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.


A webquest is defined as "an inquiry-oriented activity in which some or all of the information that learners interact with comes from resources on the Internet" (Dodge, 1995). They were first designed in 1995 by Dodge & March.

They also state that "WebQuests are a learning tool that leverages the power of the Web with clever learning design to create outstanding results in all learners"(Dodge & March). I believe using webquests in classrooms for the new age kids would be engaging and interesting to them and it would meet the demands of their different learning styles and abilities with technology.

In one of our courses as a first year we had to design and make a webquest, we worked in pairs and we had to choose a year level, topic and an inquiry approach. We chose to do pollution. We aimed it at grade 1 or 2 and used youtube clips and graphics to engage the students. Younger students will be able to work through a webquest, but older students will be able to design and make their own webquests on topics they are learning about. You could use a webquest as the assessment tool and have students make a short webquest of their own and have maybe 5 pages or links and use pictures and video clips to engage their peers.

I believe webquests would be a great tool to engage and teach students about topics in different ways. When i become a teacher i will use webquests as an aspect of my units to teach the new age kids.

Google Earth

Well, google earth could be an interesting tool for students to use in the classroom as they can look for different landmarks, they could find their house, they could look around their community and can do many other different things. This technology would be interesting and engaging for the new age kids, as it uses graphics and, "prodvides a tremendous resource for collaborative efforts since it is easy to quickly uncover a lot of information about any topic" (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999).

This tool could be used for both younger grades and older grades. As a teacher you could make changes to lessons to cater for a range of different learning styles and abilities in your students. Younger students could work in groups to search for well known places in the world, whereas older students could work individually and search for unusual or less known places or landmarks in the world.


Podcasts could be useful in the classroom to engage students in other forms of teaching (rather than teacher talk, students listen). If using for younger students you should use short podcasts so students don't become bored, older students may stay engaged to longer podcasts if the information is interesting and linked to subject areas.

I found several podcasts that i would use in the younger grades of school. These podcasts are called 'Stories to Read, Words to Know' by Evan-Moor Educational Publishers. These podcasts are based on storybooks. The book gets read by a lady at a pace so children can follow as she reads, then it is followed by echo reading (she reads, then students read). I believe these particular podcasts would be appropriate for Prep/Year 1. Students could also access these podcasts from home and get additional support from their parents to improve their reading.

"Today's kids are challenging us, their educators, to engage them at their level" (Prensky, 2005). The kids of the future are technology literate, so as teachers we need to engage them in the new technologies rather than enrage them with the old pen and paper method of teaching and learning.


YouTube could be a great resource for teachers when teaching students concepts which need visuals. I would show students the What Causes Earth's Seasons? YouTube video if i was teaching them about the seasons as it shows clear illustrations and good descriptions throughout the video. When designing a lesson around this YouTube video i would use Oliver's ICT Learning Design Model (1999).

Oliver states the learning design comprises of the following key elements
- tasks learners are required to do
- resources that help learners complete tasks
- support mechanisms that exist from a teacher implementing it
(Oliver, 1999)

So you would set tasks for the students to complete, these could include a class project, worksheets, quizzes, etc. Then you show students resources you are using (websites), then give instructions as support. These three steps overlap and all form the basis of the assessment task. As the assessment i would get students to design a powerpoint to explain why we have seasons. Students need to use diagrams, pictures, video, etc to aid their explanations.

I believe that students will gain more knowledge of a subject if they see visuals and spoken instruction than they would if you just explained it to them and used simple props. From my experience it seems that students are more engaged with technology than the simple pen and paper learning, so "are you going to engage me today or enrage me? The choice is yours" (Prensky, 2005).

Using ClassMarker

I created an online class test through ClassMarker, this is the first time i have used this program and think it is a great tool to use to gauge students knowledge from topics learnt in class. Navigating and creating a test was quite easy and straight forward and only takes a few minutes. If i was to use it in my classroom i would use it to check students understanding of maths operations. I have made an addition test aimed at Year 2 students, you can have a look by going to the user name is bronte, and the password is school.

You could design a test each week and have it as the Friday test for the students, they would take a few minutes each to complete the test and the results could be used by the teacher to see which students need extra support and which students are competent with their maths. This could also help the teacher buddy students into pairs or groups with a high achieving student and a lower achieving student in the same group, this way they could learn from their peers.

Image Manipulation

To begin i navigated my way through Picknik. I then uploaded a photo (on right) and began changing it. The photo was coloured and i changed it to black and white, or grey scale. I also cropped and darkened it.

This would be a great tool to use in the classroom as the editing options are simple and students won't get as confused as other programs available, such as photoshop (which i used in school and found quite confusing). Students could use Picknik to edit photos they want to use in powerpoints, photostories, webquests, etc. You could get students to work in groups to produce a piece of work (using technology, like powerpoint and taking photos and editing them) about their school which will be shown to the community (and put in the newspaper) to say 'why their school is the best'. Kearsley & Schneiderman's Engagement Theory states that "doing authentic projects provides a higher level of satisfaction to students than working on artificial problems since they can see the outcomes/impact of their work on people..." (Kearsley & Schneiderman, 1999).

I think i will be using Picknik in the future when i need to edit photos as it is easy and quick and produces good results.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Ok, well the setting up of flickr was an annoying process because you need a yahoo ID and i only have a hotmail one, so i had to sign up to yahoo and make an email address (that wasn't already taken) and a password i would remember. Why can't all these learning tools work through all email networks?? It would save us a lot of time and would save our memory.

Right, back to flickr, i have uploaded 2 pictures of my cane paddock being burnt at the beginning of July. I also added a friend, but was unable to add their pictures to my blog. In the classroom this could be a great tool to use to change the appearance of photos, add text to photos, then make into slideshows. Students could also focus on a particular topic and use flickr to show information through pictures and this could go towards their assessment item. I believe that Flickr is a visual and engaging activity for students which they will enjoy. Kearnsley & Shneiderman's Engagement Theory state that, "technology provides an electronic learning mileux that fosters the kind of creativity and communication needed to nourish engagement" (Kearnsley & Shneiderman, 1999). The possibilities for using flickr in the classroom are endless and could be very beneficial for students to be involved in to enhance their skills in technology.