Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reflective Synopsis

Throughout this journey I have had the opportunity to engage in a range of technologies. Through this engagement I have further developed my understanding of the operation of these technologies and their application to learning.

In classrooms, learning theories underpin the instructional design. Instructional designs require teachers to go through a series of steps to acquire information and knowledge about learners to create valuable and meaningful learning experiences. The use of learning theories is imperative to teachers when deciding how they want to teach (Marzano & Pickering, 1997).

Managing E Learning has outlined a range of theories and frameworks that can be beneficial in the design and implementation of technologies into learning experiences. I feel all these theories and frameworks share a common belief that children who are recognised and respected by their teachers and peers for their individual differences feel accepted and will actively engage in classroom activities more frequently (Ashman & Elkins, 2005).

Moreover, the Engagement Theory developed by Kearsley & Shneiderman (1999) was something I found very interesting. It implies that when designing learning experiences they should be linked to the real word (authentic), encourage collaborative learning and encourage students to be creative. All the attributes that this theory implies are aiming at student’s developing higher order thinking skills.

When experimenting with different technologies it was important to think about how it would be used and who would use it. For example, when I was thinking about Google Earth in the classroom it was apparent that this would be beneficial for the upper primary school in terms of Mathematical estimations and calculations of distance. This would not suit an early childhood setting. However, middle primary could benefit from using this when learning about space and early childhood could use this when learning about Earth and Australia. Hence, it is important to link learning design with learning theories to deliver effective pedagogical strategies that are likely to work and manage learning environments (Smith & Lynch, 2007, p 58).

Through peer involvement in my learning journey I felt a sense of comfort. Often I would read the online discussion boards and any fears or worries that I was experiencing my questions were answered. I didn’t have to ask, it appears that most students were having similar thoughts. Furthermore, I really enjoyed reading other people’s blogs. Listening to the way they write and express themselves and their views was very interesting from a literary point of view. I have been at university for a few years and this is the first time that I had the opportunity to talk in the first person, let alone read other people’s reflections. I found this a valuable experience.

My own experiences with technology have been vast. I have had opportunities and the ability to engage in many technologies over the last few years. On the other hand, there was much I didn’t know when I began this course. It was interesting reading Prensky’s article about digital natives (Prensky, 2001) and reading about 21st century learners. It is very true that to accurately understand your learner you need to understand the language and what they are talking about.

I had never heard of Voice Thread before I researched it in this course. I found this amazing and very interesting. To know there is technology out there such as this is truly a pleasure. The use of technology in the classroom appears to be ever expanding and thanks to Managing E Learning I feel that it has opened my eyes more than ever to the world around me and the endless possibilities I can offer my students as a future Learning Manager.

Reference List

Ashman, A., & Elkins, J. (2005). Educating children with diverse abilities. Frenchs Forest NSW: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 16, 2009, from http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm

Marzano, R., & Pickering, D. (1997). Dimensions of learning (2nd ed.). Auroa, America: Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratory.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon. 9(5), 1-6.

Smith, R., Lynch, D. & Knight, B. (2007). Learning management: Transitioning teachers for national and international change. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson.

Digital Storytelling

Digital storytelling is media that students use to create a story to share. They can use music, voice and images to bring together a creative narrative. Here is an example of a grade 2 students digital story (parental consent has been provided).


video

(King, 2008)

From this it can be seen just how much work children put into this task. It requires them to create and write a narrative and to create pictures. This can difficult for some students who might not be very creative. A task such as this could encourage and enhance their creativity. The boy who wrote and created this story was really excited at the fact that he wrote his own story that he got to take home on a DVD. I believe this gave him a sense of achievement not only in the classroom but in the 'real world'. The pride that came with showing people and the acknowledgment he received certainly gave his self confidence a boost.

This type of learning certainly is engaging 21st century learners. Who would have thought 50 years ago we would be have the ability to create a story in such a technological way? As Kearsly & Shneiderman (1999) discuss, by students creating their own purposeful activity it encourages the student to manipulate and control their own learningwhich leads to the student being more interested and motivated. Hence, engaging in meaningful learning.



