Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Queensland e-learning activity

Hi everyone,

Some of you I have met, however for those that don't know me, my name is Jodie McCabe and I am the Queensland Coordinator for the Australian Flexible Learning Framework. The Australian Flexible Learning Framework is a national initiative to support the uptake of e-learning within VET. Basically, what that means is I am here to support you in terms of linking you to people/events/activities happening in Queensland around e-learning!

There is so much going on in this area and there are lots of products, resources and support networks that are available for you to tap into-most of which are FREE! Sometimes it is very difficult to continue on your pathway to flexible delivery without getting side-tracked and exploring all these exciting things ....

In Queensland, we are undertaking an activity to pull together information about Queensland's involvement in Australian Flexible Learning Framework activity over the past 5 years. This will then provide us with a "catalogue" of what's been done, in what areas, by who, what products have come out of it etc... It is expected that this activity will be completed by the end of the year and communicated to VET stakeholders.

The flexiblelearning.net.au website houses a heap of information about flexible learning. There are case studies which outline how organisations have implemented flexible learning, free products/resources that you can use and a heap more. This year the Framework has focused on the area of client engagement and alot of activity is going on around engaging industry, Indigenous learners and the community in e-learning. There is also a project focused of Target Learner Groups which incorporates learners with disabilities and youth.

I am more than happy to have a chat with any of you at any time. My contact details are: Jodie.A.McCabe@det.qld.gov.au or (07) 3259 4384.

Good luck and I look forward to hearing more about what each of you are doing at the follow up workshops!

Take care,
Jodie

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Invitation to join PfP blog as a team member

I am progressively sending out invitations to members of the network to become team members for the PfP blog.

If you accept the invitation, you will be able to make original posts to the PfP blog.

As part of the process, you will need to register with Blogger.com.

In the meantime, feel free to post your comments against any of the postings to date.

The invitations will take about a week or so as they have to be done individually by me. I also want to make sure we do not overload the system!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Disengaged 14-17 year olds

The issue of disengaged youth came up in every one of the nine workshops I conducted as part of this project. Participants recognised that online learning/flexible learning could make a significant contribution to re-engaging youth in learning.

People in the PfP network are tackling the problem from different perspectives and employing a wide range of techniques and strategies.

Cairns Workshop

The primary focus of this workshop was indigenous learners and strategies to engage them in a sustainable way. This discussion is reported under the Cairns workshop posting on Monday 12 September. The discussion is particularly relevant to disengaged learners.

Sunshine Coast Workshop

Doug Elliott (Cooloola Sunshine Institute of TAFE, CSIT) has been active in the community and prepared submissions to raise the profile of this issue. Michael O'Neill from Gympie SHS is seeking solutions through enriching vocational guidance (including online resources) and by creating pathways for students. He is currently working with Graham Williams (ETRF Coordinator, CSIT) to develop short (1/2 day) TAFE sampling courses for students from his school. The focus on career advice and pathways for disengaged youth is shared by Janelle Brunes and Michele Le Franc (Maroochydore SHS) and Cathy Hazzard (CSIT).

Toowoomba Workshop

Vanessa Crothers (Lockyer District High School) is focusing on "employability skills" and is working with representatives of Southern Queensland Institute of TAFE (SQIT) to develop a course for year 11's to be implemented in the first term next year. Terese Morgan (SQIT) has developed a web-based, "bits and bytes" package that could serve as a "plug-in" for this course (package includes things like "how to write an assignment", critical literacy, etc).


Gold Coast Workshop


Ann-Marie Kelly (ETRF Project Officer, EQ) is addressing the issues of disengaged youth through literacy and numeracy development (students from refugee countries), VET online for indigenous students and school-industry links. Susanne Gunning (Gold Coast Institute of TAFE, GCIT) addresses the issue through her online Certificate of Spoken and Written English. Suzanne is also experimenting with Google Talk that could be a relevant technology for engaging 14-17 year olds as it provides free email, instant messaging (IM) and calls.

