that you will need to attribute them. But apart from that….no cost! Anyway, it’s all very well to be able to download free images but how do you use them? The article How to Choose the Best Images for Your e-Learning may give some ideas. Next issue can be that they aren’t exactly what you need (too big, needs cropping etc)….then 12 Great Web-based Image Editing Tools That Do Not Require Registration might be just the thing. Finally….admit it….you really want some of those super-professional stock photos but your budget won’t run to the big dollars they can cost. Well why not Be a Stock Photography Model! and make your own! No cost and you don’t even have to attribute them if you own them. [nods sagely]
A FAIRLY EASY WAY TO GET THINGS ORGANISED
SolveBoard came to my attention recently, as a simple and visual organisational tool. If you’re not into complex charting… and project management tools just seem way too complicated, then this little tool might help you to achieve the same thing with a lot less headaches. They have some examples to give you the idea…click on them to make them bigger.
BULK TEXT-MESSAGING YOUR STUDENTS
You know what it’s like…you’re suddenly down with the flu and you need to communicate quickly with all your students. A text message is the quickest way…but how do you send only one and have it go to everyone? I’ve been watching a little tool called Remind and I’m pleased to announce that they have just gone international….so teachers and trainers here in Australia can use it. They have some strict privacy policies eg phone numbers are kept private and messages are one-way only (students can’t message you back) because it’s actually designed for schools, but I’m sure it would also be of use in VET and Higher Ed. Some great ‘getting organised’ features too such as the ability to set a message to be sent at a future time. I even did a search and found you a tutorial to get started as there wasn’t one on the site….or, if you prefer, watch this short video:
LET’S FINISH WITH SOME HUMOUR
Nothing worse than somebody trying to be funny when they really don’t have what it takes…definitely groan-worthy! [chuckles] Education is a lot more fun when you can smile a bit though…as they say in Using Humor in the Classroom “Let’s add some more enjoyment to school. We don’t need guffaws — a smile and a little levity can go a long way. It’s time for us educators to take humor more seriously.” Something like this picture?
Nothing like some giggles to lighten up OH&S…you’ll find more at 21 People Who Shouldn’t Be Trusted With a Tool Belt. [rolls around laughing] Or maybe you’re feeling down and could use something a little lighthearted for yourself – try You’reGetting Old. Not ridiculous enough? I’m sure you’ll find something to tickle your fancy at 50 Websites to Waste Your Time On. Just don’t browse through them at work. [cheeky grin]
Well I’m glad I’ve left you smiling, but now I have to dash…sooooo much packing to do! I might be moving in geographical location but I’ll still be around the same places online and I’m very easy to contact. I’ll be back soon with some photos of my new locale plus the latest from the e-learning world. Be good while I’m gone! [grin]