Tuesday, December 22, 2009

50 Free Online Games Teach Information Literacy

Learn to Search & Evaluate Internet Resources
The 21st Century Information Fluency team just published menus leading to 50 flash based games that teach how to locate and evaluate digital information.

Check it out: Links to nearly 50 learning games, including the new three part Snow Sport Challenge. If you've been wanting to put a menu of learning games on your library or classroom computer come see what we have for you.

They also have an index of all of their Kits: Resource Kit Master Index:

You get easy access to all Articles, Podcasts, Videos, Assessment Articles, Tutorial Games, Curriculum Connections, Annotated Web Resources

Login for free resources:

All of these resources are available to you without charge. (FREE).

Don't miss the free newsletter: register with the site so they can track demographics to support their grant based work.

Check it out!

Friday, October 23, 2009

UW-Stout E-Learning Graduate Certificate: Register Now for 2010

University of Wisconsin-Stout
School of Education
Online Professional Development 

E-Learning and Online Teaching Graduate Certificate http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/elearningcertificate.html
  • Are you looking for an E-learning and Online Teaching Certificate program?
  • Is your institution rapidly developing online courses and programs?
  • Are you looking for a new career or a way to supplement your current salary?
  • Our courses benefit educators interested in effectively teaching online or blended courses. 
Spring registration is open. Sign up soon.

Courses are completely online; no travel to campus required.
8-Week Online Courses Recommended Course Sequence  
  • EDUC 760 E-Learning for Educators two start date options:  February 8, 2010 or March 22, 2010
  • EDUC 762 Assessment in E-Learning Begins January 11, 2010
  • EDUC 763 Instructional Design for E-Learning  Begins February 1, 2010
  • EDUC 761 Creating Collaborative Communities in E-Learning Begins January 25, 2010
  • EDUC 764 E-Learning Practicum  (Prerequisite: Completion of EDUC 760, 761, 762, 763 and Consent of Instructor)
For more information, visit http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/elearningcertificate.html You may enroll in any single course for professional development or complete all four courses and the practicum to receive the Certificate in E-Learning and Online Teaching.

Courses can be used to fulfill requirements in the Master of Science in Education, Master of Science in Career and Technical Education and Ed.S. in Career and Technical Education degree programs.
  • Expert facilitation by veteran online educators
  • Small highly interactive classes
  • Professional quality projects for an e-portfolio to aid in job searches
  • Career mentoring and job placement assistance
  • Credits may also apply as electives in three different UW-Stout graduate degree programs
  • Highly competitive tuition (tuition is the same for Wisconsin residents, out-of-state and international students)
The courses model best practices in e-learning with interactive discussions and hands-on experiences
  • creating and using blogs, wikis, and other social tools
  • integrating video and podcasts
  • adopting best practices for engaging class discussions and assignments
  • designing authentic assessment activities, quizzes and grading options 
  • building strong communication activities in your online class
  • motivating online students who are falling behind      
  • managing your online teaching workload
If you have any questions, please contact Dennis O'Connor, the program adviser, at (530) 318-1145 or email oconnord@uwstout.edu


Register online today to reserve a spot at: http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/register.shtml

Mark university billing (do not include credit card info) and no tuition payment is due until mid January.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Diigo Tags from E-Learning for Eductors

These are the current tags from the shared bookmarks Of the UW-Stout E-Learning for Educators Diigo Group.

diigo education pioneer

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Susan Manning's Instructional Design for eLearning

If you’re trying to figure out what to do with your online course, either because it seems lifeless or you wonder what could be different, Instructional Design for eLearning may be for you.

Or, if you want to find out more about what goes into designing and delivering quality education online, this is definitely for you! We cover the theoretical and the practical sides of organizing learning events for online delivery.

Delivered in a highly engaging and interactive asynchronous format, the class examines topics such as theories of learning, linking objectives to assessment and methods for presenting content. The course addresses issues for K12, higher education and corporate trainers. For more information, visit http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/instructonline/index.html

This class is taught by Dr. Susan Manning, e-learning professional and co-host of the great podcast series, The Greenroom at Learning Times.org. Susan has also recently authored (along with Keven Johnson) the new book Online Education for Dummies.

Monday, July 27, 2009

2 Minute Moodle Tutorials

Human »
Moodle tutorials (2 Minute Moodles)

This is a collection of 2 Minute Moodles - an attempt to simplify and show how to use a range of Moodle features. The list will grow as I find time to cook some more.

The tutorials try not to assume too much previous knowledge and are presented for the pragmatical and not necessarily tech-savy users (Moodle purists please excuse). They are a bit like that product I got the pun from - something quick and simple to get you going.

tags: moodle, tutorials, learning, tutorial, e-learning

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

8 Online Discussion Response Techniques

Online discussion is the heart of a community of practice oriented e-learning course. However, it can be difficult to know how to respond.

It's a good idea to think in terms of value added responses. What can you add to advance the discussion?

