#036 e-Learning Stuff Podcast: Cultural Change

February 28, 2010

With James Clay, Mick Mullane and David Sugden.

It’s not just about the technology, it’s also about the culture of the organisation when it comes to embedding learning technologies and e-learning. Cultural change often needs to happen if there is to be transformation within an educational institutiuon.

This is the thirty sixth e-Learning Stuff Podcast, Cultural Change

Download the podcast in mp3 format: Cultural Change

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes


Clipart, bin it, you know it makes sense

February 27, 2010

Clipart is often used to allegedly “enhance” learning resources and presentations. You’ve all seen it used somewhere. Clipart is often downloaded from the web or used via Microsoft Office.

I would describe clipart as cliched, stereotypical, ghastly, offensive and just plain bad…. and that’s been nice about it!

So should you be using clipart? Personally speaking and in my opinion, I say no!

I have a preference for photographs and photographic images. I would use a digital camera and take some photographs rather than use some awful clipart. I would prefer to use a photographic image from an image collection rather than use some jokey style clipart.

You can see I don’t really like clipart!

Check the last magazine you purchased, how many articles or adverts used photographs and how many used clipart?

Clipart, bin it, you know it makes sense.

100 ways to use a VLE – #14 Writing a blog

February 26, 2010

I is writing a blog!

Though you may be reading this on my blog, for some practitioners and learners using a blog is an alien idea and they may not even know what a blog is, or what blogging means.

A VLE can be a quick and easy way for practitioners and learners to start blogging and learn the value of blogging.

A blog is an abbreviation of web log (weblog) and to put it simply is a log of commentaries, observations or reflections that is placed on the web.

Maintaining a reflective journal, thoughts about assignments, or writing notes about lessons; these activities can all be done on a blog.


Not everyone has the confidence or the technical ability to start a blog.

Now I know that starting a blog is a piece of cake, however that may be easy, it is not necessarily such an effective practice for a complete class, curriculum area or a whole college.

Some institutions may consider putting a WordPress MU Server for blogging purposes. However this may not be an option for all colleges. If a WordPress MU Server is put in, then you can link to college systems to ensure that every learner can create their own blog.

Though one issue is not just technical confidence, but also confidence in what is being written. It’s one thing to write a reflective journal and be very open, it is a fundamentally different thing to post those reflections on an open blog for all to read. A learner is likely to be less open if they know everyone, their mum and their employer is going to be reading it. So you might want to close it off to just the learner (or learner group) and the tutor. This requires a modicum of technical confidence; can we assume that every learner can do this?

So though blogging systems such as WordPress or Blogger are great tools for individuals, they don’t really scale with groups or whole colleges.

This is where the VLE can come in.

It’s already configured with logins for learners, so that’s one job done, learners and staff who already use it have a familiarity with it as a tool.

You can use included blogging tools, but for some learners even a discussion forum might be a useful starting point. Advantage of built-in blogging functionality will be (hopefully) that it generates an RSS feed.

Blogging has real potential to enhance and enrich the learning experience of many learners; the VLE can be the right tool for some practitioners in introducing the concept to their learners.

Regardless of the above, if learners want to use other tools such as WordPress, Typepad, Blogger, instead of using a provided blogging tool on the VLE, then practitioners need to consider how they are going to incorporate these blogs into the learning activity. An obvious route is to use RSS feeds from these blogs.

The VLE is not an ideal blogging tool, but for many practitioners and learners it can be a useful and scalable blogging tool.

Photo source.

PSPs at St Helen’s College

February 25, 2010

Interesting and informative podcast from RSC NW about St Helen’s College use of PSPs.

Gill explains how these devices came out of the MoleNet funding stream and why she finds them better than some other devices for capturing and playing back video evidence.  She explains how easy to use these devices  to display PowerPoint presentations, screen shots and photographs as well as capture high quality video and sound.


February 25, 2010

Even a simple Word document is more accessible than a printed/written handout. With an electronic document, the learner can very quickly change the typeface, the colours (background and font) , the size of the text, it can also used with a screen reader

Using learning technologies can improve accessibility to learning content for a wider group of learners. Understanding how to present resources to ensure that they are accessible is important for all staff.

Well worth looking at the JISC TechDis website.

The JISC TechDis Service aims to be the leading educational advisory service, working across the UK, in the fields of accessibility and inclusion.

Our mission is to support the education sector in achieving greater accessibility and inclusion by stimulating innovation and providing expert advice and guidance on disability and technology.

There are some nice case studies on the JISC RSC YH Excellence in Inclusivity site.

Welcome to the JISC RSC YH Excellence in inclusivity portal which has been developed to help promote best practice and share knowledge to support enhanced inclusivity. This portal provides a simple route to accessing a range of case studies which show how inclusivity has been enhanced through the use of appropriate technology.

In conversation…

February 24, 2010

The video version of the conversation between myself and Alan Graham that was recently published as an audio podcast.

Will the iPad have a camera?

February 23, 2010

So will Apple’s new iPad have a camera?

The original announcement back in January, no mention was made of any kind of camera.

So what’s changed?

Well in the recently released (and very quickly removed) iPad SDK from Apple there is a photos App. Well nothing new there, the iPod touch that doesn’t have a camera also has a photos App. There is a mention in the photos App for a camera.

Now I am not sure if there will be a camera in the first generation iPad, we already know there’s going to be a camera attachment to allow you to plug in a camera via USB or read an SD Card.

I suspect that this is the reason for the camera tab.

I can’t see from the design of the iPad and how it will be held how a facing camera would work, it’s not like the iSight in an iMac or a MacBook Pro. I guess an iPhone camera on the “back” could work.

If the iPhone is anything to go by, we’ll probably in a year to eighteen months see a “new” revised iPad with new features. I don’t think we’ll see a camera in this first generation model.