Gateshead Induction

It’s been another busy week. I’d reached a stage in April, where I thought all my busy weeks had disappeared along with government interest in post 16 CPD, but since returning from France [link] I’ve been rock-on.

On Monday I was up and out of the house by 5.40am, to catch the early train to Newcastle. I’d been asked by the JISC RSC- Northern, to deliver two half day workshops for them on Mobile Learning. It didn’t start well because of assumptions I’d made. I’d assumed there would be computers available at the venue and had therefore not asked for any. No matter how foolish we think the question, we must never assume that it doesn’t need asking! So finding a room set out cabaret style, with no computers came as a shock.

The wonderful RSC team sorted this out, but it did lead to some uncertainties and some changes to the planned programme. Luckily, those attending seemed to remain engaged and were able to participate in a number of active learning activities. I arrived home about 7.30pm – and I’m still tired.

Then on Tuesday and Wednesday I completed the work I’d been doing with Nigel Davies on behalf of another JISC RSC; South East this time. I’d spend much of the previous week on this too. We’d been asked to research and develop a Moodle site that RSC clients could use on the subject of Induction. It took the two of us quite a while to track down everything we could on the subject from relevant web sites. We collaborated initially on an iEtherpad and then organised our findings by using a Mind42 mind map. We also spoke every day via Skype, which allowed us to share screens and re-organise the mind map on the fly.

We then agreed which section each of us would develop. I concentrated on the Generic aspects whilst Nigel concentrated on Learner specific and Staff specific inductions. The course is HUGE. We could not use Moodle-Book, so the ten topics take up a lot of space. However, we were also asked to present the course via Web 2.0 and for this we used Bitly (see my earlier notes regarding Bitly), which we believe worked just fine.

If you are registered with the RSC-SE, you can access the Induction course here: http://moodle-rsc.ukc.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=130

On Thursday I began planning for next week, when I will be working for most of the week with Di Dawson and James Clay at Gloucestershire College, and I attended a training session at RM’s Salford TEN centre, on their re-vamped VLE.

On Friday I travelled to Leeds, to work on the new Leeds College of Music learning platform. This is part of the work I’m doing for Lilian Soon, who is project managing this massive project. After a few visits and only making baby steps, I feel that we made great strides yesterday and that things are beginning to take shape.

Sharon met me off the train and we had a few beers, a curry and caught the 8.00pm bus home. Sorted!

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MoLeNET Weekend

 I’ve just returned from two days in Stoke on Trent, where I was in the company of some of my favourite people.

Yesterday was a day for MoLeNET project managers to discuss their projects and to network. Lilian and I spent most of the day compiling a bid for the ‘team award’ at ALT-C 2009. We felt that the MoLeNET Mentors had done enough over the last two years to be recognised for the way that they have been instrumental in helping to bring about a systemic change of attitude towards mobile learning across the F.E. sector. We’d set up an Etherpad the previous day and asked other mentors to add their thoughts to the award bid and we therefore spent the entire day fine tuning our bid. Sadly, we missed recording some of the best evidence we could have had when Steve Nichols of the LSC stood up (impromptu) and told the audience that the “LSC like MoLeNET” and that “it was the best mobile learning programme nationally and internationally”.

Etherpad is a real revelation. We’ve used it before but this two days has seen us use it for a number of discussions whilst others were talking. The main one we shared amongst each other to make note about each of the speakers (especially today) and another was used to expand an idea I’d had in response to something someone else had said. It’s real benefit is that it is a wiki that behaves like you’d think a wiki should. Up to eight people can contribute simultaneously – rather than one after the other or following a refresh (F5). Let me know if you want to try it and I’ll invite you to my own and show/tell you how to set one up!

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Earlier in the week, I’d travelled to Gateshead College where I met some of my Cohort 2 PDAs. On Tuesday I went to Birkenhead and delivered a number of workshops about the free stuff available on Web 2.0. At this event, we experimented with QIK (see:http://qik.com/video/1702430). When I got home I found my official welcome as Accredited TechDis Trainer. This filled me with joy and I immediately added the fact that I was now officially an Accredited TechDis Trainer to my web site. See http://www.village-e-learning.co.uk and http://www.village-e-learning.co.uk/access.htm

Tuesday evening also so the arrival of my new computer. I’ve been having lots of trouble with my two (XP and Vista) laptops, so I’ve taken the plunge and bought an Apple MacBook Pro. It’s beautiful. It’s even beautifully packed. See video @http://qik.com/video/1703984 (I can figure out how to embed it yet)