Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reflective Synopsis

E-learning, what a learning journey this has been. E-learning has given me the opportunity to further my knowledge and understandings of the ICT world. With the continual inventions and changes of technology, we as learning managers need to keep ourselves up to date with these rapid changes within our society, so we can provide the best learning experiences for our students. We need to be able to provide them with opportunities to engage in a variety of learning tools so we can ensure students are gaining the best out of their schooling. I have now discovered a new passion for ICT's and have realised what a fantastic learning tool they can be when used correctly. I am now not so intimidated by these technologies and am looking forward to incorporating them into my learning design.

Students in the 21st Century need to be challenged, they need to be taken out of their comfort zone and have the opportunity to explore and extend their understandings. By introducing and implementing these tools in our classroom practice we are creating a whole new level of thinking for children, known as higher order thinking. According to Education Queensland, 2004 'Higher-order thinking requires students to manipulate information and ideas in ways that transform their meaning and implications.' They also believe that when the teacher is not certain what will be produced by students, they are creating an opportunity for higher order thinking. Thus 'in helping students become producers of knowledge, the teacher's main instructional task is to create activities or environments that allow them opportunities to engage in higher order thinking.' (Education Queensland, 2004) By introducing e-learning tools into the classroom the learners are exposed to a variety of new and challenging opportunities to participate in higher order thinking tasks. The approach we as learning managers take in our learning design will impact and influence the way our future generation are able to take on the world of technology and gain life long skills.

Through out this learning journey I have been able to 'test drive' many fun and engaging tools that I will be able to introduce and use in my classroom. I have been able to explore the use of many technologies and discover new and exciting ways to engage hopefully all of my learners through one tool or another. In particular I found Avatars, Google earth and The Quizzes to be most beneficial to my teaching experience at present.

A Voki Avatar has all the dimensions needed to engage and enhance one's learning. There are many uses for an avatar but in particular I feel it is a great way to disguise students. Not only can this benefit a shy student but it can also target the students who do not have as many friends and do not feel accepted by their peers. This highlights the versatility of an avatar and how it can create an identity for one and allow them to become more comfortable in their environment and maximise their learning opportunities. Marzano & Pickering, 1997 suggest that when a 'student feels accepted they usually feel better about themselves and schools, work harder and learn better.' Emphasising the need for more ICT's to be introduced and used in our learning design.

Google Earth offers students to explore 'rich geographical content, ranging from galaxies in outer space to the canyons of the ocean. ' (Google Earth, 2009) Google earth could be used in any year level. Starting from Early Childhood to offer an insight to the learners on the different views we can see things from, for example bird's eye view or even an early introduction of what our world looks like. It is a great way to incorporate fun learning experiences with a geography focus. Google Earth is the perfect way to connect and bring the real world into the classroom. According to Siemens, 2004 'connectivism provides insight into learning skills and task for learners to flourish in a digital era.'

Having the advantage of creating your own quizzes is something I feel very powerful when checking for learning. As a learning manager you can create individual tests to suit your student's needs. I think I would use this in the classroom at the end of a lesson or unit of work to check for learning and understanding of my students. This is a time consuming process but I feel it is a great way to assess outcomes. In my classroom this would be a very informal process and it would complement other assessment methods both informal and formal. A written test is not often regarded as an authentic way to monitor the progress of a student but according to Krause etal, 2003 'a standardised test can provide information about individual students' level of achievement in a specific area of learning.' This is just another way, not necessarily the most authentic but it will allow the learning manager to plan appropriately to the needs of the learner.

When using ICT's in the classroom it is vital to be aware of the privacy act that surrounds the tool you wish to use. This is something I needed to learn more about myself. After talking with lecturers and students I am now aware of the procedures needed to take when wanting to download from the net. I have also been able to collaborate with my peers throughout this learning journey and now have gained a much thorough understanding of ICT's and how to use and incorporate them in my learning design. Along with other teaching strategies, ICT's will now be a priority to achieve outcomes for my learners. With the variety of tools addressed in this task, it now allows a much more extensive way to include and engage all learners. Technology is one skill that helps create and promote life long learning.

Blog URL's i have commented on are as follows:

Google Earth. (2009). Cited on August 20. Retrieved from:

Krause, K. Etal. (2003). Educational Psychology for learning teachers. Melbourne, Australia: Thomson Publishers.

Marzano,R.J &Pickering, D.J. (1997). Dimensions of learning: Teacher???s manual. Colarado, USA: McRel.

