Saturday, May 24, 2008

When will we 'GET' the single sign-on approach?

One of the many reasons why Google is so successful is because it has the 'single sign-on' for its bank of tools. Their 'home' page portal - igoogle - not only allows you to draw in all of the Google tools you've registered for, but allows you to bring in 'feeds' like blogs, podcasts, photos and bookmarks from other websites.

edna also has a range of websites and tools for educator which are readily accessible through a single login account.

OpenID allows a user to log into a range of websites which are not related in any way through using a singe 'ID'.

So surely the technology to link a farm of e-marketing, e-business and e-learning tools using a SINGLE SIGN-ON ID must be possible/available for a large Registered Training Organisation (RTO)?

Consider this scenario:
An individual is either retrenched or decides they would like to change jobs or careers or wants to enter the workforce for the first time or after a lengthy absence. They know they need some training.
They access a large Registered Training Organisation's (RTOs) website. They might know what training they require and enter a few key words to find the course they are interested in. If they don't they know which course they should be enrolling in, they are able to undertake a 'Skills Analysis' and discover a suitable course.

Before even enrolling, the individual's 'Skills Analysis' highlights the existing skills they have in this area for which they will NOT need any further training. As this is Accredited Training, the individual will need to provide evidence of their prior learning/existing skills, known as Recognition of Prior Learning or RPL, to gain status for the units of training.
If the opportunity to gain RPL is possible - then an appointment time is generated for an RPL interview - after which the individual will enrol (either online or at the RTO). If not, an appointment time might be generated for some 'course counselling' or the individual can simply enrol online.

This enrolment 'generates' a student identification which is a SINGLE SIGN-ON ID. Via a customised portal - either on campus or 'remotely' - the individual has access to:

- Their enrolment details (ie what units they are enrolled in) and their Acdemic Transcripts (ie the results for the units they have enrolled in) - and allows them to update their personal details
- Their student email and the student intranet/internet site
- The RTOs Library (on campus and online)
- Their e-Portfolio, where they store the work they create for their course, which would have previously been stored on a internal 'student drive'. The individual can then generate 'views' of their work to submit to their trainers, to potential employers, to their colleagues etc.
- The Learning Tools of the RTO such as the Learning Management System, Voice/Audio Tools, Web Conferencing tools, and the RTOs Virtual World. They would not have access to everything - only those Learning Tools which they will require to successfully undertake their training.
Staff within this RTO also have a SINGLE SIGN-ON ID generated when they start with the organisation. Their SINGLE SIGN-ON ID allows them to access to all of the above, including being able to access any students' information according to a hierarchy of authority, as well as, access to their own HR information, allowing them to update personal information and access their own payroll/leave entitlement details.
The staff SINGLE SIGN-ON ID also allows access to the RTOs Learning Content Management Repository, which houses all of the RTOs digital learning objects/content - which reduces repetition in the development of materials, and helps improve consistency and quality in resources - and is easily searchable through the use of 'tagging'/appropriate metadata. The Organisation's Learning Content Management Respository is also linked to State and National Learning Object Repository Networks, which offers access to system wide resources using the AEShareNet licensing system.
Access by hierarchy of authority would also be available for the Organisation's Document Management System and Financial Management Systems.
So why don't we have a system which brings together a range of ICT systems and tools - where the client (external and internal) perceives them as ONE SINGLE functioning system?
Why are we reliant on decision makers who do not understand ICT systems and how they support their core business? And why haven't they included an e-learning/e-business/e-marketing 'line in the budget' to give status to the development of the SINGLE SIGN-ON ID?
When will the techies/engineers of our ICT systems move on from a 'form follows function' approach to ICT system development - and work with environmental designers to develop a 'humancentred interactive ICT system'?
I'm not sure how we are going to be able to achieve the South Australian Skills Strategy and implement the e-learning systems needed to achieve the planned targets of reduced on-campus training using e-learning when our current systems don't fuction effectively enough together or are able embrace current and future technologies to adequately support these planned goals.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Why isn't an ePortfolio accessible by everyone?

Sarah Stewart is a midwife and Senior Lecturer in Midwifery at Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, New Zealand who has been investigating the use of e-Portfolios (ePF) as part of a requirement of her recertification as set down by the Midwifery Council of New Zealand to maintain a professional portfolio.

