But first…. let me take a selfie

Okay, have I got your attention now?

If you are a regular visitor to this blog you are probably wondering what on earth does this have to do with e-learning? Good question but before I answer I wanted to share with you some interesting statistics.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) at the end of June 2013 there were 12,358,000 internet subscribers in Australia, representing an annual growth of 3%. At the same time the ABS reported that there were 6.2 million mobile broadband connections in Australia.  The ABS also said that wireless broadband is the most prevalent internet technology in Australia. It accounts for half of all connections. Of these 6.2 million connections people are connecting via dongles, tablets, DSL, satellite and dial-up.

That is amazing don’t you think!

The next thing I found of interest was the number of users by age group (yes nearly there …. but first, let me take a selfie LOL).

The ABS found in 2012-2013 that the largest group of internet users were in the 15-17 years age group. Ninety seven percent of people in this age bracket were internet users. Close behind them were the ages 18-24 and 25-34, this continued to drop down (surprisingly not by much though until we get to age 55-64 where approximately 78% were internet users. In the 65 and over age bracket this figure dropped down to approximately 42%.

[if I could I would have that annoying record scratching noise here to get your attention, I would]

Hang on a second what did you say? ….. check out those age groups!…. Now who do you think would take the most selfies?

Now that you are thinking along those lines, let me get back to e-learning (or what I commonly refer to as the use of technology in education).  People love to use their smart phones and tablets and of course we know they have camera and video capability.  They also have the capability to record interviews, comments etc.

So how can you make your training more appealing to younger audiences…. but first, let me take a selfie

A strategy that has worked for me in the past  is to encourage learners to take photos and videos that can easily be added to an e-portfolio of evidence, report or presentation.  This can form part of their assessment evidence for a formal or informal training program.  Collecting evidence is especially appealing to young audiences… and increasingly some of us oldies too! It puts some fun back into learning and if combined with social media can provide quite a rich learning experience.

There are numerous apps on devices to capture these images and if you need to pretty them up too (just remember what it is the learner is there to learn, engagement is one thing but over emphasis on technology is another).

So why am I inspired to write this post.  Well I came across this catchy song and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. Some of you will automatically know the song I mean and well others may not so here’s your chance to hear it.

I will leave you with these words….. but first, let me take a selfie

I also found this cool blog post about the history of the selfie craze by @archivesmous. Hope you enjoy it!

My second attempt at converting my blog to an e-book

A colleague sent me an article titled 3 Easy Ways to Convert your blog into an E-book for Free

The first thing I tried was Anthologize.  The article said to download the plugin and upload it to your blog via the plugin feature.  Of course I was forgetting that there is a difference between wordpress.org and wordpress.com.  WordPress.com is a hosted version of the WordPress software.

So faithfully I downloaded the plugin but of course my blog didn’t have the plugin feature.  This is because WordPress.com is a free blog service provider and they take control of which plugins are installed for use by their users.

Fortunately, they do ask you to post your wishlist to their discussion forum on plugins.  My only resort was to do this….. so this too was a dead end.

Do you have a better alternative?  Please share your knowledge  and experience with us.

 

Converting your blog to an e-pub

My next few posts will explore what is involved in converting a blog to an an e-pub or e-book.

Why would you want to do that you might ask? …… well for one, wouldn’t it be cool to download your blog as an epub and read in apps like ibook on your ipad.

Step one: Let’s try E-Book glue

Using your phone or ipad go to https://ebookglue.com/ enter the URL for you blog and select the option download as an epub. It will ask you which app to use to open it so I have picked ibooks and to my surprise there it was in less than a minute on my bookshelf.

The issues

The blog converted nicely but the main issue I can see so far is that it didn’t bring across my images or embedded videos.

Back to the drawing board to try out some other platforms suggested by my colleagues.

If you are a bit of a techno you you might like to try out ebookjuggler http://ebookjuggler.com/conversion/website-to-epubmobi/

I will leave that one to last and look for something a little more simple.

Have you done this? Please share your experiences and favourite platforms – especially those that will bring over images and videos with little or no programming. I would love to hear from you.

Yay E-Learning and Digital Cultures MOOC starts soon!

For those of you who have read my earlier posts you will know I enrolled in a MOOC last year that was kind of a non-event. I recently decided to give it another go and enrol in one through the University of Edinburgh. This MOOC is an exploration of e-learning and digital cultures. If you are interested in knowing more you can check out the site at https://www.coursera.org/#course/edc. Tweets about the MOOC have already started to be populated on twitter via the hashtag #edcmooc.

This morning I received my first email with a whole heap of pre-MOOC activities….. how exciting :-).  One of which was to put my location on a Google Map… surprisingly there are people enrolled from all over the world. If you want to find me… check out Australia.

Anyway, I will post more about my experiences once the MOOC begins. If you are still unsure what a MOOC is you might find this short YouTube helpful.

Just took a personal DNA test online

Well the end of the year quickly crept up on me and it is now the end of the holiday period for me. Hopefully I can pick up my blogging again in 2013 and make it count.

