Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rationale

Over the last couple of weeks I have created an account with about 10 different sites. In the beginning of this assignment I thought okay I’m not that long out of school how much more can there really be? A lot I discovered, there is a whole new world out there I didn’t even know about. As students are digital natives, we as teachers need to try and be one-step ahead to keep the students engaged in school, which means leaving our comfort zones and joining the students on the technological roller coaster. As Prensky (2005) states “if you cannot engage young people in education you will enrage them”.


Throughout this assignment I have discovered some amazing tools that I will be using in my classroom they are:

Really Simple Syndicate –
When students are working in-group activities, they have the opportunity to add their peers blog addresses and keep in contact therefore provide new ideas for the activity. To ensure the students privacy and safety the learning manager is able to access the RSS and monitor the progress.
Avatars –
In school this can be used to engage the students in a lesson or unit of work. The learning manager is also able to teach the students how to use the tool giving them the ability to introduce this tool into their own work.
PowerPoint –
Can be published on to SlideShare after being presented in the classroom therefore students are able to access it again in their own time.
Picnik –
The students could put together photos taken on an excursion and they then have to customise them in picnik showing their ability to manipulate photos using different editing tools.
Quizzes –
Learning mangers are able to set quizzes for the students to complete for homework. An advantage to the learning manager is that the quizzes can be over and over, and can be changed accordingly.
Google Earth –
This can be used in a range of studies such and maths with time differences and geography. It can also be used for investigating the ocean floor

As there is such a big workload when creating these databases, mediafire is a great way to store them once they have been implemented to use with again and again. By storing them on Mediafire you are able to take them with you to different schools and make any appropriate changes if necessary and depending on the key learning area.

The first of the engagement theory is the relate stage which means it emphasises team efforts and morale that involve communication, thinking and working interdependently, planning and management and using social skills.

Creating is the second part of the framework, this has been designed to make learning a creative and purposeful activity. An example of this in the classroom could be students following a webquest which for the evaluation stage the students need to present their findings to an authority figure.

The final stage of the framework is known as the donating stage. This stresses the value of making a useful and adequate contribution to the students learning. Referring again to the webquest students are given a real life problem to solve, when solution has been made the outcome is one that could be used to solve the problem. (Kearsley & Shneiderma,1999)


I personally feel that technology plays an important part in students learning and should be taught in all schools, however this is just not possible. The majority of State Schools that students attend do not have adequate technological facilities to give their students the advantages that Private Schools have. For learning Managers to be able to implement and teach these new web based tools, sufficient training needs to be provided to ensure that students and teachers are both adequately educated.

One of the major obstacles schools need to overcome when implementing these tools is the security on school computers. Yes it is there to protect students from predators and explicit content, however with these security measures in place it also puts restrictions on these educational tools.

Throughout my elearning journey I have learnt some amazing internet based tools. I feel that they are an amazing way to get the students engaged in the classroom, giving them the opportunity to power up when they come to school rather than power down. Throughout my teaching I am hoping to be able to implement these tools to my students with the help of appropriate and adequate resources.

Reference List
R. Kayne, 2009 what is a Computer Avatar? http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-computer-avatar.htm

Kearsley, B & Shneiderman, B, Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning http://home.sprynet.com/%7Egkearsley/engage.htm

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Podcasting

A podcast is described as an audio file archived on the Internet in such a way that it can be automatically accessed by a personal computer, downloaded and transferred to a portable MP3 player such as an ipod. In order to use this tool you need to have software that will play mp3 files. Once an appropriate podcast has been sourced, it can be manually downloaded to the mp3 player. One down side to podcasts is that schools operating behind fire walls may not be able to take advantage of subscription services and many schools block the downloading of mp3 files.

I recently tried to download itunes on to my computer but was unsuccessful as I was advised it was going to 21 hours to download. I then found a friend that already had it on their computer and used theirs. I viewed a podcast on reading comprehension called stories for kids. The students listen to a narrator reading the story and at the end of the story they supply sample question for you to ask the students. This is a great tool to use, however the story I listened to the lady was speaking in a very monotone voice and I found it hard to concentrate.