Recently Sarah participated in a presentation about the ePF Tool 'My Portfolio', and was concerned about the fact "that at the moment it is associated with educational institutions in New Zealand which means only students of the institution can use it. Once the students have left the institution, they are no longer able to use it."

Sarah has raised a very important issue about e-Portfolios - the issue of accessibility of e-Portfolios (ePF) for people who are no longer a part of a formal education/training system. And unfortunately, this is not one which will be easily resolved in the near future.

One idea to overcome this problem would be to create a 'thin e-Portfolio on legs' – an ePF which is more of an interface that will connect an individual’s digital artifacts/identities together, and one in which the individual would ‘carry’ with them from the ‘cradle to grave’. This interface would be similar to an iGoggle or Protopage, however, it would give greater control to the owner of the ePF as to who 'views' what sections of the ePF and would allow access to secure information stored about the individual in educational/organisational databases. This would require a ‘national’ approach to ePF and would require a lot less ‘storage’ space than the current ePF tools, as the information would be ‘hosted’ in a number of locations, and would therefore be a lot less ‘costly’ to the organisation hosting the ePF interface.

This concept, however, is a little while away.

A more tangible and immediate option will be to make the information housed in ePFs 'transferable' from one ePF to another as an individual moves from Secondary School to Higher Ed to Employment, or at least have the information contained in an ePF readable in its own right in other web and digital environments. This way a person will always have access to their ‘information’ by burning it to a CD or onto some other storage device, even if they don’t have access to the tools and wizards to generate this information in an ePF tool.

I have also been playing with the Mahara e-Portfolio tool, and a couple of other e-PF tools, and although they are restrictive in one way or another, they do create a structure for people to develop their skills in using an e-Portfolio.

So, for people like Sarah, who already have the skills of file management, being organised, able to plan and reflection, as well as know the value of good record keeping etc - than an ePF tool will seem restrictive and less useful, but for those people who are yet to develop these skills or develop the confidence to show themselves to the world (warts and all), than an ePF tool will really be of grat benefit, as long as they have access to some guidance and structure in developing the ePF and the skills that come with this process

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Notes from mEga 100508 workshop


Workshop 4b – Developing a Business Case

Christine Cromarty
Export Development Executive
ICT Council for South Australia

Product Pitch needs to be about providing a better service or help them to save money. Don’t talk about the technology, talk about the solution.

Relationship building with the customer is very important

SA has very good networks, and networking mechanisms and opportunities

Marketing Plan

Marketing Objectives - who is the customer, how are you going to access them, can you partner with another company who will complement what you do/sell

You need to be the first in the customer’s mind. Might need to create a category if there are already products in an established category. Ie Coke is first in the cola/fizzy drink market, so to enter this market you would need to create a new ‘category’

Be very clear.

The four ‘P’s of Marketing:

Product – functionality, appearance, quality, packaging, what is the brand and how are you going to manage the brand, warranty and service

Price – needs to reflect what the product is ‘worth’, not what it costs to produce. Look at how the product is saving the customer, the more the customer is saving, the more you can ask for. Look at how the current market place is pricing similar products. Will there be a separate wholesale price for distributors. Will you be offering finance and leasing options

Place – how are you going to get to the customer? How are you going to access your ‘channels’? ‘educate’ your customer – offer to put on a free ‘training or demo session’ for the customer. How are you going to make your product stand out and look different from your competitors. Offer prizes or incentives for the sales people/distributors to sell your product. Make your product look ‘exciting’ / sexy. Include an image of what you are going. How will you handle customer support?

Promotion – advertising, print media, know your customer – where are they, who are they, how can you ‘access’ them, using social media/social networking/web 2.0

Other ‘P’ to consider - Partnering Strategy, Positioning

Sales forecasts
Marketing mix to achieve the objectives and reach the target markets
Marketing budge details
Marketing action plan
Market controls
Other relevant marking issues
Ensure you have analysed your competitors

Development Plan

The plan to develop content or application
- team location and layout, production process and plan, scheduling, specs – how long to develop who develops, who is in the team project manger, programmers, what type and how long, equipment needs, production budget, other relevant development issues

Software Development

Waterfall Approach – structured approach to development

Rapid Approach - build on the fly, need a good deployment strategy, more flexible and adapt to change, need a close working relationship with developers,

Project Management

Risk Management is very important

Executive Summary – 3 pages overview

What you can say in 30 secs which will capture someone’s attention enough to want to revisit the idea or want to know more about the idea.

