Why We Should Ensure Our Global Audience Can “Be There” At Conferences

simonYes I know Mlearn 2007 conference was sooooo last week (I’m now at WA E-Learning Conference) but I have to share the story of people like Simon Brown, from my network, who did not attend the conference, but felt a sense of “being there” through the blog posts, flickr photos, twitter, Skype, wiki sites and live Elluminate sessions.

People like Simon are the exact reason why we need to ensure, wherever practically possible, that conferences do provide:

  • services for people unable to attend to be able to participate virtually through live broadcasts of sessions using virtual classroom tools like Elluminate
  • free wireless access for participants so they can maintain contact with their networks and live blog if they choose
  • a site that brings together all the information about the conference that is being uploaded to the Internet as it is happening (such as the blog posts, twittering, photos).

If our desired goal of conferences is to inspire changes in work practices catering for our global virtual audience will ensure inspiration is spread beyond the walls of the conference. Through this live interaction with mLearn 2007 Simon now wants to incorporate mlearning into his program.

Simon teaches stonemasonry trade skills to apprentices at SkillsTech Australia in Brisbane (Queensland). He tapped into all the live Elluminate sessions and we skyped plus twittered to each other all day, every day.

While he enjoyed all the Elluminate session I was totally blown away by his response to Marcus Ragus, Sam Meredeth, Daniel Dacey and Ian Whitehouse presentation on Embedded technologies (in particular RFID technology). So while I was relaxing after a busy few days of attending the conference Simon was busy investigating RFID technology and trying to work out how he could get his hands on it.

Finally in frustration, after several hours, he skyped me to ask if I could give him more details. Fortunately I sitting on the lounge area at the conference (was tooooo tired to move) so I told him to ring me using Skype and I grabbed Daniel Dacey (New England Computer Solutions) who was able to answer all his questions.

When I asked him why RFID technologies was the one that inspired him the most he said “while I enjoyed the other sessions I could not see practical applications whereas I could see immediate application of RFID in my teaching area”. As a result Simon is interested in purchasing a single handheld unit, and tags & software for a pilot study in the Eagle Farm stonemasonry workshop for:

  • building-site induction
  • training workshop for triggering learning content on the subject of safe of tools, equipment & machinery operation , and assisting with demonstrating practical skills.

His idea is to use the RFID technology for blended delivery within his workshops, giving students choices about when and where they learn. Check out this post to learn what RFID technology is about and why Simon was excite. Contact Daniel Dacey to find out more about the RFID learning table.

Engaged OR Enraged? How Can We Do Presentations Better?

death by powerpointTo be honest I did feel that John Larkin was being a bit harsh when he said “Enough of the “world changing” five minute videos and please do not pad out your presentations with one video after another during a keynote at a conference unless you were the author of the included video(s).” But after being in conference workshops for most of this week, admittedly not with a lot of video, I do agree that presenters really need to think about how they present. [Image by Nick Hodge]

And lets just start with a disclaimer, the problem is not entirely with the presenters, we are also talking about me! My brain is so used to the high level of multitasking now that you REALLY NEED TO BE good to keep me engage. I switch off incredibly quickly if you fail to continue to engage me. And when I do come to conferences it does make me reflect on how my students may be feeling in my classes and how I do my own presentations.

So what is working for me? Well some obviously forgot to read the memo about:

  • The banning of bullet points! – ok will accept a few provided that there is minimal text
  • Extremely long text – totally can not focus on what is being said and the text
  • Bullets of long text and then reading it!

Please guys Powerpoints are ok but use of Presentation 2.0 method is far better!

I can see why John highlights his concern now about video because with so much great ones being available to use we are tending to grab for a video to enhance our presentation. But are we really enhancing it if every one it automatically grabbing a video. So now you have death by powerpoint mixed with killing with video. Is that like a double murder?

Am I any better? Probably NOT. So am now seriously concerned! Next week I have to do a presentation for our e-learning showcase (1 hr presentation followed by 1 hr hands on). The hands on will be fine (ROFL provided enough computers that actually work to record audio for podcasting). But what about 1 hr presentation?

So please help me by telling me!

  • What is engaging you in presentations?
  • What is enraging you enough to switch totally off?
  • What has been fun in terms of how a presenter has made you interact during the presentation and what has REALLY TOTALLY ANNOYED YOU?

PS Alan you were really good, for someone like me – even being unwell!

Needed! Global Community Participants!

