Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Developing an ICT tool based unit of work

Note to self: when creating a unit of work that incorporates the use of ICT tools that you are required to create, start a bit earlier than what you did this time...

I honestly didn't realise how time consuming creating a WebQuest would be (not to mention all of the files that are included in the WebQuest) plus locating suitable YouTube videos etc etc. Not saying that I wouldn't take the WebQuest approach again in the future, just next time I will be more prepared.

When creating the unit of work "The Three Rs", I had initially chosen to work with Year 3 students thinking that it would be an easier path to take. I came to a standstill when thinking about how this age group would manage to collaborate using wikis and blogs. I later changed the unit to cater for Year 7. Looking back though, I could have left it for Year 3 - as long as I had scaffolded and guided their learning enough to be able to effectively use these tools of communication. Ah well, we live and we learn...

I can say that I have enjoyed the learning in this course. Not only has it taught me how to use a range of ICT tools, but it has changed my thoughts on using these tools in the classroom. There are so many tools out there that allow for collaboration between students and so many tools out there to engage learners, that sometimes it's hard to select just a couple to work with. It greatly depends on the age group and skill level/scaffolding/guidance of learners you are working with as to what tools you can use effectively.

The ICT tools that we have been working with are workable with every key learning area, which is another positive to using them in a classroom. As I move through my career, I am looking forward to using these tools in all facets of my teaching as well as using them in my personal life for home projects.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Reflective Synopsis

I decided to submit my Reflective Synopsis in the form of a Wiki.

To have a look, click on this link!

Thanks for following my blog over the past few weeks!

Legal, Safe and Ethical Issues while using ICTs

Like any activity we undergo while teaching students, there are legal, safe and ethical glitches when using ICTs in the classroom. As classroom teachers, we need to be fully aware and actively practice ensuring that students are safe while using these kinds of tools.

As the responsible person in the classroom, we also need to ensure that students stick to the '10 per cent' rule - that is for most websites and CD-Roms, only 10% can be copied, printed, downloaded, published or shown in the classroom and on computers.

Also, we need to ensure that we 'work' correctly with these tools. This entails only using school computers for educational purposes, making sure work is referenced if it is taken from somewhere else, ensuring that we have consent to use students' photos, images, work samples etc for online purposes, using the correct netiquette when using ICT tools and ensuring that students are not able to view sites that they do not need to view (for one reason or another).

By taking heed of these issues when working with ICTs, teachers will be ensuring that students are working in a safe ICT environment.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Images, Music and Creative Commons

Images and music can be obtained for use when creating projects etc online for free as long as they come under the Creative Commons licence. There are four 'conditions' under the Creative Commons licence - Attribution (where users must make attribution to the original author), Share Alike (allows users to edit and remix works), Non-Commercial (users must not use images/music for commercial purposes) and No Derivative Works (where users can only use the original works).

For music, there is a website called Incompetech which has masses of royalty free music that users can use for their projects. The creator of the site only asks that he is given credit for any music that a person chooses to use under the Creative Commons licence. I won't upload a piece of music onto the blog, but if you are searching for music for something you are working on, have a look at the Incompetech site.

As for images, flickr, is not only a place where you can store your images, but you can search for images that fall under the Creative Commons licence. This makes finding images for your given purpose an easier task as you have 'permission' to use them - as long as you give credit where credit is due!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

VoiceThread

VoiceThread is another ICT tool that allows for collaborative learning within the classroom. It allows users to have conversations about images, documents and videos. Users of VoiceThread are able to leave their comments in 5 ways - using their own voice (via a microphone or telephone), text, audio file or video (via a webcam). Comments can then be moderated. VoiceThreads can be made public or private, depending on your purpose.

In the classroom, VoiceThread can be utilised in many different ways. Say you are teaching your students about hazzards in a workplace, you could post a photo of a workplace that has a number of different hazzards in view. Students could then leave their comments about what hazzards they can see in the photo. This could then stem off to the importance of workplace safety. A VoiceThread could also be used to evaluate a piece of artwork, whether its a student's or a famous artist's. Or to perhaps decide, based on what students can see in a photo, whether a student created piece of technology would be suitable for the purpose they created it for. In a younger classroom, a teacher could put up a series of simple photos or images and the students could collaboratively create a story to accompany the pictures.

On a professional level, teachers could use VoiceThread as a tool to create presentations for professional development, to share teaching ideas with their peers, debates, as an assessment tool, to communicate with their students and their parents about how the student is performing in class and again the list goes on.