Reference List

Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 16, 2009, from http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm

King, M. (Author). (2008). Lost. [Digital Story]. Rockhampton, QLD, Australia.

Picnik

Original




Image Manipulation


Waterfall
Originally uploaded by Neet83
This is amazing!



This was a fascinating experience. Using the program Picnik, I uploaded a photo off my computer and manipulated the image to make it look so much better (Picnik, 2009). What is more, I added the photo to my Flickr account and uploaded it from there straight to my blog! When playing with these programs I had the sense of being a digital immigrant. I had never seen these programs before and found them very fascinating.


Picnik. (2009). Picnick. Retrieved August 20, 2009, from http://www.picnik.com/app#/home/welcome

Flickr


Autumn Flood
Originally uploaded by Ed Karjala



This is a photo downloaded from Flickr straight to my blog. I found it very easy to follow directions of how to set this up. I created an account and added my blog in the send options and went browsing (Yahoo Inc, 2009).

Flickr is an online database for storing photographs with the whole world (Yahoo Inc, 2009). By storing your photos on Flickr you can share them with friends or you can share them with the world.

While I was looking around my account I noticed that one of the ways to organise photos is to place them on a world map. What an interesting way to store them. For example, if a student was doing an assessment on China they could place all the relevant images on China. This could be well used by students throughout units and years to come. Another interesting fact about Flcikr is how people comment on each others pictures and evaluate them in an artistic way. How imaginative using this to teach students about composition, contrast, colour ect. Students could take their own photos and analyse each others and even receive feedback from people all over the world if they wish.

Reference List

Yahoo Inc. (2009). Flickr. Retrieved August 20, 2009, from http://www.flickr.com/

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Voice Thread

I am very impressed with Voice Thread. I had never heard of this before and am very excited about such an engaging tool. Voice Thread is a conversation revolving around media. You can have an entire group discussion on one page. You can upload a file and discuss this file whilst you can see the faces of people around your monitor. There are 5 ways you can communicate while participating in a Voice Thread. Microphone, text, telephone, webacm and file upload. Such a great range of multiliteracies.

I can see how distance education could benefit from Voicethread. A teacher can show a document and engage the participants in conversation about it. Throughout the lesson students can draw, text, zoom in and out.


Reference List

Voice Thread. 2009. Voice Thread. Retrieved August 20, 2009, from http://voicethread.com/#home

Slide Share and File Storage

Slide Share and File Storage both share the commonality of storing and sharing documents on the Internet. By now it has become apparent to me that you can store just about anything on the Internet. I can now understand why some individuals have issues about online privacy and laws.

Slideshare lets you upload Powerpoints to their website. You can then add these straight from Slideshare to your blog. I started a Slideshare account and uploaded a Powerpoint to show on my blog. Unfortunately Slideshre is saying there is an error in completing this request. Nevertheless, here is a link to my slideshare account. I found Slideshare a great resource to looking through people Powerpoints. As I have stated in my blog on Powerpoints it is crucial to grasp an understanding of how to create a decent one. This could be a great way for students to research Powerpoints and gather information for assessments.

Mediafire is a place where people can store files and images and share them with whom ever they wish. There is no limit of storage space and you can manage your own folders.

http://www.mediafire.com/?wjjgattgya1

Here is a document I put onto Mediafire. I feel this would be beneficial to students who wish to share files easily. I can see how this could be great for a teacher to look at a range of documents a student has been working on rather than simply emailing them.


Reference List

Mediafire. 2009. Mediafire: Free file storage made simple. Retrieved August 20, 2009. from http://www.mediafire.com/

Slideshare. 2009. Slideshare present yourself. Retrieved August 20, 2009. from http://www.slideshare.net/

AB Tutor

AB Tutor Control is computer and Internet monitoring software that provides teachers with PC remote desktop access and control (AB Software Consulting, 2009). This technology could be extremely beneficial when using the correct pedagogical approach. I witnessed this program in a school I visited recently. I was saddened to see that it has not been used although installed on computers throughout the entire school.

