Making the Case for Online Learning

The FELTAG report recommends that we move to a 50% online model and I am sure a large number of educators ask “what’s the rush?” and “What are the benefits greater than what we already do?”. I could offer a number of answers, that are rather obvious, such as…

  • “What do we need to push us forward to catchup with our US cousins? another government mandate?” – It’s actually refreshing to have something worthwhile but with us ‘trailblazing’
  • “We can offer what we have to a diverse range of learners” – not to mention re-invigorate our own materials (your thinking of that colleague that has that photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopied resource!

But a recent TED talk by Daphne Koller says it all and much more whilst enticing top universities to put their most intriguing courses online for free with Coursera (cofounded by Andrew Ng). The lessons learnt make for interested observations. Daphne’s TED talk is certainly worth a watch-

What I did take way from the TED talk (given the complexity of requirements for Cousera) is that more than ever we will need Domain Experts (Educators) to organise, deliver and help develop the course materials with their strong understanding of teaching & learning but with a firm understanding of technology with the support of Technologists that can put in place the infrastructures and guide  others to what is possible whilst having a firm understanding of teaching & learning! The lines are becoming, and rightly so, blurred (no humming a certain tune please!) and we are going to be working in tandem for the good of our learners and not see technologists as a service.



Eastern (UK) Region e-Fair

I am not going to re-invent the wheel, so below is the blurb for the upcoming Eastern (UK) Region e-Fair, where I will be delivering one of the workshops. Want to get involved then read on…

On 3rd July, South Essex College, the lead partner for The Learning Consortium which is commissioned and funded by The Education and Training Foundation, will be hosting the annual Eastern region e-Fair at our new campus in Grays. The theme for the event is digital curriculum design. The recommendations of the FELTAG report have highlighted that FE and Skills providers need to be planning and implementing innovative models of delivery using technology. Therefore, the purpose of this event is to highlight examples and strategies for practitioners of how this can be achieved.

The event is free to attend for all FE and Skills providers in the region. There will be a range of key speakers (more info below) as well as workshops delivered by colleagues from the sector. There will also be colleagues showcasing their good practice in the use of learning technology in our Show and Tell area.

To view the agenda and confirm your place CLICK HERE

Like every year, the success of this event depends on the contributions from the region. If you would like to run a hands-on workshop or perhaps would just like a stall to showcase what you have been doing at your organisation, please fill out one of the respective forms below:

Workshop form –

Show and Tell –


Key speakers

 Bryan Mathers – Think Out Loud club

Bryan is a learning technology guru who in part is an advisor to City & Guilds on embedding technology into learning design and is a lead support for the Think Out Loud club.  The club brings together other evangelists who share successes and pain to support each other on the Further Education sector’s journey to becoming more digital. In addition to this Bryan is heavily involved in another venture – Wapisasa.

Wapisasa is a digital agency – but probably not like any you may have seen before. For a start, Wapisasa is a non-profit organisation (Community Interest Company) focused on the development of young people (Rookies) with aptitude, creativity and enthusiasm. We use Mozilla Open Badges to map out a personalised pathway, and to recognise their learning and development. Each week, one day is set aside for self-directed interest-led learning, in the form of a Maker Day.


Stephen Heppell: Stephen is a leading voice on the role of ICT in learning and is Professor of New Media Environments at the Centre for Excellence in Media Practice. He leads pedagogic research at the Centre and supervises PhD students. Previously, Stephen spent around a quarter of a century building Ultralab, which established an exceptional, unique, reputation as a world leading learning technology research centre. He later went on to head his own policy, research and practice consultancy which advises governments and national agencies throughout the world on the strategic development of ICT (


Stephan Caspar: Stephan is the lead for Media Development at Southampton University. Having previously worked in FE where he supported staff to make effective use of technology in their delivery. Currently he is working on content creation for MOOCs and the Southampton Learning Environment as well as producing their own podcasts, teaching students how to make videos with their phones, making short films to support funding bids, capturing lectures, conferences and events.



Dodocool 2.4GHz Wireless Cordless Presenter

I look after my tech, but I have misplaced my presenter pointer. An old Genius Pointer that allowed you to control media players, the mouse pointer, left and right mouse click… you name it, it had it! but it was an old unwieldy thing that ate batteries when you needed them most.  It often messed with your head as you fought to put into one mode from another. and it hated Prezi.


Sometimes life throws you what seems like disaster only to be rewarded with fortune. Enter in my new Dodocool 2.4GHz Wireless Cordless Presenter with red laser I am not expecting it to usher in a new age of technology. But it does do what I need, without bells and whistles….

  • Desicated on/off switch (hopefully less dud batteries)
  • Only takes an AAA battery and is extremely light, and small
  • forward/back buttons
  • Open/ close to Full screen (equiv.F5)
  • Blank Screen
  • Lazer pointer
  • Prezi friendly
  • website friendly (scroll & refresh)
  • Adapter for the PC lights up and stows away in the battery compartment

Uncomplicated and fairly versatile, without the complications. And one that I would not be to upset if I lost!