Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reflective Synopsis - A reflection of all the bubbles blown on this journey.

Hi everyone,

Well, what a learning journey I have been on!

Over the past few weeks, I have investigated and experimented with the provided courseware for Managing E-Learning to successfully create a documentation of my experiences about a wide range of e-learning tools.

My journey explores how I can embed a variety of web 2 technologies into the classroom for a cohort of digital natives (Prensky, 2001) aligning them with various learning theories and frameworks such as Kearsley & Shneiderman’s, Engagement Theory (1999) to ensure the most engaging and meaningful learning experiences. I feel this is a vital course for pre service learning managers. As we need to up skill ourselves to incorporate this native language within our regular teaching delivery techniques, for students of the twenty first century to be engaged not enraged (Prensky, 2005).

Before I started this course I would call myself a digital immigrant (Prensky, 2001), although I am only nineteen years old I was never one to keep up with this fast paced technology driven world we live in. I have been taught most things scarily by my twelve year old brother who is an amazing techno savvy person, who has the capability to do many things in the future with these skills. I can now say that after learning these wonderful e-learning tools I feel not so behind, but quite capable of teaching these wonderful technologies within my own classroom. After reflecting on the various e-learning tools, I have concluded that as a future learning manager I would use the following within my classroom to enhance student learning:

  • Blogs: Promote literacy skills such as reading and writing and support collaboration amongst students, they can be used as an assessable piece of work for students beginning in upper primary to reflect on their learning journey. Like I have done within this blog.
  • RSS: Is an excellent tool for students and learning managers to constantly track information and keep updated with networks.
  • E- Portfolio / Mahara: This is a wonderful site that students particularly in senior school can utilise, as it allows them to upload and create a resume or professional portfolio. Which could be very beneficial if applying for a job application or university degree in the future.
  • Voki Avatars: Can be utilised as great hooks to a new unit or lesson. They also can be helpful for ESL students struggling with speech pronunciation.
  • Google Earth: Is a wonderful technology that students can use across a variety of KLA’s such as Geography, Maths, Science, History and many more making learning experiences exciting and real.
  • WebQuest: WebQuests are generally based upon an inquiry approach, where students work through a scaffolded framework to solve a problem or present a solution in an authentic context. They are fun engaging and useful for real life topics such as pollution. This tool can be time consuming to create but is an excellent tool to accompany a unit of work.
  • File storage / MediaFire: Is a wonderful site that allows users to upload and store numerous files safely to the Internet. It is a great resource for learning managers as it provides easy access to stored documents such as unit plans, resources and many other pieces of work. It can be incorporated within the classroom by allowing students to upload assessment task to the site and produces a URL that they can give to the learning manager to retrieve and mark the assessment. Another great paper saving program.

Throughout completion of this task I have been able to post comments on my peers blogs complying with the principles of netiquette in communication, about useful teaching ideas and resources such as Amanda has provided. I have been able to discuss problems or questions to an online forum that responds ever so quickly and have been able to enjoy creating a variety of resources when exploring these e-learning tools.

Pitler (2007) argues that technology provides the opportunity for teachers to differentiate instruction and change their classrooms into dynamic learning environments providing students the opportunity to develop higher order and creative thinking skills to become lifelong learners. This statement by Pitler (2007) summarises how I feel after completing this step in my learning journey. I now have extended my knowledge and skills about technology and can now create exciting, engaging and authentic learning experiences utilising web 2 technologies for my students and myself to become lifelong learners.

“It is today we must create the world of the future" (Roosevelt, n.d).

Until next time,


Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved August 18, 2009, from

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M. & Malenoski, K (2007) Using technology with classroom instruction that works, McRel; Colorado.

Prensky. (2001). Digital Natives Digital Immigrants. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Prensky, .(2005). Engage me or Enrage me - what today’s learners demand. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from

Rossevelt, E. (n.d). General Philosophy: Leading and learning for the 21st Century. Retrieved August 20, 2009 from

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Voice Thread

Hi everyone,

VoiceThread is a collaborative program that allows users to upload documents, images, video and music (VoiceThread, 2009). It permits users from all around the world to leave comments to your work via five different options, voice using a microphone or telephone, text, audio or video (VoiceThread, 2009). I found this program inviting with its professional appearance and simple guided steps. I enjoyed listening to others and wanted to create my own. I uploaded four images that I had already saved to my computer under, “Bubbles”. It was so quick to upload, then I posted a voice comment on the picture, using another computer as mine does not have a microphone and played a couple of sound clips that were gentle and suitable for this picture like chimes, and bubbles popping. I also included a text comment to a couple pictures to described what they were about.