Siemens,G. (2004). Connectives: A learning Theory for the Digital Age. Cited on August 17. Retrieved from:

The State of Queensland (Department of Education and Training) 2004. Cited on August 20. Retrieved from:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


What an engaging tool to use in the classroom!! VoiceThread allows students to work together and interact with others. Students can 'group conversations which are collected and shared in one place from anywhere in the world.' (VoiceThread, 2007-2009) What a fantastic way to build networks and partnerships from all around the world. My main concern with voiecthread was the privacy issues, then i discovered ed.voicethread which is for use within schools. All necessary privacy acts have been carried out to ensure this is a child friendly and safe site to use.

Students are able to work collaborative to gain a better understanding and further their knowledge on particular issues. Students are also able to interact and take place in debates from around the world.

Another great site i found that can give me ideas help me incorporate voicethread in my classroom is VoiceThread 4 Education - check it out, it's great:


VoiceThread, (2007-2009). Cited on August 18. Retrieved from:

VoiceThread 4 Education. Cited on August 18. Retrieved from:

Music on the Web

Music is another fantastic way we can engage our learners. Music can create the atmosphere within a classroom and help guide the way we want people to feel. If we want a calm classroom environment we put on relaxing music, if we want people to get active we choose a fast pace piece of music.

Until a recent lecture at University i was completely oblivious to the copyrights that went with downloading music. Actually i was unaware of almost all copyrights relating to images, videos and music. I did not realise how strict this was and am extremely grateful to have this knowledge now. Like most people i would have just been downloading and using what i felt i needed to make my learning experiences better.

I found planty of music i could use in the classroom and for all different reasons. I like the idea of using music to change an activity, especially when children are completing rotation activities. However i have chosen a piece in the Children's music called - They eyes of an angel. I would use this after a lunch break with the younger years to calm them down and prepare their minds for the learning activities they are about to complete.

I like to use music in the classroom whenever possible and appropriate. I think it adds a whole new dynamic to the learning experiences and in most cases the children love it!!

I would love to here how other people use music in the classroom...


File Storage

Mediafire is a great place to store important documents or just a good place to store information, you could consider mediafire as a place to add documents for extra backup. You can upload any file onto mediafire, therefore creating more space on your own computer or USB stick. 'Digital media has changed; rich media and large documents require larger files and more storage space.' (Mediafire, 2006-2009) With the upward trend of technology we need more space on our computer and we need to know that our documents are secure when we store them.

You could use mediafire in the classroom as a place to upload and store photos from excursions and any other activities completed relating to the excursion. I would probably like to keep the information stored to the same topic. Children could then choose the excursion they wish to view on and continue to add information to this. It could be made into an ongoing journal/document where students add all the information they need to complete a final task. They can continue to refer back to the documents they have stored on mediafire.

I have started by adding my class checklist for this year. I always need to refer back to this to add information about each student. It will be a lot easier for me now to keep all the documentation relating to my class in one area. The checklist i have included is only the names of the students. For privacy rights i have not included the lists with updated information.

I think this is a great tool to introduce into the classroom as there are endless ideas and opportunities available for using mediafire.

URL for class checklis:

Mediafire, 2006-2009. Cited on August 18, retrieved from:

Monday, August 17, 2009


So i have just learnt that i may have been a little confused at the beginning of this course. I was unaware of the differences between a Wiki and Wikepedia. Wikipedia ia a free encyclopedia built collaboratively using Wiki software. (Wikipedia, 2008) It is a quick and simple way to access information on the internet. If you are using this in the classroom, students need to be made aware that not everything is correct on wikipedia as anyone can access this site and change to informaion. However wikipedia is a great starting point to find some basic information or resources needed to complete the task.

You could introduce wikipedia into the classroom by allowing students to find the initial information on their own using wikipedia and then coming together as a group and elaborating on their findings and working out the 'what next' step for the task set.

If you have any great ideas on usng Wikipedia in the classroom especially the younger years i would love you to share them with me as i am a little stuck for ways to introduce this to the younger years.

Many thanks.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Cited on August 17. Retrieved from:


A webquest is a great way for students to complete activities using internet resources. In my previous experience with webquests they can promote higher order thinking as they are inquiry based and generally based around a problem that children have to solve or find more information about. A webquest is a good way to connect and link learners to the real world and situations that may arise.

Once a teacher has set up the webquest it is up to the student to complete the task. Students do have the freedom to finish the task at their own pace, taking pressure off slower elarners and allowing students to feel more comfortable in the learning environment. However most teachers will find that limited resources (computuers) may make it difficult for webquests to be used on a regular basis.

I personally feel that a webquest is very time consuming and after discovering many other tools throughout this course, a webqust would not be a first preference for me to use in the classroom.

