VETteaching 2009 conference 26-7 May

May 24, 2009

Click Here to join me (via CoveritLive) at the VET teaching 2009 conference in Brisbane Tuesday-Wednesday 26-7 May 09.


Recording POV video in the training workshop

March 24, 2009

recording POV video in the training workshop

Originally uploaded by st0nemas0nry

The EDUPOV spyglasses arrived yesterday, so today I took them to Eagle Farm after familiarising myself with the operating procedure. Not wanting to risk damage to the glasses from flying stone particles, dust or water, I bought a $17 pair of safety goggles to protect the equipment. Although the video quality is slightly reduced, wearing safety glasses is a requirement of workshop and site activities. The spy glasses case fits snugly inside the goggles, and hang from a lanyard around my neck when they’re not in use. I recorded a short video clip, converted the file format, edited the dodgy bits, and then uploaded it to accompany the Flickr photos.
At first, I found it difficult to know when the device was recording, and where it was pointing. These will be the skills I need to practice. The recording format is 3gp, used by mobile phones.
Converting, editing and uploading
I use Windows Movie Maker to make movie files, but because the 3gp format is not compatible with it, I used Zamzar to convert the file to AVI format. It was then possible to import the converted file into Windows Movie Maker, cut the dodgy bits, and save in WMV format.
I uploaded the short video clip to Flickr, accompanying the few photos in myEDUPOV set – and, as my recording skills improve, I’ll continue to add to the Youtube EDUPOV video pool.

Stonemasonry demonstration

January 26, 2009

Stonemasonry demonstration

Originally uploaded by st0nemas0nry

Australia Day 2009 at Samford Museum

A repository of Aussie culture, Samford Museum hosted their Australia Day celebration supported by the newly-formed Moreton Bay Regional Council.

Camp Mountain granite, quarried in the Samford district, was used to build Brisbane City Hall’s foundations.

A slideshow tells the story of traditional stone-working tools and techniques, and, inserted after slide #64, a Youtube video clip features a bit of the stonemasonry trade skills demonstration.

Seven Things…

December 28, 2008

Skip Zalneratis tagged me for a meme that’s going around.

Here are seven things about me that would help my Personal Learning Network friends know me better: 

  1. Simon is 186 cm long and 102kg wide.
  2. Simon’s paternal grandfather was a woolclasser, operating a shearing contracting and woolclassing business (Brown & Brown) from South Australia to the Gulf, and later, a sheep and cattle grazier in south west Queensland. Simon was determined to leave school at age 15 to become a woolclasser like him, but instead carried on to finish high school and then learn stonemasonry.
  3. Simon’s brother is also a TAFE teacher, who possibly inherited his passion for horticulture from their paternal great-grandfather Ambrose Neate 
  4. Simon’s maternal great-grandfather was an engineer or “iron turner” from Scotland who emigrated to Maryborough with his parents in the 1860s. When he was picking up supplies at the wharf for his parents’ hotel, he met his future wife who has just arrived from Ireland. She was waiting for her brother who had instead gone to the goldfields. Simon’s mother encouraged him to join the local pipe band and carry on the Scottish tradition.
  5. As pets, Simon prefers cats to dogs.
  6. Janet and Simon were married in Wynnum by his uncle, a Uniting Church minister.
  7. Simon’s parents passed to their children their loves of working hard, and reading books. His dad is a self-published author of two family history books, one of which is titled “A Strange and Distant Land : The Story of the Brown, Herdsman, Neate, Edwards, Giblett and Moss Families.

 To continue the meme, I’m tagging:

1 @cdltoz

2 @siralmo

3 @loonyhiker

4 @timholt

5 @catspyjamasnz

6 @twocrowsdown

7 @marragem

To participate, each person that is tagged should list seven things about themselves that would help their Personal Learning Network get to know them a little better.

They should then link back to this post by leaving a comment here, which links forward to their own update.

Virtual meetings

December 14, 2008

Virtual meetings

Originally uploaded by st0nemas0nry

Stone industry personnel have suggested regular meetings to discuss their training needs, as well as delivering training and carrying out skill assessments. However, the state-wide geographic spread of employers and apprentices means that it is impossible to get everyone in the same place at one time, and it is difficult for trainers to see every client face-to-face.

SkillsTech Australia has a commitment to sustainability, providing training in sustainable practices, as well as “…innovative, technology-driven, efficient and flexible training.” Travelling many miles to deliver training is no longer justifiable, given the institute’s position on climate change.