As with most modern day ICT tools, there are some security risks with using VoiceThread but these could be reduced by ensuring that students do not use photos of themselves, their own voices and ensuring they have full permission to use the images they have selected.

VoiceThread is another ICT tools that promotes the Engagement Theory framework, Oliver's Learning Design framework and the Active learning framework by providing students with opportunities to work collaboratively, have control of their own work, allows for multiple perspectives, engages the students and provides the students with an authentic learning environment.

Ning

Ning is a social networking site that provides a place for people with a common interest topic to put up their ideas, videos, photos, events etc.

This interactive tool could be utilised by both students and teachers within an educational environment.

Students could collaboratively create a Ning site that is specific to what they are currently learning about. They would be able to post any information they have about their chosen Ning topic and learn from their peers. Students are able to manage who is a member of their Ning, which may limit the occurance of vandalism on their site. Ning also allows users to create their own page (like a profile) so they can connect with other like minded people. Ning provides a way for students to interact with their peers that they may not experience within the walls of the classroom. These aspects of using Ning in the classroom conform to what is suggested in the Engagement Theory, Oliver's Design framework and the Active Learning framework.

In the same way, teachers could make use of the Ning network, providing them with ways of sharing and communicating their ideas in regards to teaching practices, common problems they are faced with in the classroom, unit planning and the list goes on...

As with other networking sites, there is the issue of security with allowing students to use Ning in the classroom. Teachers would have to carefully monitor how their students were using this tool in the classroom.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Leaving Comments

Hey Everyone,

If you get time to read some of my posts, could you please leave a comment or two for me to reflect on.

Thanks, I would really appreciate it!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Interactive Whiteboards

I am yet to use an interactive whiteboard so I don't know a lot about physically using one. However, I have had a little read about them and their uses in the classroom and they look like yet another important ICT tool for use in the classroom.

Wikipedia (2009) defines an Interactive Whiteboard as "a large interactive display that connects to a computer and projector. A projector projects the computer's desktop onto the board's surface, where users control the computer using a pen, finger or other device."

In a classroom, interactive whiteboards are used as a replacement for traditional whiteboards and media systems such as a TV and DVD player combination. "Some interactive whiteboards allow teachers to record their instruction as digital video files and post the material for review by students at a later time. This can be a very effective instructional strategy for students who benefit from repetition, who need to see the material presented again, for students who are absent from school, for struggling learners, and for review for examinations. Brief instructional blocks can be recorded for review by students — they will see the exact presentation that occurred in the classroom with the teacher's audio input. This can help transform learning and instruction." (Wikipedia, 2009)

With all the good aspects of using an interactive whiteboard, there are a few points of concern that have been raised by individuals.



  • Sometimes teachers focused more on the new technology than on what pupils should be learning.

  • The focus on interactivity as a technical process can lead to some relatively mundane activities being over-valued. Such an emphasis on interactivity was particularly prevalent in classes with lower-ability students.

  • In lower-ability groups it could actually slow the pace of whole class learning as individual pupils took turns at the board

In reading this though, particularly points two and three, I think that if the use of interactive whiteboards were not too heavily relied on in the classroom and other strategies were put in place and used to cater for these students, using an interactive whiteboard in the classroom could become a catalyst to engage and inspire further learning for these students.


There are a range of activities available for use with an interactive whiteboard, not only in primary and secondary classrooms but also in early childhood settings. A good range of activities can be found at the EDNA website.


Using interactive whiteboards in the classroom promotes what Kearsley and Shneiderman suggest in their Engagement Theory as well as aligning with Oliver's Learning Design Framework.


Reference:


Wikipedia (2009) Interactive Whiteboard. Accessed 1 August 2009 on the World Wide Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interactive_whiteboard

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebeam/

Online File and Photo Storage

Wikipedia (2009) states that online file storage is "a file hosting service, online file storage service, or online media center is specifically designed to host static content, typically large files that are not web pages."

There are many file hosting services available online. These services are aimed at individuals and offer an online storage for back up files, file access, file distribution and a place to store photos. Just a few of these services include: box.net, flickr, snapfish, Telstra Bigpond, and MediaFire.

There are a few advantages and disadvantages to using online storage for files and photos.

Advantages include:
  • Saving disc space on your hard drive
  • No need for storage devices such as flash drives, external hard drives etc
  • Your files are globally accessible
  • Your files are secure from theft, if your computer is stolen

Disadvantages include:

  • The site that hosts your files may close down without notice and you lose your files
  • Security of your files - because your files are online, they are at risk of hackers

As a teacher, I would find online file and photo storage a useful tool in the classroom. These kinds of services would make sharing lesson and unit plans an easy task. Instead of having to physically carry around either paper copies or disc drives, colleagues could share their files online.

