Monday, December 22, 2008

Special Opportunity - 3D Simulator Interview

I got the chance to interview Evan at the NZ Navy about his 3D work creating simulators for training people with the new engines on the frigates.
The powerpoint on the interview is here (
The audio was recorded with Audacity (see below) and edited with it also. The files are accessible at the site here, on the right hand block of the page - click the files and they will load. Be patient as some files are 20 to 56MB!

You can see a movie of the PowerPoint here on YouTube
The following is the summary of the interview...

3D Engine Simulator

3D Graphic Environment for simulators – in this instance a new Navy frigate engine
Designed to go on an LMS
  1. Optimising to fit the delivery mode – onshore, on a boat, at home etc.
  2. Created from a pedagogical perspective to encourage a methodical approach or process to problem identification and resolution
  3. Accurately provides a model that can be interacted with, providing all the parts to scale and spec, able to be dismantled and put back together
  1. Problem based scenarios that constantly change
  • Mathematically things can happen in simulation that might happen once in 1000 years, only in extreme or unique circumstances
  • Allows learners to download the simulator anywhere, anytime for new learning or refreshing learning
Endless opportunities to reuse the simulation
  1. Facilities available for subject matter experts to interact with learners
  • Collaborative learning, synchronous (at the same time)
  • Coaching on the spot
  • Trouble shooting anywhere, anytime
  • Observation of team dynamic and assessment for promotion and training

Online Conference (Inteview) Summary

Good thing: we did the interview
Learning point: be in a good reception area, segment recordings and make summary notes as you go.

We covered a number of things in the interview. It was conducted through Skype, and recorded, edited and exported with Audacity
( The following is a summary of all points from the interview. There is a powerpoint on the interview here on SlideShare (
The sound files of the interview have been edited for reasons of size, quality and topical accuracy (i.e. we talked about the rugby for some of it)
The links for the sound files are on this site here, on the right hand block and can be clicked to load and play - be patient, as they are between 20 to 56MB!
There are movies of the powerpoints on YouTube here

The Process used by BISAM
  1. Client describes the problem or issue
  2. BISAM seeks client ideas about solutions that would suit their industry
  • CLIENT has; big idea about industry, small ideas about IT solutions
  • BISAM has; small ideas about the industry, big ideas about IT solutions
  1. Provide general advice, book further time for more detailed solutions
  2. Google potential solutions, speak with other experts
  3. Gain clarification, increased understanding from client of issues in the industry
  4. Produce a brief of tools for potential solutions, alternatives from present practice
An example from the Print industry was used, describing the need for online ordering. The client thought they would use
  1. Scan and email solutions was proposed by client
  2. BISAM provided an online option, capturing bookings and provide a ‘proof’ for customers online
The outcome provided greater effectiveness (quality/milestones achieved), efficiency (time/dollars) then expected by the client.

The use of Open Source solutions
We covered:
  1. Open source verses freeware
  2. Open source software can be developed feely
  • Start a community on the new development
  • Grow a base of developers
  • A completely different product may result
The Mambo vs. Jooma was given
It was suggested business models can be built on the strategic vision of company, rather than the commercial boundaries set by non-open source owners
The role of community in developing open source software was highlighted
The CINDEOS CMS vs. site@schools example was given
The real power of open source software is the quality of what can be created and the specialisation it can achieve, and can rival commercial products due to user input being extensive, with precise feedback that is implemented.

The use of Drupal as a CMS
Key Points
  1. Straight forward to install
  2. Easy to use, intuitive to create content and modify
  3. Cost effectiveness of set up and ready to go being $300 to $500 in total Iincludes following)
  • Users set up
  • Themes and modules and plug ins installed and ready to go
  • Ready to use
This was a direct set of questions from a FOC08 member
Drupal installs have organic groups, though do need more precise control levels of page development
Jooma as an alternative was discussed, not as powerful for collaboration as Drupal.
Jooma has attractive templates that look clean, slick, tidy.
The time commitment needed to keep a Drupal website looking good is a factor
Commercial use of Drupal by very large publishing and media organisations (Fast Company)

The Updates Issue
Managing updates – be mindful of...
  1. Compatibility with content
  2. Time consuming compared with initial install
  3. Security updates could be a lower level of priority
  4. Back ups of users and content is highly important – of the server and a local back up
  5. Must-have updates should be done keep things cost effective