Podcasts can be created from original material by students and teachers or existing audio files can be downloaded for classroom use. Creating a podcast allows students to share learning experiences. It provides them with a world-wide audience that makes learning meaningful and assessment authentic. Teachers can use the technology to provide additional and revision material to students to download and review at a time that suits them.

Department of Education & Training, Podcasts in the Classroom, 2009, viewed on 20 August 2009, http://www.det.wa.edu.au/education/cmis/eval/curriculum/ict/podcasts/

VoiceThread

With VoiceThread, group conversations are collected and shared in one place from anywhere in the world. It is a site where you can upload almost any digital media ranging from a photos to a PowerPoint presentations and share them online. A VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate pages and leave comments in 5 ways - using voice, text, audio file, or video. It was quick and easy to setup the account and all that was required was an e-mail address and an user-created password.

Voice thread can be called a slide show with commentaries by voice, text, audio, or video. There is a feature called video doodling, where you can actually draw on the picture itself. This web site aims to get students thinking and working collaboratively in and out of the classroom.

Exploring Technology, What's a voice thread?, 2008, viewed on 20 August 2009, http://edes545.blogspot.com/2008/03/whats-voice-thread.html

Using music on the Web

Music has the ability to greatly affect our feelings and energy levels, without even thinking about it, we use music to create desired moods and to make us happy, to enjoy movement and dance, to bring back powerful memories, to help us relax and focus. Music is a powerful tool for our personal expression within our daily lives it helps set the scene for many important experiences.

How is it that for most people music is a powerful part of their personal life and yet when we go to work or school we turn it off? The intentional use of music in the classroom enables the learning manager to set the scene and learning atmosphere to enhance our teaching and learning activities. Music, one of the joys of life, can be one of the joys of learning as well. There are several techniques such as attention, attitude and atmosphere, learning information and personal expression. With these techniques the learning manager can orchestrate a classroom environment that is rich and resonant and provide learners with a symphony of learning opportunities and a sound education.It has also been found that listening to background music while completing school work increases attention levels, improves retention and memory, extend focused learning time and expand thinking skills.

The piece of music I downloaded is called Down Home Rockin by Kevin MacLeod. It is classified as Rock and includes Drums, Bass Guitar and Piano.

Music and Learning: Integrating Music in the Classroom, 1995, Viewed on 20 August 2009, http://www.newhorizons.org/strategies/arts/brewer.htm

MediaFire

Mediafire is a web site that has been created which allows you to store larger documents and files. Mediafire allows you to store all your files online for easy secure access and enable you to distribute large files to thousands of people without clogging in boxes or slowing does your computer.

As my computer is getting rather close to crashing this is a great website to store all my files, it is secure and I am able to retrieve them at anytime. I can even share any I find interesting with the rest of the world. In schools learning managers can show their students how to set up an account, by doing this students are able upload work being completed at school to Mediafire and then access it at home.

MediaFire Free file hosting made simple, What is mediafire, 2009, Viewed on 20 August 2009, http://www.mediafire.com/about.php

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

SlideShare



SlideShare is the world's largest community for sharing presentations. Individuals and organisations upload presentations to share their ideas, connect with others, and generate leads for their businesses and provide ICT's for education. Anyone can find presentations on topics that interest them. They can tag, download, or embed presentations into their own blogs and websites. Uploads put on to slideshare can be nominated to be viewed publicly or privately.

This is a great tool for learning managers to use in schools as they can find PowerPoint presentations suited to their topics and display them for their students to see. This site can also be used by the students to research a given topic and view PowerPoint's posted by people and educators around the world.

I have tried to create a narration audio for my presentation, however unfortunately I was unsuccessful as the microphone on my computer no longer works. I can however see how the narration audio would be a great advantage to those viewing the presentation.

Google Earth



Google Earth is an online tool that displays satellite images of varying resolution of the Earth's surface, this allows users to visually see things like cities and houses looking perpendicularly down or at an oblique angle. A newer version on Google Earth was introduced in 2009 which alloes users to zoom below the surface of the ocean and study the underwater depth in the third dimension of a lake or ocean floor. Through Google earth you are now also able to view the Moon and Mars in 3D.