I like to post the following list at the top of discussion forums in my online courses. It's a good reminder and a handy reference!

Here are some suggestions to help guide you as you respond to each other in discussion forums.

Suggested Techniques for Response :

  1. Expand on the topic.
  2. Provide a teaching story that illustrates the main idea.
  3. Offer a different perspective.
  4. Provide an online resource relevant to the topic (include a hyperlink).
  5. Offer a method you use in your classroom.
  6. Provide a summary of the ideas posted so far (good when you come late to the conversation).
  7. Ask a specific question (but avoid prompting yes or no answers).
  8. Ask an open ended (on topic) question.

The netiquette of online discussion:

  1. Focus on the prompt. Be sure to follow the directions in the prompt closely.
  2. Respond to those who respond to you! This is essential!
  3. Don't depend on "Me too" or "I agree" posts. Make your posts substantial
  4. Work to respond with something that adds value to the discussion.
  5. Post early in the week. You'll get more response and become more engaged in conversation.
  6. Avoid doing all of your posting at the end of the week. You miss out on interaction.
  7. Use direct quotations from the text. Include the Name of the text and page number. (Remember not everyone has the same text.)

I hope this helps!

~ Dennis San Diego

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Website Investigator: See you at NECC 2009!

Website Investigator: Information Forensics Goes to School

Add to PlannerAdd to Planner
[Formal Session : Lecture]
Carl Heine, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy with Dennis O'Connor
Tuesday, 6/30/2009, 3:30pm–4:30pm WWCC 146 B

Motivate students to evaluate websites with information forensics. Track down elusive authors, dates, check the accuracy of claims, and more using investigative search techniques. Recommended by ISTE's SIGMS

Theme/Strand: 21st-century Teaching & Learning—Literacies for the Information/Creativity Age
Audience: Technology Integration Specialists, Technology Facilitators, Technology Coordinators, Teacher Educators, Teachers, School Board Members, Staff Developers, Principals, Library Media Specialists, Curriculum Specialists
Level: All
Video on Demand: Yes

NETS•T: 3- 5
Keywords: Information Fluency Evaluation Credibility Searching

URL: http://21cif.com/

Purpose & Objectives

For most students, online research just doesn’t come naturally. Locating relevant information is not easy. Determining if the information is credible is even harder and requires investigative skills to evaluate sources.

The purpose of this session is to provide participants with an understanding of efficient methods for evaluating online information and to demonstrate effective ways to teach these information fluency skills in classrooms.

The new generation of NETS standards for students (ISTE, 2007), is based on the premise that efficacy and productivity depends on students’ abilities to conduct research and manage digital information fluently. An essential skill is the ability to evaluate information from a variety of sources and media.

This session directly addresses this information fluency standard by helping participants…

1. Understand the role of investigation (information forensics) in evaluating information:
• Two types of searching: how investigation differs from speculation;
• Determining when investigative searching is necessary and when it is not;
• Effective means of finding critical information with limited clues;
• Using specialized search engines and browsing techniques to track down information;
• Analyzing results to determine credibility of the source and content.

2. Observe effective methods for helping students exercise speculative search skills:
• Off-line 'readiness' activities;
• Group and individual Search Challenges;
• Interactive tutorial games;
• Think-aloud searches;
• Evaluation reporting;
• Group discussion about credibility.


Introduction to Information Fluency and NETS for Students (5 minutes)

The big picture: Obstacles to Information Fluency--research discoveries: (5 minutes)
• Problems with speculation: using the right words with the right databases
• Homing in on increasingly relevant information
• Problems with investigation: evaluating credibility

Determining when to use investigative searching: (5 minutes)

Effective investigative strategies and techniques—teaching demonstrations involving audience participation (35 minutes)
• 'Readiness' off-line teaching and learning activities
• Selected Information Forensics tutorials (finding the author, publisher, date)
• Selected Search Challenges (think-aloud)
• Determining a basis for credibility (group discussion)

Questions (5 minutes)

Supporting Research

Burton, V. T., & Chadwick, S. A. (2000). Investigating the practices of student researchers: Patterns of use and criteria for use of Internet and library sources. Computers and Composition, 17 (3), 309-328.

Heine, C. (2006). Evaluating digital information. Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. Retrieved Sept. 23, 2008, from http://21cif.imsa.edu/rkitp/ features/v1n4/leadarticle_v1_n4.html

ISTE. (2007). National Educational Technology Standards for Students: The Next Generation. ISTE. Retrieved Sept. 23, 2008, from http://www.iste.org/Content/ NavigationMenu/NETS/NETS_Refresh_Forum/NETS_for_Students_2007.pdf

Press release. (2006, March 24) School library media programs critical to high school reform. American Library Association. Retrieved April 11, 2006, from http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=News&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=121131

Presenter Background

Main presenter: Carl Heine, Ph.D. is Director of the 21st Century Information Fluency Project at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Aurora Illinois. He oversees research and the development of interactive learning games and interactive media used in the Project. He conducts numerous Information Fluency workshops each year in Illinois and other states, including the Illinois Principals Association, the Illinois Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the Illinois State Library Media Association, the Illinois Educational Technology Conference, the Missouri Association of School Librarians, the Wisconsin Educational Media Association and the Alabama Educational Technology Association.

