Learning Technologies 2008 - Abstracts & Papers



Case studies



Analyzing the obvious: Technological and social connections

George Siemens: Complexive Systems Inc

Society, information, knowledge, and learning share a critical foundational element: connections. The rise of the internet - and the recent popularity of social networks through tools such as Facebook, Myspace, Skype, and blogs - have increased our awareness of connections and networks. Connections appear obvious, almost intuitive. This deceptive simplicity covers what is only now being explored by educators and researchers: What are the characteristics of learning networks? How do they differ from social networks? What types of attributes are evident in conceptual networks versus social networks? What about neural networks? How can educators utilize attributes of networks for teaching and learning? How do we foster networks of a particular type to serve intended learning goals? This session will explore the seemingly obvious - networks and connections as the foundation of learning - and present new perspectives on how to foster deep, critical, understanding through effective implementation of learning networks.

Stewarding Technology for Communities

Nancy White: Full Circle Associates Link to slides Link to slides

Community leadership used to mean convening people, gathering some resources, making sure there were tea and biscuits and planting a few good questions. Today, communities spend "time together" not just face to face, but online. This brings into play a panoply of technologies. Who attends to the selection, implementation and use of these technologies to help a community thrive? Accidental or intentional, it is the community technology steward. Nancy will offer the research recently completed by her, Etienne Wenger and John Smith and share some tips for stewarding technology in your communities.



The Adult Educator: An endangered species

Anne Bartlett-Bragg: Learning Technologies User Group and University of Technology, Sydney Link to slides Link to slides

The end is nigh!
The adult educator has been registered on the endangered species list and faces certain extinction within the next decade.
How has this happened?
The changing nature of work and the relationship to learning in the forms we now practice will substantially change within the next decade – challenging the relevance of adult educators in all fields.
Can this dwindling profession be saved from extinction?
What survival strategies must be implemented urgently to support these rare practitioners? Or should we just accept an evolutionary change and spend our resources supporting the new breeds of educators?

Virtual Worlds and Learning: Communities of Practice in Second Life

Jo Kay: Freelancer

How do virtual spaces help us to make connections with others? What are the impacts of immersion and shared experience in virtual worlds on teaching and learning? How can 3D environments be used for collaborative and social learning?

Jo Kay will lead a mixed reality presentation in both Mooloolaba QLD and in the virtual world of Second Life. The session will focus on the work she has been doing over the last 12mths on the Islands of jokaydia - a community of practice which includes practitioners from around the world who are exploring educational and community uses of virtual worlds. The session will include a tour of the virtual spaces used by the jokaydia Community of Practice in Second Life, and the opportunity to meet and hear from a number of the community members working there.

Towards Learning Utility

Mark Keough: TechWorks Link to slides Link to slides

Unless you have been hiding in a cave you will be aware that the Internet has changed everything. Our social life, purchasing habits, our family life, our travel, our banking, even the way we buy junk. But not least of all the fundamental way we educate ourselves.

Having spent the last 15 years thinking about this, and actively building business models, some of which worked and others that were, shall we say best left on the drawing board, I think we have finally arrived at the tipping point, the point where everything in education will change for good.

This talk will focus on the technologies, online social practices, and practical approaches to surviving this tsunami. Drawing on real life case studies and current research, what may we do to respond to a permanent change in the Education climate.

Its not about Boomers, Gen X or Gen Y, its about you, and me and our friends, colleagues and how we respond towards Learning as a universal utility.

my.TAFE and ResourceBank—making learning connections through learning technology

Sandra Lawrence and Lee Webster: TAFE Queensland Link to slides Link to slides

"Learning management systems only support asynchronous delivery." Right? my.TAFE and ResourceBank contradict that statement. They are the learning management and learning content management systems facilitating a cultural change within TAFE Queensland.

my.TAFE and ResourceBank are not just stand-alone systems. They form a framework for the delivery of technologies and represent a centralised enabler which is coordinating and facilitating an integrated blended learning delivery approach across the state.

Sandra Lawrence and Lee Webster will discuss the implementation of the systems within TAFE Queensland—how technology is being harnessed to provide flexible learning functionality and support an integrated student experience; what technologies were used to build connections with educators; how the implementation of the systems have connected, grown and supported the community of TAFE Queensland; and the myths and realities of implementing the systems within the TAFE environment.

