Friday, February 18, 2005

The New Look for TALO + The eLearning Conference

Don't freak out. You're in the right place. I just thought it was time for a change in the way this blog looks. All the content is the same, and last I checked, was still all here... its just that, after the eLearning conference today, I saw many other people's blogs and saw that the template I was using before this one was... very popular. I hope Blogger keep updating their templates - I like trying on new clothes.

The eLearning Conference was pretty good. All the usual faces, plus a few more. Some were quite interesting. My presentation went OK, I was pretty nervous and rushed for time, but I think I got my points across.

Of particular interest was Interactive Ochre, a CDROM for awareness of Australian Aboriginal culture. What made this project stand out was a couple of things.

Firstly because it was presented in the middle of a bunch of recent and pretty unremarkable Toobox productions.

Secondly because it had pretty interesting content matter

And thirdly because it had bold production values. Too often I see things like Toolbox CDROMS suffer from a lack of artistic and creative energy. Usually as best as it might get is a couple of fancy front end Flash animations, but once you click past that its straight back to boring flogs of text and gaping silent gaps between abrupt elements of multi media .

Interactive Ochre's production values obviously come from a different angle. Managers Jeff Hunter and Doug Milera like to use the old Huxley (or was it Orwell) term infotainment but in a much more positive light.

Jeff and Doug showed us a couple of videos on the CD and it was clear that the infotainment they were talking about was something we in eLearning should sit up and take notice of. They employed real artists to write and record songs and music, and using real designers and editors to make video clips out of the songs, they packed heaps of graphical signification to back up the topics and issues that the songs were about.

Of course, the use of song and artists who identify with indigenous Australian culture help this CDROM achieve its objective far more fully than if it were just another corporate style, overly programed CD, but that's not to say that it was only because of the topic that this CDROM could do such a thing. Any CDROM, given the right people scripting it, could use such successful and simple devices! I'd be giving Jeff and Doug a call if I was managing a production, just to talk about the approach they took.

Barbara Pitman and the project she introduced in 2003 Livin in the House probably inspired a significant portion of the concept behind Interactive Ochre, actually I thought I heard Jeff give it mention, but where Livin in the House introduced an idea for artistic values and cultural product in eLearning content, Interactive Ochre takes it quite a bit further.

Unfortunately, getting a hold of a copy of Interactive Ochre is difficult. My only link is to the Framework website, and as far as I can see there's no mention of how to get a copy... :( will keep and eye out.


Vivian said...

Hi Leigh,

Interesting & frank comments re Fridays AFLF showcase.

I followed your link re info on Ochre resource & right at the bottom of the screen is a link labeled 'NEW' I think I have ordered an Ochre CD along with a variety of other New practices resources.

I thought your presentation was great & challenged the audience to think outside the norm of Microsoft etc.

Cheers Vivian

Leigh Blackall said...

Oh yes, so there is! Thanks Vivian - I think I have ordered a bunch of stuff now too. Was pretty easy - I hope we do in fact get a copy of Interactive Ochre.

dennis macnamara said...

Leigh I thought your presentation was excellent and I agree that Ochre was the highlight. I have already raised with FLAG operatives how the Ochre stuff might be better distributed made available and I have asked our SA contact to chase up to see if we can list on AEShareNet.

I am not sure if you have come across us ( I think you have cos you mentioned our November conference) but our mission is to make content as open as possible, a sort of open source movement for content.

Leigh Blackall said...

Hi Dennis,
Yes I'm a big supporter of AESharenet FfE. In fact, if you have downloaded the paper and presentation - you'll see that Free fo Ed and Creative Commons Licensing are the 2 I use for Free and Open Courseware.

I have two questions though.

Why would I use FfE when Creative Commons is more widely used?


Why does AESharenet not list FfE content?

Thanks for getting in touch.


dennis macnamara said...

Leigh To answer your two very good questions:

It will be possible to list FfE content on our site from end of March this year ( functionality issue up to now)

Re Creative Commons and AEShareNet, it is a matter of horses for courses. In Australia for educational content AEShareNet is probably more widely used. Today I was speaking to a major Australian Museum who could see that some of their educational material would suit an AEShareNet licence while their music content might better suit a Creative Commons. There are some people who use both on the same material ( especially where they are aiming at an Australian educational market and some global market).

Two more points, it may well be possible in the future to list Creative Commons marked material on AEShareNet and as from the end of March we aim to be making available our U S and P "instant sharing licences" for everyone to freely use.


Leigh Blackall said...

Wow! If AESharenet are able to successfully list all content licensed to Free for Education as well as Creative Commons content, then it will develop into a remarkable library.

All that would need happen, in my opinion is for the publishing of content to be 100% Web application - rather than me having to download an aplication to run I would prefer to publish content through 1 or 2 screen forms on the AESharenet server. Also, if I could limit my content search to only FfE content, that would probably help too.

I think the Creative Commons web interface proposes a good model for a future AESharenet FfE site. Big easy graphics to show the steps, then easy instructions on how to use the license, all done through the Internet.

Managing a database of all this content would be another level that would make AESharenet my preferred option.

I hope AESharenet is going to run with FfE, as it could certainly become a great tool for Australian, NZ, Pacific, Asia education.

dennis macnamara said...

Leigh, thanks for your words of support, we certainly aim to have a crack at making open content licensing a basic practice in education. I will try to keep you posted but otherwise watch our website.


Damien Kowalewski said...

Very interesting.