Carl earned his doctorate in curriculum and instruction at the University of Chicago for research in flow and mathematical achievement. Previous leadership assignments include managing the Center for Youth Education at the College of DuPage (Glen Ellyn, IL) and directing educational programs at churches in Washington and California.

Co-Presenter: Dennis O'Connor was an elementary and middle school teacher for 25 years. At the turn of the century he left the face to face classroom to become an online teacher, course designer and educational technology consultant.

He earned an MS. in Online Teaching and Learning from California State University, East Bay (formerly CSU Hayward) where he also taught graduate students how to teach online. Mr. O'Connor recently earned an M.Ed in Instructional Design and Technology Integration at Western Governors University. He earned his undergraduate degree in English at the University of California, Berkeley.

In 1995, groundbreaking work in technology infused interdisciplinary teaching led to a Milken National Educator Award. After working online with the ISTE, National Educational Technology Standards Project in 1998, Mr. O'Connor became a project writer developing units of practice for ISTE-NETS, Connecting Curriculum and Technology. Dennis remains active as a subject matter expert, standards review consultant and project writer for ISTE.

Dennis previously worked as a Senior eLearning Architect for the 21st Century Information Fluency Program, which is sponsored by the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. He also teaches online professional development classes for the 21st Century Information Project and for the University of Wisconsin-Stout, where he is the program advisor for the E-learning and Online Teaching Graduate Certificate Program.

Last year, Carl and Dennis presented a similar lecture at NECC in San Antonio and the year before were recognized as a Best of the Best for their Power Searching workshop at NECC in Atlanta.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Finding E-Learning Jobs

man with a megaphone
Online teaching was the perfect part-time job for me.
E-learning and online teaching replaced coaching and after school clubs as a way to supplement my income. I loved it! I was working with great teachers from around the world and learning new things everyday. I also realized I was opening a door to a new career. Eventually, after 25 years in a traditional classroom, I decided to take early retirement, and pursue my passion for online teaching and learning full time.

Now I make my living online and enjoy a freedom and flexibility that once seemed like an impossible dream. Working online is everything I'd hoped for, and more. It didn't happen overnight, but it did happen. I made the change one step at a time. It took me awhile to figure out how to find work.

I've found that the key to an online career is a power triangle of essential elements:
  • Subject Matter Expertise
  • 21st Century Networking
  • E-learning and Teaching Experience

Power Triangle for E-Learning Success

power triangle

Subject Matter Expertise

Your expertise is rooted with your life, academic, and work experiences. If you are a teacher, your expertise is established by the courses you've taught and the degrees you hold. If you are a military, corporate or medical trainer your expertise is established by your subject specialization and the variety of training positions you've held.

An Graduate Certificate in E-Learning and Online Teacher documents a new area of subject matter expertise!

Building Your Network

Roughly 80% of your e-learning work will come from networking face to face and online.

Decision makers want to hire people they know. When they can't find someone they know personally they reach out to an extended network of trusted advisors. Many jobs go unadvertised or are created when a person with the right skills is discovered.

Building your networks will open the door to a new future.

5 Ways to Build Your Professional Network

1. Start where you work right now.
  • Let your professional circle know you are pursuing an e-learning certificate or a degree online.
  • Many participants in UW-Stout's E-Learning and Online Teaching program are offered new e-learning jobs where they are currently working..
2. Find Professional organizations and conferences.
  • Go to conferences and get to know others who share your professional interests.
  • Attend both face to face and online conferences (Webinars).
  • Have business cards printed and hand them out!
3. Become an online student.
  • Successful online students become successful online teachers.
  • Get to know your classmates.
  • Some of your strongest professional bonds will be with colleagues you meet in your online classes.
4. Be active in professional networks.
  • Join an online network dedicated to your specific professional interests.
  • Join job search oriented social networks.
5. Build your professional credibility with a website or e-portfolio*.
  • A professional presence on the Internet is important.
  • Build a classroom website.
  • Write a blog about an area of interest.
  • Create a wiki for collaborative projects
  • Show what you know with an e-portfolio.
*Those enrolled in the E-Learning and Online Teaching Certificate Program will build these components and moreduring their training.

E-Learning and Online Teaching Experience

The University of Wisconsin-Stout E-Learning and Online Teaching Graduate Certificate Program provides experience as both an online student and an online teacher.