Have a look at My Voice Thread.

VoiceThread is a great tool that can be used effectively in the classroom for students to work collaboratively on an assessment piece or for teacher directed purposes such as displaying a presentation to the class using the interactive whiteboard.

As my prep students are currently going to begin a unit investigating different environments, I thought i could use VoiceThread to display a variety of animals such as penguins, elephants, koala, kangaroo, dolphins, cow and chicken and together we could record the sounds that these animals make and a description of their size and appearance (with assistance from the teachers aide students could work in pairs making the sounds and descriptions for the correct animal, sounding out the animals names and checking how many sounds they got right, also the teacher can question them on where they think this animal might live and type on the appropriate image). I would then search for images of these environments and create a new presentation embedding the previous one and the students as a group would need to say which animals live in the correct environment. This could then lead us into the beginning of our unit of exploring different environments.

Kearsley & Shneiderman’s (1999) Engagement theory aligns well with my example above as students are working in a group context through brainstorming and sharing their work with the outside world. The learning is a purposeful, creative experience that allows students not only to develop their writing skills but to express how they interpret a particular image.

The only problem with this tool is the amount of time it takes to load in an EQ school because of the slow bandwidth speed. Therefore you could try and upload your presentation prior to the learning experience. Also all Internet safety must be followed as normal as this site can have inappropriate comments displayed when your presentation has finished.

Overall I think that this is another great tool that engages learners of the twenty first century and can easily be embedded within learning experiences in a variety of ways.
Until next time,


Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved August 18, 2009, from

VoiceThread. (2009). VoiceThread. Retrieved August 19, 2009 from

Using Music on the Web with INCOMPETECH

Hi everyone,

Incompetech is a great website to locate royalty-free music that is covered under the Creative Commons agreement. It is one of the best ways to locate music to implement within the classroom. I found a wonderful piece of music titled, ‘Willow and the Light’ by Kevin Macleod. The instrumentation used: percussion, harp, flute and voice. It was so easy and quick to download, I listened to it and it sounded so relaxing, perfect for my Yoga sessions I carry out with my preps after lunch. I am so proud of them they thoroughly enjoy learning new moves (they know ten off by heart) and know when the music is playing there is no talking. For preps some of you may already no this can be very hard to achieve, but they do this so well.

I also use music in the classroom for the following:

  • Yoga or rest time music: As stated above using peaceful and relaxing songs is a great way to calm students down after lunch or PE.
  • Pack up time music: this can be a good motivator for students to pack up materials quickly and happily.
  • Transition music: A fast paced fun song can be used for the changing of group rotations.

Music can be incorporated for students in higher grades by allowing them to:

  • Listen to music while working
  • Incorporate music within their assessment presentations
  • Investigate music as a subject itself students could analyse pieces of work and the elements within each piece
  • Listen to how music has changed from their parents and grandparents childhood to now
  • Listen to different cultures music when exploring another country or my favourite aboriginal dream time music. Which is very popular for Queensland schools as most of them have an Aboriginal history within the school foundation. My school I am currently in have many areas of the school grounds dedicated to specific Aboriginal tribes.

Incorporating music within the classroom can be aligned to the theory of Active Learning (ACU Adams Centre for Teaching Excellence, 2000). Active Learning consists of three components input, process and output. Music used effectively within the classroom relates to the first component Input, as students are actively learning through the input of multiple senses and music assists greatly for students who learn best through an auditory learning style.
Overall I love the idea of using music to create purposeful learning experiences and I feel it is a great tool when used correctly within the classroom.
Until next time,


Macleod, K. (2008). Royalty Free Music. August 17, 2009 from

Prensky, M. (2005). Engage Me or Enrage Me - What today's learners demand. Retrieved August 16, from,

File Storage - MediaFire

Hi everyone,

Wow If only I knew about MediaFire earlier, I can not tell you the amount of times I have experienced the terror of a computer hard drive CRASH! I thought I was cursed with some technology X across my name, but now I cannot wait to upload all those massive files I have stored on my computer and categorise them into neat SAFE folders using the wonderful program MediaFire. Thank you Managing E-Learning this is such a wonderful Web 2 Technology I will definitely be using this from now on.

MediaFire not only allows you to simply upload documents, photos and much more it allows you to share them with anyone, privately or publicly (MediaFire, 2009). If you wish to share something you have uploaded there is the simple option of creating a URL to post in your blog, forums or websites.
I have uploaded one small word document for anyone to have a look at. It is just something small but maybe useful for someone. It contains a few ideas for teaching prep students the letter Qq(one of the most difficult and confusing letters in the alphabet) ideas like creating a quiz show using lots of questions ( they loved this one) and using a variety of pre cut patterned material squares for students to create a patterned quilt.

