Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reference List

Reflective Synopsis

Making a difference! That’s what it is all about for me. Whether is be in a mainstream classroom, an indigenous community, a class of special needs children, the disadvantaged, English as a second language or the gifted and talented students. It is my goal to engage students to take initiative for their learning through the use of ICT’s. I am thankful to this course for bringing to my attention the vast variety of delivery techniques I can use in my class room.
Education must take us into the future (Robinson, 2000). If students are disengaged they disconnect and disappear (Sjoquist, 2009). Pesce is a constructivist who believes children learn through continuous interaction with the world. Today’s youth are living in accelerated change. Change is the only constant in their lives. They have an abundance of tools to communicate with each other. Mobile phones, My Space, MSN and Face Book, why not use similar tools in the class room to engage students. They are born into a digital world where they expect to be able to create, consume, remix and share material with each other (Pay Attention, 2007)
George Lucas is a prime example of not engaging in school, he claims he didn’t fit inside the curriculum box. But when he did have access to different technologies it provided him with new opportunities for learning. He believes the teacher is the facilitator and the students do the learning. The digital age facilitates age old techniques of learning. That being; project based, interactive working and co-operative learning. Children learn out of curiosity and given the chance to view their learning as a creative endeavour make for authentic learning. This is in correlation with Kearsley and Shneiderman (1999) Engagement theory and Oliver’s (1999) Learning Design framework. They both promote pedagogy for technology-based learning and teaching. The productive pedagogy framework could also apply to increase a student’s intellectual quality by manipulating information and ideas in ways which transform their meaning and implications, understand that knowledge is not a fixed body of information, and can coherently communicate ideas, concepts, arguments and explanations with rich detail (Queensland Government, 2004).
Aurukun, a remote indigenous community in Cape York has the lowest attendance rate in all of the state. The current education system has failed these children. There needs to be a way to engage indigenous children into the classroom and into learning. A media initiative has done just that. David Vadiveloo talks about the necessity of raising the expectations in the young for themselves. The digital era is a new time for them to succeed. The croc festival media initiative motivated the students to tell their own story through film, music and dance. It was something they could relate too, it came from them, it was about them and they were proud to present the five points of a star story and see themselves on the big screen. These children through ICT’s not only attended school but became motivated to succeed in school and for their future. A teacher teaching in an indigenous community must understand the holistic view the people have on their world which incorporates the vital link between land, language and culture. These three elements can be contextualised in terms of time, place and relationships and together the six components provide a flexible framework; My land My Tracks for organising and presenting information on a range of topics. (Grant, n.d)
Utilising a web quest in a classroom provides the integration of many delivery technologies throughout an investigation. Is Global warming affecting the sustainability of the Arctic region? Using their scientific investigative powers the students go on a quest to find answers to:
• What is Global Warming
• Where is the Arctic region
• Why is Global Warming such a hot issue at present
• How is Global Warming affecting the Arctic region
• Is Global Warming a result of human activity or a natural climate cycle
• What other changes are occurring in Australia as a result of Global Warming
• What can you do personally to help control Global Warming
• What legacy will your generation leave for the future generation.
While investigating and answering these questions students will complete a range of tasks:
• Create your own greenhouse effect diagram
• Written information report
• Create a poster
• Debate
• Oral information report
• Create an eco friendly house design
• Create a PowerPoint or photo story using 5-10 images that reflect your learning about Global warming and the legacy you would like your generation to leave. The presentation must include a vision statement for the future and can be put to music, text or voice over.
This style of learning allows the students to develop higher order and creative thinking skills. According to Blooms Taxonomy (Pohl, 2001) the three higher levels of thinking include:
Analysing – Breaking information into parts to explore understandings and relationships.
Creating- generating new ideas, products or ways of viewing things.
Evaluating- Justifying a decision
Like Blooms Taxonomy, Shneiderman and Kearsly’s Engagement theory (1999) facilitates the development of higher order and creative thinking through a cognitive process of creating, problem solving, reasoning, decision making and evaluation.
A web quest allows the integration of many delivery technologies. You could expand this particular quest to include a blog. Students can write and comment on each other’s reflection of the topic. The investigation process could include you tube clips, power point slides, animations and simulations, Google Earth and music. Tasks could incorporate a quiz designed through class marker. There is no reason a web quest should not involve many delivery technologies to engage and motivate students to acquire a meaningful understanding of the knowledge being taught.
The beauty of ICT’s is that they can be used to support and enhance learning regardless of location or age. Through experimentation of the delivery technologies I can confidently say I have expanded my knowledge and capabilities in this field. I am inspired to continue keeping up to date with the latest technologies, to develop a deeper understanding so in turn I can be the facilitator of providing the opportunities for my students to develop and engage in higher order and creative thinking skills. The workplace is also changing; students must be prepared to work in a global environment where team collaborations through the use of technology will be common place and it’s our responsibility to prepare students for this changing workplace (Waterhouse, 2005). Student’s have high expectations about the use of computer technology in their education , I hope to aspire to a teacher who not only utilises technology but engages in elearning pedagogy (Kearsley and Shneiderman’s Engagement Theory, 1999 and Oliver’s 1999 Learning Design) to provide student centred learning activities relevant to the real world.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

E.Learning Portfolio

Mahara is an open source e.portfolio, blog, resume and social networking system. Mahara is a learner centred tool with an innovative and flexible structure of artefacts, views and groups. From what I understand we as prospective employees need to control our own destiny and be futures orientated to be perceived as a serious contender for a position. An e.porfolio documents personal, academic and career goals and skills. It is an online resume that people are now submitting for a job application. It is a tool I can continually update information to keep it current.