Global communityWell todays the day! Now the countdown has begun for the presentation on social networking for NSW Learnscope. The trouble with social networking is it is really hard “to get” social networking and the incredible value of a global community helping one another unless you are “already in that space”.

Most of the participants will have limited exposure to networking so my plan is to make the session interactive and model social networking with them in action — which will be interesting we will being presenting to a room of people using a virtual classroom. The participants will be in groups at tables and we will get them to do activities as part of a physical social network and a global community will join the session via Abode Connect to assist with answering their questions!

The good news is we now have a titleYou, Me, Us — The Global Community!

The bad new — we could really do with some more Global Community! We have some people from my network joining us from Queensland and parts of USA but the more the merrier. So if you are free please join us! Session is from 9 – 10 am Perth, Western Australian time – click here to convert for your time zone!

Who are the participants – mostly vocational education and training lecturers (teach trades areas). Most of the global participants are educators (K12), technology specialists and other VET lecturers.

You are welcome to join us by using this link!

Make It Interactive! Engaging But Not Overwhelming! Using Other People As Your Eyes And Ears!

Today I did my Video in E-learningโ€ for e-Tips n Tools for the 2007 Australian E-learning Networks using a virtual classroom (Elluminate) with +60 participants from Australia, Canada and Chile.

The guidelines for the session were make it interactive, hands on and designed for people new to use of video. I decided to go all out with this session into unchartered waters –by setting up a Ning community (etools and Tips for Educators) for use during the presentation (here are the reasons why!).

Well I survived the session and hopefully so did most the participants. If you want to check out what an interactive session with +60 participants looks like here are the links:

  1. Handout on using video in elearning (7 pages of “how to” informati0n)
  2. Link for the Elluminate recording



Now I have to focus on Friday’s presentation (this Friday!) on why we should be using social networking with our students [image from NSW Learnscope].

Been doing a lot of thinking! Once again I will be using a virtual classroom but this time it will be Abode Connect and most of the participants will be in a conference room — I will not be able to see them and only a few will be able to chat with me.

So here is what I am thinking — they desire that absolute best I can give them! So it has to be:

  • Interactive
  • Engaging
  • Not overwhelming as many of the participants are new to the concept of social networking

But I will be using other people as my eyes and eyes (lets hope they have Eagles eyes and can hear like a dog)!

So I have come up with some ideas of how to make it interactive, and would love to hear from you if you have seen a virtual presenter handle a large audience that they can’t see or hear.

Here are some of my ideas but not sure of the how (any suggestions welcome!)

  • Would like to get them to answer a few multiple choice questions – could we give each table pieces of different coloured card that they could hold up? And then my eyes can tell me the approximate answers?
  • Would like each table to write some questions down — should I get my eyes and ears to run and grab these answers? And then what? Quickly read a few or post them into the chat area?

And if you were going to talk about social networking and why educators should use it for their personal learning and with their students what would you talk about? โ€” being mindful you donโ€™t want to overwhelm them!

Busy! Been Neglecting YOU! SORRY

back-soon.jpgWell I know some of my readers are feeling pleased that I am busy at the moment — so they can catch up with reading my blog but my apologies to those waiting for me to finish my post series on the use of Web 2.0 with students! I will continue soon!

But I’ve been really busy…..and this week have some online presentation that I have to take care of!

Video in Elearningetoolsbadge.jpg

Today I will be doing my Video in E-learning online session for Etools n Tips for the Australian Flexible Framework. Please feel free to join the session in Elluminate – anyone can attend and it is from Wednesday 26 September at 3.30pm to 4.30pm Australian Eastern Standard Time.

Don’t stress if you will be asleep when the session is on – I am sure plenty in the session will be joining you! You can always join us our discussions at Etools and Tips for Educators community.

Presentation with NO TITLE on Social Networking for NSW Learnscope
On Friday morning I will be doing an online presentation for NSW Learnscope on social networking.

Lets be honest– these guys are totally screwed! CLARIFICATION! Apologies when I said they are totally screwed, they AREN’T, and never am I. My organisation and friends who know me stress at my high standards of work dedication never worry about me delivering the goods – they work about me overworking and doing too much!

And when I said this what I am really saying is people are relying on me to do a good job – they are giving up their time to listen to me – and I take this serious… as it is on social networking — can you please help me with the following:

I have been so busy with all the work preparing for video in elearning that I haven’t been able to think of a good title for their presentation! To make matters worse I’m not convinced that my twitter social network has been able to help me with a catchy title.

