Saturday, December 16, 2006

Alumini graduate with insight for students and teachers

Popped in for a coffee and met Bianca a graduate from TAFE now employed, we got to talking about a teaching event management exercise I helped out on. Jeanie a teacher got her students interviewing and recording their learning using an audio recorder and digital camera. Bianca commented on how fun it was and that it was important that the teachers where keeping up.

As an educator it was great for me to actually meet a graduate now employed and in particular get positive feedback on what they experienced using technology in their learning. Now that Bianca's getting on with her working life, current students could potentially benefit from her insight, what is it actually like? Through communication using new connecting technologies such as and graduates like Bianca can give current students context and meaning, the prospect of actually getting paid work from those hard yards of studying and submitting assignments could perhaps be a motivating factor.

As an alumni of TAFE she plans to keep teachers in the loop on changes in industry that she may be dealing which can then feed back to current students. Even posting videos of what she is doing in work!!...

Establishing Alumini networks offers real potential for learning, video blogs being one off the tools graduates students and teachers can connect with as part of day to day life...a trend I'd like to see grow as part of VET education in general.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

George Siemens - The role of management in facilitating change within a learning organisation

I recently spoke to George Siemens a leading theorist on the implications of technology and societal trends on learning and knowledge and recent Key note speaker at both the global conference and elearning06, sponsored by the TAFE NSW management association.

'…I think most educators do have the desire to be excellent instructors that’s why we got into this field in the first place some of us aren’t here because we’re hoping to get rich we have a genuine passionate commitment to students. It’s the roles of managers to create an environment where that natural desire that teachers have to deliver excellent level of instruction can be nurtured. That requires removing barriers it does require building skills and extending an instructor competence so they can do the things that they want to do. That’s why I refer to an ecology being created by management so that instructors can do what they want to do I am quite convinced if management plays a role of removing rather that becoming barriers then the people hired by the organisation in the first place will be will capable in achieving the objectives that are required…'

In this interview he asserts that changing the work habits of an individual is a secondary trait to changing the working ecology of an educational organisation. What are the barriers to change? – The many pressures on teachers? - What is the role of management in facilitating change? -How can management remove barriers and create a work ecology that encourages an emasse spirit of innovation and experimentation by teachers? Have a listen...

'S-How could you sell this idea to management to really allow teaches the time to get together and start having conversations about their pedagogy their ways of working and using new technologies?

G- That’s a good question I’m not sure if you can sell it to management. One of the point s that I’ve been making recently when I talk about learning and technologies and I’m talking at a higher education level is that it’s not the trends that are out there, its not the people like you that are agitating for change in an organisation, or people like me that go out and talk to others about making change, that’s not really where its going to happen. I think where it will happen is where an educator or administrator gets it and I’m afraid that the only way they are going to get it is when a student’s start walking with their feet let me give you an example…'

Photo source

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Professional Development - The Usability and Empowerment Divide, Unconferences and the Role of Management

The Usability and Empowerment Divide is worrying in the context of the many thousands of teachers in organisations who may be currently being left behind in terms of the opportunities to develop skills and knowledge for today's knowledge economy.

Recently I was lucky enough to have attended a number of professional development events in New Zealand as part of the Future of Learning in a Networked World tour where the potentialities of unstructured professional group learning were revealed, that is the unstructured conversational - ad hoc tell me what I want to know - talk to me about what I'm interested in - nature of the unconference format.

'An unconference event begins with face to face schedule making which allows for emerging developments in the rapidly moving technology field to be covered. The opening includes time for attendees to introduce themselves and orient to the whole group. Participants are invited to write their name and session topic on an 8.511 piece of paper. They announce the title of their session to the whole room and then post it on a schedule on the wall. Once all the sessions have been posted, the community can stand in front of the schedule wall and decide which sessions they would like to attend. Sessions are about an hour long with 15 min breaks. Lunch lasts for about an hour. The day closes with all the participants gathering in a circle in one room and sharing for 2030 min the highlights of the day.'

Check out the feedback from participants from Auckland on the unconference format.

Derek Chirnside takes a wander around.

Consider the following similar learning environment for smaller groups, in particular the use of open space for clusters of conversational activity for all levels of learning.

I asked Jana Holly of how she felt about her sense of participation.

  • Me - So you're part of the circus called FLNW and you feel like a participating audience member?

  • Jana - When I walked into this room I realised here where rings of activity going on, it was all very entertaining and exciting and I want to participate but I'm also more in an audience role.

  • Me - Would you say you are participating in the style that Leigh is explaining to you (relaxed conversational show and tell)

  • Jana - It feels to me like my very presence here contributes to the process even if my fingers don't touch the keyboard.

  • Steven - Would you be able to take what Leigh has just shown you and use it yourself?

  • Jana -I think with practice yes, I'll have to go to the circus summer school.

  • Leigh - I think it's important thinking there that just by being here you are contributing alot of people even in our group feel like 'what am I here for?' because they are not very vocal, but just being here is enough.

The Usability and Empowerment Divide

For an explantation of the problem of the Usability and Empowerment Divide read Jakob Nielsens Digital Divide: The Three Stages , a very revealing paper on the barriers to the on the use of technology and lack of digital literacy skills across learning organisations. Ken Burgin of Profitable Hospitality neatly summarises the issues raised.