This particular technology is not not outlined in the Managing E Learning course, however, I feel that addressing and identifying programs and software in the nearby environment is crucial in my learning journey. When I seen this program I was excited. Immediately I thought how great this tool could be used when demonstrating and scaffolding to students how to use Google Earth or creating a Powerpoint. This software has the ability to control a whole classroom of desktops. This can be extremely beneficial to those students who sit up the back and are disinterested in watching a presentation on a data projector.


Reference List

AB Software Consulting. 2009. AB Tutor Control. Retrieved August 20, 2009, from http://www.abtutor.com/html/Home.html

Webquests

Webquests are a tool used to actively engage students in learning. A Webquest uses an authentic problem or task and requires learners to work through this. As you can see from my previous posting this sounds like the framework problem based learning. Last year I completed a SOSE subject that required us to work in pairs and create a Webquest. My partner and I chose to work with Webquest Direct (2009). They are an Australian company that looks over your Webquest for you and give you helpful hints and suggestions. Here is a great example of a good Webquest.

I find Webquests to be a valuable fun experience that encourage students to investigating and critical thinking skills to develop higher order thinking. Getting students to create their own Webquests can be incorporated into a school environment well. Students can create a Webquest about recycling in their school and then a lower grade could use the Webquest to investigate, suggest and solve the problem.



Reference List

Wequest Direct. 2009. What is a Webquest? Retrieved August 20, 2009, from http://www.webquestdirect.com.au/whatis.asp

Google Earth

'Google Earth lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, from galaxies in outer space to the canyons of the ocean. You can explore rich geographical content, save your toured places, and share with others'(Google, 2009).

This is an extraordinary innovation that can have immense benefits to understanding our world and the world around us. Google Earth can be a tool used to encourage a transdisciplinary approach to teaching. Smith, Lynch and Knight (2007, p. 63-64) examine how a transdisciplinary approach to learning has the capacity to deliver meaningful knowledge and expand it. What is more, it has the ability to synthesis new ideas in unfamiliar contexts and create a meaningful learning experience.

Using a variety of KLA's ensures the transdisciplinary approach to learning design. A Learning Manager can design a unit of work that involves;
  • Maths- time differences, sizes of objects and places.
  • SOSE- impact of objects on the Earth, population density, plant life.
  • Art- create images from google and use them in programs such as Picnik.
  • English- Investigating and understanding of literacy terms.
  • Technology- Understanding needs and wants of Google Earth.
  • Science- Tide changes, seasons, weather, space.


Reference List

Google. (2009) Google Earth 5.0. Retrieved August 18, 2009, from http://earth.google.com/

Smith, R., Lynch, D. & Knight, B. (2007). Learning management: Transitioning teachers for national and international change. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson.

Podcasting and Music on the Web

A podcast is an audio file that can be played in MP3 format. This means that is can be played on a computer, mobile phone, mp3 devices (such as I Pods) ect. To understand exactly what a podcast and how they work a program called I Tunes can be downloaded of the Internet (Apple, 2009). You should be aware when downloading this program to your computer to adjust the option to sort files, it will move and arrange them for you and make it a little daunting not knowing where everything has moved to. Using I Tunes as a RSS Aggregator you can download and share Podcasts with the rest of the world.

Podcasts can have many uses in the classrooms. Children can enjoy the experience of making their own Podcasts and sharing them with others. Teachers can use them as a tool to provide revision material or new material (Department of Education and Training, 2009). Using voice recording, adding music and making music could be incorporated into valuable learning experiences. Students need to be made aware of music copyright laws when using making and using Podcasts. Perhaps as a lesson the teacher could design an experience where the students create a podcast about copyright laws.