Electronic portfolios can be valuable activity when teaching online. They give the trainer evidence of a wide range of skills and achievements and can show development of a learner's knowledge and or skills over a period of time and engagement in collaborative learning activities.

Electronic portfolios support a range of learning processes:
recording and storing textual, audio and visual evidence and resources for learning
active learning with learners setting their own goals
collaboration with others
motivating learners to produce work to a standard so that it can be displayed to others
encouraging a regular system of feedback so learner
reflection on particular items or on a bank of evidence created over time
communicating learning outcomes and personal identities to a range of audiences
Electronic Portfolios act as “a personal learning environment” that provides a framework to organise a learners training and work experiences, achievements as well as a range of life-based learning events (Designing and implementing e-learning, 2008).

Student Centred Flickr

Flickr can be designed to promote and build visual literacy skills in students either as a single photo used as writing prompts or multiple sets in a digital story telling project (Jake, 2006).The posting titled student centred wiki focuses on a unit of work about colonisation. Flick could be incorporated into lessons. Students can present a PowerPoint slide show of images representing aboriginal culture before and after colonisation/invasion. Aboriginal dream time story lines can be told through photos, students can create their own modern day story. A particular photo can be the instigator of a discussions in reference to What do you see, why, when, where and how questions. Flickr can improve student's presentation, they have access to a pool of photos on various topics. Students can set up a RSS feeds to receive notification when photos are added. Teachers no longer need a collection of magazines for students to cut out and paste into a report.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Student Centred Wiki

This is a SOSE unit of work but it also integrates Maths, Science, English and The Arts key learning area.

SOSE Essential Learnings by the end of Year 5

Knowledge and Understanding
Time Continuity and Change. Change and continuities are represented by events and people's contribution and are viewed differently by different people.
Ways of Working
Students are able to:
collect and organise information and evidence
plan investigations based on questions and inquiry models
draw and justify conclusions based on information and evidence
communicate descriptions, decisions and conclusions using text types selected to match audience and purpose.
apply strategies to influence decisions or behaviours and to contribute to groups.

Learning Outcome
Students are to populate a wiki with information which improves and expands the knowledge regarding Aboriginal culture before and after colonisation.

Learning Design Ideas
Topics include:
1. What do we know about Australia before the British came? What does colonisation mean and why do aboriginal people call it invasion? TWL chart/retrieval chart.
2. Who Lived in Australia? Construct time line to represent 100 000 years. 1 cm = 200 years. Provide 2 maps of Australia, as we currently know it and an Aboriginal one with the different regions, children to discuss the similarities and differences and utilise Google Earth to represent this on the Wiki.
3. Who lived in your area, what were the names of places, English or Aboriginal? Research in groups.Post to Wiki.
4. What evidence do we have to show that Aboriginal people have lived on this land for past 50 000 years and what did Australia look like. Provide evidence, students to illustrate a particular period of time. Take photo of it, upload it to flick to post to wiki. Explain Australia use to be joined wo a larger land mass. Demonstrate what happens as the earth warms up after an ice age, (global warming) Experiment- glass of water, mark level with rubber band, add ice and once it melts mark new level, discuss what happened and why. link to ice age.
5. What did British see when they arrived? Show etching representing the British arrival discuss what, who, when, where, why questions. Research post findings to wiki.
6. What plants/trees are native? Explore school gardens, sketch, make own etching.
7. Why did the British Government transport convicts to Australia? Research first fleet, a child convict and role play in a hot seat activity.
The unit can also include Captain's Cook journey, the first fleet journey, tools and weapons, penal settlement and resistance.

The students work together to conduct research, and collect images to populate a wiki page. Hands on engaging field trips to rock paintings, a museum and botanical gardens engage students actively in learning. The unit is designed for students to collaboratively work together to understand, document and justify how history can be presented from different points of view.They are not just recalling, recognising or reiterating information. They are involved in decision making, problem solving, experimental inquiry, investigations and system analysis(Marzano & Pickering, 1997, p 191). A wide range of multi literacies resources can be utilised to achieve this; TWL , retrieval chart, jigsaw activity, you tube clips, audio english readings, dream time stories, artists impressions,flickr, digital camera, video camera, guest speaker etc. This unit could span over two years, so I find it difficult to give a "draft copy" of a unit with all my intentions known. There is scope over the two years to assess the student's in the SOSE, english, science, mathematics and Art key learning areas. Oral presentations, written information report, video presentation, PowerPoint slide shows, posting refection's on a blog, commenting on other blogs,and debate to present opposing views.

Providing opportunities to utilise ICT's in the class room proves power in reaching student's who do not fit inside the "curriculum box" as stated by George Lucas. This unit integrates Blooms' Taxonomy thinking skills. According to Pohl (2000) the first three levels of creating, analysing and evaluating provide students the opportunity to generate new ideas, products or ways of viewing things. They break down information into parts to explore understandings and the students justify their decisions. This unit of work provides the students to have an outside focus, they are to populate a wiki, they are making a useful contribution while learning (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). The authentic learning context of the project increases student motivation and satisfaction. According to Marzano and Pickering(1997) a resource to help student's extend and refine their knowledge a teacher must explicitly teach the skills of comparing, classifying, abstracting and analysing perspectives. In this unit of work these skill are important to not only extend and refine knowledge but to use knowledge meaningfully. This requires students to engage in complex thinking and reasoning processes as they complete long term meaningful tasks (Marzano & Pickering, 1997).

