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



 

 

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