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eLearning Suite Launch Party!

Join the Atlanta chapter of the ASTD and the Adobe Users Group of Atlanta for an Informative and Amusing Evening to celebrate the launch of Adobe Captivate 6.  Adobe eLearning Evangelist, Dr. Allen Partridge will share all the latest news and information about Adobe Captivate 6the yet to be released Adobe Presenter 8, and the Adobe eLearning Suite 6released on July 18th.

The release of Adobe Captivate 6 has been heralded by eLearning professionals as the most significant upgrade to Captivate in history and the other Adobe eLearning products aim to match that sentiment.  You won’t want to miss seeing for yourself the latest mobile, video and out-of-the-box solutions in Adobe’s hot new eLearning software.

Register here!

Dr. Allen Partridge is the eLearning Evangelist for Adobe. In addition to his work for Adobe Systems, he serves on the doctoral faculty in the Communications Media and Instructional Technology program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Allen has written several books and a host of articles on topics ranging from 3D game development to Instructional Design for new technologies. He is active in explorations of Immersive Learning as well as traditional multimedia enhanced eLearning and rapid eLearning. Allen works closely with the eLearning Suite and Captivate teams at Adobe, providing a channel to customer needs and concerns and helping facilitate communication among team members.

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I was amused by this blog post – Ballpoint pens… the ruin of education in our country – that Jane Bozarth shared on Twitter. It points out some absurdities from educational resistance to change over the last couple of centuries.

Quoting the book Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America the Nick Sauers has the following list:

  • From a principal’s pub­li­ca­tion in 1815: “Students today depend on paper too much.  They don’t know how to write on a slate with­out get­ting chalk dust all over them­selves.  They can’t clean a slate properly. What will they do when they run out of paper?”
  • From the jour­nal of the National Asso­ci­a­tion of Teach­ers, 1907: “Stu­dents today depend too much upon ink.  They don’t know how to use a pen knife to sharpen a pen­cil.  Pen and ink will never replace the pencil.”
  • From Rural Amer­i­can Teacher, 1928: “Students today depend upon store bought ink.  They don’t know how to make their own.  When they run out of ink they will be unable to write words or ciphers until their next trip to the set­tle­ment.  This is a sad com­men­tary on mod­ern education.”
  • From Federal Teach­ers, 1950: “Ball­point pens will be the ruin of edu­ca­tion in our coun­try.  Stu­dents use these devices and then throw them away.  The Amer­i­can val­ues of thrift and fru­gal­ity are being dis­carded.  Busi­nesses and banks will never allow such expen­sive luxuries.”
  • From a sci­ence fair judge in Apple Class­room of Tomor­row chron­i­cles, 1988: “Com­put­ers give stu­dents an unfair advan­tage.  There­fore,students who used com­put­ers to ana­lyze data or cre­ate dis­plays will be elim­i­nated from the sci­ence fair.”

It’s fun to note that the book could have continued much further into the past, to Socrates who is often cited as lamenting that writing causes forgetfulness, and thus permanently harms the value of education.

For extra giggles, as a constant reader you will remember all the hoohaa a couple of years ago about how Google makes us stupid. There were so many copycat articles, I’m not even sure I could find the original if my life depended on it  🙂

The fact of the matter is that humans are very resourceful, and somehow we keep fumbling along, learning stuff, making stuff, inventing new stuff, in spite of our seemingly constant efforts to destroy education as we know it and make our children stupid. What do you mean we don’t? It must be true, because I read it a thousand times.

So anyway, Nick Sauers‘ blog post inspired me to write the following on Facebook, and I thought it was worthwhile sharing here – it’s high time I stuck with my occasional promises to blog more consistently anyway!

I remember being told that if I didn’t learn to write as beautifully as my sister, then I would never get a decent job.

Thank goodness for computers, phones, tablets!

I think the only thing I regularly write these days are cheques, and my writing is still horrible 🙂

More seriously, it seems that many of us agree that we do have some deep-seated issues with eduction that need to be addressed. Education in America gets constant bad press for being more expensive and less effective than in other industrialized nations.

IMHO, at least some of the cause, as suggested above, is with teachers and their resistance to change. The trouble with many teachers (not all – I am well aware that there are many great teachers!) is that, on average they are an ‘older’ generation, they were taught by an even older generation and they don’t have time or motivation to truly learn, master and integrate new-fangled technologies and techniques into their workflow.

Therefore I think teaching is about to go through a painful revolution as a few things converge, particularly here in America:-

  • The personal cost of higher education, and the return on that investment is just not equating to value.
  • There is a loud hubbub about moving to something akin to an apprenticeship model in education – teaching to a career rather than teaching to a square peg and rarely-used specialities.
  • The Internet means everyone knows they can get great learning resources for free, so why pay $60,000+++?
  • Technologies like tablets really are changing how we interact with information and technology, making learning more instant, and critical thinking more important than Industrial Age teaching methods require (the flaws of Industrial Age teaching wonderfully explained by Sir Ken Robinsonfull version here ).
  • Classrooms make less and less sense.
  • As does the rigid timetable of formal education. More parents work from home these days, so why can’t kids ‘school from home’? I use this phrase as a distinction from ‘home schooling’.
  • It might just require a revolution in education to keep unemployment below 10%. It seems like too many young people leave education without being able to turn their schooling into employment.

I’m not saying anything new here. In the eLearning, Teaching and Business worlds, people are saying similar things and have been for a while.