'There is:

  • An Economic Divide - who can and can't afford a computer (and I would add, fast broadband). Less of an issue in Australia with el-cheapo PCs and $2 ph internet cafes.

  • A Usability Divide - problems related to lower literacy and for difficulties in understanding for seniors.

  • An Empowerment Divide - inability to use search, access to good software or participation in useful social networks.'

What role does management play within an organisation in addressing this?

Consider Don Perrin's assertions from his paper 'The New Knowledge Society and Higher Education' from 1996, ten years ago!

'Drucker, in his "Theory of the Business" published in the Harvard Business Review, postulates that for an organization to be effective there must be a balance between environment, in this case the students, employers, and extended community; the university mission should reflect client needs and expectations, and competencies, in this case relevant professional and teaching skills of faculty. The academy as we know it is being challenged in all three areas, and to the extent that these three areas are out of balance, effectiveness is reduced.'

'The luxury of having thousands of teachers researching and producing their own courses, many of which are essentially similar, is grossly inefficient. Students will be empowered to explore, inquire, and learn cooperatively and interactively, and undertake more creative tasks. They will have access to great teachers in a spectrum of learning styles and a variety of media. Consortia of institutions will share their best teachers through quality lesson materials for their virtual classrooms as well as for on-campus courses.'

'It is important to identify new markets and ways to market and deliver educational programs.'

The biggest untapped market for education is the non-traditional learner.'

Some schools are responding accordingly for example...

Talks about 24hr school
related video

Make the best of your organisation's assets - The teachers

Assertion: In Professional Development Make the best of your organisations assets, teacher's collective skills knowledge talents and energy enmasse?

Many educational technologists including myself are making the obvious assertion that the latent knowledge talents and skills needed that need to overcome the Usability and Empowerment Divide already exist within educational organisations. Innovators and Mentors can be harnessed to support educators with basic to intermediate skills working with them in groups, both online and face to face.

  • Learning from each other in short intense bursts of group activity

  • Discussing what technologies teaching practices and relevant to them and off intertest

  • Connecting together using technology

  • Using show and tell in the context of their teaching

  • Asking questions off each other continually over time.

In his paper Jakob Neilsen asserts 'Almost 40% of the population has lower literacy skills'. If this is the case in educational organisations then what is needed is the awarenesss and will of management to strategically identify mentors and innovators and enable those with low level digital literacy skills to get together enmasse when needed. (in terms of raising awareness in this context the concept and ideas of the unconference seems appropriate).

Group learning events will will not solve the vast digital divide immediately they can energise and can catalyse the interest and awareness of those people who wish to become informed with the implicit aim that attendees start to ask question each other, become familiar with group learning and support each other in developing their skill development and shared knowledge OVER TIME!!!!

To enable this what is needed is management support and strategic programming of regular organisational professional development events in day to day activities that enable group learning and communication between teachers and that are driven by the learning needs of teachers.

In this context Management's role and responsibility is to enable teachers the time and resources to autonomousily organise PD events. For example helping motivated teachers to get the numbers and attract interest from peers to make an unconference PD event economically viable.

Why not?

  • Fund short professional development events which enable interested teacher's of all skill levels (basic to advanced) to physically and freely come together in large groups for a few hours, to gain skills, freely communicate with each other ask questions and figure things out together in an ad hoc manner as part of day to day business.

  • Identify existing Mentors and support and enable them to show their peers how to communicate and connect with each other online

  • For those with lower literacy skills Mentors can demonstrate what's possible. The group supporting each other and instilling confidence in those who lack confidence individually.

The Teachers responsibility following PD

The individuals responsibility is to connect their resultant work with their students, learning group and peers after the PD event so that others can learn from their activity over time.

Teacher's with lower level literacy skills can also seek more focused structured professional development if required. It is the Educational technologist's responsibilty to enable people of all skill levels to access open professional development and be able to connect and ask questions of each other.

This is all nothing new but the reality is it's very difficult to sustainability implement these ideas within an organization without Management continuing to promote teachers ongoing participation in day to day teaching

Conclusion - Top down support for bottom up networking of teachers enmasse.

Top Down support for bottom up networking of teachers is required to bring about organisational Change.

Managers and Head Teachers need to drive and facilitate this change change in order to begin to address the the problem of the Usability and Empowerment Divide. Participation can't obviousily be enforced from all teachers, however a culture of networked innovation in day-to-day activities will promote participation and sharing practices as part of a wider sustainable professional development model. More research has to occur into processes to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Sustainability - Follow through with the support of the implementation of mentor networks at an organisational level through PD- Professional Development.
  • Adaptability Be flexible and responsive to the emergent needs of the Teacher Innovation Network. Eg: Recognising the time and equipment needed to adopt new innovative practices that work.
  • Enablement - Give teachers ability to self regulate what gets filtered through firewall, and take on the development through to the students and Teacher Network.

As the pace of change ramps up in the knowledge economy many teachers will be unable to remain informed and keep up. Without innovative professional development action enmasse it appears the Usability and Empowerment Divide in relation to technology and new teaching practices may become so difficult to overcome that many people, teachers, students and management alike will fail to relate to each other's professional working world thus impacting on the business of the 'educational' organisation.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Creative Commons - Wanna Work Together

Great video
explaining the reasoning behind Creating Sharing and Adapting content openly in education using the creative commons licence...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

What to do when the technology doesn't work like it's meant to!!!

