Saturday, 31 July 2010

BLT! I like that. (The new webtools site).

Once upon a time there was ILT. Then it became e-learning or elearning and now it's . . . well . . . both and yet neither one nor the other. I've always liked information learning technology. It says it all - technology, learning, information. I suppose it could be argued that NLN got it right with their Learning Technology team, of which I was a member for a while. E-learning has always confused people and required us to spend the first 20 minutes defining it at the start of sessions and our colleagues from other parts of the planet think e-learning is distance learning or variations on the theme anyway. Which is fine too but all this hyphenated stuff is very 90s now. If you have to think up a term to describe something then your time's better used thinking up ways to use it. So I'm going back to ILT and good old web tools. Oh, hang on, they're apps now. Back to Square One.

Whatever it's called, we want tutors to use IT. Students expect it. They like accessing notes, tasks and anything they missed and want to look at again in their own home, with a friend or just somewhere other than the classroom at 9am. Or the library where they can't make any noise. Or the IT Workshop where they need the ID card they've forgotten and the computers probably don't have their familiar software, especially browsers, anyway.

All that's needed is to get a baseline of course materials on-line somewhere, make them look attractive, quick to load and simple to find. There are lots of great tools out there to make using learning technology easy for even the least enthusiastic tutor.

I've updated the webtools site and it's now all about what I'm going to call BLT. Brilliant learning technology. What you can do now is amazing and there's not a moodle upload or log-in in sight! The concept's unchanged: office-type, planning, research, media and web design applications listed in categories. All are free and almost all ad free. You are encouraged to review them, make comments and these you can now do using forms on most pages. I've dropped the PBworks wiki pages for this as it was quite hard work adding new pages both there and on the site plus links between them for every new entry. Instead, I'm using Google forms which will publish responses through the site. Good examples people have supplied of apps in action I shall retain and make links to them on the appropriate pages. The wiki will stay but I'll redevelop it as it is one of my favourite BLTs in its own right.

So, go and get your images sorted out and resized, find or even make a video, add them to some cool web pages showing students how to be really smart in their research so they can complete your course for which, of course, you have put everything on-line somewhere, haven't you. Ah, forgot . . you'll need to plan all that but, yes, there'll be a tool for that!

Enjoy the new site!

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