Friday, October 23, 2009

Starting out in Flash and Google Wave

Over the past two weeks I have finally gotten my Flash training and received my Google Wave invites, two new tools in two weeks.... I like it.

Flash training..... a big aha moment on Day 1. I really did not understand the timeline, or how the frames worked before. But now I do! And I already have my first project to develop in Flash. It will be essentially a slideshow, but with some audio and animation worked in. Probably a good starting point for me. I believe that my next project is going to be updating and expanding an existing Flash-based course, and that may be more problematic. I am not sure my Flash knowledge is that great yet, but as a friend of mine says, "Fake it until you make it!"

I also thought I would but out a Public Wave in Google Wave, looking for some good Flash resources, and I have made three new contacts as a result. 1 in Australia and 2 in the UK. I have not had a chance to use Wave much, mostly because my contact list is depressingly small. But I think this will be a great tool as time goes on and the population using grows.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Embed Captivate file into a pdf

Saw this on Tweeter a few weeks ago, and finally had a use for it. To create a really great set of instructions, create a Captivate project which demos the steps you want taken. Publish it as you normally would. Then publish your project, again, to Word (or pdf if you have that option) as a set of Step by Step instructions. Adjust and fill out the instructions as necessary in word, then publish it as a .pdf. Open the pdf in Acrobat Professional and then embed the .swf file from your original publication.

Voila, there you have it!

Hmmm maybe I will try and make one with the instructions on how to make one... LOL!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Must remember to Google first....

hmm been a while since my last post... guess I was on summer holidays. :o)

I had an interesting experience the other day. I was tasked with getting some graphics out a pdf. I thought that, if it was possible, it would take me a couple of hours working photoshop in order to lift the graphics. Not something I was looking forward to doing. I started on the first graphic and after about 10 minutes realized that this was not going to work. Then on a whim figuring someone else had done this before, I googled my problem... it turns out there is menu tab that enables you to lift the images from a pdf. 10 minutes later, I was finished.

This for some reason drove home the notion that it may be worth while to check out Google whenever I get a new request..

Must remember to Google first...
Must remember to Google first...
Must remember to Google first...
Must remember to Google first...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Customer Service through Twitter

Last Wednesday, I was working at home using a trial version of CodeBaby (great piece of software!). However, when I went to export my project, I got a series of errors and the files it produced were not usable, the image and sound were all garbled. So I went on line to check the website to see if there was a solution.

Now, earlier in the day, I had twittered about using CodeBaby and went I went back online, someone named Patrick had twittered me back, asking what kind of project I was working on. I responded an introduction for a conference, but that I was having some export issues. Patrick responded that they would be glad to help me, and suggested that I contact, via Twitter, Amanda in Customer Service.

So I contacted Amanda and sent her a screen capture of what I was seeing.
As she was looking for a solution, Patrick twitter me back and asked if I was using a purchased or trial version and noted that I had spoken with Doug, one the VPs and asked if I would like Doug to give me a call. Twenty minutes later, I was speaking with Doug, and five minutes after that I was speaking with Joe, another one of the Customer Service Reps. Joe helped me trouble shoot the problem and we figured out what was causing my exports to fail.

What I did not realize until somewhere in the middle, was that Charles was the CEO of the CodeBaby!

Further more even though, I was only using a Trial version, he and the rest of the company was willing to assist me. Working at Service Canada and being one of the Learning Consultants for our Service Excellence Program, I find I am now much more attuned to Good Customer Service, and this was definitely for me a good experience. And to think I did most of my initial interactions using Twitter.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Lying for Learning

I read an interesting blog post the other day, about Lying for Learning. The storey is that there was a professor who on the first day of classes told his students that in every lecture, he will plant a falsehood. There job was to find it, correct it and report back on it in the next class.

At first the falsehoods were easy to spot. Sometimes the students were even able to correct it and report it before the end of class, but as the year went on, it got harder to spot, and so the students started to form groups to identify and then correct the falsehood. This got the students to start questioning everything the prof had said and discussing and validating everything from the class.

What a brilliant idea! He challenged them, and as a result they ended up reviewing and analysing everything he had said. Which I am sure lead to a deeper understanding and knowledge of the course material.

Finally towards the end of the course, the students had a lecture in which they could not not find the falsehood. When they finally admitted it in class, the Prof admitted that in the last lecture there had been no falsehoods. Some of the students pointed out that he had said in the very first class, that there would be a falsehood in every class. His response:

I lied.

Beautiful!!! Now how can I use this in one of my courses?


Recently on the Rapid Elearning Blog, Tom wrote about 9 free tools that help him build better elearning courses and i wanted to single one out for this blog post.

By selecting a colour and entering its RGB or Hex number, Colorschemer will provide you with a palette of colours you can use in the design of your elearning course.

By creating a palette of colours you can add a greater sense of connectedness to your course, especially if you base your palette off over a logo or other predominate object in the course. Also having a unique and related colour palette will help your course, I believe in achieving a more professional and polished look.

(The colour scheme for our college's green)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pocket Mods

This is a pretty cool piece of Flash work. I always enjoy finding creative sites like this. allows you, using a single piece of paper to create an 8 page mini booklet with what ever content you wold like.