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Student Centred Blog

Beyond School! Wow did an eleven year old really create this. I agree blogs can be an innovative tool to enhance children's creative writing. I have two male students in my class who have fantastic ideas but struggle immensely with their handwriting. It is sometimes unreadable and because it is hard work for them, the ideas become lost. They can however.....type! This technology opens up a learning world for those who desperately need it and others who also benefit from the engagement of using reflective blogs as both an individual and collaborative process. Imagine teaching in a school where every child has a laptop and part of their daily routine is to write on their blog. It could perhaps replace "diary writing" or at the end of each week students can reflect on their learning, what they liked most, what didn't they like, why, why not and any common issues arising for the week. I would love to know what my students think about my teaching and the highs and lows of their learning. I can only benefit from feedback and why not ask the people that matter the most. The class could have their own class blog and a different student adds to it each day to continue a fictional story. It could relate to the unit of work, healthy eating for example, the students can use a blog to post recipes, enhancing their abilities to write procedures. For older classes it could extend to exercise, diet, health etc. Blogs encourage student's to not only write but to read. An authentic task such as the step by step story, one which they have total control of, they choose the scenario for that day and each day they must read the prior postings. The students are in control of the story, they are making the decisions, generating new ideas. They are creating, they are involved in a higher order thinking skill according to Bloom's Taxonomy (Pohl, 2000). Students' are intrinsically motivated to learn due to the meaningful nature of the learning environment and activities. The Engagement Theory (1999) focuses on self directed and experimental learning, it represents a new paradigm for learning and teaching in the information age.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I recently gave a lesson on note taking. The students were in groups and had to write key points from a particular text about satellites. They shared their points with others during a doughnut activity (previously explained). The groups could now create quizzes through class marker for other groups and in turn they would all become familiar with each others text.

Additionally students could create a quiz on math algorithms and extend their knowledge to write more advanced mathematical problem solving questions. English is another key learning area where students can create a quiz for their class peers. Extending functional grammar skills to make choices and identify circumstances, process, pronouns, adverbs etc. A grade 5 class could create a quiz for a lower grade, providing them with an outside focus providing them with a sense of achievement and satisfaction. The Engagement Theory (1999) is based upon the idea of creating successful collaborate teams that work on ambitious projects that are meaningful to someone outside the classroom (Kearsley & Shneiderman).
Creativity is one of the higher order thinking skills in Blooms Taxonomy in which we generate new ideas, products or ways of viewing things(Pohl, 2000). We should be seizing every opportunity and utilising technology to provide and instigate higher order thinking skills in our students.

Digital Story Telling

Why digital story telling?.....Because we teach digital student's.
Creating a digital story enhances writing, speaking,visual, technical and personal development skills(Dyck, 2005). The list is endless as to what you could use digital sorties for and for all ages. A true story such as "Amy's Choice" presents a powerful message to teenagers about the dangers of chat rooms. "Story of Friend's" is aimed at the lower grades and teaches the value of accepting others and treating friends nicely through a puppet show.
Other ideas include poetry, narratives, history, fiction, environmental issues etc. In a grade 5 class I would like to utilise this technology to build on their creative writing skills. The task would to collaboratively work in groups to re-create a famous nursery rhyme. The characters would be the same but they would have to produce an original ending. The students would use, video, images, text, music and narration to re-tell their nursery rhymes. The presentations could then be shared with the class. This style of learning is providing them the structure to work with peers, this increases the motivation of students to learn and provide them with the skills a modern workplace demands such as planning, management and social skills (Kearsley & ,Shneiderman, 1999). I provided the topic but they have the creativity to take control of their own learning and engage in a meaningful way to produce a project. In addition to sharing the digital photo stories with the class they can also be made available in the library to show younger grades. This outside focus stresses the value of making a useful contribution for others, the sharing of an authentic project increases student motivation and satisfaction(Kearsley & ,Shneiderman, 1999).

Power Point Buttons.

Just when you think you know all there is to know on PowerPoint..... along comes buttons. I created a quiz and saved it to my media fire and walla here it is embedded in my blog. It's a fantastic way to create a quiz through PowerPoint. I did however find it quiet time consuming but once you got going and knew your exact questions I can see it being a valuable resource, more so if teachers shared their quizzes, collaboratively we could end up with a valuable bank of resources.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Slide Share

I successfully embedded my slideshow and to my total amazement I even uploaded a mp3 file to synchronise with particular slides to create a slide cast. I am impressed (with myself) and the program. I can share my presentations, I can find and download my favourites. It opens up a network in which the teaching profession can utilise to expand their resources.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Voice Thread

I uploaded several photos of the internationally famous people who have had an effect on social change in the past. Hitler, Nelson Mandela, Bin Laden, Martin Luther King and Barack Obama. The task is for students of a high school age to make collaboratively comment on each image. Did they have a positive or negative impact on society and explain your comment, why do you think the way you do. This form of learning instigates higher order and creative thinking according to Bloom's taxonomy. Student's are involved in the processes of creating, analysing and evaluating(Pohl, 2000). It is a way of having conversations around media, in this case it is images but you could also use it for videos, documents, and presentations. The collaboration of this can far extend the classroom. Student's from around the world Can make comments via telephone, web cam or text. Younger children could also comment on images relevant to their age. For example if a teacher wanted to teach acceptance, behaviour and the way children should treat one another an image could portray a socially or culturally diverse scenario and students can comment using the microphone if they are too young to type and spell or it could be a mixture of both. Children could collaboratively choose a range of their own images and together they could comment on images as a group process. The images could then be shared through the cyber world to other classes or even schools.

