Free to share resources for educators (TT4Ed)

The Edubloggers club prompt for this week is “Write a post about free web tools”. As an advocate of open educational resources (OERs) this topic is close to my heart. I have been curating free open resources, technologies and teaching ideas for many years.

Early in my doctorate research, I created a website (Google sites) named the Technology Toolbox for Educators where I store and share free and open resources that my students and other educators can access to help them integrate technology in the classroom in authentic and meaningful ways. I invite to explore the Toolbox and hope that you find it useful 🙂

TT4Ed banner

Please acknowledge the creator

This week’s blogging prompt is Photo’s or something to do with photo’s. Unlike last week, I find this topic very easy to discuss because acknowledging others work, particularly photos taken from the web, is a topic that I teach and that I am passionate about.

There is a lot of information on the web to help people learn how to attribute images correctly. For example: The educator’s guide to copyright, fair use and creative commons (Waters, 2017), and my own website: Technology Toolbox for Educators (TT4Ed), copyright page (jennip98, 2016). However, many people, fellow Edublogger club bloggers included, still use images that are copyright protected and do not acknowledge where they sourced the image from.

Screen Shot 2017-01-30 at 9.00.18 AM
Google search for “leadership” images

A quick Google search for “Leadership” images gave me the following result (images on the left and my apologies to copyright owners, as I endeavour to explain ethical use of others work). The only image in the top row that has information about the source of the image is the 2nd image and the author of the blog “Diplo learning corner” where the image is sourced from has done a great job of attributing all images (Creative Commons licensed, Public domain, etc.) on this page. Although, unfortunately, the link provided for this particular image is incorrect (correct link). The other 3 images in the top row are taken from websites that are either copyright protected (e.g. 1st & 3rd images Kick of Joy see Terms & disclaimer) or have no license information (e.g. 4th image – Carnegie Mellon University), which means they are automatically copyright protected and should not be used by others.

langwitches, 2014, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

I advise all my students if they do not know the source of an image or if there is no notice on the web page about how the image is licensed then DO NOT use it. If they create their own images, then they should add information advising it was created by them and how it is licensed so that others know if they can reuse it or not.

I believe the best practice is to add a text attribution AND a link on the image itself that will take the reader to the original source of the image to ALL images you put on the web. Example 1: If you click on the Google search image above it will take you to the search page results. Example 2: If you click on the image below it will take you to the original author’s Flickr page where I sourced the image).

Edublogs Challenge – Leadership

This month I decided to join in the Edublogs blogging club. Why? because the semester is about to start, again, and I would like to model what I teach (e.g., practice what I preach). I have been blogging for many years, but I am not a regular blogger. In fact, I prefer to read others blogs rather than blog myself. I often feel that others express thoughts and ideas that resonate with me better than I could.

Leadership-Lao Tze 2017Last week’s blog prompt is “Leadership”  (yes, I am running behind and playing catch up). My teaching philosophy is real-world (authentic) learning and I do not consider myself a leader, rather I think of myself as a facilitator and co-learner. I am always learning from my students as their questions lead me to investigate new areas and explore new ideas. As a university lecturer, I view my role as one of nurturing and encouraging students along their chosen educational path. Hopefully, many of my students will become leaders in their future careers and respective fields.

Some of the leadership blog posts that resonated with me were:

  • Kai Lynn Dailey’s 8 examples: 1) Stand boldly, 2) Convey trust, 3) Address fears, 4) Use power for others (Meryl Streep – my favourite!), 5) Educate and mentor, 6) Help others find their voice, 7) Listen, understand, connect (empathy), and 8) leadership through the use of collaborative design, resonates with my role as an educator.
  • Mrs Ruiz’s quote: “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. – Jack Welch, former GE Chairman and CEO” resonates with my belief about growing others.
  • Jo Prestia’s comment: “My passion and vision for better learning continue to spur me, to speak out, to help others, to serve, to learn, to collaborate” resonates with my passion.

I did not read everyone’s posts, as there are so many 🙂 Thank you Edublogs for spurring me on to continue my blogging journey.