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ooh panic
Originally uploaded by l es l ey.
Good conversation with Ian Perkins and Beth Evans from the project with advice on how to cope with the tendancy of technology not to work the way it's supposed to...

Water Logic
'de Bono contends that traditional logic is static, based on the solid foundations of
'is' and identity. In contrast to the traditional 'rock logic', he proposes 'water logic' which is based on 'to' and the flow of the mind: 'What does this lead to?' as opposed to 'What is...?' This new logic is surprisingly easy to learn and to use, and results in a visual 'flowscape', which allows you to lay out and then look at your thinking.'

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Networked Professional Development :: teacherConnect

A key aim of the teacherConnect Project is to implement a sustainable OPEN networked learning Professional Development model in collaboration with other Institutes.

Information on the Project Outcomes can be found at following link.

Below is the PowerPoint and podcast of the 18min presentation I recently gave at Learnscope e-learning06 on 21st October 2006. I discuss the concept of teacherConnect as well as ran through the research, planning, implementationon & outcomes of the Project.

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Organisation Innovation, 'Info Flow' & the Professional Development Process

Innovation in the the Professional Development Process
The diagram demonstrates how the Professional Development Process works within an innovative learning organisation through the following key stages:
  • Management identifies a need for skilling & training
  • Learning Outcomes identified, recorded 
  • Mentors are targeted to share skills & knowledge, and offer support to peers
  • Workshops set up for training of updated, relevant, contemporary tools & methods
  • Networks established for ongoing participation, support, publishing & sharing information
  • Sustainability - follow up of training, network tracking
  • Self actualisation achieved for teachers to implement new skills & methods

Networked Professional Development - teacherConnect v2

Learning Outcomes Professional Development Workshops
From a Professional Development workshop the teacher will gain skilling on the below easy to use/easy to access Web2.0 tools that will facilitate personal learning and development, in addition providing the teacher greater options to now network with peers and like minded colleagues to become a part of a larger organisational network where the teacher will achieve the following:

Ability to........
  • Manage email - e.g. using and Outlook
  • Publish & share photos, create networks - e.g.
  • Create, Publish & share Video & Audio - eg: ,
  • Bookmark professional & research websites, create networks - e.g.
  • Subscribe to RSS Feeds using a 'newsreader' - e.g.
  • Understand TAGS and RSS
  • Network & gain email contacts of colleagues from the Professional Development workshop
  • Post BLOGS with a blogging tool - e.g.
  • Use a 'wiki' to co-author and edit content - e.g.
  • Instant message - e.g.
The Workshop Trainer assists the teacher to create their own professional learning & teaching space which will be the central location for their body of work, and to pull together content from multiple sources with these new tools.
This captures to create a network of material from a pool of teachers/peers/references and more importantly the individual teachers contributions e.g. Published teaching resource material, Video's, Podcast's, Photo's, websites,, Blog posts etc...
Then end product may be an individual or group 'wiki', 'startpage' or Blog. This can then feed into the organisation's network that the teacher joins/creates/is a part of.

Group effort and understanding of carrying on the Network
To create an effective easy to access network, the teachers discuss common key words to 'TAG' materials/entries that will be published to the network eg: class , trade, 'subject area' network name ...

'Info Flow', Ongoing Participation, Networks & Sustainability
It's the ongoing participation by teachers in a learning network after the Professional Development workshop that's important to keep the info flowing, maintain sustainability, and realise benefits from the new skilling. There are some basic actions that require little effort but must be continually employed by the teacher in order to begin publishing and participating equitalby with a network. The trick is to make a habit of them in work and life by incorporating into one's daily workpractice routine. Learning the fundamentals of a new way of working in the networked world requires practice and changing habit...I'll soon put up a blog post with some suggestions in how to achieve this, with what you can do when you sit down at your desk and want to get started...
Management support
Networked learning within an organisation is easier with across the board support of managment, to support the implementation of an individuals Professional Development plans and legitimise professional Networking as a valued part of day-to day practice through mentor networks.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

SecondLife - Tweaking my 'sparker Wollongong' avatar, and emotional expressions

Just had a bit of fun in Second Life, tweaking the appearance of the avatar to look a bit more like me, :-) a bit less buffed, minus the dodgy mullet and Bruce Lee Kung Fu Jacket... Here's a short video of my new ‘sparker wollongong’ avatar looking in a virtual mirror and some of the default emotions one can call upon when in Second Life. Will do a bit more shopping in Midnight City to pick up other clothes...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Barriers and Solutions to Participating within a Network - Learning in the moment at Learnscope 06

Learning in the moment - Interview with Ken Burgin of
observations on the Learnscope06 event with suggestions and conversation on improving participation within a learning network, in particular the tourism and hospitality network .

Podcast topics

Interview with Stanley Frielick of Northland Colege of ED NZ and Steven Smith of the network.

Discussion around the idea of divorcing the process of publishing media for teaching and learning from perceived copyright and endorsed curriculum issues , overcoming barriers to participation in a learning network, and raising awareness of using technology in the classroom.

