Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Creativity Is Messy

Tēnā koutou katoa – Greetings to you allphoto ken allan
In Christine Martell’s recent post, Continuing to Process, she carefully relates how she is processing her thoughts and feelings during what is a difficult time for her right now.

I identify with what she
so clearly says – the difficulty, the discomfort in deciding how to figure out how to move forward and how this relates to visuals. She displays her colourful creation of fish with paint on paper.

She speaks of the difficulty in writing coherent blog posts in a highly creative time. In my comment on her post, I wondered if this may be related to the linear nature of coherence, in contrast to the spatial nature of creativity.
“Lots of figuring out how to move forward in alignment with long term goals, despite short term challenges” is extremely linear in its propagation. I think you are on track to say that “visuals are particularly effective in helping to see overview and complex systems”, and that “creativity is messy”.

I look on linearity as something that is often fostered by our education systems and perhaps how we tend to look on how we should think. The spatial approach, which is what you speak of in “messy” and visual “overview”, is not linear but occupies space, a cloud. It is difficult to conceive a linear mess, and for good reason, and so easy to associate a blot with a mess.

I also believe that this may be a reason why word clouds and the software that creates them (in Wordle, say) have become so popular, more so recently than linear poetry. We talk of a line of print. It’s not a cloud of print. Such an array is messy and difficult for the linearly thinking in us to make reasonable sense of.

But accepting that it’s alright to have mess, that it’s alright to arrange words in an ink cloud rather than a linear pencil, is a start to understanding how creativity needs space. It cannot be (easily) squeezed into a pencil line, for it lies more comfortably with the ink blots and the cotton-wool clouds.

Think cloud, rather than line.
It’s more creative.
It’s also more comfortable.

A Wordle BlimpKa kite anō – Catch ya later

Monday, March 30, 2009

EtherPad - Collaborative Document Writing

Tēnā koutou katoa – Greetings to you allEtherPad
The JavaScript, web-based collaborative real-time editor, EtherPad, the latest version, became available to all on 3 February 2009. It permits up to eight people to work simultaneously on the same document.

Among its features are:

No account required
The only really real-time collaborative editor on the web
Edits highlighted in author's color
Infinite undo history
Syntax highlighting for editing code
Every keystroke backed up
A chat box

All you do is open a document and flick the code to those in your group who will participate collaboratively.

Check it out:

EtherPad Collaborative DocumentKa kite anō – Catch ya later

Home Study And Homework

Tēnā koutou katoa – Greetings to you allThe Gates of Wellington East Girls' Collegephoto by Hannah Dear
The gates of Wellington East Girls' College -
within which is fostered a culture of learning.

My good friend and fellow blogger, Shaun Wood, in his post,
I Hate Homework But . . . , brought our attention to the post,
Homework. Should it Stay or Should it Go?

In these posts and in their accompanying comments, there is useful and varied strategy given on how homework might be administered. Advice is also offered on how homework should be checked and assessed by the teacher. Some argument is put forward for and against why homework should be given at all.

While great store is placed in the virtue of lifelong learning, I found small mention of any need to introduce the culture and custom of it to the young learner.Could it be that the value of introducing the practice of lifelong learning has escaped the realm of the classroom?

In deference to all the useful and worthy advice contained in the posts, and there was much, I left my comment on Shaun’s, the gist of which is here:

In the secondary sector, home study is almost a necessity for many learners. As learners progress to certificate levels, it's crazy for them not to do home study.

BUT the distinction between home study and homework is important. Many learners will not do home study unless given homework. There is a solid layer of learners who will do their own home study even if they aren't set homework to do.

Home study is a learning accelerator pedal for many learners. By pushing it, some learners can take real control over what they can achieve. Not giving homework lets some learners slip through the net, and many of those simply do not know how to do their own home study.

I'm a pragmatist when it comes to learner achievement. I believe it's a two way process when time spent is concerned.

If the learner is prepared to put in the time with homework, I'm prepared to give them my time. If a learner is not prepared to put in the time, I'm not going to take time to follow it up, for the willing learners need my time.

A culture of learning exists in the classroom and within the school.
For lifelong learning to become a practice, the culture has to extend beyond the precinct of the school and into the home of the learner.

( 2 ) << - related posts

Ka kite anō – Catch ya later

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Elearning - A Primer

Kia ora tātou – Hello EveryoneElearning
This article was first published on Futurelab in March 2008. I've reproduced the text of the article here with some minor amendments. Some links to resources are now no longer current.