When students work in teams they often have the opportunity to work with others from dirretent social and cultural backgrounds and according to Kearsley and Schneiderman (1999) Engagement Theory this facilitates an understanding of diversity and multiple perspectives. A lesson regarding social change places an emphasis on providing an authentic setting for learning. Social change is something we can all be aware of, the digital natives (Pensky, 2001)can benefit in being exposed to world history which has significantly changed our world as we know it today.

Using Music on the Web

I visited the Incompetech web site and easily downloaded music to my hard drive. Students can use music in their presentations or role plays they do in class. If they were creating a PowerPoint slide show on the topic of space a mysterious dark piece of music may be appropriate to add to the presentation for additional effect. The slide show may begin with a variety of scrolling images to engage the class from the beginning. The music and the images together portrays an inspirational interpretation on a particular topic. A global warming presentation may seem more relevant and realistic if they can be inspired or effected in someway through the power of music. Music is something we can all relate to. We don't have to know how to play, read or write it but we can be entertained by it.

If a class was doing a unit of work on bush rangers they could demonstrate through a role play the actions and consequences of the Ned Kelly gang. It would involve the class separating into groups to depict different characters and stages of Ned Kelly's life. It would involve the student's beginning from scratch, they would have to write a script and act out the portrayal. Including music which is(and music which is safe under the copy right laws) dramatic, emotional or mysterious will add to the story line to portray a particular scene. The students are involved in a project which is their own, they are making all the choices and they are working and presenting it collaboratively as a whole class. Oliver's (1999) Learning Design framework can be a guide for an activity like this. The framework has three main elements, the task that being the role play and the resources the students have worked with and the support provided to assist learners to engage with the tasks and resources. The role play must come at the end of the unit of work, perhaps after they have spent many lessons researching and completing a range of tasks across all key learning areas then they can conclude with a role play presentation at a parents culminating day. Music is a powerful tool for our personal expression within our daily lives-- it helps "set the scene" for many important experiences (Brewer, 1995).

I believe the early childhood years of schooling has much more scope for using music in the class room. You only have to look at the television programs aimed at this age level and the songs and music used to aid in the development of younger ones. There is a song to remember the alphabet, the seasons, the oceans, numbers....the list goes on. Songs, chants, poems, and raps will improve memory of content facts and details through rhyme, rhythm, and melody. Teaching these to students or having them write their own is a terrific memory tool! (Brewer, 1995)

Downloading particular music to use as background noise in the class room can be beneficial to students learning. Levy (n.d)states some amount of background music may in fact be helpful in the learning process, both in a structured school setting and under self-directed homework conditions.
Brewer (1995) says playing music as students enter the classroom or as they leave for recess or lunch totally changes the atmosphere. Depending on the music, you can enliven, calm, establish a theme or even give students content information with content-songs! Being made aware of the Incometech website provides me with a positive learnig tool to assit in using music in the classroom. I am inspired by the research and positive outcomes that music has on the class room and on the individual student.

File Storage

I navigated my way around the Media FIre web site and was able to upload a file. It was the English scope and sequence PDF document.

A website like Media FIre allows you to keep all your files you wish to share with others. The concept is easy. A cohort of teachers could use this technology to share resources and lesson plans. Additionally student's can store files during their time at school and University for a safe storage option to access in the future.


During my experiences thus far in schools Wikipedia is definitely the main resource students utilise to research topics. It is one of the first web sites to appear when you google search however I had never navigated my way around the Wikipedia homepage. I selected science as my subject area and narrowed the search down to space and then onto planets of the solar system. Sub categories allowed my to them research individual planets, features and images. This is where I also became familiar with the Wiki Projects in the community portal page.

For a unit of work on space the students can create trading cards on a particular space topic. On the computer they create a template which includes a title, an image on the left side and key points on the right side. The trader cards are only as big as your hand and each student researches their topic through wikipedia to write their key points. The researched topics are aimed as grade 5 and they are not to be on the planets, it has to be on not so well know aspects of space such as meteors, the big bang theory, constellations, stars, milky way etc. Something new that the students have not previously covered in earlier years. They then print and laminate the cards and trade them with their peers to collaboratively learn about different features of space. The lesson could also be extended to include the children creating a new planet they have discovered and they create a trader card for their new planet. The criteria of this lesson relates to Oliver's (1999) learning design framework. The task of creating a trading card is supported by the wikipedia research work and the teacher's instructions and feedback. The students see this task as a direct/purposeful experience and according to Dales cone of learning this is the most effective method of active learning (Active Learning, 2000).

The Korean International School developed their own history text book. It was a creative and engaging way for student's to learn about a time in history. They wrote their own text, did their own research and chose their own images. The text book even included video. An important part in the text book was the student's own reflection. They were able to make sense of it for themselves. In addition the students also posted the text book on a blog and anyone from anywhere around the world could comment on each other's reflection. If I were to ask a student if they would of preferred to write an essay on world war 1 I am confident of the answer being no. Through using wikipedia to create a text book they have a more meaningful learning experience and deeper understanding is achieved. It is authentic and has an outside focus. Deeper understanding is demonstrated by their success in producing new knowledge by discovering relationships, solving problems, constructing explanations, and drawing conclusions (Queensland Government, 2004).