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Questioning the logic of closed systems (Such as Sharepoint) and selling resources to remain profitable within an educational organisation and how this model can affect teacher participation in a learning network and teaching and learning outcomes for students...

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

FLNW06 - Musical Talent revealed

One of the most enjoyable aspects of FLNW was travelling around with and meeting a bunch of sparky creative people, with a remarkable set of musical and artistic talents. Rose knocking out a bit of vaudevile, Michael performing an acoustic set, Leigh and Fiona sketching off the dinner table with our Bar Man ripping into a bit of Steve Vai guitar virtuoso after his shift...fantastic!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

FLNW#9 - My last day on the FLNW06 circus

The 25th September was my last day on the FLNW networkedlearning circus/tour a great way to end. I've managed to post a smorgasboard of videos that summarise most of the group discussions from the Auckland event. After watching just over a week later (seems alot longer) I hope you enjoy as much as I did. For me they reflect some of the increbible insight and innovative thinking of the FLNW event , revealing glimpses of our collective understanding of the future of learning in a networked world...

Roll on FLNW07...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

FLNW#8 - LMS's Structured learning and Networking Groups in a Diverse World

This video was taken at John Eyles house on the 24th September and relates to the discussion around Northtec's Certificate in eLearning Design and Development. and the current discussion in the FLNW google group Networking groups in the diverse world.

Teemu with respect to learners who may not be comfortable with being put in an open networked online learning environment:

"I want to live my quiet life in my little hut and I'm happy there"

"Its exactly the same thing as a person who says please don't take my picture as it takes my soul. You don't have any counter argument to that. If I have the belief that it takes my soul then you should respect that."


I have no  philosophical treatise to add to the discussion all that I can say is as I read between the lines of the FLNW conversation I sense and hear the  individual human voice asking for respect recognition and consideration of their and their communities individualities and rightt to choose to set themselves apart from the nature of the unstoppable all consuming roar and hive of open networked electronic communication...

I expect the conversation to continue in FLNW google group...


Video learning objects

The FLNW event, what can I say enjoyed immensely learnt heaps and made some great friends along the way. The ripples of the event will follow check it out...

I have a heap of video that I recorded, interviews with educators and gurus and some stuff we did for fun, stuff to go up over next couple of days...

I'm now back at work where we're looking at creating 'video learning objects' through TAFE online. Using Quicktime pro  we will be looking at  creating a clickable contextual video with a number of hotspots  linking to other sub videos or websites around the given subject area.

This video provides a bit of context for further discussion...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

FLNW #7 - Stephen Downes - Intellectual property, copyright, digital rights

Northland conference, 22nd September 

FLNW #7 - Dr Andrew Higgins - Access & Equity - cultural and ethical - New teacher roles

22nd September 2006

The FLNW trip ended up in Northland to discuss the networked learning model, organisedb Stanley Frielick from Northtec. I have just looked at the FLNW google group, which has this feedback on the unconference format. :-)

"Hi Stanley I'd like to say thank you for helping organise such an amazing day. Afterwards I said ... when we met in the carpark that I'd never been to something so apparently disorganised and yet so successful. It was weird and wonderful - so wonderful that instead of disappearing to catch up on a mind-boggling backlog of work as I'd intended, I ended up staying as long as
I could. I'm a beginner in all this stuff, so I can only imagine how much all the local experts got out of the visiting ones. And it was great to see outsiders there too - an example of cooperation that's inspirational too. Thank you to all the people who organised it - including the great food-providors."

NorthTec Staff Member

During the day I interviewed a number of attendees around emerging themes, Dr Andrew Higgins a nd Stephen Downes being the highlights of the day. I think to date the FLNW discussion has been passionate and articulate in framing the networked learning model in the context of learning for the sake of learning, Andrew brings an educational organisation perpective not discuused to date...

The conversation will continue in the

It's the 24th September internet acccess has been sporadic along the trip, we're now all hooking up to John Eyles home network...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

FLNW #6 Insights from a range of teachers on the Future of Learning...

Libraries a networked world... from our meeting with about 60 teachers from Christchurch College of Education.


Selena Chan -

Selena drops great Web 2.0 tools to use with mobile devices...

FLNW #5 New ways to publish on demand, the FLNW book

Day 2 On the train ( from Dunedin Taieri gorge railway, the FLNW spent 4 hours networking and sharing ideas with each other. In this video Leigh talks about, and publishing on demand with a CD and book of the outcomes with media; photos, video, podcasts and blogspots (in additon to a free downloadable PDF from :-) Don't forget to check out the photos on, search on the FLNW tag...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

FLNW #4 Web 2.0 and networking with business

Tired with little sleep, but still inspired with the conversations and people I have met.

I had a great day here's a video of me tired and cranky at the end of a busy successful day evangelising Web 2.0 and networked learning, meeting some people from the Dunedin Business community, 28days training for the Real Estate Industy and

I've be looking for an alternative to text blogging and using the built in apple isight on my laptop to blog, it's more honest and spontaneous. I like the way this post reflects my body language and how tired I am (sleep was lacking for the past few days), it's me evolving to more real communication. This form of video blogging will start to become more common, especially when PC laptops get web cams and video with mobile devices becomes more cost effective. Having a threaded conversation of video posts could be the breakthrough in looking to engaging the greater majority with the networked model i.e. those who are perhaps not comfortable with the work time and nature of text blogging .

