Browse Month by January 2011

Scan this….

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I’m all excited. I’ve discovered QR codes.

Well, I haven’t just discovered QR codes. I have been aware of them for some time and have ‘played’ with them using an App on my iPhone. What I meant to say was I’ve just discovered how to use them for something tangible and very useful.

It’s been a very busy couple of days planning for Learning Technologies next week where the we have a stand; we were tasked with designing brand new posters for the event advertising our eLearning courses. Well, needless to say, I was in my element. My creative ideas were going wild and my two worlds started to collide. Technology and art.

I also have more than a little interest in marketing. It’s not a professional interest you understand but I am fascinated by it. Bearing in mind that I love simplicity in my designs, I was trying to think of an effective way of providing extra information without covering the posters in text – a big mistake a lot of people make, confusing the reader. Then I had a brainwave. What about using QR codes to link to contextually specific information from our website. And what a perfect venue for the trial. A conference where technology is the heart of everything.

I couldn’t wait to try it out and the first idea was to create a label with a QR code to stick to the back of my business cards. When scanned, this code will take my networking connections straight to my LinkedIn profile.

So now we have four posters, each with a barcode unobtrusively on the bottom corner and high-tech (well nearly) business cards.

I used Kaywa to create my QR codes as recommended by Phil Vincent from Sheffield University (thanks Phil). Phil also uses Goo.gl but I’ve not tried this yet.

The Apps I have are Bakodo and QR Code Reader from ShopSavvy

I will be very interested to hear other creative uses for QR codes you have. I can already think of some for learning – have you?

The New Learning Architect – a review

I’m very excited….. I’ve just received Clive Shepherd’s new book The New Learning Architect which is now available from Lulu and on the Kindle.

I’m going to be digesting Clive’s work over the next week or so and will post my own humble thoughts on it. In the meantime though, I thought it would be a good opportunity to re-introduce you to Clive’s Blended Learning Cookbook.

With the need to do more for less in this current economic climate businesses are increasingly coming under more and more pressure to continue to equip their workforce with the knowledge and skills to perform in difficult circumstances. Clive Shepherd’s book is an excellent place to start if you need some practical advice to provide more efficient learning and development solutions but at the same time, maintaining effective learning to take place.

The book is a refreshingly clear explanation that cuts through the fog by determining exactly what blended learning really is. It is written with an unbiased view of media which so many others fail to do. It will open up a whole new range of opportunities to organisations that is beyond what we might call traditional training methods. After all, it’s about blended LEARNING not blended TRAINING.

What it doesn’t do, and rightly so, is insist that a blended solution HAS to include specific delivery methods to be a true blend; for example, blended learning isn’t just combining classroom and eLearning which is a common misconception.

What makes this book the most valuable asset to anyone involved in providing learning solutions, whether classroom designers, eLearning designers, trainers, managers, senior managers or freelancers is take you back to basics and keeps you focused on the learning rather than the media. Quality learning has too often taken a back seat in the struggle to find cheaper, quicker ways of delivering training. This book shows you how to keep the balance.

The reason it is a ‘cook book’ is that it gives a rich collection of real blended examples – or recipes to follow. There are plenty and I’m guessing there will be one that will be close to the situation you are currently facing. Even when we eventually rise out of the current downturn, The Blended Learning Cookbook will prove a useful, well-thumbed reference for its recipes.

Without having read Clive’s new book The New Learning Architect yet apart from the back cover and Clive’s own blog posts about it, I’m anticipating that it will take blended learning beyond formal training solutions to a more appropriate and integrated approach to development that reflects how we live and work today.

Learning cup-cakes

Image by Debbie Ryan from Pixabay

A modern recipe for today’s learning.

Traditional learning programmes are like a rich traditional wedding cake. Several tiers of a deliciously rich mixture of fruits. The chef would have taken time and care and started months before the wedding date. The cakes would have stood and ‘matured’ over a number of weeks. They would be carefully covered in smooth icing and decorated with fine sugar flowers and patterns. The traditional wedding cake is a perfect balance of flavours and ingredients and very appropriate for a traditional wedding but a costly and an intricate process.