Reference:

Wikipedia (2009) File Hosting Service. Accessed on 1 August 2009 from the World Wide Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_file_storage

Web Quests


Web Quests are structured learning activities in which students investigate problems or issues, using the web as a resource. Ideally they engage students in higher order thinking and problem solving and involve them in meaningful, challenging and motivating inquiry. They are structured to provide students with scaffolding (Oliver's Learning Design framework) that direct them to reliable and developmentally appropriate websites and avoid the frustration of time wastage on unproductive searching.

For a Web Quest, students are presented with an authentic situation and a task, which is usually a problem to solve or a project to complete. Although they are scaffolded and support student learning, they still facilitate self-directed learning. They provide an authentic meaningful contextual learning environment, which enhances the nature of learning and thinking, problem solving and the integration of knowledge (Kearsley and Shneiderman's Engagement Theory and the Active Learning Framework).

Web Quests can be utilised in a number of ways in the classroom. They could be whole class, individual or small group work, where each group member has a specific role. They could be used to conclude a unit of work where students are able to have the opportunity to clarify what they have learnt during the unit and apply this knowledge in activities within the Web Quest that require critical thinking. Web Quests could also be used at the start of a unit to engage the students in a new area of learning.
Reference:

Setting up an e.portfolio

An e.portfolio is a collection of work or information that can either represent a person's efforts, progress and achievements over a period of time.

An e.portfolio may be a showcase of students' work, show how proficient a student is in areas of their education, a collection of records of experiences or steps needed to complete a project or a professional portfolio that allows for compiling resumes, cover letters and lists skills for potential employment.

e.portfolios can be used to enhance professional practice, social learning and provide another way to assess students' learning. They can also act as a way to support students in self-directed learning. e.portfolios also provide opportunity for self-reflection.

'Mahara' is just one of the systems available to allow users to create their own e.portfolio. Mahara is a user centred system that also allows for users to give 'permissions' to viewers to only be able to view parts of their portfolio (which would be handy in a job application situation). Mahara is simple to use as it provides all of the required tools to upload documents and artefacts that you want to include in your e.portfolio.

e.portfolios are yet another useful tool in an educational setting that can replace the need for a paper based folio of a student's work and engages students by providing a different platform for presenting work.

My E Book

My E Book is an online tool that allows users to create, publish and share ebook content online. Users can upload documents or create an ebook from scratch with their easy to use publishing tools that are available. Users can create ebooks on any topic they want and share with anyone who may be interested in reading what they have to say.

In a classroom, students could use this tool to research as they would in a library. Instead of having to borrow out books, students can download their books and view them at home. Like Wikipedia, students would have to be aware of the validity of the information contained within the ebooks that they choose for their research.

There is a huge selection of ebooks available for viewing at this site. When I searched "ICT", an ebook called 'ICT and a person with Special Needs' came up. This ebook contains how a person with special needs uses ICT to help her study while she is at school.

Myebook - ICT and a Person with Special needs - click here to open my ebook
My E Book - another useful tool in a contemporary classroom!

Learning Management Systems

A Learning Management System (LMS) is defined as "a software application or Web-based technology used to plan, implement, and assess a specific learning process." (TechTarget, 2003).

These systems, such as Blackboard and Moodle, provide teachers or instructors with a way of providing course content, monitoring participation by individual students (with forums etc) and a way to assess student performance. LMSs also provide students with the opportunity to participate in discussions and video conferencing with their teacher and peers. All of these features are centralised for easy access by students and teachers alike.

Although the implementation of LMSs offers flexibility for both teachers and students, I personally prefer the interaction of a classroom where a teacher can physically interact with their students and provide the necessary information for their education. However, there is definitely a place for these learning systems (perhaps for upper secondary students who may want to study extra subjects that are specific to their chosen career path). In a primary school setting, teachers could perhaps use a learning management system as a place to keep their planning and assessment but then use more interactive means to supply their students with necessary knowledge and skills.

Reference:

TechTarget (2003) Learning Management System. Accessed 1 August 2009 on the World Wide Web: http://searchcio.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid182_gci798202,00.html

Animations and Simulations

Animations and simulations are becoming very popular as a way of teaching students in schools. This creative way of conveying information can be used in all areas of the curriculum. These tools provide authentic situations in which students can learn about a variety of topics.