There are many websites available to download music on the Internet. This has caused much animosity between producers, artist and consumers over the last decade. Australia has clear laws about the copying, resale and use of other peoples creations (Commonwealth of Australia, 2005). However, there is some great websites that offer copyright and royalty free music, not to mention software packages available with editing equipment have similar qualities.

Professor Ron Oliver, a prominent researcher of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) learning, discusses his learning design as a framework that supports students learning. Oliver's key element to his learning design are; tasks that learners are required to do, resources that support learners to conduct the task and support mechanisms that exist from a teacher implementing it (Oliver, 2003). Using this framework to design learning experiences and incorporating Podcasts can offer students valuable learning experience. To illustrate a brief overview;

  • Learners will be required to create a news report (Podcast) about recycling in Australia.
  • Resources such as educational Podcasts that can accessed. For example, ABC Radio National, ABC Edpod and CSIROpod.
  • The teacher can use explicit teaching to elaborate and demonstrate to the student what is required. Showing them how to use equipment correctly and extending their knowledge and learning.


Reference List

Apple. 2009. I Tunes the entertainment capital of your world. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/

Commonwealth of Australia. 2005. Copyright law in Australia. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from http://www.ag.gov.au/agd/WWW/rwpattach.nsf/VAP/(CFD7369FCAE9B8F32F341DBE097801FF)~Copyright+Law+in+Australia+-+A+Short+Guide+-+June+2005.pdf/$file/Copyright+Law+in+Australia+-+A+Short+Guide+-+June+2005.pdf

Oliver, R. 2003. Learning Design. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from http://www.learningdesigns.uow.edu.au/project/learn_design.htm

Department of Education and Training. 2009. Podcasts in the classroom. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from http://www.det.wa.edu.au/education/cmis/eval/curriculum/ict/podcasts/

You Tube

Many academics argue whether You Tube should be incorporated into learning. You Tube is an online database for video clips (You Tube, 2009). The sources can be unreliable and misleading. For example, when I was researching and designing for a learning experience about phases of the moon I came across a really good video that I couldn't use because the moon was revolving around the Earth the wrong way. Nevertheless, there can be some great educational benefits from using video clips. This video about the Great Barrier Reef was a great hook to use when discussing environmental awareness.

It may be seen that Kearsley & Shneiderman's engagement theory would agree with this tool being used as a hook. It has relevance and meaning to each student as it's a real life situation and a genuine problem (Kearsley & Schneiderman, 1999). To elaborate further, Central Queensland University (2002) discusses the importance of problem based learning. This confrontation with a real life situation places them in an active role as problem solvers and encourages higher order thinking (CQU, 2002).

Reference List

Central Queensland University (CQU). 2002. Problem based learning. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from http://pbl.cqu.edu.au/

Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 16, 2009, from http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm

You Tube. 2009. You tube: Broadcast yourself. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from http://www.youtube.com/

Online Quizzes

There are immense benefits to students who partake in online quizzes. Dr Dianna Quinn a senior lecturer at University of South Australia (UoSA) and Mr Ian Reid the coordinator of online teaching service at UoSA have written a paper discussing just what these benefits are. Quinn and Reid discuss how students can use quizzes as a form of self directed learning. Students can access quizzes when they are ready, they can get immediate feedback and they can attempt quizzes as many times as they like. This ensures flexibility and encourages students to be self directed learners (Quinn & Reid).

There are many websites that offer creation of online quizzes. To attempt creating my own online quiz I used the website Classmaker (Classmaker, 2009). Although I did not get the chance to attempt my quiz in the classroom (due to time constraints) I feel that every student would have actively engaged in this. I am in a Prep class and they all actively engage with computers. They are always eager and enthusiastic when it comes to technologies. The most important aspect of creating my own online quiz was knowing what the children are interested in and where they are with their learning. This would also be a great opportunity to embed Indigenous perspectives. The quiz could have questions that relate to Aboriginal culture and beliefs. For example, how many witchetty grubs are there in this picture? This would encourage students to make links between knowledge previously learnt. 'Isn't that what Aboriginals eat?'


