Sue Waters Blog

July 5, 2007
by Sue Waters
1 Comment

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 :) ). 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.

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Thanks to Central West TAFE – I had an excellent time :)

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May 30, 2007
by Sue Waters
4 Comments

Have PDA, will travel!

As part of my role in the Fresh Thinking Program I was fortunate enough to be invited to Pilbara TAFE to do a workshop on mobile technology (in particular PDAs). This definitely felt like a case of how much can you fit into 24 hours; and felt like going to two different seasons in the same State (Perth was cold and wet; Karratha was fine and hot).

I was very excited about the trip as it was the first time I have been into what I would call the “true Australian outback” (i.e. remote and arid areas of Australia) as opposed to the Australian bush. So I flew to Karratha on Sunday, arriving at 4.00 pm, and was meet by one of my online aquaculture students, Mike, who lives in Dampier which is 20 minutes from Karratha. (I flew back on Monday night and Mike was so committed to his studies that he sat next to me for the entire flight home to Perth).

Besides catching up on how Mike is going with his aquaculture studies, he was also nice enough to take me for a quick tour of Dampier and then showed me some Aboriginal rock art on the Burrup Peninsula. I think he may have thought it was funny when I was excited seeing kangeroos (yes I have seen lots of kangeroos but it was lovely seeing them with the scenes of the Pilbara in the background). The 4WD to the site was lots of fun – how I was totally amazed at how quickly the sun set.

That night I had a lovely dinner with Karen Higgins from Pilbara TAFE and then went to bed early for a change. Monday I spent most of the day in a seminar room at Pilbara TAFE Karratha’s campus and had a great time with their lecturers. I gained from listening to Karen’s section of the workshop and watching the lecturers in action. Their thoughts on using PDAs are very similar to mine which is why they were keen to have me come and visit. I am impressed by the work their lecturers are doing with mobile technology considering the heavy teaching load of most of the participants and I look forward to hearing how this years project goes.

Monday night I jumped back on the plane home to Perth (at 5.30 pm). Poor Diana from Pilbara TAFE was disappointed that I did not have any time to properly see either Karratha and Dampier. She was embrassed by me taking photos from the car window as she drove and has promised to send me some lovely photos for the video podcast I am going to create about my visit. I would love to visit this area again however with the resource boom, accomodation and airflights to the area tend to be booked out. There were lots of great things that I would have like to have done but with it being apparently the most expensive domestic airflight in Australia ($733 return from Perth to Karratha for a 2 hour flight) it is unlikely that it will be a holiday destination with the kids in the near future (considering it cost us a lot less to travel to Syndey – which is a 6 hour flight).

Oh BTW title have PDA, will travel relates to the fact that using my PDA I was able to remain connected to the Internet and my emails. BTW Question - how much of the great Australian outback can you fit in with only 24 hours, most of it spent in a seminar room or in the dark? Answer – not much I think I blinked and missed the Australian outback!!!!

April 20, 2007
by Sue Waters
4 Comments

SWAN TAFE PD day

I am part of the Fresh Thinking Program 2006/07 which is funded by the WA Department of Education and Training. Each year a few lecturers from each of the different TAFEWA colleges are selected for the program, to run workshops, on request from other Colleges, on their area of specialty, and the Department covers the cost of the workshops. I was selected to be part of this program as a result of my m-learning work in 2006.

Today was my first workshop commitment as part of this program and I had to present two 1hr 20 min workshops on “E-learning’s evolution into m-learning” at two of SWAN TAFE campuses (Midland and Thornlie). Participants were from a wide range of industry areas (e.g. building and construction, horticulture, aviation) and had differing levels of exposure to e-learning. However most do not use e-learning with their students and were interested to learn more about e-learning. Bit of a problem as the workshop’s focus is meant to be on m-learning.

All was good though, because my presentation started by first looking at how technology has changed dramatically since 1991 and how this has resulted in the evolution of e-learning. As I worked through some of the key dates, in terms of e-learning, in the evolution of the World Wide Web (e.g. World Wide Web; WebCT; Elluminate; Wikipedia; blogs; wikis; Youtube) I was able highlight different types of e-learning that they could use with their students. I then moved onto m-learning and they each got to use a PDA (to see how they work and to check out some of the student resources); try out the spyglasses and some checked out the video ipod. End result I certainly had a good time and I hope they all did as well.

Probably for many of participants the major issue is time; most lecturers, especially those in trade areas, are struggling to keep up with training demands. Western Australia currently has an unemployment rate of 2.7 % (which is the lowest in Australia). So while e-learning can assist their programs they do not necessary have the time to learn the skills to use it effectively.

My suggestion to lecturers new to e- or m-learning is to focus on learning one main skill so they do not feel overwhelmed. There are some many possible starting points – probably the best idea is to first think about what you are trying to achieve and then consider the possible e- or m-learning solutions. For example with remote students, loss of face-to-face student interaction is an issue, and Elluminate (using web conferencing technology) is an excellent e-learning solution for enhancing the program and it is very easy to use (TAFEWA has the licence for Elluminate which means all TAFEWA lecturers have access to it).

This has been a very hard post to write. Not because it was hard to think of what to write but because tonight my girlfriend came to visit. She convinced my husband that he has to set up his own blog (I would not exactly say he is into technology – for example – insists always on spending days reading instruction manuals and then still have to ask me for help) and then proceeded to help him set it up (they have been sitting next to me all night chatting – very hard to concentrate). If you would like to check out his progress with technology, marriage to an Internet addict and kids who are almost as addicted as their mother you can find his blog at The Blog of a Technology Widower. Please, I beg you, do not subscribe to his blog or post comments, the family has too many people into the Internet (and I do not want to share my computer!).

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