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Web Quests

March (2004) describes a Web Quest as a scaffold learning structure that uses links to essential resources on the World Wide Web. It includes an authentic task to motivate students' investigation of an open-ended question, development of individual expertise, and participation in a group process that transforms newly acquired information into a more sophisticated understanding. March's definition correlates exactly with Kearsey's and Shndiderman's Engagement Theory who imply that learning activities occur in a group context, are project based and have an authentic focus.
Dodge, (2007) claims tens of thousands of teachers have embraced Web Quests as a way to make good use of the Internet while engaging their students in the kinds of thinking that the 21st century requires. The fundamental idea of the Engagement Theory framework is that students must be meaningfully engaged in learning activities through interaction with others and worth while tasks linked to technology based learning and teaching.

The first web quest depicted in this section is Antarctica Ice to Water Australia. It provided background information regarding Australia's drought and the possible suggested solutions. The task was clearly published. It consisted of a specific question "should Australia harvest ice bergs from Antarctica to replenish the flow in the Murray river". The web quest then provides the information of how this question is going to be answered and the goals to be achieved. The topic is very well researched, the developer has a comprehensive understanding regarding this topic. The activities were specific and I liked how it provided the links for students to visit to find out the information on Antarctica. It takes the students directly to the information they need to answer the question. The collaboration of this activity saves time, keeps the students motivated and at the conclusion they have the most eight important issues related to Antarctica. Like any environmental issue there are multiple opinions and perspectives. It is a great idea for each group to assume the role of an environmentalist, farmer, hydrologist engineer etc. This highlights the different concerns related to the community. This web quest is informative, interactive, motivating, inspiring and educating. The task of developing such a web quest is time consuming but once complete it can be utilised each year and shared among colleagues. It could contain assessment tasks across a range of key learning areas with in a unit of work.

The Freedom Fighter or Terrorist web quest engages you from the start with the video links. The focus question is clearly stated at the beginning; "What is terrorism? Is there such a thing as a just cause?" Again Tom March provided specific links to the information, if students were left to google in general a lot of time would be taken up actually navigation your way to the specific information. The students have a common understanding of what terrorism is they then look at specific examples and apply the definitions to the real world. The focus question is complex and collaborative learning allows different groups of students to be involved in solving a complex question. This web quest in comparison to Anarctica Ice to water Australia has less visual cues, it contain much more text. I presume it was designed for an upper high school class. The personal reflection section is a thought provoking way to conclude the quest. The students can write about the big idea, the truth and the emotion. Islam Remembers September 11 contains powerful,inspiring, sickening images. The war continues and terrorism continues.

The specific elements of a web quest provide for a learner; creativity, high order thinking and natural curiosity which contribute to motivation to learn. Intrinsic motivation is facilitated on tasks that learners perceive as interesting and personally relevant and meaningful, appropriate in complexity and difficulty to the learners abilities(McInerney & McInernrey, 2006). Teacher's can encourage and support learners' natural curiosity and motivation to learn by attending to individual differences. This delivery technology has tremendous implications for the class room, once the initial out lay of time and research is spent developing the web quest it can be a valuable resource to utilise repeatedly, changes can be made for different year groups and additions can be included for the gifted and talented students. If each teacher developed one web quest and posted it on a nation wide blog then we could have a wealth of resources to share.

Google Earth

What an invention, you see things like this and wonder how society coped without this technology. This could be used in a class room in so many areas. But for one example The SOSE Essential Learnings (QSA 2007) by the end of grade 5 in the strand of place and space state:
"Global environments are defined by features, including landforms, location markers (Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn and the Equator), countries, regions, continents and climatic zones"
This is an exciting Essential Learning to achieve when you have Google Earth at your finger tips. This style of lesson can incorporate Oliver's (1999)Learning Design Frame Work to guide and design the choice of learning tasks, learning resources and learning supports. In younger grades the tasks could involve locating your home, school or a famous landmark and drawing your own map. The older grades could involve plotting with longitude and latitude markings, a written report on a specific area, a piece of visual art work...the list goes on. To achieve the above mentioned Essential Learning the assessment task could be to create an itinerary for your family holiday, taking in specific countries and landmarks in Australia.The children will collaboratively design a map of Australia with the specific locations. They will research these areas and provide information on each. I would like them to include on their map the distance between each place and if they are in different time zones. This project provides for collaborative learning, to create their own project with the value of making a useful contribution while learning (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999)
The students can accept this as an authentic task, they can presume their family can actually take this trip.
The Internet provides a wonderful resource for collaborative efforts as it is easy to quickly uncover a lot of information about any topic (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999).

I am passionate about landmarks in Australia both famous and not so well known. I found Wave Rock in W.A, the Great Australian Bight and the Nullabour Plain, the most southern point of Australia, South Cape, and the most northern on the Cape York peninsular on Google Earth. I have been fortunate to have visited all these areas and I realise not everyone has or will in their life time but if I can bring attention to it in the class room then the students are going to acquire awareness about their own country and this knowledge will benefit students for their future endeavours.
I am excited to find out if my school has access to Google Earth to start planning some lessons.