It's Easy 2Learn.ca - a unique model of technology professional development

Catherine Macklam and Danny Maas: 2Learn.ca Education Society

The 2Learn.ca Education Society program is a professional development model that facilitates K- Gr.12 classroom teacher competencies in the effective integration of ICT within all curricula. The program provides technology leadership and vision to classroom teacher-leaders, who cascade knowledge to 30,000 colleagues. Teachers are empowered to shape their professional development within an environment that is adaptable, curricular-focused, student-centered, and mutually supported by other teachers. 2Learn.ca provides face-to-face support, as well as online tools and resources. The generative nature of the program demonstrates how the creation of new processes for resource-sharing and collaboration amongst educators has resulted in a revolutionary approach to teacher technology PD.

So, I am in control of my learning?

Garry Putland: European Commission for a pan-European national e-learning Link to paper Link to paper

One of the shifts we are seeing (or have seen) occur on the Internet is the wrestling of responsibility and control away from authority, groups, institutions and jurisdictions (eg social networking is based on the premise of the individual selecting their community of practice and creating their own network). Many of us filter the complex internet world by selecting ‘like’ commentators and feeding this into our desktop. The trend of mobile devices connected anywhere, anytime further cements responsibility and control with the user. This presentation will explore the opportunities afforded by a more open, collaborative and connected world and discuss the implications for education and training in the future. The presentation will explore lessons learned by education.au in supporting national online communities and collaborative networks.

Maximising Learning, Minimising Risks

Al Upton: Glenelg School, Adelaide Link to slides Link to slides

Al Upton's Year 3 class have become known for their global connections. Their class blog caused enormous global support, dialogue and action when it was closed earlier this year. He will share his story and look at minimising risk while maximising authentic learning. Al recently returned from a NZ/USA study tour with some new insights to add to the conversation.


Case Studies

Using social networking tools to connect with clients

Simon Brown: SkillsTech Australia Link to paper Link to paper

Building an online community linking trade skills students, their employers and other educators creates a knowledge-sharing environment that enhances traditional TAFE training. In this session, stonemasonry teacher Simon Brown shares how he uses a wide range of learning technologies in a TAFE context.

The ancient craft of stonemasonry is continually being re-invented with the development of new materials, tools and techniques. World-wide, the stone industry demands responsive training, and with Queensland's geographic spread this means making full use of online communications.

In this session, Simon showcases how he:

  • Uses free Web tools (including Ning, Wikispaces, Flickr, Youtube) and Videolinq video streaming technologies to engage students and guide their literacy development.
  • Re-focuses text-based learning resources into image-rich interactive learning experiences
  • Collaborates online with industry personnel about their training requirements
  • Displays apprentice achievements to a global community
  • Regularly discusses educational technologies with fellow educators

Collaborative Training Development in a Geographically Dispersed Organisation

Craig Campbell: Department of Defence Download the paper Download the paper

This session will illustrate how large organizations can use immersive and interactive technology to address the challenges presented by the tyranny of distance. In this session you will:

  • See how it is possible to connect designers, developers, Subject Matter Experts, and reviewers with each other to enable a truly collaborative online content development environment.
  • See a case study from one of Australia's largest and geographically dispersed Government Organizations.
  • Gain an insight into some of the training related problems faced by large organisations. (Eg accountability, distance, bandwidth, changing operating environments, and keeping up with immerging technology)

Blogosphere for engagement and reflective thinking in business subjects

Ritesh Chugh: CQ University Link to slides Link to slides

As large cohorts of teachers are looking for ways to meet the needs of their target audience; the world of blogs (blogosphere) has forayed into the forefront. This presentation will discuss the pedagogical importance of blogs as an instructional and assessment tool in business subjects. It will also discuss the impact of educational blogs on other aspects of the teaching and learning process such as learner's involvement in collaboration, reflection and dialogue, autonomy and independence, access to information and educational resources. Blogosphere has the capability to change both the quality and quantity of learning that takes place for both on-campus and off-campus students by providing a single ubiquitous platform for interaction.

This paper is co-authored by Mahesh Joshi.

Using ePortfolios to support delivery

Roxanne Cooley and Anthea Leggett: Brisbane North Institute of TAFE Download the paper Download the paper Link to slides Link to slides

The ePortfolio is an emerging and popular technology for connecting students across education, VET and higher education sectors. ePortfolios were adopted early in Europe and more recently in Australian schools and Universities. The VET sector is just starting to gather momentum in the uptake of this emerging technology.

This paper describes the background which stimulated the connection of RPL and ePortfolios and provides tips for implementing an ePortfolio solution to support an RPL process for learners.

INNOVATIVE PEDAGOGIES in an e-learning delivery of programmes for the arts in New Zealand.

