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.