Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reflective Synopsis

Reflective Synopsis

Now as I reach the end of my blogging journey about all of the different technologies, I am amazed at just how many amazing tools are out there ready to be used, and in an educational way!

Through my own experiences in schools, it is very evident that with these great resources come many restraints. The one underlying reason for these great tools not to be used is time and in particular resource availability. In both of my practical visits so far I have been at a small country school, and now at a large coastal school. The differences between both schools are great, the first having only two computers in a classroom, whereas the later school has a number of computers in the classroom, projector and a computer lab. This would play a large part in whether such tools would be able to be implemented successfully. Another hurdle I have come across, as many of my fellow peers would know, is the fact of student access to particular web resources and the issues that arise when all are accessing the same information.

Throughout my completion of this engaging task, I have made the effort to browse through my peers online blogs and leave insightful comments that reflect the new ways of approaching ELearning tools. It has been great to read about others views on particular technologies, as it allowed me to think further about the possibilities with that particular tool and not just settle on my own ideas and opinions. From these discussions I have become aware that not only have I been analysing particular ELearning tools through different frameworks, but subconsciously participating in Kearsley and Scheinderman’s (1999) engagement theory. Other current learning theories such as Siemens (2005) have an underlying message that supports the use of ICT’s within the classroom; its focus is primarily on facilitating metacognitive and problem solving skills. And finally the constructivist theory by Vygotsky, where the focus is on authentic, student centred learning (Brady, 2006).

Of the great ELearning tools that I have experimented with, I have chosen the following to use as a future learning manager.

- Wikis: Create a collaborative story telling wiki, where students contribute to the story based on certain instructions they have been given.

-Blogs: Used to inform students of class requirements, post handouts, notices, homework, assignments, or act as a question and answer board.

-Voki Avatars: Introduce the beginning of a unit or assessment piece. I believe it would also aid those who are more audio/visual learners and not just kinesetic learners.

Google Earth: Use real time coordinates to demonstrate distance calculations and verify the results using Google earth measurement tools. View tectonic plate shift evidence by examining whole continents, mountains ranges and areas of volcanic activity. Study craters, dry lake beds and other major land forms. Explore human civilization, growth of cities, and impact of growth on the environment.

-YouTube: I would use this tool as the hook of a lesson or unit.

-Music: As a future learning manager I would use this great resource platform to gather insightful music that gets the students thinking. I would then play different sounds like the beach, the rainforest, the city to name a few and ask the students to take a moment to relax and listen to the music and think about what they are hearing, where this could be, why do we hear such noises. Then once the music was over I would ask students to form collaborative groups to discuss what they thought about the music and then they would be instructed to create a brainstorm about a particular sound they heard.

-Podcasts: I would use this great resource to record class lectures, School/ Classroom news, Homework hotline, Student centred podcasts. This would be a beneficial tool for students to use because it improves organisational skills, writing, reading and viewing is improved, peer collaboration, leadership skills, tone/ expression and supports differenation.

-Picnik: I would set a task focused around taking photos and making a point of capturing the mood, angle etc. Then I would ask the students to upload their photos onto Picnik and then experiment with different effects that would help make their feature of the photo more engaging to the audience.

Many schools around the country have made the goal of “life-long” learning as an integral part of their mission statements and that instructional technology has an important role in achieving this goal (McCollum, 1999). However, the past shows us that although this is the goal, many schools are slow to adopt these new technologies, due to a number of reasons (Rice & Miller, 2001). Green (1997) suggests that teachers are now becoming savvier with these particular technologies, as they now are using more often than not email and internet.

Summing up, as a future learning manager to students of the 21st century I am looking forward to really utilizing these great resources. This is because within the classroom it allows for a better engagement of the students, and let’s face it, classrooms of today no longer embrace the boring textbook learning, but in fact are now looking outside of the square to really motivate students and the learning journey in which they are partaking in.


Brady, L. (2006). Collaborative Learning in Action. Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia: Pearson Education Australia.

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved July 16, 2009, from http://wwww.elearnspace.or/Articles/connectivism.htm

Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory:. Retrieved July 10, 2009, from

McCollum, K. (1999). Colleges urged to use technology to promote ‘life-long learning’. Chronicle of Higher Education, 46, A39.