Talking about how we can use technology for communicating about our product.

Heres a 'silk' video we created with David and Emily we created using imovie and my camera...a quick and fun process...

FLNW #3 The conference is on the money

Some observations from the journey over to Dunedin New Zealand on what is going on in the mainstream press with Web 2.0 and social software, how it's affecting organisations and the way they work...the FLNW conference is on the money, we'll be talking about all things Web 2.0 ad networked learning...

Monday, September 18, 2006

RefrigerationED Teacher Network

Recently Les Tasker and i ran a networked learning PD workshop showing Refrigeration Trades Teachers how to start networking and sharing resources using,,, and htpp:// as well as using video in the workshop. Check out

However it seemed using video with students in the workshop for formative assessment and resources most struck a cord with the group. Here's an interview with Glen Campbell an innovative teacher on using Video and new technologies in the classroom

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After some planning and scripting the team went through the process of creating video resources and and uploading to Here's an example from Bruce.
is great in that when uploading the video you can cross post to other common Web 2.0 tools for your Network. For example in one hit you can post the video to, post a link in, a photo of the video in flickr and a blog post for context. I've only just come across through the TALO google group and will be using it as a key tool in professional development from now on. Cross posting saves time and will alleviate the frustration many networked learning PD participants of having to jump between Web 2.0 accounts to post information to the network. Yes rocks thanks Leigh for putting me onto it...

Check out and how he has translated his networked PD into successfull learning outcomes for his students, in the space of two weeks!

' own knowledge and experience is limited to 41years, and the wealth of knowledge/experience/eyes/ears/humour that is out there is unlimited.'
Glen Campbell

I like the way Glen has imaginatively started to translate what he learnt to the curriculum for example using dfilm to link to a learning outcome, and most ahem coolly ;-) get his refrigeration students successfully using video to learn. Yes Glen Campbell rocks!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

FLNW #2 A taste of Wollongong

A short video of Wollongong NSW to show FLNW participants where I and JoKay are travelling from.

FLNW #1 Saying Hello - The day before 'The Future of Learning in a Networked World'

Planning my video diary

I'm attending the Future of Learning in a Networked World conference tommorow in Dunedin New Zealand, ( and am looking at using video instead of text. The FLNW group will keep a video diary of the trip cross posting to blogs, flickr and the FLNW map

I won't be able to make the Marae but am sure it will be well documented :-)
, looking forward to catching up...

To start two vids from me:

I- One - What I hope to bring and gain from the conference

2- A taste of Wollongong NSW where I'm travelling from...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Networking the family: figuring out how to use mobile phones to share stuff

A moment I want to share, the family figuring out how to bluetooth each other a funny video. We all had regular mobiles with a camera and bluetooth, many where unfamiliar how they worked, but with some playing the desire to learn and some pointers on recording video and using bluetooth to connect with each other and share files we successfully figured it out. After 30mins we where networking with each other, easy!

Networking using the mobiles many students all ready have to teach and learn can be easily done in the classroom! Just try/do it with students perhaps even ask a colleague techie friend family member for help!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

But seriously...this incredible universe of knowledge out there

Some choice exerpts from Al Gore, I want to hightlight and share, he was interviewed by Andrew Denton last night on the ABC. He spoke of the threat of climate change (Also in 'TED talks' video above).

What he said directly relates to the potentialities and importance of openly sharing knowledge to address problems collectively through the networked learning model...

ANDREW DENTON: How do we break that? How do we break that nexus between corporate interests and the way political decisions are made?

AL GORE: Well, I think that focusing on the role of money in politics is part of it. But I think that it's really addressing one of the symptoms rather than the cure. I think that the larger challenge is to democratise the dominant medium, and fortunately, there are now new affordable digital video cameras and laptop editing systems, and young people particularly are learning how to use them. I have started a new television network called 'Current TV', and it's on cable and satellite in 30 million homes in the US, and you can get a training course. We give a free training course to anybody in the world on how to make television. Then they stream the TV to us on the Internet, we post it, and let people vote on what they think the most compelling material is. Now, 30 per cent of our programming is made by the viewers. And if individuals in a nation or in a society are empowered to take part in the conversation, the key is having a meritocracy of ideas so that the people who are part of the conversation themselves decide which of the contributions from all these individuals merit more attention rather than less.


Example from


AL GORE: (Laughs) That's truly ENOUGH ROPE! But seriously... The Internet allows individuals to get into contact with this incredible universe of knowledge out there, and it allows individuals to take part in the conversation. It has been that individuals find like-minded groups, and that's not entirely bad, but the Internet has not become a main public forum. With television, it is possible for individuals to contribute short-form, non-fiction essays, if you will - here's what I see in my world. Make it creative. The essays attracted an audience depending upon the excellence of the prose, the style of the writing as well as the quality of the ideas and in that same way, these televised expressions have to be compelling and attract their own audience, and as they do, what it can happen is the television medium can be the forum that it was intended to be so that we can once again have a conversation of democracy that is not dominated by Exxon Mobil financing these insipid ads for the virtues of carbon dioxide, but rather, individuals can make their own case...

