Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Big Dreams

I'm in the process of writing a Development Plan. This is very exciting to me for a number of reasons.

Firstly, I feel very much as though up to now I've been fire fighting. All my decisions have been responsive to the immediate siuation and, although they are generally geared to meet the ultimate goal my position automatically creates they are not planned or staged or, in my opinion, particularly well organised. I love a degree of structure in my life and to have this plan will give me a route to take from here to there and will, more importantly, give me those indicators of success that we all need.

Secondly, it gives me a wonderful sense of destiny. I never wrote a plan for my life when I was in school - I wouldn't have had the first clue where to start. However, I do distinctly remember feeling disadvantaged compared to the people who knew what they wanted, where they were going and how to get there. Writing a plan then would not have helped me now, but writing a much shorter term plan for this situation gives me this ability to make decisions based on how they will affect or fit in with the Plan.

Thirdly, I can dream. There is no budget association at this point of the plan and there are no technical limitations. They will come, of course, but at this point in time I can see the very best of the best and we're it. Honestly, it's a good job I'm doing this at Christmas, because I'm going to feel crushed when they point out that teleportation devices between the wider ranging parts of the campus just aren't physically possible, let alone within budget :)

Lastly, I can see from it exactly where I have come from. It doesn't talk about me, but I know enough of myself to see from this document how far I have come, how much I have learned and how much I have still to learn. Integrating technology with education is a complex matter - throwing computers at people (literally or figuratively) doesn't help. You need timing, technique and an understanding of the teaching process. It's a subtle business and I do adore subtlety.

In the event that I am from now on too cold to post anything here, I'd like to wish you all a Merry Christmas.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Da Vinci

So it seems someone has written a new Da Vinci book. I have a huge academic/ intellectual crush on Leonardo da Vinci, so I will almost certainly be reading it.

However, (and this I believe isn't *in* the book, although I could be wrong) what really stuck with me when discovering the existence of this book was a line from this BoingBoing article about it:

"Leonardo da Vinci knows he doesn't know everything."

I spend most of my life panicking because I don't know enough - I don't know the answer to each and every question and I don't know the best way forward from this point to acheiving everything I want to do. I feel that not knowing reflects badly on my capability to do my job, rather than being an opportunity for learning and improving myself.

I don't think it's coincidence that I feel this way, given that I was never educated in a fashion that encouraged experimentation and failure. Da Vinci, apparently, although given an informal education early in life, and apprenticed as a young adolescent, did not have much by way of a formal education. Is it possible that it was his *lack* of education that gave him the freedom to be the amazing idividual that he was?

If so, isn't that a terribly sad thought?

Interestingly, it was only when I reached the working world and failed terribly several times in a row that I learned how to discover answers for myself, but that was a major hurdle and I strongly feel that this should be a basic aspect of modern education: how to discover the things you need to and how to teach yourself.

Given that schools are designed to be a safe environment for children to learn, maybe we could expand that and make it a safe place for them to experiment and fail. After all, your success in life isn't measured by your ability to pass an exam every two years: so why can't there be other measures of acheivement in school?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Presenting the "Here at last!" award

I love documentaries. I spend Saturday mornings and any time I'm ill watching copious amounts of them (or at least, I did before I cancelled my Sky subscription last July). They're (usually) well made, highly engaging and beautifully shot, even if the content is a little suspect (one of the last ones I saw before cancelling Sky was discussing the possibility we were descended from an alien race whose aircraft were depicted in various pieces of art through time. While I have to concede it is possible inasmuch as all things are possible, the "proof" they brought forward wasn't exactly convincing).

It shouldn't be difficult to understand how thrilled I was to find out that the college has been trialling a site called http://bobnational.net/ which works much like iPlayer or 4OD, isn't constricted to one channel but is confined to educational, non-profit use only.

An additional, and significant, benefit is that you can take a clip of your documentary, which is then assigned to your profile so that you may access it easily from then on. I believe you may also be able to embed video clips in presentations, but I haven't tested the full extent yet (if you can embed, the button/ script isn't easy to find)*. The current archive goes back 7 years, but as I understand it they don't remove items, so this should only increase.