Rockhampton Workshop

This workshop unearthed three people who are very passionate about the issue of disengaged youth and are actively working in the area. Gary Latcham (Youth Support Co-ordinator, Biloela) spoke of the joint TAFE/Callide A Power Station initiative and the private-sector funded, Gladstone practice/learning farm (see posting re Rocky workshop). He also discussed his strong emphasis on creating a "work ethic" by developing a "work agreement" between teachers and students that embeds appropriate rules of behaviour.

Nathan Wyer (Pathways Coordinator, Toolooa SHS) stressed the importance of career advice and the role of the Senior Education Training Plans (SETP) in helping students to choose pathways. He explained his action learning approach -plan,act/do, reflect - in utilising this tool and spoke of the linkages with "Your Future Your Choice" (see also Cairns workshop posting). Nathan thought that private RTO's should be made more aware of these tools. Nathan's current challenge is to develop a management system to track the progress of students in their re-engagement with learning.

Penny Skerman, Central Queensland Institute of TAFE (CQIT), echoed the thoughts of representatives of the Lockyer District School when she emphasised the need to develop "employment/work readiness". Penny's focus is child care studies (see Rocky workshop posting for her "blog", jointly developed with Rosemary Shanks).

Townsville Workshop

Alistair McDonald (Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE) stressed the need for one-to-one support for disengaged youth, particularly where low literarcy levels were involved. He also mentioned that the Certificate 2 in Adult and General Education is to replaced with ACCESS 10 as an alternative to year 10.

Heidi Cianciullo (Ingham SHS) mentioned a "Building Bridges" course that her school has instituted for disengaged boys.

The discussion covered the need to utilise appropriate technologies for disengaged youth, e.g. mobile phones(text messaging), MSN Messenger and iPods. Jacqui Conway, Far North Institute of TAFE, Cairns, was identified as a key resource in the area of mobile texting.

Additional resource for Mobile Learning:

The Mlearning Network has been created to:
provide a community of practice aimed at furthering the ongoing knowledge and development of mlearning in Australia as well as a hub to foster mlearning connections internationally. Its fundamentals are based around the new and emerging mobile technologies including but not limited to mobile phones, Pocket PC’s, Palm PC’s, Personal Digital Assistants (PDA’s), tablet computers plus other mobile devices and to investigate their potentials for the flexible delivery of learning.

Its aim is to build a unique network of like-minded practitioners from private and public practice that will enable the sharing of innovative mlearning concepts, ideas and experiences, essentially a collective 'Think Tank' that provides the primary stage for best practice mlearning in Australia.

Brisbane 15 August Workshop

Brisbane North Institute of TAFE provides a range of flexible learning, Community Engagement Projects aimed at the disengaged 15-17 year olds:
. Literacy and Numeracy for Get Set for Work-Life Stuff
. Get Set for Work
. Back to Learning Program
. Literacy and the Learner's Permit
. Literacy Support for a CEAP (Community Employment Assistance Program)

The contact person for these programs is Anna Walters of Brisbane North Institute of TAFE. Anna can be contacted by email: anna.walters@det.qld.gov.au

http://www.bn.tafe.qld.gov.au/services/cep/index.html

Anna can be contacted by phone on 3259 9014 or 0418 783 021

Brisbane 31 August Workshop

Curt Draheim (ETRF Project Officer, E.Q.- Bayside Education Office) suggested that ETRF could be used as a "messenger"/conduit to gain understanding of disengaged youth and stressed the importance of blended, flexible learning models.

Janelle Cameron (Brisbane School of Distance Education) is an English Teacher working with "at risk" students in partnership with Virtual Schooling and the Open Learning Institute (OLI). These students have learning/literacy difficulties and associated behaviour management issues. Janelle currently spends four hours per week delivering online to eight students - using print, telephone, Blackboard and Whiteboard.