AQTF Standards.
The Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) standards insist that:
2.1 The RTO continuously improves client services by collecting, analysing and acting on relevant data
2.3 Employers and other parties who contribute to each learner’s training and assessment are engaged in the development, delivery and monitoring of training and assessment.
2.4 Learners receive training, assessment and support services that meet their individual needs.
Hence, there exists a need for additional ways to communicate with employer, students and RPL applicants, supplementing workplace visits.

Employers’ contributions.
Employer feedback will be necessary during the future upgrade of our current training package from BCF00 Off-Site Construction to CPC08 Construction, Plumbing and Services Integrated Framework.

Training delivery.
Stonemasonry apprentice numbers have outpaced staffing and infrastructure resources available at SkillsTech Australia. A continued increase in student numbers means that some of the stonemasonry teaching delivery load must be undertaken in a flexible mode.

Virtual conferencing.
I believe that some of the communications issues could be addressed by using virtual conferencing tools (together with phone, fax, email, Web, etc.) to supplement face-to-face meetings with clients. In choosing a conferencing platform, there are several issues to be considered:
o Most employers have computers and Internet access
o Not every student has a computer, let alone Internet access
o Most employers and apprentices are busy working during the day
o It is important to track both employer and student interaction for audit purposes
o Recorded sessions should be available for replay by participants
o Conversations should be conducted using a service that is proven to be reliable
o Internet access is limited by bandwidth in regional areas
o Information gathered should be secure
o The conferencing platform (including meeting replays) must be accessible via the SkillsTech Australia student network

Researching virtual-meeting communications tools, two in particular look promising: Videolinq videoconferencing and Flashmeeting webconferencing.

Videolinq videoconferencing.
Videolinq is a TAFE Queensland service “…providing video conferencing, video streaming and learning technology services to support enhanced educational opportunities for off campus, distance and integrated educational delivery models.” I have been a videoconference teacher since 2004, actively participating in and contributing material to Videolinq videoconferences and media streams, archived under VeMentoring and Stonemasonry headings. Videolinq videoconferences are currently only accessible at TAFE institutes around Queensland, and as many stonemasonry apprentices do not have computers and Internet access, I believe that Videolinq will be a suitable platform for delivering training to stonemasonry students at their local TAFE institute.

I’ve been regularly using Flashmeeting as a virtual meeting tool since April 2008, connecting educators from Australia and New Zealand (as well as the UK and the US) via their computers. A link to each meeting is displayed on a wiki, and immediately after the meeting, the link automatically accesses the recorded video and text files. Flashmeeting uses webcam, voice and text chat communications, although participants may choose just text, or text and audio, or a combination of text, audio and webcam. Flashmeeting will be a useful tool to connect stone industry people in between face-to-face meetings.

Meeting times and dates.
I plan to facilitate two virtual sessions a month using Flashmeeting webconferencing with employers and Videolinq videoconferencing with students. This schedule can later be expanded to four sessions a month, if required. Alternating Flashmeeting webconferences with Videolinq videoconferences gives a choice of first and third, and second and fourth Monday evenings.

My experience with meetings informs me that 6pm is a good time for a one-hour session. Participants in a Videolinq videoconference require time to get from their workplace to their local TAFE institute, perhaps eating a small meal on the way. Flashmeeting participants can access the meeting from either their home computer or the workplace. Using either videoconferencing or webconferencing, 7pm is not too late a time to finish. Additionally, a 6-7pm time slot allows me time to prepare for a session after students leave TAFE classes at 3:30pm.

Monday evenings are a popular time for industry meetings, however there is a potential conflict with public holidays, when participants should not be expected to attend. Considering the ten Queensland public holidays in 2009, five occur on a Monday. Of these, one is on the first Monday of the month, two are on the second, and two are on the fourth. I believe that students should be given more opportunities than employers to access virtual meetings, hence, choosing every 2nd Monday of the month for Flashmeetings, and every 3rd Monday of the month for Videolinq videoconferences will give 10 student meetings and 9 employer meetings, with options to expand to a further 10 student meetings (totaling 22) and 9 employer meetings (totaling 19) during 2009.

Hence, the proposed dates for virtual meetings 6-9 pm on Mondays in 2009 are:

Videolinq (subject to room availability).
January 19th
February 16th
March 16th
April 20th
May 18th
June 15th
July 20th
August 17th
September 21st
October 19th
November 16th
December 21st

January 12th
February 9th
March 9th
May 11th
July 13th
August 10th
September 14th
October 12th
November 9th
December 14th

Agenda items.
When confirmed, meeting dates will be published at the stonemasonry wiki using an embedded Google calendar. The booking will also include meeting details such as meeting chair, agenda, access to previous meeting minutes, etc. This method will suffice until a dedicated my.TAFE course structure is developed.