Let me know if you have any tips on using webquests in the classroom......

Google Earth


Yes i have just been to Italy for lunch, what a day!! Talk about addictive - google earth is great. What a fantastic way to make children more aware about the world we live in. Through google earth children can gain an insight to how big our world is and learn about other countries. Not only can you travel around the world, it is easy to just look up an address. Siemens, 2004 states that 'technology is altering (rewiring) our brains. The tools we use define and shape our thinking.' Google Earth is a great tool to introduce to students and allow them to extend and refine their knowledge. He also acknowledges that 'how people work and function is altered when new tools are utilized.' Imagine how well a yearone class would work if they could see their house on the computer by just typing in a few words?!!

Google Earth could be used in the classroom in a numerous ways. Starting in the early years, it could be as simple as explaining what a bird's eye view is, showing what their street/house looks like from the sky. Moving into the upper years of primary, google earth is a great way to introduce a geography lesson. It is an interesting and useful tool which allows you to be the funky teacher who makes goegraphy lessons fun!! By allowing students to use google earth it broadens their awareness of what our world looks like and how far away countries are from each other. It would also be a great way to introduce time differences between countries. Google Earth provides a visual aid to demonstrate the distance between countries, making the learing experiences more meaningful by being able to see the world. According to Siemens, 2004 'connectivism provides insight into learning skills and tasks needed for learners to flourish in a digital era.' This highlighting the need for more technologies to be used in the classroom, one of those being google earth.

I would love to here how people are using using google earth in their classroom, let me know.

Well im of now to jetset around the world, i;m thinking France for dinner.........


Siemens, G. (2004) Connectivism:A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Cited on August 17. Retrieved from:

Podcasting & Itunes

Podcasts and itunes are strangers to me!! I have never really had the opportunity to use either of these technologies. I have heard a lot of people talking about itunes and more recently our lecturers talking about podcasts. What i have gathered it that they are a video that can be saved and watched later at your convenience. This is a great tool to use in the classroom as you can view it when it fits into your day.

I think it would be a great idea to get students to create their own podcasts, this activity would be aimed at the upper primary level. It would provide them with a real audience and would be more relevant to the world we live in. Students would then be using technology to creat a real, rousing and relevant task. I look forward to learning more about Podcasts and using them in my teaching.

Youtube & Teachertube

YouTube and Teachertube are two websites that allow you to share, view and upload videos. Teachertube is based on Youtube but has more of an educational focus. Both sites are a great way to engage learners and make a task more relevant to the learner. According to professor Joan Cybela, variety is an essential ingredient for learning. By using a variety of teaching tools and methods it will add to the stimulation of the leaner. By including visual, auditory, reading-writing and kinesthetic dimensions in the learning experience, it will help generate learning! Youtube and Teachertude are both great ways to engage learners.

I think Youtube and Teachertube will be used world wide for a very long time. There is so much information we can get from these sites to use in the classroom. The clip i have chosen would relate to a SOSE unit. I would probably use it in the middle to upper levels of a primary school. The clip would be used as a 'hook' for the unit of work relating to - who helps us in our community with a focus on the emergency services.

The URL is :


Engaging Learners in Learning:Cited on August 17, Retrieved from:

Youtube. Cited on August 17, retrieved from:

Friday, August 14, 2009


Hey everyone

What a great way to individualise a class test for your learners. Not only can you make a test relating to your learners needs but it is a fantastic way to check for learnings. Classmarker is very simple to use and allows endless opportunities for the tests you want to create for your class. A spokesperson from Monash University states 'if we believe in TESTING WHAT WE TEACH it becomes obvious that current online automated testing devices, designed to teach objective knowledge are largely unsuited for the purpose of testing what the students have learnt in the processes above.' A lot of people disagree with sit down formal tests, but if we can individualise the test type and format why not use it as an informal way to see what students have learnt throughout the larning experiences. There is so much hype and attention about assessment and the tests we use in schools that we need to come up with a better way to test the childrens understanding of the knowledge they have been learning - so why not spend a little more time and create an individual test linking to the curriculum for your own class.

I have used this tool to make a short answer test for my current Year One class. We have recently been looking at the different occupations within the community and comparing both the similarities and differences between them. As a conclusion, so i can check for general understandings i will have my class complete this test. Being Year One it is only a five question, short answer test but it will give me enough information so i can check for the learning. For my lower literacy skill children i will ask them to have a go at reading the question but allow them to verbally give me their answer and i will make notes in the area for the answer. I think this is a great tool and will definitely be using it within my classroom as a form of informal assessment. Maybe one day we will be able to generate our own test, relating to the Queensland curriculum and the needs of our learners.

