People often ask, “Why e-learning?”
For me, it’s about providing a strong balance of flexibility and access. Ideally learners (and teachers) can connect with their peers and explore the learning materials outside of set class times and independently of location, in ways that are simple and straightforward. Wherever you are, at a time that suits you.
At PRACE, people continue to explore these themes of flexibility and access in more and more practical ways.
Here’s the quick overview of what’s happened at PRACE in the last year. Please tell us in the comments… which of these stories below would you like to hear more about?
Online forums with “Moodle”
In 2012, people working on their Advanced Diploma of Community Sector Management stayed in touch with each other and with the learning resources using “moodle” – a web-based system for conversation and sharing. Our Committee of Management members began using the same system to improve ways of working together between face-to-face meetings.
Shared files in “wikispaces”
People in the VCAL program continued their investigations into wiki technology (wikispaces) for the young mums program. This extended at the end of the year into a new wiki for the main VCAL group. (A wiki is a web page you can edit in the web browser.) Also both groups have been experimenting with the use of facebook as a discussion method.
We also put some audio interviews with teachers and learners on our “Learn at PRACE” wiki.. from one of the popular Morning Tea events last year. Have a listen and tell us what you think. There’s also a music playlist on that page – songs relating to employment.
Blogs & email
The e-learning co-ordinator continued working with teachers to support classroom strategies. ESL teachers supported their to develop skills in basic email, both at the Reservoir Neighbourhood House and at Merrilands. Some ESL and literacy teachers also began using blog technology to engage their learners, with video listening and web-based conversation.
Across the organisation, we have begun a more in-depth conversation about strategy, inviting several co-ordinators and teachers to form a small committee examining how technology is affecting PRACE at all levels. One discussion focussed on cloud-based document sharing, leading to a comparison of Dropbox and Google Drive applications.
Google Apps for education
We continued to improve and expand our organisation-wide use of Google Apps. Now we have a range of ways to share and communicate information between different locations, including spreadsheets for booking equipment, online documents for reporting to the IT support crew, shared calendars for events, and internet folders for sharing documents.
Websites with WordPress
We’ve also continued to improve the PRACE website, as well as building websites for Branch Out and West Preston FC, as part of our web of strategic partnerships. These sites are built with the sophisticated content management system known as “Wordpress”.
Like our new Facebook and Google+ pages
We are still working on the strategy here, but we’ve set up our store-front in both Facebook and Google Plus. Social media is said to be a great way of connecting with customers, students and potential audiences.. however we need to make sure we have the best approach.