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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Flexible Learning Toolbox Customisation Workshop

Image: Shane Dowd, delivering the workshop
Yesterday, I attended a workshop on Flexible Learning Toolbox Customisation at Australian Technology Park in Sydney. It was delivered by Shane Dowd, NSW Toolbox Champion (what a cool title!). The workshop was a great introduction to the toolboxes and the ways they can be used to create training resources for delivery online.

For more info about work Shane does to 'champion' the toolboxes check out his webpage.

For anyone who hasn't encountered the Flexible Learning Toolboxes (formally the ANTA Toolboxes),they are:
"...a collection of resources, suggested learning strategies and supporting material to support online delivery of vocational education and training. They provide high quality resources based on recognised training packages at a fraction of their development cost." (Australian Flexible Learning Network website)
Anyway, Shane gave a great introduction to the toolboxes and where they fit into the Australian Flexible Learning Framework; along with good info on copyright on the toolboxes and where to access the various packages available. He also provided a really good demo of the ways to approach using and editing the material included in the toolboxes.

I enjoyed the workshop alot - and gained a much better understanding of the toolboxes and how we might use them in the TLRU. My only wish was that we'd had some time to actually have a 'tinker' with a toolbox during the workshop, but I guess it's pretty hard to cram it all in to a short space of time.

The exciting thing about these toolboxes is the possibilities presented to use the teacherSmart tools to effectively draw informtion and resources from various toolboxes to create customised learning objects. Many of the toolboxes include interesting assests including reading notes, ideas for assessment activities, sound, image, video and animation which could be used by teachers, to enhance their own resources.

Anway, I'd be intrigued to talk to teachers who are actually using the toolboxes to hear how they feel about ease of use/editing, as I wonder if the process is a little too complex if you don't have tools like teacherSmart, Frontpage or Dreamweaver. However, anyone with some basic knowledge of HTML and a decent HTML editng tool could use these resources really effectively.

For further information check out the Flexible Learning Toolbox Website @ http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/toolbox/

TAFE Illawarra teachers can contact the TLRU for more information on how you can access the Toolboxes.