We've had the free trial account for a while, I understand, but they had ordered the license at the start of term (coinciding nicely with the expiry date of the trial account, meaning I was obliged to wait before doing any real experimentation). Due to a few hiccups it took a while to come through and finally, gloriously, it's here. I spent five minutes poking my nose into it yesterday afternoon and pulled a clip from an episode of Horrible Histories about the "Woeful Second World War" regarding encryption.

It's very easy to get a clip. You simply click the "Make a clip" button and it takes you to a page with the clipping kit (I'm not sure why this isn't just available by default, or easily shown/ hidden). Then you insert your clip by adding a start and end point and you may position these points either by dragging them around on the play bar of the video, or by choosing the precise hundreth of a second (centi-second?) you want to use and typing it in. You can use a combination of these two actions, so it's very quick to get exact clipping points.

My biggest complaint is that after I take my clip, the still screen shown at the start is the same as the still for the original video**: so instead of a bright orange screen saying "Woeful Second World War" (which is what my clip starts on) I have a shot of the inside of a cthedral from the end of a  Songs of Praise episode. It then cuts to the orange screen as soon as the play button is hit. Maybe that sounds niggly to some but a) I chose the start point of my clip because it is highly relevant and gives an immediate clue as to the nature and content of the clip and b) that means the thumbnail information is automatically assigned from the parent instead of a new one being created, giving me less control over what my students see.

I've spread the word to a few people who were expressing a wish we had access to a tool that would do this job and to the department I rub shoulders with most often. I'm now going to take a step back and see what they do with it before plotting the big college wide training session.

In the meantime, I'm thrilled at having a whole new toy to play with :)

*EDIT - for clarity, there is an html snippet provided that will allow you to embed it in webpages, but I'm pretty sure that doesn't work in presentations.

**FURTHER EDIT - Oops. Having now read the manual (http://bobnational.net/bob_user_guide/5.html) you can change this still image to one that suits your needs.

Monday, 10 October 2011


One of the things I was deeply concerned about before I started my eLearning crusade was the previous experience the college has had with VLEs.

Their previous was Sharepoint. Not Sharepoint LMS, just Sharepoint. It had its up side - certain things really worked well, and did what they wanted (and needed) at the time. Frankly, for those who use a VLE as a document repository Sharepoint is what you want, isn't it? However, there was an incident where the database corrupted, the backup failed and a lot of data just disappeared for a few departments.

On the back of this, I was expecting a lot of resistance to the institution of a new VLE (namely Moodle) because a) "We spent ages on the old one and then it broke so what's the point?" or b) "The new one's going to be replaced soon, as well, so what's the point?". What actually happened was completely different.

No one knows that "the old VLE" was called Sharepoint and nobody thinks that Moodle is a VLE. As a result, despite their previous experience, every single person is coming to this with an open mind.

It's incredibly fortunate for me that Moodle is the tool it is; each person who has been shown the system so far has a positive reaction. There is some umming and ahhing from the more cautious members of staff, but the vast majority are comfortable and confident with the idea of including this in their teaching.

I'm feeling unbelievably positive about everything related to this job :)

Friday, 30 September 2011

Moodle Cloze Questions

I was presented with an opportunity today to interest some members of staff in using quizzes in Moodle. I seiezed it and deduced that a Cloze quiz would be perfect for their needs.

As is the way, Cloze quizzes are the ones I'd never really tried before, so the last hour has been spent developing the quiz behind closed doors. I am now absolutely confident in creating short answer cloze questions, even if nothing else.

The quiz will be demonstrated to staff and (I hope) immediately made available to students as a basic study activity.This is a momentous occasion as it is the first time I've pushed quizzes, and I'm worried it may be too soon. However, it fit the situation so perfectly, if I hadn't raised it I'm sure it would have come back to haunt me.

The full guide to Cloze questions is provided by the lovely people supporting Moodle but for my own use and future reference: a Cloze quiz allows you to write a portion of text which students must complete with correct words, either by selecting from a drop down menu or radio buttons, filling out short answers, or giving a numerical value.

