Friday, May 21, 2010

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Reflective Synopsis





Good afternoon,








This technological learning journey has been amazing. Before embarking upon the journey, I had been quite sure that I knew a lot about technology. But, wow, there is a lot more out there than I had ever imagined. The fantastic tools and resources that I have encountered in this course, are only the beginning of the endless possibilities. This is part of lifelong learning and it is apparent that in order to create positive learning experiences for learners, learning managers need to be aware of new technology advancements.


A great way to remain current and abreast of technologies is through using the Connectivism Approach (Siemens, 2004). Through making connections with colleagues and other learning managers, it is possible to share ideas and become more knowledgeable. “Educators must prepare for a technology-rich future and keep up with change by adopting effective strategies that infuse lessons with appropriate technologies” (Valdez, 2005). Within this course, I have had the opportunity to converse with peers. I found that even if I wasn’t in the conversation and I just was observing, it really helped with understanding. Exploring and commenting on peers Blogs was another great way to develop new understandings and knowledge.


My e-learning journey led me through a wide variety of technologies. I have discovered so many new, exciting and different tools through this journey. There were, however, also technologies that I had already encountered and used prior to the commencement of this e-learning course. Within those I have been able to learn even more about them, and how they can be incorporated into learning experiences. The technologies which we explored range from animations to e-portfolios to blogs to aggregators to LMS to image manipulation to PowerPoint to online quizzes to Podcasting to music to static websites… the list goes on. I have discovered ways to incorporate these technologies into learning design in order to create more authentic, effective and engaging tasks for learners. I will outline some of the really wonderful tools below.


WIKIs are a wonderful e-learning tool which can be effectively utilised in the classroom. They can either be created by learners themselves, or learners can use Wikipedia to research for information. It is possible for learners to even become publishers themselves on Wikipedia. Another idea is for learners to create their own online textbook or collaborate online for a group problem-solving mission.


Digital Storytelling is a wonderful e-learning tool. Learners are able to share and create stories within this application using voice, images and music. The use of Digital Storytelling would be a great way to embed Indigenous Dreamtime Stories into the curriculum (Davis, & Grose, 2008). Learners could be given the opportunity to research and explore a Dreamtime story. They could then create their very own Digital Story.These are also wonderful opportunities for Indigenous learners to share their own Dreamtime stories with learners. This would promote acceptance of diversity within the classroom.


WebQuests are a tool which when created correctly have the potential to create amazing learning experiences. An effective WebQuest provides learners with an open-ended question, relevant and thought-provoking resources, critical thinking in the form of problem-solving activities and an authentic task (Bransford, 1985). They can be created to incorporate any aspect of the curriculum. They can even be multi-disciplinary. Therefore the opportunities are endless!


Google Earth allows learners to have the world at their fingertips, literally! It is so engaging, interactive and complete with information. The Productive Pedagogies (2004) explain; “we want to ensure that students engage with real, practical or hypothetical problems which connect to the world beyond the classroom, which are not restricted by subject boundaries and which are linked to their prior knowledge.” Learners are able to demonstrate connectedness with the world. Learners could have the opportunity to explore the world for a specific purpose. They could utilise the technology as an atlas rather then a boring paper atlas. Learners could search and explore different geographically features of the world. There are so many applications!


Interactive WhiteBoards are increasingly becoming apparent in classrooms. They are an amazing tool and are extremely interactive. Most learners become immediately engaged to the lesson when an Interactive WhiteBoard is incorporated into the learning experience. According to the National Centre for Technology in Education (2008); “Interactive whiteboards present educational resources in a highly interactive way and are suitable for whole class and small group settings. They allow pupils to engage and interact with the technology to become active participants in learning. Pupils with special needs can particularly benefit from a presentation of multimedia content on a large screen as it can aid in both information processing and retention.” Learners can engage with interactive learning objects. They have the opportunity to watch and become involved themselves when creating documents. For example, PhotoStories. There are so many other applications, it is remarkable!