The update cost can be reduced by only installing updates that provide both functionality and security revisions

Organic Groups in Drupal
Organic groups with Drupal
  1. Self developing, maintaining, enabling
  2. Set authority levels, authentication
Wikis provide the opportunity for people to:
  1. Contribute ideas, learning, experiences
  2. Add, Modify, Share contributions on a global platform
Wikis may contain a variety of contributions:
  • Subjective thoughts on topics or events, Perceptions or viewpoints, Perspectives and opinions,
  • Facts – verifiable information with dates, times, events, people and contributions that can be substantiated
Wikis can track how the contributions have developed over time:
Versions showing how alterations were made; like an editing track
  • History – showing who, what, when, how and possibly why changes were made
  • The capability to refer back to previous versions to identify the workflow and
  • To understand the development of knowledge as a whole

Saturday, December 13, 2008

SlideShare Link

Click the link above to see the introductory slideshow to the Miniconference
The slideshow was created in MS Office 2008, and then saved in a lower version to .pps format
Some effects, transitions have been lost

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Mini Conference Process

This is the process I have gone through to set up the mini-conference. It did not happen.
Email to Leigh to discuss my complete lack of ideas about the mini conference, back and forward to settle on Open Source, Drupal and Moodle.
PowerPoint of interview scope drafted (see SlideShare Link
Emailed BISAM to finalise interview.
Confirmation reply from BISAM about interview timings.
Sent initial interview topics and questions to BISAM
Logged onto eMIT and sent email to all users. Identified the topic, the date and requested questions from group members.
Responses added to questions and question content modified / adapted to group members’ themes.
Questions sent to BISAM in prep.
Attempted initial SKYPE test drive during the day in preparation for the night
Interview canceled for BISAM personal reasons
Second attempt at interview – canceled for technical reaons
Emailed Leigh to confirm the interview could not happen
Leigh suggested a full plan write up if it cannot happen
Interview booked to happen – it did not for unknown reasons

Thursday, December 11, 2008

When you unpack the impacts

"What is the web all about?
Not about information.
It's about linking people, in ways we have not done before, and is changing... we need to rethink all of these things..."
Very cool YouTube video about community

This next one is a thought-provoking video of students today, and how educational reality does not match community reality for students

FOC 2008 Report Back

What were the most enjoyable aspects of this course?
I enjoyed looking at other member's blogs, their resources or links list and the conference planning nots (actually found that more beneficial than the content)

What were the most challenging aspects of this course?
Seriouslly, keepin up to date and on time, and ensuring third-parties that was relying on were on track.

Did the course meet your expectations? How or how not?
It gave me a good intro to the facilitation of online learning, I now know a little more about what I do not know...

What improvements would you suggest?
Break up the online conference into some smaller discrete units; the planning as one section, the topic generation as another (maybe with rationale), the delivery, the eval...

Any other comments?
We have a fantastic tutor running it!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Looking for online community: Discussion forums

It can be quite difficult to find a discussion forum that matches my needs from a content-perspective.
Some groups or discussion forums have a likely topic (e.g., but are filled with ads to 'make money while working form home' which might match a childcare topic but it ends up being about AMWAY etc. or advertising adults sites.
So, maybe groups should be member driven, with approved membership... (, as Joe Manna says:
Communities which are public usually have three problems:
- Trolls
- Fear from New Users
- Spam Exposure

Some ways to make a discussion forum worthwhile are:
  • have students teach students - ensure as tutor that I pick someone with a good attitude and good ideas or perspectives to share
  • Moderate loosely but precisely - use a gentle hand in editing or culling posts, but be very clear about standards and topics to be covered and when disconnecting someone make it very obvious so peers learn by example
  • Don't be a Nazi - I don't have to be in complete control (
And, while the following quote was primarily talking about the IT or tools for use, I think the pre-course tutor choice is essential!
"...empower the teacher to impact on the learner and learning environment and whether the teacher is able to design, facilitate and direct the learning experience towards “educationally worthwhile learning outcomes”..."

