Category Archives: Publications

Special JALN issue on Online Learning and Open Educational Resources for International, Rural and Hard-to-Reach Populations, CFP

The Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks invites submission of papers for a special issue focusing on Online Learning and Open Educational Resources (OER) for international development. The articles will focus on reaching rural or other hard-to-reach populations using education technologies that work for these populations. Some of the tools will include OER, online learning, blended learning, and mobile learning. OERs are learning resources made publically available and free to use, modify and redistribute. These include books, presentation materials, assessments and other types of resources. Online and blended learning is being used throughout the developing world in formal and informal learning in a variety of contexts from classrooms to mobile platforms.  The issue will also focus on educational transformation where students will be engaged in the creation of resources and participatory research that helps communities develop.

Traditional vocational institutions, colleges and universities in emerging countries are facing unprecedented demand. Likewise, the demand for informal training is growing. Internet growth is on the verge of exploding and mobile platforms are already ubiquitous in many countries. Yet the scarcity of financial resources requires practitioners to develop creative solutions and innovative practices. Online and blended learning, and OER, offer promising solutions to meet demand and improve quality within the context of developing nations.

This special issue will explore current applications, research and future directions for online learning and OER in the context of developing countries. Papers should present a research study, an analysis or detailed case study on the topic, including data where possible. Papers might focus on trends, project outcomes, road-tested methods and promising models including implications for online education where appropriate.

Manuscripts are due January 14, 2013 for the May issue.

Full Text: Special JALN issue on Online Learning and Open Educational Resources for International, Rural and Hard-to-Reach Populations, CFP | The Sloan Consortium.

The 21st Century Principal: Turning Your Classrooms into 21st Century Learning Spaces

“Where a school is located and how it sets up internal structures determine its possibilities”, writes Heidi Hayes Jacob in the book Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World. As she argues in this book, we have inherited spaces in our buildings that were designed for learning of another era.

Tearing down and rebuilding our schools is hardly a tasteful option in an era of tight budgets and a total lack of funding. What can we do then? We can start by redesigning our classrooms from places where “knowledge is imparted” to more of place where knowledge is found, discovered in a collaborative manner. We can turn the physical environment into places where authentic learning is the classroom business, not sitting in rows, listening to lectures. This may mean simply getting rid of desks and moving in tables and chairs that are portable and can be rearranged quickly according to the needs of the students and the teachers. It means we can change our physical spaces in our schools into 21st century learning environments without breaking our budgets.

Full Text: The 21st Century Principal: Turning Your Classrooms into 21st Century Learning Spaces.

Enabling the Classroom in the Cloud


When confined to physical classroom, many students have had the tendency to daydream beyond the standard four walls. While many a thought may have ventured to being up in the clouds, the concept of the classroom in the cloud actually has a very different meaning. In fact, as a result of leveraging the capabilities of cloud computing services students can now broaden their horizons both literally and figuratively.

A recent Alcatel-Lucent (News – Alert) white paper, A Classroom In The Cloud, explores this concept in depth. It highlighs the possibility of a new business model for educators that builds on the infrastructure of service providers to create an expansive new education platform where the sky is the limit. It is an approach that promises to reduce costs, improve engagement (a reduction in daydreaming) and can actively measure each student’s success — giving parents greater peace of mind.

Full Text: Enabling the Classroom in the Cloud.

Poll Finds Support For Use Of Technology

Hands in the air

The Leading Education by Advancing Digital (LEAD) Commission, a non-governmental organization exploring the opportunity to use technology to improve education in the United States, released poll results today that found that the majority of parents and teachers of K-12 students support greater use of technology in education. In addition, the poll found that these audiences increasingly believe that school systems should be doing more to improve access to technology in education.