Considering the raft of links that could be included in the text, I chose to preserve the referencing style used in the original article.
Those who detest wading through a fan of links will be relieved. Enjoy!

It is today we must create the world of the future
Eleanor Roosvelt

What is elearning?

The language of elearning continues to expand, as is evident by the burgeoning number of glossaries of elearning terms[1] that are emerging. Elearning systems are big business[2, 3], education authorities are centring attention on their use in schools and there is interest in the effective use of elearning for specific ethnic groups of learners[4].

But there is much discussion on what elearning should consist of. Some opinion holds that it should not necessarily exclude the use of printed text, while others believe that inclusion of the internet is not essential. Elearning is often considered as a means of permitting access to learning by using any or all of the following technologies:

List of Elearning Technologies
Simply the provision of passive learning material that’s electronically based, such as a pdf posted on the internet, is not commonly considered elearning. This is similar to the provision of text material as a single means of learning where no opportunity is available to ask questions or to enter into discussion.

Elearning has immediacy

A key feature of elearning is that it is interactive[5]. It uses a two-way or multi-way exchange of information that gives immediacy to the learning process and has the potential to provide the synergy that is absent when a student attempts to learn from passive resources alone. Numerous types of feedback can assist learning but not all of them are considered interactive:

self-assessment (passive - needs motivation)
online feedback/assessment (interactive - can be immediate)
teacher feedback/assessment (interactive - can be immediate)
peer-to-peer assessment (interactive - can be immediate)
peer-to-peer discussion (collaborative - can be immediate).

There are two broad spheres of interactive learning for student groups:


learning the same things at the same time
timetabled within set periods
sometimes inconvenient for students in different time zones
fixed pace of learning
potential for social interaction
suitable for discussions - immediacy


learning at own pace and according to personal time schedule
choice when to study
convenient for students in different time zones
flexible pace of learning
delayed social interaction
less useful for discussions - delayed feedback

Immediacy by way of direct interaction is understood to be very important to the learning process. While it is accepted that discussions are best done synchronously as this provides immediacy, asynchronous chat-room discussion does not exclude the exchange of ideas and opinion. Both these elearning tools have been widely used in studies using a collaborative approach to learning[6n/a].

Computer-based learning or any electronic means giving direct feedback, such as open access interactive websites like BestChoice[7], can also provide a degree of immediacy, even if impersonal, while it does not need to be synchronous. Asynchronous learning allows a flexible pace and permits round-the-clock access, especially important for groups of students living in different time zones.

Elearning can support teaching and learning

John D Bransford and co-workers report that technology can play a significant role in supporting teaching and learning[8n/a]. It can permit students to gather information on real world-related problems which can be community-based or of global significance.

Such technologies as communication networks and the computer software interface can offer prompt feedback to students. In addition to these advantages, scaffolding can occur when a technology assists students to solve more complex problems.

Bransford further asserts that “it is easy to forget that student achievement in school also depends on what happens outside of school. Bringing students and teachers in contact with the broader community can enhance learning.” He also upholds that “when teachers learn to use a new technology in their classrooms, they model the learning process for students; at the same time, they gain new insights on teaching by watching their students learn.”

Barriers to elearning

Learning barriers introduced by the hardware and software of the electronic interface between student and the learning materials have been acknowledged and recorded since web-based course delivery was in its infancy[9].

Provision of learning resources that are based exclusively on electronic means, or that require the use of electronic agencies, may not only limit student potential to learn but can also be impractical. This becomes evident when English reading material, such as novels and other long texts, are provided solely on CD-Rom or over the internet from an online library[10], or when a virtual lab environment[11] is offered as the sole means for studying practical chemistry.

The keyboard presents a real barrier to student feedback in chemistry, Chinese, Japanese, mathematics and many other areas of learning where it is either impossible or extremely difficult to use the keyboard to write script or complex expressions and formulae. Moreover, one of the accompanying skills that the student must acquire is clearly the use of a pen.

Many examinations require the student to read questions from the printed page and write their answers with a pen. The exclusive use of the screen and keyboard simply does not provide the necessary experience for a student to be adequately prepared for those examinations.

Also the print quality of assessment items may well have to be maintained to determined moderation standards. But the provision of printable resources in electronic format, such as pdf, may not necessarily meet those standards when printed by the student and there is no simple way of checking this.