You Tube

I recently had to explain to students the movements and directions of the Earth, Sun, and Moon in relation with each other. I used a lamp and different size balls to visually demonstrate this to the students. I backed up the information with a You Tube clip titled Physical Science 9.2a- The Earth, Moon and Sun Sysem. (access to an embeded code was denied so I have embedded another clip titled A day on Earth which would also be appropriate to use). The students knowledge learnt was reiterated but also extended. The clip was able to visually show a representation of the actual distance the Earth, Sun and Moon are in space in relation to each other. This aspect could not be achieved with my resources. Constructivist approaches to learning strive to create environments in which learners actively construct their own knowledge, rather than recapitulating the teacher's interpretation of the world. Learners cannot learn from only listening to the teacher since they don't share a set of common experience and interpretations(Jonassen, 2000). A You Tube clip is a valuable tool to add to a lesson to provide students with a deeper understanding of what is being taught. I have to teach a science lesson next week on gravity and I am currently searching for a u tube clip I could use to help students with the exact knowledge they need to receive in order to have a meaningful understanding of gravity in order to conduct an experiment. A delivery technology such as u tube can scaffold new forms of thinking and reasoning in a students zone of proximal development, the zone between learners' existing and potential capabilities. The Vygotskian perspective stresses the functional reorganisation of cognition with the use of symbolic technologies (Pea, 1985).
Thinking ahead to my gravity lesson I could follow Oliver's (1999) Learning design framework to design a lesson which involves a task, resources and supports. The task is to observe the effects of gravity of similar and different size objects. For the student to describe what they think may happen they need to have background knowledge on gravity, what it is and how mass effects the force of gravity. I can only achieve this by utilising resources such as U Tube clip and props. I would constantly employ learning supports which would involve instruction, demonstrations and instigation of class discussions. Following this framework I can vision my class achieving the intended learning outcome.

Class Marker

This was my first experience of creating a personalised quiz on line for my students. The steps were clear to navigate my way through to produce a test for a class I created. I was impressed with the options the program gave you regarding the "rules". Choosing if the students are allowed to go back to a question, if they can save it and return later or if you want to advise the pass mark etc. I designed a number facts quiz. To view the quiz go to and log on as gemma313, the password is mccarthy.

I recently did a lesson on note taking with a grade 5 class in which they were separated into 6 groups to each read a different piece of text on Satellites. The task was for them to write the key points of the text. After they did this I asked them individually to write a key point down, it had to be different from their peers. Half the class was then to stand in a circle facing outwards and the remainder of the class to form an outer circle facing a partner. The outer circle told their partner the fact and moved clockwise to tell each student in the inner circle the fact. The circles then swapped positions and repeated the activity. I then asked each student to tell the class a new fact they had learnt. In the future I would now like to add a class marker quiz to conclude the lesson. I would group them again but differently so each group had a wealth of different facts from the six pieces of text and collaboratively the students would answer the quiz. McInerney & McInerney, 2006 advocate collaborative learning as a constructivist method for fostering cognitive processes because peer discussions help the coding of information into memory through the need to explain, elaborate and summarise to group members. Additionally the mix of abilities, learning styles and view points towards the learning task within groups fosters divergent thinking. Shneiderman and Kearsley, 1999 also propose the Engagement theory is based upon the idea of creating successful collaborative teams. It emphasises collaboration among peers contributes to meaningful learning.

Friday, July 31, 2009


I had heard of pod casting but until now did not have an understanding of exactly what it was and the benefits it can have in any class room across any key learning area. I followed the instructions through itunes and subscribed to Sean Martinson podcast titled The educators health and listened to him express his hatred for paper and love for his iphone, his main message was "suck it up and get healthy". I also subscribed to Ben Hazzard and Joan Badger's podcast, Teachers connecting pod casts which they gave together but were 1000km apart.
Pod casting is a technology which could be used in classrooms as a form of presenting information. Jmango (2006) listed the following ideas podcast's can be used for in the class rooms:
. Reviewing a book
. Reading a play and adding sound effects
. Interviews
. Running commentary on school activities or news
. Public speaking forum
. To listen to and talk to students from other schools or countries.
Pod casting can also supplement the teacher's lectures and assist students who miss work or have special needs. Lynne (2007) states children diagnosed with ADD can have the advantage of being able to listen to class lessons individually without distractions or a student with a hyperactivity disorder may benefit from listening to music while completing tasks. Lynne (2007) also recommends podcast in music lessons, the teacher has a class objective but each student could choose their preferred music. In addition if a child is absent, they can download and listen to the missed information or students who are weak readers can listen to novels and follow their hardcopy. Podcasting can also be beneficial to auditory learners.

I do like the sound of the benefits teachers are finding regarding pod casts but Dale's cone of Active Learning (ACU 2000) illustrates verbal symbols i.e,. listening to spoken words the least effective method and the most effective to be direct, purposeful hands on learning experiences. I would therefore use podcast in conjunction with other teaching strategies. Kesley's and Shneiderman's (1999) engagement theory corresponds with an English lesson where the students have to collaboratively write their own play with regards to the unit topic, (the reef for example; the play could portray the environmental concerns for the future)and it could be pod casted for others in the community to view. The students are intrinsically motivated to learn due to the meaningful nature of the learning environment and activities. (Kearsely & Shneiderman, 1999).

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Animations and simulations

I can now say I have disected a bull frog. I located the external naves and tympanum. I used a scalpel, scissors and pins to graphically pull the frogs skin and muscle away from its body and proceeded to identify the heart, lungs, kidneys etc. This was so fantastic, it I ever have to teach science at this level I am definately purchasing this animation software. I couldn't believe I was engaged at 11 o'clock at night disecting a frog. This would work so well in a class. It could be used before the real procedure as a what to expect lesson and for those who do not want to participate in the real thing, this is a fantastic alternative.

Edward de Bono (2007) claims creative thinking to be a skill but it must have value. It means thinking outside the box, developing an idea outside the "normal behaviour" or "usual thinking". Students benefit from being exposed to many different learning styles. Creating animationa and simulations allow children to creatively express their ideas. Robinson (2000) says Education takes us into the future and creativity is as important as literacy . All students should be given the opportunity to experience and enjoy success in the classroom and with the techonlogies available today there are no excuses.