Rice, M.L. & Miller, M. T. (2001). Faculty involvement in planning for the use and integration of instructional and administrative technologies. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 33, 328-336.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


A podcast is a series of digital media files, either audio or video, that are released episodically and downloaded through web syndication. Like the term broadcast, podcast can refer either to the content itself or to the method by which the content is syndicated; the latter is also called podcasting. A podcaster is the person who creates the content (Wikipedia, 2009).

Podcasting refers to the programs being made available online through a subscription feed, otherwise known as a RSS feed. Podcasts can be played on computers and even IPods (WiseGeek, 2009).

From my own investigations I became familiar with the program known as I-Tunes. This program offers thousands of different podcasts instantly. As I expected, my computer decided to not be my friend and allow me to download the program, so I then snuck in my brothers room to use his I-Tunes (I didn’t even get caught, sneaky! ;-))

As a future learning manager I have looked at possible ways to incorporate such a great tool within the classroom, and the following are some possible suggestions;

- Record class lectures
- School/ Classroom news
- Homework hotline
- Student centred podcasts

This would be a beneficial tool for students to use because it improves organisational skills, writing, reading and viewing is improved, peer collaboration, leadership skills, tone/ expression and supports differenation (SlideShare, 2009).

Therefore from my findings I have concluded that this great tool fits well within the Learning Engagement Theory (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1995). This is explained through the following;

Relate- collaboration with fellow peers to focus on effective communication, planning and social skills for a set task.

Create – Students create their own podcasts, therefore supporting an authentic approach to learning.

Donate –Publishing their own PodCast with the wider community (family, friends, peers, teacher’s).

In conclusion I am really excited about using all of these very engaging tools, and will be looking for opportunities to do so in my year seven class this week.


Kearsley, G. & Schneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology based teaching and learning. Retrieved August 16th, 2009 from

Slide Share. (2008). Retrieved August 1st, 2009 from

WiseGeek (2008). PodCasting. Retrieved August 1st, 2009 from

Wikipedia (2009). Podcast. Retrieved August 1st, 2009 from


You may ask, ‘What is a WebQuest?’ Well according to EdWeb (2009), a WebQuest is an inquiry oriented activity in which some or all of the information that learners interact with comes from resources on the internet.

According to Bloom Taxonomy (as cited by Uniserve- EDU, 2009) a WebQuest can be described by the following;

Knowledge – the students remember the facts.
Comprehension – the students understands relationships and contexts.
Application – the student can apply this new knowledge to different areas.
Analysis- the student can analysis and find parts.
Synthesis – the student can create something unique.
Evaluation – the students can make judgements based on facts.

Using such a great tool fits within a constructivist framework because the learning is based on the student’s active participation in problem solving and critical thinking. Using such a great tool in the classroom is very engaging to the students because the learning is very relevant, and allows students to construct their own knowledge (Castatela EDU, 2009).

Previous to this investigation I have only been exposed to WebQuests a number of times, however I did create my own just recently on a science unit for electricity. This WebQuest, however has not been used in a classroom as of yet, although it will begin to used this coming Friday. To ensure a successful WebQuest was created the following essential components of a WebQuest (WebQuest Direct, 2009) were used:

1. Introduction -draws the learner’s attention to the topic and inspiring action.
2. Task -a problem based focus question drawn from the introduction and sets out the goal.
3. Information Sources - needed to complete the task, including links to web pages.
4. Process - description of the process the learners are to apply in solving the problem
5. Evaluation - the guidelines for how students will be assessed. Usually a rubric or criteria.
6. Conclusion - closure to the quest, addresses the answering of the Focus Question
7. Teachers Page - Contains learner profiles, curriculum and Essential Learning’s.

In conclusion, as a future learning manager I look forward to introducing these new technologies in particular WebQuests, as they open up new doors and opportunities for students and I believe this is the way of the future.


Castatela EDU (2009). Constructivism. Retrieved August 19th, 2009 from http://curriculum.castatela.edu_acult/pspar.html

EdWeb (2009). WebQuests. Retrieved August 19th, from

Uniserve – EDU (2009). Retrieved August 19th, 2009 from

WebQuest Direct, (2009). What is a WebQuest. Retrieved 19th August, 2009, from:


Youtube is a video sharing website that offers users the option to create an account to upload videos, however you do not require an account to view the videos. Before the launch of YouTube in 2005, there were few simple methods available for ordinary computer users who wanted to post videos online. With its easy to use interface, YouTube made it possible for anyone with an Internet connection to post a video that millions of people could watch within a few minutes. The wide range of topics covered by YouTube has turned video sharing into one of the most important parts of Internet culture (Wikipedia, 2009).

