Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reflective Synopsis

This Managing E-Learning course has taught me many things about teaching tools which I will be able to use as a teacher in the future. At first I was a bit daunted by all the different teaching tools, but through reading the discussion board and asking my lecturer and peers questions I worked my way through and had fun experimenting and engaging in all the different technologies. Kearsley & Schneiderman (1999) state that, “engaged learning, means that all students activities involve active cognitive processes such as creating, problem-solving, reasoning, decision-making and evaluation”. The teaching tools that I would use in my classroom to engage students include Voki Avatars, podcasting, YouTube/TeacherTube, PowerPoint and slide share.

Many of these teaching tools could be used in conjunction with each other, for example you could create a PowerPoint presentation, upload it to slide share and then add music. So as future oriented educators we need to give students the opportunity to be engaged in different programs and remember - we can learn from our students, just as they learn from us. We need to engage students, not enrage them.

Voki Avatars can be used by the teacher as the hook for the lesson because they are a great way to engage students. The teacher could also do a greeting or give instruction to their students through this technology tool. Students could also use this tool as they would have a great deal of fun choosing different characters, changing the voices and experimenting with backgrounds that are interesting and add excitement to learning.

Another teaching tool which I would use in my classroom is podcasting. As Learning Managers, and future teachers podcasting is great as it is free and there are thousands of available topics that you can subscribe to and receive updates to that topic. When I was experimenting with podcasts I found some very good resources which I would use to engage students in particular topics. One particular group of podcasts I would use are the ‘stories to read, words to know’ as they are a excellent resource when teaching children to read as it reads the book first, then the student follows with echo reading.

If resources are available I would also use YouTube and TeacherTube in the classroom as there are so many clips to choose from, and in most cases you will find an appropriate clip to explain a topic and engage your learners. Prensky (2001) states that “digital natives are used to receiving information really fast”, so using YouTube students can learn quickly through images and instruction.

The last two tools I would use in the classroom are PowerPoint and slide share. These two tools can be linked together as students could create their PowerPoint presentation, then upload their presentation to slide share and add music. Students can add sound, images, text and many other things at the click of a button. Music can be added to the entire presentation or selected slides and could be uploaded onto a class blog where parents can go and look at what the students have been doing in the classroom.

As a future teacher it is important to keep up with the ever changing needs of our learners, as they, “have changed radically and are no longer the people our educational systems were designed to teach” (Prensky, 2001). So we need to design fun, engaging and interesting lessons as, “today’s students (digital natives) think and process information fundamentally differently” (Prensky, 2001) from the digital immigrant era.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Reference List

Kearsley, G & Schneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning

March, T. (2003/2004). The Learning Power of Webquests. Retrieved August 11, 2009 from

Oliver, R. (1999). Learning Design Framework. AUTC, 2003

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. MCB University Press, October Vol, 9.

Prensky, M. (2005). "Engage Me or Enrage Me" what today's learners demand. EDUCAUSEreview, September/October Edition 2005

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Voice Thread

Before viewing the VoiceThread video i had heard of a VoiceThread, but had never actually experimented or used one. You may be asking what a VoiceThread actually is, well it is a powerful technology that lets the teacher and students make comments about images or videos. The comments can be made using text, your voice or you can upload files & video that you have created to voice your opinions.
I think this tool would be a great addition to a classroom as students will be engaged and able to comment on images through different types of literacies to communication their views on a topic. This tool would be appropriate for both the upper school and the lower school as younger students can voice their comments and the older students can type or voice their comments depending which option they would prefer to use.

As an activity for the younger students i would upload food images and have them add comments. I would put pictures of healthy and unhealthy food and have them comment on whether it is healthy/unhealthy? why is healthy/unhealthy? this way students are using, "problem-solving, reasoning, decision-making and evaluation" (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999) to state their views on whether the food is healthy or unhealthy.

This is the URL for the VoiceThread i have created (it is very simple, if using with students i would add more pictures, i would add my voice as an introduction with instructions on what they have to do. Using this in the classroom will, "increase the motivation for students to learn" (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). Students also have the opportunity to see how their peers have classified objects and from this it could lead into a class discussion.

Using Music on the Web

This is the first time i have used this free site. To begin with i went to the Incompetech website and clicked on the Royalty Free Music. I chose a piece of music from the genre of disco, it was called 'Disco Lounge'. I downloaded it and began listening to it. I think it is quite a relaxing tune to listen to. It would be a good tune to have playing lightly in the background as students entered and exited the classroom. Music could play a major part in a classroom setting, an example is that students could use it when making powerpoint presentations on different topics during the year and experiment with background music in their presentations to add to the engagement of their peers. You could also have the students (while the music is playing) draw a picture about what they think the music is about or what it makes them feel. During prac last year the teacher would play music after lunch to let the students relax and calm down before beginning work, this seemed to work as the students were less disruptive and more engaged and ready to learn. When i get out into the teaching world i think i will use music as a relaxing and calming way to begin the day. From my experience as a student i remember after lunch we would come into the classroom and put our heads on the desk for 5 minutes and just listen to a soft tune before beginning the afternoon session. I believe music could play a bit part in the classroom as a resource for the kids of the new age.

File Storage

I uploaded the Essential Learnings for Studies of Society and Environment (SOSE) by the end of year 3. File Storage could be used in schools, or for businesses. It is a central place to store information for others to view. University students could use it to store information for the future, teachers could store cohort lesson plans or resources, and students could store projects or information about assignments, so files are in a safe place and can be viewed in the future. Learnings SOSE Year 3.pdf

Slide Share

This would be great to use with students as it is quite easy to navigate around the site to upload a powerpoint and add a music file to it. I uploaded a powerpoint presentation from a group assignment in english and even worked out to put music to the powerpoint through slide share. I made the music play throughout the entire show, and make the slides change every 5 seconds, i think this is a really good resource and think i will use it in the future.


When i was at school WIKIPedia was the first place we would go to get information we needed to complete our assignments. Many teachers didn't like us using this site as they believed that the information was not always true. Although anybody can add information onto the site there are guidelines which need to be followed in order to add information.

I searched Australia and it came up with lots of information. This included where the name came from, the history of Australia, the states and territories, culture and population, just to name a few. This information could be used for any age group and could focus on one of the above, for example students could work in small groups to make a powerpoint presentation that could be presented to students from other countries who want to travel and convince these students why Australia is so good. Students could focus on the states and territories of Australia. This could also include the capitals of each state, their population, animals that could live in the state and land area.

The new age kids are more interested in researching on the internet than they in looking at books, so we should move with the times so we can engage our students in our classrooms. "The Engagement Theory represents a new paradigm for learning and teaching in the information age which emphasizes the positive role that technology can play in human interaction and evolution" (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). So working in small groups allows students to develop skills needed to get along with others, it also allows students to interact with students from different cultures and learn more about their country, so they can inform others. Please comment on how you would use WIKIPedia in your classroom.