Wednesday, April 30, 2008

FREE Printable Paper

A variety of printed patterns on paper, ready for you to print and use. For example, you can print out just about any kind of graph paper you can imagine. Lined papers, music notation paper, accounting paper, decorative stationary, business cards, and more.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Online Etymology Dictionary

"This is a map of the wheel-ruts of modern English. Etymologies are not definitions; they're explanations of what our words meant and how they sounded 600 or 2,000 years ago."

Friday, April 18, 2008

Shaping our Future: Toward a Pan-Canadian E-learning Research Agenda

Planning is well underway for a May online symposium: Shaping our Future: Toward a Pan-Canadian E-learning Research Agenda.

Conference Description:

Canada is one of the only countries in the developed world without a national strategic plan to research, develop and harness new technologies for teaching and learning. E-learning, in combination with other forms of delivery, affords potential to increase not only accessibility, but effectiveness and enjoyment of both formal and lifelong learning for Canadians of all ages. This 3 week online conference is designed to inform, inspire and lead to actions that insure that Canadians maximize the opportunities presented by new technologies and associated pedagogies.


Week 1 May 12-16
The conference begins with an Elluminate presentation on May 12 with Terry Anderson in which he overviews the value, form and function of a large scale research agenda. The week continues with asynchronous forum discussions in which delegates relate their own experiences and expectations for e-learning research and the types of organization models they have experienced to support this research.

Week 2 May 20-23
A series of well known Canadian and international researchers and administrators will present and discuss issues relevant to developing, stimulating and supporting an active e-learning research agenda. The presentations will be hosted live and recorded on Elluminate and take place daily at 11:00AM Central time (9:00 PDT, 12:00 EDT), with one afternoon session to accommodate the May holiday Monday.

Week 3 From May 24th
Delegates work together on a WIKI to overview components, methodologies, important research questions and next steps towards creating a pan Canadian research agenda.

Delegates: Free participation is offered to all individuals with an interest in e-learning research, policy or applications. To register for all or parts of the event visit the event at SCoPE

Hosts and facilitators
  • Terry Anderson – Canada Research Chair in Distance Education
  • Sylvia Currie – BCcampus Online Community Producer
  • George Siemens – Associate Director, R & D. Learning Technologies Centre, University of Manitoba

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What would you like to do better as a Learning Professional?

The BIG question this month at The Learning Circuits is
What would you like to do better as a Learning Professional?

Two items come to mind right away:
  • Become better at organizing what I've learned
  • Do a better job of sharing what I've learned (which is related to #1)
But these items are more like figuring out what works then making it a habit. I think I need to learn how to develop good habits! On a more practical level I would like to:
  • Become a better synchronous facilitator
  • Learn how to do really good interviews
  • Learn to do more with video and podcasting

Monday, April 14, 2008

Top 100 Tools for Learning

The Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies has published the latest Top 100 Tools for Learning list for 2008, a project coordinated by Jane Hart.
The list is compiled from the contributions of 155 learning professionals (from both education and workplace learning) who shared their Top 10 Tools for Learning both for their own personal learning/ productivity and for creating learning solutions for others.
Aside from great reviews of the tools and good commentary about why they were chosen, I really like the way the information is so tightly integrated with the contributers. It's neat to see so many familiar names and faces associated with the data, including quite a gathering from British Columbia. Also, by having background information about the contributers, you get a better context of why that individual selected this tool over that one.

I keep returning to this site to fiddle with tools. Right now I'm looking at Stinks and Bangs contributed by Sue Hellman, a science and maths teacher in Surrey, BC. Say, maybe I should add this to the current SCoPE discussion: Rethinking Teaching in the Sciences.

Google Book Search

Google Book Search
I know, everybody knows everything about Google. But just in case you haven't seen this service (still in beta)....

