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					2008 Emerging technology trials - Outcomes
For the first time in 2008, the E-standards for Training business activity, through the national training system’s e-learning strategy, the Australian Flexible Learning Framework (Framework), made up to $80,000 available to registered training organisations (RTOs) for the funding of four-six trials of emerging technologies. A maximum of $20,000 was available for each successful application. The purpose of this funding opportunity was to explore emerging technologies and identify areas where future standards work may be required. The trials were also identifying ways that the emerging technologies may be utilised in teaching and learning in the wider national training system. The following four trials were funded in 2008: 1. Creating a self-guided induction tour of an industrial workshop with mobile devices (Wodonga TAFE, VIC). 2. Trialling the use of video for remote assessment during workplace training (TAFE Tasmania, TAS). 3. Developing innovative virtual teaching and learning spaces (Canberra Institute of Technology, ACT). 4. Using e-portfolios (electronic portfolios) with web 2.0 social networking tools (Charles Darwin University, NT). The following sections outline the goals and major outcomes of the trials. The knowledge gained from engaging with these groups has been immense.

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2008 Emerging technology trials - Outcomes

1. Creating a self-guided induction tour of an industrial workshop with mobile devices
(Wodonga TAFE, VIC)

Background
Apprentices commencing cabinet making at Wodonga TAFE are generally geographically dispersed, and do not always arrive at the same time for induction. Therefore, the induction process can be repeated many times, creating an unnecessary strain on staff time and resources. An important part of the induction process is safety training on workshop equipment. Educational technologists at Wodonga TAFE wanted to explore ways in which technology could be used to make this process more efficient, and automate it as much as possible. The team explored the creation of a self-guided tour with the use of mobile devices, such as PDAs (personal digital assistants). The devices were loaded with content and as the student toured the workshop they could swipe a tag on a piece of equipment and view a multimedia presentation on the mobile device. An investigation into RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology was conducted. RFID tags store identification information and small amounts of data, and can be attached to physical objects. RFIDs are commonly used in systems for tracking parcels and shipping containers, transportation/toll way payment systems, micro-chip technology used in implanted animal identification, and recently in the new embedded secure identification information chips in Australian passports. The idea for this use of technology stemmed from the use of mobile devices and RFIDs to create self-guided tours in museums and art galleries. The team at Wodonga TAFE knew this was technically possible, but the question was how difficult it would be for an RTO to implement in-house without engaging a commercial vendor or consultants.

Project goals
• • • •

Develop and document suitable hardware profile (equipment). Develop software solution for PDA/RFID reader interface. Develop short multimedia presentations. Trial usability of working system.

Project outcomes
The team at Wodonga TAFE have created and demonstrated a proof-of-concept working model of the system on a standard PDA. Through this work, the project team and E-standards for Training have documented a number of recommendations which they will make available to others in the national training system wanting to undertake a similar project.

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2008 Emerging technology trials - Outcomes

In summary, some of the major outcomes include:
• • • •

A list of equipment recommendations, specifications (PDA, RFID readers and tags used), including explanation and justification for their use. Development of RFID/PDA interface software (for Windows Mobile 6.0) - sourcecode made available for use by others. Recommendation to explore the use of QR codes in place of RFIDs in environments with high levels of electromagnetic interference. Contribution to the E-standards for Training 2008 M-Learning (Mobile Learning) standards review.

Potential benefits to the national training sector and future development
The team has successfully demonstrated that existing technology can be customised to create this system. The experiences of the technical team has been captured, to be passed on to others planning on implementing a similar system. This includes valuable advice and a number of useful technical recommendations. The project team plan to continue to develop the software to be more flexible and user friendly. They would like to extend its functionality by incorporating some form of assessment to test understanding of the equipment's safety requirements. Interestingly, one of the recommendations of the project team was the exploration of the use of QR codes in environments with high levels of electromagnetic interference. The ability to read QR codes is becoming increasingly common on mobile phones and PDAs with embedded digital cameras. A camera with a minimum resolution of 2.0 megapixels is required. It is possible that this system could be further developed in such a way that the student could view the presentations on their personal mobile device.