A blended approach to elearning

Many elearning authorities in industry[12] and in schools[13] now accept that a blended approach[14] offers countless advantages in most areas of learning, and good practice has been developed in a hybrid online model[15].

A careful fusion of print-based and electronic resources, each chosen optimally for its specific purpose, is superior to the exclusive use of any single means of delivery. As well, learning outcomes may be enhanced by the provision of learner choice, where various types of resources having the same content are accessed through student preference, or where a resource has been previously selected to match a student’s personal learning style.

What skills are needed to teach online?

Being an effective elearning teacher calls for additional key competencies[16] that are dynamic, exacting and specific. Excellent keyboard skills as well as expert knowledge in specific aspects of ICT, especially to do with the elected elearning platform, are simply essential day-to-day requirements for the teacher.

The ever-present advancement of ICT requires the constant acquisition of vital new skills and knowledge by all teachers through professional training and study, but the need is most urgent for the elearning teacher.

Skills and knowledge also have to be attained by the attentive elearning student. This has additional implications for the teacher, who is often the first port of call for instructional assistance. The role of the elearning teacher can be far more demanding and exacting even than that of the traditional distance educator who selects appropriate learning resources and diligently assesses and reports on student work returned through postal services.

Elearning content

The debate over ways to develop elearning content has been going on for years in industry[17] and in schools. Use of existing internet material in a course requires vigilant maintenance as such resources are capriciously subject to change.

Likewise the mercurial specifications directed by authorities over curriculum content can require constant revision of course material. The consequence of those and other aspects where change is a considered and important factor elicits the need for strategy in the development of elearning content.

Digital resources

While much consideration has been brought to the promotion of software used for building e-resources, no single method of content use has received more interest or attention than the reusable learning object[18] (or digital learning resource).

It has been defined as a reusable, media-independent collection of information used as a modular building block for elearning content. Utilising a wide range of audio, video, animation and interactive technologies, it is perfectly suited to elearning and has enjoyed some use in industrial training as well as in pre-tertiary and tertiary education.

digital learning resource is particularly useful for introducing the student to concepts difficult to introduce in static diagrams or pictures, or where it would be impossible or dangerous for the student to view a particular situational instance such as the synchronous operation of a human heart valve or the function of moving parts of the internal combustion engine.

digital learning resources are useful for demonstrating the use of equipment that cannot be supplied easily to the student, such as an electron microscope or other expensive instrumentation.
Design theory

Several researchers, including David Wiley, have developed an instructional design theory and a sequencing theory[19] for creating and using
digital learning resources, both of which have a pedagogical foundation. But the concepts behind the design and application of this unique resource type are intricate, and to some degree these may have discouraged educators from using it as a learning tool.

Nevertheless the
digital learning resource holds merit in its modularity and has the potential to be extremely flexible. The idea of sharing resources of this type has been recognised and accepted internationally in SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model)[20].

References (some are no longer current).

1 -
2 - http://www.onlinelearning.co.nz
3 - http://www.blackboard.com/
4 - http://elearning.itpnz.ac.nz/
5 - http://www.google.co.nz/search?hl=en&q=define%3Ainteractive&btnG=Search&meta=
6 - now not available - www.infogreta.org/magazine/articles-9-2.htm
7 -
8 - now not available - www.books.nap.edu.com/html/howpeople1/ch9.html
9 - http://www.love2learn.com/delivery.htm
10 - http://www.thefreelibrary.com
11 - http://www.chem.ox.ac.uk/vrchemistry/LiveChem/transitionmetals_content.html
12 - http://www.learningcircuits.org/2006/March/gray.htm
13 - http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/learning/yrk12focusareas/learntech/blended/index.php
14 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blended_learning
15 - http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eqm0313.pdf
16 - http://www.e-learningcentre.co.uk/eclipse/Resources/teach.htm
17 - http://www.learningtechnologies.co.uk/magazine/article_full.cfm?articleid=97&issueid=11&section=1
18 - http://www.learningcircuits.org/2000/mar2000/Longmire.htm
19 - http://www.opencontent.org/docs/dissertation.pdf
20 - http://adlcommunity.net/mod/resource/view.php?id=458
Ngā mihi nui – Best wishes

Monday, March 23, 2009

How Posts Become Time Capsules

Kia ora tātou – Hello Everyone
NASA's Voyager Golden RecordCourtesy NASA

A recent search I made on Google Reader returned, among other interesting information, a series of unrelated posts dated earlier than 2005 and that had no comments.