"Finding books is as easy as finding websites with Google Web Search."
  • Use keywords, phrases, quotations; you get all the books whose contents match your search terms. You might also see a few snippets - sentences of your search term in context.
  • Click on a book title and you'll see basic info like in a card catalog.
  • If a publisher or author has given permission, you'll see a full page and be able to browse within the book to see more pages.
  • If the book is out of copyright, you'll see a full page and you can page forward or back to see the full book.
  • Clicking on "Search within this book," allows you to perform more searches within the book you've selected.
  • You can click on any of the "Buy this Book" links to go straight to an online bookstore where you can buy the book. In many cases, you can also click "Find this book in a library" to find a local library where you can borrow it.
  • Sunday, April 13, 2008

    Top 100 Tools for Learning Spring 2008

    From Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day: "The list has now been finalised from the contributions of 155 learning professionals from education, workplace learning and continuing professional development." Several viewing options; the one I prefer is by type of tool.

    Making Change: Ideas for Lively eLearning

    "In this blog, you'll find practical ideas that will help you create lively, powerful elearning for adults in the business world." I like the blog entries because they're not just theoretical suggestions; the focus is on ACTIVITY. Each entry includes very practical examples for what's being suggested or described. As just one example, I've linked to the entry entitled Which verb will keep your learners' interest? (I had fun doing the short, fun active-verbs task included in the entry.)


    If your web host doesn't offer a stat counter, this one was highly recommended to me. "A FREE yet reliable invisible web tracker, highly configurable hit counter and real-time detailed web stats. Insert a simple piece of code on your web page or blog and you will be able to analyse and monitor all the visitors to your website in real-time! Free, Fast, Responsive, Quick loading and Reliable Service. Invisible Tracking - no ads on your website. Accurate real-time website statistics with detailed visitor tracking and analysis."

    Friday, April 11, 2008

    Avoiding Plagiarism

    A helpful resource from The OWL at Perdue. A set of articles for students and teachers. Among other helpful tips, the site offers descriptions of what constitutes plagiarized work. Also included is a page of Best Practices for Teachers.

    Monday, April 7, 2008

    Word Cleaner - Doc To HTML Converters

    First a tool with a cost, followed by a free tip/trick.

    Word Cleaner: "Welcome to the easy way to convert word documents to HTML/XHTML and automatically clean up the code! Word Cleaner is the perfect tool for web designers and people who have to maintain web sites. Word Cleaner will save you hours spent tediously converting Word (and .rtf & .txt) files to HTML/XHTML and cleaning them by hand. You can also clean up existing html files. Best of all our powerful templates enable you to create processes that automate your document conversion and cleaning."

    Word-to-HTML for FREE: This trick is from Madeline Koch, a colleague in my Editor's Association of Canada. "Here's a nice and easy trick. Email the Word file to your gmail account. It will give you an option to open up the attachment in a browser window, and you then ask your browser to show the source code -- copy and paste it into your html editor, tweak it as needed and presto! A web page. Hugely grateful for whoever told me this trick!"

    WiZiQ Online Teaching, E-Learning and Live E-tutoring for Education

    "A FREE alternative to expensive conferencing tools selling as online teaching/learning software." WiZiQ is virtual classroom that's also a multimedia platform, "equipped with live audio-video communication, chat, content sharing, and session recording capabilities." Includes a whiteboard, video and audio chat, document sharing including PDF, and Microsoft PowerPoint, Word and Excel. Similar to commercial options like Adobe Connect, Webex, Elluminate, Marratech, etc. "WiZiQ brings students and teachers together regardless of the boundaries. With absolutely no cost to join or use its state-of-the-art virtual classroom, WiZiQ is becoming a vital tool in an online teacher’s or a student’s toolkit." Also check out their WiZiQ Live Class Module for Moodle.

    Saturday, April 5, 2008

    April 4/08 sunset from skyhome

    skyhome sunsets
    I never, well hardly ever, post anything but links & resources. Today I just have to do a personal post to show you yesterday's amazing sunset sky, as viewed from right here where I'm working (home office). Click the thumbnail to view.