It can be used in Maths when the students are learning about time differences throughout the world as it Google earth shows what time it is as different locations. In Science it can be used in great depth as you are able to view the Moon and Mars if doing a lesson on planets, you can go under water in order to learn about waves and the ocean floor. The implications for geography and social studies lessons are clear. Students can locate their own house or school, then zoom out to find their state, then country and continent, and finally, their planet. It is also an extremely powerful teaching tool to be able to visit all of the sites that students are studying. For example when students learn about the pyramids of ancient Egypt, they can actually see the pyramids. There is a 3D structure option that allows the children to understand the shape of the pyramids, and with the ruler tool they can measure the distance from the top of a pyramid to the ground or from one to another.

Google Earth can be used accross all KLA's as well. Earth Outreach provides connections to files that showcase environmental degradation and more. There are many downloadable tours available from the Google Earth Gallery, which provide an easy-to-use format for students and teachers to explore everything from the solar system to the under water world. With a bit of online exploration, a teacher could find a premade tour to teach just about anything, what isn’t already available could be made by the students.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/45437000/jpg/_45437262_google_512.jpg

Wikipedia the free encylopida, Google earth, 209, Viewed on 19 August 2009, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Earth

Connections, Google Earth in the Elementary Classroom, 2009, viewed on 18 August 2009, http://cnx.org/content/m19821/latest/

Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a free, web-based and collaborative multilingual encyclopaedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. This search engine can be edited by people around who have significant information to add to the topic at hand.

My year 4/5 class are currently completing a claymation unit at school, I therefore looked up claymation on Wikipedia and found some interesting facts to pass on to my students such as technique, production, types and history. This is a great site to show the students the history of claymation and where it originated from.

Wikipedia is an easy search engine to navigate through for students and can be used in many different areas of learning. An example of this could be getting the students to research their unit of work (claymation) and writing about the history and different aspects of claymation.

Wikipedia is a great tool for students to use to gain knowledge on a particular topic. It is easy to use and has accurate up to date information for students to call upon.

wikipedia, claymation, 2009, viewed on 18 August 2009, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claymation

Web Quests

As stated by Tom March, (2003), "a well-designed Web Quest combines research-supported theories with effective use of the Internet to promote dependable instructional practices."

I have just completed going through the web quest's be Tom March and Scot Aldred, they are both easy to follow and are able to educate the learners over a variety of KLA strands. I like the way Scot's web quest asked to students to take on different roles to complete a document that will be presented to the Deputy Prime Minister. This would engage the students in the activity as they would feel they are completing the task for a purpose.

This refers to the second principle in the framework create, makes learning a creative, purposeful activity. Students have to define the project and focus their efforts on application of ideas to a specific context. Conducting their own projects is much more interesting to students than answering sterile textbook problems. As students get to define the nature of the project they have a sense of control over their learning which is absent in traditional classroom instruction. Students taking charge of their own learning is evident in Scot's webquest by the students researching their different roles. Greg Kearsley & Ben Shneiderman, 1999.

Web quests are a great way to teach students. However to be able to make the web quests worth the time they take to create, they would need to cover most KLA's. This way the learning manager is able to accommodate for all key learning areas in the one task. A down side to web quests however, would be the lack of computer resources in the classrooms. To accommodate for this the students could get into groups in their groups follow through the web quest with the learning manager.

Overall web quests are a great way to engage students and I think they should be used throughout schools to educate learners.

Resources:

Kearsley, G & Shneiderman, B, Engagement Theory, A framework for technology-based teaching and learning, 1999

Bright ideas for education, The learning power of web quests, 2003, viewed on 18 August 2009, http://tommarch.com/writings/wq_power.php

Monday, August 17, 2009

YouTube

video

My year 4/5 class are currently completing a unit of work based on claymation. They are to write a script, create the clay figures, take the photos and put it all together to make their own claymation story. I was given the task to show the students what calymation looked like as a finished product. I thought instead of explaining how it looks I would show the students. I played this skit on the interactive whiteboard and students thoroughly enjoyed it. It gave them motivation as they knew what the finished product would be.

