We started with Flashmeeting where Lisa and Mary said hi and told us about twitter and flashmeeting. (You can view the replay of the flashmeeting here). This is a summary and doesn’t include the great discussion and explanation we had at the same time.

Flashmeeting is available to UK schools though if you ask them nicely for a worthy cause they may allow you to use it. Other options are available – if you know of any do comment below.

Lisa mentioned a tool called voki and a few other tools were mentioned.

Next we looked at Twitter. www.twitter.com used by both Lisa (@lisibo) and Mary (@moodlehotpotato). I’m also on twitter as @nstone.

Next was blogging – we looked at www.posterous.com www.wordpress.com and spoke about www.blogger.com

Next wikis – we looked at www.pbwiki.com and www.wetpaint.com and mentioned sites.google.com

We had a quick run through google docs for creating documents and form docs.google.com

We finished off with a quick look at two virtual environments, First Class (commercial paid for service) and Moodle. For anyone wanting to try out moodle ninehubs.com offers free basic moodle pages.

We had a chat about what is best to create a basic webpage and wikis and blogs both came up as simple solutions.

Finally we watched the shift happens video!

Thanks for all the wonderful contributions both online and in the room – please keep contributing and let us know what you’ve tried, succeeded and even failed with!
Good luck.

All resources from the Limmud session “A beginners guide to Israeli politics” are up online at http://needlestone.com/limmud/politics.htm

Additionally as the February election nears it’s worth keeping an eye on Newspapers www.jpost.com and www.haaretz.com who will no doubt publish guides and advice.

A bit of a cheeky blog post or just making the most of my online network?

In about 6 hours from now I’m running a session described in our conference book as

e-Tools, e-Learning, and e-Communication for e-veryone

The presenter will show some amazing and free e-tools that you can use for learning, teaching, networking, community building and communicating in your life, shuls, schools and organisations. If you’ve examples to show off please bring them along to share. Laptops welcome but optional. All levels welcome.

Read the rest of this entry »

Below is a summary of the session of 28th December from Limmud Conference

Participants:

1x school e-learning person

1x organiser of business e-learning systems

1x open university professor using e-learning

1x enthusiastic user

1x English teacher in Israel

1x Director of Jerusalem cultural institute

 

Presentation of Ideas to get started

On limmud:

Streaming sessions live internationally

Resources from sessions (eg powerpoints)

Pre-session reading/resources

After Limmud:

Specific online discussions following on from sessions

Recorded (video or audio) sessions online

Year Round:

Online one off sessions video (webinars) or chat based

Series of online classes

Online chavruta discussion

taste of limmud discussions

Online Conference:

E-limmud one or two day worldwide online conference. Could be available in a range of time zones big or small.

 

Comments:

people don’t have to travel and it can be interactive

infrastructure – could be expensive and complicated but commercial stuff is available

copyright and licensing issues? Need presenters permission.

Lots of religious stuff online – not so much secular – limmud could fit in the non-religious side

Why do it? Need clear rationales and objectives.

People pick and choose different things – having a range of unexpected things online would be good recreating the limmud experience – interaction, creating a community.

Extending current online groups

building into what already exists – feeding limmud experiences in currently available networks

extending Limmud not competing

 

you go to great sessions on limmud and for an hour create a community, then at the end of the session your community ends and that’s it- a way of continuing what is going on.

 

Using a system of blogs, updating blogs before a session for “pre-reading” and then after the session on a blog.

 

Need to make sure it’s adapted to everyone. Keep it simple where possible.

 

Monthly online event. Webinar one off to try it out.

 

Website is very static – alpine plant website is more interesting as it’s updated regularly!

 

environmentally friendly

 

a series of milestones needed:

 

Situation in Israel would be of interest to many

 

Open university short course template – takes time but create something simple could be used.

 

Accessibility – print button available

 

  • webinars – what are the best presenters. What would they be willing to do online.

  • Taste of limmud

– discussion about this limmud

– Improvements to website to make it more interactive – blog online

  • Online community

 

rolling guest bloggers to allow for commenting.

Open University may be interested in collaborating long term but there is a way to go before Limmud is ready!

Limmud Conference 2008

Posted on December 27th, 2008 in limmud | 1 Comment »

This post is a little out of sync to the rest of my blog but I hope it may be of interest to regular readers. I’m off from Sunday to Thursday to the annual Limmud conference. It’s quite hard to explain Limmud conference, I’ll try but I recommend reading this recent article from the Guardian education supplement. Limmud is a Jewish conference attended by over 2000 people each year. Though every session in the day is timetabled it’s not all that formal. Anyone can go to any session they choose and anyone can apply to run a session on pretty much anything they want. At the busiest times of day, in one hour, there can be a choice of 30 sessions to go to on anything from Jewish texts to a masterclass with a musician. See here for a random example from this year’s programme. What’s amazing is not just the diversity of learning opportunities and experiences but also the diversity of participants and of course the fact that it is almost entirely organised, every year, by teams of volunteers. The model has now caught on and has been replicated in over 40 communities worldwide. It is also constantly evolving and improving.

My involvement with Limmud each year has been slightly different. This year I’ve volunteered to give a number of sessions. One on e-tools for education and community, one aimed at building an international network of people to work on e-learning for Limmud conference, one on Israeli politics for beginners (a little side interest of mine) and two networking/support sessions for Jewish teachers.

Overall it’s going to be a busy and I hope fun week. I’ll be linking to some of my session resources here. Apologies for regular readers (if there are any!) looking for articles about e-learning in school. I’ll be categorising the short Limmud posts under the category Limmud so feel free to set your RSS readers to ignore them!

Using Google Sites in School

Posted on December 26th, 2008 in VLE | 8 Comments »

We’ve recently created accounts for every student at Google apps for education. We registered a new domain for this at www.rickyschool.com . This provides e-mail, google docs, google start page, google calendar and google sites for all users. I’m still not 100% sure what it will be used for long term but I am convinced there are so many potential applications. Tom Barrett’s blog gives many of his examples of use and I’m sure few of these were thought of by the developers or even by Tom when he first started.

My first week with google sites has been rather inspiring. It’s a nifty and simple tool for building websites. It’s so easy to use and it’s got loads of features built in. It has plenty of great, pretty, ready made templates (all fully customisable). It also makes it really easy to embed google docs, youtube videos and loads of other widgets. Apart from ease of use it’s also collaborative. If you have a school wide google apps setup, pages are by default editable by all users (though it’s very easy to turn this off). There are four great ways I can envision google sites being used for schools.

  1. For students to create great looking websites for school projects.

  2. For students to work collaboratively on school projects.

  3. For students to create their own personal online spaces.

  4. For students to have online eportfolios of work.

Though google sites is a potentially great and simple solution to creating eportfolios (there is a ready made template available when a new page is created called “filing cabinet” for placing files in) I am most excited about number 3. It’s my ‘dream’ to have a VLE that is customisable and editable by students. Sadly this is very hard to achieve as most VLEs are teacher run and allowing students to run their own personal spaces individually can be very tricky to set up. (Though I have seen some commercial VLEs that allow this although not without problems). Google sites let students create sites about whatever they want and when a site is created a user can label the page with one or more categories. When users view a list of all sites they see a list of all categories and can choose ones they are interested in. Though we’ll have to train students to use sites sensibly and monitor any problems this could be the online student space I have been looking for.

Google sites, lots of potential for teaching and learning but even more potential for students creating their own content and personal space.

To see a little more about google sites take a look at this short screencast introduction I made earlier.

Update: Thanks for the comments- Lisa Thumann put a link to this useful presentation