One of the key features of YouTube is the ability of users to view its videos on web pages outside the site. Each YouTube video is accompanied by a piece of HTML, which can be used to embed it on a page outside the YouTube website. This functionality is often used to embed YouTube videos in social networking pages and blogs.

As a future learning manager I would use this tool as the hook of a lesson or unit. I have been browsing both teacher tube and YouTube and have found a great video as a hook for my electricity unit. Please feel free to have a look.



Wikipedia (2009). YouTube. Retrieved August 19th from

TeacherTube (2009). Electricity from Electrolytes. Retrieved August 19th, 2009 from
Multiple Choice Quizes

ClasssMaker is an easy to use online test creator, it is easy to create online tests and quizzes, and then invite others to participate. You can create multiple choice, true false, free text, short answer, fill in the blank and punctuation quizzes. Furthermore, ClassMaker allows you to create ‘class rooms’ and assign different tests to each of them. At the end, you can invite participant groups to desired class and track their test progress in one place (ClassMaker, 2009).

ClassMaker is great and as a future learning manager I look forward to using this particular tool, because of its versatility. Outline below are some reasons why it is such a great tool to be using (ClassMaker, 2009).

Create online tests and quizzes.
Test types: multiple choice, true/false, free text, short answer, fill in the blank, punctuation etc.
Track and manage test results in one place.
Invite up to 1000 learners to join take your tests.
Create unlimited number of classes and manage them from one place.
Assign different quiz tests to different classes.
Instant results for you and your learners.
Upload and add images to quizzes.
Export quiz results.
Set time limits on multiple-choice quizzes.
Randomize multiple-choice questions and answers.
Keep quizzes private or share them with others.
Create quizzes in multiple languages.

This awesome tool fits well within Oliver’s learning framework (Australian University Teachers Committee, 2003) because of the three aspects; the learning tasks, resources and support. This framework supports the use of the quiz as a tool of assessment. The next phase within the framework relies upon the resources needed to complete these learning tasks, this therefore relating to the online quizzes to check for learning along the way.

Therefore in conclusion by not only having an online quiz to check for learning and as an assessment tool, it is great to have in place to allow students the support and encouragement that is seeked both from parents and students.


Australian University Teachers Committee. (2003). The Learning Design Construct. Retrieved August 1st, 2009,

ClassMarker. (2009). Free Quiz Maker for online Testing. Retrieved August 1st, 2009, from
File Storage – Media Fire

Media Fire is a free online file and image hosting web site (MediaFire, 2009). A great feature of this website is that is allows unlimited storage and a limit of 200mb per file (Wikipedia, 2009).

From my own investigations of this great tool, i became aware that creating an account was easy to do and also allowed me to upload information in particular content that I wanted to teach and be secure and also accessible from different locations. Having this option has allowed me to leave behind my laptop and USB and access important information at my school.

As a future learning manager I believe this tool would be great for collaboration with others, and I look forward to making this great tool more of an option to others that may find dragging expensive equipment that often decides to fail at the most inappropriate times.


MediaFire. (2009). What is MediaFire? Retrieved August 19th, 2009, from

Wikipedia. (2009). MediaFire. Retrieved August 19th, 2009 from

Slide Share

What is SlideShare you ask? According to Georgia State University. (2009), SlideShare is the words largest community for sharing presentations. It allows individuals to upload presentations to share their ideas and to connect with others collaboratively. SlideShare is an easy tool to use as you can find presentations that are on a particular topic, this is helped by the use of tags. This site also has the option for users to create and upload narration to their presentation. After this has been uploaded, the user can synchronise the slides to fit that particular presentation (SlideShare, 2009).

This learning tool fits great within the framework of Active Learning (ACU, 2000). To explain further when using such a tool the’ input’ is when students are viewing this new information for example music and visual images. The ‘process’ is when students are collaborating with others to create their own presentations, using a variety of tools to enhance their presentation (microphone, webcam, music, images). The ‘output’ is when students are producing their own presentation then they load their presentation on to a platform (webpage etc), where they can share this new information with others.

In conclusion I have found this tool to be great to learn about and I look forward to using it in the classroom.


ACU. (2000). What is Active Learning? Retrieved August 1st, 2009, from

Georgia State University. (2009). What is SlideShare. Retrieved August 19th, 2009 from

SlideShare. (2009). About Us. Retrieved August 13, 2009, from