Networking in Canada

This year I submitted a paper to the Edmedia conference that was held at the end of June in Vancouver, Canada. I also submitted an abstract for the ECER conference in Dublin, Ireland. ECER notified me that my abstract had been accepted. However, I could only afford to do one overseas trip so I held off making a decision to attend until I heard back from Edmedia.

My Edmedia paper was accepted for the category: Full Paper, Journal Publication and will be published both in the conference Proceedings and as an article in an AACE journal. So my decision was easy – I made travel plans for Vancouver! This was the first paper I have published as a sole author since finishing my degree and it was the first time I attended an International conference. So I was really excited about my pending trip to Vancouver and the Edmedia conference.

Photo of George, Jenni, Nellie, Curtis, Mila at edmedia Conference 2016
George, Jenni, Nellie, Curtis, Mila

I hoped it would be a great opportunity to meet educators from around the globe that were also interested in using various media to support student learning. I was also looking forward to meeting three people (Radney, Canada, Nellie, Israel & Mila, USA) that I had worked with online in 2009 and as yet hadn’t met in person.

A week before I departed I was surprised but thrilled to receive an email advising that my paper An authentic online community of learning framework for higher education: Development process had been selected to receive an outstanding paper award and I would be presented with the award at the conference. WOW life couldn’t get much better than this! But it did. I attended some great presentations and meet some wonderful people from all over the world.

Since coming home I have connected with some of the people I met and have started discussions about how we might collaborate and share our work.  One project underdiscussion is to develop an international community of learning for researchers interested in design-based research (DBR), also commonly referred to as educational design research (EDR), design research (DR), development research (DR), or design experiments (DE).

We haven’t set up a platform yet, but if you are interested in joining this community please post a comment with your name and contact details and if you have a DBR research website the URL for your website. My research website is:

eDesign: Orientation week

Orientation week for the Authentic eDesign course is over and we have commenced week 1. Feedback from previous versions of the course indicated that people who considered themselves to be “not very technology savvy” struggled to complete the getting started activities. Therefore, for this iteration of the course I included the option for participants to attend a face-to-face (F2F) orientation workshop. About half of the participants attended the F2F workshop and the other half elected to do the orientation activities online.

Image: Langwitches. (2009). Digital footprint.
Langwitches. (2009). Digital footprint.

One of the difficulties of running a F2F workshop is that participants have a diverse range of technology skills. How do I ensure people who are comfortable with technology are not bored whilst providing a basic introduction for people who find technology challenging? The solution I choose in this instance was to provide an overview of the course (which participants could follow along with on their own computers) followed by a hands-on session where participants could complete some of the orientation activities. This gave participants control over which activities they completed and they could work at their own pace. At the beginning of the seminar I explained that after the hands-on session, I would provide a short 15 minute overview of the Introduction section and that participants who felt comfortable in the online environment and their progress were welcome to depart whenever it suited them. And people who had difficulties or questions could stay on and continue working.

About half of the participants opted to depart after the hands-on session and the rest stayed for the introduction overview and continued working through the orientation activities. Overall, I think the orientation workshop went well. Feedback from two participants (that stayed until the end) indicates they were happy with the workshop. However, I wonder if the people who left early were bored, or satisfied with what they had achieved and happy to continue online?

Overall, I think the course is off to a good start and I am pleased with the progress participants are making at this early stage of the course.

A new year and a new course

I cannot teach image created by langwitches (CC)
CC-BY, langwitches
I am running the third (& final) iteration of the Authentic eDesign course for my Doctorate of Education research next week. I am a little overwhelmed, but pleased, at the response to this iteration of the course. I was hoping to have about 30 people register and currently there are 58 people enrolled. We have participants from all five universities in Western Australia and from a range of faculties across the universities. I am looking forward to learning “from” my peers as I’m sure they will bring a diverse range of skills and knowledge with them. I am also looking forward to learning “with” them as they explore new concepts and technologies and ask questions that I have not considered or encountered before. Let the learning begin!

Hello from downunder

This is the first week of the How to Teach online MOOC and this is my introduction to my fellow learners….