EdHeads is an educational website that contains animations and simulations that are designed to make hard to teach concepts understandable by using interaction that only the internet can provide. Edheads have created innovative learning experiences that motivate students to learn. Activities such as designing a cellphone, deep brain stimulation, virtual hip replacement and virtual knee surgery allow students to learn and explore in areas that they would not be privy to in a 'normal' classroom. These kinds of activities engage students beyond the walls of the classroom.

As a teacher I would find activities such as the ones found on EdHeads, extremely useful in providing activities to challenge the thinking of my students and to provide a different teaching strategy that will engage students, provide an authentic platform for learning, give multiple perspectives on topics and encourage complex learning processes (Kearsley and Shneiderman's Engagement theory)

Wikipedia

Wikipedia - the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.... says a lot doesn't it!

Wikipedia is collaboratively written by anyone who wants to add their two cents worth about a particular subject. While articles may have been written by people in the know, there is a chance that not all information is accurate. When using Wikipedia as a research tool, users need to be sure of the validity of the information. This can be sought by viewing the source of the information and interpreting the accuracy of the author. Allowing anyone to edit and update information, makes Wikipedia susceptible to vandalism and unchecked information.

In the classroom I would still encourage my students to use Wikipedia as a research tool. I would, however, ensure that they are aware of the possibility of inaccurate information and make sure that they are checking for validity of their information.

You Tube and Teacher Tube

The creators of YouTube (2009) say that, "YouTube is the world's most popular online video community, allowing millions of people to discover, watch and share originally-created videos. YouTube provides a forum for people to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small."

Users of YouTube are able to search for videos about their hobbies and interests, first hand accounts of current events, share their own videos and make comments on other user's videos that they have viewed.

In the classroom, aside from using YouTube as a research tool, teachers could video their class and make it available for absent students to view at home. Students could also use YouTube to broadcast their own videos to the world to receive feedback. In doing this though, teachers would have to be aware of exactly what their students are broadcasting to the world. They would also have to make the students aware that they may receive some unwanted feedback by making their work available in such a public arena.

TeacherTube is an educational version of YouTube. TeacherTube provides an online community to share instructional videos that are educationally focused. It also contains a number of professional development videos for teachers. Just briefly looking around the site, I found a number of videos that I would use either in the classroom to teach students or videos to enhance my teaching.

Here is a link to video of an approach that one teacher took to try to get their students to listen to the school rules:

http://teachertube.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=4423&title=Classroom_Rules


Not sure if I would take that approach, but hey, anything is worth a try!

(I tried to embedd this as a video but there was something wrong with the codes grrr)

Reference:

YouTube (2009) YouTube Fact Sheet. Accessed 1 August 2009 on the World Wide Web: http://www.youtube.com/t/fact_sheet

Bubbl.us

Bubbl.us is a simple and free web application that lets you brainstorm online.

Using Bubbl.us you can create colorful mind maps online, share and work with friends, embed your mind map into blog or website, email and print your mind map or save your mind map as an image.

Bubbl.us takes away the mountains of paper that traditionally comes to mind when someone says "Let's brainstorm about.....".

In a professional context, teachers could use it as a collaborative planning tool for planning units of work. Students could also use this tool to collaboratively work on concept maps when they are planning for assessment pieces (which aligns with Kearsley and Shneiderman's Engagement Theory as well as Oliver's Learning Design and the Active Learning frameworks).

Personally, I find this tool a huge improvement on 'traditional' brainstorming. It makes ideas clearer and less chaotic than if you were using paper to brainstorm. However, if computers were in short supply in the classroom, Bubbl.us may not be appropriate for small group brainstorming.

A 'bubbl.us' on Autism

Static Websites

A static website is one that has web pages stored on the server in the format that is sent to a client web browser. They are a simple and effective way to get your message out. Static websites are quick to set up and should require almost no maintenance.

One site that allows you to create a free static website is Weebly.

Weebly is a free drag and drop website editor. Videos, pictures, maps, and text are added by simply dragging them to your website. There are many professional looking designs available for use to create your website and a variety of elements you can add to your site depending on your purpose.

Both teachers and students alike would find Weebly a useful tool in the classroom. Teachers could use Weebly to publish a Webquest (more on these later) for their students. Students could use Weebly to create simple, yet effective websites for just about any purpose they desire. They could be 'selling' products, advertising events in the classroom, responding to a Webquest, anything really.

Because of its simple layout and ease of use, students from just about any age could utilise Weebly. Another added bonus is no advertising!

The use of static websites such as Weebly for projects in the classroom provides another platform for students to learn within the frameworks of Kearsley and Shneiderman's Engagement Theory, Oliver's Learning Design framework and the Active Learning Framework.