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Reviewing the online MiniConference for FOC08 Asgn 3

  • organised and promoted: the summary of the topic was full enough, the ways to contribute were simple
  • managed and conducted smoothly: the survey put me in the right mind, listening to the voice threads gave me a reference for where others were thinking, the planning notes on the wiki are full and its clear who did what...
  • all participants knew where they were supposed to be and when: clear enough
  • set the stage: the discusssion threads headed us in the right direction and is a clear record of the ideas shared
  • Whether the facilitator did a round up, drew closure and indicated where recordings and other follow up materials would be made available: all clear and labeled
  • Was the follow up done in a timely and professional manner? YES
  • What the facilitator did well: lots of questions, not too much 'summarising other's responses', thoughtful resposnes
  • How the event could be facilitated better: a slideshare of the key learnings
  • General comments and additions: nil

I decided to join facebook (
It took quite some time for the confirmation email to come through so I could start finding friends.
Finding friends was like finding some sprats in a massive ocean; there are so many people with my own name... it was harder finding my own mates than the organisational facebook pages that I wanted to join.

To have effective facilitation in a facebook environment I would consider doing the following:
  1. getting agreement on ground rules
  2. asking for ideas, shared resources and experiences on a topic of interest (like a simply links list of appropriate resources like or FAQ)
  3. let friends define priorities for topics
  4. identify expertise in the friends
  5. use other tools (Google Gears and Google Apps) to plan and share understanding and create presentations that are easy to access (e.g.
  6. build a rotation of the role for Social Director on a topic or online event
Ideas from:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cool Drupal Sites

! Belgium !

Linked Media Content (TV & Web)
ABC family Channel
- has groups, downloads etc. commercial, slick and informative

Community portals
e.g. Team Sugar

e.g. University of Fine Arts

Media Companies
e.g. Sony Music

e.g. Beyonce - suburb quality an integration of content, media etc.
News, Blog, competitions, video, sound clips, Calendar, members (fans), Poll (survey), forums, downloads, image galleries, newsletters.
(could not find a G rated screen shot of the website so here is the link

Social Networks
e.g. Jewcy

What is Drupal?

Now about Drupal, "Drupal is a free software package that allows an individual or a community of users to easily publish, manage and organize a wide variety of content on a website."
Drupal has:
* Content Management Systems
* Blogs
* Collaborative authoring environments
* Forums
* Peer-to-peer networking
* Newsletters
* Podcasting
* Picture galleries
* File uploads and downloads

BISAM hosts our Drupal installs for about 5 organisations, companies, training organisations etc.

Online Discussion - FOC08


Tonight I will be interviewing Bill Pugh from BISAM.
Bill advises NZSET on Drupal, Moodle and web deployment.
We'll cover:
BISAM Services
Open Source - a real choice or just a nice idea
Drupal for building community web environments
Moodle for effective learning

I have some questions from my FOC08 coursemates that I will ask.
Responses will be posted here.
An edited transcript will be available here or linked.
The Podcast will be here or linked.

More to come...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

An entire month...

An entire month since my last blog...
Technical paper is nearly finished.
Facilitating Online interview this weekend.
Any questions for Bill, email me



Thursday, October 16, 2008

Me Real in a Virtual Life

I really have a Second Life...
This is us in Jokaydia.

10 Things to Know...

Good post and interesting video at the bottom!

Good thing to know about the camera:

Alt + Left mouse click = ZOOM!

Control + 8 = Increase FOV (fisheye)

Control + 9 = Reset camera

Control + 0 = Telephoto

Yes, I am a noob or newbie.

Second Life

Today is our meeting in Second Life.
My SL name is CraigHansen Constantine.
Original, isn't it?
I could not put it up on the Wiki as it took forever to create a user name and password for the Wiki site. The just sat there, 'loading' and making fun of me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Blogosphere of FOC 08.

Do we need a facilitator? Yes, to keep the direction moving towards learning options.
Are we insular? Yes, more than we are ‘open’ as we feed off the direction, starting points etc. of Leigh’s resources and those extraneous ones that come through from other class members.
Guess what? Even my MS Word dictionary corrected my wrong spelling of blog-o-sphere. Even Mighty Microsoft is aware the bloggers are out there, in unison and their have a context called… Blogusphere… sorry, that’s Blogosphere!
Networks (2) <<<<-I think this one is better a an example as it is a network of networks on differentiated topics

Must See HTTP:// (

Well, Mr. Must See HTTP:// shows us all to clearly that anyone calling them a name on the internet must live up to that name… we are now September├č 2008 and the last article was Sept 10, 1999.