    The Virtual Classroom Project

    Konrad Glogowski's project on the Second Life island of jokaydia (with the support of jokay Wollongong, the island's owner). Glogowski describes it:
    "Over the next three months, I will invite individual educators to design and build their ideal learning space for use as either a virtual classroom in Second Life or as a prototype for a real-life classroom. These “Educators-in-Residence” will share their vision and expertise by creating their ideal classrooms on a parcel of land designated especially for this project....The purpose of this project is to start conversations about learning in online communities, virtual worlds, and everyday physical classrooms."

    Growing up with Google: What it means to education

    Diana G. Oblinger in Chapter 1 of Emerging technologies for learning, begins with a description of the 'Net Generation'. "Today’s students bring a consumer orientation to education..." As an educator I appreciated the detailed exploration of the world of today's net student, as well as the section on what we can do for this generation (the Implications For Education section). "It is dangerous to assume that we understand students simply because we were once in the same shoes."

    Emerging trends in serious games and virtual worlds

    Sara de Freitas, in Chapter 4 of a research report, Emerging technologies for learning. "Serious games and virtual worlds allow us the potential to provide support for our learning communities, broaden our networks of learners, [and] provide tools to support creative learning activity and experience design." Also within this chapter is a helpful table of Definitions and terms of games.

    Second Life in Education (wiki)

    "This space is designed to provide an overview of the educational possibilities of virtual worlds, in particular Second Life." Within this space, Jo Kay (aka jokay Wollongong) and Sean FitzGerald (aka Sean McDunnough)...
  • document a detailed list of Educational Uses of Second Life,
  • provide a range of useful resources for educators, and
  • link to a range of handy Second Life online resources."
  • Seven Habits of Highly Connected People

    Seven Habits of Highly Connected People: By Stephen Downes, posted in Lisa Neal's blog (and soon to appear in eLearn magazine). He makes some excellent observations. If you want to learn how to expand your abilities and presence within online social networking, this is a good place to start. My favorite is "Be yourself:...Learning and communicating are not merely acts of sending content over a wire. They are about engaging in (what Wittgenstein called) a ‘Way of Life’. Having a cat is as important for a physicist as having an advanced research lab..." (So I've been thinking I'm a computer addict, but actually it's just that I'm involved in a Way Of Life.)

    Moodle: Using Learning Communities to Create an Open Source Course Management System

    In his blog post introducing this paper, Stephen Downes says: "There are many lessons to be learned from the development of Moodle, not the least of which is how the creators used learning communities to help them build a product to support learning communities." The paper was written in 2003, co-authored by the founder of Moodle, so it's a now-historical look at the beginnings of and ideas behind the Moodle open source strategy. (At the time, the paper indicated a sense of Moodle's future: "The system is already proving quite successful...")

    Thursday, April 3, 2008

    Blackboard Educator Central

    Created for Bb's K-12 Clients. "Made for districts wanting to manage and evaluate professional development activities, expand professional learning opportunities, and build powerful communities of practice."

    Getting Results

    A FREE Professional Development Course for Community College Educators. Their press releasesays: "WGBH-TV and the League for Innovation in the Community College are pleased to announce the launch of Getting Results multimedia professional development modules for training community college faculty. The modules focus on the teaching of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics specifically in Advanced Technology Education classrooms. The modules include real teachers and students in real classroom settings across the country, representing a range of fields, institutions, programs, and subject areas. Suitable for self-study, face-to-face training, or other formats of online and on-site use... Extensive curriculum, including downloadable PDF versions of web-based text, is now available online at no charge."