I have seen this site spoken about before, generally for the creation of schedules for conferences, but have not gone and looked at the site in some time. Now however, there is so much more that can be done... storyboards, grids, etc. This would be neat to include in our multiday courses or as a take away "crib" notes from a course. Very cool stuff indeed!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Photo Web Site

Almost everyone who works with me knows of my intense dislike of clipart. (I should clarify, it is the "standard" clipart I dislike, and how it is generally used in course and other learning materials). So I am always on the look out for good photo sites. I recently came across this site: and am really enjoying it. It links to free photos (doubel check the lisence agreements just in case) and searchs several sites including Flickr.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

RSS Feeds

I often get asked how I come up with great ideas, or where did I find that cool site that does that cool thing. Honestly, I read.

Kinda scary when you think about it. I spend probably close to an hour a day, wither at work, on the bus or at home reading blogs or email newletters (for lack of a better term) on the topics of elearning, learning, mobile learning, presentations, design and creativity. And that hour is sometimes not nearly long enough. I also spend a lot of time thinking... exploring what something would look like in my mind's eye.

To help me do this, I use a RSS reader. Simply put, an RSS reader goes to all the websites I have subscribed to and brings their latest offerings to one location on the web. No more going from site to site to see what's new. I have used two RSS readers in the past and would recommend either one of them. Bloglines and Netvibes. Both are really good at what they do, but a slightly different tools. But that's a topic for another post.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Presentation Zen

I am reading Presentation Zen right now. Great book so far, and it comes highly recommended by the blogging / elearning / learning world. While I don't create alot of "business presentations" I do create a lot of elarning and presentations for the classroom, and I think they are essentially the same thing. I have to communicate (sell) a knowledge skill or attitude (or idea). So the prinicipals hold true. I really like the questions he is possing so far. Some great ones that I can see using here at work.

What your (the) point?
Why does it matter?

Is it useful and necessary? or just interesting and cool?

Can I explain (sell) the message / idea in 30 secs?

oh some food for thought for sure...

This is a different way of thinking, especially for me , working here in the government, where everything seems to be drawn out in great detail. So, to help me practice, the blog will now live by those rules.

Whats the point, why does it matter, and it should take you no longer than about 30 seconds to read the post... lets see how it goes...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Ahhhh one of my favorite web 2.0 tools. Social bookmarking. Have to say, I could be using it a bit better, but its working for me. So, what is social bookmarking? I'll explain briefly...

  1. Its a "Bookmark Favorites" but is kept on-line and not just in your browser. Thus, you can access it where ever you are, you just need an Internet connection.

  2. You can do more than just save your bookmarks. You can tag and annotate them.

  3. Best part... you can share them with friends and colleagues.

My tool of choose is Del.ici.ous. You can see my bookmarks here, a big mix of work related and personal stuff.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Why Web 2.0?

I find that I am being asked this question more and more these days, especially as my workplace begins to explore the use of Web 2.0 techonology. Its cool, but why should we use it?

As some of you know I am a big fan of web 2.0, so I have to agree this is cool, we should be doing it. But why is also a great question.

I came across a great line today in a blog post and when I saw it, I immediately thought, that answers that question...
"... that’s where we should all start when thinking about new technologies: with the need they can help up fulfill." (from:

I use a lot of these new technologies, because they fulfill my needs. I have personally have two blogs (includes this one), a Flickr account, a RSS reader, listen to at least 10 podcasts and 1 vodcast on a regular basis, have a social book marking account and am on two social networking sites. I also have a personal wiki, but rarely use it anymore because it no longer fulfills a need for me. Do I need all these to survive? No. Do they make my life and my learning easier? Better? Yes.

We should not be creating blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc for the sake of using these cool new technologies. We should be using them to answer a need or solve a problem.

For example, in the recent redesign of the Preparing for Performance Service Excellence course, we identified a need that our graduates have. They wanted access to course documents/handouts after they had graduated. Sure, someone could have emailed them out every time we got a request, but what a waste of time. So, instead we created a couple of pages on our Wiki where we have placed the documents found in the course. Took about 20 minutes to do that. We also expanded the wiki pages associated with the course to include some other material that will benefit our learners. Even better, because of the nature of a wiki, if our learners find a great article that speaks to the course, they can upload it themselves. Thus, taking a more active role in their own learning. Our learners are told to bookmark the wiki and use it through out the course.

I also recently had a conversation here at the college about using a blog to assist in the roll out of a new program. The blog could be used to announce updates, clarifications, presentation materials etc. Also the readers of the blog could pose questions if they were unsure of some aspect. The blog would allow the information to be published in one place (and could be published quickly with little technical knowledge) and provide one spot for all news and answers. No more searching for emails that may or may not have already been deleted or forgetting to forward the emails on to all users. In addition, with the upcoming launch of IE 7 at work, we will be able to receive updates from these sites using RSS feeds. That way we do not have to continuously visit the site to see if there is something new, the RSS reader built into IE 7 will do that for us.

A few other quick notes… often, these new technologies offer the means for a conversation / discussion to start outside of the classroom, a kind of virtual water cooler if you will. They are also useful for working in a collaborative virtual team environment (wiki's for collaborative documents, instant messaging for quick questions or advice to colleagues in different buildings or provinces, networking across the country with colleagues in other departments, social book marking for sharing online resources).

I could go on further, but I think you get the idea. Why? Not because its cool and new. But because it fulfills a need or solves a problem.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Personal Learning Tools

I think to begin this blog, I write a couple of posts about two personal learning tools that I use quite a bit.

Look forward to some posts on:
Netvibes - my RSS reader and more
Del.ici.ous - my online bookmark service