Mark Dashper: TE MANU AUTE Link to paper Link to paper

TE MANU AUTE's programme is providing educational and professional development to schools identifying the raising of gifted and talented achievement in the Arts. The programme uses Mediasite webcasting for rich media communication.

Delegates will see:

  • how alternative delivery modes are able to engage different students
  • how classes are organised and managed for delivery
  • important lessons learned from students in virtual delivery
  • practical strategies for webcasting to students
  • how you can encourage creativity in an internet delivery model
  • a possible model for delivery in other curriculum areas in any classroom, or for distance students.

Technology in sync with physiology and ideology!

Mary-Louise Dieckmann: Gold Coast Institute of TAFE Download the paper Download the paper

Technology in sync with physiology and ideology! The mantra of the development of GCIT's innovative Nursing Blended Program was 'it's not the resources but how we connect with our learners'. Starting with the notion of 'what if….' the team headed by Mary-Louise Dieckmann strove to create a model that provides high quality, flexible, and accessible nursing training connecting TAFE, industry and learners across the state. How do you engage clients that range from multi-tasking Net-Gen learners through to grandparents? Learn about simple, easy-to-use technologies that support interactive learning and see examples of audio, video conferencing and other teaching strategies that help build 'learning communities' and engender a sense of belonging for all participants.

Twittering at the Speed of Light: Enhancing Relatedness in E-Learning Innovations

Howard Errey: e-Works Link to paper Link to paper

Come and learn about some of the hidden psychologies of the internet age. For every action there is a reaction; and often in ways we don't expect. Technology is often developed with targeted and well thought out intention; and yet with each development there can be personal and collective unconscious compensations and reactions. This session explores how innovation both disconnects and yet forms new contexts (sometimes unexpected or unwanted) that create opportunities for relatedness. Using examples we will explore how as educators we can best position our teaching to take advantage of the new contexts of relatedness.

Sparking up the Network - Tinkle, Bing, Boom

Karen Fainges: Mount Isa Institute of TAFE Link to paper Link to paper

This presentation will overview the VeM network - a network of innovative practitioners from Institutes across TafeQLD who, on a weekly basis, share their ideas on how creative technology connects them to their learners. This community of practice has created a strong network of talented practitioners who experiment with a range of technologies that will enhance the learner's experience. We will give an example of how VeM has supported one practitioner and show how eLearning has been developed and delivered in a TAFE College. We will finish the presentation with an overview of the development of state-wide benchmarks for blended and distributed delivery.

Webinars to connect, involve and connect employees at Coates

Shelley Gibb: Coates Download the paper Download the paper

Coates is a geographically dispersed hire business whose main employees are males with trade based education in jobs for which computer use is often incidental. As Coates continues to grow rapidly due to a merger, face to face training sessions were no longer a viable training method, and teleconferences tended to be didactic and lacked stimulation for visual and kinesthetic learners. A different approach was needed; approximately two thousand employees needed to be connected, involved and engaged over variety of short sequential sessions within an extended period. This presentation will overview the way in which webinars were introduced as the solution and how presenters and moderators were trained in a supportive environment.

Using interactive multimedia resources to engage a network of learners

Ronnie Lam and Melissa McCarthy: Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children Download the paper Download the paper

RIDBC Teleschool pioneered the use of videoconferencing to provide highly specialised hearing and vision support to families living in rural Australia. Over the last 18 months we have enhanced the use of videoconferencing technology through the development of interactive multimedia technologies. The integration of a multimedia designer into the team has facilitated this development and teaching staff are provided training and support in using new technologies.

One such development is the RIDBC Teleschool website. This website breaks geographical and social barriers to engage and educate families and professionals in a virtual support network. It provides tools for learners to communicate and collaborate, online resources to enhance learning experiences, and opportunities for self-evaluation and review.

Power to the users: changing the paradigm

Paul Rixon: TAFE SA Download the paper Download the paper

TAFE @ My PC: the vision: connecting anyone, anywhere, with real people. Videoconferencing has often been seen as a restrictive, expensive, and unreliable technology. TAFE SA has taken this technology, removed the blockage points, and extended its reach. This has been a two-part project: upgrading and expanding both connections for students and the internal communications network of the Department, and integrating the whole. It has created a user-driven, highly responsive and reliable network that spans videoconferencing rooms for classes and meetings. It allows any user to set up any size session, at any time, including ³start now², and can also link in users at their PCs whether in the Department or at home, for videoconferencing and/or collaboration. It also seamlessly integrates with any phone technology, including videophones, and allows any session to be streamed/podcast, with a separate internal link for staff events.