YouTube and TeacherTube are wonderful sites filled with video clips. Whenever I have taken advantage of these great e-learning tools, I have used them as a ‘hook’. It is possible to have clips with stories, animations, people, places, things and so many others. It can be used to show learners something they have never seen before, and rather than a picture, they are actually able to look at it as though they were there.


VoiceThread is a great tool for learners to utilise both in classroom situations and out. It allows learners to explore images and then comment upon them. They can do this through the use of the webcam, telephone, microphone and audio files. This really helps with the development of critical literacy (Muspratt, Luke & Freebody, 1997). Learners have the opportunity to use their own voice in learning. Sometimes learners aren't always able to communicate their opinions because they are too shy, or have peers who are louder than them. This is a great tool for those learners.  


Avatars are a wonderful technology. Learners would really benefit through their use. The learning manager could create one as a ‘hook’ to ask learners to help with a specific problem or learners could create their own. This would be a great way to get reluctant readers involved. They would be able to type out the words for the avatar and listen to the avatar talking.


In the ever-changing world where technology is increasingly becoming apparent within every aspect of our lives it is so important for learners to be have access to e-learning tools and resources.


It is important to note that technology tools and resources should be utilised to enhance and support learning experiences. This involves more than simply providing learners with the technology and hoping that learning experiences will be successful. It is the learning design process that is important. There are many Learning Frameworks which have been created to support the use of technology within the classroom. These include the Engagement Theory and the ICT Learning Design Framework. The learning manager needs to work as the facilitator of the technologies, creating authentic, engaging tasks (Lucas, 2009). I believe that with my newly acquired knowledge, skills, pedagogies and tools I will be able to accomplish e-learning in the classroom!


Thankyou,

Kira.


 References


 Bransford, J. (1985). Schema activation and schema acquisition. In H. Singer & R. B. Ruddell (Eds.), Theoretical models and processes of reading, 3rd ed. Newark, DE: International Reading Association, 385-397.


Davis, J. & Grose, S. (2008). Which way? What happens when embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in schools meets the professional standards for teachers and an accountability matrix? Sydney: Kangaroo Press. 


Lucas, G. (2009). Education: What Works in Public Education. Retrieved August 20, 2009, from http://www.edutopia.org/


Muspratt, S. Luke, A. & Freebody, P. (1997). Constructing Critical Literacies: Teaching and Learning Textual Practice. US: Allen & Unwin.


National Centre for Technology in Education. (2008). Interactive WhiteBoards. Retrieved August 20, 2009, from http://www.ncte.ie/documents/advicesheets/16InteractiveWBsNov08.pdf


Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved August 15, 2009, from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm

Valdez, G. (2009). Critical Issue: 
Technology: A Catalyst for Teaching and Learning in the Classroom. Retrieved August 20, 2009, from http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/methods/technlgy/te600.htm


URLs for Blogs That I Have Commented Upon


http://beckselearning.blogspot.com/2009/08/powerpoint-quiz.html


http://antoinette-mullins.blogspot.com/2009/08/music-on-web.html


http://aliceslearningjourney.blogspot.com/2009/08/itunes-and-podcasts.html


http://leahlearningjourney.blogspot.com/2009/08/power-points.html


http://amandaslearningblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/image-manipulation.html?showComment=1250775090580#c8120993011603739628


http://madasahatter-tan.blogspot.com/2009/08/my-voki.html


http://maggie-may2.blogspot.com/2009/08/i-love-google-earth.html


http://wwwstuartandelearning.blogspot.com/2009/08/youre-voicetry-and-understand-it.html


http://narise-learningjourney.blogspot.com/2009/08/file-storage-mediafire.html


http://carissaselearningblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/interactive-whiteboards-positive.html


http://katrina-bubbleon.blogspot.com/2009/08/google-earth.html


http://learningjourneywithmelody.blogspot.com/2009/08/webquests.html?showComment=1250775628560#c4431543308198292689


http://jasminwinters.blogspot.com/2009/08/youtube-teachertube.html



 

 

Flickr within the Classroom

Hello everyone,

Wow, the learners in my classroom absolutely love Flickr! They were keen to play on it all day. Particularly with photos of themselves! They really enjoyed being able to share images with each other. I asked the learners to search for images that describes an aspect of the weather, and to write a brief explanation of why they chose the images. The learners found some wonderful images and it was really interesting to see their understandings so far. For example one of the learners posted this image:


His explanation for choosing the image was; "This picture shows the weather when it is stormy. There is lots of lightning coming from the clouds. I chose this because we learnt about storms on Friday."