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2008 Emerging technology trials - Outcomes

2. Trialling the use of video for remote assessment during workplace training
(TAFE Tasmania, TAS)

Background
Workplace training is essential for vocational education and training (VET) learners but it can prove difficult for trainers when it comes to assessment, especially as many industries have a workforce that continually moves from one site to another. Knowing exactly where an apprentice or trainee is going to be working on the allotted day of assessment can be especially hard, particularly in the construction and agricultural industries. Many assessors have made appointments to meet on a particular site but on arrival have found the apprentice or trainee has moved to another site as a result of work completion or in some instances work not being ready to commence. TAFE Tasmania sought to tackle this issue by extending the Framework's QTImPlayer mobile assessment tool, together with ‘camera glasses’, to enable apprentices and trainees to record their activity when doing remote workplace assessment. The QTImPlayer is a mobile device that is loaded with assessment tools, such as multiple-choice, short-answer and extended-answer questions, which are completed by the student under the watchful eye of the on-the-job supervisor. Once an assessment is complete, the QTImPlayer creates a ZIP file archive containing the assessment results in a standard format, including files such as photographs, which may have been included as supporting evidence. The results are then sent to a nominated email address. The email message also includes an easy-to-read copy of the assessment results. This trial examined how the use of the QTImPlayer can be enhanced with camera glasses and focused on plumbing apprentices and dairy farming students. The students wore the camera glasses while completing set tasks, and video evidence was sent to the assessor via the QTImPlayer, email or a secure digital card in the post. The trial also explored suitable technologies for the transmission of live and recorded video.

Project goals
• •

Extend the QTImPlayer to accept video as supporting evidence of competency during assessment. Explore the implementation and use of the international QTI (Question and Test Interoperability 1) specification, as well as file types, transmission and effective storage of the evidence files. Produce a user guide for other RTOs to embed the use of the QTImPlayer and camera glasses within their teaching and training programs.

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http://www.imsglobal.org/question/

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2008 Emerging technology trials - Outcomes

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Identify new or confirm existing e-standards required to provide technologysupported assessment and recognition practices.

Project outcomes
The trial team extended the existing Framework QTImPlayer to accept video input created by ‘camera glasses’ which recorded the actions of learners as video. Twelve trials were successfully conducted in NCDEA (National Centre for Dairy Education) courses based in Victoria, and one trial with plumbing apprentices in Tasmania. A guide for use of the camera glasses (to capture video and still images) was also produced and feedback on design improvements to the camera glasses has been documented. In summary, some of the major outcomes were:
•

Wider consultation with the sector, contributing to significant improvement to the assessment tool design of the QTImPlayer (adapted as best as possible due to differences in state/territory assessment processes). QTImPlayer adapted to operate on a new hardware platform (used by the NCDEA) - the HTC Diamond Touch smart phone / Windows Mobile 6.0. QTImPlayer successfully extended to accept camera glasses input, which was saved on the MP4 player/recorder mobile device. A guide for use of the camera glasses (to capture video and still images) with this MP4 player/recorder has been produced. Feedback on design improvements to the camera glasses has been documented (the camera angle is fixed, and doesn’t suit many practical applications). The team demonstrated the system at the 2008 Converge Conference2.

• • • • •

Potential benefits to the national training sector and future development
In the current economic climate, industry is seeking ways to upskill its workforce whilst not losing out on productivity. This advancement to the functionality of the QTImPlayer is another positive step towards such a solution. Developing the QTImPlayer to work on multiple mobile devices (PDAs and phones) with functionality such as touch-screen capabilities will lower the barriers to the uptake of this tool. The guides provided by the project team are easy to use and are available on request by emailing e-standards@flexiblelearning.net.au.

Special note
In an announcement at the IDEA 20083 conference, the project team ranked third in the Asia-Pacific IMS Global Learning Impact Awards and will compete in the International Learning Impact Awards in Barcelona in May.
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http://www.eworks.edu.au/converge/ http://www.linkaffiliates.net.au/idea2008/

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2008 Emerging technology trials - Outcomes

Outstanding! We would like to express our congratulations to the team.

3. Developing innovative virtual teaching and learning spaces
(Canberra Institute of Technology, ACT)

Background
The Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) trial is looking at enhancing students' experiences through virtual worlds, so they can practice what they learn, make mistakes and work out solutions either by themselves or as part of a team, in a realistic setting. Eduversal Studios is an educational virtual world based on a theme park metaphor, with 'scenes' based on educational settings, such as a hospital ward, hotel or mechanical workshop. Wandering through the theme park are visually identifiable avatars of nurses, personal trainers, bakers and a range of others. This trial focused on exploring the suitability of developing Eduversal Studios in Croquet, a free and open-source virtual world platform that is purpose-designed and built for education. It incorporates educational features that are not implemented in commercial applications. A key goal of this trial was to recommend e-standards for platforms, hardware, software, networking, security and educational design levels. Applicable aspects of this educational virtual world were documented, such as standards for content re-use and interoperability, technical guidelines for implementing virtual worlds, and a guide for educators to help them get started using virtual worlds for teaching and learning. The immediate educational goal for Eduversal Studios has been the Nurse for a Day! scenario. The idea is to give the students a taste of being in a nursing ward; dealing with patients, doctors and other nursing staff; coping with diseases; and recording a patient’s condition. One task could be to go to a patient and assess what is wrong with them, discuss their condition with other staff and write up the patient record. Another could be to go to the 'condition cabinet' and 'drink' typhoid, pregnancy, cardiac arrest or other conditions to experience the symptoms such as hot sweats, weight gain or vomiting.