Here are other highlights of the poll findings:

  • 96 percent of teachers and 92 percent of parents believe that schools’ integration of technology in teaching and learning is important to the education of American students today
  • 54 percent of teachers and 64 percent of parents believe that the role of technology in educating students will become much more important during the next 10 years
  • 61 percent of teachers and 63 percent of parents responded that the country is somewhat or far behind the curve when it comes to American public schools’ use of technology in education
  • 82 percent of teachers and 71 percent of parents believe a greater use of technology would be helpful in connecting learning inside and outside of the classroom
  • 89 percent of teachers and 76 percent of parents would choose to spend $200 per student for an Internet-connected device over $200 per student for new science textbooks
  • 82 percent of teachers believe that they are not receiving the necessary training to use technology to its fullest potential in the classroom (our emphasis)
  • 95 percent of teachers and 90 percent of parents believe that home access to high-speed Internet gives students a big or moderate advantage when it comes to classroom performance

“The poll results shine a light on the importance of providing more access to technology in our classrooms,” said Jim Steyer, LEAD Commissioner and Founder and CEO of Common Sense Media. “A greater belief among parents and teachers that technology has the power to transform the K-12 education experience can truly accelerate the digital learning movement.”

Led by Geoff Garin of Hart Research Associates, the nationwide poll was conducted via telephone with 883 parents of K-12 students from Aug. 7-13 using random sampling techniques. The parents’ poll also included an oversample of 200 low-income parents, with a margin of error of +/- 3.3 at the 95 percent confidence interval. In addition, 812 public school K-12 teachers nationwide were polled via an online survey from Aug. 9-15, including a margin of error of +/- 3.4 at the 95 percent confidence interval. The complete poll findings can be viewed here.

[Again and again I hear teachers say they need more training to feel competent in using technology. I was hearing this 30 years ago and it doesn’t seem to improve. I do think teachers have to take some responsibility and be active users themselves, but there is obviously a need for more in-service training.]

Full Text: Poll Finds Support For Use Of Technology | LEAD Commission.

Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning Volume 16, Issue 2

DEANZ logo

DEANZ is pleased to announce that Volume 16, Issue 2 of the Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning has been published. Articles and book reviews are available from

Their next issue will be 17(1), a special issue, “Primary and Secondary Distance Education: Expanding the knowledge base in the schools sector”, which will be edited by Associate Professor Michael Barbour (Wayne State University) and Dr Keryn Pratt (University of Otago).

A reminder that the Journal is an established publishing venue for your own research. Articles and book reviews are most welcome; authors will need to register with JOFDL and make all submissions online. The journal has an international editorial board featuring top scholars, a prompt review process, and an excellent international reputation.

Schools Open Doors to New E-Learning Rules


The world of virtual schooling is experiencing a host of major policy shifts that are opening doors for its expansion, but at the same time holding it up to greater scrutiny. This special report, part of Education Week’s ongoing series on virtual education, examines how state policymakers, educators, and schools are rethinking and changing the rules for e-learning. It provides analyses on the benefits and drawbacks of these changes, and what to expect during this school year and beyond.

Full Text: Education Week: Schools Open Doors to New E-Learning Rules.

How To Use Evernote: The Missing Manual


Are you a digital packrat? Are you in need of a searchable repository for everything you want to recall later? Does the idea of automatic OCR (Optical Character Recognition) for all your scanned PDFs get you excited in a way only seriously organised people could ever understand? If so, Evernote is the tool you need right now – and we’ve got the perfect manual to get you started using it like a professional.

As information becomes more plentiful, we are bombarded with relentless forms of media 24/7, such as blog posts, videos and photos. Our computer hard drives are also getting bigger and bigger (500GB hard drives are not uncommon). This means we have a huge amount of media material on our computers and no practical way in which to organize it all.

Full Text: DOWNLOAD How To Use Evernote: The Missing Manual.

Facebook as a learning tool? A case study

Pimmer, C., Linxen, S. and Gröhbiel, U. (2012), Facebook as a learning tool? A case study on the appropriation of social network sites from mobile phones in developing countries. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43: 726–738. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01351.x

BJET cover


This exploratory research investigates how students and professionals use social network sites (SNSs) in the setting of developing and emerging countries. Data collection included focus groups consisting of medical students and faculty as well as the analysis of a Facebook site centred on medical and clinical topics. The findings show how users, both students and professionals, appropriate SNSs from their mobile phones as rich educational tools in informal learning contexts. First, unlike in previous studies, the analysis revealed explicit forms of educational content embedded in informal learning contexts in Facebook. Quizzes, case presentations and associated deliberate (e-)learning practices which are typically found in (more) formal educational settings were identified. Second, from a sociocultural learning perspective, it is shown how the participation in such virtual professional communities across national boundaries permits the announcement and negotiation of occupational status and professional identities.

