Sunday, August 30, 2009

Inductive Reasoning

Recently I designed a lesson about inductive reasoning (Dim 3) which was used as part of my university assessment. The students were given very little information about the upcoming activity, however, you could almost feel the wonderment and awe (HoM) in the air, as they knew they were going to be doing something fun and exciting.

The lesson began with an introduction to inductive reasoning through the observation of two students sitting on chairs in the front of the room facing the IWB. I was looking crankily around the room and the students were looking from me to the students, not game to speak. After a minute I smiled and began the lesson by eliciting their thoughts and conclusions about what they thought was happening. The discussion was effective and all students participated. It was then explained how they would be using inductive reasoning today to form their own conclusions on their previous observations about how battery operated devices worked.

The students then:
  • put their names into a hat
  • groups of three were drawn out
  • each student was given a role: Manager, Speaker, Director
  • the manager collected the resources from the front of the room
  • the speaker was the only student able to ask the teacher or other groups for advice or questions
  • the director kept the students on task and elicited student conversation

The task:

  • write down predictions about how they would construct a circuit
  • students to construct a working circuit involving a battery, two wires and a light globe
  • students then construct a working circuit using a battery, one wire and a light globe
  • students must keep their successes quiet so as other students have opportunity to complete activity without assistance or help
  • fill in the record sheet, observations, comparison of prediction to conclusion
  • draw a diagram of the circuit
  • write a procedure for the construction of a circuit including a diagram

Once completed students were able to collect extra resources and try different circuits using wires, bulbs, batteries, paperclips etc

The lesson ended with a discussion about conclusion reached, a short verbal quiz about new knowledge and watching the folowing Youtube video to help store the new knowledge.

Creating a Circuit

Friday, August 21, 2009

Synopsis - My Never Ending Expedition.

Upon starting my course (Bachelor of Learning Management - Primary), I felt a sense of achievement at having taken the step into the scary world of university to pursue my dreams as a Learning Manager. I never imagined that I would become so passionate about that dream. Throughout the delivery of the topic E-Learning, there have been many hours spent engaging and leaning new technologies which, under normal circumstances, would have been out of reach and incomprehensible to me. In this synopsis I will demonstrate my personal journey in the acquisition of these exciting new technologies and endeavour to explain how e-learning can be used to support and enhance students’ learning.

Until now my digital repertoire was compiled of a digital camera and basic computer technology. The practical hands-on applications of the teacher delivery technologies have allowed the nurturing of this repertoire into a growing compilation of knowledge. In the words of our wonderful theorist, Prensky (2001), ‘Smart Immigrants’ will accept the knowledge and help from digital natives to provide opportunities for learning and integration in our classrooms. It is my new belief that Immigrants need to change in order to meet the needs of the new generation; this requires planning, training and most of all ‘passion’.

Indirectly, theorists such as Kearsley and Shneidman (1999), Siemens (2004), and Prensky (2001), who commented that there is a need to teach both Legacy and Future content in the language of Digital Natives, have encouraged my new found dedication to the continuation and implementation of new technologies in the classroom. As I continue my quest for lifelong learning (Kiley, & Cannon, 2000) it appears that technology will now take a front row seat.

This journey has revealed the importance of integrating digital pedagogy and relevant tasks with technology to ensure student success. As educators and future educators, it is our main objective to engage and energise our students with tasks which are hands-on, authentic, and interesting (Griffin, 2009). One of the many challenges is the ability to cater to an individual’s learning style. Felder and Spurlin (2005) discussed that students have different strengths and preferences in the ways they gain and process information. As stated in my blog posting “Advantage of Video”, the incorporation of learning design based technologies such as: Avatars, Blogs, Wiki's, Voicethread, PowerPoints, Video and Interactive Whiteboards, as learning tools, provides a medium for which innovative and effective stimulation occurs. This stimulation is a ripple effect caused by an engaging environment which caters to most learning styles. The ability for these tools to provide mediums for a variety of comments, and provisions for the incorporation of cool and warm feedback via friends, students and teachers portrays the theory of connectivsm (Siemens, 2005).