Image Manipulation AKA Picnik



Picnik is a photo editing tool that available for use online. A bunch of Picnik's editing tools are one-click fixes, including auto- fix, exposure, colors, and red-eye. And the others, like rotate, crop, resize, and sharpening, can be controlled with easy-to-use sliders.

The above manipulated image of my kidlets has been taken from a black and white image and transformed into a pencil sketch with a simple frame and text. To make these changes was a quick, straightforward task.

In the classroom, students could use Picnik to manipulate any image for any purpose. They may want to change colours, textures, features to make images more individualised and suitable for their purpose. However, students who may not be competent users of Picnik may accidently lose their original image if they overwrite their original image with their manipulated one (depending on what online photo storage application they are using).
This is another tool that fits well with both the Engagement Theory and Oliver's Learning Design framework in that it allows for student choice, is multimodal, provides an authentic platform for students to base their learning on, engages the students in ways that 'traditional' teaching methods may not be able to achieve and gives the students opportunity to control what/how they learn.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Google Maps and Google Earth


View My Uni Spot in a larger map


Google Maps and Google Earth - another terrific tool out there for implementation in the classroom. (Are we noticing a theme in this blog - ICTs are fantastic for use in the classroom on many levels!)

As Google (2009) themselves state, "Google's satellite imagery-based mapping product puts the whole world on a student's computer. It enables users to "fly" from space to street level to find geographic information and explore places around the world. Like a video game and a search engine rolled into one, Earth is basically a 3D model of the entire planet that lets you grab, spin and zoom down into any place on Earth."

In the classroom, teachers can help their students learn about spatial awareness, features of the globe, landforms, population density and the list goes on. Students could compare and contrast features of where they live with another place in the world. Google Earth is real for students and allows them to explore in authentic contexts.

Google Maps is another tool brought to you by Google. Like Google Earth, there are many, many different ways this tool can be utilised in the classroom. Teaching lessons about mapping, directions, recognising landmarks and street names, planning excursions, creating their own paths from one point to another is just the beginning. Google maps also allows for users to attach photos to their custom made maps to show places of interest.

Google Maps and Google Earth are so interactive and real to life, that they could be used by students who may not be able to attend school excursions. Students could map out where they are going on their excursion, adding photos, text and other relevant information to share with their peers. When doing this though, students will need to be aware of what images they are making public as these can not be privatised on Google Maps. By having all of these interactive features, Google Maps provide an engaging and authentic way for students to learn (see how this relates to Kearsley and Shneiderman's Engagement Theory here).

As a future professional in the educational field, I believe I will find these ICTs an extremely useful tool. They sure beat opening up an atlas! (Not to mention catering for the engagement of learners in the classroom and extending past plotting maps and excursions on paper).

Reference:

Google (2009) For Educators: Google Earth. Accessed 29 July 2009 on the World Wide Web: http://www.google.com/educators/p_earth.html

A Podcast on Podcasting

Click here to hear my podcast on podcasting...

(Sorry about the sound quality - my mp3 player and I are having some technical difficulties)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Voki (continued)

Voki is another ICT tool that aligns within the three learning theories provided for analysing the given tools in the courseware for this subject. A Voki can engage students by appealing to their visual and auditory senses as well as being able to support and scaffold student learning.

There are many uses for Voki in the classroom. Voki can be used for students to express themselves and ideas. They can be used as a tool in drafting their scripts to record, choosing their visual image, clothing and hair to present, record and self evaluate their speech recordings and be able to express themselves in a safe, non-threatening way. Voki can be a fun way to communicate and the advantage is that students can maintain their anonymity when publishing to the world.

Teachers could also use a Voki to introduce their students to a new topic in the classroom. For students who have trouble reading a Voki could be an effective way to provide information. Because of the features of a Voki (voices, clothing, hair, other appearances etc) students may find Vokis a more appealing way to receive information in the classroom.

I am yet to discover though how to get my voki to say more than a small amount of typed text...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Voki

TagCrowd

The importance of context in Constructivist Learning....


created at TagCrowd.com
What a wonderful tool for the classroom. Just paste in some text about your current 'topic' and a cloud of words is created based on the frequency of the words in the text. This could be used as a spelling list, revision for a test, even as a learning tool for those visual learners in your classroom.

Feed Burner

To subscribe to my podcasts that I publish on my blog, click on the following link:

Feed Burner allows your peers to track your podcasts as you add them to your blogs. Another highly useful tool for when you are trying to keep up to date.