Reference List

Classmaker. (2009). Classmarker. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from http://www.classmarker.com/

Quinn, D., & Reid, I. (2003). Using innovative online quizzes to assit learning. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from http://ausweb.scu.edu.au/aw03/papers/quinn/paper.html

Powerpoint

Powerpoints are an excellent way to give information in presentations. I have worked alot with Powerpoints and really think they are a great ICT to use. Here is a comic clip about how not use a Powerpoint.



(Teacher Tube, 2009)

I found this clip hilarious and so true. Many times I have witnessed people make the fatal errors addressed in this clip.

Teaching students how to make Powerpoints should be beneficial to their learning and fun. There are many websites dedicated to teaching people how to use Powerpoints effectively. Powerpoint in the classroom (ACT360, 2009) discusses these benefits and has tutorials to help develop both student and teacher capabilities.



Reference List

ACT360 Media. (2009) Powerpoint in the classroom. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from http://www.actden.com/pp/

Teacher Tube. (2009) How not to use a Powerpoint. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from http://teachertube.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=6102amp;title=How_NOT_To_Use_PowerPoint

Voki Avatars

Voki avatars are a fantastic way of engaging students. In previous blogs I have mentioned certain frameworks for learning design. I feel that all these frameworks would agree with the use of these avatars in a learning experience. They would be extremely beneficial to all students learning styles while giving them relevant information. Here is an example of just how they could be used.



(Oddcast, 2008)

Reference List

Oddcast Inc. (2009) Avatars. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from http://www.voki.com/create.php

e.Portfolio

As I mentioned in my first blog posting, I created this blog as part of a subject I am doing at university, Managing E Learning. This subject also requires a creation of an e.Portfolio. An e.Portfolio is an electronic professional portfolio that can be accessed on the Internet. The purpose of my e.Portfolio is to establish what I have learned throughout my journey and demonstrate this learning through designing and implementation of learning experiences. To create my e.Portfolio I used a program called Mahara (Mahara, 2009). After creating an account I began to explore what I could actually do. It appears that you use it to create a view (a type of web page). When you create a view you can customise it and add anything you like. Pictures, videos, links ect. I am really looking forward to using this.


Reference List

Mahara. (2009). Mahara: Open source e.Portfolios. Retrieved July16,2009, from http://cqu-mahara.netspot.com.au/

What is a WIKI?

A Wiki is a website used to link a number of websites (Wikipedia, 2009). I am a huge fan of Wikipedia. At an academic level I would never use it as the information is unreliable and untrustworthy. The reason behind this is because anyone can add or change information. However, it is fantastic when you are looking for quick 'what the' answer. It is an excellent tool because it links information together, for example, how hyperlinks work. To illustrate, if you are looking up information for Eucalyptus. You can now see how it links to Wikipedia. Whilst on this page in Wikipedia have a look at just how the links are shown throughout the writing. Very informative.

Creating a Wiki can be a great experience. There are a range of different websites that get you started on making a Wiki. I chose Wikipaint to create my first Wiki. You can create pages, discussion forums, add photos ect. People log onto your Wiki and create and add information and links . I liked that you can pick who can add and change your wiki. As previously said it is hard to trust sources of information. I feel that this could be used as a great collaborative learning tool. While I was playing with mine I was picturing a class interacting with each other and interacting with the web in general. With such a range of information on the web it could have great benefits in limiting the vast amount of information.

Reference List

Wetpaint. (2009). Wetpaint. Retrieved August 17,2009, from http://www.wetpaint.com/

Wikipedia. (2009). Wiki. Retrieved August 17, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki

RSS Aggregator

An RSS Aggregator stands for 'Really Simple Syndication Reader' (Wikipedia, 2009). When I was told to set one up in collaboration with this blog I wasn't entirely too sure what it meant and what it actually did. I set my RSS up with Google Reader (2009). What this actually does it quite intriguing. You can add any blog to your listing and when you log on it will let you know any new blog postings that are available. This is great for the subject I am currently completing as we are required to comment on each others blogs.

