Innovative Practice with e-Learning

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Accessibility: The process of ensuring that all learners, including those with disabilities and learning difficulties, can access places of learning and learning resources, including e-learning content.

Authentic learning: Learning which comes from direct experience or via simulations that mirror real situations.

Blog: Wikipedia defines 'blog' as a shortened form of 'web log' - a web page containing periodic entries compiled by either an individual author, or as a collaborative exercise by a group within a community of practice. For further information:

Bluetooth: Bluetooth enables handheld devices to exchange information via short range radio frequency communications.

Chat: A multi-person online communication tool, usually instant messaging via a web browser.

Community of practice: A form of social learning that occurs when people with a common interest in a subject collaborate to communicate ideas, find solutions to problems and define principles and terms relating to that subject.

e-Portfolio: A repository of information stored electronically about a learner. This may have been provided by the learner and/or by other people and organisations, and include assessment achievements.

ESOL: Abbreviation for 'English for speakers of other languages'.

GPS: Abbreviation for 'Global Positioning System', a satellite-linked navigation tool capable of pinpointing an exact location. It can be used free of charge. GPS receivers can be purchased as separate handsets or built into other devices.

GPRS: Abbreviation for 'General Packet Radio Service'. Available on some mobile phones, GPRS provides medium speed data transfer, which allows email messages to be sent and received, and can enable web browsing by allocating unused bandwidth to transmit data.

Handheld: Generic term for a mobile wireless computing device that fits into one hand. Examples include PDAs, 'smartphones', games players and personal media players.

HTML: Abbreviation for 'Hyper Text Markup Language', the language used to create text for web pages.

ILT: An abbreviation for 'Information and Learning Technology', the term commonly used in further education to refer to the application of technology to all aspects of an institution's core functions.

Immersive learning: A form of learning in which learners are physically placed in a context to 'immerse' them in a learning experience. Simulations can also replicate such a context.

Learning platform: A generic term covering a variety of ICT systems that support online learning.

MLE: Abbreviation for 'Managed Learning Environment', a term used to include the whole range of computerised information systems and processes in an institution (including a VLE).

MMS: Abbreviation for 'Multimedia Messaging Service'. MMS-enabled mobile phones can send and receive messages containing digital images, audio and video files. For further

MP3: A high-compression file format, popular for downloads of music from the internet.

NVQ: Abbreviation for 'National Vocational Qualification', a certificate of vocational education with five levels.

Open architecture: An 'architecture' is a design, specifically that of hardware or software. The specification of open architecture software is publicly available, and such products may therefore be adapted, or add-ons may be created.

PDA: Abbreviation for 'Personal Digital Assistant', a handheld computer originally designed for personal information management, now converging with mobile phone technology in the third generation (3G) phones or 'smartphones'.

PRS: Abbreviation for 'Personal Response System', a system for wireless communication using infra-red signals to collate and display multiple responses to questions, for example by students in a lecture or class. A PRS system requires three elements: individual handheld voting devices, a receiver and a computer with PRS software uploaded.

Plug-in: A computer program that interacts with another program to provide specific additional functionality.

Podcasting: The publishing of sound files on the internet. Users subscribe to podcasting via designated software.

Portal: An online gateway to other web pages.

SIM card: A microcomputer within a mobile phone, which performs all necessary operations based on information stored inside it.

Situated learning: Learning which takes place in the context where it will eventually be applied, for example, the training of medical staff on hospital wards.

SMS: Abbreviation for 'Short Messaging Service'. SMS messages are sent as text via mobile phones or other handheld devices.

Smartphone: Wikipedia defines 'smartphone' as any handheld device that integrates personal information management functions, e.g. calendar, clock, diary and email functions, and mobile phone capabilities in the same device.

Synchronise: To coordinate the data on different devices.

Thin client: An especially small software application that runs on a PC or workstation, with most of the data processing occurring on a server.

Third generation (3G) mobile devices: See entries for smartphone and PDA.

USB: Abbreviation for 'Universal Serial Bus', a standard connection on a computer to peripheral devices, such as a digital camera or a data storage device, also known as a Memory StickTM or Pen Drive.

VLAN: Abbreviation for 'Virtual Local Area Network', a network of computers that behave as if they were connected to the same wire even though they may be physically located on different segments of a LAN.

VLE: Abbreviation for 'Virtual Learning Environment', an integrated software tool for the management and delivery of online learning, which typically includes tracking and communication tools and learning content.

Web browser: A software application that enables a user to read and work with HTML documents.

Wi-fi: An abbreviation for 'wireless fidelity', a set of product compatibility standards for wireless local area networks (WLAN).

Wireless network: A network of computers using radio waves rather than cables to transmit data.

WLAN: Abbreviation for 'Wireless Local Area Network', a wireless computer network within a localised area such as a college or university, or the home.