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:

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