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Digital Creativity 2011 : Event Report

25th May 2011
at Islington City Learning Centre, London N5 2EG.

"Learning things I didn't know"
"The variety & Networking"
"Sparked some ideas on e-learning to take back"
"Being able to experiment and review results, lots to take back"
"Sharing ideas with colleagues - new info - masses of new ideas to play with - learn & share with colleagues"

Overview

This was a very interactive and hands-on event providing both an overview and introduction to some tools used for developing or creating digital content. Running for the fourth consecutive year, the event was a collaboration between RSCs London and Eastern. The event was attended by sixteen delegates from across the supported sectors. Following a welcome and housekeeping formalities by Bernard Aghedo, Senior Adviser at RSC London, the delegates began to work with the different presenters during their sessions. Throughout the day, RSC staff supported the presenters to ensure that delegates were well supported through their activities and tasks. In every session, there was ample opportunities for individual and group work.

Session 1: Using GLO Maker

Nicola Prime, Uxbridge College

In this session, delegates were introduced to the Generative Learning Object (GLO) Maker. This software is open source and free for educational use and enables Education practitioners to create Reusable Learning Objects (RLOs) which they can upload in institutional Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). GLO Maker bases its RLOs on pedagogical design The EASA, EMI and Freestyle Pattern. Delegates worked through a tutorial which allowed them to create a RLO using the EMI pattern incorporating text, images and sound. Delegates discussed the differences between GLO Maker and Xerte each has its own merit; GLO Maker is based on pedagogical patterns or sequences. There was useful discussion around the strengths and weaknesses of GLO Maker compared with other tools like Xerte. It was felt that while both tools are useful as content creating platforms, GLO Maker was limited in that it could not be run on an enterprise level as it needed to be downloaded, installed and run from a desktop unlike Xerte that was served based and accessiblle to multiple clients at the same time. Nicola's presentation can be accessed on the RSC London Moodle via the link below:
http://moodle.rsc-london.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=65

Session 2: iBook Publishing

Neil Power & Marie-Claire Isaaman, NUCA

Neil and Marie-Claire joined us for this event for the second year in a row. For them at NUCA, the key to using technology is to present things in way that works for Art & Design students. The key is that digital books need to be engaging Penguin Books already producing books for the iPad and speculating for the future, Neil and Marie-Claire told delegates digital publishing will grow. Education environments need to think about producing engaging content students engage better when they think they are playing. In this session, delegates went through the rudiments of producing their first iBook using the Pages software for Mac computers. Delegates were involved in several tasks like converting Word documents, formatting the text, inserting dynamic media files, saving in the appropriate formats, etc. How to share their finished iBook via iTunes was also demonstrated. The iBook Publshing and ePub Best Practice Guide which were the basis for Neil and Marie-Claire's session can be accessed on the RSC London Moodle via the link below:
http://moodle.rsc-london.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=65

Sessions 3 & 4 - Using LAMS & Oaklands Templates

Charlie Williams, Oaklands College.

Charlie Williams generously facilitated two sessions at the event. The first was an overview of using Learning Activity Management Software (LAMS). LAMS is a server based system which has many aspects of a VLE, including WIKIs, chat rooms, forums, quizzes etc. LAMS is an open source server built with Java and free for anyone to download and use. Delegates discussed the good points of lesson delivery and agreed that the key to delivery is that the content must be engaging but agreed content like this takes time to produce. LAMS allows the designing of online collaborative delivery with comparative ease. Delegates went through a lesson created in LAMs and created their own lesson using the lesson templates.

In the second session, Charlie demonstrated the Oaklands Flash Templates. These are very simple Flash based activities that delegates can make in class or use for VLE activities. They use either cut and pasted text for just-in-time delivery, plain text files or xml text files. Charlie has shared the templates with delegates which can be downloaded free of charge. The templates with links to the various resources from both sessions can be accessed via the RSC London Moodle via the link below:
http://moodle.rsc-london.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=65

Summary / Final thoughts:

Like the previous years, the 2011 workshop did not disappoint, it was a huge success. The feedback from delegates was positive. Everyone seemed to enjoy a productive and fun day with lots of opportunity to network, share and learn from one another in an environment with much support from the presenters and the RSC staff. Delegates had the opportunity to author some interactive and media-rich digital content. Delegates were encouraged, on return to their institutions, to put to use the new skills they had acquired at the workshop. Given the level of interest in this event, which has not waned in four consecutive years, we believe that the event should continue to run for the foreseeable future.

Bernard Aghedo, JISC RSC London
Catherine Bone, JISC RSC Eastern

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