Brisbane 19 August Workshop

Roxanne Lutzen, Louise Strode-Penny and Kathy Bannister of the Open Learning Institute (OLI) expressed interest in exploring mobile technologies for engaging disengaged youth.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Gold Coast Workshop - Where do I start?

11 people participated in the Gold Coast workshop.

This workshop had a very strong representation from the private sector.

One of the core issues addressed by the larger group was, "Where do we start"?

The general consensus, at least for private RTO's, was to start small and add incrementally all the time maintaining the focus on the needs of the learner cohort.

More experienced participants shared their ideas, resources and experiences and identified possible starting points.

Some of the resources mentioned were:
Moodle - a course management system (CMS) - a free, Open Source software package designed using sound pedagogical principles, to help educators create effective online learning communities. You can download and use it on any computer you have handy (including webhosts), yet it can scale from a single-teacher site to a 40,000-student University. The Moodle site itself is created using Moodle, so you can check out the Moodle Features demos, the Demonstration Courses or read the latest Moodle Buzz.
http://moodle.org/

Skype - is a little program for making free calls over the internet to anyone else who also has Skype. It’s free and easy to download and use, and works with most computers. Download Skype now or learn more about Skype (incl. screenshots).
http://www.skype.com/

(Note: Skype has been integrated into Moodle. To find out more, enter "Skype" into the search facility at http://moodle.org/ and you will find postings showing how people have made this work.)

SurveyMonkey - to enable anyone to create professional online surveys quickly and easily, collect responses and analyze results.
http://www.surveymonkey.com/

Jenny Field (Specialised Training Services), Bridget Gray (Bridget Gray Training and Development) and Carmel Thompson (The Southern Cross Connection)will collaborate to explore online resources for the new Training and Assessment (TAA) Toolbox.

Judy Webber and Kim Williams (Gold Coast Institute of TAFE) indicated that they use a blended learning approach incorporating Moodle. Susanne Gunning, from the same Institute, conducts an online Certificate of Spoken and Written English.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Cairns Workshop - Focus on indigenous learners

10 people participated in the Cairns PfP workshop.

Connie Fuerst (Cairns Business College), Susan Hurley-Luke (Tropical North Qld TAFE) and Crista Dight (Tropical North Qld TAFE) are collaborating on strategies for gaining participation in online activities by mature aged students enrolled in Certificate 111 level courses.

Narelle McClusky (Senior Instructional Designer) and Sue Jackomos (Instructional Designer - Indigenous Studies Product Development Unit -ISPDU) will review the learning guides they are using for courses conducted by their Institute (Tropical North Qld.)

Narelle McGlusky (Tropical North Qld TAFE)will continue her collaborative work on the development of an e-learning Enterprise Unit for indigenous learners. The project is a joint venture involving CDEP, Education Queensland and TAFE. It involves a teacher as facilitator, teleconferencing, chat rooms, VOIP, local site tutors (sometimes teacher aids or peer mentors)and incorporates extensive use of colour and graphics.

A number of participants referred to the FLAG project on indigenous engagement being conducted by Roxanne Lutzen (OLI). This Certificate 1 in Workplace Education has been trialled in remote areas. The project team customised the relevant Toolbox for indigenous students and incorporated CD's of stories of "dropouts" and "dropins". Trials have included areas such as Blackall and Maleny.

Martha Goldman, Narelle McGlusky and Sandy McCoy will continue to liaise with schools re the needs of indigenous learners. Narelle spoke of schools experimenting with linking "Your Future, Your Choice" with Secondary Education Training Plans (SETP). "Your Future, Your Choice" is an online product that deals with issues such as self-confidence, cultural identity and pathways. This e-product also helps to establish pathways for disengaged, indigenous learners. It is available on the website of the Indigenous Studies Product Development Unit (Tropical North Qld TAFE):
http://www.ispdu.com.au/future/

Other resources for indigenous learning and teaching were also identified:
Learning Engagement Centres:
http://education.qld.gov.au/information/service/libraries/atsi/

Indigenous Education and Training Alliance (IETA)
http://www.ieta.ash.org.au/

Remote Area Teacher Education Program (RATEP)
http://www.ratep.jcu.edu.au/

Marcella Thompson (Kuranda High) who has developed profiles of 50 role models.