You have a developed a skill set as a classroom teacher or trainer. However, teaching or training experience does not fully prepare you for the unique challenges of e-learning and online teaching.
  • Jumping into online teaching job without training can be a painful and frustrating experience.
  • You need experience as an onlne teacher and specialized training in facilitation techniques to develop the craft of effective online instruction.
As an online student:
  • You will experience the best practices of online learning.
  • You will learn how to develop a community of learners through intense collaboration and discussion.
  • You will build strong professional bonds with your colleagues.
  • You will work with highly trained master teachers who are dedicated to helping you grow and learn.
As an online teacher in training:
  • You create curriculum and assessments using Web 2.0 tools.
  • You facilitate small group discussions.
  • You practice the teaching skills in a supportive environment rich in timely feedback.
  • Each of the five classes is a model of the best practices of teaching and learning online.
The Certificate Practicum: Real World Experience
  • If you've never taught an online class, you'll teach with a mentor teacher in one of our online professional development classes.
  • If you are currently teaching or training online, we craft a program that offers you the course design or teaching skill feedback you most need.
  • Customized internships with K-12 Virtual Schools are also possible.
Build a future as a teacher and learner in the 21st Century! Join us and open the door to a new career!

UW-Stout's five-course E-Learning and Online Teaching Graduate Certificate focuses on the strategies and techniques of teaching online. The courses model best practices in e-learning with interactive discussions and hands-on experiences creating and using blogs, wikis, podcasts, and Moodle in K-12 education. The courses will benefit educators and trainers interested in designing online and blended courses or using Web-based components to enhance face-to-face instruction.

Courses are offered each semester (three times each year). All courses earn three graduate credits.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Get Organized with the best Online Tools

Time Management Tips in this post:

Getting to the Bottom of Your End of Semester To-Do List
Turn Gmail into a Task Manager
Get Organized with Remember the Milk
Try Toodledoo

Photo Credit

I'm the program advisor for the E-Learning and Online Teaching Graduate Certificate program at UW-Stout. I want to share this statement of values from the entire Online PD team. ~ Dennis

Note from The UW-Stout Online Professional Development Team:

How often do you get to spend quality time with other teachers discussing strategies, sharing ideas, and getting expert advice?

The Online Professional Development Team at UW-Stout knows that effective online learning is about building community and participating in highly interactive learning experiences. You won't wait weeks for a response to a posting or feedback on an assignment. Our instructors take pride in providing prompt, personal interaction with all participants.

Especially now when money is tight, we appreciate how important it is to make the right professional development choice. That's why everything we do at UW-Stout online has one purpose: to make sure your online class is an interesting, meaningful, and practical experience that energizes your teaching long after the class is over.

If you only invest in one course this year, make sure you get the best class for your time and money! Creating memorable learning experiences is our mission. Join us!

~ The Online Professional Development Team at UW-Stout

Time Management Tools

Get to the Bottom of Your To-Do List by Making it Tiny
Leo Babauta describes five reasons why a tiny to-do list helps you focus and get more accomplished.

Tech Tips

Getting Things Done with Gmail Tasks
Simon Mackie describes the handy new "share a task between lists" feature of

Gmail Tasks
. *Note that Gmail Tasks does not yet include the ability to prioritize tasks or to set up recurring tasks.

How To Turn Gmail into a Task Manager
Writing for Google Tutor, Christine Buske has some clever tips to share on how to create an ultra-organized t
ask-tracking system with Gmail's color-coded "superstars".

How to Get the Most Out of GMail Labs
Ben Parr describes new Gmail features worth trying, including: tasks, inserting images, and enabling offline access.

Get Organized with Remember the Milk
Gina Trapani describes the attractive features (including the ability to send text message reminders to y
our cellphone) that make this task management tool a top choice of many educators. See also: Remember the Milk in Gmail to learn how to use the Firebox extension to integrate Remember the Milk.

With Toodledo you can prioritize each item in your task list, set up recurring tasks, and create due dates. You can even export your list to XML or plain text and subscribe to its RSS feed.

Toodledoo Comparison Chart
See how Toodledoo's features compare to six other online task management tools, including Remember the Milk.

UW-Stout Online Course Spotlight
EDUC 744 949 Assessment for Learning
3 graduate credits June 15 - August 7, 2009
Looking for ways to balance the range of accountability expectations required of today's schools? Individual teachers, study teams, and administrators will gain insight into both misconce
ptions and appropriate uses of standardized tests, evaluate grading philosophy options, and investigate classroom assessments that support student growth.

What Our Students Are Saying
"I would like to say BRAVO! This course was nothing I thought it was going to be, but everything I needed it to be! Thank you for the many ideas and perspectives you have contributed to my 'toolbox'. This course has made an incredible impact on my grading philosophy. I am definitely taking those needed steps to focus on assessment FOR learning rather than assessment OF learning." ~ Michele, Math Teacher. Green Bay, Wisconsin

Register Now
Summer 2009 Online Courses
Participate from your home computer; no travel to campus is required.
Register Online

Note from Our Team

How often do you get to spend quality time with other teachers discussing strategies, sharing ideas, and getting expert advice?

The Online Professional Development Team at UW-Stout knows that effective online learning is about building community and participating in highly interactive learning experiences. You won't wait weeks for a response to a posting or feedback on an assignment. Our instructors take pride in providing prompt, personal interaction with all participants.