Here are their suggestions so far:

  1. Putting the ‘We’ into Web!
  2. Nodes, Knowing and Networking: Building Communities and Connections with Social Software
  3. “Social networking – the world in your home!”

Now most of the participants in the session are vocational education and training lecturers e.g. trades lectures like automotive, hairdressing, youth at risk. Majority will have just be starting out in their online journey with limited use, if any, social networking themselves. Hello– they may not even know what the term social networking means!

So what are your thoughts on the title?

And if you were going to talk about social networking and why educators should use it for their personal learning and with their students what would you talk about? — being mindful you don’t want to overwhelm them!

Make It Interactive, Engaging and Model Use of Tools! Will I Crash and Burn?

eTools-n-Tips-logo I have agreed to do an online session (using Elluminate) on “Video in E-learning” for e-Tips n Tools for the 2007 Australian E-learning Networks.

Mine is a “how to” session on video, for one hour, and I have to keep in mind these sessions are aimed towards beginners. Oh did I mention they have also requested we make them interactive.

Most of the advice people have been giving me on How Do We Get Others To BUY IN? To Make Them Go The Extra Miles With E-learning? has recommended focusing on people skills that help them in their own learning. So I want to focus on this aspect during my session, so it is more than just a 1 hr presentation.

Training Wheels Let me clarify first that I have been using a virtual classroom (Elluminate) now for almost 2 years with my online aquaculture students. And time spent using it makes me feel that my training wheels, are getting bigger not smaller! Why? The more you learn, the more you realise you need to know!

One of the main tips I give beginners on videos is to check first with video sharing sites – there may already be videos created that are suitable. This is much more effective use of time than creating videos. And I show easy it is to embed videos in web sites by getting them to do it!

So since Michele Martin has modeled the effective use of Ning to me, I am pondering do I make my session REALLY interactive, engaging and MODEL the use of tools by setting up a Ning community specifically for the online session?

The idea is during part of the session I can send them to some video sharing sites, get them to find a video they like and get them to embed their videos into a web site (using Ning) with their comments on why they liked the video. Obviously I will encourage them to join the Ning community well in advance of the online session, and will also invite them to post their questions they most want answered about video to the Ning Forum.

So my concerns are:

  • Will this be too overwhelming for the type of people who will attend my session (participants will range from beginners to highly skilled practitioners)?
  • Is it worth taking the risk?
  • Is there a better option?
  • Do you think I am biting off more that I can chew?
  • Will I offend the 2007 E-learning Networks by hosting the forum outside of EDNA (uses Moodle)


Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to provide their thoughts on How Do We Get Others To BUY IN? To Make Them Go The Extra Miles With E-learning?

The reason why I have not responded to your comments YET is because the discussion is still ongoing at:

Dangers of Presentation 2.0!

Last week I posted on how:

Now that I have let my imagination inspire me, learnt how to locate photos in the creative commons section of Flickr and changed the whole thinking process of how I would prepare a PowerPoint I love this method of creating PowerPoint (Tips: keep all photos in one folder on your computer. Have a separate document that list the photos and their original source so that you can credit the source).

I used this method to create my presentations for Central West TAFE this week (if you have not already checked them out they are located in my slideshare account). I think the participants enjoyed them – laughter and attention was definitely paid to some of the images. Unfortunately I failed to take into account the participant’s imagination or how they might see things differently from me. They definitely are not going to forget my explanation of the difference between podcasting and audio streaming:

  1. Podcasting – has feed. Compared it to a newspaper being delivered right to my front door (like to use newspaper landing on my lap open on page I want to read but did not have a photo – will have to take one of my husband in bed when he is not looking)
  2. Audio/video streaming – no RSS feed. Not delivered to me. Have to drag myself out of bed, get dressed, go to local store, buy it and then drive home. If I am lucky I get back into bed in 20 minutes.

Well the picture of the store was excellent and also showed a great selection of contraceptive devices. Trust them to notice something that I hadn’t. Oh well I wonder how they will explain audio streaming now?

Message to self – make sure check photos to ensure they are suitable.

What I did at Central West TAFE

Day 1 Overview of e-learning options

The workshop on the first day was for participants from their Learnscope project. The participants were from a range of industry areas and had varying levels of exposure to e-learning (from minimal up). I was asked to overview e-learning options so that participants could make decisions on what type of e-learning would be best suited for their area. Thanks Darren Draper for the example of Flickr being used with students. I would have really loved to spend more time working one-on-one with each participant so that they could have started working on their preferred option for their students.