AL GORE: It can seem to move very slowly, but when we aren't noticing it, it can cross a tipping point and then shift into an entirely different gear and move with incredible speed. We have done that in our democracies in the past. We are close to doing that in reaction to the climate crisis. We will cross that tipping point when enough people internalise the truth of our situation. We have to disenthrall ourselves from the propaganda, from the advertising, from the falsehoods, from the illusions, and we have to see the reality of this new relationship we have to the earth...

and each other...

Friday, September 01, 2006

Networked Professional Development - Collaborate with our peers and everyone can get more work done with less effort

Mlearning - Using pdas and mobiles in the workplace

It's Sunday afternoon, I'm enjoying a glass of wine and preparing a session plan for another networked learning workshop tomorrow on my PDA. Just to demonstrate the full use of this little gadget & to see how user friendly it is. I will be applying the use of this technology for for the group of refrigeration trades teachers I'm preparing for tomorrow. We will be exploring the use of PDA's & mobiles in the workshop-teaching environment...

I'm also been invited to set up a forum for September for Web2.0 'newbies' as part of the EDNA groups 2006 community forum on 'Cool Web 2.0 tools'.

'We have been on a vertical learning curve using internet tools unheard of in the civilised world. There is so much information to absorb that the brain is now mush and open for extraterestial infiltration.'Refrigeration teacher

One teacher wrote on his blog :-) after two days of intensive Web2.0 Networked Learning PD, using the Web2.0 tools to go on and network with his colleagues & build his own 'Personal Learning Environment' (PLE). This can only be encouraging, as we have come a long way in just 12months.

This time last year at the The Learning Powerhouse - Conference on VET Teaching and Learning Pedagogy September 2005 I did a presentation on networked professional development. I thought I'd lost the podcast of the session but was pleased to recently find it on the ICVET site. Listening to it a year later I'm publishing it for interested 'newbies' to web 2.0 (Like me at the time, my learning never ends) who have not made the transition to using Web2.0 technology in day to day teaching with some PD strategies for coping...

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Note: In the 2005 podcast I talk about teachersmart and smartconvert, we now talk about teacherconnect professional development, a team based approach using a variety of Web 2.0 technologies...

'Lets really focus on the benefits of networking because thats where it's at, networking will allow us to share capabilities ideas and project work. It will allow us to share resources even physical work spaces once the culture and internet connections are in place. The increase in shared knowledge and skills will be exponential as soon as that process gets started. The wonderful thing about networked professional development is it promotes something I see lacking , something I joke about; working together, networking promotes team environments and fosters a commitment to work towards the same goals for the benefit of all, thats somewhere where we have to get to...' Steven Parker - 'Empowerment Through Technology' ICVET Presentation September 2005

In relation to Professional Development the gist of the 'Empowerment Through Technology' podcast is the same as a previous post Open Networked and Hands On (replace the word student with teacher...;-)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Beginners Guide to RSS, Web2.0 and Networked Learning


You may be interested in an elluminate session I did for people new to the concepts of web2.0 RSS and networked learning, who just want to know where to get started.

'From a beginner's perspective this presentation will explain what RSS is, how it works , and provide practical examples of how RSS can be used in your working and personal life, providing context for setting up your own online identity and networking with others.'

It also provides context on some starter tools and tips when setting up your Personal Learning Environment (PLE)...

Click here for Elluminate presentation. (59 mins)

Note: may take several mins to load, also you might have problems with firewall, if this is the case suggest trying from home :-)


It was part of the lead in sessions for the event: Tapping into Resources for E-learning
6 - 8 September 2006

Note: I Don't go into detail in presentation on 'tagging' but suggest looking at 'help' for web2.0 tools in general, for example and have some good info on tagging.

Also recommend checking out

What other resources would you recommend for beginners?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The students are up to something...

We are moving into an era whereby we will facilitate students using technology to create and share their own resources, achieve learning outcomes and attain knowledge at any given point off time as part of a learning network.

'Students Creating, Sharing, Consuming Adapting, Networking, Building knowledge across networks, open (and closed)…

I came across this video 'Day of the Long Tail' and want to tie it to the above assertions and a great post from Caroyl Oliver discussing the use of free and open web 2.0 technologies.

'With more and more free programmes, software and resources it is now much easier for an individual teacher to find something that works with a particular group of students and 'just do it'. The way in which this works within an Institute then depends on the corporate culture and the management of the relevant departments.'

'the reality is that if we are to inter-act with our
students in any meaningful way we must at least talk in their language.'

Caroyl Oliver

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The future is open

Interesting video (Mohammed Ali makes an appearance) on a kid learning in an open environment... advertising... won't spoil ending.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Networked Learning Rights

The networkedlearnigrights group has been a hot topic of conversation amongst many of my colleagues over the past week at the Learnscope and ICVET events I attended.

From this I started to think how can one facilitate not only the shared knowledge, but also the shared thoughts, views and expressions with each other online to reach a wider audience.
  • How do you encourage participants (students teachers) at all levels to want to participate and express themselves within an open network?
  • How do you quickly seek resolution and overcome differences of opinion elevating a conversation to have meaning focus and relevance?
  • How do you quickly generate agreed solutions to specific questions/problems?
  • How when and why should you moderate contributions to a group?