Other issues raised in this workshop included fair treatment for casual hours worked (e.g. out of hours online chats) and teacher development for online learning.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Townsville workshop - 5 September

12 participants attended the Townsville workshop.

One of the outcomes is seen in the form of Richard Heard's earlier posting on ® Microsoft Producer. Richard is an IT Development Teacher from the School of Distance Education, Charters Towers. He indicated that Distance Education delivers second year IT via online learning.

Glenys Molloy and Heidi Cianciullo (from Ingham SHS) will spend a day with Richard and Teresa Riley at the School of Distance Education to learn about the use of ®Blackboard and the Learning Space in Distance Ed.

Helga Hillier (Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE, Ingham) is working with local schools on the development of an online hairdressing course. She is keen to link up with people who have developed courses in this area.

Wally Mark (Deputy Principal , Townsville SHS) spoke of their use of EQ Virtual Schooling that employs ® Blackboard, online teachers and study coaches. The school delivers accountancy and Certificate 11 in hospitality via online learning. Townsville SHS is working towards the implementation in 2007 of online courses in Maths C and Aboriginal Studies (Board subject). Wally indicated that the Townsville region has a school-based, Flexible Learning Reference Group.

Julie Woodlock (Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE, Townsville) discussed her extensive, local and national experience, in working with TAFE Institutes, schools and private providers in the area of indigenous education. Julie indicated that the Barrier Reeef Institute is looking to develop partnerships in this area with schools, private providers and community organisations. She highlighted the need to introduce cultural elements into hospitality courses and to design a learning blend that would suit the student group.

Lisa Butson (Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE, Townsville) indicated that she was looking for an e-learning mode to enhance the 12 months full time study in the Certificate 4 in Adult Tertiary Preparation. The Institute's in-house iLearn platform for online learning is being used to some extent on this course.

Glenys Moore (Ingham SHS) mentioned the increasing demand from clients that is creating pressure on the school to build its capacity in the area of flexible learning.

Debra Kosturin (ICT Teacher, Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE) coordinates online students and uses email and phone and is looking to complement these approaches with more online communications. She mentioned that the hospitality course at the Institute draws on the ®Didasko multimedia production that utilises software that works naturally with the content area and employs a range of scenarios reference: http://www.didasko.com/website/

Debra also raised issue of the management of online students, particularly when dealing with "rolling starts". This issue had been discussed at the Gold Coast workshop where the suggestion was raised that the teacher could create separate groups reflecting the speed of learning, each group having their own distinctive, fun name. Julie Woolock mentioned her use of a wheel as a way of communicating the completion of course tasks when working with indigenous students. The course tasks are represented as sectors of a wheel, that students colour in when they complete the relevant task.

The issue of disengaged youth was also discussed extensively and will form the subject of a separate posting.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Using Microsoft Producer to Enhance Flexible Learning

For those interested in exploring the use of this program (requires a webcam and headphones), the following instructions may be of some assistance.

Producer enables you to create a PowerPoint style presentation supported by synchronised audio and video.

1. Create a Folder to save the presentation/project into.
2. (select) Start®Microsoft Office®Producer
3. Use "New Presentation Wizard"
4. Follow selections
5. Import slides and images (browse to select PowerPoint presentation from
own files - ®NEXT)
6. (select) Capture (button)
7. (Select) Narrate slides with Video & Audio - ® NEXT
8. Follow selections until video image is generated.
9. Narrate slides with Video & Audio using headset and web cam.
(check microphone first)
10. When finished (select) - ® Stop
11. Save in folder
12. (select) Finish
13. (select) Finish
14. Preview presentation
15. Publish (to folder)
16. Exit (saving project to folder)

The link below takes you to Microsoft Producer's Home Page and provides you with the "free download" link and some published examples.
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/technologies/producer.aspx

Blogging for teaching and learning

Piero Dametto (Cooloola Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE) indicated that he uses blogs for student assessment in an IT course.

