This blog has moved

I’ve moved this blog to the new LearnTel website. All posts have been moved and can be accessed through the search function. All pages have also been transferred and merged into the new site.

This site will remain accessible, but please update your bookmarks/RSS/subscriptions to http://learntel.com.au/blog/ for current posts.

Vodcasting

This is a great site devoted to teaching educators how to use podcasts and vodcasts to increase student achievement.

The site is the brainchild of Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams who are pioneers in the field of using vodcasts in the classroom. They have devised a new method of teaching called Pre-Vodcasting. In this model, students watch vodcasts at home and class time is spent in engaging hands-on activities and directed problem solving. Both Jonathan  and Aaron are High School Science teachers in Woodland Park Colorado, at the base of Pikes Peak.

Thus far, students using the Pre-Vodcasting model have been very successful in mastering Chemistry. Jonathan & Aaron believe that all teachers can benefit from vodcasting their lessons live, and that their Pre-Vodcasting model can revolutionise instruction in a variety of subjects.

Hop onto the Creating the Vodcast page to learn about the software and hardware you’ll need.

The Posting the Vocasts page will give you lots of tips and ways of sharing your vodcasts.

Photo by bigyahu.

Wolfram Alpha “course assistant” apps

You’ve probably seen or heard of Wolfram Alpha – which was released in May 2009. Wolfram Alpha is an online answer engine that answers factual queries  by computing the answer from structured data, rather than providing a list of documents or web pages that might contain the answer as Google would. Below is a video that overviews what Wolfram is & how it works.

I took another look to see how Wolfram was coming along. Below are a couple of searches I ran to see what would turn up – click on the links if you want to see the results – or run your own search..

Koala vs Bear – this gave me the scientific names of each, a taxonomy, biological properties and a picture of a bear (no koala). It also gave a graphical representation of the taxonomies.

Sydney, NSW, Australia to Washington, VA, USA was a much more interesting search. It gave me travel times, map, times, populations and geographic properties.

You can see a whole range of searches here.

It’s an interesting tool and it signals the way of online searching for the future. However one of the most interesting developments is that they’re developing “course assistant” apps for every major course – from elementary school to graduate school. Below are a couple of screen shots of the Algebra app – read more at the Wolfram Alpha blog.

New blog name & focus

iStock old camera man 11686411It’s five years since I started this blog and things have changed and developed greatly since then. My original focus was video and web conferencing, but over the past couple of years my interests have expanded to include the use of video in all its forms – particularly with the new Web 2.0 and social media tools.

So….. in line with this, I’ve decided to expand the horizons of this blog to include all things video – particularly as it pertains to learning.

Videoconferencing will still be a topic I’ll refer to often, but expect to see more about visual communication and collaboration in general – reflected in the new blog title.

I started the Visual Communication Community last year – you might like to join that online group (free). It’s a place to share thoughts and ideas about visual communication. There are currently over 100 members and growing steadily.

I look forward to discussing visual communication and collaboration here also.

Time for a break

It’s time for a break. To those of you in the Northern part of the world – I’m fondly remembering my White Christmas last year (1st picture). But this year I’ll be back to my usual Christmas/New Year break at the beach (2nd picture). Enjoy your break wherever you are.