Movie Maker

Here's a video that Natalie and I created during class. Be prepared to be excited...

video

Windows Movie Maker is a basic video creating or editing program that comes included with Microsoft Windows. It contains features such as effects, transitions, titles/credits, audio track, timeline narration, and Auto Movie. New effects and transitions can be made and existing ones can be modified. Windows Movie Maker is also a basic audio track editing program. It can apply basic effects to audio tracks such as fade in or fade out. The audio tracks can then be exported in the form of a sound file instead of a video file.

There are literally hundreds of uses for Movie Maker in the classroom. Students could create their own movies for assessments; younger students could make simple movies using photos of familiar objects with a voice over stating what the objects are - thus using this ICT for word associations; students could use the movie maker to produce a planning guide for technology in the design process. Microsoft Movie Maker provides an interactive platform in which students can express their thoughts and ideas without having to write them down.

From a professional viewpoint, teachers could implement this ICT in many ways within their classroom. Instead of standing up in front of the class to give instructions for an activity or assessment, teachers could create their own movie to give the instructions to the class. Students would then have a visual reference point if they needed clarification for the task. Personally, I would make use of Movie Maker for that purpose, however it shouldn't replace the need for teacher/student interaction in the classroom.

The Engagement Theory, Oliver's Learning Design framework and the Active Learning framework all promote the use of collaborative learning in authentic situations to engage students. When students are involved in creating their own movie using Movie Maker, they are actively participating within these frameworks. Movie Maker also allows students to have their learning embedded in a social experience and provides them with multiple modes of representation of the topic they are currently learning about.

Podcasts

Go to my podcast and subscribe if you want... I will add more podcasts later

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More ICTs for my consideration...

Another day, another round of ICTs to consider for use within a classroom setting.

SlideShare

As the
SlideShare wesbite (2009) says "SlideShare is the world's largest community for sharing presentations." Individuals can upload presentations to share their ideas and in turn, individuals can search for presentations on topics that interest them.

On a professional level, SlideShare provides teachers with opportunity to share their lesson and unit plans, PowerPoint presentations they may have used in the classroom with their students and also gives teachers opportunity to search for lesson/unit plans that will be suitable for their classrooms.

Within the classroom, students could also find SlideShare a useful tool in their learning. Along with extending their skills and knowledge about ICTs by using this tool, students could also take advantage of sharing their files with their peers. SlideShare would also provide students with an online storage facility to store or access their own files from different computers.




Wikis

Wikis are a space online that is able to be accessed and edited by all members of a group who have access to the wiki. This means that individuals can delete, modify and move any contributions from others in the group.

In the classroom, wikis encourage group interaction, collaboration and allow students to communicate from a time and place that suits them. Students benefit from the use of wikis due to be actively involved and engaged in constructing their own learning. The possibilities for the use of wikis in the classroom is only limited to the users imagination. Wikis can be used for the creation of simple websites, project development with peers, writing stories as a group, planning events and the list goes on.

As a professional, the use of wikis is similiar to using wikis in the classroom. Teachers are able to collaboratively plan, develop unit plans, plan school events etc. Another benefit of using wikis as a teacher is the ability to track their students' work when working collaboratively on group projects.

Due to all members of the wiki being able to change/delete information contained on the site, careful consideration needs to be made when allowing people to access wikis.

PowerPoint

Microsoft PowerPoint is another powerful learning tool for the classroom. Students of all ages can create multimedia presentations using PowerPoint. As a website called Teachnology (2009) states, "PowerPoint is a wonderful tool for learning in both a student and teacher-directed situation. It can add a new dimension to learning allowing teachers to explain abstract concepts, while accommodating all learning styles."

PowerPoint's uses are endless and again is only limited to the imagination and skill level of the user. Students can use this tool to create their own presentations and concept maps and can be as simple or as 'flash' as their experience with using PowerPoint allows. Teachers too, can use PowerPoint in much the same way as their students can in the classroom.

However, although there are many positives to using PowerPoint in the classroom, there are a couple of negatives - students may become more concerned about the 'flash' of their presentations rather than the content, overuse of PowerPoint in the classroom may bore some students and reduce the effectiveness of using it in the classroom and some students may become so involved in creating their PowerPoint presentations, that it may take several hours to come up with a final product they are happy with. Students will need to be given a timeline in which they will need to finish their presentations so they are responsible for their own time management.

When using technology within a classroom setting, we have to remember that technology is there to enhance our teaching practices, not replace them. Students still need teacher-student interaction and we can not solely rely on technology to 'teach' our students.