The Blogosphere By the Numbers By Rob McGann, The ClickZ Network, Nov 22, 2004

In internet life and times, this is an old article. But some conclusions:
- New blogs join the milieu offerings every few seconds, but few translate into regularly updated, comprehensive blogs
- A small percentage of blogs gain a wide readership, and a very small percentage gain phenomenal readership, with readers subscribed and regularly checking updates – meaning the either:
1. A small number have incredible influence over the few – what’s changed, really – it’s just a new forum or context?, and/or,
2. A small number have something of importance to say, or feeling passionately motivated say to say something, and/or,
3. A small number gain the skills, have the network or catch a wave in time to develop a following through good online marketing, or, link with an established membership online (or a membership that can easily translate to online), or, latch on to a topic that has already (or has the capacity to) grab the attention of readers mid- to longer-term, or, write so compellingly on a topic of interest as to solidify their presence as an online opinion that matters.
- Communicable events (sounds like a disease) – these high interest events increase ‘media’ activity regardless of the online status, on TV, in newspapers or on radio, like elections or disasters. This does not mean that blogs have become a favourite source of information and comment.
- People that are normally socially connected or socially motivated (13-19 2,120,000 51.5%) are using blogs to elevate their profile in their own social circles and launch their influence into wider national or international circles, with adult snow able to see, hear and read about a teen’s life as they never could before – social scientists must love this phenomenon and new doctoral topics must abound!

Keeping up to date

I've been saving the articles to my laptop, reading and commenting into a Word doc for blogging later. That's why there are lots of blogs on one day.
Right now, I am sitting on the toilet seat (not using it of course), while my 2 yr old plays in the bath, while I check my email an update the blog posts.
Amazing really what wirelessness can do.
Even men can multitask.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What have we learnt about ... Effective Online Facilitation

Response to What have we learnt about ...Effective Online Facilitation

I think a key quote here is, “the teacher manages discussions and learning activities”.
It is useless for a teacher to use the tools but abdicate responsibility for learning. The focus is always the learner; the medium is not the issue unless it gets in the way. Feedback opportunities need to be in place.
This enables the learner to move from novice to practitioner to expert. I studied this stuff for my doctoral prep in Education.

The stages go:
  1. Novice.

  2. Advanced beginner.

  3. Competent.

  4. Proficient.

  5. Expert.
(fuller here

Communication opportunities that encourage interaction between learners can create a cross-pollination effect, with learners helping learners – one learner answering questions that another learner hasn’t considered relevant until a meaning context is provided based within a work or home or learning problem.

So, another key quote around this idea is, “moving from an emphasis on web content to a more interactive structure that recognises the social and interactive elements of knowledge construction”

In terms of measuring effectiveness, I wonder if any and all learners are ready to ‘put themselves out there’ in a virtual space, describing their own understandings, getting feedback from other learners & the tutor, giving feedback. It’s all a bit, well scary, really.

Facilitation is not just managing the learning environment and pace of learning opportunities, it is about relational leadership, being an exemplar of proactive, supportive and corrective behaviours.

In order or progress through Salmon's fives stages a learner actually needs some basic ICT skills otherwise the consideration of learning online is so foreign its not an even option. To encourage new entrants to try online learning, I think institutions need to provide examples or case studies of different learners and how they have moved from a physical to a virtual learning environment.
Peers from a similar social or age background to coach them, at the start.

This is acknowledged in one of our other readings as there is the two-fold ministry of tchnical support and e-moderation ( All Things in Moderation | E-tivities | 5 stage model

Face to face learning in preparation for the online environment is probably a good beginning or prerequisite for a facilitator to expect, as he/she can begin the online mediation process with some assumptions of learner skill-level.

I think my notions fit more into Paulsen's Function model: instructor, social director, program manager, and technical assistant.

Anyway, still thinking on this...

Response to Managing Groups and Teams/How Do You Build High-performing Virtual Teams?

Managing Groups and Teams/How Do You Build High-performing Virtual Teams?