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words and that is why YouTube in the classroom has gained such popularity as a teaching tool. I found you tube to be a great learning tool in the classroom as you are able to support your teaching with actual video's, therefore engaging the students and accommodating for all types of learners.

Throughout Australia there are schools that do not have access to YouTube due to Internet safety, however by using the tool KeepVid learning managers are able to download the YouTube clips and store them on school computers for students to access.

As technology is becoming increasing popular with, students YouTube is a great way to keep students interested in learning and teach them how to use and keep up to date with the new technologies.

ASU graduate college, YouTube as a teaching tool, 2008, Viewed on 18 August 2009, http://graduate.asu.edu/node/2019

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Quizzes

After looking into online quizzes I found there are several different web sites accessible to learning managers to create the quizzes. I have used classmaker to create my short quiz that I implemented on my students after completing a unit on Australian History.

http://www.classmarker.com/quiz/intro.php?test_id=58702

Try it out and see if you know the answers.

As learning managers practice being conscientious for their students, they need to also be aware that student involvement in the learning process plays an important role in improving academic performance.

It is a proven fact that an interactive quiz which is successfully and carefully designed by teachers is likely to actively involve the students in learning and help teachers educate in the effective way and thus students can have more academic success. The teachers need to start making dynamic multimedia quizzes with images, animations and sounds to maintain interest and enhance learning.

When students are completing quizzes they are often asked comprehension questions based on text that they have read. However, by creating quizzes online learning managers are able to also cater for the visual learners by incorporating questions for the students to consider pictures used in the text as well.

Learning managers are also able to cater for auditory learners by incorporating sound-based questions into quizzes which gives unique benefits and flexibilities. For example, teachers can create a quiz for students to practice pronunciation when learning languages. If you are a music teacher, you can use QuizCreator to design music quizzes and teach complicated music concepts.

By providing for the students growing needs in a technological world the learning manager will see new enthusiasm in the class.

State University, Classroom Questions - Types Of Questions, Feedback, Effective Questioning Practices, 2002, viewed on 17 August 2009,
http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/1836/Classroom-Questions.html

Picnik




Picnik is a free photo editing website. It's an easy way on the Web to fix underexposed photos, remove red-eye, or apply effects to your photos. Picnik allows you to edit photos using a great range of editing tools such as auto-fix, exposure, colours and red eye. Throughout this editing journey you are also able to personalise by rotating, cropping and sharpening your photos. Once this is done text and frames can be added to your photos.

As Picnik does to store your photos, the site has been setup in conjunction with several applications such as Flicker and Facebook, once you have finished editing your photos you are able to upload them on to these websites straight away.

ICT's would be a great way to incorporate this application into classroom as with the increasing use of technology in all aspects of society makes confident, creative and productive use of ICT an essential skill for life. Being capable to use ICT's allows not only the mastery of technical skills and techniques, but also the understanding to apply these skills purposefully, safely and responsibly in learning. By using Picnik as the learning resource in the classroom the teacher would be scaffolding instructions and procedures on how to use the learning tool. The students are then able to take their knowledge and use in everyday life.

The national strategies, The importance of Information Communication Technology, 2009, viewed on 17 August 2009. http://www.nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/secondary/secondaryframeworks/ictframework

Photography, Picnik what is it and how does it work?, 2009, Viewed on 17 August 2009. http://kaylee-photography.blogspot.com/2009/01/picnik-what-is-it-and-how-does-it-work.html

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Flickr



I have recently created an online account with flickr. It is a free account that can be used to manage your photos and retrieve images from people around the world.

Flickr is an online community-based website which allows you to upload and share your photos and digital images with friends, family, and the entire world if you choose. Flickr is a very popular web tool for anyone who wants to share pictures. The service also uses tags, comments and browsing tools so that users can view other photos with similar subjects or topics by category.

A wide variety of applications to learning exist by using Flickr photography, from using single photographs as writing prompts to using multiple images in digital
storytelling projects.Other applications include using Flickr to create virtual field trips and as a source of imagery to improve student presentations.

In all cases, caution should be used when searching specific topics. As a safety precaution when using flickr students are able to decide whether or not to make their photo albums public or private.