Write the whole sentence in the Question text and identify the words/ numbers that students must fill out.

{1:SHORTANSWER:=Answer} <- Where the curly brackets deliminate the coding, the initial number is the grade for that question and :IDENT: describes the answer type (SHORTANSWER, SHORTANSWER_C, NUMERICAL, MULTICHOICE, MULTICHOICE_V, MULTICHOICE_H). Additionally = points to the corrrect answer and ~ would indicate alternatives.

That's as far as I've used it, but I will record the further adventures of Moodle development as we go.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

An early lunch

Today I had a moodle training session. I had one last night as well, but it was supposed to last one hour and it was between 4 and 5, so by the time everyone had logged on I was feeling distinctly rushed. The outcome was positive, but I didn't feel that I'd taken the time I would have liked to.

This morning, I had a full two hours booked out, and I went through the same points I always do. I like spontaneity, so I tend to mix things up a little and make each session that little more interesting for me. It means I am always open to ditching what I had planned and respond exactly to what the learners want to do.

I've found it also means that every time I come to a training session I am as enthusiastic as I was at the first and that, more than anything else I've found, is what people respond to. Not a superior kind of enthusiasm, or a tech geek kind of enthusiasm, but what I personally think of as "puppy syndrome". I'm talking and happy about everything and I feel at the beginning that people are willing to humour me. But I can almost feel that moment when it turns from "She's asking me to do this" to "Wow, I just did this!" or "Actually, that's pretty good. It would be better if I could do *this* though."

And the best thing is, I can see the difference it makes. I can see courses being built and people trying new things. I'm really looking forward to the summer holiday and the start of next year when we have the basics in place and we start really building on it.

I'm dreaming big this time.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Time to blink

In the last two weeks I have taken up driving lessons and finishing off some CPD has taken up the remainder of my spare time. My work life has been frantic: for the first time ever I'm obliged to colour code my calendar to enable me to keep on top of whether I've got training, meetings or research to do. These are my excuses for missing a week of blogging.

Since I'm here, I'd like to let you know what I've been up to and how my new role is developing. My job requires me to do a few things:
  1. To know about and keep staff abreast of all the eLearning resources at the college
  2. Train staff in said resources
  3. Support staff in using said resources
  4. Provide advice and guidance to staff who have a vague idea of what they want to do but no idea how to go about it
  5. Research additional tools etc that we may adopt in future.
I have to confess that my favourite aspect is Number 4, even though it's not at all frequently used right now. Training and supporting is really rewarding and the research is interesting. The admin is just admin (I quite like it, because I like things being tidy, but it doesn't thrill me) but the real challenge is the advice and guidance and thinking (as the management team would have it) "Outside the box".

I've been doing a lot of training recently: Moodle, SMARTBoards and bits and pieces including Box of Broadcasts and that's going to take up more of my time very shortly as I recently discovered a whole 2/3rds of the college have been holding back and giving me time to find my feet before descending on me. I've also started promoting the sporcle site as a good resource for quizzes and activities.

So far I've mostly been engaging with the people who are really excited about using a wider range of tools in their teaching and a few who are so scared of the idea that they wanted to get in some training early on. Either way - these are the people who have sought me out. What happens next is that I need to start hunting down people who are avoiding me.

I have noticed - and others have too - that the different departments that don't share students don't really communicate regularly on a professional basis. It's a very friendly college, so there is a lot of socialising, but I'm building a network throughout the college to promote inter-departmental communication. Ultimately, I intend to start a regular TeachMeet here, but keep that under your hat ;)

Monday, 5 September 2011

And we're off!

Last Thursday and Friday were the staff inset days at which I announced my presence and kick started the Moodle introduction.

I made a real effort during my presentation to NOT focus on the VLE - it's important that staff know that a VLE is not the only means of using technology to enhance learning. So I gave a brief introduction to myself and our resources, giving examples on use of non-VLE tools.