I really have enjoyed the bloom of technology over the last two decades, and the effect of it in our learning solutions, in particular how we can all now be constant and instant learners. I am excited by the changes that are ahead of us, even as I recognize that for many of us, these changes will bring all sorts of trauma as our view of learning gets turned upside down, inside out and spat out as something new and (hopefully) effective for at least a couple of generations before our next learning revolution.

Do share your thoughts in the comments. This is a subject that fascinates me, and affects us all!

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Frankly, I’m getting pretty excited about it. I’ve read in a few places that the Surface tablet will be like the Surface ‘table’ computer in that it will be able to ‘see’ what it placed on it. If you’ve never seen any of the Surface demos on YouTube, you should go peek now.

I showed this iPad vs Windows 8 (beta) tablet to a colleague and some friends. There are some pretty compelling new features, reminiscent of a conglomeration of WebOS and other tablets that make my wallet nervous …

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ImageOn Friday June 15th, Adobe released Captivate 6. This latest version of Captivate has some major new features, including the ability to publish to HTML 5 (concurrently with Flash publishing), a new Video Project, massively improved PowerPoint import and integration, interactive widgets, powerful themes and much more.

If you are heading out for mLearnCon in San Jose on June 19th, I’ll be there talking about the Video Demo workflow with Pooja Jaisingh, one of Adobe’s eLearning Evangelists.

Adobe has published a lot of Captivate 6 feature demos on AdobeTV, and I recommend you take a few minutes to browse them.

Here are some quick Captivate 6 resources:

AdobeTV: What’s new in Adobe Captivate 6

Leive Weymeis (Lilybiri): Captivate 6 – Advanced Actions

 

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Adobe is going to do a live demonstration of Adobe’s latest industry leading authoring tools for rapid eLearning authoring Register here:-

Join Dr Allen Partridge, Adobe eLearning Evangelist for a demonstration of the exciting new ways to create effective eLearning with Adobe’s latest industry leading authoring tools for rapid eLearning authoring. Adobe Captivate is widely recognized as the industry leading rapid eLearning authoring software tool. Explore how Adobe Captivate extends your reach into mobile publishing and enables you to create great looking course content.

The Adobe eLearning Suite has rocketed to the top, quickly becoming the must-have software package for eLearning professionals since Adobe first released this Dream Team of integrated eLearning Tools in 2009. Find out what everyone’s buzzing about, and see the amazing ways Adobe eLearning Suite, featuring Adobe Captivate can help you create dynamic, engaging and productive eLearning courses.

Register here

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Since I moved to Atlanta, I have been getting to know Jay Lambert. Jay is an active member of the Atlanta eLearning community, and an independent eLearning developer, running Integrated Learning Services.

A few weeks ago, Jay and I had lunch and discussed Jay’s idea of setting up an informal eLearning discussion group in Atlanta. Not a web forum, but a real live face-to-face group.

I think it is an awesome idea, and I am pleased to announce our first eLearning Discussion and Coffee meeting. Jay included details in his blog post about Atlanta eLearning events a few days ago, and I summarize them here.

Meet with us on Tuesday May 24th at 4:30pm at the La Madeleine’s by Perimeter Mall to informally discuss eLearning tactics over coffee.

Topics currently under consideration are:

    Learning Analytics,
    Is rapid design really rapid?
    Instructional design tips.

You should also note that this is the same evening that the ASTD Atlanta INC SIG is holding an event on e-newsletters right around the corner, so many of us will go from the coffee to that.

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“as education professionals, we are always behind the curve”

Matthew Nehrling wrote this in his blog post Who are the post-millennials?, where he raises the question of how are teachers going to deal with children born after the mid 90s who are even more soaked in technology than the so called ‘millenials’. More to the point, he also asks how are teachers going to cope with the children of millenials.

All this talk of millennials, digital natives etc. has had me thinking recently. Educators, as Matthew stated, *are* behind the curve. They are typically trained by an older generation, whose comfort zone in learning came from an even older generation. This probably didn’t matter much when technology played little part in day-to-day life, and when the Internet had no influence on learning and access to knowledge,  because the tools of the trade – books, pens, pencils – were largely unchanged in decades (centuries?), and teaching from books was equally (in?)effective for everybody.

There are certainly many teachers out there who ‘get’ technology and who are able to harness it to enhance the learning experience for their students of all ages. However my experience as a mature student and as ‘technology advisor’ to several teachers has been that most teachers, especially those teaching children, have little, if any, grasp of technology. They themselves are not even ‘with it’ enough to qualify as “digital immigrants”.

Over the next few years, millennials will become teachers, and let’s face it, regardless of the hype, children who are comfortable and skilled with technology are in the minority, if for no other reason than this is true of their parents. There most certainly are millions of computer geeks out there who have children who they are encouraging in their own geeky footsteps, but I suggest that the non-geeky, computer-shy, computer-illiterate, computer-indifferent parents are in the majority, and thus the majority of millennials are somewhat computer-ignorant too and thus at best would qualify as Digital Immigrants themselves.

And I’m pretty sure that will be true of millennials as they become teachers.

I think it will be another couple of generations before we will see technological ubiquity of the type suggested by Prensky’s Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants essay, by which time the geeks will have moved on to something unimagined, and the masses will just be getting to grips with Wikipedia.

OK I maybe paint a darker and less flattering picture of ‘the masses’ than people might like to see, but the truth is the masses are not, and won’t ever be, geeks. So they won’t ever be Digital Natives … at least, not while it’s still possible to be an immigrant or an alien.

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