Have a look at my file: Qq Learning Experience Ideas I hope it is of some help one day!

The advantages this program has for the classroom are not only for the students but for learning managers as well.Learning managers can upload files about classroom work, (e.g. assessment tasks) for students to download both during and after school. It can also allow students to save assessment items or submit items to Media Fire so the problem of computer crashes will be limited.

This is program is wonderful for learning managers as we are constantly trying to collect useful teaching ideas. MediaFire enables users to collaborate with one and other providing learning managers the ability to share a variety of useful resources . A truly wonderful tool. If you are in an EQ school I must note to avoid slow download time due to the bandwidth speed I think it would be best to upload these files at home as I have experienced terribly slow download and upload time within my school (or this may be that technology curse).

I will be recommending this program to many family, friends and colleagues. If you have any useful teaching resources or ideas that you would like to share please I would love to hear about them.

Until next time


MediaFire. (2009). What is MediaFire? Retrieved August 18, 2009, from


Hi everyone,

SlideShare is a web based program that allows you to upload files such as adobe and PowerPoint presentations to a publicly viewable space for free (Slideshare, 2009).

I recently have uploaded a short snippet from a university group assessment PowerPoint presentation, which we previously have completed. The presentation is directed at educators about the effects assessment can have on a student’s creative expression and how educators can foster creativity within the classroom.
I have not been able to upload an MP3 narrative file to slideshare simply as I do not have the resources to do it.

I found using slideshare quite difficult as I am more familiar with Powerpoint and was disappointed that when uploading my presentation to slideshare it did not automatically incorporate the song that was attached to the presentation or any of the animations, creating a quite static and boring presentation. After my numerous attempts with slideshare I went to friends for help but they too were experiencing the same technology troubles. I continued to explore this site although quite frustrated after a lot of time had gone by and began thinking how I could incorporate this program within the classroom.

I feel that this tool would be very effective in the classroom if all resources were available and working properly. As slideshare caters for all learning styles (visual, auditory and kinasetheitc) and I think students would thoroughly enjoy making their own engaging and exciting presentations. Especially with wonderful options available such as the ability to narrate their own presentations, which is great for those who are shy. According to Sims and Biggs (as cited in Brown & Drinkwater, 2001) students are more likely to have positive learning outcomes if they engage and interact, rather than students passively receiving information. This learning tool also links to the Active Learning pedagogical framework (Input, Process,Output) by (ACU Adams Centre for Teaching Excellence, 2000). As students are receiving input through the use of narrations/music and viewing the images within the presentations. Students are completing a process that is guided by the learning manager and incorporates working with their peers to create a presentation using a variety of technology tools such as microphones. To complete the framework students publish their presentation by uploading their file to the slideshare program making it available for their peers (Output).

In conclusion I feel that slideshare could provide great value to an educational context, ensuring students can access the appropriate resources required and the learning manager ensures students are protected whilst using the site and provides learners with a scaffolded learning journey to create their masterpieces.

Until next time,


ACU Adams Centre for Teaching Excellence. (2000). How does Active Learning work? Retrieved August 14, 2009, from Active Learning Online:

Brown, A. & Drinkwater, D. (2001). Encouraging active learning with more interactive WWW designs. Retrieved August 14, 2009, from

SlideShare. (2009). About Us. Retrieved August 14, 2009, from


Hi everyone,

Wikipedia is a free online multilingual encyclopedia. Its name Wikipedia is simply derived from the words wiki (The Hawaiian term for quick) and encyclopedia. Articles inside Wikipedia have been collaboratively written by volunteers around the world who only require access to the Internet (Wikipedia, 2009). Wikipedia is a useful and effective collaborative learning tool that could be used as an excellent starting point for students in upper primary for researching information quickly.

I was always taught at school and university to never use Wikipedia as a scholarly reference. This most likely is because it can be accused of inaccurate or inconsistent information due to the ability of constant alterations by any person anywhere in the world (Wikipedia, 2009). This can suggest that scholarly information could easily have been tampered or vandalised with creating non scholarly sources.

Prensky (2006) suggests that teachers are faced with the concern that many students are using Wikipedia as their only source of data, while conducting research. After discussing with friends and colleagues I felt that to use Wikipedia effectively and safely within the classroom I would need to carefully scaffold students’ understandings through class discussions about the issues of the well known online encyclopedia. I would make it very clear that students cannot use it as a scholarly reference, due to the constant alterations and susceptibility to vandalism but to use Wikipedia as a constructive platform to find information for specific set tasks.