The planning of lessons when using modern technologies must be carefully scaffolded to ensure the desired outcomes are pursued and achieved by students. It’s easy to be caught up in the interactive element of technology, and forget the initial purpose of integrating these applications with learning. Lessons can be designed as engaging, rich and authentic, through using relevant/real topics and incorporating frameworks such as ‘Blooms Taxonomy’ (Bloom, 1956) and ‘Productive pedagogies’ (New Basic Program, 2004). The inclusions of such frameworks in technologies, such as Webquests, encourage learners to achieve deeper understanding and higher order thinking through technological interactions.

Kearsley and Shneiderman’s (1999) 'Engagement Theory' is heavily reliant on the concept of collaborative learning. To successfully achieve this style of learning, students must interact with others and participate in meaningfull and worthwhile tasks (Kearsley and Shneiderman, 1999). This kind of engagement is facilitated by the incorporation of technology, including Wiki’s, and Blogs. Maintaining this level of engagement without the use of technology, is difficult. The integration of tools such as podcasts are an invaluable in encouraging active learning incorporating cognitive processes such as creating, problem-solving, reasoning, decision-making and evaluation. This kind of engagement leads to students becoming intrinsically motivated to learn due to meangful nature of the learning environment and activities (Kearsley & Sneiderman 1999).

The application of assessment through a technological medium also lends itself to the fundamental structure of the engagement theory, providing high end engagement through rich tasks and peer assessment. Two possible technologies mentioned in my blog postings that can be used to incorporate diagnostic, formative and summative assessments are: quizzes and voicethread. I am not sure there is any other meduim available where students are happy to partake in assessment.

There were many times during my e-journey when frustration took over from normalacy, I am beginning to realise that technology comes at a price. Some of the technologies were time consuming and challenging. Having said that, I have obtained a sense of empowerment and excitement at having conquered my initial expedition into technology.

If technologies as engaging as these were available during my schooling years, it is possible that lifelong learning capabilities would have ignited my passion to pursue further education at an earlier age. Who knows, I may have pursued a career in education. However, it could also be noted, I could have easily been one of Prensky’s 'Immigrants' who are now reluctant to change to meet a Native’s learning requirements.

Whilst participating in ‘blogging’, it became clearly obvious, that this particular tool was instrumental to us in a collaborative online nature. This form of technology allowed the posting of personal and researched information for which colleagues could comment and critique. Many different learning ideas have been generated throughout this journey, which are now accessible and can be implemented to enhance learning experiences. Some of these being:
  • Using Google Earth as a tool for constructing travel itineries - Kerri
  • Collaboratively write a script, draw pictures, and scan for a digital storytelling book - Nari
  • Using video as a tool to elicit predictions, debates, elaborations and demonstrations - Sarah

Unfortunately technology is not readily available in some schools, however barriers are meant to be broken. Providing an environment that allows students the opportunities to learn in a manner to which they are comfortable, is difficult, but may provide a foundation where intended outcomes can be achieved.

Follow this link to see the blogs I have contributed to during my e-learning journey.


Bloom, B., (1956), Bloom’s Taxonomy and Learning Domains. Retrieved, May 12, 2009 from:

Felder, R., Spurlin, J., 2005. (citing computer references. Retrieved July 30, 2009, from

Griffin, L., (2009). Using Video in the Classroom. Retrieved 16 August, 2009, from:

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

Kiley, M., & Cannon, R., (2000). Leap into lifelong learning, retrieved 21 August, 2009, from:

New Basic Program, (2004). Productive Pedagogies. Department of Education, Training and the Arts. Retrieved, 21 Feb, 2009, from:

Prensky, M., (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from:,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Siemens, G. (2004). Citing computer references. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Flickr Fun for Students

The Three Sisters
Originally uploaded by TheGirlsNY

Flickr offers a great online storage and share facility for images and video. This site offers easy to use tools that can be accessed and manipulated by students after they open an account.

I have chosen a photo of the Blue Mountains which corresponds whith my previous unit used in Wiki. These rocky mountains are the major characters in the Dreamtime story 'The Three Sisters'. By using Flickr students can find images which correspond to the Dreamtime stories from books, digital storytelling and guest speakers.