    3 ESL Resource Sites for learners and teachers

    This group of authors have created three ESL sites.
    "All of the content on our websites is 100% free and we update the sites with new exercises regularly."
    Learn English Feel ESL portal with free English grammar and vocabulary exercises, printable worksheets, video-based exercises, lists of American idioms and phrasal verbs, and much more. "Your one stop site for free ESL resources. Whether you're studying English, or looking to download free worksheets/handouts for class, this website will provide you with the resources that you need. ...Whether your level is Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced, you'll find what you need to help you speak and write better English. Don't miss our video-based exercises - a great way to practice listening comprehension." "One-stop source for ESL grammar and vocabulary handouts and worksheets. Our content was created by people with many years of teaching experience - so you know that you'll get handouts that adhere to high-quality standards. ...All of the worksheets are in PDF format and are arranged by category (verb tenses, articles, prepositions, etc.)"

    Business English: "One-stop source for Business English. Our content was created by people with many years of corporate experience - people who actually use Business English on an everyday basis, so you know that you'll get the best, most accurate business vocabulary, phrases, expressions, and jargon." Content is divided by topic, including accounting, sales and marketing, project management, interviews, information technology (IT), and more."

    Wednesday, April 2, 2008

    Suite101 Courses: FREE

    " offers free, fun, and accessible online learning for a wide variety of general interest courses designed with you in mind. All you have to do is pick a course or a particular lesson and simply click and learn…it's that easy!"

    Here are just 3 examples of the MANY they offer.

    For teachers:
    "Teacher's Net has you covered. Even if you currently have nothing but the knowledge of how to open programs and type a few sentences, you're going to end this course with the knowledge of how to create an entire technology base for your classroom, including integrated technology lesson plan creation, web quest creation, and even a classroom website. These are specific projects that you will have completed and entirely ready-to-use in your classroom - in one month's time." The course lessons are entitled Communications, Instructional Design, and The Virtual Classroom.

    For students:
    College Strategies: "The course is jam-packed with info that can save you time, money, and frustration. Many drop out of first year unnecessarily due to being unprepared. If you are already a freshman and feel you are overwhelmed, this course can help you too! ...There are no courses offered in college on “what to do once being accepted to college”, while it is such a big transition in life it should be mandatory. That is where this course comes in; after completion you will have more knowledge than most students in their senior years do and the ability to jumpstart your academic and social life so you get the most out of it. Right away!"

    For writers:
    Professional Writing: "By taking this two-week course, you will be. This course will provide you with enough resources and contacts to keep your career as a professional writer going long after you've stopped reading." The lessons: Basics of Writing Professionally; Hone Those Skills!; Market (and Market); Manage to Write!"

    Tuesday, April 1, 2008

    Turning pages

    I started a new job this week! My new title is Online Community Producer for BCcampus. It feels like such a natural next step for me because I've been involved in the BC post-secondary scene for so long, at three different institutions (SFU, UCFV, NVIT), as well as in elearning and online community work. I've been a member of the online communities since day 1, and in the last year as a member of the Educational Technology Users Group Steering Committee have become more involved in community activities than ever. Because so many SCoPE activities have been organized in collaboration with BCcampus Online Communities, many members are signed up with both SCoPE and BC Marketplace and Expo. In fact it doesn't even feel like I'm beginning a new JOB. It's more like showing up to a party and being surrounded by friends with great ideas and by excellent conversation.
    Today Sandy Hirtz, my predecessor, posted a farewell/welcome message to the community. I responded privately to thank her for the warm welcome and to acknowledge how much I'm benefiting from having watched her in Community Producer role over the years. Sandy wrote in her message that she plans to explore her entrepreneurial side. I'd say anyone who can manage to round up people to contribute to a 32-chapter book should explore that entrepreneurial side! Sandy's company is T2 Education Online.

    Leaving my faculty position at NVIT was not an easy decision. I have learned so much from my colleagues and I'm so grateful for the experience of working in an Aboriginal institute...the beautiful Merritt campus, smudging in the morning, musicians by the centre fire, learning about history and life's priorities through the Elders, amazing students (especially our fun practicum and summer Moodle projects!), caring instructors... Thankfully, I will still have many reasons to connect with these people for the years to come.

    So I'm turning the page, but still have many earlier pages dog-eared and important memories underlined.