Category Archives: news

Great conference, unpleasant aftermath…

I really enjoyed ALT-C this year, however as I was leaving the conference I found that my car had been broken into, my work laptop had been stolen, as well as a digital SLR camera and my funky bluetooth printer which had gone down so well in my workshop.

The thieves had done their best and as a result my passenger door was so damaged that I couldn’t secure the car and had to drive all the way home. I was suppose to be only going as far as Birmingham for a JISC Collections workshop tomorrow.

I am insured, but with excesses I am going to be somewhat out of pocket as a result. I have also paid for a hotel room I can’t use and couldn’t cancel.

I am trying to not to let this get me down, it is more annoying more than anything else.

Great conference, for me though it ended on somewhat a sour note.

“Million more UK homes go online”

According to recent figures as reported by the BBC, a million more UK homes have now gone online.

The number of UK homes with internet access has gone up by nearly a million over the last year, figures suggest.

Some 15.2m UK households – 61% of homes – now have an internet connection, compared with 54% in 2006, research from National Statistics found.

In total, 84% of web-enabled households said they had a broadband connection, up from 69% in May 2006.

61% of homes now have an internet connection and those 84% have a broadband connection.

For those learners coming from homes without internet, what can they do? Well yes it would be nice if every learner had a broadband internet connection, but it would also be nice if every learner had free transport to college, it would be nice if every learner had all the core texts they needed, it would be nice if every learner didn’t need a part-time job to support their studies, etc…

Colleges don’t provide libraries or teachers at home, so even though a learner may not have access to the internet, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use the internet and web based services (like a VLE) to support and enhance learning.

For those learners who don’t have access to broadband internet, they do have options in terms of access to the internet. Some have mobile phones or other mobiles devices which could be used. Some will be able to access free internet from their local library. Some will be able to access the internet at a relative or a friend. Virtually all will be able to access the internet at college.

A warning to all coffee lovers out there

Found this interesting article on the BBC News website.

Girl overdoses on espresso coffee – A teenager was taken to hospital after overdosing on espresso coffee.

It would appear that she had seven double espresso coffees and as a result had overdosed on caffeine!

A warning to all coffee lovers out there, I know that a lot of teachers and lecturers seem to thrive on coffee, or they can only survive through the average day in FE by drinking coffee.

It would seem that extra caution is needed where I work as we now have Starbucks coffee available in our college cafes and I quite like the off Starbucks espresso now and again .

Comic Life for Windows!

Comic Life IconI am a great fan of Comic Life which comes free on most new consumer Macs and was pleasantly surprised to see that Plasq are working on a version for Windows.

The second Comic Life for Windows Beta is now available for download – with ongoing thanks to our encouraging and patient beta-testers. Thank you all for your kind words and helpful feedback!

This latest beta includes many small improvements relating to installation, usage and stability.

You can find the download, new beta serial number and release notes in this forum post here.

Hairdressing Training gets a free makeover

Online learning package for hairdressing students and practitioners to be made available free to UK colleges.

Funding from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) makes Hairdressing Training free of charge to all UK further education institutions from August 2007. This funding has enabled JISC Collections to purchase Hairdressing Training on behalf of UK further education institutions for the next three years.

Read more

Using technology does “improve learning”

Becta have just published their report on the £34m test bed project.

The key message from the report is:

Having a high level of technology for learning equipment in a school or college will dramatically improve performance, so long as there is the right support and enthusiasm to embrace it.

In terms of FE, there was recognition of the value of VLEs (or learning platforms) in enhancing and supporting learning.

In the further education colleges it was found that learning platforms extended students’ learning into the home, and the management information systems provided greater efficiency and effectiveness for managers and teachers.

The BBC is reporting on the story and they pick up on the fact that though there was greater success in the primary and secondary schools, the impact on FE was marginal, there was little change.

It can be difficult to measure the impact of technology on retention and achivement, but there is now much more evidence that it can and does make a difference.

Moving

On Friday the 29th of June Gloucestershire College will be moving its Learning Gateway (library) from their old 1930’s Brunswick campus to their new state of the art new campus on the Gloucester docks.


Gloucestershire College

Moving seventeen thousand odd books, fifty computers and lots of other stuff, makes you realise how moving from one VLE to another though complicated and complex, can be relatively simple to physically moving a learning environment.

The move won’t impact on the VLE as the VLE runs on servers on our Cheltenham campus, however it does mean that I personally will be quite busy and therefore won’t be online as much as I am now.

Primary School pupils lead the way with blogging

Pupils from a primary school in East Dunbartonshire are at the forefront of a new digital learning phenomenon.

Children in the pilot group at Woodhill Primary School in Bishopbriggs are using blogs to communicate with schools across the UK and Europe and making podcasts on a range of subjects, including French language.

Read more

What this demonstrates is one of two things, firstly if primary school children are using web 2.0 tools and are podcasting, why is this not used more in FE, why do we find it so difficult to embed the use of this kind of technology?

Secondly as this has made the BBC News does this not mean that this is not run of the mill normal stuff that happens in primary schools, it is quite unique and special and this is why it is being reported?

Welcome

Hello and welcome to James Clay’s e-learning (and ILT) blog.

When I was director of the WCC I use to blog on a regular basis on e-learning issues, since then I have moved to what is now Gloucestershire College as their ILT & Learning Gateway Manager.

I have been meaning to restart my e-learning blog for sometime, but didn’t have the webspace or the software to do it. After much thought I have decided to try out WordPress and see how it goes.

James Clay