You are ‘filling a gap’ in the market

Be Clear – say what you mean

Be Concise – keep it short and sweet

Be Consistent – not contradict each other – agree upfront about what everyone is going to say - Conventional Wisdom is the agreed upon understanding

Be Compelling – appealing to the logic, emotion and credibility – tempo – speak slowly – comparisons – speak to the level of the audience – “in 10 years time you will have missed the boat if you don’t get involved now” – imagery – drawing pictures with words – tell a story that people can relate – give examples – project to the future about the world with your product in it – make the audience ‘care’ – be yourself – market your ‘brand’ – paint an image of your business – phrase it in a way that the audience can ‘visualise’ like they are watching a commercial – use shock or eye raising statements – buzzwords - How do we make people care? – doing an Oprah opening her show pitch – make them feel like they are the most important people

Access to Grant funding for getting projects off the ground

AusIndustry website has information about Grants as funding

MAP – Market Access Program - MAP is a grants program that aims to:

  • assist small and new exporters to develop export capability
  • assist these companies conduct market awareness campaigns
  • enable local businesses to develop export culture

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Why 2 of Web 2.0: How it transforms everything! 9 May 08

My notes and thoughts from the The Why 2 of Web 2.0: How it transforms everything!

Will Richardson – A Web of Connections: Why the Read/Write Web Changes Everything

Information from Will’s presentation is available at his wikispace:

Web 2.0 allow anyone to be the ‘teacher’. E-Tools like U-Stream TV offers an avenue to share knowledge globally.

Read/Write Web – Obama 08 website is web 2.0 – Will has been writing a ‘blog’ about the political issues he is passionate about with other Obama supports. Powerful political opportunities.

NineInchNails have released their latest music for free from their website. Anyone can access this music for free. The music industry needs to realise that the Read/Write web has changed its industry and look at new business models.

Online social networks, reviews and ranking allow conversation around products. This means businesses need to be more ‘transparent’ as people start to write and review their products online.

Collaboration is becoming more effective than competition in business. This model is so important in education – educators need to share what they know and what they produce with their colleagues to build and develop more.

A wireless ‘cloud’ over American cities which allows wireless internet access to everyone in that city.

Clay Shirky’s Book – Here comes everybody: the power of organizing without organisation – “about what happens when people are given the tools to do things together, without needing traditional organizational structures”.

Teaching young people how to develop their online identity is so important. What are schools doing to prepare young people to develop their online identity. We can’t stop young people using online social networking but we need to ‘guide’ them. Young people need to have access to ‘fire’ – but in a safe, guided environment.

Clarence Fisher – Remote Access – is a great edublogger to follow. He has his students read a blog about an African village - Natavillage Blog – and then read and respond to this blog. People from Nata Village start to comment on his students’ blogs – a global learning circle is created.

Learning is changing. Knowledge is changing. Information is changing.

Do we need to ‘memorise’ everything? Because we are more focused on what will be on the ‘standardised’ testing. We are still assuming that information is ‘scarce’. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has all of it content, exams, exam answers etc totally open.

Wikipedia allows the ‘community’ to write the history of the world, collaboratively, and by not the influential/powerful people.

Student needed to do an ‘assignment’ that he didn’t want to do – so he posts a poor start on Wikipedia. The Wikipedia community then ‘writes’ the better version of the topic. Student then hands up as his own work.

The skills of collaboration and cooperative learning will be inherit skills of the future.

When/Where will we be showing people how to access information from digital devices (computers, mobile devices) which have internet connectivity? This is where the ‘testing’ should revolve around. Can you find the capital city of … on your mobile device?

Scratch - Scratch is a new programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art -- and share your creations on the web.

Yugma - an easy-to-use, affordable web collaboration service that works on Windows, Mac and Linux

Flat ClassroomVicki Davis – read “The World is Flat” and wanted her students to write about it. Vicki linked her students to students in Bagladesh. This allowed Vicki to create ‘thin walls’ – opening her students to the world. However, we create ‘thick walled’ classrooms through our ‘firewalls’.

