Creative Commons Roadshow

Posted on September 24th, 2010 in Learning Resources,Polytechnic,Reporting and Reading by Kirsty

23rd September 2010, hosted by UTAS for the Hobart part of the Creative Commons Australia Roadshow.

This was an interesting day – I was pleased to hear about the activities underway in other jurisdictions and some great case studies. I’ve recorded my notes in graphic form – click on the thumbnails for full images.

Graphic Recording on the iPad

Posted on August 14th, 2010 in Learning Resources,Polytechnic,Reporting and Reading by Kirsty Tags: , , , , ,

Various threads have led me down this path – I’ve always liked to draw on a whiteboard, doodle mindmaps with an array of fine textas, and do free form notes on graph or dotted paper. When equipped with a lined notebook and a pen the words stream out of the pen, it does help with retention more than just listening, however I find structured but not linear notes help me to structure my thoughts better, see connections and have more insights as I’m listening or participating.
Nancy White is an inspiration in this area of graphic recording and facilitation. I love colour, bringing ideas to life and highlighting and linking and drawing a sense of the process for a group. Being able to do this on paper is something I’ve toyed with. I’ve often used hand –drawn mindmaps to summarise, structure and tease out ideas. Mindmapping software is a bit of a hit and miss effort for me. Useful when I know a document will be coming out the other end, handy when I want to reorganise sections, possible to share and collaborate with others. So the software has its place.
When I got my iPad, I wondered about the possibilities for creation. The early criticism of the iPad, especially in the learning area was that it seemed more a tool for consumption than creation. What a challenge! So my early questions to myself were about how I could use it for creation and how that opened up use of iPads for learning.
Notetaking was an area I wanted to explore. Yes, text based notes are possible and functional, but what about mindmapping?
Then Rachel Smith and Visual Raccoon posted about graphic recording on the iPad and that got me going. Based on a number of comparative reviews I bought Sketchbook Pro, and tried a bunch of free apps as well.
Testing some tools

  • Adobe Ideas ($free) Nice tool, smooths lines so looks better when you zoom. Brush controls are harder to control than Sketchbook Pro. Free form drawing. Can’t type text in. Blank Canvas.
  • Popplet ($free for Lite version) Text, drawing and images in boxes that can be moved around, resized and linked to each other. More mindmap-like than others.
  • Sketchbook Pro ($9.99 AUD) Recommended by several reviews. Multiple (too many?) brush options, fine level colour controls, multiple layers, ability to import images, flexible output options.

I also tried, in no particular order:
AirSketch free, iBrainstorm, Stickyboard, Draw, Paperdesk LT, iPocketDraw, MindMash ,Idea Sketch, Iditia Free and some other ones I’ve since deleted. Some are better for different styles of recording than I’m talking about here.
My basis for comparison
What is important to me:

  • Ease of use including quick colour change and eraser tool access
  • Zooming in and out intuitively
  • Cost
  • VGA output option
  • Export options and formats

Preparation for Use
I knew I’d soon want to use this approach for a real event, so I tested out tools and got to know them through doing graphical records of TV shows and evening conversations around the house – low risk and I wouldn’t be annoyed if I accidently deleted the lot! Through this process I settled on Sketchbook Pro because of the zooming, layers and colour changing speed possible. So I ended up with some pretty random images but it was fun. I played around more with a visual note taking approach, more so than my traditional mindmap technique and appearance.
Real life Use
Recent Changes Camp came up in Canberra and that was it – my challenge to myself was to use the iPad for note taking.
What I discovered:

  • Found not typing/ writing with a pen shifted my focus from capturing words as such to capturing thoughts and ideas.
  • The freeform conversational approach of the unconference gave a starting point to the notes, and suited my default mindmap style. I reverted pretty quickly to my standard style – you could put my handwritten maps from months ago next to my iPad ones and they are definitely both mine!
  • When in a session where I talked a fair bit at the start I wanted to capture what was being said but graphic recording required too much brainpower to allow for talking. I relaxed when I reminded myself that other people were taking notes and I could access them later.
Usability session

Usability session

Wikis in Education

Wikis in Learning and Education

  • Use of colour and brush controls still requires conscious thought, much like picking up a different colour texta when starting a new subtopic.
  • I found I captured what was for me the right balance of quality and quantity of notes while still participating reasonably in the discussion.

After the event
After the formal sessions I wanted to pull some of the overarching thoughts and issues into a more graphic style than my mindmaps. I planned it out roughly on paper and searched for visual cues to suit the topics. Being able to colour in areas of the canvas on a layer to allocate space and arrangement, and then put my actual text and graphics on another layer meant I could end up with a well organised output. I simply deleted the ‘underlayer’ when I was done.
What I learnt:

  • I didn’t save often enough. Sketchbook Pro would crash occasionally and I couldn’t see a pattern as to why.
  • Learnt about the layer transform tool and how that could be used to manipulate or edit an image you’ve imported from elsewhere.
  • I would like to spend more time playing with the brush options
  • Practice of large lettering styles would add more visual interest and variation.
Summary of my notes from #ucrcc

Summary of my notes from #ucrcc

I love it!