Via Facebook as a learning tool? A case study on the appropriation of social network sites from mobile phones in developing countries – Pimmer – 2012 – British Journal of Educational Technology – Wiley Online Library.

52 Tips on Best Practices for eLearning Development and Implementation

How can you develop and deploy eLearning quickly, efficiently, and with positive results? Which eLearning development and implementation methods work best and which methods are unreliable or ineffective?

From tips on popular authoring tools to ideas for generating team engagement, this complimentary eBook provides 52 ideas to help you create and deliver high-quality eLearning, drawing on the experience of 12 experts who are leading sessions in The eLearning Guild’s September 2012 Online Forum, “eLearning Development and Implementation: Best Practices.”

Get valuable insights in areas including:

  • Guidelines and Protocols
  • Making Tools Work for You
  • Engaging Your Team
  • Reaching (and Teaching) Your Audience

Complete the form here and download the report today!


Free eBook: Graphic Design Tips

eBook cover

Contributing Editor, Karen Forni

Effective eLearning deliverables require more than just text and a few random graphics. Good graphic design, user interface (UI) design, and user experience (UX) design aren’t optional – they’re necessary to ensure maximum learner comprehension and retention.

We asked some of the most noted experts in the field to give us their best tips for graphic design, UI, UX, and visualization. What follows are 62 tips from 12 contributors, focusing on topics such as what is best illustrated by a still image vs. an animation; why navigation should be at the bottom of a page; and the importance of keeping virtual keyboards in mind.

This complimentary eBook draws on the experience of top professionals who are leading sessions in The eLearning Guild’s August 2012 Online Forum, “Graphic Design, UI/UX Design, and Visualization for eLearning.” Let their expertise guide you in areas including:

  • Highlighting Learning
  • Aesthetic Considerations
  • Tricks and Tools

Download from: The eLearning Guild : eBook: Graphic Design Tips.

Free Access to Distance Education Volume 33, Issue 2, 2012

ODLAA, the professional association for teachers, developers, researchers, consultants and administrators from Australia and overseas involved in open and distance learning, has given free access to its journal Distance Education.

ODLAA Journal

Get your free access here.

Articles include:

  • Fostering social inclusion through open educational resources (OER) – Gráinne Conole
  • A review of the role of national policy and institutional mission in European distance teaching universities with respect to widening participation in higher education study through open educational resources – Andy Lane
  • Opening up Down Under: the role of open educational resources in promoting social inclusion in Australia – Carina Bossu, David Bull & Mark Brown
  • The OER mix in higher education: purpose, process, product, and policy- Samuel Nikoi & Alejandro

Not sure how long the free access will last so have a look while you can.

Duz Txting Hurt Yr Kidz Gramr? Absolutely, a New Study Says

Students texting

“Wud u lk 2 meet me 4 brgr 2nite?”

If you’ve ever looked at a teenager’s text message and thought it looked more like a kindergartener’s scrawl, you might not be far off.

Middle school students who frequently use “tech-speak”—omitting letters to shorten words and using homophone symbols, such as @ for “at” or 2nite for “tonight”—performed worse on a test of basic grammar, according to a new study in New Media & Society.

Drew P. Cingel, a doctoral candidate in media, technology, and society at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., conducted the experiment when he was an undergraduate with the Media Effects Research Laboratory at Penn State University in University Park, Pa. under director S. Shyam Sundar. The researchers surveyed 228 6th, 7th, and 8th graders in central Pennsylvania on their daily habits, including the number of texts they sent and received, their attitudes about texting, and their other activities during the day, such as watching television or reading for pleasure. The researchers then assessed the students using 22 questions adapted from a 9th-grade grammar test to include only topics taught by 6th grade, including verb/noun agreement, use of correct tense, homophones, possessives, apostrophes, comma usage, punctuation, and capitalization.

Full Text: Duz Txting Hurt Yr Kidz Gramr? Absolutely, a New Study Says – Inside School Research – Education Week.

Full journal article (Paid):