Radio Willow Web - is a podcast for kids and by kids from the students at Willowdale Elementary School in Omaha, Nebraska. Each new show is called a Willowcast. Each Willowcast can be heard on WillowWeb as an mp3 digital audio file. – these students value the knowledge that learn and create because they have a wider audience than their teacher.

Our educators need to change themselves so they prepare their students for the world in the 21st Century. It is important not to replicate what we do now in education. We need to change the pedagogy of our teaching. The power is in the networks which we can develop in the online environment.

Jing - The concept of Jing is the always-ready program that instantly captures and shares images and video…from your computer to anywhere.

The more experience people have online the more experienced they are to suss out and handle online predators. Learning how to be ‘safe’ online is not just a unit of work that they should be electing to do. It should be embedded into all of their learning.

Westley Field – Director of the Skoolaborate Initiative and Director of Online Learning and Manager of IT, MLC Sydney

Virtual Worlds – Horizon Report reports that Virtual Worlds will be being used in education in 2-3 years time. Where are we at to bring Virtual Worlds in our educational institute?

Kinset - is for those of us who like to shop. Stroll down an aisle with hundreds of items on display. Pause when something catches your eye. Browse and linger while discovering new things.

Skoolaborate – is a collaboration of 15 schools from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, which has created an online virtual world for schools to collaborate and share ideas and experiences around education.

Students are mentoring each other to develop the skills they require to function in this online virtual environment. The students are the teacher in this environment.

Potential Projects:
Social Actions – Machinima – A Child’s War – very powerful machinima about child soldiers in Uganda – Global Kids’ Digital Media Initiative; Community Service – fundraising, music; Enterprise – The Mall; Design Challenge

The skills that the students are developing in this Virtual World is being transferred into the real world ie self-confidence

I’m Westley, I’m 48, and I can fly – please listen to Will – and allow your students to fly

Judy O’Connell – Head, Library and Information Services, St Joseph’s College

Learning to change – Changing to Learn – recommended video

Are you a Master Teacher or a Mentor Teacher?

We need to encourage and support the use of technology with our students so they understand how to effectively operate in an online environment – and not ‘bunge-stream’ themselves inappropriately, for the world to see, forever ….

Learn how to be ‘synchronous and asynchronous’ online – develop an online identity – develop a ‘personal learning cloud’ of e-tools which you can not live without. Start by reading blogs, then writing blogs, then getting your students to blog. Create your own online existence.

Don’t transfer the face to face skills to an online environment – transform the learning experience which enhances the online environment – collaboration, empower … ‘A thousand minds are better than one’.

We need a ‘new angle’ to our teaching and learning

Combine the Ross Todd leadership and philosophy with the Will Richardson leadership and philosophy to transform School Libraries into dynamic agents of learning – Library 2.0.

Pandia Search Central - An excellent educational search engine

PowerPoint is the digital equivalent of Will’s Friday folder – designed specifically to enable a teacher to ‘tick a box’.

Christine Mackenzie – Chief Executive, Yarra Plenty Regional Library, Melbourne

“Informed connected inclusive community”

Web 2.0 is not so much about the technology but about how we interact with the technology with the ability to create.

Sherman Young – The Book is Dead – nobody is reading books on buses – they’re more interested in their mobile devices – texting, talking, listening

Michael Wesch - "Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us." – Learn to Learn; Adapt to Change; Scan the Horizon –

The unconference – who ever comes is the right people, when it starts it starts, when it ends it ends - An unconference is a facilitated participant-driven face-to-face conference around a theme or purpose.

If Web 2.0 Transforms Everything, Where Do I Start? Panel: Will Richardson, Christine Mackenzie, Westley Field, Judy O’Connell

If you don’t leave your planning to the last minute, you can request to have some sites ‘released’.

Lobby your Ministers. Parents are powerful lobbyists. Educate your parents, or in the VET sector – educate your clients/students – and get them to lobby the Government.

You find the ‘gems’ via your networks. Find one really good reliable blogger and tap into their network. - a safe social networking site for primary school students

A photo of most of the Twitterers from my Twitter Network thanks to Michael Coghlan (from left to right) Tony, Chris, Michael, Jude & Me