ACLWalesPodcasts #3

February 22, 2009

Gabcast! ACLWalesPodcasts #3

This blog has moved…..

September 26, 2008


This blog has now been incorporated into RSC-Wales website at

Hope to see you there!


Adult Learners in the Community are best placed to understand the simple truth that teachers come in many different guises, and some of them may be children. I love this piece in today’s Woman’s Hour in which a bunch of children talk about how they have taught adults to use computers – and the older learners have taught the children (girls and boys) to knit. The children have learnt that it is hard work to teach some learners (“they are slow, but it is fun”), and this has surely got to be great for their capacity to learn, as well as their abiity to teach. Inspirational stuff!

(click on Thursday 17th); 26 minutes in


I have had some requests for the conference presentations, so I have gathered them together here:

Alun Burge (Communities at One)

Alan Clarke (E-Guides)

Cerys Furlong (Niace Dysgu Cymru)

Christine Major (DCELLS)

Liam Keeley & Alison Walker (Estyn)

Peter Scott (RSC Wales)

I hope this helps…

The Power of Video

February 25, 2008

The RSC Wales has been gathering some video of learners testifying to the value of their experiences, and I have already pointed out some examples which Esther has posted on Teachertube, and also showed us at Llandrindod. One of the learners in the video also mentions telling her own story on video. This idea is, of course, not new. The BBC started producing ‘Video Nation’ videos as long ago as 1993, and publishing these on its website since 2001. However, the disadvantage of their approach was that you had to hand over your material to them for editing (although they let you decide whether or not to publish).

But the world has moved on… The hardware is now relatively cheaper, smaller and easier to use. Editing software is also not as complicated , and some of it is free and/or open source. This means that the control is more in the hands of the teacher and the learner, and people are making and editing their own videos.  Many teachers are really taking this on , and we will be linking you to some good examples over the coming weeks.

First off, here are some very moving pieces from the BBC, involving people in NE Wales. I really like the use of still images supplemented by audio commentaries. Really good work can be done even without a video camera. Here are a couple I particularly like, which both chart social change, and its impact on individuals:

…is the title of an excellent draft discussion paper by Frank Coffield, for LSN. If you are looking for an antidote to the frustration which we all suffer from hearing about nothing except targets and inspections, then look no further. There is some truly inspired thinking here, which both challenges preconceptions, and also gives plenty of scope for constructive action. What I particularly like is the perspective that teaching and learning are essentially interconnected processes which cannot simply be segregated (as evidenced by the same word being used for both in the Welsh and the Russian languages). This is important, as it compensates for the recent trend to place greater emphasis on learning, wherein the teacher is easily relegated to the role of ‘guide on the side’. The best teachers are much more than this, in my view. There are also some Activities in the paper which allow the reader to focus their own thinking, and to pass feedback to the author. Some of these would also make good activities in a teacher training context.  The paper is at

Alistair McNaught’s presentation is linked below, for you to download. As Alistair has pointed out, technology alone cannot make your teaching more accessible, but intelligent use of new hardware and software can certainly help. And this stuff is great for all learners, not just those whom we happen to have labelled as disabled. Please explore, and let us know what you use. It’s all free (or bundled with stuff you are likely to use anyway), and pretty easy to do. I shall be trying some more things out next week, and letting you know how I got on…

Inclusive Teaching

Hello Everyone,

I am starting to reflect on a really successful meeting in Llandrindod last week. It was great to see old friends, and to make new ones. On the first day, we heard much about the strategic questions from various perspectives, e.g. funding, inspection and support. There was some interesting discussion, and I’ll revisit some of this in future blog postings. I am particularly interested in the E-Guides framework, and exploring ways in which thay may be emulated in Wales. More on that later….

Meanwhile, I am going to unashamedly steal some of Alastair McNaught’s closing presentation. For those who were not there, he did a real high wire act – giving us a choice of technologies which he could demonstrate, with plenty of real audience participation, and no safety net as far as I could see! Below is one example – ‘Make Your Own Podcast on a Telephone’. Once registered, you can simply dial up a number, key in a channel code, and speak. Your file is then stored on their server, and automatically uploaded to your blog (if you choose that option). Click on the link below to listen to my first blogged podcast. If you want to try this for yourself,  you can register online at (and probably other sites). It’s free, and it could be a really good way of enabling mobile learners to report back. See what you think…

Gabcast! ACLWalesPodcasts #1 – From Ynys Mon

A short report to test Gabcast

At the Edge

February 8, 2008

Blog text


Jill Evans and Jean Gaywood led a very useful session illustrating their approach to bringing online learning to more people in the Torfaen area. They have led a European project which has enabled them to set up courses online. The results so far have been highly encouraging in a couple of key respects:

Learner engagement has greatly exceeded the target for the project (especially from subjects other than Information Technology

Results for British Computer Society qualifications have improved greatly

The session was conducted on locally stored copies of Moodle on the laptops, which worked with very few glitches. This is reassuring for those teachers who will need to take Moodle into classrooms where there is no internet connection… Delegates had the chance to use various online quizzes, which the learners really enjoy using.

Currently, Jill and Jean are supporting learners directly by setting up courses and adding the resources themselves – the next step will be to provide training for tutors to set up their own courses.


Ideas you might like to follow up….

· Access to the Torfaen Moodle demo materials is available on request. If you completed their form, then Jill will contact you. If not then contact me ( and you will be added to the list…

· A few people were interested in experimenting further with Moodle, but don’t have a server set up yet. The RSC can offer support to people in this position. Email to find out what we can do for you…

· If you are thinking of using Moodle , or already doing so, you may like to join the Moodle Users Wales Group, which provided excellent support via its JISC Mail list.Visit to sign up.


Video case studies

February 6, 2008

My colleagues Esther Barrett and Russell Symmons down in Swansea have just been putting together some lovely video ‘footage’ (should we still be calling it that) of adult learners using technology in all kinds of inspiring ways. These are often learners who have not used computers at all before, and many are doing course which have no obvious relationship to computers (e.g. lacemaking and stickmaking). Nevertheless, you can tell from the way that the talk about it that the technology has made a big difference to their work. Interestingly, it is often the communications bit of the ICT which really appeals, and first-time users can skip formatting disks etc, and go straight to blogging. More power to their collective elbow!

Here’s a link to the video.