The use of Wikis and PowerPoint within a classroom setting aligns well with what Kearsley and Shneiderman suggest in their Engagement Theory. Implementation of these ICTs encourage students to collaboratively engage in real to life authentic situations. These tools also allow for student control of ideas and provide multiple opportunities for students to be engaged in complex thinking processes.

As both Oliver's Learning Design framework and the Active Learning framework also promote colloborate learning, active tasks and authentic learning situations, Wikis and PowerPoint also align within these frameworks.

Reference:

SlideShare (2009) What is SlideShare? Accessed 15 July 2009 on the World Wide Web: http://www.slideshare.net/about

Teachnology, Incorporated (2009) PowerPoint in the Classroom. Accessed 15 July 2009 on the World Wide Web: http://www.teach-nology.com/tutorials/powerpoint/

Temperament Type

According to the Humanmetrics Jung Typology Test, my temperament is "Guardian".

As stated by
D. Keirsey (1998), all Guardians share the following core characteristics:

  • Guardians pride themselves on being dependable, helpful, and hard-working.
  • Guardians make loyal mates, responsible parents, and stabilizing leaders.
  • Guardians tend to be dutiful, cautious, humble, and focused on credentials and traditions.
  • Guardians are concerned citizens who trust authority, join groups, seek security, prize gratitude, and dream of meting out justice.

I find this to be a fairly accurate summary of what I see myself as. It reflects how I find myself (and hopefully others!) to be as a mother, student, friend, and practicing teacher. I believe this temperament type is one that will be a benefit to me in the classroom, will be a benefit to my students and will provide a positive learning environment for all involved.

Reference:

Keirsey, D. (1998) About the 4 Temperaments: The Guardians. Accessed on 15 July 2009 on the World Wide Web: http://keirsey.com/handler.aspx?s=keirsey&f=fourtemps&tab=2&c=overview

Learning Styles Inventory


Learning Style Scores

Visual - 7
Social - 10
Physical - 8
Aural - 8
Verbal - 9
Solitary - 10
Logical - 11

Taken from - http://www.learning-styles-online.com/inventory/

Based on the Learning Styles Inventory online survey, my learning style is a fairly even mixture of all of the mentioned styles. From my experiences throughout school and univeristy I find this to be mostly accurate. I require a mixture of teaching approaches to learn what is required of me. This doesn't mean that I require each learning style for each subject area, but more that I require different teaching styles for different subject areas.

In a classroom setting, you will have many, many preferred learning styles. Student have their own ways of learning and understanding new concepts. In reality though, it is impossible to cater for all learning styles while teaching all activities. Students though, need to be given different options for accessing information in their preferred learning style.

This type of tool would be useful in the classroom for teachers to determine what kind of learning styles they will need to cater for in the classroom. It would also provide a guide for being able to place students in preferred learning style groups.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Using Information and Communication Technologies - Week One

As the Queensland Studies Authority (2007) states, "students live in a technological world where information and communication technologies (ICTs) are integral to everyday situations."
There is an endless list of technological competencies that are required for students to be part of 21st century connected society. These technologies provide a platform for creativity and innovation within a classroom setting. In the classroom there are opportunities for students to expand and enhance on their existing repertoire of technological skills and knowledge.
In the technological world, there are many tools for students to explore and experiment with. These information and communication technology tools can be integrated in a variety of ways across all key learning areas to support students' thinking, learning, collaboration and communication in the classroom.
Over the next few weeks, I will be exploring the use of a variety of ICTs. This week will cover blogs, read feeders and social bookmarking site 'Delicious'.

Blogs

Blogs are virtual diaries that are created by individuals and stored on the internet. They generally consist of text, images, videos and photos. They can be updated as often as the individual who created them deems necessary and contains any information that the writer wants to share with their viewing public.
Blogs, once set up, are a quick and easy way to communicate thoughts, ideas and information. They allow the user to share their world and opinions with others (even if they are on the other side of the world). Blogs give people an opportunity to publish their reflections of issues that are important to them.
Unless made private or for invited users only, blogs are open to public scrutiny. Blogs may also attract negative comments and unwanted spam.
Blogs have a wide range of uses in an educational setting. Students could use blogs as a way of communicating classroom events to their parents and other interested stakeholders or as a tool to express their opinions on topics they are discussing in their classroom. When students use blogs, they can also improve their writing, grammar, internet and keyboarding skills.
By using blogs in the classroom as a way of learning, students are learning via the Engagement Theory, [(Relate, Create, Donate), have control of their learning, are engaged in real situations and also allows for complex thinking to occur] Oliver's Learning Design framework (by constructing their own meaning, ownership of their blogs, the learning is embedded in social experience and are encouraged to self-reflect) and also via the Active Learning framework (where students are using blogs to integrate with prior knowledge).
Read Feeders
Read feeders are an internet application that aggregates internet content such as news head lines, blogs and podcasts into a single location to allow easy viewing for the user. These readers reduce the time and effort required to keep up to date with regularly viewed websites.
Read feeders such as 'Google Reader' allow for regularly viewed websites to be stored in one site for easy viewing. When the reader is opened up, it will show any updates that have occurred on the subscribed websites.
If the user has subscribed to many websites, they may become overwhelmed with updates when they open the reader. However, if the user has made use of tags to group their sites when subscribing to websites, this problem may be reduced.
Just as with the use of Blogs in the classroom, read feeders are also another useful tool. If students have individually created blogs for their use in the classroom, they may choose to use a read feeder such as 'Google Reader' to track their classmates' blogs.
Delicious
Delicious is a social bookmarking service for storing, sharing, and discovering internet bookmarks. This service uses a system where users can tag each of their bookmarks to allow other Delicious users to find websites they have found useful.