The use of this tool in the classroom could be very beneficial to students. Students can each make a blog and the teacher could have one as well. When students go home they can check their RSS to see if there is any new postings and read about what homework is required, what assessment is up and coming, resources the teacher might find useful ect. Equally important, the peer interaction of reading each others blogs. Some students might not understand something and by reading other students they could grasp the concept. As a future learning manager I will find this very useful. I have heard of schools that send USB sticks home with their students homeworkon it. Imagine getting home and it's already there!


Reference List

Google Reader. (2009). Retrieved June 9, 2009, from https://www.google.com/accounts/ServiceLogin?hl=en&nui=1&service=reader&continue=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Freader%2F

Wikipedia. (2009). RSS. Retrieved on August 18,2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Inclusive Education: Indigenous Perspectives

The importance of embedding indigenous perspectives into classroom planning is a high priority in Australian education. Relevant legislation and polices ensure that each an every child receives full involvement in classroom activities. Education Queensland's(EQ's) inclusive education statement declares 'Inclusive education reflects the values, ethos and culture of a public education system committed to excellence by enhancing educational opportunities for all students' (Slee, 2001, p. 1). This document is a fantastic tool used to acknowledge exactly what EQ's commitment is and the quality education they desire for every Australian student. The importance of learning managers understanding inclusion in the classroom is crucial. A teacher's attitude towards social inclusion is vital for behaviour and classroom management. The teacher chooses what will be taught, how it will be taught and what teaching strategies will be used (Ashman & Elkins, 2005).Most importantly, when we understand what our students needs and wants are they are more likely to actively engage in learning.

So how can a learning manager embed Indigenous perspectives? The most important part of this is ask your self ' Do you know what the perspectives are?' 'Will I offend anyone?' 'Is this factual?' 'Can I teach this correctly?' If you have answered no to any of these questions than it would be beneficial to get a professional opinion. Many schools throughout Queensland have an Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander liaison officer that they can approach to check what is appropriate and ask ideas (Ashman & Elkins, 2005, p. 10). What is more, a creative way of acknowledging different cultures could be to have a professional as a guest speaker. Last year I was in a year 3 class and we went on an excursion to one of the nearby islands. Our tour guide (who is a ranger) showed us around the island and explained how Aboriginals lived on the island thousands of years ago. The children loved this experience. They were interested and engaged!



Reference List

Ashman, A.,& Elkins, J.(2005). Educating children with diverse abilities. Frenchs Forest NSW: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Slee, R. (2001). Inclusive Education Statement-2005. Retrieved March 6, 2009, from http://education.qld.gov.au/studentservices/learning/docs/inclusedstatement2005.pdf


Monday, August 10, 2009

Engagement Theory

The engagement theory is just as it sounds. It is the theory of engaging students in learning. It implies that through the use of technologies and active learning tools, students will engage in learning experiences in a meaningful way (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). In my previous blog entry 'Active Learning' I discussed the importance of collaborative learning. Kearsley and Shneiderman (1999) express that collaborative learning is a key factor in the engagement theory.

There are a variety of learning activities that could be used to fulfill this approach. For example, the use of online discussion forums are a great place for individuals to bounce their ideas off each other. I find this very useful at university. Most of the time someone has already asked the question your thinking about.

Reference List

Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 16, 2009, from http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Interactive Whiteboards

Interactive Whiteboard(IWB)! What a fantastic tool used to actively engage students in the classroom.



video
(Parkhurst State School, 2009)

Last year I was fortunate enough to engage in teaching a year 3 class using an IWB. I found this was an effective tool to keep the children interested and motivated. Parkhurst State School (mentioned in the above video) is a local school that Learning Management students had an opportunity to visit and participate in a 21st century classroom environment. It was astounding to see such a range of ICT's being used. Technology is absolutely being embraced at this school. What a pleasure to see.


Reference List

Parkhurst State School. (2009). Australia only master. [Video Recording]. Rockhampton, QLD, Australia: Promethean Planet.