References
What is Flickr?, 2009, viewed on 14 August 2009, http://www.ehow.com/video_2201996_what-flickr.html
Using Flickr in the Classroom, viewed on 14 August 2009, http://www.jakesonline.org/flickrinclassroom.pdf

Monday, August 10, 2009

PowerPoint

PowerPoint is a high-powered software tool used for presenting information in a dynamic slide show format. This tool is a great way of engaging students into units of work or individual lessons. Teachers are able to do this by using a variety of techniques such as text, charts, graphs, sound effects and video, these are just some of the elements we are able to incorporate into PowerPoint presentations. PowerPoint in the classroom (2007)

Recently I implemented a lesson at my school with a grade 4/5 class and I used a PowerPoint presentation to engage the students. The lesson was on mapping and I created a Voki pirate to introduce the lesson and explain that he needed their help to find his buried treasure. Following the Voki I displayed a PowerPoint that included a picture of the pirate ship the students were sailing in and the beach where they landed. I included a treasure map in the PowerPoint which the students all had a copy of, throughout the lesson I would click to the next slide and show the students a palm tree or key location on the map, the students would then have to find the co-ordinates on the map. The final slide was a letter from the Pirate thanking the students for their help and asking them to split the treasure up and burry it somewhere on a different island, however they had to create their own treasure map to remember where it was.

PowerPoint’s are a simple effective tool to use in the classroom not only by the teacher, but also by the students when they are doing presentations.

References
PowerPoint in the classroom – Teachers guide, (2007) http://www.actden.com/pp/guide.htm

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Mahara

Hi everyone,

I recently set up my account for Mahara which cost $5.00 which has given me 100mb of storage for educational artifacts I produce.

Mahara is a fully featured open source electronic portfolio, weblog, resume builder and social networking system, connecting users and creating online communities. Mahara is designed to provide users with the tools to create a personal and professional learning, development and showcasing environment. Mahara reflects the intention to create a user_centred lifelong learning and development application, as well as the belief that ICT must be used to promote more collaborative, interactive, media rich and personalised learning. (Showcasing Mahara 2007)

Maraha would be a useful learning tool in schools as the learners control which items and what information other users see.

Eportfolios within a teacher education programe can place more ownership of growth in the hands of the student. In particular, the eportfolio offers more opportunity for students to highlight their strengths and growth over-time. They also offer potential for the student to document a broader range of attributes and dispositions than simply meeting learning outcomes. However, as Mahara is an online tool and today's students are 'digital natives' classroom tools such as the use of eportfolios will require a cultural and philosophical shift in the mind of the teacher to truly value reflective practice over a more traditional competitive and grade-oriented approach to performance. (Showcasing Mahara 2007)

References:
Showcasing Mahara: A new open source eportfolio, 2007, Ascilite Sinapore viewed on 1 August 2009, http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/singapore07/procs/brown-poster.pdf

Avatars and learning

Hi all,

We are planning to use an Avatar in our upcoming University presentation. The Avatar is a news reporter which will engage the audience from the beginning of the presentation. By doing this it gives us a chance to be in our required roles therefore reducing character changes.

Avatars are being introduced into classrooms to assist in elearning. They are able to help with teaching in overloaded classrooms and increases the learning of the students. (What are avatars and why should they be use for elearning for kids? 2009) As students today are driven by technology it is important for teachers to be up to date with methods of teaching in a technological way to cater for the students needs and methods of learning. Avatars are a great tool for engaging students in lessons as it can introduce a new person into the classroom.

Avatars should be used throughout classrooms not only by the teacher but also by the student. When students are creating their own Avatars they will understand how important it is to use correct spelling and grammar as the Avatar will say what has been written.

I feel Avatars a great engaging tool and should be used in all classrooms. 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. Greg Kearsley & Ben Shneiderman, 1999.


References:
What Are Avatars and Why Should They Be Used for eLearning for Kids?, 2009. Ezine Articles, viewed on 1 August 2009, http://ezinearticles.com/?What-Are-Avatars-and-Why-Should-They-Be-Used-for-eLearning-for-Kids?&id=520838

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