They reminded me of the Ashleigh Brilliant quote:

I waited and waited, and when no message
came, I knew it must have been from you.

I frequently come across posts with no comments and I often think of why this occurs. Considering the millions of potential hits these lonely posts could have had, it seems unlikely that they should be so neglected. But of course, posts don’t acquire comments the way one might expect.

Even if one remains as the most current post on a blog for several months, it is very likely that its visitor profile will look like the above Google Analytics (GA) graph of a Typical Post. There’s a shower of activity when it is first posted. That activity quickly decays, evidenced by a sharp trailing tail; then nothing. It's dead Jim. The post becomes a time capsule, rarely visited, and usually never commented on again.

When I first announced my Index Page, Sue Waters remarked that because of the way most readers interact with blogs, there is no guarantee it would be used. I think she was right in part. Even the most popular posts are visited and commented on most often when they’re newly up, but they all trail a rapidly diminishing tail of visits and comments that dwindles to nothing.

There are exceptions:

Tony Karrer’s Blog Guide for first time visitors is an exception. It was the first post I came across that evidently did not have the typical visitor profile. It had accumulated 27 comments by the time I read it, and had been posted on Tony’s blog for about 2 years. A reasonably popular post, it had a long comment tail and is still accumulating comments at the rate of 1 every 2 months or so.

My own index page has a parade of visitors that makes it one of the most popularly visited posts on the blog. At the time of writing this post, it is top of the blog's popularity poll. It has a weekly procession of between 25 and 30 visitors with a reasonable average time on the page and favourable bounce rate.

Both these regularly visited posts, Tony’s Blog Guide and Middle-earth’s Index, have their links clearly visible at the top right of their respective blog pages. They are also linked to, from time to time, in posts, so it’s easy to see why their visitor profiles are atypical.

Visitors to these special posts will come at a rate that coincides closely to the dates of new postings, as shown in the above visitor-frequency-graph of the Index Page to this blog.

Blogger's day in hell:

In Sue Waters’ post, Interlinking! Is it YOUR idea of fun?, she speaks of the time consuming practice of adding links in new posts to older posts on the blog - what Natasa describes as a Blogger’s Day In Hell.

Unless the blogger is proficient in editing links in posts, I would not recommend attempting this. I must confess to using this practice, however, and I have recorded GA evidence for it providing significant visitor access to old posts.

The ‘related posts - >>’ series of links at the base of this post is such a link system. Like the common links to popular posts in the widgets and lists on the side-bar to the right of this post, it can indeed delay the onset of time-capsule disease in older posts.

( 6 ) ( 5 ) << - related posts - >> ( 3 ) ( 2 ) ( 1 )

Ngā mihi nui – Best wishes

Saturday, March 21, 2009

What You Can Do With Web2.0 Photo Editors

Tēnā koutou katoa – Greetings to you all
What You Can Do With Web2.0 Photo Editors
Since my old PC packed a sad, I’ve been bereft of Photoshop, a tool that I used a lot for preparing pictures on this blog. I’ve been forced to find other means to create and edit images.

This weekend I did a bit of experimenting and research, with various Web2.0 image editors, all of which offer wonderful editing features.
During my searches, I recalled a post on screen capture applications Sue Waters wrote some time last year.

I was gobsmacked when I found she had asked me some questions in a later comment on that post that I’d never seen and of course never answered! It just goes to show how things can be missed in conversation.

Sue Waters
Today’s post on photo editors is by way of my humble apology to
Sue Waters and a reply to her 8 month old question
on MWSnap.


This cool tool allows any image viewed on the screen to be snapped and cropped at the same time. It has additional facilities to save in a range of different file formats, gif and jpeg to TNG and TIFF.

For instance, by simply opening an already saved gif image in MWSnap it can be converted and saved as a jpeg image. I found this feature very useful.

When I
need to edit a gif image in Picasa 3, which only accepts jpeg files, I open it in MWSnap and use Save as with the jpeg option.

MWSnap also has other simple features, including adding a border with a range of useful colours and styles that can be customised.
All the pictures shown on this post were fitted with matching borders in MWSnap before uploading.