This was another image chosen by another learner. She explained; "clouds are in the sky and they can form rain. The clouds in this picture aren't big enough for rain yet.I enjoyed learning about clouds. I always like looking at them up in the sky too.




There weren't really any challenges. Fortunately, all of the learners had access to a computer and the Internet at home so that made it easier for them to upload their own images. Using Flickr was lovely. It was a new and exciting tool that the learners had never seen before! The learners are showing connectivism through the sharing of images (Siemens, 2004). Also the need for love and belonging in Mazlow's Hierarchy of Needs is catered for (Kunc, 1992). Learners are building connections and relationships through sharing their images with one another. This activity caters wonderfully for visual learners.


Regards,

Kira.



References

Kunc, N. (1992). The Need to Belong: Rediscovering Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Retrieved August 15, 2009, from http://www.normemma.com/armaslow.htm

Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved August 15, 2009, from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm




WIKIs within the Classroom

Hello all, 

WIKIs within the classroom are a great way for learners to learn through doing, the Constructivism approach (Vygotsky, 1962). According to the Education Bazaar (2009) this is the process learners go through when creating WIKIs in the classroom;
  • Planning & Pre-Writing
  • Collaborating
  • Researching
  • Drafting
  • Editing
  • Reviewing
  • Revising
  • Publishing  
I have devised a unit of work for year six and/or seven learners using Wikipedia. I have utilised the Engagement Theory (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999) to create this unit plan. Learners will be learning about the history and European settlement of Noosa. They will be posed with the problem that; 'Wikipedia needs your help to enhance its information on the history of Noosa and the European settlement of Noosa. The information currently available for the world is very minimal so it needs to be improved through accurate, creative and informative facts.' Learners will then be able to go through the process of creating a WIKI as described above. The 'Relate' component of the Engagement Theory is met through the use of collaborative partnerships throughout the unit. The 'Create' component of the Engagement Theory is met through learners being able to define how to bring all of the information together. The 'Donate' component of the Engagement Theory is that the task is relevant, real-life and authentic. Learners will be engaged with the unstructured problem. 

Lesson 1: Introduce Wikipedia to the learners. Allow time to explore. 
Lesson 2: Learn how Wikipedia is created. Go through the process step-by-step, explaining that different people all over the world can contribute.
Lesson 3: Pose the problem: 'Wikipedia needs your help to enhance its information on the history of Noosa and the European settlement of Noosa. The information currently available for the world is very minimal so it needs to be improved through accurate, creative and informative facts.' 
Lesson 4: Explore European settlement and history broadly across Australia.
Lesson 5: Teach learners how they are going to be working collaboratively.  
Lesson 6: Begin then creating partnerships within the class to research.
Lesson 7: Learners continue to research.
Lesson 8: Learners then need to confer with other groups and bring research together.
Lesson 9: Learners then need to begin the drafting process, through conferring with other groups.
Lesson 10: Drafting continues.
Lesson 11: Learners are then able to edit each other work.
Lesson 12: Learners need to put their information onto Wikipedia.
Lesson 13: Learners revise there work once it is on the computer.
Lesson 14: Learners learn about images and what makes an effective image, they are then able to insert images in collaboratively. 
Lesson 15: Learners finally publish their information.

WIKIs can be incorporated into the classroom in a multitude of ways, they cater for different learning styles as learners are able to work collaboratively and therefore utilise their strengths. Creating a WIKI promotes higher-order thinking and creativity. They are a wonderful way to enhance and support learners' learnings!
Regards,

Kira.