Expected outcomes.
Gathering employer feedback about skills training, and providing training delivery to regional students are quality assurance requirements of the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) standards for every Registered Training Organisation (RTO). Using virtual meeting platforms such as Videolinq and Flashmeeting provide sustainable ways to manage unnecessary travel. Regular meetings will also strengthen the established master-novice network, as well as managing the increasing training delivery workload.

eWorks conVerge08

December 6, 2008
spot the geek

Originally uploaded by st0nemas0nry

Partnering Innovation

4-5 December 2008

I was fortunate to attend converge08  a conference in Melbourne this week. Prior to the conference, the organisers set up a conVerge08 Ning to extend the discussion.

There was no WiFi available, but at least I was informed well beforehand, and so was able to borrow a SkillsTech Australia laptop, and buy a Telstra USB wireless prepaid modem to connect with others outside the room (and the country) during the event.

As well as meeting old friends (some of them face-to-face for the first time) I met new friends who share my interest in educational technologies.

My main learning
 The gaps between “closed” learning management systems and open, online social networks are closing fast.

The Conference
Apart from the three plenary keynote sessions, breakout sessions ran ten at a time over three levels of the building during the two days. A self-choice ticketing system helped to keep attendances ordered. Presentations were mostly grouped by complementary topics so that delegates could gather information without moving too far between sessions.

I’ll briefly describe the events I attended.

Opening Thursday 4th December at William Angliss Institute, the traditional Welcome to Country was a lesson in indigenous culture.

Keynote Robyn Archer: Training in the modern world with an aging workforce.
Robyn spoke of her long journey overseeing cultural change within Connex,  a Veolia Transport company.

My CoveritLive notes from this session are at

John Collins: Integrating technology and pedagogy at the Chisholm Institute.
John told how Chisholm Institute is implementing e-Learning in their programs.

I jotted some notes at

Andrew Bloye: Capturing next generation learners by infusing gaming and 3D.

Andrew explained that school students wishing for a career in multi-media design often missed their calling because of a lack of opportunities. Andrew is a multimedia designer for the ASPIN online consulting company  which encourages the use of open-source multi-media authoring tools such as Blender.

Keynote: Sue Waters: How Tweet it is. PD in the 21st Century.
Sue used the results of a SurveyMonkey survey in a blog post to gauge delegates’ skills levels prior to the conference. Sue involved the entire audience in her story about how she came to be helping teachers with PD advice, and used the event to launch her new wiki

My notes from Sue’s session are at

Ken Gooding: RPL in the TAFE VC.
Ken demonstrated how the TAFE VC Learning Management System is being used as an RPL evidence collection and assessment tool. Each RPL tool is first written by content experts in MS Word, and then uploaded to the LMS with Wimba Create. In every competency, key questions are imported into TAFE VC and set up as a quiz, and are scored using binary scoring (requiring yes/no answers). The quiz results reveal the gaps in an RPL applicant’s knowledge.

RPL evidence submission is managed with the TAFE VC assignment tool, which can accept almost any file format. RPL candidates can also upload notes to comment on their submitted files.

Elluminate!  is used as an online consultation tool using audio-visual communications.

My turn.
I presented a session: Using online social networking to engage trade students.

My slideshow and notes are viewable, downloadable and comment-able at my Slidespace.

The slideshow is also embedded at the conference Ning.

Welcome reception at Digital Harbour.
The Series 11 Toolboxes was launched at this event, and various toolboxes were demonstrated.

Bloggers’ Dinner at Southbank.
Allison Miller, Sue Waters, Jo Macleay and Sue Tapp joined with a few other friends for a meal – we had an interesting time getting there.

Friday,  5th December.

Keynote. Deane Hutton: Engaging learners with show business techniques

Deane’s polished performance was a highlight of the conference for me. He listed three crucial elements of story telling effective in the classroom or training workshop:

• Using visual and verbal “hooks” to catch attention

• Using the element of surprise to disrupt assumptions, thereby provoking learning

• Using a “call to action” so that students relate learning to their own contexts and then reflect on changes that need to be made

Deane produced The Curiosity Show for many years –samples of his work are viewable on Youtube. 

Sue Waters and Simon Brown: Show me the tools: the connected trainer.
Sue polled the audience with a show of hands, gauging their skills levels (unfortunately I lost this data during the rush to clear the decks afterwards!) Demonstrating the power of Personal Learning Networks, she asked delegates to SMS questions to our phones which we then forwarded to our respective Twitter and Plurk networks to answer.

