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 http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm
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.