These pictures can be downloaded onto a student blog and comments made about the story and images. Comments which could be made-

  • What are the pictures of?

  • Where can they be found?

  • How did you find the pictures?

  • How does this picture relate to a Dreamtime story?

The use of Flickr and other image organisers are not without problems and issues. Whilst at school, students should to be informed of copyright infringements as some materials contain a 'some rights reserved attachment'. Students will also have to be monitored as adult rated materials are often revealed through an innocent word search.

Talk soon,


Technology Gone Mad

Late last night I received a phone call from my friend Kerri, who some of you know from University. Kerri broke the news to me that two very special people were killed in a tragic accident yesterday afternoon. I was left in shock and unable to concentrate as the meaning of all this sunk in. What makes this especially tragic for me is that I was related to these special people.

I met up with Kerri this morning for a coffee and to console each other, when she told me that her daughter found out about the deaths on facebook. I was again shocked and left speechless, as the reality of the digital age set in. Technology definitely has its place in society and education, however I feel that students should be taught that digital is not always the way to go. Information of such a sensitive nature should be broken in a much more dignified and gentle way.

We are teaching Netiquette, what about etiquette.

That is my technological gripe for this year.


Wiki as a Student Centred Learning Tool

Through the views of Mindel and Verma (2006), A Wiki is essentially a collection of hyperlinked web pages that are assembled with wiki software and reflects the view of the facilitator who shares and receives information with others. Wiki's function on the ability to continually acquire new information through a large collaborative effort, this is also the driving platform for which connectivism is constructed, (Siemens 2004).

This technology can be applied as an individual learning tool which provides a social network from which a student can collaboratively learn, or as an in-class cooperative tool. The functionally of this technology provides a fantastic engagement and serious learning tool where students can attain a folio of relevant, topical information, building on their prior knowledge, and acquiring new knowledge.

The following unit structure has been adapted to incorporate the use of a Wiki in a year 2 classroom. The unit would be primarily implemented within the classroom allowing time for students to periodically use the computers to post their thoughts and comments with regards to the content. Considering the children are in grade two, the wiki and content would be kept simple and used in conjunction with variety of in-class learning tools. The interaction with technology and collaborative learning is the priority focus when using the Wiki.

Unit - Where will Dreamtime take us

Year Level - Two

Ways of Working:

  • Share ideas, and plan and enact responses to group or community issues
  • Pose questions for investigations

Knowledge and Understanding:

Time, continuity and change -

  • Contributions of individuals and groups to communities can be identified by symbols and stories

Place and space -

  • Local environments are distinguished by natural features, places of importance to particular groups, and public spaces


  • Writers and designers can adopt different roles for different audiences


  1. Students to find out about Deamtime legends through digital storytelling and listening to books
  2. Use a KWL to investigate knowledge of Dreamtime and geography
  3. Provide explanations about Wiki's and how they are going to be used in this unit


  1. Listen to guest speaker - A local Indigenous story teller to tell a Dreamtime story.
  2. Students to create a solution - 'How do we keep Dreamtime alive'.
  3. Post solution on the class wiki.
  4. Provide ongoing questions for students to encourage comments and collaborative learning on the Wiki. Such as: What do you think Dreamtime is?, Why is Dreamtime so important to indigenous people? Do you like Dreamtime stories and why? If you were to write a Dreamtime story what would it be about? If you were to go on a Dreamtime holiday, what places would you like to visit (in Australia)?


  1. Write a sentence in answer to this question on the Wiki - How can we help to keep the idea of Dreamtime alive?
  2. Comment and add your view or extra information to you friends postings.
  3. Write a Dreamtime story on a word document which will be printed out as a class book.
  4. Provide link for Wiki to parents to view their child's participation and learning.

The previous outline provided basic concepts, which when implemented in class would require instruction on wiki guidelines, netiquette, and Internet safety.




Queensland Studies Authority (QSA). Queensland Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Framework. Spring Hill, QLD, Australia: The office of the Queensland Studies Authority.