I don’t know about you, but at this time of year I start to think and plan and yes dare I say it …. plan that new year resolution. Things have changed so much in 2012 and I feel I have changed a bit too, so I decided to start with an online personality test to see how much I have changed.

Surprisingly…. I am still the same, fancy that. This is my online DNA…. quite cool really.

So why is it important to start the year with a renewed understanding of our individual personality? I think it helps because your personality type helps you identify your own behaviours and attitudes. Knowing this gives you the means to understand your actions and where necessary balance or avoid those actions. It can also help you to highlight your strengths and weaknesses and if we are going to make a new year’s resolution provide you with some areas that you might want to work on.

So in terms of a pesonal resolution I will work on how and what I commit to – this should be easy! Next I will let myself dream a little…. now that won’t be easy as you might think….. time wasting is not really in my DNA 🙂 but I will give it a try.

Understanding yourself, helps you to better understand others and their behaviours and actions. As an educator this is important. Understanding the personality of our learners and how they might respond to learning activities, group work, role plays etc is crucial to their learning success and your success as a teacher/ facilitator of learning…. so maybe I should work on this too. What will you work on in 2013?

Created my first glogster

Well I have created my first glogster.  It was fun but a little problematic, objects are really hard to select once they are on your page (this might be because I am using a laptop) and my screen doesn’t show the three text place holders but they are obviously there once I save it.  Any ideas on how I can get rid of them?

http://gailvettchr.edu.glogster.com/getting-started-in-e-learning-design

Addicted to the web… think I am but what platform is best… checking out tumblr as we speak

Okay, so there is a multitude of great publishing products out there…. absolutely free… but which one do I use… is this a common thought for you… sometimes it is for me?  I have used wordpress for a few years now, but as you can see I am not as regular as I should be and I don’t have many subscribers (thank you so much to those who have subscribed, you have no idea how much I appreciate you). It struck me today while I was driving five hours alone in my car that blogging takes dedication and it really does have to be about something topical for that particular moment. I am not sure what is topical for you, but something that is topical for me is… what is the difference between wordpress and tumblr?…. If you are gasping…. sorry, this is because I am something of an internet/e-learning freak… I love technology in education. So if you decide to stop reading that’s okay, this is not topical for you.. but if it is, I am going to explore the differences between tumblr and wordpress… from my experience anyway 🙂

To start with I have considered the purpose I would use each for… a) wordpress – used to post random posts about e-learning and various technologies b) tumblr will take a different direction – I will post snippets of my research… and yes, you guessed it… the impact of technology on student learning, vocational education and staff learning.

So what is WordPress… in my experience an amazing site that allows me to express my thoughts, link in pics, videos, find followers and post topical information.  I find it incredibly easy to use and truly it hasn’t presented me with any issues at all. Signing up was simple and very soon I was off and away… just me and my thoughts.

Tumblr on the othe hand seems to be part blogger and social networking. It has some features like facebook that allows users to like my post, but having said that so does WordPress.. so nothing new here.  I can also share my posts with other sites like facebook on either platform.  I found the tumblr sign in a little problematic (but I don’t think that was tumblrs fault, I was supposed to be able to log in straight away but I think my work email blocked the authorisation email) thankfully I did manage to sort it out fairly quickly (always handy to have alternative emails).

Once in, I need to decide on the type of site it would be… personal blog, an e-portfolio, a product site, company website – WordPress offers the same… I chose a personal blog to share key findings in my uni research.

Next step  was to apply a theme and confirm some account settings. Finally I am ready to post my first post… this is quite cool… did you know you can queue your posts… certainly something I will be utilising, in the future.

There are quite a few different post types: text, photos, embedded videos, audio posts quotes, links, chat posts, they are really quite cool really.

I thought I would search for colleagues to see if they too were on tumblr… sadly no 😦 I seem to be here alone… if you are here let me know, so I don’t get lonely.

Similar to WordPress there are paid and free themes… of course for the moment I have chosen free.

Both platforms have a strong community, you can follow blogs (or you might call them sites), like posts, reblog posts (and I don’t just mean your own)… a really cool feature is to ‘Ask me anything’, this provides a fantastic way to interact with your readers.

Like I said earlier you connect to other sites like facebook, twitter, linkedIn… just like wordpress.

Comments seem a little tricky and one I haven’t mastered yet.  Comments are different to Asks.  Asks are questions, comments are normally comments about a post you have made, two very different things.  I think both comments and asks could cause some grief… they open you up to unwanted negative, comments like spam or even intentional harrassment.  I think it might be for this reason that Tumblr doesn’t give you the option for comments but instead allows you to link in with a third party provider such as Disqus, Echo, Facebook comments .. but of course there are more and you should do your own research.

Like facebook you can have pages in tumblr – this might be handy if I choose to use tumblr to distribute my research to the wider community… stil thinking about this though.

Tumblr also has apps, but this will need to be considered in future posts… it is early days yet for me. For now, I am happy with both sites and will continue to explore their features, if I find anything useful… you will hear about it.  Please feel free to post a comment here (yes a real plus for WordPress) for our readers and maybe even for me to think about and possibly research.