Wikipedia is a great encyclopedia of the twenty first century for finding information. Throughout my investigation of the site I found another fantastic tool that I can incorporate into the classroom especially for my prep class that I am currently in. It is called Wikibooks, created and edited from the Wikimedia community is just like an online library that allows you access to a variety of books (Wikibooks, 2009). Wikijunior is my favourite, it is a fantastic place to find online children’s books that have been written by a community of teachers and enthusiastic writers (Wikibooks, 2009). A great idea that a friend had shared with me is the idea of creating a class online book, this can be easily published to the site for the world to see, ensuring all references and safety precautions are appropriately catered for. This site is great as I am always looking for something that my prep class could enjoy.

I feel that the use of this tool can be viewed through a connectivist perspective (Siemens, 2005). As this theory has been developed specifically for the digital era, focusing on decisions made based upon the continual acquisition of knowledge (Siemens, 2005). Accurate and current knowledge is one of the key principles of connectivism, which may be found with the use of technology. Therefore our role as learning managers must ensure that if we permit this learning tool within the classroom students must be taught the necessary skills of how to analyse between important and unnecessary information.
Due to Wikipedia's nature allowing all members of the public to continually to update and change information it is not considered static information and I feel cannot be referred to as a scholarly reference. Students will have to use their ability to interpret and decipher what knowledge is considered appropriate or inappropriate for assigned tasks.
Until next time,


Prensky, M. (2006). Don't Bother Me Mom - I'm Learning. St. Paul, MN: Paragon House.

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved August 14, 2009, from http://wwww.elearnspace.or/Articles/connectivism.htm

Wikipedia. (2009). About Wikipedia. Retrieved August 14, 2009, from


Hi everyone,

A WebQuest is a purposeful and organised inquiry oriented activity, which utilises various key resources from the Internet (Dodge, 2007). It is a scaffolded learning structure that is carefully designed around a real life or hypothetical problem that students aim to solve. The creators of WebQuest’s Bernie Dodge and Tom March, propose that this type of authentic task promotes critical thinking skills to be used and developed (March, 2004).

A quality WebQuest should contain the following, to construct a guided framework that allows students scaffolding learning:

1. Introduction
2. Focus question
3. Task
4. Process
5. Resources
6. Evaluation
7. Conclusion
8. Teachers page

It is important to allow students to work through these steps at their own pace. I feel that WebQuests are most effective when students are provided the opportunity to work in small groups, which aligns with Vygotsky’s theory, whereby, learning gains are made when students work with their peers (Nichols, 2007).

WebQuests are most beneficial when the author has carefully planned and structured the learning to cater for the students individual learning needs. This can take a lot of time to create, as learning managers need to ensure the required content, curriculum (Essential Learnings), a chosen KLA or a combination of Key Learning Areas are covered to meet intended outcomes for the cohorts diverse needs. Also like most learning technologies that allow students access to the Internet, it is vital that all safety precautions are taken to ensure students are not at risk of exposure to any inappropriate material. This can be achieved by testing all hyperlinks and downloading any video files into programs such as KeepVid.

Within my first year at university I completed a course in SOSE (Studies of Society and Environments). I worked with a friend to create our first WebQuest following the above guided framework. I learnt many new things making a WebQuest, it was fun and helpful to work with someone else as ideas were bounced between us and to complete such a large task more hands made the workload easier. I would highly recommend to try to make your own WebQuest or have a look at some others. Especially take a look at the teachers page this is where most of the information about curriculum and outcomes for learners are placed to assist learning managers.

WebQuests that allow students to solve, create solutions, possibilities for real life problems such as (focus questions like e.g. The Great Barrier Reef is in danger form extinction how can you help?, or How can you help stop pollution on our planet?) which facilities all aspects of Kearsley & Shneiderman’s(1999) Engagement Theory by students working in a group context, working on a project based task and having an authentic focus.

WebQuests are truly fantastic, they are a great tool for the classroom making research and assessment tasks fun and real for the digital natives of the twenty first century (Prensky,2001). As learning managers it is our role to spend the quality time planning, ensuring that learning outcomes can be achieved by all learners and that the site is easy to navigate, fun and safe for students to use.
Until next time,


Dodge, B (2007). Web Quests. Retrieved August 12, 2009 from,

Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory.Retrieved August 12, 2009, from

March, T. (2004).What WebQuests Are (Really). Retrieved August 12, 2009, from

Nichols, K. (2007). What is learning? Current knowledge and theories.R. Smith, D. Lynch, & B. A. Knight, Learning Management: Transitioning teachers for national and international change (pp. 21-29). Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia: Pearson Education Australia.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Native, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon , 9 (5), 1-6.