Project goals
• • • •

Establish a virtual world service using Croquet. Access resources required to develop assets in Croquet (avatars, objects, tools and simulated environments). Determine requirements to produce a simulated education experience (shift change in nursing ward). Determine suitability of Croquet as a platform for virtual worlds.

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2008 Emerging technology trials - Outcomes

Project outcomes
The project team spent a significant amount of time developing contacts and support within the Croquet community. For expertise in 3D development, the team also formed a partnership with the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE). In an exceptional effort, the team was able to get a working service in operation. However, the team at CIT did not recommend the use of Croquet for the establishment of virtual worlds in the national training sector for the following reasons:
• • •

significant resources were required to establish and configure the service the programming language required to create assets in Croquet is not an industry standard for 3D software development there are concerns regarding support and the development cycle of the Croquet platform.

The team is not planning to move this project forward in Croquet. They seek a similarly open platform; one that is hosted/vendor supported, and uses more common software development protocols for asset development.

Potential benefits to the national training sector and future developments
The team at CIT invested a significant amount of effort into this investigation. They are a highly experienced and technically capable team, and yet considered this work to involve 'a steep learning curve'. This is an important lesson to those wanting to undertake a similar project in the sector. The team at CIT seeks to build the virtual world community within the sector, to share resources, experiences and creative energy.

Special note
The team at CIT are set to receive a $330,000 DEEWR grant to continue their work on virtual worlds. This was announced in September as part of the Targeting Skills Needs in Regions4 program. The fund will be used to continue to build the community and build a sustainable and supported Nursing Ward simulation. Congratulations!

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http://www.alp.org.au/media/0908/msewr040.php

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2008 Emerging technology trials - Outcomes

4. Using e-portfolios (electronic portfolios) with web 2.0 social networking tools
(Charles Darwin University, NT)

Background
Employers are always looking for specific job skills when they take on a new employee. These skills could include teamwork, communication or using their own initiative. But it’s often difficult for learners to demonstrate that they possess these key skills. The Charles Darwin University (CDU) trial looked at the use of e-portfolios to reflect learning experiences in a self-managed open portal format. E-portfolios have been around for years but mainly in a static format, ie a digital version of the CV. This trial is looking at how social networking tools can enhance e-portfolios and demonstrate employability skills and graduate attributes. The team at CDU trialled Kaltura (an open source video platform), in conjunction with Blackboard’s e-portfolio platform, with a range of VET students from the School of Creative Arts and Humanities.

Project goals
• • •

Trial and document the use of Kaltura in conjunction with Blackboard's e-portfolio platform. Determine technical requirements, implementation and issues if encountered. Determine training requirements for use of the system.

Project outcomes
The trial gathered much information about the use of e-portfolios by trial participants and developed a number of recommendations and further discussion which will be published in 2009 in a paper. Some of the major outcomes include:
• • • • • • •

Trial involving 88 students from the School of Creative Arts and Humanities. Survey of participants on the requirement for the e-portfolio to be portable - 67% agreed/strongly agreed, 23% were uncertain as they had never used an e-portfolio. Seamlessly integrated into the Blackboard system - students were more or less unaware that it was a separate service. Technical recommendations. The trial found students required ~500MB of storage space per student. File formats, sizing and repurposing requirements and tools. Recommended free tools such as Audacity for audio.

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2008 Emerging technology trials - Outcomes

• • •

Training implications/digital literacy. Perception that students and youth are born digitally native is false. Major effort was required to build student digital literacy. Strong recommendation that the organisation must supply students with tools, guides, training, and recommendations on file formats, sizing and repurposing assets.

Potential benefits to the national training sector and future developments
This project clearly identified the issue of digital literacy. It is a myth that all students [of this time] are born digitally native. Although they are usually more familiar and accepting of technology, they are not necessarily technically literate to the level required to create audio and video. Students also had little knowledge regarding the best file formats, Codec’s5 and tools.

For more information
For more information on emerging technology trials: Email: e-standards@flexiblelearning.net.au Website: flexiblelearning.net.au/e-standards

For more information on the Australian Flexible Learning Framework Phone: (07) 3307 4700 Fax: (07) 3259 4371 Email: enquiries@flexiblelearning.net.au Website: flexiblelearning.net.au GPO Box 1326 Brisbane QLD 4001

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codec

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