Opening Up Educational Resources: Proposal

Posted on March 4th, 2010 in Learning Resources,Planning & Plotting,Polytechnic by Kirsty

A Polytechnic-wide project submitted this week for Australian Flexible Learning Framework Elearning Innovations funding.

Learners will access, use, create and contribute to wiki based materials throughout their learning programs, with a focus on open educational resources.
This project is to embed the reuse, remix and creation of open educational resources (OERs), specifically those based on a wiki platform. This follows from the successful 2009 investigation that demonstrated the suitability of wiki platforms for our context. Many Polytechnic teachers have already heard about the successful wiki trials and are interested in pursuing this approach in their own areas. “The OER movement seeks to stimulate, facilitate and catalyze growth of the pool of learning resources on the Internet which circumvent barriers to access and lift restrictions on usage, thus improving education as a social good” (WikiEducator). This philosophy of education being open and accessible to all is in alignment with the mission and values of the Tasmanian Polytechnic.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by Space-Case

Lots of arm waving and diagrams on whiteboards and on the back of bits of paper went into conceiving and planning this one.
Fingers crossed

Edna Workshop

Posted on June 2nd, 2009 in Learning Resources,Professional Development by Kirsty Tags:

Edna workshop
Launceston 2nd June 2009
Pru Miller kicked off the morning with an introduction to the day’s activities.
Margaret Meijers started off her keynote with a story about heffalumps and the challenges posed by the introduction of books and pens :-)
Comparing the tools from 1969 (apollo launch) to today’s mobile phones and desktop computers. Question – what has the world been doing wit the technology? Skype, cds, itunes, banking, tax returns, online groceries.
Globalisation – demand for science, engineering, ict growing, US AUS graduates declining change to location of major centres of population.
Kids still the same – want connection, to express themselves, to have choice – tools available have changed.
However – teachers still clinging to being the expert, kids move through school by age, inflexible times and hours.
Stats on restrictions on access – IM, social networking sites.
Talking factories when we are talking schools – still in the industrial age.
(Wonder what the edna people will do with the handheld video camera footage of the powerpoint slides…)
Response to a changed world:
-Concern about standards dropping
-Increase standardised testing
-Teach to the test

What is happening in the classroom is too far removed from the learner’s real world. We need to be looking at the literacies for real life NOW not last centuries problems.
What’s important?
Learning how to learn with passion and curiosity.
Innovation & creativity otherwise a robot can do it.
Critical thinking and problem solving
Technolgical literacy – if they can’t manage technology then they won’t survive.

If you know how to access it, you can find most of what you need to know about almost anything online.

Open Courseware avaialable online – got to MIT for the interaction with the people who designed the courses and those also stdying.

OLPC – opportunity to explore and experiment – designed for learning learning. for the children to control the machine not be controlled and strutured by machine.
Scratch website, picocrickets, gamemaker, squeak etoys, free the goat (curriculum corporation)

Model for 21st Century education

Pedagogy has to go – teacher centred concept.
Excitement about learning is the key.
Learners to be active particpants, learning how to learn, unrestricted by time place age. creative with skills, work independently aand with others, flexible and adaptable, working with and control tech to achieve their goals. (byo laptop schemes evidence of that – control laptop to make it do what you need)
Q: what is the ebay of education?

Extending eXe

Posted on March 10th, 2009 in Learning Resources,Resource Dev Team by Kirsty

eXe ( is a great elearning development tool. It brings to the fore the development of the learning and assessment process, putting the look and feel and technical aspects such as navigation to the side. Templates (called iDevices) suggest pedagogical approaches to developers. By removing the challenge of a totally blank slate, and instead presenting building blocks to the developer (in our organisation this is the teacher 99% of the time) we’ve seen much more interesting and interactive learning materials be developed.


There are some sticking points. As the team which supports eXe amongst other tools for the organisation we have had to learn the workarounds and limitations of the application. We’ve learnt where to push eXe past it’s limits, and where to leave well alone. Some workarounds we only show those people comfortable with html coding.

So, rather than looking for another/ an additional tool, I spent some time thinking about what we could feasibly do to make eXe ‘better’.

Ideas thus far:
- Get new styles rolled out. This is in hand. There are 2 more to come. We commissioned these last year.
- Perhaps develop/ decide on a new default template that is more modern (eg 3d buttons, gradients for header bar, ‘would look at home on an iphone’ :-) look and feel)
- investigate/ develop iDevices that are more VET oriented. See below for one.
- do some documentation about which style in which stylesheet controls the look of a page section (there are 3 that, combined, control the look and feel of an exported exe resource). This should make it easier to make custom styles. We’ve talked about this for a while and never got around to doing it.
- see if we can get an ARED/Captivate embedding iDevice programmed. (We use ARED quite a bit in house as a simple interactivity builder and we like the activities embedded in the page rather than just linking to them but it isn’t a quick & easy process)
- see if we could have a YouTube embedder made to simplify the process.

Initial concept for a new iDevice.

Skills Demonstration iDevice concept

Now I’m off to catch a Python programmer!

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