Especially now when money is tight, we appreciate how important it is to make the right professional development choice. That's why everything we do at UW-Stout online has one purpose: to make sure your online class is an interesting, meaningful, and practical experience that energizes your teaching long after the class is over.

If you only invest in one course this year, make sure you get the best class for your time and money! Creating memorable learning experiences is our mission. Join us!

~ The Online Professional Development Team at UW-Stout

Archives - back issues in case you missed the most recent newsletter.
Request Information Online

Contact: School of Education Online Professional Development
Phone: (715) 642-0209 or 715-232-2253
University of Wisconsin - Stout
Menomonie, WI 54751

NOTE: Web version

This is a repost of the Tech Tips Newsletter; Special thanks to Karen Franker, Editor!

Tech Tips Newsletter
May 7, 2009
Editor: Karen Franker

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Last Call: E-Learning and Online Teaching Graduate Certificate

University of Wisconsin-Stout
School of Education
Online Professional Development

E-Learning and Online Teaching Graduate Certificate

The five-course graduate certificate focuses on the strategies and techniques of teaching online. The courses model best practices in e-learning with interactive discussions and hands-on experiences creating and using blogs, wikis, podcasts, and Moodle in K-12 education. The courses will benefit educators and trainers interested in designing online and blended courses or using Web-based components to enhance face-to-face instruction.

Courses are offered three times each year. All courses are three graduate credits. The rec­ommended course sequence is:

Course 1: EDUC 760 E-Learning for Educators

Course 2: EDUC 762 Assessment in E-Learning

Course 3: EDUC 763 Instructional Design for E-Learning

Course 4: EDUC 761 Creating Collaborative Communities E-Learning

Course 5: EDUC 764 E-Learning Practicum

Any individual course may be completed as a single course for professional development.

All four courses and the practicum must be completed to receive the Certificate in E-Learning and Online Teaching.

The graduate certificate in e-learning may be used to fulfill the concentration requirement in UW-Stout's online Master of Science in Education degree program. This certificate program includes career mentoring and access to a databank of online teaching opportunities.

For More Information

Visit http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/elearningcertificate.html
If you have any questions, contact Dennis O'Connor, the program adviser, at (530) 318-1145 or email

Search/Browse List of 40 Additional Spring Online Graduate Courses for K-16 Educators
Check out the list of additional online classes. http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/courses.shtml
No travel to campus required.

Register Online Today
Register today to reserve a spot. Course enrollment is limited to 20 participants per section. http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/register.shtml

Select university billing and no payment is due until the week before the class begins.

E-Learning and Online Teaching Graduate Certificate

Where will you be a year from now?

The decision to return to graduate school for the UW-Stout E-Learning and Online Teaching Certificate isn’t made lightly. During hard economic times you can choose to stand pat or grow your teaching arts by seeking new ideas and opportunities. It’s not enough to simply be curious about teaching online.

You have to act now to learn the skills to swim in this 21st Century sea of change. The bottom line is to develop real experience and skills that open the door to new jobs and opportunities.

  • If you want to qualify for the best part time job a teacher can get; join our program.
  • If you want to deeply understand how to integrate the latest web technologies into your classroom, join our program.
  • If you want an edge in an uncertain job market, join our program.
  • If you want flexibility, opportunity, and intellectual challenge join our program.

Despite the economic downturn, there are many jobs available for those with online teaching experience and solid curricular subject matter expertise. Our program will provide you with the skills and real online teaching experience needed to break into this booming field.

The market for experienced online teachers at the K-12 level is red hot. Also more community college and university opportunities are developing everyday. As part of the UW-Stout E-Learning and Online Teaching Graduate Certificate Program you will receive hands on instruction along with current educational theory about distance learning. Job search advice and a steady stream of fresh job opportunities are being regularly updated on my blog at: http://doconnor.edublogs.org/category/e-learning-jobs/

If you want to work from home, love a challenge, enjoy technology, crave a change of pace and are seeking new horizons now is the time to become an online teacher. Join our program!

Questions? Concerns?

Call or email, I’m always happy to share information.

Summer courses begin in June. Registration is open now.

Join us!

Dennis O'Connor

Program Advisor

E-Learning & Online Teaching

School of Education

Online Professional Development

University of Wisconsin-Stout

Wisconsin's Polytechnic University

530-318-1145 (Cell)

Skype: wiredinstructor2


Friday, May 01, 2009

E-Learning Advice: Learn to write online content

After teaching hundreds of teachers to teach online, I've come to the conclusion that many won't learn how to chunk information on a page or write web friendly instructional materials based on simple modeling alone. I've assumed that seeing materials laid out in a web friendly manner, would cause e-learning teachers in training to to create materials using the principles outlined below.

Some catch on. They break text into clear short paragraphs. They use keyword headings, they write for scanning instead of deep reading.

However most don't get this seemingly simple idea. I hope this post helps more grasp the essentials of online writing!

    • 1. Write concisely and clearly.

