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

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.

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