I was very impressed with how motivated and enthusiastic the group was. They wanted me to overview different options to inspire participants – I hope I did although I am worried that I overwhelmed them. Happy to report iGoogle pages were set up by some participants.

Day 2 m-learning overview (morning) and hands-on podcasting (afternoon)

The next day my workshops were for their Quality week, and any staff could choose to attend. Morning session was an overview on m-learning mainly focusing on PDAs and then the afternoon they learnt how to create audio podcasts. Once again I was very impressed by their enthusiasm (but I must remember to add back in the definition of PDA in my presentation ๐Ÿ™‚ ). All participants managed to create and upload an audio podcast to the podcast site. Have to say most were much more imaginative than me in creating a podcast. Once again would loved to have spent a lot longer with them so that we could have repeated the process to increase their skills development – I think you need to repeat the process a couple of times with staff.

If any workshop is going to cause me problems it is always audio podcasting. Unfortunately a lot of the computer labs in schools and TAFE have not been set up for audio (in terms of the microphones). Thankfully their IT department worked really hard to make the microphones work – which they did by installing new sound drivers – although still not recording audio as loud as they should which is why the podcasts are so noisy (you had to yell to get the right volume).

The photos from this trip are located in my flickr account (tagged Central West TAFE). I strongly recommend that you download Flickr uploader onto your computer, as it makes uploading photos to your Flickr account so much easier.


Thanks to Central West TAFE – I had an excellent time ๐Ÿ™‚


No boring PowerPoint allowed!

My obsession has now moved from no bullets allowed to no boring PowerPoint template can be used (calm – it only applies to me – so far). After giving Presentation 2.0 a try for my BarCamp session I could no longer live with the old way.

My obsessive personality is tiring. The good news is I have learnt a lot more about how to use flickr and am always trying to find photos that I can legally use. Searching Flickr creative commons photos is a great place to locate excellent photos that you can use.


My presentation for m-learning is located at Slideshare. Here is my e-learning presentation (note the first 14 slides are the same for both presentations).

[slideshare id=71735&doc=elearning-evolution-web-20802&w=425]

No Bullets allowed!

Ever since I went to Nancy White’s presentation last year I have not been able to use bullet points in PowerPoint presentations. Why? Because she told us bullets are out. It has become so bad that if I walk past someone at work using bullet points I will push them off their own machine, go into slide master and change the formatting to remove all traces of those nasty creatures. I get into some great discussions about why bullets are NOT allowed.

So bullets are now gone but I have not quite reached where people are going with the new look of PowerPoint Presentations (called Presentation 2.0). A very simplistic definition of presentation 2.0 is it involves changing the style so that images communicate most the message. Please read Vicki’s Tips and Insights into Presentation 2.0 for a much better understanding of what it is all about. Thanks Vicki for these great tips. BTW where is your Presentation 2.0 from NECC? ๐Ÿ™‚

It was Gabriela who originally inspired me to want to do a Presentation 2.0 with her fantastic Web 2.0 in higher Education: Opportunities and Challenges presentation.

[slideshare id=50630&doc=gabriela-grosseck-cie-may-2007-bucharest-4221&w=425]

Since I am going to BarCamp this weekend I decided to give it a go. It has been really hard to decide what to do a presentation on and what level to pitch it at as participants will be both technical (programmers), educators and Web 2.0ers. So have chosen m-learning. Assumed basic knowledge only and kept the really short slides because only have 20 minutes (can always showcase resources on PDAs).

I plan to talk about the differences between how we use of e-learning/m-learning in VET compared to Universities to highlight why the various educational sectors will take different paths in m-learning. Based on the fact that BarCamp is an unconference, anything could happen and I may not even get an opportunity to present them – such is life. At least I practiced creating a Presentation 2.0.

The best aspect of Web 2.0 sites like Slideshare is that people are sharing their presentations and we are getting inspiration from each other. Check out my presentation is below (not in Gabriela’s league).

Selecting Images

Finding and choosing images that you are allowed to use is the hardest aspect. (Working out how to be creative is hard for me). My tip is to search flickr photos licensed by creative commons 2.0 using tags.

To Embed Slideshare in Edublogs

Change from Visual to Code then copy and paste the code for “Embed in WordPress.com”. Change back to Visual and save your post to see the presentation

Thanks to Philip for supplying the food platter to go with this presentation because every good presenter should bride the audience for a good response. ๐Ÿ™‚

[slideshare id=70901&doc=mlearning-learning-on-the-go3689&w=425]