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: