Networked learning/Processes and tools

Following is a range of processes for communicating online and accessing a wide variety of information. Familiarise yourself with these processes, experiment, find and make contact with people and information relating to your areas of interest. If you feel confident in assisting people in the development of networked learning skills.

Instant Communication edit

Instant communication, text messaging, Online chat, live video and audio conferencing are increasingly impacting our learning and living in an always-connected, always-on world with multiple ways to communicate with one another at any given time. Knowing how best to communicate with someone at any given time is the challenge, most people try the fast-and-light stuff first - IRC, Jabber or SMS - then bring out the heavy guns like email. The advantage of instant communication is that it is instant, you can learn here and learn now.

Uses for Instant Communication

  • Facilitate real-time Learning
  • Personal discussion

More information about Instant Communication

eMail Lists edit

eMail list, news list, eGroup, but probably most accurately called an electronic mailing list. Electronic mailing lists are a special usage of email that allows for widespread exchange of information to a list of email addresses. Lists can be set for private or public viewing, announcement only or for anyone to post, or so that reading is open to the public but posting is open to members only. Today, mailing lists are most often used for collaboration on various projects and as a way of exchanging information.

Free web-based services offering an easy way to run and maintain such lists have been around since the mid 1990's and remain a popular and effective tool for online group communications. Currently the most popular free web-based services are Yahoo Groups, MSN Groups, and Google Groups.

Uses for eMail lists

  • Make announcements and distribute information to a group of people with similar interests.
  • Stimulate topical discussions.
  • Socialisation tool for a class or new group.
  • A learning resource when used with a broader community of practice or industry.

More information about eMail lists

Blogging edit

A blog (or web-log) is a website in which items are posted on a regular basis and displayed with the newest at the top. Like other media, blogs often focus on a particular subject, such as food, politics, or local news. Some blogs function as online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. Since its appearance in 1995, blogging has emerged as a popular means of communication, affecting public opinion and mass media around the world.

There are web based services that offer weblogging for free such as the popular Blogger, and free blogging software to install on servers such as WordPress.

Uses for blogs

  • Record, process and reflect on what you learn.
  • Teachers can use blogs to record and process what they teach. For example, a teacher can blog a course - specifying what homework students are required to carry out, including links to Internet resources, and recording day-by-day what is taught.
  • Practitioners blog their work and research to share information and make connections with others working in the field.
  • Flexibility for learners - students can catch-up if they miss a class.
  • Blog as a course plan.
  • A summary of a course that prospective students or new teachers can refer to.
  • Students can refer to each other's blog and support each other's learning.
  • Other faculty can refer to course blogs of their colleagues and improve team teaching.
  • Topical and subject focused blogs can be an engaging learning resource.

How to blog

More information about blogs

Wikis edit

A wiki is a type of website that allows anyone visiting the site to add, remove, or otherwise edit all content quickly and easily, often without the need for registration. Most wikis also offer a discussion forum for each page being developed. This ease of interaction and operation makes a wiki an effective tool for collaborative writing. March 2006

The best examples of successful wiki developments are Wikipedia, Wikiversity, and the South African Curriculum There are free web based services that offer wiki authoring such as Wikispaces and PBWiki, and then there is free wiki software for servers such as MediaWiki. The key to the success of a wiki is in having an active participant base, which is why it is often better to work into existing wiki communities rather than setting up new ones.

Uses for wikis

  • Collaborative learning resource development.
  • Subject related discussion.
  • Easy to maintain currency of online resources.
  • Relatively easy way to build a website.
  • This website is a wiki.
  • Safe environment for K-12 when anonymous usernames are established under teacher management

More information about wikis

RSS webfeeds edit

Web feeds are a form of syndication in which a section of a website is made available for other sites to use. Commonly a regularly updated website will make a feed available so other people can display an updating list of content from it (for example one's latest forum postings, etc.). This originated with news and web-log (blog) sites but is increasingly used to syndicate any information. Web feeds are very useful to people who obtain media and information from a number of online sources as they help the reader to bring all that information into one place (called a news reader) instead of having to manually go to each website to obtain the information.

There are many web services that offer enhancements to web feed generation such as Feedburner, and news readers such as Bloglines that enable you to subscribe to a number of feeds, and there is free newsreader software to install on desktop computers such as FeedReader.

Uses for web feeds

  • Students can subscribe to a teacher's website and receive updated content to their personal web spaces (blog, start page, news reader).
  • Teachers can subscribe to their student's personal web spaces and have student's work arrive centrally.
  • Students can subscribe to each other's feeds enabling them to share resources and perspectives.
  • Teachers and students can subscribe to other experts in the field, broadening their field of reference, building a personalised reading list, and bringing it back to their teaching and learning contexts.
  • Librarians can subscribe to feeds relevant to topics taught by the school faculties, and filter information and offer quality assured resources to teaching staff.
  • Professional development units can subscribe to feeds related to teacher training and filter information and build PD resources for their staff.

