death of education .. dawn of learning (?)

Some very good “video bites” in this short piece about how schools need to change. i like the way the video is put together – short, snappy and sharp; with plenty of good ideas about how young people are learning more outside of school these days, via the social networking sites – which are all blocked inside schools.

But 21st century learning will need to dig deep into wider educational networking possibilities, say these talking heads.

i spoke recently with someone from one of the bigger TAFE colleges .. who explained why places like You Tube are blocked. There’s only a certain amount of bandwidth available, and if students are using it all watching music videos in the break (or in the classroom), that creates a huge problem.

Others of us, from the smaller community centres, were asking why they didn’t use “bandwidth shaping”, so that You Tube would get eg 5% of the bandwidth or even less at certain times of the day.

The TAFE people probably though we were know-it-all smart-alecs who just didn’t appreciate the difficulties of working with huge institutional information technology departments.

i remember Robyn and Alex’s enormous frustration last year during their NSW Learnscope travels; when they would arrive to find many of the social software sites blocked by The Department. It was so enjoyable to find people working within the system voicing their frustration publicly .. i wonder if their blogging had an impact on the people in the department (?).

(via Betch @ edublogs)


  1. “….It was so enjoyable to find people working within the system voicing their frustration publicly .. i wonder if their blogging had an impact on the people in the department (?).”

    Robyn and I still actively campaign for teachers access to the positive practical POPULAR use of ICT’s and in fact I’d like to offer you an opportunity Michael to follow this through with your folks at your end – – let me know if you’d like a Presenter spot.


  2. Alex thanks so much for your comment and your offer .. i will look into this asap ;-]

    (goodness what could i present on, i wonder; if they’re still taking people that is..

    Great to hear you’re still campaigning (well, not so great to hear the department is still resisting 🙁

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Context is everything: e-learning face-to

Read the text. A symbol of the eight fold path "Arya Magga" (the noble path of the dhamma) in early Buddhism. An intricate representation of the Dharmachakra, or Buddhist eight  spoked Wheel. Dhamma or Dharma

“We’re so far off online learning,” said one manager to me, implying that it was so difficult we shouldn’t even bother.

My first response was to bring it all back to the classroom. “Online learning is only one part of e-learning,” I replied. I think people still see the two terms as identical, which is a problem.

E-learning, step 1: some kind of technology in your face-to-face situation. For example, taking photographs on an excursion, or recording audio from student presentations. Having access to a local network drive folder for sharing documents & files. Using a data projector with wireless keyboard to engage & motivate.

E-learning, step 2: some kind of online presence for your classroom. For example, storing learning resources on a wiki or blog or something similar. So that students can access them outside of set class times.

E-learning, step 3: regular face-to-face intensive workshops for your online course. To make sure you’re building strong group dynamics for collaborative and constructive learning.

So really, in the ACE / Learn Local sector, we’re dealing with steps 1 & 2. And step 1 is about making

Hands-on digital literacies with limited technology (BYOD)

Valbec Conference 13

Valbec conference, 17 May 13

Ah, it all seemed so simple:

An interview with Carmen Harris

[Cross-posted from the North-West e-learning mentor blog.]

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.

[Tech notes:]

We spoke over

What apps do you use for image work?

letter I

Good discussion on the ACE Network Ning, started by Lynne Gibb the e-mentor for Eastern Metro Region.

Like Lynne, I used to be a big PaintShop Pro fan, as i had a free licensed version from one of the computer magazines. Now I use XNview for browsing through my image collection, and also for those times you have to quickly re-size, adjust colours or optimise an image for the web. [Here’s my video screencast about it.]

Screenshot captor is my choice for screengrabs (similar to Carole’s Snipping Tool.) I’ve loaded it in my dropbox apps folder and set it to auto-start on all the windows machines.

I’ve used The Gimp, when i was on a mac & couldn’t access xnview or macromedia fireworks. Takes some getting used to, but it will do most of the things you need. Free and open source, you can run this as a portable app too.

Screencast-o-matic is the tool i use when i want to make a video screencast. It runs in Java, which can be trouble-some, but the web-based app now has a desktop version. [Here’s my list of video screencasts.] Details »

What's your favourite app or gadget right now?

Over on the LearnLocal e-learning network, Liz Grigg from Eastern Region has started a discussion: “

What learning brings you joy?

Found a lovely conversation on the Adult Learning Australia (ALA) Linkedin page, started by Sally Thompson. It was great to see so many joyful responses 😉 [You’ll need to join the conversation group to follow those links.]

I must say Junita amazes me with her constant sense of bubbling joy in her work. She’s a real inspiration in the way she’ll organise a network of educators and draw them into connecting. Above and beyond! Junita spoke of a small group of collaborative educators who would get together

Live web conferencing – the skills you need to facilitate a session

Last year, a few of the Victorian LearnLocal e-learning mentors put our heads together to think about the skills that people need when they want to run a live web conferencing session. I think it’s really crucial, if you’re thinking of running a live web conferencing session, to get as much help as you possibly can.

We came up with the ideas in this document below.

How to create a "session exit URL" for Blackboard Collaborate

Warning: specialised technical info relating to web conferencing in Blackboard Collaborate:

Don’t know how many people will find this useful, but Leo just asked if i knew how to do this, so i made a quick visual help file.

Yes, unfortunately you’ll need to do this for every session you set up. Unless someone else knows how to create a default exit URL.

Here’s a link to the PDF file hosted at google docs.

New e-learning mentor projects underway

Exciting news. The next round of Victorian ACE / LearnLocal e-learning mentor projects (aka “e-mentor”) have begun. Projects are conducted according to adult education regions around Victoria**.

And because each regional mentor team has their own online presence such as a blog or wiki, we’re looking for ways to tie all the headline threads together. So i’m conducting an experiment with a Yahoo RSS joiner called “Pipes”. Here’s a scrolling feed of the latest headlines. Now to see if i can display multiple headlines without scrolling…

[rss-news-display setting=”1″]


I’ve also written up the North-West experience over at our “North-West Cafe” e-mentor blog. More details over there.



** (While we still have the old regional system, that is. News has arrived that next year Victorian adult community education is to be divided into only 4 regions, with one-third of the staff. Naturally only people with secret invisible powers of government bureaucracy can see the sense in this. The rest of us think we may have an insane government in power. Somebody wants to destroy the Adult Community Education (ACE) sector apparently. Especially in rural and regional Victoria.)








Get a load of Stephen Fry (madly linguistic podgram)

I’m listening to Stephen Fry’s podgram on my android phone. And he’s so delightful, as he explores the innards of his linguistic perspective, that i feel the urge to share. But i didn’t take notes, so now i don’t recall anything that he said.

Think maybe i need to work on my auditory memory.

Oh i’ve just realised from the wikipedia page, that it dates back to 2008.