Blended learning solutions are like modern wedding cakes made up of lots of cup-cakes created to different recipes, flavours and colours that would be more palatable to more people and more appropriate for the individual guests. They cup-cakes are small, bite-sized portions which can be baked quickly. They can be mixed and matched or in their own wrapping. Easier to handle and distribute and to add to. Put together in a clever and creative way, they make dazzling displays and are very versatile.

They type of cake you bake will depend on the type of event you are catering for and the guests attending.

#SoMeSoGood

It’s good news week

Dontcha just love good news, dontcha? dontcha? I’m a sucker for it – especially when it is about social media. Here’s another feel-good story with a social-media twist. My last post shared two others.

Meet Ted. Ted has a rich, smooth, chocolate voice. A voice that you could just sink into. Strong, yet comforting. His is a sad story but one that would soon change for the good. It was just Wednesday that a reporter in Ohio discovered him homeless, ‘selling’ his voice to feed himself. He videoed him and uploaded it to YouTube. Guess what – it went viral. His rich tones were heard around the world and offers of voice-overs started to pour in. Click the video clip for the whole story.

That got me thinking. We hear so many negative stories about social media being used inappropriately, so how about sharing some good news.

I’ve started a Twitter hashtag stream #somesogood. Go on – share some good news in 2011.

 

Update – what happened to the man with the golden voice?

Check out my recent post to find out how Ted is doing 10 years on.

Social media community to the rescue!

Photo by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

It seemed like the media was raging war on the social media.  Are attitudes starting to change?  There have been many stories since the emergence of social media tools around how ‘dangerous’ they are.  I have Tweeted on several occasions when social media has been put in the dock  being blamed for bullying, burglaries, sackings and many more.  The fact that it is the behaviour of the individuals using the tools inappropriately in the same way as it’s not cars that cause accidents but the nutters behind the wheel.  A bad workman always blames his tools as the saying goes.

But, hey!  In the space of a couple of days, we hear two separate stories where the use of social media and, more importantly the social media community, has been called upon to help.  Why? Because social media reaches those whom the more ‘traditional’ channels of communication may not reach.  Not just that, but also because of the viral effect it has – the news can spread like wild fire exponentially.

We have heard how a Facebook campaign has been used by Avon and Somerset Police to help their enquiries in the Jo Yates’ murder.  This is not the first time the Police has used this means of communication.

We have also heard how both Facebook and Twitter has been used, together with their high profile members, in the search for missing Serena Beakhurst.  The latest good news is that Serena has been found.

So let’s hear it for the social media community and here’s to more good news stories for a change.

Just like any implement – it is us who will choose whether to use it for good or evil.  It would be great to hear from you what good news stories you have where social media has had a positive role to play.

 

Resolutions galore!

Image by Fiete Becher from Pixabay

Who has made their new year’s resolution? I’m still wondering what mine shall be. Normally they’re quite easy to keep because I always resolve not to make one because I just break them. This is because they usually involve dieting, exercise, more work-life balance etc.

Again, I haven’t made a definitive resolution but rather set myself some goals. One of these is still about trying to achieve a better work-life balance but this is already going to be an up-hill struggle because my work is my obsession. However, in an attempt to succeed I’m going to share them with you. Some goals are professional goals and some are personal (there’s a balance already!)

For those of you who have read my bio, you’ll know that one of my neglected hobbies is field archery. This year I’ve decided get back into it slowly concentrating on marked distances only when allows me to concentrate on my form and just enjoy the day.

But my main goal, by way of maintaining blogging momentum, is to set myself a specific time each week to write at least one blog post and to make better use of Evernote for drafting these. I’ve started a logical plan (a bit late as it has been a year since starting blogging). If I get the time to blog more than once a week then, hey – I’ve exceeded my own expectations.

Is that balanced enough?

What’s your new year’s resolution?

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