More information about web feeds

Podcasting edit

Podcasting is the distribution of media files, such as audio and videos, over the Internet using a type of web feed. Listeners subscribe to the podcast's web feed for automated download to mobile devices and personal computers. The benefit of a podcast web feed over a standard web feed is that once the user subscribes the feed their podcast reader will automatically download any new media that is offered by the distributer.

Generating a podcast involves creating the media, usually an audio file using a free audio recorder and editor like Audacity, then uploading that file to a server such as the free and unlimited media storage space Our Media, announcing the file in a blog such as the popular and free Blogger, and enhancing that blog's web feed into a podcast using a free service such as Feedburner. To subscribe to a podcast and have media automatically downloaded to a portable device or personal computer you must use "podcatching" software such as the free MyPodder.

Uses for podcasting

  • Teachers record lectures and distribute the audio for listening to on portable digital audio players.
  • Students subscribe to a range of lectures they might otherwise not have been able to attend
  • Students record their own audio and make it available in a podcast for their peers and/or teacher's assessment
  • Students create a podcast for the subject they are studying

More information about Podcasting

Finding and reusing learning resources edit

With so many great resources already out there on the net, why re-invent the wheel. Whatever your subject, whatever your need, chances are there is someone else in the world that has already produced it, and made it available for free and open reuse.

When sourcing such content, be careful to check the copyright statement for all items before you attempt to use it. Creative has made this usually painful process quite simple. indexed over 80 million CC items loaded to the Internet in 2005. Major universities and learning organisation are lisencing their content and resources Creative Commons. These initiatives are generally called open courseware initiatives, and we are free to use and even modify some of the content that is made available this way.

The most significant projects include Wikipedia and Wikiversity, where people are collaborating to produce free and open resources which use GNU licences.

GNU Licenses are based on 4 freedoms or rights.

  1. use the work for any purpose
  2. study its mechanisms, to be able to modify and adapt it to their own needs
  3. make and distribute copies, in whole or in part
  4. enhance and/or extend the work and share the result similarly.

Uses for Free and Open Courseware

  • Cost effective way to build learning resources (all the content in these workshops are taken from CC lisences)
  • Marketing of programmes and courses
  • Social acess and equity to learning resources
  • Simplies copy right and Intellectual Property concerns
  • A wider range of inputs to a resource development

More information about Free and Open Courseware

Tagging edit

Social bookmarking and tagging occurs on web based services where shared lists of user-created Internet bookmarks are displayed. Social bookmarking sites generally organize their content using tags and are an increasingly popular way to locate, classify, rank, and share Internet resources through the practice of tagging, and inferences drawn from grouping and use of such tags. The concept of shared online bookmarking dates to the mid 1990s. An early generation of social bookmarking companies launched in the late 1990s failed as the dot-com bubble burst. The concepts of social bookmarking and tagging took root with the launch of a web site called in approximately 2003. March 2006

Uses for Tagging

  • Teacher bookmarks websites and online resources for access away from PC
  • Students subscribe to teacher's bookmark web feed as a reading list
  • Students collaborate in bookmarking resources for their subject
  • Searching
  • Combining resources to create a unique resource

More information about Tagging

Creating digital images, video and audio edit

There's no doubt that images, video and audio can be an excellent way to communicate more complicated things to learners. In this workshop we'll use a range of recording devices and free and simple software to record and edit our own videos. You'll be surprised at how easy it can be. Participants are urged to bring along any digital image recording devise they may already own, as well as the cables it came with to plug into a computer.

About digital video Getting video into a digital format and deliverable over the Internet has become a very simple process compared to 6 years ago. Effective video can be recorded on most digital cameras, directly to a format that is suitable for the Internet. Video tape cameras have become significantly cheaper, and editing software has become more freely available and stable on modern computers.

Uses for digital video

  • Demonstrating technical skills
  • Representing scenarios
  • Assessing student skills
  • Material profiling

More information about digital video

Audio and video blogging edit

A vlog or video blog is a blog (short for weblog) which uses video as the primary content; the video is linked to within a videoblog post and usually accompanied by supporting text, image, and additional metadata to provide context.

Uses for Vlogging

  • Demonstrative videos for distribution to students and workplace learners
  • Screencast demonstrations for staff training in the use of software
  • Students recording tasks and blogging the video for assessment
  • Learner generated content

More information about Vlogging

Using free and open source software edit

Using free and open source software is an effective way to save money, maintain flexibility, consider new economic models, and develop more sustainable software skills and capacity.

Open Office A free alternative to Microsoft Office, Open Office can not only be a great way for students to obtain affordable (free!) office software, but also a remarkably easy way for you to create PDFs and Flash movies!

GNU Image Manipulation Program GIMP is a powerful image editing program.

Open Clip Art Open Clip Art Library Over 10000 clips + Over 600 artists. High quality and attractive clipart.

External links edit