For me gaining understanding of the answers to these questions is tied to guidelines on moderation and particpant's rights and responsibilites within a network In this context I would like to know have you formed facilitated or are a member of an education network :
  • What charter, manifesto, guidelines does the network refer to?
  • How important is it for an individual to formally agree and adhere to the group standards before participating in group?
  • What moderation strategies do you employ?
  • When where and why would the network be moderated?
  • Who has the right to moderate? What are their responsibilites?
  • What are the moderation steps?
  • What is the groups collective responsibility to individual members?
  • What communication strategies are most effective for facilitating generation of knowledge and understanding?
  • Does a networked learning environment always need to be open?
Answers to these questions form the basis for the success or failure of implemementing a networked learning model within public education.

You might like to do a blog post or share with the networkedlearnigrights group. You also might like to ask other questions of the group. Looking forward to gaining the collective insight.

Originally uploaded by fuzzz.

PS. In this context, you may be interested in the life based learning paper published at the icvet powerhouse conference on Friday. A fantastic direction for VTE don't you think?...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Where to next?- Ask the Network

Network Learning

The TLRU is working within an international Tourism Hospitality education network (THED) as part of the Learnscope 2006 teacherConnect project. Working as an enabler with students and teachers using technology, the next logical stage is to explore the pedagogical possibilities for students and teachers to participate communicate create and work within their own online networks, in particular with mobile technologies (These can be readily used in the classroom).

We are exploring these possibilities, communicating and working within a networking learning pedagogy researching digital literacy, access to technology and access to information and the Internet. Here is the podcast from the first THED Illawarra meeting.

Importantly the focus at last is shifting from creating product to the creative process of working with student’s and teachers (an example working with the T&H students, the process took one hour). Students using technology to create and share their own resources, achieve their learning outcomes and attain and act on knowledge at a given point off time as part of their personal learning network.

Roles are changing, becoming more open, networked, and hands on working with and fostering the creativity of students and teachers to help them achieve their individual learning goals and set up their own networks with technology until self sufficient... the way it should be.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Open, Networked and Hands On - Fostering Student Creativity

Reflecting on why I teach and where the value is for students, a constant in my day-to-day work is the process of change itself. I'm working in a continuous state of change. Each day is a flux of:
  • New information.
  • New technologies.
  • New people within my network.
  • New thoughts…

The continual flow of ideas from multiple sources affects the decisions I make and my actions in my workplace. What enables me to cope and adapt to the change is my own creativity and learning from the ingenuity and knowledge of the people in my networks such as TALO.

In education to acknowledge the process of rapid change as a reality of working life and necessity to remain competitive in the workplace now puts the emphasis on the process of fostering student creativity in all aspects of education.

Fostering student creativity

Ken Robinson in his recent funny and inspiring speech on education states ‘Creativity is having original ideas which are off value.’

I have been thinking about this for some time and agree with his key point ‘In Education Creativity as important as literacy’.

In my educational role the value is in facilitating, enabling and supporting teachers and students for the networked working world, to enable them to

  • Be creative with the technology they use in day to day work and life i.e. Mobiles, Skype, Blogs…
  • To participate communicate and work within networks, organization networks, class networks open networks on net.
  • To be aware of change at a given point in time find and act on information from multiple internet sources then use this to achieve their goals.

In the past my role as an educational technologist was to sit at the computer, focus on

  • Web development.
  • Creating resources.
  • Administering an Learning Management System,

The value in the resources to be consumed within closed systems and less on what actually goes on with students in the classroom.

Working with students

THED_Jeanne interviews her students following task
Recently I worked with Jeanne McRae (Tourism and Hospitality) and her students. They had to organize an event management task, a car wash at the TAFE Wollongong campus. The students where given some technology a mp3 recorder (ipod) to interview each other and digital camera to take pictures and video with basic instructions.

The outcomes:

  • The students themselves created a resource about event management.
  • The students loved using technology where comfortable with recording and interviewing each other.
  • The students helped each other clarify and discuss their own learning outcomes during the recording process.
  • The photos and audio can be used as part of assessment portfolio.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Creating comics with SecondLife & ComicLife

Creating comics with Secondlife & Comiclife

If you're wanting something new & fun to explore check out Second life (SL), it's fantastic...(once you get your account). Through my avatar, 'sparker Wollongong' :-) I've been hooking up with my Irish friends back home & inspiring work colleague JoKay at her frozen retreat. I've been flying around 3d virtual worlds where all manner off human activity is happening, including education.

There are many educational possiblilties to utilise secondlife (SL), where to start! It is exciting to explore by fully immersiving oneself into the 3d world to learn as much as I can via Secondlife campus, Second life - How to wiki, Second life education wiki.

SL can be used in conjunction with other programmes, for instance I have also been experimenting with a gem of a programme I've come across called ComicLife (CL) can download a demo... it's not free but well worth the educational price. By first using SL to take the screenshots for the background of each comic scene, I have then created an instructional comic using ComicLife (CL).