Here is the URL to my test - let me know what you think, remember this is targeted at Year One!

Authentic Assessment. Retrieved on August 15. From:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Image Manipulation

Hi all

Ever thought gee that is a bad photo?!! Well what can i say, image manipulation is the answer to all those bad photos we never want anyone to see!! It is easy and i found it very quick to upload photos onto my Picnik acocunt. What a fantastic tool to use for anyone. I think i could spend hours on this site creating a new photo from my already existing photos and actually feel like i have accomplished something at the end.

This tool could be used many ways in the classroom. I would love to try it out as i'm fairly sure you would have the full attention of the students. It is a fun and interactive way for students to become more creative, feel like an artist and enage with ICT's in the classroom. The more familiar children become with ICT's and the more ways we can engage them through the use of sites such as Picnik, the more a child will gain and extend their knowledge. Improving student learning is the one things we as future educators need to be aware of and ensure this is happening in the classroom. According to Hennessy etal 'Teachers need to emphasize both the use of ICT to enhance and extend existing classroom practice.' Picnik is a great way to introduce students to the world of image manipulation!!


Teacher perspectives on integrating ICT into subject teaching: commitment, constraints, caution, and change. Viewed on August, 14. Retrieved from:


Wow, another great site to help manage and store information. Flickr is a fantastic place to store photos and share them with friends and family. It would be a good way to monitor the photos you wanted people to have access to by only allowing the selected category - family/friends to view your photos. I am not sure if this privacy setting would allow use within our schools -can anyone answer this for me??!!

Flickr allows you to set up friends and groups on the site. Educators would be able to set up their own groups and have discussions on matters that are concerning them. Or alternatively this is another great social site to communicate with friends. Flickr is a great tool for communication and collaboration. Collaboration, according to the National Staff Development Council, 2009
'some of the most important forms of professional learning and problem solving occur in group settings. Organized groups provide the social interaction that often deepens learning and the interpersonal support and synergy necessary for creatively solving the complex problems of teaching and learning.' By forming groups and broadening our knowledge bank, we are able to gain more information and expand our own understandings of the related topic.

Flickr is a starting point for anyone to get connected to the Cyber world and communicate with others. I can't wait to have more time to explore Flickr.


Collaboration Skills, retrieved on August 13, 2009 from:


It is the year 2009 and lets admit, a powerpoint is one of the most common tools we see used these days. They can provide a great backup for presentations but they can also become very boring if they have too much information on them. I would say it is safe to say most children, especially younger years would switch off with a slide full of writing! However if used correctly and this will depend on each person as an individual a powerpoint is a great way for students to receive information. My grade one class is in the process of making a powerpoint for the second time this year and they are loving it. Some students become very easily frustrated but when they can see what other studetns have created they then become determined to learn about making a powerpoint. This is a great lesson to focus ont the Habit of Mind, to persevere. By encouraging students to persist and continue to use this tool they become aware of how fun and exciting ICT's can be to use. Marzano & Pickering state that 'when you persevere, you re more likely to gain knowledge and skills that at first may seem too difficult to understand or master.' I think this not only reflects how a student can feel about using ICT's in the classroom and how we need to provide positive reinforcement for them to keep going at a task but is also something we as adults need to think about. Do we give up too easily..........??


Marzano,R. & Pickering, D. 1997. Dimensions of learning teachers manual. Aurora, CO:McRel


What can i say - i have found a new e learning tool that i feel comfortable using. Actually what i'm really trying to say is a tool i can use!! Voki's are a great way to communicate and interact both in the classroom and on a personal level. Just recently in a group assignment we used a voki as the hook of our presentation, i felt this was a great way to engage the audience and get their attention. Siemens, 2003 suggests that learning is viewed as multi-faceted and particular tasks define which approach to learning is most appropriate to the learner. We need to incorparte a variety of ways to accomodate the learning process. A voki could be used in many different ways to benefit the learning potential of students. It is a great way to introduce a lesson or use throughout, it can disguise a child therefore enahncing a shy students learning in the class and i feel probably one of the most important uses of a voki would be for students who have poor reading skills. According to Becta 2001 'the use of ICT's in the classroom have the potential to enhance learners' academic achievment when effectively integrated into the curriculum.' A voki has all the dimensions needed to maximise students learning, it caters for most learning styles and most of all students will have fun creating and using a voki.


Becta. (2001). The secondary schools of the future: A report to the DIEE by Becta. Retrieved 13 August, 2009, from:

Siemens, G. (2003). Learning ecology, communities, and networks: Extending the classroom. Retrieved August 13, 2009, from:

Get a Voki now!