Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A quick guide to bookmarking / adding favourites to your browser (IE, Firefox and Opera)


A bookmark is "An easily accessible web link stored in a web browser such as Internet Explorer" (from Glossary of eLearning). In other words, just like when you are reading a book and you want to return to the page you are reading - or a page with a great quotations - you can add a piece of paper or sticky to easily return to that page. A bookmark is an electronic format of that.

If you are not sure how to, in your browser, bookmark or add a Web page to your favourites, the following guidelines may be useful.

The guidelines have been adapted from "How do I create an Internet favorite / bookmark?" (with many thanks to Computer Hope) and complemented with additional videos.

Image source

Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE)

There are several ways to create a bookmark in Internet Explorer (IE), but these guidelines only focus on one (see the link above for some more suggestions).
  1. Turn on your computer
  2. Connect to the Internet
  3. Open your browser
  4. Open the page you wish to add to your Favourites.
  5. At the top left your will see a menu. One of the tabs is entitled "Favorties" - click Favorites.
  6. Click Add to Favorites.
Once you have completed these steps, an "Add Favorite" window will open and will allow you to add a favourite to your favourites list. Next time you want to open this page, you can click on favourites, and you will see the list of all your bookmarks, making it really easy to find the page again. smile
If you are still unclear, this video shows you step-by-step how to add and retrieve a favourite in IE 7.

Mozilla / Mozilla Firefox / Netscape

As with IE, there are several ways you can create a bookmark in Mozilla Firefox can be done several different ways, but these guidelines only focus on one (see the link above for some more suggestions).
  1. Turn on your computer
  2. Connect to the Internet
  3. Open your browser
  4. Open the page you wish to add to bookmark.
  5. At the top left your will see a menu. One of the tabs is entitled "Bookmarks" - click Bookmarks.
  6. Click "Bookmark This Page".
Once you've completed these steps an "Edit this Bookmark" window will open. Specify a sensible name for the page and then click "Done".
If you are still unclear, the video below shows you step by step how to add and retrieve a bookmark in Firefox.


Again, like IE and Mozilla Firefox, there are several ways you can create a bookmark, but these guidelines only focus on one (see the link above for some more suggestions).
  1. Turn on your computer
  2. Connect to the Internet
  3. Open your browser
  4. Open the page you wish to add to bookmark.
  5. At the top left your will see a menu. One of the tabs is entitled "Bookmarks" - click Bookmarks.
  6. Click "Bookmark This Page".
Once you've completed these steps a window will open. Specify a sensible name for the page and then click "Done".

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Toxic, Tough, or Feeling Threatened? (Guest blogger of the month - February 2011)

Image source - by Dreamstime

This word ‘toxic’ is being bandied around a lot and used to describe people or systems that are challenging for various reasons. It appears to be almost commonplace in the academic, health, and local government sectors, where psychological harassment (or ‘bullying’) is more prevalent. The University of Auckland Business School is even offering a short course on ‘Toxic People’ in March. Nevertheless, using the word ‘toxic’ is sensationalist, it demonises individuals, and does nothing to help address the harm caused by the behaviour, or the system that allowed it to flourish.

We may also describe these individuals as ‘tough’ - they will fight their way to the top - or as ‘sociopaths’ who just want to make everyone’s life hell. A friend of mine, Laura Crawshaw, who has spent the last fifteen years working with what she calls ‘abrasive managers’ in the States refuted this approach in a recent email: After having coached over 400 abrasive bosses, I would say that only one might possibly have fit the criteria of sociopath. And I’m clinically trained to recognize these things.”

So, if these people are not truly ‘toxic’, ‘tough’, or ‘sociopaths’, what are they? And why are they behaving like this? Well, firstly, we need to make the distinction between the individual and their behaviour: focus on the problem, not the person. You may have seen this illustrated by the ALAC adverts on TV – “We’re mates right, but you just gotta ease up on the drinking”. These ads also demonstrate that we need to be specific about the actual behaviours which cause the harm, not just ‘He/She rubs everyone up the wrong way’.

Image source - by Dreamstime
There may be all manner of reasons why these people choose to behave in such an upsetting or aggressive way, but Laura Crawshaw’s research points to a common theme – they feel threatened. Now this may be a surprise to some of you, who are thinking, ‘Hang on a minute, this person is threatening and upsetting me, and now you want me to feel sorry for them!?’ Let me just quickly say that no-one is asking you to feel sorry for them; what we are needing is a little empathy. This will not only help us to address the behaviour, but it will also help you to regain your own power in choosing how to react. If you think about how you would normally react when you perceive, for example, that your safety is threatened – it triggers the fight, flight, or freeze response (tend and befriend are additional options for women). Somewhere along the line, these people have learned that to come out fighting gets the best results. They may have seen it work for someone in their previous workplace, or their parents may have modelled it during their childhood. No matter where they learned this behaviour, they sincerely believe that it is the only way to achieve the desired results.

