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Podcast on the issue of links opening in new windows

Windows 2007

Originally uploaded by Marius!!

I recently partook in a panel podcast, this time the topic being the issue of whether links should open in a new window or open in the same window. I don’t think we came to a clear conclusion, but touched on many other aspects in passing.

Listen to the podcast here – http://elearningstuff.wordpress.com/2008/11/23/e-learning-stuff-podcast-008-forcing-the-windows-open/


A vision of students today

Whilst researching for something else, I came across the video below on YouTube. I quite like this video, as it shows a few interesting facts that are often missed, and using the environment of a video without any spoken words to portray the point.

What is very interesting is this video has been viewed (at the time of writing) nearly 3 million times, and there have been nearly 8,000 comments on YouTube against this video and even though this video was added a year ago, there is still an active discussion raging on this video. Its a powerful medium is YouTube. Enjoy!

Content creation tools eXe, Xerte and Wimba Create

Over the last few weeks I have been trying to evaluate 3 different content creation tools, eXe, Xerte, and Wimba Create (which used to known as CourseGenie). All of these tools are designed to allow someone with average IT skills to create multi-media learning content that is exported as a website (html) – without the person creating the content having to learn any web design skills. All 3 have advantages and disadvantages and trying to decide if one is better than another is impossible – they are all good in different ways.

Whilst I have been working with the tools, I have recorded a gabcast (a short podcast that is created completely through my mobile phone at no cost to myself) for each tool, and then a summary cast, to try and identify some of the features ans issues, and to help someone to come to an informed decision when choosing such a tool.

Gabcast! Crossing the Foord #7 – The content creation tool eXe

Gabcast! Crossing the Foord #8 – The content creation tool Wimba Create (formerly CourseGenie)

Gabcast! Crossing the Foord #9 – The content creation tool Xerte

Gabcast! Crossing the Foord #10 – Comparing and choosing a content creation tool

Podcast on e-learning and teacher training

Again I have been involved in producing a podcast, this time on the role of teacher training and e-learning. As we recorded the podcast, a few comments were made about us being negative (and this has influenced the title of this episode) but listening to it again, I don’t think that we were as negative as we originally thought. It isn’t my style to be negative – I usually provide solutions not problems, but from the panel involved, none of us reported having a ‘positive’ teacher training experience, so statistically I think this is an area, that has room for improvement, and I hope that in the years to come the universities and colleges running teacher training, will engage with people like myself and the others involved in the podcast to help improve the courses.

The podcast can be accessed at

Online jigsaw creator – JigsawPlanet

I am starting to do some work with a local nursery who have been given some money for IT kit and training, and they are hiring me to help with the training part of it. One thing that they have invested in is interactive whiteboards, and something that I think will be very good, is doing jigsaw puzzles, with images that they have taken (e.g. of toys, things around the nursery).

A website that will create these puzzles is www.jigsawplanet.com – you can choose different nubmers of pieces and different piece shapes, and something that I really like is that it gives you embed code, so it is very easy to embed them into a blog, wiki or other website, some examples are below. Obvioulsy when working with the nursery it wouldn’t be a good idea to take images of the kids and then put them on the website.

A 12 piece puzzle, using ‘square’ pieces

A 20 piece puzzle using curved pieces

Fatal errors and illegal operations!

Fatal error

Originally uploaded by Dave Foord

Whilst, checking my email online the other day, I was presented with this screen!

What do they mean by a fatal error, fatal (if my understanding of the English language is correct) means that something has died – what has died, is it a person, a computer? Was the error my fault or someone else’s?

This is similar to a few years ago, when doing things on the computer you would be told that you “had performed an illegal operation” – again illegal means that something has broken a law – should you go and hand yourself in at the local police station in a hope that they look kindly on your honesty and reduce your prison sentence accordingly!

Now this may sound like I am being flippant, and obviously I know that refreshing the screen, or restarting the computing solves all known problems, but for someone less confident with technology than myself – what impact does this harsh language have on their uptake of technology?

Wouldn’t a message along the lines of “Oops, something has happened that we hadn’t foreseen – please try again later” – or similar have a more positive effect?

Podcast on the impact of the asus eee pc and other devices

Last week I was again involved in the recording of a podcast, on the impact that the asus eee pc has had on education since it first appeared about 1 year ago.

The podcast can be accessed here http://elearningstuff.wordpress.com/2008/11/09/e-learning-stuff-podcast-006-you-say-asus-and-i-say-asus/ but if you haven’t time to listen to it all – here are my views on the key factors:-

  1. These small PC devices are so cheap, they are now comparible to mobile phones, so it is feasible that in a few years time, learners will own them, and carry them around.
  2. With 3G services becoming cheaper and more affordable, again more learners will be using this in a few years time.
  3. So if institutions have over-rigourous blocking software, learners will just by-pass the institutions systems to access the internet through their un-restricted 3G connection and small PC device
  4. So the pragmatic approach for colleges and universities, is to invest less in providing lots of PCs for students (that sit there not used for most of the day) – instead to invest in a wireless network that people can connect to.
  5. The benefit of this is that people can then choose what works for them, some will like the small, lightweight funky asus eee type devices, some will like even smaller PDAs and people like me with broad shoulders and fat fingers, and poor eyesight, will carry a heavy laptop around – but all benefitting from the influence of the asus eee pc