Image manipulation

I think this is a fabulous tool. I logged onto Picnik and uploaded a photo of myself and went to work editing it.(The original is my profile picture). I cropped and coloured and altered the sharpness and exposure of the photo. This type of manipulation is a resource to utilise in conjunction with other delivery technologies such as flickr to alter and improve images. This could be seen as a learning resource in Oliver's (1999) Learning Design construction and in conjunction with peers or mentors a learning task could be a flickr project. If you are going to use flickr or PowerPoint or wiki's your presentation must look effective and professional the art of image manipulation provides this ability.


Well, I took the tour before being directed to the magical features tour. I created a yahoo account before joining Flickr. All going well, I even managed to upload two photos but so far....I have no friends! I have not been able to upload any ones photos yet. I had not heard of flickr before I began this course and now I seem to hear it all the time. Jake (1999) states it is an online tool for collaboration and community building. It is a photo sharing community and contains over 100 million photos. Wow, that rings some security alarm bells to me but it has proven to be an educational tool used in classrooms. Flickr could be used for the design of lessons that promote and build visual literacy skills in students, either as a single photo used as writing prompts or multiple image sets in digital story telling projects. One of the components of Kearsley and Shneiderman's (1999)engagement theory includes activities which occur in a group context. Students can contribute to the development of online stories about images, they write story lines in the comment area of each photo, this is called Flicktion(Jake 1999). What makes Flickr appealing and engaging and in line with the Kearsley's and Shneiderman's 1999 Engagement Theory is it promotes the development of community. Students can contribute on a range of topics that are project based and have an authentic focus. I came across a discussion group on Flickr blog for using Flickr for Educational purposes. I read about teachers who were using flickr in the class room to familiarise students with zoo exhibit labels, environmental issues, geography with Google earth, visual documentation of school events, student artwork, motivational posters, astronomy, space and science. Once again the technology advances of this tool are an endless support and resource for any key learning area in any class room.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


What, you mean if I was born a little later I may not of had to dissect that revolting lambs heart in science. Online dissections...what an invention! I recently wrote a science lesson plan which involved a U tube clip to explain the movement and directions of the Sun, Earth and Moon. I firstly physically explained this with a marble, tennis ball, and basket ball but to reinforce this knowledge with a video clip not only proved to the students I was telling the truth but provided them with extra visual cues and they could relate to it being in space. Oliver's (1999)learning design could provide the framework for a lesson like this. The children's task could be to create a poster displaying the Sun, Earth and Moon and the direction each moves. The Learning supports are my instructional teaching and the learning resources is the U tube clip. How simple yet very effective.

Interactive Whiteboard

Teachers face constant pressure to accommodate and implement new technologies into their repertoire of teaching pedagogy's and techniques(Jones & Vincent, n.d). Utilising interactive whiteboards yo would think solve this problem but research suggests that they are not providing teachers and students in many Australian schools with the educational benefits that were expected. Measday (2005) suggests it is because teachers are not qualified and lack experience with ICT's. They have lacked access to appropriate resources and personal development.( Maybe its the digital immigrants letting us down).

I have been fortunate enough to experience some of he capabilities of an interactive whiteboard. All you need is a computer, a projector, a USB cable and maybe a special pen and walla!! you have an engaged and motivated class ready to be involved in their learning. I once did a lesson involving Australian geography,the children were physically marking locations and directions on the map after I gave them certain clues regarding a place or famous landmark. They were engaged, collaboratively the whole class was involved and helping each other out. As I was giving the lesson, I was thinking of so many more activities you could do and that's just for Australian geography, I can appreciate the potential this technology could have on a class I only hope I am lucky enough to be placed in a class room who has one and given the opportunity to learn all the capabilities the interactive whiteboard has.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Powerpoint Presentations.

I am in my second year of University study and it that short time I have progressed in my capabilities to present information using Microsoft PowerPoint. Before then I had never before used the software. I feel confident now that I would be able to pass my knowledge on to students I was teaching. I found that I started with the basics, and each time I built a presentation I learnt and tried new applications. Peer interaction has helped me immensely, this was not something that was available to me throughout my education. As an adult learner I appreciate the digital natives who surround me with their PowerPoint expertise.

You could utilise this software and adapt it to any unit of work for any age group. Based on Oliver's (1999) learning design framework a lesson should involve a learning task, learning resources and learning supports.
For example; a grade five class studying a unit of work on space.
Each student will have research a topic(Milky way, Black hole, stars, satellites etc)and present the information to the class utilising a power point slide show. The standard criteria must:
. contain 5 slides
. Include factual information on each slide
. Include a picture on at least 3 slides
To cater for individual differences I would adjust the criteria accordingly, either to involve more technology capabilities such as adding sound and moving animations to a slide show alternatively decreasing the number of slides required for those who would not achieve success in the standard criteria. The children could present their slide show to the class and/or to parents on culminating day. In addition, each child could choose their favourite slide and the teacher could create a new PowerPoint presentation which presents the work of the whole class in one presentation.

Carver, Lehrer, Connell and Erickson (1992) acknowledges a variety of thinking skills that learners need to use when designing a presentation. Project management, research, organisation and representation, presentation and reflection skills. These skills call on a variety of critical, creative and complex thinking skills. So to does Kearsley and Shneidernams engagement theory (1999) which states activities students do involve an active cognitive process such as creating, problem solving, reasoning, decision making and evaluation.