Since these people are also usually blind to the harm they are causing, I hear you ask ‘What can be done, and by whom?’ Firstly, you can communicate your own discomfort directly to the person, either at the moment of the behaviour, or when you have had a chance to gather your thoughts; and secondly, you can engage the support of your boss, or of the Human Resources team in dealing with this. However you decide to proceed, there is a process to follow to assist the other person to evolve their behaviour:
  • What?: The specific negative behaviour needs to be highlighted;
  • Why?: Clear reasons must be given for change; and
  • How?: Behavioural expectations need to be discussed.

Image source - by Dreamstime

If you are unsure of how to do this in a way that will not trigger the ‘threatened’ defensive reactions in the other person (and escalate the situation), you may wish to call on help from inside your organisation, or from outside – someone who specialises in constructive communication. Furthermore, raising your awareness of exactly what it is that triggers your own defensive reactions will assist you to manage conflict situations more competently.

Remember, choosing to ignore negative behaviour is to condone it; shining a light on it transforms it into a learning experience.

With special thanks to Ken Cloke – mediator extraordinaire, and Laura Crawshaw – The Boss Whisperer – for their inspirational work.

Useful links

Nonviolent Communication (NVC)
NVC Practice Groups in New Zealand


Fiona White

Fiona White has the ideal manner for a conflict resolution practitioner – calm, patient, and a very good listener. She asks just the right questions to empower her clients to find their own solutions.

With over 20 years professional experience in education, management, commerce, industry, recruitment and customer care in the UK, France and New Zealand, Fiona has a great understanding of the costs and benefits of conflict. Her mission is to share her conflict resolution knowledge and skills as widely as possible. Fiona is based in East Auckland, where she has her own Mediation and Conflict Coaching practice - Mediation Matters - and holds a clinic one day a week at the local Citizens Advice Bureau.
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Friday, February 18, 2011

How do I set about designing a course in my Learning Management System?

Moodle on a Nokia 770Image via Wikipedia

I have been working on a process model and framework, adapted from earlier examples, that I developed to help answer the question “Where do I start?” for teachers who are unfamiliar with adapting education resources to make effective use of ICT Enhanced Learning and Teaching (ICTELT).

This video very briefly shows an example of a Moodle course that has been designed using the ICT Enhanced Learning and Teaching approach, as well as exploring a couple of the tools that could be used by teachers (hosted here).

Employing a scaffolded approach appropriate for working in small teams of teachers, or as individuals, the guiding questions of the ICTELT model form the foundation for collaborative discussion of design choices, and the incorporation of a range of pedagogical approaches with a variety of tools. The model and framework can be used with new and/or existing programmes, modules, units, sessions, or learning objects, but initially practitioners are encouraged to trial the process on a small scale.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

If you can't see the embedded video below or would like to access a smaller file format, please click here.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Paradigm lost and replaced: Mobile learning and mathematics

Mobile phone infoboxImage via WikipediaJoel Dodd asserts that being human is being able to access, generate, store, find, process, interpret and report information. He believes that the model of education that has been used for the last 1,000 years or more has been teacher-focused with the teacher delivering information. Assessments in turn measure a student's ability to 'parrot' back facts with little or no relation with what is happening outside of the school.

The Internet Joel feels offers an opportunity to find out how the students are communicating and learning outside of school, pointing to Facebook and Twitter as two examples. He also suggests that schools rather than banning mobile phones, could tap into the ways in which the students are already communicating and sourcing information.

The information on the site reads: "Joel Dodd is a CORE Education eFellow and is head of faculty for mathematics at Okato, a coastal Taranaki secondary school. In this EDtalk from ULearn10 Joel discusses the loss of a centuries old paradigm for teaching and what is replacing it. Joel argues that students need to be equipped to generate, store, access, find, process, interpret, and report information."

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Design to engage???

Online ArtsImage by hazelowendmc via Flickr

The video below is an interesting example of a presentation capture that has been shared with the public. While watching it a couple of questions arose for me:
  1. How much did the audience actually go away with?
  2. Could there have been a more effective way of presenting this information that would have engaged the audience more actively?

I'm not going to answer my own questions - but have included a video below that perhaps offers an alternative, and you could also check out this interactive activity from here where they have a lot of others to choose from ;-)!
  • What are your reactions and thoughts?
  • Is there be a place for this type of 'presentation capture' in education?
  • What are the possible benefits or drawbacks?
  • Does the other video embedded here (below the first) offer any additional benefits?
  • How about the interactive, self-paced task?
Would love to read your thoughts on this.
The description of the video on the site reads:

"Join Frank Szoka of UCSF School of Pharmacy to find out about the scientific basis for the delivery of drugs to selected sites in the body, why this field of knowledge is vital to optimizing clinical outcomes, and what to expect in the future."

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

A possible starting point for thinking about designing online courses???

Programme design for learningImage by hazelowendmc via FlickrThis presentation has been designed as a starting point for anyone thinking about online learning. It's a very brief overview that looks at some of the outcomes and interactions that might be desired, along with a tool that may be used to help achieve this (with careful learning design). It is not supposed to be exhaustive...more of an indication of potential and something that leads to more questions.

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