        Because writing is a major, and sometime the only, channel of communication in an online class, the importance of clear and concise writing of the course materials cannot be over-emphasized. If one student finds a sentence unclear, the instructor will need to spend valuable additional time responding to clarify. Five or ten minutes of additional time for polishing a message or task instructions before distributing or publishing may save hours in clarifying later.

      • Writing for digital media is different from writing for print media. As pointed out in a Web writing guidebook “Hot Text: Web Writing That Works” (Price & Price, 2002), the text on screen is usually harder to read than on paper because of lower resolution and because the text appears and disappears in a moment as there can only be one page on screen at a time. Below is some of the advice from this book that relates most directly to online course material planning and creation.

        • Shorten the text:

        Cut any paper-based text by 50%;

        Make each paragraph short;

        Move vital but tangential or supplemental material to the sidebar;

        However, beware of cutting so far that you make the text ambiguous.

        • Make text scannable:

        Create a meaningful title;

        Insert meaningful headlines and subheads;

        Highlight key works, phrases, and links;

        Turn any series into a bulleted or numbered list.

ps: note to self: figure out how to make blogger fonts consistent! 8-)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Diigo tags: time management, e-learning

No time for Tech Illiterate Teachers...

I read the following Fischbowl post several years ago and it got my blood moving. The author, Karl Fisch lays it on the line. This post was voted the most influential ed-blog post of 2007.

  • It's 2009 already and Karl's 'semi-rant' blog post remains a very relevant piece of work. This is a must read for anyone interested in online teaching and learning!

  • This post is based on an annotated bookmark that was auto forwarded from Diigo where I've been working intensely with their great social bookmarking tools. You can see more of my Diigo work, and get a sense of the potential for this great tool by clicking the Diigo links below.

  • Let me add, that if you're reading this blog... you're at the front of the line and obviously working to understand and live in the 21st Century!)

    • Here is my list:

      1. All educators must achieve a basic level of technological capability.

      2. People who do not meet the criterion of #1 should be embarrassed, not proud, to say so in public.

      3. We should finally drop the myth of digital natives and digital immigrants. Back in July 2006 I said in my blog, in the context of issuing guidance to parents about e-safety:

      "I'm sorry, but I don't go for all this digital natives and immigrants stuff when it comes to this: I don't know anything about the internal combustion engine, but I know it's pretty dangerous to wander about on the road, so I've learnt to handle myself safely when I need to get from one side of the road to the other."
    • 4. Headteachers and Principals who have staff who are technologically-illiterate should be held to account.

      5. School inspectors who are technologically illiterate should be encouraged to find alternative employment.

      6. Schools, Universities and Teacher training courses who turn out students who are technologically illiterate should have their right to a licence and/or funding questioned.

      7. We should stop being so nice. After all, we've got our qualifications and jobs, and we don't have the moral right to sit placidly on the sidelines whilst some educators are potentially jeopardising the chances of our youngsters.
    • If a teacher today is not technologically literate - and is unwilling to make the effort to learn more - it's equivalent to a teacher 30 years ago who didn't know how to read and write.

      Extreme? Maybe. Your thoughts?
    • Keep in mind that was written after a particularly frustrating day. I’ve gone back and forth on this issue myself. At times completely agreeing with Terry (and myself above), and at other times stepping back and saying that there’s so much on teacher’s plates that it’s unrealistic to expect them to take this on as quickly as I’d like them to. But then I think of our students, and the fact that they don't much care how much is on our plates. As I've said before, this is the only four years these students will have at our high school - they can't wait for us to figure it out.
    • In order to teach it, we have to do it. How can we teach this to kids, how can we model it, if we aren’t literate ourselves? You need to experience this, you need to explore right along with your students. You need to experience the tools they’ll be using in the 21st century, developing your own networks in parallel with your students. You need to demonstrate continual learning, lifelong learning – for your students, or you will continue to teach your students how to be successful in an age that no longer exists
    • If a teacher today is not technologically literate - and is unwilling to make the effort to learn more - it's equivalent to a teacher 30 years ago who didn't know how to read and write.

Diigo tags: e-learning, professional-development, technology integration, 21cif, information fluency

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Create Engaging Content With Free Video Tools

Photo Credit

The ability to capture screen images and create video tutorials is of tremendous value in creating engaging learning experiences.

UStream: create live interactive broadcasts

Jing: capture and record screen images (must download and install free software)

ScreenToaster: capture and record screen images

7 Things You Should Know About….Screencasting (PDF file)
The Educause staff answers top questions about screencasting, including: who is doing it, how does it work, why is it significant, and what are the implications for teaching and learning.

7 Things You Should Know About ….Ustream (PDF file)
The Educause staff provides an overview of the free broadcasting tool Ustream, including technical requirements and how UStream enhances interactive instruction.

Teaching With Jing
Elaine Settergren’s Slideshare presentation shows how easy it is to use Jing to capture screen images, comment on students’ work and create short video tutorials.