I have been teaching online for a few years (in the Vocational education sector and now in the higher education sector) and I am here to glean new and share ideas with fellow educators.

7 principles for good practoce online by Giulia Forsythe CC-BY-NC=SA

Online teaching and learning issues that I think are important are:  setting the climate, supporting discourse, encouraging interaction and sharing of ideas, creating authentic contexts and tasks where students can produce real-world artifacts that are useful in the world outside the learning environment.

At this early stage I’m not sure how the course will unfold, but some of the ways I think I can contribute are:  responding on forums or in my blog, connecting with others by commenting on their blogs and creating spaces for everyone to share resources. E.G.  I am happy to start a Diigo library where everyone can post links to educational resources if people are interested.

I hope the community is friendly and supportive. I have participated in MOOCS previously and on some occasions some people just seemed to be there to argue and abuse others. I hope this is not the case in this course 🙂 I have also made many online friends in previous cases, some I have not met in person yet, but hope to one day. I hope this may be the case this time as well.

I am an advocate of open learning and encourage my students to publish their work on the open web, so I don’t fear of open online learning. You can find links to my e-courses and research information on my website at: Discovering new technologies is my passion. I don’t fear set-backs or frustrations, these are all part of the learning process and I welcome the challenges. As part of my research I have developed a wiki called the Technology Toolbox for Educators. This is a site where I curate information about technologies and provide examples about how technology can used in the classroom to support student learning. Primarily as cognitive tools used by students to learn and demonstrate their understanding.  One of the main challenges when working with new technology is making the time to explore and experiment with them. Courses like these help me “make the time” to explore and play.

I am looking forward to connecting and sharing ideas with people 🙂

How to teach online MOOC

I have registered to participate in a 5 week MOOC about how to teach online which starts 2 September. Yes, I know I have been teaching online for years but we never stop learning and I am hoping to pick up some new ideas, hints & tips.  Just setting up my blog to record my progress, thoughts and share them with the world. Oh well, the other participants at least 🙂

Freed Flatworld Knowledge Textbooks

A couple of weeks ago Scott Leslie (edtechpost blog) wrote a post titled: All I want for Christmas… and what he wanted was for people to buy a single Flatworld Knowledge textbook, before December 31. And then share it with the rest of the world. Why? because as of 31 December 2012 Flatworld Knowledge has decided to remove FREE access from their open textbooks.


So I decided to join in the liberation and purchase a textbook and FREE it. Easy decision not so easy to liberate! I purchased Understanding Media & Culture: An introduction to mass communication.

Firstly,  my purchase was left pending on my Flatworld Knowledge account for over a week  (However, I must say, once I contacted their help desk they fixed it within 24 hours). Secondly, their was no complete pdf of the entire book to download, there were individual pdf files for each chapter and the book I decided to purchase was 16 chapters.  Thirdly, I then tried to find a FREE PDF editor that would let me merge the individual chapters into one file. I spent a couple of hours downloading free versions and free trials for PC without success. Some had “trial version” embedded across every page, others would only let me merge 3 pages and the most useful one I found would only let me merge up to 80mb. Unfortunately the entire book was about twice that size. I did not want to spend $50 – $100 to buy a pro version and was about to give up and come back another day to try and solve this dilemma. Then I read a comment by Stephen Downes explaining how he did it.

I had used the same process he did, except I didn’t have Adobe Acrobat (and it costs about $350 so I wasn’t about to buy it) . But his post sent me off searching in a new direction.  Thanks Stephen! I use a PC most of the time because that’s what I’m more comfortable with. But I also have a Mac laptop so I thought I’d check it out to see if I had the “merge into a single pdf” feature he mentioned in his comment. No luck. But a quick Google search led me to the Macintosh Howto website that explained merging pdf files in Mac was easy and provided step by step instructions. All the latest Macintosh OSX versions have the ability to merge 2 or more pdf files and once I found how to open the thumbnail view in the side bar (the shift + CMD + D did not work on my OSX version, but I found it in the view sidebar menu) I had all the files zipped together in no time.

Here is the FREED version of the textbook: Understanding Media and Culture: An introduction to Mass communication