References

Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved August 12, 2009, from http://home.sprynet.com/%7Egkearsley/engage.htm

Vygotsky, L.S. (1962). Thought and Language. CambridgeMA: MIT Press.




Quizzes


Hello everyone,

The purpose of this Blog post is to outline the steps taken when teaching learners to create their very own quizzes. I began through introducing learners to ClassMarker.com. They all seemed enthralled and excited to be able to do a grown-up task. After seeing the example Australian animal quiz that I had created, the learners began creating their own. The learners really needed to work in small groups. The teacher aides were great to have as that meant that all of the groups were getting the help they needed. Through using Dimension two to help learners understand the process (Marzano & Pickering, 1997) of Model, Shape and Internalise, the learners were really able to incorporate their higher-order thinking skills (Barrett, 2006). The learners have completed their quizzes and are very proud and happy with their efforts. Next week, a special 'quiz judge' is coming to the class. The learners will be provided with feedback for their creativity and whether content is accurate. 

This lesson fits into the ICT Learning Design Framework (Oliver, 1999). The learners are able to design a real-world task through creating a quiz to do with a topic. The task is very broad so learners are able to include the information they wish. Learners are provided with all of the resources that they will need to successfully complete the task. Finally, teacher aides provides learner supports so learners will be able to complete the task.

Overall, quizzes are a great way to teach content to learners and to provide fun and engaging learning experiences. Learners will learn a lot more through creating their own quiz than they would if they simply memorised information and then reproduced it without thought.

Kind regards,

Kira.


References

Barrett, H. (2006). Authentic Assessment with Electronic Portfolios using Common Software and Web 2.0 Tools. Retrieved August 9, 2009, from http://electronicportfolios.org/web20.html

Marzano, R. J., & Pickering, D. (1997). Dimensions of Learning: An integrative instructional framework. US: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. 

Oliver, R. (1999). Learning Design. Retrieved August 15, 2009, from http://www.learningdesigns.uow.edu.au/project/learn_design.htm





Digital Storytelling

Welcome back, 

Digital Storytelling; "is the modern expression of the ancient art of storytelling. It uses digital media to create media-rich stories to tell, to share, and to preserve. Digital stories derive their power through weaving images, music, narrative and voice together, thereby giving deep dimension and vivid colour to characters, situations, and insights" (Rule, 2004). According to Firenza (2009) Digital Storytelling; 
  • enhances your lesson plans
  • accelerates learning
  • allows for more creativity from your learners
  • cover Multiple Intelligences
  • cause more fun!
This is a great YouTube clip defining Digital Storytelling, how to utilise it, the importance of it and an example.



The use of Digital Storytelling would be a great way to embed Indigenous Dreamtime Stories into the curriculum (Davis, & Grose, 2008). Learners could be given the opportunity to research and explore a Dreamtime story. They could then create their very own Digital Story. Digital Storytelling can also effectively fit into the Learning Engagement Theory (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). Learners can easily work in teams to create an authentic, purposeful task for parents. So, for instance if learners were learning about Australian animals, they would work in small groups and find images, information, etc about either all Australian animals or a particular Australian animal. They would then be able to showcase their 'Movies' at a parent movie night. Parents could come into the classroom and watch their learner's very own creation on the projector.

Digital Storytelling is a wonderful e-learning tool. It enhances and supports learning experiences. Learners are able to demonstrate a very high degree of creativity!

Thanks,

Kira.


References


Davis, J. & Grose, S. (2008). Which way? What happens when embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in schools meets the professional standards for teachers and an accountability matrix? Sydney: Kangaroo Press. 


Firenza, S. (2009). Digital Storytelling for Educators. Retrieved August 16, 2009, from http://www.lubbockisd.org/sfirenza/storytelling/

Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved August 12, 2009, from http://home.sprynet.com/%7Egkearsley/engage.htm

Rule, L. (2004). Digital Storytelling. Retrieved August 16, 2009, from http://electronicportfolios.org/digistory/index.html