Top 10 THINGS to Do With JINGS
Mike Curtis shares a list of creative ways to use Jing, including giving verbal feedback on assignments, capturing information, and recording computer problems for tech support staff.

Use ScreenToaster to Create a Video Lesson
R.M. Byrne shares examples of a video lesson on plate tectonics recorded in ScreenToaster by educator Joe Robinson.

ScreenToaster Adds Support For YouTube Uploads, MOV downloads
Brad Linder describes the latest enhancements to ScreenToaster, including uploading videos to YouTube, setting privacy levels and sharing videos via social networking sites.

Tech Tip: Automatically Open Favorite Websites on Startup in IE7 and Firefox

For quick and easy access to your most frequently-used Websites, you can set up Internet Explorer and Firefox to automatically open those sites in new tabs every time you start up the browser.

For Internet Explorer 7:

1. Go to the Tools menu and choose Internet Options.

2. Click on the General tab. In the white space below the Home page caption, type in (or copy and paste) the URL’s of your most frequently-accessed Websites. Be sure to type each address on its own line.

3. Click OK.

4. Close Internet Explorer, then open it, and all of the URLs that you entered will open in separate tabs in the order in which you typed them.

For Firefox:

1. Go to the Tools menu and choose Options. (Mac users, go to the Firefox menu and choose Preferences.)

2. Click on the Main icon, and in the Home Page text box type in your favorite URLs in the order that you want them to open. Be sure to separate each URL with a pipe mark “|” (located above the Enter key).

3. Quit out of Firefox, re-open it, and your selected favorite pages will open in separate tabs.

Announcement - Register Soon for Summer Online Courses
University of Wisconsin-Stout
School of Education Online Professional Development

Search/Browse 40 Online Courses Starting in June
Participate from your home computer; no travel to campus is required. Select university billing, and no payment is due until summer session begins.

Request Information Online
Phone: (715) 642-0209 or 715-232-2253

E-Learning and Online Teaching Certificate Courses

If you're wondering, "How do I become an online teacher? or Where can I receive professional development about teaching online?" Sign up soon to reserve your spot in UW-Stout's summer
e-learning and online teaching courses.

Online Registration


Reposted with permission. Originally Posted in Tech Tips for Educators by Karen Franker, Editor @ 4/8/09

Friday, April 10, 2009

What if learning could be as fun as Appy Newz?

I hear many teachers complain about the blank-eyed apathy they see in their students everyday.

I also know that there a many classrooms where the excitement is tangible and the eyes of all are on fire with interest. Clubbing creativity and innovation to death for the last 8 years has taken a toll on teachers and students. Perhaps it's time to shake a little disruptive technology on that bland test driven curriculum?

What if learning could be as fun as Appy Newz?

How many schools have banned cell phones? How many teachers squirm in rage while the kids text under their desks?

Why not flip that angst and energy into an embrace for Mobile Learning? Check out Apple's Mobile Learning and iTunes U

Live, right now, and in your face...

So stop writing that grant you need to buy response clickers. All that shaking going on is from the remarkable disruptive technology of smart phones and apps. (Response Clickers? Why not just let the kids text their responses with live polling?)

Ok, I'll give up this much, iTunes U and Live polling won't be as much fun as shaking it up with Appy Newz! But they will help banished the dreaded 1000-yard stare of kids counting the minutes until they can get out of class and learn something!

The Professor will now fall off his soapbox!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

IOC 2009 Online Conference for Teaching and Learning on March 30 and 31, 2009.

Please join us for the 7th Annual International Online Conference (IOC) for Teaching and Learning on March 30 and 31, 2009. IOC 2009 features wonderful speakers, an exciting new format, and a truly global program. The emphasis is on sharing, networking and generating a universe of ideas that everyone can use immediately in their practice.

The event will take place entirely over the Internet on March 30 & 31, 2009 - with live sessions conveniently scheduled for participants around the world.

For more information visit: http://www.internationalonlineconference.org/

IOC 2009 includes a variety of ways to connect with and learn from colleagues. Each day will feature live online presentations during which you interact with panelists and peers. All sessions will be recorded and posted immediately for those who cannot attend live. Keynotes include:

*** Dr. Stephen D. Brookfield, best-selling author, will explore "Learning as a Way of Leading: Lessons from the Struggle for Social Justice", a presentation based on a book by the same name (co-authored by Stephen Preskill). Dr. Brookfield's session is sponsored by Jossey-Bass.

*** Stephanie Norby of Smithsonian Education joins us live online for a tour of the many free teaching resources available online from the Smithsonian museums. Regardless of the discipline you teach, Norby's guided exploration will undoubtedly yield treasures that will engage your learners.

*** Michael Coghlan, E-learning Facilitator for TAFE South Australia and independent E-learning Consultant, will offer his keen insights on online learning and his hands-on and innovative approach to connected education.

The complete program and schedule is found here:


The cost to participate in this unique learning experience is only $99 USD, with discounts available for groups of 5 or more.