MWSnap has no text facility. For this I can use Picasa 3 or Paint.

Picasa 3

Picasa 3 is a free Google photo editor and viewer. It is also the default picture editor in Flickr.
Picasa 3 offers a rich range of most often needed image editing tools.

Among its useful features are cropping,
straightening (useful for sorting crooked pictures) a red-eye removal device, brightness/contrast adjustment as well as colour and colour density adjustment, and a simple easy to use text writer.

The text writing features that impressed me most were the ability to rotate text and to adjust the text font and size, while also relocating the text before locking.

Picasa 3 also has a facility to adjust text transparency, style and alignment. I find this handy.

10 other Web2.0 apps

In my inevitable panic to find easy-to-use image editors, I came across this wonderful post on Daily Gyan that listed another 10 great online photo editors. Check them out.

For anyone who is looking for a tool that is more like the professional ones, I'd advise having a look
at Splashup. It comes with a high recommendation from the team at Gyan.

Splashup Logo

I’m a great believer in the suck-it-and-see approach to using computers. I recommend you should try this as a first approach before looking around and asking for advice or searching for a training clip on Google unless you are an absolute beginner.

I'm not knocking asking for advice though. Use everything at your disposal, including, taking time to think through different ways to do things.
That’s what I did to get the illustrations for this post.

Though some of the images may not be edited in the most artistic way,
I hope they serve their purpose and inspire others to do better.

Ngā mihi nui – Best wishes

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Posturing - a Barrier to Learning

Tēnā koutou katoa – Greetings to you allHannah and CatrionaHannah and Catriona posing for the photo
The attitude of the know-it-all learner is well known to anyone who has been teaching in the classroom for even a short term. It’s also recognised by trainers, tutors and coaches and is often a difficult barrier to dismantle.

In my varied experiences in education and training, I was often left wondering what it is that brings about an attitudinal obstacle in the first place. Its source is usually difficult to reveal, for its origin can lie in many different parts of the human psyche.

Unless its cause can be identified, there is little the teacher can resort to, other than dismissing it with reference to taking a horse to water.

Here are three of the causes I have identified over the years.

The greatest barrier to learning something new
is the belief that it has already been learnt.

This barrier to learning is most commonly met in the classroom and needs a teaching strategy that I call unteaching. It is met in some form by every teacher when introducing a new topic to a class. A deal of dismantling of the misconception and erroneous belief in the mind of the learner is required.

One useful path to achieving this is in revealing to the learner, in the nicest possible way and without them losing face, that their knowledge or belief may be wanting in some important detail. Once the major part of the learning obstacle is removed, its remnants are eradicated through the art of good teaching and the application of appropriate pedagogy.

“I’m expected to know all this
and I can’t show my ignorance.”

This is a too common situation in learners, at all levels.

I once had a job as a computer coordinator for the student database of a prominent university. My boss was the Registrar who shouldered convincingly the responsibility of being knowledgeable about everything to do with the database and the student data contained there.

That responsibility was the biggest impediment to assimilating anything new that needed to be learnt. While it was my duty to pass on required student information to the Registrar, and I did this successfully through verbal reports and other means, I often felt powerless to convey effectively any technical knowledge that the Registrar also needed.

The transactional analysis of that situation is explained admirably in Thomas Harris’ celebrated book, I’m OK – You’re OK.

“What are you? Ignorant or something?”

Peer pressure in a classroom environment can often engender an ability in ignorant learners to appear convincingly knowledgeable. This unlearn syndrome can also exist in the workplace.

I have always claimed that one of the reasons I learnt more than I might have done is because I’m forever asking questions.

At work meetings I am usually the first to ask a question. For as much as what I ask may be met with tones of derision and ridiculed by some, I am always amazed at the proportion of people who are grateful to hear the answer - if there is one.
In some instances when I ask my evident question, it turns out that few, if anyone, know the answer, and it starts a debate.

“It’s possible that my whole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others” - Ashleigh Brilliant.

 Ka kite anō – Catch ya later

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Workplace Learning in 10 Years

Tony Karrer asks the BIG question,

If you peer inside an organization in 10 years time and you look at how workplace learning is being supported by that organization, what will you see?

In answering this, I’m going to be brief and pragmatic.

Ten years is a long time to project when making such a prediction. We have to forget about the current global economic crisis that’s putting everything, including workplace learning, into a tight spin. I’m assuming that we will have well recovered from this trauma by 2019.