Penny Skerman and Rosemary Shanks of Central Queensland Institute of TAFE (Mackay Campus) have built a great blog for communication with their students who are spread out over 400,000 square miles. The focus is child care studies. I spent a bit of time looking through the blog archive - wow! They provide a superb example of blended learning - they use video-conferencing, face-to-face (they travel a lot), web-based video streaming (incorporating PowerPoint), print-based resources, learning guides, work placements and Cybertots (virtual child care centre from the Toolbox). Their blog, Childstudies Juggernaut, can be found at:
http://www.childcaremackay.blogspot.com/

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The Learning Technologies User Group (LTUG) provides a range of online workshops/webinars focused on blogging.

Workshop topics include Learn to Blog, Blog to Learn, Getting Up Close and Personal with Weblogs and Using Weblogs. The latter online workshop focuses on different possible uses of blogs in the educational context. It explores examples of possible uses and invites discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of teacher blogging, student blogging and class aggregation. Participants are invited to share their ideas and perspectives in this area and will leave the session equipped with strategies and knowledge in the application of blogging and aggregation in online education. You can check these workshops out here:
http://www.ltug.org/events.html

Anne Bartlett-Bragg, Executive Director of LTUG, conducted a PhD study on the use of blogs in teaching and has been using blogs in her own teaching since 2001. The results of her study are summarised in a recent ABC article:
http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s1450106.htm

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Blog and Ping Tutorial

All members of the Partnering for Professionalism Network can have free access to an e-book in PDF format titled, "The Complete Blog and Ping Tutorial".

This 106 page e-book currently sells for US $97, but is free for participants in the Partnering for Professionalism network. This e-book answers the questions:
* What is a blog?
* How do you create one?
* How do you market your blog?
* What is "pinging" and how do you do it?
* What is a RSS feed?

To obtain a copy of this excellent ebook, just email me and request the ebook:
rpassfield@optusnet.com.au

31/8 Brisbane Workshop

Potential collaboration projects from this workshop:

Group 1 - Group for Educational Leadership (GEL)
  • Share experiences and reflect on what works and what does not work/ what is viable?
  • Focus - strategic level
  • Mentor group model
  • Face-to-face communication in social contexts (e.g. over dinner)

Next meeting has already been organised for Judy Gronold, Bev Childs, Sandra Lawrence, Madonna Scrase, and Jodie McCabe

Lily Reid and Marie Weatherford also indicated interest in this group.

Group 2 - Libraries and Information Environments

  • new structures and business models, issues of competitive edge, centres of excellence, marketing
  • need for information literacy embedded in training packages, demand for multi-literacies
  • technology – LCMS, LMS, SMS, Smart Board, e-books, DOI, LIMS, Blogs, Chat

Discussion involved Cecily Martina, Robyn Austin, Douglas Austin and Prathiba Naran

Group 3 – Teaching and Learning

  • educating/upskilling teachers
  • enriching the on-line experience
  • teachers experiencing the student experience
  • catering for different learning styles

Denise Morgan is interested in coordinating this topic and will create a forum. Discussion participants included Sue Morrish, Curt Draheim, Marie Weatherford, Kate Niblett, Michelle Robinson, and Julie Niblett.

Other topic areas discussed included:

Disengaged/mature learners (Marie Weatherford), online assessment (Helen Renisch and Robert Swindleburst), communication platforms & LMS (Marie Weatherford), quality of product for online delivery and effective use of Toolboxes (Denise Morgan) .

Sally Campbell (Woodridge SHS) stressed the need for links with schools, TAFE's and RTO's.

Catherine Stent, Janine Priest, Lily Reid focused on the need to share so that "we don't reinvent the wheel".

(Many thanks to Angela Bryan, my co-facilitator, for these notes!)