Our enterprise could not operate without virtual tools, enabling the ‘team’ to exist. Most of our childcare operations are outside Auckland, where our HQ resides. We rely on txt messages, emails, phone calls and posted newsletters, faxes of system documents and scans of documents t report on work assigned and tasks completed. At times we can no communicate with people in the field because they are slicing organises for afternoon tea, driving a van to pick up kids or they are just out of range. ICT allows us to schedule times for real-time communication and set an agenda.
Because our nation-wide funding round closes in the next few weeks, we have some very clear results we are seeking to achieve. Everyone knows these goals and the way they will be measured. Larson and LaFasto’s ‘4 necessary features’ are extremely relevant. The third feature of individual performance monitoring and feedback revolves around the leadership tasks that individuals report on, such as staying within spending limits; this issue alone generates substantial dialogue as we review the recreational programme provided to our children in care, and how we resource it. Some staff are either naturally god at managing this area of responsibility, some staff require weekly feedback and monitoring. The last feature of fact-based decision making is driven by the reporting procedures, where we may actually close an after school care programme due to low numbers and no apparent, demonstrable opportunity for growth.
At times, we give-up speed of response to ensure we gain accuracy in response. We want real information and might get it a day later than desired, but we prefer to get a real document, with real signatures or numbers, rather than a ‘guestimate’ that is on time.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Video of Stephen Downes 2006

I watched the video online of Stephen Downes, talking about the differences between networks and groups. It makes sense.
From an educator's point of view, we're going for a clearly defined "group" to deliver learning opportunities.
But when i am developing learning opportunities, i am clearly going for a "network". understanding the definitions or distinctions will help me structure or provide or enable each type to take part or contribute.
It's all a bit theoretical but I am pragmatic and and finding some good practical ways forward.
It also sounds a little class-struggle-marxist
Unity coordination closed
Distributive - centralised, leaders authority
Technology - TV, radio = one to many, tecnolog that coordinates, stndards, values, podcast, technorati
Unequal power, a spike of power base, creates barriers
Privacy, as a projected power, when a private action is displayed in public, but others ca not act on it.
Diversity Autonomy
openness - bridges not walls
Connective - between members, united in purpose, motives may be different
Technology - personal emails, portfolio, self-directed, blogs, identity, conversations, social networking
different technologies may be used for different types
Equal power, a scale free environment,

Communities of Practice - Learning as a Social System by Etienne

Communities of Practice - Learning as a Social System by Etienne Wenger

The following are some key points that stood out to me:
A community of practice defines itself along three dimensions:

  1. purpose or topic
  2. roles people take towards the purpose or topic
  3. product - this may not be a physical or electronic project, it may be a sense of communiyt or the learning held by the members individually or the "whole is more powerful than the sum of its parts"

Key Qoutes:

  • Communities of practice develop around things that matter to people. As a result, their practices reflect the members' own understanding of what is important.
  • it defines itself in the doing
  • participation has value
  • community of practice is different from a network in the sense that it is "about" something

Communities of practice...

  • retain, exchange and interpret information
  • give a home and opportunities for displays of 'identity'
  • can be a liability
  • to legitimize the community as a place for sharing and creating knowledge, recognized experts need to be involved
  • the best place to start is to foster the formation of communities of practice that leverage the potential that already exists

Facilitating online communities

From this course i expect to gain a good understanding of:

  1. structuring a learning environment for learners
  2. designing individual learning components that engage the learner
  3. creating a variety types of learning activities, that can be also assessmnt activities

I am hoping that people with different learning styles can relate to the learning opportunities we'll provide online, through the Trust's Moodle.

Building Online Communities

Building an online community seems to have lots of similarities to building a physical

  1. shared purpose
  2. shares stories - myths and celebrations
  3. a champion or evangelist of the core
  4. a culture developed through traditions, speech, actions, opinions, topics of discussion etc.

I read the book Organisaitonal Leadership. Many of the processes in leading, building, growing an
organisation in that book are in this articlecle.

The real bonus in any community as chromatic describes it, form my perspective, is the freedom for
individuals to let their passions take them in directions, to depths and to 'substantively different levels'
(e.g. quality or variety in presentation of the passion area).
The individual's sense of ownership can be maximised as there may possibly no limits of the freedom
to express their passion:

  • number of pages of content created
  • the structure, linking, heirachy of content
  • the flavour of content - video, plan text, in-order or reader-decides-order, hardcopy or only web-based
  • etc.
  • summary, referenced or interpretive or grounded theory etc.

And the thing is, once someone is IN they are IN, unless rules of engagement at the start define what
is 'acceptable'.

Shared culture, a shared history, maybe only a shared start and the end point may not be related in any
way to where the community began