We also have to shut our minds to the time warps that technology and its uses seem to have experienced in the past 10 years. Technology will experience its own ‘crash’ that we will have to contend with. This is already starting to happen with technowhelm, and I estimate that such a trough is not far off. My prediction is that the crazy technological frenzy that appears to be peaking at the moment will tend to moderate tolerably.

Drawing from the past:

Ten years ago, we might have been forgiven for thinking that the future of workplace learning in 2009 lay in computer assisted learning. Advancing a further five years and we could have been excused for believing that training databases were going to be action packed with animated instruction kits and video assisted training tools.

None of these predictions became general features of workplace learning and for a number of differing reasons. A few components of these found their way into specialist programs, limited in their extent by budgetary factors.

Learning must be accessible:

Accessibility of any information is the main limitation on its effective application. With the sheer volume of digital data that is likely to be associated with any organisation, access will become a major feature of any support system providing useful learning. It’s my best guess of the most efficient way for it to be brought about. The likelihood is that accessibility will become a major issue well before the year 2019 and will have to be dealt with or bust.

Over the past few years resourcefulness and conservation have been features of many societal practices. This cultural trait will find its way into the processes to do with how knowledge is stored, and disseminated.

Knowledge management will have swept a wide orbit and will return along a familiar but digitally oriented groove. Filtering and replenishing will be based on practice and resultant success, rather than theoretical principles governing what’s deemed to be useful.

Data retrieval will have become a fine art, almost an algorithmic feature of the technology of an organisation, rather than a problematic process within it. Already we have successful examples of data being managed on the Internet in Wikipedia and examples like this will serve as practicing models for the design of accessible data systems.

The networks:

Digital networking may well have found a niche by 2019. The study of how online groups behave and operate, tackled from the standpoint of best optimised rather than random mixes, will develop some of its own fundamental principles.

Sharing skills and knowledge, and working collaboratively in doing this, using refined technologies and their developments and appropriate techniques, will be lean and more efficient. Partnerships within and between organisations will be mutual organisational strengths, rather than organisational threats in a competitive environment.

Taxonomies for learning:

Training and learning in the workplace will become principled studies. Practical taxonomies will evolve. Technologies and associated learning techniques are selected for particular learning needs.

For this learning need, use this learning practice, is a pithy summary of how it will work out for most workplace learning needs in 2019.

related posts->> ( 1 )

All Change with Vista

Kia ora tātou – Hello Everyone
I’ve just set up our new computer. Hooray! It’s taken me most of my spare time yesterday and a good few hours today sorting out Net connections (again), getting email started, setting up Firefox, sorting set-ups etc – and there’s still a bit to get done, and how.

I’m really pleased with the replacement. We had a rather world weary PC with Windows 2000 on it with an equally world weary 13 inch CRT monitor. I must say that we were nevertheless grateful for the machine, a gift from my son, and the good service it gave to the family over the years - it has done its dash.

Shiny new machine:

But now we have a brand new HP 2 Duo CPU E4700 @ 2.60 GHz with a 19 inch LCD. The family think it’s rather swish, and I must admit that, apart from the extremely tinny audio from the screen (which can be easily rectified with some decent speakers) it all has a good feel to it. Fast as, I can get writing a blog post within 30 seconds of switching it on. I just love the automatic spell checking when writing a post or comment.

With the help of a good friend, I have been using Winternals to lift some of the files off our dead machine. Images are all fine. Word files – no problem. Even a few old educational games (.exe files) that my daughters still enjoy, carried across and work well, including some of Grey Olltwit’s brilliant creations, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare in an easy to use search and find suite.

Cut the losses:

There are a few losses though. I can’t retrieve the PhotoShop software, which is to be expected, as well as some other proprietary software including PowerPoint. Nothing to complain about there. I'll miss the PhotoShop until I can get it replaced.

But the software packages that we had on CD and that should have been useful cannot be installed or run on Vista. These include a suite of SIMS, and Sid Meier’s Civilization III. All the software was gifted by my son as it happens.

UPDATE 11 April: I have since located dll files that are absent in Vista and that are required for several installations to function as well as an extraordinary fix on CIV III involving an unwanted file to do with fonts of all things. We now have CIV III installed and running on Vista.

