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)