The question chosen was: How do you find time to Twitter/Plurk?

My Plurk page is viewable at :

Giving time for responses, delegates were then invited to write their responses to four questions on A1 sheets:

Question 1:

What are the barriers that are stopping you from connecting now?

Question 2:

How would you connect if you didn’t have any barriers? What would your choices be?

Question 3:

How will you find the answers to learn how to become more connected?

Question 4:

What are three actions that you will take as a result of attending this conference to become more connected?

Delegates’ contributions will soon be viewable at Flickr.

Jasmine Kildea: e-Portfolios at the Indigenous Education Centre.
Jasmine’s case study of engaging Indigenous youth in presenting their work online resonated with me because of my students’ low digital literacy levels. I was interested to learn that the TAFE VC e-Portfolio tool is relatively easy to use, and that the trial provided useful digital literacy skills for both staff and students.

Troy Crawford: e-Portfolios for artefacts of the learning journey.
Troy’s students are enrolled in multimedia design, so their use of Adobe CS3 Flash to create e-Portfolios was (not surprisingly) on a different level to Jasmine’s students. Troy’s e-Portfolios trial participants published their work on CDROM and to the Web.

Cameron James: RPL and Facebook.
Cameron discovered that very few people in his session have used Facebook at all, so instead of describing at length how he was using Facebook Groups to facilitate RPL support consultation, he focused on delegates starting up their own account.

Linda Mitchell: The MEET Project: Ning and VoiceThread.
Linda and colleague Ron demonstrated how their funded MEET project built a social network around an existing TAFE VC Learning Management System using Ning, VoiceThread and mobile phones. Linda’ school-based apprentices uploaded photos from the workshop floor directly into the project’s Ning network using mobile phones, and students added comments by uploading text and recording audio in the VoiceThread which was embedded into the Ning. Delegates were invited to join the Ning, and then upload their own VoiceThread comments to experience how the project team are using the new technologies to collect assessment evidence from students.

Plenary: Panel session.
I participated in the last sessions of the conference, role-playing one of six fictitious people representing a make-believe private RTO and corporate enterprise whose teams were negotiating the development and suitability of learning objects, in the context of work culture, a deflating economy and technology shifts.

I can’t resist adding some interesting artefacts gleaned from the VirginBlue “Voyeur”

• An interactive problem-solving web community:

• Modular homes and relocatable buildings:

• “Goodvertising” – an ethical, moral and responsible advertising revolution:

• Pro Bono Australia’s Volunteer Match – a specialised service matching Skilled Professional Volunteers and Not for Profit organisations:

Thank you, eWorks.

conVerge08 Keynote: Sue Waters

December 4, 2008

How Tweet it is! PD in the 21st Century.
Access the live coverage of Sue’s session at this link:
Click Here

John Collins: Integrating technology and pedagogy at Chisolm Institute

December 4, 2008

Click on the link to the live blog at:
Click Here

conVerge08 Keynote: Robyn Archer

December 4, 2008

Training in a modern world with an aging workforce
(click on the link here to access the live blog)
Click Here

Flashmeeting as a training delivery tool

December 2, 2008
The Flashmeeting booking form

The Flashmeeting booking form

Flashmeeting is a free, online video conferencing tool useful for distant training delivery. This view is a screen capture of the meeting booking form.

email triggered by booking request

email triggered by booking request

The meeting booking request immediately triggers an email with URL and other details

publishing meeting times and agenda items

publishing meeting times and agenda items

The meeting details are published in the stonemasonry wiki to alert students about the time and agenda items.

Using webcam video with audio and text chat

Using webcam video with audio and text chat

The meeting is conducted using text chat, audio and webcam. Audio and webcam are optional.

storing and accessing meeting recordings

storing and accessing meeting recordings

Immediately after the meeting, an archived version is available at the same link that was originally used to access it.

replaying the meeting

replaying the meeting

The “meeting replay” is a downloadable video clip, useful for recording interaction during the session.

recording the chat session

recording the chat session

The “meeting minutes” link archives the chat line, recording participants’ engagement during the session.

analysing participation

analysing participation

The “meeting analysis” link analyses participants’ activities as a time line. Votes on issues during the session are also recorded here.

graphically representing partipants' broadcasts

graphically representing partipants

The “meeting analysis” link provides graphic representation of participants’ webcam/audio broadcast activity.

analysing text interation during the session

analysing text interation during the session

The “meeting analysis” link also provides graphic representation of participants’ text interaction.

In addition to this blog update, the topic has also been Plurk’d, Flickr’d, Slideshare’d and Ning’d