The power point tutorial provided me with the opportunity to revise what I already know regarding power point and got me thinking what I would specifically have to teach if it were a class of novices. As a teacher I can't presume all children are competent in this area and it was good to go back to the basics and refresh what it is I want children to know about power point. Knowing how to add motion to pictures is a new skill I learnt during the tutorial. Keeping up with technology....what a challenge.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Once again I surprised myself with what I once thought was beyond my ability...the creation of an avatar. I proceeded to the Voki website and established my free account. It was a strait forward process with easy to follow instructions to customise my own voki with a voice, outfit, background and most importantly the bling. Cohen (2007) states it can aid in instructing those who are more of an audio/visual learner. It is also a successful tool for students studying via distance education, adding a more "human element" to the class.

The mathletics software program used in schools around the world allows children to create their own avatar as they progressively earn credits. The creation of an avatar is actually used as an incentive to earn more credits (by solving mathematical tasks). For example is you want the really exciting volcano background it will cost 250 credits. The more credits you earn the more accessories become available to the user. Students are learning,sharing and competing against each other to create a wonderful avatar. This collaboration extends internationally by the click of a button extending the childrens knowldege everytime they log on.
Oliver's(1999)framework includes tasks students need to do, with the resources and support needed to achieve this. The mathletics program consists of strategies in line with this framework. Again children are taking charge of their learning outcome, they are involved in motivated, interesting and engaging technoligies to aid in their learning experiences. Digital natives are continually subject to video games, amazing graphics and special effects. Children today are rich in media, communication and creative opportunities Pensky, 2005). They need to be stimulated at school too, the use of avatars in classroom lessons will add to the engagement and motivation of students and like Pensky (2205) states it is better to engage students than to enrage them.

Voice communication...why not!
Posting a question on a message board is useful but many times asking the question is better. It is instant, direct and uses the nuance of voice. (Cohen, 2007).
I can only imagine the diversity of learning activities this technology opens up for visually impaired learners.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Wiki Technology

I was able to set up a Wiki site following the three easy steps on the wet paint site. It was set out in a sequential easy to follow process. I followed instructions to wet paint central and created a home page, adding photos, videos and additional pages. My Wiki is titled Teaching Ideas. I would like people to browse and add to the site their teaching experiences (thus far), lessons and resources. I think collaboration within future Learning Managers is an important tool we can utilise to enhance our journey and contribute to our future careers.

The capabilities of a Wiki are exciting for a new teacher to incoporate into a classroom. We could provide activities for students to work in groups allowing them to make decisions for themselves to take responsibility for their choices and direction of learning. Schneiderman and Kearsley's (1999) Engagement Theory framework emphasises meaningful learning for technology based learning. Engaged learning involves activities for students which possess an active cognitive process such as creative, problem solving, reasoning, decision making and evaluation.

My grade five class next term is studying a unit on the Great Barrier Reef. I can vision students setting up their own Wiki to portray both the commercial and environmental concerns regarding one of the natural wonders of the world. It would contain factual information and and personal opinions including the positive and negative aspect of both arguments and make it available for community members to make an informed decision regarding the future of the Great Barrier Reef. This type of activity includes the three comooponents of the Engagement Theroy;

  • Collaboration

  • Project Based

  • Outside focus.

The engagement theory portrays how important it is for students to be engaged for effective learning to occur. Research suggests that the most common use of computers in primary schools has been for word processing or for simply retyping handwritten test to produce a "nice copy" (Downes & Fatouros,1995). I have seen evidence of this but I aim to be a teacher with a constructivist view who value and understand the importance of children's learning; they need to be engaged in meaningful effective activities to constuct their own understandings.

In helping students become producers of knowledge a teacher's main instructional task is to create activities or environments that allow the student opportunities to engage in highter order thinking. Students' are to manipulate information and ideas in ways that transforms their meaning and implications (Queensland Governement, 2004). The reef wiki project allows student's to engage in the construction of knowledge. The outcomes are not always predictable but students' can combine facts and ideas in order to synthesise, generalise, explain, hypothesise and arrive at a conclusion or interpretation (Queensland Government, 2004).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


LMS obviously play a major role in our own learning journey at university, a software that enables instructors to create and organise resources such as the black board site or moodle. It also failitates creating and using elearning resources such as electronic discussions and online tests. Creating a course site and its elearning resources should not be the main focus of our instructional efforts. We must firstly identify the appropriate goals for your course, divise learning strategies to support these goals and finally understand how LMS functionality can be used to implement the instructional goals and strategies. This ensures technology is used to support sound pedagogy (Waterhouse, 2005).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Digital Immigrant or Native?

I am a second year Batchelor of Learning Management student at Mackay. I am looking forward to learning and using the various technologies offered in the Managing E Learning course. Pensky (2001) believes the arrival of digital technology is an event which changes things so fundumentally that there is no going back and because of this students now think and process information differently from when I attended school way back in the 1980's. At the beginning of Pansky's article I would of classed myself as a digital immigrant. I did grow up watching Bernita and John on Play School and Ernie and Bert on Seaseme Street but I didn't learn and play with computers and digital games etc. I do not print out emails and I am capable of internet use and most importantly I am not frightened to learn and utilise the amazing and innovative tools of technology. I appreciate and take seriously the importance of my future role as a "digital immigrant instructor" (Pensky, 2001). I want to engage and not enrage my students, I do believe children can learn successfully while watching TV or listening to music and I do believe learning can be fun......maybe I am a didital naive after all, as according to Pensky digital immigrants are not capable of this.