Category Archives: jiscel08

Fishing Boats and Seagulls

Fishing Boats and Seagulls

I have spent the last few days away on holiday in a place called Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast.

Lovely place, however connectivity was seriously lacking. The place we were staying at had no internet which generally isn’t an issue for me as I have a 3G USB stick (or I use my phone as a tethered modem or using JoikuSpot as a wireless hotspot).

However despite the area being very trendy and popular could I get a mobile phone signal? No I could not! No signal from T-Mobile or Vodafone…

As a result I had no connectivity apart from when we travelled to an area with a mobile phone signal or at a place with wifi.

Now generally when I am on holiday lack of the internet is not a problem – hey I am on holiday – but even on holiday it can be useful to have net access for holiday stuff: finding out opening times for attractions, locations and pricing. Also useful for finding out the times of In The Night Garden. It was also weird just having four TV channels, my Freeview Tuner for my Mac couldn’t pick up any channels in the area.

However this time (though I try and avoid working on my holidays) I had a meeting to organise in London and was also blogging at the JISC online conference, so as well as slightly inconvenient on my holiday, was annoying from a work perspective.

It did make me think about those learners who don’t have easy access to the internet, and despite falling costs of both broadband and 3G it can still be sometimes impossible to get online as the area itself does not have broadband or 3G coverage. Rural and coastal areas are often places with minimal 3G coverage and broadband access. Using 3G at 7.2Mbps in the centre of London streaming video and browsing really fast makes you sometimes forget that in some areas this is an impossibility.

The coffee is usually better…

Those of you who know me will know that I quite like online conferences and have participated in a fair few over the years.

JISC are running another of their innovating e-learning conferences this November.

JISC Online Conference – Innovating e-Learning 2008: 4- 7th November

Programme now available online.

The programme has a range of presenters and facilitators including quite a few from FE, Richard Everett, Geoff Rebbeck, Ellen Lessner, Andrew Williams, amongst others. There will be quite a few people from FE attending as well.

There are a few advantages of online conferences over traditional face to face conferences, feel free to add to them in the comments.

With an online conference it is feasible to go to all the presentations and workshops even if they are at the *same time*.

If you are a reflective person, then like me the question you actually want to ask the presenter is thought of as you travel home on the train, with an online conference you have a chance to reflect and ask that question.

You can attend a meeting at the same time as attending the conference.

You can teach a lesson at the same time as attending the conference.

You can watch Merlin at the same time as attending the conference.

You can attend the conference at 2am, useful for insomniacs and those with small children.

Having said all that it is useful too to make time for the conference, shut the office door, work from home for a bit, wear headphones, move to a different office, work in the coffee spaces in the college.

You can see presentations again, you can pause them, you can ignore them and (virtually) walk out without feeling you may be offending someone as their talk doesn’t relate to you as you thought it did.

No more do you have to stand on platform 12 at Bristol Temple Meads wondering if the delayed 18.19 is in fact ever going to arrive before you freeze to death.

The coffee is usually better.

The coffee is usually better...

A few disadvantages as well…

No bag, so nothing to add to that huge collection at the back of the cupboard in the office…

No physical freebies, no mouse mats or mugs…

From the JISC, further reasons to attend.

Innovating e-Learning 2008 will put you in touch with e-learning ‘thinkers and doers’, both nationally and internationally – with a vibrant social scene,  it’s a great place to network

Innovating e-Learning 2008 also offers a wealth of content to engage with, if it’s new ideas you’re after – 10 expert sessions plus 3 keynotes make this an extremely rich and engaging event

Being held online, it has some unseen advantages – a pre-conference reading period gives you a chance to cover a lot more than is possible at  a f2f conference and you have a chance to think about what to ask the presenters

If it’s debate you’re keen on, a high degree of interaction between participants and presenters is another plus of the conference – last year’s Innovating e-Learning was highly praised for ‘the sheer amount of real interest and useful conversation’ it generated

The content this year is the most wide ranging yet – from Using Second Life for learning and teaching (tours with experienced guides available free!) to Mobile technologies – disruptive or enabling? With expert presenters, this is a chance to explore what you have heard about, but may not yet have put into practice

Innovating e-Learning 2008 is for further and higher education – the programme for 2008 has widespread appeal

Innovating e-Learning 2008 still costs only £50 per delegate and can be accessed online at times and places convenient to you. This has to be the most cost-effective staff development event ever!

Book now for JISC  Innovating e-Learning 2008 :  4-7 November 2008

100% of last year’s delegates thought the conference was good value for money. Here’s what some delegates said last year:

Peter Whitfield, City College Manchester
I have enjoyed this so much!  Even though there are frustrations in bringing about change.  I will take away a desire to me more disruptive in my designs for learning and make no apology for tossing tired models out in favour of creativity, collaboration and student-centred activities.  And with the motivation of the inspirational presentations and discussions at this conference I will be less apologetic for doing so.

Karen Pinny, Birmingham College of Food, Tourism and Creative Studies.
I have found this discussion really encouraging and stimulating and will be going away with a reinforced enthusiasm to explore some of the issues further with my unsuspecting students!

Finally the JISC have asked if I will be the conference blogger, hmmm, do they realise what they have done….

Go, you’ll enjoy it.