Register now at: http://www.internationalonlineconference.org

The sponsors of IOC 2009 include LearningTimes, Illinois Online Network (ION), Illinois Community Colleges Online (ILCCO), Lake Land College, and Jossey-Bass. There are several opportunities available for organizations to interact with participants and exhibit their products and services during IOC. Write to ioc@learningtimes.net for details.

IOC 2009 promises to deliver yet again with timely topics and engaging speakers sure to have an immediate impact on the work you do every day. We look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Information Fluency Online Classes: Begins February 9, 2009

Powersearching in a Web 2.0 World Power-Searching In a Web 2.0 World

| 4 weeks | $99

This is a 4 week overview class suitable for beginning, intermediate, and advanced searchers.
  • We use discussions, open-book quizzes, interactive glossaries, and learning games to teach information fluency.

  • You will learn to search, evaluate, and ethically use online materials

  • We will help you locate materials specific to your needs.

  • We will show you how to investigate the credibility of the resources you find online.

  • We will help you create a personal search engine based on the online materials you select.

  • Our materials are designed to help you teach these skills to your own audience.

  • Join us! It's fun!

Introduction to Google Docs Beta Introduction to Google Docs

| 1 week | $40

This is a one week introduction to the essentials of Google Documents designed for those who have never used Google Docs. If you're using Google Docs and need some guidance we can help you learn how to use this powerful (and complex) online tool.

  • Learn to create and share online documents using Google's powerful and free document sharing tools.

  • Learn to use earlier revisions of a document.

  • Learn how to create a webpage from a Google document.

  • Ask questions and find answers working with an online facilitator.

  • Access a rich set of educator resources that will help you teach with Google Docs

Frequently Asked Questions

How many hours a week will this take?

Courses take about 5 hours per week. (You can certainly spend more time if you wish.)

Will I be working alone or with a group?

You'll be working with an online teacher who monitors the course on a daily basis. Our classes are fully moderated. That means you're working with a facilitator and other members of the class to learn together. You'll be able to get help, ask questions, and learn from both the facilitator and other participants.

What if I've never taken an online class?

We have an information rich, but low pressure learning environment. This class is a good introduction to learning online. Many of your classmates will be taking their first online course. Try it!

How will we learn online?

We take a hands-on approach. We use the Moodle online learning management system to organize and present our courses. Moodle is a popular online learning environment used around the world.
  • You follow a set of instructions that explain the goals and objectives of the course.

  • You watch online videos demonstrating essential concepts.

  • You refer to a glossary of technology terms to acquire a professional vocabulary.

  • The PowerSearching class uses discussion forums, learning games, and open book quizzes to introduce the concepts.

  • All classes have a Question and Answer forum that is monitored daily by your instructor.

What kind of technology do I need?

  • You need a reliable Internet connection.

    • We recommend a high speed connection.

    • Those using dial-up connects will need patience as the web-based materials load.

  • You need a MacIntosh or PC with an updated web browser.

    • MacIntosh with Safari or Firefox

    • PC with Firefox or Internet Explorer.

    • (Most other browsers work with our Moodle learning management system.)

    • You will also need an up dated version of Adobe's free Flash Player.

  • It is very convenient if you have access to an Internet computer at home and at work.

    • However this is not a requirement for success.

What kind of computer skills do I need?
  • You should be able to navigate the Internet with your web browser.

  • You should be able to use email.

  • You should be familiar with word processing fundamentals.

  • You should be interested in learning new communication concepts.

  • By the end of the course you'll know more about both the course topic and web 2.0 concepts!

  • It really help to be curious!

How long will I have access to the materials?

We leave the course open for at least three months after the class end date. You can return and browse the resources on your own schedule.

Is Course Credit is available?

  • Illinois Educators can earn CDPU's for our courses.

  • Educators from outside of Illinois can earn CEU's

  • No additional charge for credit.

    • However you must complete the required number of course assignments.

  • You can audit this class. (But you'll learn more with full participation.)

  • (College credit is not available at this time.)

Can I preview the courses?

Yes, follow the link below. When prompted, login as a guest. This allows you to see an outline version of the courses without enrolling.

How do I enroll & pay?

Follow the link below to set up your personal 21CIF Moodle account.

  • After you set up your account we will send you a confirmation email.

  • You will then be able to enroll and pay for the class of your choice.

  • We accept major credit cards.

    • We use a PayPal based secure payment system.

    • You do not need to become a PayPal member to use this system.

    • Your credit card information is not stored by PayPal or Information Fluency Partners.

  • When you complete the payment and registration process you will be able to login to your class.

  • The full course is available on the course opening date.

  • To pay by invoice contact: carl@21cif.com.

Do you have free materials?

Yes, almost all of our materials are free online at 21cif.com. You'll find many years of research based curriculum materials on our site. We support our research project by offering online classes, conference presentations, and custom online programming for educational and corporate clients.

Click here to visit our list of online classes. (Login as Guest to preview the courses)

21st Century Information Fluency and Moodle