The ‘open’ movement has produced some wonderful outcomes, and they keep coming. I don’t just mean the ever-burgeoning number of free online courses (MOOC or non-MOOC), books, and articles. There are now millions of copyright-free images available, with the recently added contribution from Getty Images as well as those downloadable from such sites as Flickr (especially via PhotoPin). Film and television programmes have joined in the fray, and that is what has prompted this post.

British Pathé has recently made tens of thousands of examples of historical news footage available through YouTube, as I’ve just discovered courtesy of Open Culture. All those famous historical moments are there: the Hindenburg disaster; the Wright brothers; the funeral of Queen Victoria; footage of the Titanic; the amazing Tacoma bridge collapse; and the abdication of Edward VIII. But what else? I’m sure you’ll have your favourites to browse, and I decided to check on topics associated with distance education.

The best I’ve found so far is associated with Australia, a news item from 1962 about our famous School of the Air. If you have any knowledge of the history of our field, you’ll have at least heard of it – teaching isolated outback children through the use of radio. Have a look, it’s only a few minutes.

Another title which caught my eye was ‘Classroom in the Clouds’. Though not exactly distance education, it was a serendipitous discovery, as it is a 1941 news item about the RAAF training base here near Melbourne at Point Cook. I know it very well, having visited it many times with my grandson Alex – it now includes a fascinating museum, as well as continuing its role with the RAAF.

It’s another nice piece – basically about the airborne training of radio operators. This one’s even shorter, just over a minute:

So, have a browse, who knows what you might discover?

 

 

I love my local library: good location, friendly staff and a collection that changes frequently. I’m a regular borrower, not usually more than three books, with the occasional digression into CDs or even more seldom, a DVD. What more could I need?

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It is true that education is instrumental in changing thought processes, yet few beyond the behaviorists give a great deal of thought to how those changes come about. While the content and quality of the education process are essential elements, it is helpful to also understand the internal processes that are the soil in which those changes take root and develop.

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Infographics continue to evolve and improve. A particularly nice example has emerged from the Australian VET (Vocational Education and Training) E-Learning Strategy project. It’s largely self-explanatory (as it should be!), a toolkit for implementing e-learning based on the ADDIE model.

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Now in my semi-retirement, I’ve found more time for reading, and have been loving it. Then a few days there was an invitation from Bob Ellis for book review contributions, so I rushed one off and duly submitted it.

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Mathematica is 25 years old. What may arguably be the best mathematics software was developed by Stephen Wolfram (no doubt with plenty of able helpers). It’s been  a mainstay at most universities in which I’ve worked. I understand it.

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It started with Clay Shirky. Like many commentators from the US, he can at times come across as somewhat pompous (not just the province of the English!) or grandiose. There’s a tendency of such writers to make pronouncements as though they’re the first to have thought of it, or to take their arguments just a tad too far (or even much too far!).

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A few weeks ago I was alerted to a bargain offer from a web site where I could get a Simpsons character of myself for a mere $5 (US, that is – translates to nearly A$6, thanks to the Aussie dollar’s recent fall). Somewhat intrigued, and being as vain as the next person (perhaps even more so, you might argue), I visited the site, Fivrr, and discovered that there was a host of eager artists readily willing to turn me into a Simpson.

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Education evolves continually, responding to changes in society and advances in our understanding of how learning unfolds.  Technology itself plays a major role in the way we access and absorb information, so advances open new doors for educators striving to reach students in ways they relate to.  This has never been more pronounced than what we see in the current digital age, where the shift from pencils and blackboards increasingly sees educators learning on keyboards, computer screens and other emerging education technology.

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Browsing the latest e-Learning Digest I noticed the link to a BBC article that confirmed that prisoners who engage in educational activities are less likely to reoffend. In particular, ‘Participation in distance learning was found to be the best reduction method.’ It’s nice to have this finding reconfirmed, all the more so for those of us who have taught members of the prison population.

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