Mindel, J., Verma, S.(2006). Citing computer references. Retrieved August 1, 2009, from

Siemens, G. (2004). Citing computer references. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from

Quizzes as a Student-Centred Technology

Today's computer literate children are not the least bit intimidated by technology. It then stands to reason that they would prefer the efficiency and speed of taking part in online tests. The National Capital Language Resource Center (2004) provides the insight that students internalise the characteristics of quality work by evaluating the work of their peers.

Online quizzes are a a catalyst for peer assessment, giving opportunities for students to construct the quizzes through their own research and learning. The following scenario shows how students can incorporate online quizzes as a form of peer assessment.

  1. Students are given a Webquest to correspond with a unit of work currently studied in class
  2. Webquests have been chosen due to the nature of the format.
  • Safe and investigated links are provided
  • Student centred and student paced learning activity
  • Provides opportunities for collaborative learning
  • Requires the implementation of research skills
  1. One of the tasks on the webquest is to construct a 15 question online quiz using classmarker and save the link.
  2. A Brainstorming session regarding the rules and guidelines for developing an online quiz is conducted at class level.
  3. Once completed (and viewed by Learning Manager) email the link to another class in the same year five cohort (who are currently undertaking the same unit)
  4. These students are to take the quiz and the results are viewed by their peers who constructed it.
  5. Provide a short feed back document (graphic organiser, PMI) stating constructive warm and cool feedback about the quiz, get together with the test takers and initiate discussion on answers, validity of test, what they liked/didn't like about the test.

The underpinning idea of the engagement theory is that students must participate in learning activities which allow them to be meaningfully engaged through interaction with others and worthwhile tasks. This kind of engagement is facilitated by the incorporation of technology, this level of engagement is difficult to achieve otherwise (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). The application of quizzes through a technological medium lends itself to the fundamental structure of the engagement theory, providing high end engagement through rich tasks and peer assessment.


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

The National Capital Language Resource Center, (2004). The Essentials of Language Teaching. Retrieved 20 August, 2009, from.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Digital Storytelling

The difference between engagement and interactivity is the shift from using computers as a form of media delivery device to implementing them as communication tools (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). I think this is a contemporary reflection of the direction modern teaching methods should be evolving and as Torres (n.d. as cited in Lubbock Independent Schools District, 2009) states, "Digital kids need learning to be relevant, meaningful, and applicable now".

Digital Storytelling combines the art of oral storytelling and modern multimedia tools to construct and deliver stories using images, sound, music and voice (Lubbock Independent Schools district, 2009). Put simply, a written story is converted to digital using multimedia and editing tools, to provide an engaging, media rich,visual representation of the original story. This transition from written to digital can only benefit the students' providing a feeling of accomplishment in seeing their work published. The construction and delivery of digital stories assist is developing students in the following ways-

  • Writing skills
  • Speaking and visual skills
  • Technical skills
  • Personal Development skills

Follow this link for a further explanation on these skills. Digital Storytelling


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

Lubbock Independent School District. (2009). Digital Storytelling. Retrieved August 18, 2009, from

Blogs in the Classroom

On July 26, 2009 I constructed a posting with reference to Blogs and stated how Kearsley and Shneiderman (1999), discuss the idea that collaborative learning should be based on tasks which are meaningful and have an authentic focus, and how these tasks should be based on the principles of relate-create-donate. Blogs can be effectively used as a collaborative tool within the classroom promoting the engagement theory, in conjunction with effective collaboration, interaction between students and teacher, engagement through technology, and opportunities to reach learning outcomes with an authentic focus.

Within the classroom, we have recently finished a unit called 'Protecting Our Planet', concentrating on the aspects of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rethink. If I had known what I know now, this would have been a perfect unit to use in conjunction with blogs. This unit catered for rich and relevant tasks closely related to real world issues. The following points introduce the scaffolding of blogging into the classroom.

Students have already constructed a blog ready for the unit, working in pairs. Ensure students are aware of copyright obligations (provide them with usable sites), and safety issues on the Internet. Explain the rules and guidelines with regards to netiquette and using the blogs in a professional way.

  1. Introduce the concepts of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rethink, and the key question - How can we change what we do to have a positive impact for the future?