This morning I crawled into college (Monday morning, without the aid of caffeine, yay!) and have spent the whole day since chasing around after various questions and enquiries. It's the first day of inductions so there is a very excited buzz around the place, and we're seeing students again in their natural habitat. It's quite lovely after the rather dreary summer.

In addition I've stepped in on the perfect year as I have recently discovered that the BTECs have altered in some way which means staff were already aware they'd have to spend time this year developing materials. The idea of developing them in Moodle came along almost as an afterthought to some of them.

I do feel the need ot record the pleasure I'm experiencing in all this chaos - a few years ago I swore I'd never do tech support again and of course a large part of my role now is tech support! However, it's enjoyable and people are interested in the information I give them, rather than being negative about every little thing.

I am feeling very lucky to be working amongst such positive people who are all as willing to learn as they are to teach.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Pedagogy and note taking

Over time I've become increasingly conscious of my lack of pedagogical knowledge - but as I'd always worked with teaching professionals to develop materials it didn't cause many problems. However, recently I've been conscious that it creates a barrier between me and teachers which, in my new role, won't benfit anybody. So I have recently been on a course to develop my pedagogical understanding.

It's a very interesting science - and at the same time slightly unsatisfying. You learn a lot of theory but the opportunities for practice are incredibly limited (because if you carry out experiments in education someone will learn more slowly or not at all, and is that really ethical?) and so you have to assume that this is all correct and try and build from there.

Throughout this course I was conscious of our first learning - the things about how to eat with cutlery, how to walk, how to communicate. Each of these are learned, not instinctive, and yet none of them require note taking. Why is this considered so important then? Of course, the answer is simple:

The things you do and continue to do are learned. Otherwise you need reference material.

The implication therefore, which amused me slightly, is that all those teachers who spent your education telling you that something was important and you must write it down, were really telling you that it was something you probably wouldn't do for a while (and by extension, it probably wasn't all that important).

Monday, 8 August 2011

Birds eye view

Working on a project with a group of skilled workers is a bit like being in an ants nest. Everyone has their tasks, there is frequent crossover and interaction (I think this is represented by the paths through the ants nest, but I'll admit I may not have thought this metaphor through in its entirety) and endless, endless work.

My role as a developer means that after receiving a pile of information from someone who knows what they're talking about, I have more or less been left in isolation to get on with it. This suits me quite nicely for a while, but it's generally not long before I look up and it seems that I am the only ant in the nest.

For the last many months I have had this feeling (which is wholly false - I am not by any means the only person on this project and I have had a lot of support from SMEs) about one particular project and I've been working on a myriad of tiny tasks.

Tomorrow is more or less the final meeting, so I clambered out of the little hole I'd worked myself into and, in a completely unexpected turn of events, saw the whole project. A bird's eye view, if you will. It's so close to completion I can practically taste the celebratory real ale.

What has this taught me? Perspective. I don't allow time for perspective when I'm working and I'm now certain that this has a negative impact on my organisational skills. Sadly, with perspective you lose that feeling of wonder that it's all come together, but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. Especially since, from now on, other people will suffer if I don't have the proper perspective.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Managing Development

For the last 18 months I have been working in an eLearning Materials Development role. However, I'm delighted that at the start of the new term I will begin working in the role I've been anticipating and wishing for; officially entitled eLearning Coordinator. In this role I'll be encouraging others to use eLearning throughout the college. I am both thrilled and incredibly nervous.

There are a number of stages to this role/ process and the first stage is integrating with the teaching and support staff so I know how they all work and ensure I don't try to implement something that is at the worst impossible and at the best inconsiderate.

Beyond this stage lies a maelstrom of planning, training, designing and implementing. And for this I need a guide. Today, purely by chance, I came across two articles that are highly relelvant to my needs:

Creating a Learning Organisation
Marc My Words: When Training is Not the Answer

As Captain Planet* would say "By these articles combined" I am attempting to form an idea of the principles that are best suited to my situation:
[Note: the third-person plural personal pronoun (subjective case) "they" will be used here to denote any members of the team that may be relevant in that category]

Direction - Everyone involved in developing this project needs to be very clear not only about what we are doing, but why we are doing it. The how in this instance will be varied by department, but the whole team can get behind the goals and the reasons. This should address the performance issues related to commitment and must be established before we start rolling out training.