The Outlook pst files that are intact and carry our archived email, though transferable, cannot be accessed on the new machine. They remain 150 Mb of impenetrable, inaccessible data. It appears that such files die with the machine, for even if our old machine was still operable there is little that can be done to transfer the emails across in any useful form, other than by taking text dumps of the individual files.

Considering the need for fortitude and resourcefulness in these days of a strained global economy, I can’t help feeling that there are several lessons to be learnt here.

When I’ve completed the retrieval of all that can be salvaged from our old PC, I shall take great care to ensure that, dead though it may be, it is appropriately recycled along with its twentieth century monitor. I'm into green computing.

Ka kite anō – Catch ya later

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

You've Never Had It So Good!

Tēnā koutou katoa – Greetings to you allYou've Never Had It SO Good!
When elected British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan uttered these words in 1959, I was 12 years old. He summarised what he thought were future halcyon days for Britain. It didn’t work out so well for Macmillan.

But 50 years later, these same words can be used to describe genuinely a halcyon time for those who wish to learn all about elearning.

Never has there been a time when world leaders in the field of elearning have been so generous with their advice – on all aspects of elearning, from the best available software, both free and commercial, to the best technique in elearning design.

Never has there been a time when so much free debate and ebullient discourse between those experienced in the field of elearning have been so accessible to anyone who has the wherewithal and takes the trouble to access it.

Never has there been a time when virtual festivals of learning have raged so splendidly and so deeply on the intricacies of thought, idea, knowledge, pedagogy and scaffolding on behalf of that favoured being, the elearner.

Never has there been a time when all of this has been so easily accessible in archives that date back ten years and more.

Never has there been a time when a teacher/tutor/instructor/learner could build so easily his or her own online database of information on elearning using the most up-to-date free software to access the Internet.

Bountiful elearning:

From regular blogs on the subject, written by experts on practical tips and tricks, through expert tuition on blogging, on how to use blogs and all the attendant embeds, widgets and devices, and advice on current changes in those, to a 60 minute mini-course on elearning design practice. Chronicles that burst forth cornucopias of up-to-date news-streams on everything that’s happening online, feeds that weld collaboratively the joint thinking and writing of elearning experience from all over the world,
you could read about it all 24/7.

The above ‘fan of links’ (with apologies to Sue Waters) merely skims the surface of the skin of what wonderful fruit is available
online for anyone to enjoy in elearning all that is currently known, available and being developed.

When it comes to finding out and digesting anything to do with elearning, you’ve never had it so good!

Tom Kuhlmann - The Rapid Elearning Blog 50 Practical Tips and Tricks
Skellie -
Skelliewag.org Bloggers: Watch and Learn
Sue Waters -
The Edublogger Have You Re-inserted Your GA Tracking Code?
Clive Shepherd -
60 Minute Masters
Stephen Downes -
Stephen's Web
Browse My Stuff -
Tony Karrer's brainchild Elearning Learning

Ka kite anō – Catch ya later

An Amazing Journey

Tēnākoutou katoa - Greetings To You AllJonathan Seagull

This post is a dedication to the people who have shared a spot in the blogosphere – who have brought much enjoyment, companionship and wisdom – who have permitted us to exchange views and opinion, experience and learning – who have brought an enormous cornucopia of thoughts, ideas and achievements here at Middle-earth.

How great the feeling is to receive support, encouragement and reassurance at times of need. That’s what I’ve experienced lately, initiated entirely by visitors who have been reading my recent posts.

Blogging isn’t easy without a PC. I was feeling as if I’d lost touch with the ‘ether’ – the ‘fluence’, as it were. I saw my fledgling blog-spot flapping its wee wings and disappearing into oblivion.

But no. I believe it is just my perception, for the circle is still there.
I am, and always have been, thankful for the support of those in my commentsphere.

Not so lonely traveller:

This is an amazing journey. The ‘lonely traveller’ is not so lonely, for so many helpful friends are met and made on the way.

At this time, I’m particularly grateful to my work colleagues who have dropped by and cheered me with their chummy banter. They are newcomers to my commentsphere but I sense that they are not newcomers to the blogspot.

BalloonsThey, and many other welcome visitors like them, affirm that it’s not the blog posts that make the blog. A blog without visitors is like a child’s party without children.

What use are all the nuts, apples, oranges, lemons and grapes
if there’s no one to munch them and spit out the pips?

Rangimarie - Peace and Harmony