A fish called Guido. This very intriguing title – one of this year’s Australian Flexible Learning Framework’s Innovation Projects – caught our attention immediately. However, even for our team here at Brightcookie.com, some clarification was necessary.
It turns out that it really isn’t about a fish called Guido. Or, not entirely. Guido is part of an experiment that, in its essence, deals with cloud computing and data blogging. Guido lives in the waters of the TAFE SA Urrbrae campus and plays an important role within this biosystem and water sustainability.
A lot of diverse data is being collected from these waters, such as oxygen levels, water temperature and pH level. It will be continuously blogged and stored on a Google Apps server in order to be downloaded, ready to be used in a variety of Learning Management Systems, such as Moodle and Janison as a ‘mash-up’.
And this is where the ominous cloud-computing comes in. All the information virtually sits in a ‘cloud’ waiting to be retrieved from anywhere at any time. Firewalls and other restrictive measures often used to protect internal information in educational are no longer restricting the access to valuable educational information that can be used in a collaborative fashion between off-site students as well as other institutions.
Distance learners will not only be able to watch all of the excitement in real time, but are finally in a position to actively contribute. Crucial information, necessary to maintain a healthy environment, can be a collaborative activity with other students and the teachers, even though not done in a face-to-face situation. Tank management to the monitor.
E-learning allows these remote and often mature age students to be part of something that would have normally required extensive travels.
This innovative approach of using readily available and free technology to not only understand the needs of the students, but also to try to actively overcome some of these hurdles many of them face on a daily basis, was a fascinating concept.
Distance learners will literally be able to see and sense Guido’s fish tank in real time and actively contribute to the ongoing monitoring and maintainance of the tank. Learners will work out how the tank needs to be managed and relay that information back to the lecturer who will comment and then decide, with student participation, what needs to be done next. A learner sitting at a computer in Cooper Pedy will be able to be actively involved with the monitoring and management of a commercial aquaculture production system based at Urrbrae, many hundreds of kilometres away.
The same system will be used to support learners with the water treatment and reuse systems at Urrbrae – they will be actively involved with the monitoring and management of these systems, via e-learning methods at often vast distances.
For the first time our mature aged and remote and regional students will be able to access some units that previously they would have to travel great distances to be involved with.
However the techniques used for this project will work with a wide range of other learning units and areas as well. If there is data and information that students need to use in real time to help with their learning, then data blogging and cloud computing may offer great innovation in helping to meet student needs.
Keep an eye on the iCloud Blog for updates on the project.