Once direction is established, there will be (according to various studies) resistance to the project which will cover a few of the performance issues including:
  • They don't know how to perform
    • The degree of engagement with the VLE will be defined at different levels, with an expected adoption rate also clearly defined. Each department's adoption rate will be cleared with the department head so that they can lead and if necessary enforce across their department.
    • Training in different aspects of the VLE will be offered as well as snippet suggestions on things staff could do if they were interested.
  • They don't know how well to perform
    • As above, there will be a clearly defined department goal which will be communicated and reinforced on a regular basis.
  • They think they are already performing
    • This should be picked up in team meetings and can be addressed informally by the MTA team, or more formally by the HOD.
  • They are too busy
    • Many staff members won't want to invest time in learning how to use the technology and then develop lessons or activities in the VLE. However, the future time savings are a part of the reasoning behind adopting the VLE to begin with, so hopefully being behind the direction will help staff resolve this problem themselves. 
  • They don't have the resources
    • This may be students or staff - we can ensure staff have the resources they need and help them develop their eLearning based on the minimum that students will have available to them.
  • They don't have the capacity
    • It is possible that some staff are genuinely incapable of using technology, but in most instances the difficulties in learning are related to a fear of the technology which can hopefully be overcome. This will require time and a lot of close personal guidance.
The approaches described above require
  • Leadership
    • It will be the responsibility of HODs and myself to drive this forward by using the VLE ourselves. Staff can easily be introduced to a training course on the VLE as a part of the project.
  • Culture and Organisation
    • The Project will define the "Company Way" of doing things. This will give us adoption goals and rates which the HODs will need to communicate throughout their departments
  • Accountability
    • This can only be enforced by the HODs - they need to be behind this 100%.
    • This in conjunction with Motivation also covers
      • They are not rewarded for the right performance
      • They are punished for the right performance
      • There are no (or weak) consequences for doing it wrong or not at all.
  • Coordination and Control
    • This cannot be determined until the various teams and their roles have been determined.
External Orientation - In this instance the customer and the team are the same group. Additional customers will include the students and their approval or otherwise will be reported by the student forum and student body president. A provisional idea - which will be affected by the feedback this body gives - is to give the student body an area in the VLE that is only lightly moderated taht they can use to create their own activities and quizzes etc.
Innovation and Learning - as we continue to develop our goals, expectations and acheivements will also develop. This will frequently affect the reasons for poor performance and can only be addressed by continuously high levels of communication and ongoing guidance and training where required.

There are a lot of issues that cannot be forseen. For now, my concern is making this transition as painless as possible by planning around the issues we can and allowing time and potential failures for the issues we can't anticipate.

*If he were a training management professional
Surprise! I am both pedantic and geeky ;-)

Thursday, 14 July 2011

And we're back

I've just got back from a lovely holiday in Italy and I'm trying to pull the threads of my work and learning back together.

As always, while I was on holiday I read a lot. This time I completed 4 books. I can tell you every detail of two of those books because I actually read them twice and of the other two books I can give you a comprehensive plot and character review without any difficulty.

I've always been able to do this. I read a few hundred pages and I can remember all the major parts of it, and the good ones I can even remember sub-plots, underlying themes and bits of dialogue.

So why is it that I can read a text book 10 or 15 times and still not remember the content? In 6th Form I read and re-read my chemistry A-Level text book over the course of about 6 months, desperately trying to absorb the information to pass the exams without success (I think I got a D in the end).

What is there in a story (not necessarily fictional or biographical either, Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution is a fantastically memorable book) that captures my brain and takes root, that is lacking from a text book?

 I can't be the only person who remembers stories - think of Eastenders. That show has been running for decades and there are many dedicated followers who could happily tell you detailed stories from any point over that time.