In SL it's really easy to control camera angle of your view of the world and take screenshot's (saved as .png). In CL it's really quick and easy to create comic strips, choose your comic panel layout, drag your screenshots in, add caption with that cool comic type, voila! ... a flashy SL comic. You can even use ComicLife with photos.

Try SecondLife and ComicLife, with the richness of SL environments and engaging educational possibillties are apparent, the imagination is limitless for ways they can be applied in the classroom environment, some possibilities are....
  • Create narrative/ learning resources with SL screenshots
  • SL and CL together, storyboarding videos or SL movies (machinima)...
  • In the classroom students take photos as part of a room task, put them into CL, create a comicstrip , they then have to plan stages of activity and how to communicate, great resource for all...
  • Take it to the next stage you could upload your comic strip to Bubbleshare and bring in audio of the comic dialogue...
The Tourism & Hospitality NetworkED (THED) group is exploring animation. We've been looking at DFILM, Check this out from Tony a NZ bakery teacher. I will be exploring with the THED network using SL and CL as another great option for developing engaging hospitality resources... Great stuff!!!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

David Pollard's Social Networking Landscape

Today I was online for the Flexible Learning Social Software Conference, one of the presentations was about defining 'What is Web2.0' and 'What are the differences between Web1.0 and Web2.0'. From a site referenced during the presentation I found a link to 'David Pollard's Social Networking Map' and have just re-visited it. David writes:

"I've been trying to define the boundaries of Social Networking, rather than simply (and less usefully) trying to define the term. The best way I found to do so is to list the various functionalities (applications) of Social Software by objective, rather than listing the tools themselves by type of content"

For those of us who will be explaining the multiple facets of web2.0, what social networking means and why we should care I think it's a gem of a resource to reference. Check it out...

Monday, June 05, 2006


joshuarrrocks said...

'posting stuff about anemels is cool and rily fun.'

A quick insight into what happens when you show kids, in this case an eleven year old how to use blogger... he was up and running in 30mins!

What does an eleven year old blog about:

He was full of enthusiasm, so much that once his blog was published online he continued on by drawing up his own plans for the future of his blog (no prompting needed), which involves taking video and pictures for his school projects, ' do stuff with friends, show them my favorite games and stuff..'

By the end of the day he had not only shown his brothers how to set up a blog, but also his father!!

When shown how to link to his favourite stuff and put it on the internet he thought it was 'sick'. So do I :-) Joshua was enthusiastic about showing his blog to his teacher, to see if he could get the class blogging...will wait and see the feedback soon.

Joshua RRRocks!!!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Online identity and personalised start pages - Pageflakes

Blogger - For sharing content
Flickr - For sharing photos I like For sharing websites I like
43 Things- For connecting with people who are interested in learning, doing the same things as me.
My start page, Pageflakes- Pulling them all together.

By using 'Personalised Start Pages' I can pull together my online identity for work and play. This is done by bringing together blog posts, pictures, videos and rss feeds into one online page. Pageflakes is just one of the available user friendly and free 'personalised start page' Web2.0 programmes. I found out about pageflakes from the TALO group, TALO uses Protopage, another 'personalised start page', to pull together all the information relating to the group into one space. Another popular start page is suprglu (Allows customisation of look and feel).

Reasons why I like Pageflakes:

  • It allows the incorpration of blog posts in a nice navigational structure similar to a Learning Management System.
  • It is more user friendly and accessible, users with basic level skills can easily pull together RSS feeds using 'Pageflake add content' as apposed to customising blog templates.
  • It comes with a variety of custom widgets for easily incorporating cool features such as photos from Flickr and videos from You Tube.
  • It is extendable and customisable, with widgets being created by a community of developers.
  • It can be used for teaching classes by allow the creation of open pages or closed pages which are invite only.
  • It can be used for networked learning with colleagues, for example including videos developed by peers (Leigh Blackall) in you tube.
  • It can be used for for project management including widgets which provide features such as links to 'Writely' project documents and project checklists.

Pageflakes doesn't appear to allow customising the look and feel to any great extent yet but thats ok... I like it, a great accessible, flexible product for educators, students and managers to pull together their online identity for teaching and learning online and deliver open content with blogs.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Shared learning

Networked learning- I intuitively 'get' the concept of networked learning why it makes sense for education and for teaching and learning, shared learning, the concept of students and teachers on the internet collaborating during the construction of their learning, they build their online identities and share knowledge , browsing, critiquing and commenting on each others contribution to the web via computer and mobile. Learning from each others identities and providing context, collective awareness growing and evolving over time, everybody's a network.

Networked learning mind map 1- Building online identity and sharing with others.

A simple concept with much underlying complexity , practical considerations only start to reveal when mapped out. We are currently researching and implementing the practical applications off these concepts. I am going through the process of mind-mapping my understanding of the different aspects of networked learning in relation to planning professional development for other teachers, . The project is about implementing a sustainable OPEN networked professional development model in collaboration with other educational organisations (You are invited to get involved).

For the mind-map I have used CMAP but want to be able to share and collaborate on mapping the concept further. I will put the information into a collaborative mind-map tool to get feedback and refine the model, maybe gliffy (Another great web2.0 name).

A networked learning Mastermind

Many educators in my network have inspired my learning and awareness along these lines and I share and recommend subscribing to their blogs: