Saturday, May 28, 2011

CerOrganic ToT School - The end

... at least for me, as I had to depart on Friday afternoon so I was not able to attend the social event on Friday evening nor the presentations by the trainees on Saturday. I trust that everything went fine during the last day of the training.

However, I faced some difficulties getting back home on Friday. My flight departing at 20.05 from Chania airport was cancelled due to severe weather (in fact the plane coming from Athens was unable to land in Chania airport due to the storm so it returned to Athens!). We were informed about that after we had checked in and waiting at the gate, where I had the chance to capture a view of the rain with my digital camera.

It was a good thing that a larger plane was arranged to come at the next flight (22.35) and pick all of us who decided not to cancel our tickets. However, this delay gave me the chance to prepare a draft report about the school and also prepare some emails to be sent later (there was no Wi-Fi connection at Chania airport). I then realized that during the training I had capture footage of about 25GB in low-res (640x480 due to the limitation of storage - it would have been more than 100GB if I shot @ 1280x720, 30 fps as I originally intended to...). I will try to make a good use of it (e.g. upload each presentation in the corresponding course in MOLE platform) but it I suppose that the editing will take much time and I cannot afford to spend too much on that task...

I got back in Athens at about 23.30 (there was a small delay in the flight) so I had to reschedule my plans (there was no suburban train nor metro at that time). Better late than never, as they say...

Friday, May 27, 2011

CerOrganic ToT School - Day 5

Day 5 of the CerOrganic training school is almost over. The majority of the participants are already in a case study visit in some greenhouse in Plakias village, Rethymno perfecture. I have a flight to catch and things to pack, so I had to stay behind, participating in a meeting with people from EU who are making sure that everything is ok with the CerOrganic project.

Today we had some interesting sessions: Case studies from the participating user countries (Austria, Czech Republic, Greece & Hungary). In addition, we had some really interesting training scenario presentations from the Czech team. I was really excited to see what the participants acquired and developed only in a few days! I really believe in the concept of training scenarios and I plan to work on them intensively during the next months.

As regards the training scenarios, they are going to be tested in the Organic.Balkanet EU project as well. In addition, I am going to revise the handbook for the training scenario implementation, based on feedback received during the CerOrganic ToT school. The presentations about the training scenarios have to be more interactive and provide more example of training scenarios. I just hope that I will have enough time to dedicate to this task.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

CerOrganic ToT School - Day 2

Day 2 of the school is now over. It seemed really hard to cope up with all these personal presentations (09.00-13.30) in a row, but everything went well in the end. The following topics were presented:

  1. Using Open Educational Resoures to Support Scenarios
  2. The Organic.Edunet Web portal
  3. Elaboration and adaptation of Organic Farmer Scenario (activities & resources)
  4. Preparation of Organic Farmer Scenario Presentation

The participants seemed really interested about the training scenarios concept and the various sources of relevant information (such as the Organic.Edunet Web portal).

An additional presentation followed after lunch by Xenia Arapi from TUC/MUSIC, describing the various features of the MOLE portal.

The existence of interactive sessions greatly helped in this direction, as I had the opportunity to interrupt these presentations with hands-on exercises (such as the description of training scenarios and activities, searching for resources in portals etc). Even though my presentations included screenshots and animations, I think that some additional would greatly help in making them more enjoyable for the participants.

CerOrganic ToT School - Day 1

The first day of the school is finally over. It was an exhausting day, as we rushed directly from Chania airport to the MAICh premises in order to attend the first sessions of the school. The lecture hall was crowded with more than 40 participants, being OA trainers, farmers and tutors of the school, among which many CerOrganic project partners.

The first sessions were presented by Dr. D. Smith and Ms. M. Moises (BM:UKK, Austria)
  1. Designing a course with e-learning components
  2. The importance of planning the e-learning course
  3. Discussing the effectiveness of an e-learning course
  4. Facilitate and evaluate the course
They were really interactive sessions, providing basic information on various aspects of an e-learning course.

After lunch, it was time for the Agro-Know team. Mr. Charalampos Thanopoulos provided detailed information on more practical issues of the training course, during the sessions:
  1. Designing the training course
  2. Implementation of participative techniques
Then I had the chance to further elaborate on blended learning methods in the training context, by presenting the sessions:
  1. Introduction to the Organic Farmer Scenario concept
  2. Elaboration of Organic Farmer Scenario description
during which the participants were introduced to the concept of training scenarios, they were presented with the predefined templates and they were asked to start describing their own training scenario. It seems that the training scenario concept was accepted by the majority of the participants, who started working on this description for the 30 mins that they had available. The flow of information in this sequence of sessions was smooth and continuous, so the sessions were building a solid basis for supporting the concept of training scenarios.

The first day of the school ended with a presentation about metadata and their application in the description of learning/training resources. A hands-on exercise that was intended to take place during this session was moved in tomorrow's program, during the MOLE platform hands-on exercise.

As for some technical issues, even though we faced a slight problem with the availability of power plugs for all these laptops and netbooks used during the course, we faced no problems with the internet connection. It was really weird to see that, as I was used in facing severe problems (or no connectivity at all) during such events....

Tomorrows program includes some more presentations by me, on "Using Open Educational Resources to support scenarios", "Finding digital resources: The Organic.Edunet Web portal", "Elaboration and adaptation of Organic Farmer scenario activities & resources" and "Preparation of Organic Farmer scenario presentation". This will be a 4-hours presentation marathon by me!

More info to come tomorrow.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Preparing for CerOrganic ToT School

I am trying to finish my preparations for the CerOrganic Training of Trainers Summer School. It will take place at MAICh premises, Chania, Greece during 23-28 of May, 2011.

I have quite a few presentations to make during the first two days (five or six, if I am not mistaken!) and I am rather nervous about that...they will be both about ICT tools and services in OA training (e.g. Metadata, Open Educational Resources & Organic.Edunet Web portal) as well as blended learning (training scenarios).

I have already revised my presentations a few times and my recent discussion with Erik Duval helped me in some cases. I have also prepared a handbook for the implementation of training scenarios in vocational education & training (VET), which will be revised according to the updates and feedback from the school.

This school will be a crash test for my knowledge, my skills and ... my temper! I really hope that everything will go well in the end.

Meeting Erik Duval

Yesterday I was really lucky to meet Erik Duval for the first time. He was kind enough not only to visit our offices but to make a short presentation about his work and interests. I was really amazed by the things that he's working on as well as by his simplicity and knowledge...he looks like a metadata guru to me! Despite these, he was so kind and friendly.
It was so interesting discussing with him topics that for me were so "daily" and he gave such a different perspective that I wanted to go through my relevant stuff once more and revise them!

It is a good thing that colleagues of mine are collaborating with Eric, so I hope I'll have the chance to meet him again and probably attend one of his presentations face to face.

It was nice meeting you Erik!