So how can I use this in learning and teaching? How can I change my text-book into a story-book? Is this the Philosopher's Stone of education: the secret to eternal life and great success? :)

02/08/11 EDIT: Oh how marvellous Nuts and Bolts: What's your story? presents examples of this in action.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Twitter Favourites

How do you use the Favourite option on Twitter?

I don't think this is how it's supposed to be used, but since I am now following over 200(!) tweeps, I can't always read things as soon as I see the link. So I have TweetDeck on my phone, which I use to monitor tweets on an hourly basis.

If I see a link that I want to read, I favourite it and then, when I have time, I go onto my PC and  read whatever is on the other side of the link. At that point I unfavourite it, but if I think it's worth keeping (and let's face it, with the people tweeting out there, it generally is worth keeping) I'll add it to Diigo.

The flaw with this MO is that I frequently don't retweet, because it's been a while since the original was tweeted. I must try harder at that.

So tell me, what do you use favouriting for?

Monday, 13 June 2011

Students in the Workplace

There is a big push going forward now to extend formal education into the workplace. Apprenticeships are one example and there are various projects going forth to cover varying levels of education for full time employees.

We are working on one such project with local employers and it's great. The employers are interested, committed and communicating openly with us. The staff they want to have trained will get full support.

The problem that I see (and currently have no way of addressing) is that these employers are interested enough in training their staff to consult with us on the courses we are creating. Our first cohort is going to be made up of employees from similar companies where the employers are invested in training their staff. This means the feedback we get is from people who are willing to release their staff for some time and supply them with access to the tools they need to study at work. They are also willing to structure shifts around when their staff need to study.

Do you see where this is going? There are going to be several employers out there who just aren't interested in training their staff. How do we overcome the barriers they find to put in our way?

Monday, 6 June 2011

It's a funny thing

I browsed a little of Steve Wheeler's blog today and one of his articles opens with:

"I'm firmly of the opinion that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in schools is misplaced and therefore misused."

I stopped reading at that point* because I periodically struggle with this thought. If the technology is available in a library, and you want to teach your class how to develop a wiki, you have to spend the first and last 5 minutes of the class in shifting them around. Then you have to deal with the disruption once you reach the library and your students experience the novelty of the situation.

If the technology is available in the classroom it takes up a *lot* of space and if they are placed on desks, then when they are not in use they are blocking the student's participation in the class (it's difficult to see over a normal sized monitor, and keyboards take up a lot of space.

The solution therefore is portable - you simply pull the machine out of the desk when it's required. But then you have to have a deep level of trust in your students not to damage them or steal them.

Therefore, issue each student with their own laptop/ tablet that they can use whenever and however they wish. And can you hear the collective intake of the accountants' breath?

The truth is, this technology isn't as expensive as it used to be and there are all kinds of options for making it cheaper. But in this time, with all the cuts required, I find it hard to push for the students to be given these if the only way it will fit into the budget is by removing the expense of a member of staff.

There are also other expensive problems. What I have to get used to is that in my position, I don't need to solve those problems. After all, the areas they occur in are not my speciality and there could be many problems I never considered. Maybe I should get used to floating the ideas and have other people dealing with the practicalities.

Note - I didn't stop reading because I wasn't interested, but because it was important to me to figure out my own opinions on the matter before reading somebody else's

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Web Conferencing software

Over the last couple of weeks I've been immersing myself in a new project. It's currently at that stage where money, organisation, time and stress are in their least desirable configuration.

I have, in the midst of this whirlpool, been investigating web conferencing software as a potential delivery system. Honestly, I like it. I am biased towards this idea. Unfortunately, I can't play fantasy software, as I am required to provide something that the college will value as much as I do (being a responsible adult sucks sometimes).

So, I started with the wikipedia Web Conferencing software page. It isn't a comprehensive list, but it's substantial and gives me a base of operations. Of these I whittled it down to my three favourites (some by more superficial means than others, I have to admit). Open Meetings, Buddy Meeting and Adobe Connect.

I liked some of the others on the list, but had to dismiss them as being untestable unless I can get our Moodle server duplicated, me given the admin password and permitted to install whatever I like to find out how they work. I also dropped a few paid ones on the grounds that they appeared to have no additional features when compared to the GPL ones.