Users can bookmark useful websites on Delicious and be able to access their 'favourite' sites from any computer in the world. Users are also able to research topics of interest through the use of tags given to websites by other users. In other words, it makes it possible to view websites that have been bookmarked by similar minded users.
However, unless the user is specific in their search criteria when using the search by tag function, they may not be able to find exactly what they are looking for.
Delicious, like the other applications mentioned in this post, allows for students to stay connected to their peers. If a student is researching a particular topic and finds a useful site, they could bookmark the site on Delicious, tagging it with a familiar name i.e. Class6A. Their peers could then search any sites that have been tagged as Class6A to also use the bookmarked sites for their research.
Reference:
Queensland Studies Authority (2007) Queensland Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Framework: Information and Communicaton Technologies (Year 3). Accessed 13 July 2009 on the World Wide Web:
http://www.qsa.qld.edu.au/downloads/learning/qcar_ccp_ict_yr3.pdf

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hello!

Hello Readers!

My name is Emma and am currently studying a Bachelor of Learning Management Primary at the Bundaberg Campus.


This blog will be a place for me to analyse a range of eLearning tools that will be presented throughout the duration of this course according to ICT learning design frameworks. These frameworks include the Learning Engagement Theory, Oliver's Learning Design Framework and the Active Learning Framework.

The Learning Engagement Theory is a framework for technology based teaching and learning. Kearsley and Shneiderman (1999) state that, "the fundamental idea underlying engagement theory is that students must be meaningfully engaged in learning activities through interaction with others and worthwhile tasks." According to this statement, it can be derived that technology based learning can faciliate ways of student engagement which may be difficult to accomplish via other ways of learning in the classroom. "Engagement theory is based upon the idea of creating successful collaborative teams that work on ambitious projects that are meaningful to someone outside the classroom," (Kearsley and Shneiderman, 1999). When students are involved in engaged learning, they are involved with active cognitive processes which include creating, problem-solving, reasoning, decision-making, and evaluation.

Oliver's Learning Design framework suggests that learning needs to be constructivist and collaboratively based. Learning activities within a technology based environment play an important role in determining learning outcomes (Oliver, 1999). Oliver (1999) goes on to say that "they (learning activities) determine how the learners will engage with the course materials and the forms of knowledge construction that will take place.They need to engender cooperative and collaborative activities among the cohort and in doing so, must provide opportunities for reflection and articulation. The activities must provide the purpose and the context for learners to deal with the content and information."

The final design framework that I will be using to analyse the eLearning tools throughout the course is the Active Learning Framework. This framework is concerned about "activity-based learning experiences: input, process, and output. These activity-based experiences take many shapes whole class involvement, teams, small groups, trios, pairs, individuals," (ACU, 2000). ACU (2000) goes on to say that "activity-based experiences take many forms talking, writing, reading, discussing, debating, acting, role-playing, journaling, conferring, interviewing, building, creating, and the list continues."

As I analyse each eLearning tool, I will be making links to how these tools correspond in regards to the above mentioned learning frameworks.

References:

Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999) Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Accessed 12 August 2009 on the World Wide Web: http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm

Oliver, R. (1999). Exploring strategies for online teaching and learning. Distance Education 20(2), p.240-254. Accessed 12 August 2009 on the World Wide Web: http://pdfserve.informaworld.com/410324_751318839_739485300.pdf

The Abilene Christian University Adams Center for Teacher Excellence (2000) What is Active Learning? Accessed 12 August 2009 on the World Wide Web: http://www.acu.edu/cte/activelearning/whatisal.htm)