Yesterday I got the opportunity to speak again at the Chisholm Institute ‘Ripple’ Conference at the Mt Eliza Business School, overlooking Port Phillip Bay; this time with a focus on what e-learning looks like to me now and how can help support teachers through change.
Last year I focused on the students who were coming in to tertiary institutions from k-12 schools and what that meant for learning environments. This year my focus was more on the teachers. It was a beautiful spring day, maybe the first real spring day this year, and the conference was well run with a group of teachers who wanted to be there.
A while ago Google purchased the wiki engine Jotspot and I was wondering where they would go with this tool. I registered interest in the next stage of this development and his week I got an email saying that Google had launched Google Sites. I’m not totally convinced yet, it seems to want to default to some kind of enterprise mode that encompasses your whole school, but it certainly has potential in that wiki space world.
Google Sites is the latest offering from Google Apps, a suite of products designed to improve communication and collaboration amongst employees, students, and groups. Google Sites makes creating a team web site as easy as editing a document. You can quickly gather a variety of information in one place — including videos, calendars, presentations, attachments, and gadgets — and easily share it for viewing or editing with a small group, their entire organization, or the world.
To get started with Google Sites, you’ll first need to sign up for the Google Apps edition that’s right for you (if you’re not already a Google Apps user). Start the sign-up process at:
The Australian today published an article sourced from The Independent called ‘The end of email; discover new ways to stay in touch’, which focuses on new communication modes, particularly the use of collaborative websites like wikis or google documents to facilitate effective team work.
The article gives some interesting examples of companies that have moved from an email communication paradigm to using a wiki, or gogle docs successfully. Instant messaging also gets a mention as an alternative to the over-stuffed inbox approach to life.
This comes as I hear more and more teachers talking about drowning in an email deluge and many of us look for wiki tools that can be effectively integrated with our existing systems.
This is one of those tools that grows in usefulness the more you use it. It’s basically a mini wiki that runs on your computer and I use it grab little snippets of daily information which I can tag or archive.
I began using it just to grab notes on telephone conversations and I liked it because it lives in a Firefox tab in my browser, which is basically where I live. It grew from there and it can be modified to set up a fairly decent GTD (getting things done) interface. I previously used a great little bit of software called Treepad (and later Evernote) to hold things like passwords, snippets of text, to-do lists etc. but the nice thing about Tiddlywiki is that it’s there in the browser, just an .html file which you can search very quickly and easily.
It allows anyone to create personal SelfContained hypertext documents that can be posted to a WebServer, sent by email or kept on a USB thumb drive to make a WikiOnAStick. Because it doesn’t need to be installed and configured it makes a great GuerillaWiki.
You can read more and download the empty tiddlywiki file to begin HERE
Couldn’t help but notice a spring in the step of students and staff today as the long, dark winter term comes to a close. I almost couldn’t keep my mind on a good discussion about wiki features today, thinking about having a few days down the coast re-charging the batteries.