What I'm saying here is that I'm open to suggestions and recommendations about good web conferencing software.

Having tested these three, I can honestly say I like them all and think that the free options are perfectly adequate for our current needs.

However, Connect offers a plugin to allow you to embed your conference in Moodle. This for me is the clincher. I want that. I want everything as much as possible to be on the same page. I want our students to have as few points of failure as possible. Maybe this is the way to do it?

But maybe this functionality is available with a cheaper solution. I feel it is very much worth a look.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Feedback on E-Learning materials

I made some E-Learning materials back in Feb - Dec last year and they've been trialled by Weston College. we had a meeting this year to discuss how they need to be improved before they can be considered workable.

I sent a feedback form to the guy who reviewed them (don't have permission to include his name here, so I think perhaps I'd better not) and got it back last Friday.

Here's an insight into my personality for you. As soon as I got it, I printed it off, stapled it and refused to even look at it until this morning (don't staple with your eyes closed kids!) because I was terrified that it might be bad. Terrified.

I invested so much time and effort and learned so much about teaching and building materials specifically for learning and passing over vast quantities of information that I was worried about if it would be successful. I can see how I have improved and how it altered at the various stages. I can see where I was confident and where I wasn't. I feel insecure about how the world will see it.

However, the feedback was good.

Obviously it wasn't perfect, but my expectation of myself and my work was, once again, significantly higher than the rest of the world. It's a great feeling to be told that although I am not perfect I am certainly good enough.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

My first meeting.

A few weeks ago we purchased (rented?) a Functional Skills Levels 1 & 2 SCORM package on an annual basis.

I set it up within Moodle and demo'd it to the lady who was in charge in my department and she was happy with it. She mentioned it in passing to the functional skills group within the college who expressed an interest and we had a brief meeting today.

Prior to going in I had a bit of a gossip with an unrelated member of staff (I burn stress by chatting) and they "reassured" me by telling me that Functional Skills in the college does not typically use tech and so I would find  myself head and shoulders above them and more tech confident. It didn't have the effect they hoped as I (obviously) wanted them to be technically comptetent at least and confident as a preference and that description or comparison was not ... what I wanted to hear.

Fortunately, I was open minded and they were very receptive. After a lovely discussion they seemed to think Moodle - and the SCORM package - were valuable to both them and the college.

I think that means I have a few potential early adopters if not enthusiasts.

And I have another meeting this afternoon, which I've just discovered I need to prepare a speech and documentation for, so here endeth the lunch break.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

All change

Although the primary reason for the blog software change was because I *really* want comments, there's also a more fundamental shift in the function or purpose of this blog that I feel is reflected by the new system.

To date my role has been in creating e-Learning materials; reasearching and developing (with the aid of specialists) the course materials before structuring them in a format that doesn't require students to visit campus.

My new role, although I have no formal confirmation of this, will be as a Moodle pusher within the college; rolling out e-Learning within the college for the on site courses.

Honestly, I'm scared. Andrenalin-charged excited scared, but scared nontheless.

Over the last few months I've been trying to develop a support network of people who have either been there, are there, or have related experience that they are willing to share. And here's the thing the experiences I've had developing my PLN have already altered the way I learn, grow and think about many processes and my intention over the next few months is to be continously open to this learning process.

This blog will now cover
  1. as much of the experience of rolling out Moodle as I can
  2. as much of my own learning development as I have time for.
A few months ago I would have assumed item two was less valuable to anyone except myself. Now I think it's deeply important and worth sharing.

And if you're reading this, the chances are that you taught me that. Thanks. :)

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

New blog!

I have transferred to blogger as my new blogging medium and so far I like it.

However, I am anticipating teething problems. Not least because of the sudden number of complaints about problems posting to other people's blogs appearing in Twitter. Hopefully that won't manifest itself, or will be resolved before anyone wants to post a comment here.

Fortunately, my old blog didn't run for very long, so I anticipate being able to archive my meagre amount of materials here without too much trouble.