  2. What are the 4 R's and how can they help to reduce waste and help the environment.

  3. Students are given time to navigate through the 'Ollie Saves the World' website.

  4. An in class brainstorming session about how the blog can be beneficial and used for this unit.

  5. Participate in an excursion to the Sunshine Coast Recycling Centre.


  1. A graphic organiser has been loaded into MediaFire with a link in their blogs.

  2. Students are to access the graphic organiser and work collaboratively to complete the organiser providing examples of the 4 R's.

  3. Students then post the reflections of today's learning on their blog.

  4. Ongoing Key Questions are addressed by the students and reflective postings are entered daily on the blogs.

  5. Tools such as PowerPoint, Slidshare, avatars and online quizzes can also be utilised from the blog.

Donate: Students -

  1. Implement strategies agreed upon by the class to reduce waste in the classroom - such as reduction of lunchbox packaging.

  2. Work collaboratively to construct a letter (on blogs) to the Principal and also their parents explaining what they have learnt and the strategies they would like to implement at home and school wide. Principal and parents to respond.

  3. Post a collaborative personal reflection about how the knowledge learnt about the 4 R's has changed their attitude toward rubbish and energy wastage. Students are to comment on what they have learnt, how it affects them, what they can do to change, what can they do to help implement strategies.

  4. These postings are made available to parents to observe the students ongoing work and to place comments, encouraging their children.

Blogs can be used in the classroom in a multitude of ways, providing engagement, collaboration, and interest. Using blogs and e-learning tools, allow the new generation of students form a information era to learn using technologies which they can relate.


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

PowerPoint Buttons and Quizzes

Access the following link to view a short four question buttons quiz - 'The Lifecycle of Flowers'

Apologies for calling the PPT buttons, It was called this during the construction of the action buttons. I enjoyed building a PowerPoint quiz, this is something I could play with for hours, and also why the quiz is only four questions long at this stage (I had to stop myself or get consumed). The only problem I encountered was to link the incorrect answers to a slide stating "This answer in incorrect, please try again". Although the link was made and all apears well, when the flower icon is chosen the link will not activate, in saying this all other links are active.

Reading the other blogs, some of my colleagues Kerri, Melissa and Nalalie believe that quizzing on classmarker is the way to go, I agree with these statements, however, I also see the potential for incorporating a PPT quiz into the classroom. The PPt can be more than a quiz, and contain further tools for engagment and learning. The first half of the PPT may contain information from which these questions are drawn, providing a source for the information and knowledge to be obtained before conducting the quiz.

The action buttons were easy to embed, as were the home and hyperlink buttons. Pictures and drawings can be downloaded onto the PPT to provide further visual stimulation. The PPT was then uploaded into MediaFire where it could be posted into my blog via a link.

Bye for Now,


VoiceThread and the Engagement Theory

Nervously I entered this site expecting a whole lot of confusion and frustration. I could not have been more wrong. The site was easy to navigate, upload images, record voice and embed the link into by blog. Again I am pleasantly surprised. The following link is to a voicethread called Antarctica. I have chosen to use a still image and provide a voice commentary to engage the students. I am a lost Emperor Penguin in Antarctica. The students need to find out which regions my family are likely to be, how big I will get when I grow up and what foods should I be eating. The students are then required to construct their own voicethread and record their findings so the I can hear them back in Antarctica.

I would have loved doing something so engaging at school, the concepts of the engagement theory fit nicely into this technology (Kearsley & Sneiderman 1999):

Relate - Related to real world topics and information relating directly to the lost Emperor Penguin

Create - Create a voice thread containing required information including the possible location of the lost penguins parents etc

Donate - 'Share your voice thread on the site so that the penguin and others can see your researched results.

VoiceThread is a web based communications network which provides the use of collaborative multimedia slideshows that hold images, docs and videos (VoiceThread, 2007). The use of voice thread for classroom tasks not only provides engagement, this program allows connectivsm (Siemens, 2004) through friends, students, and teachers having the ability to record comments about their creations. This would be a perfect medium for teachers to provide warm and cool feedback on assessment tasks as students are more likely to listen to these comments due to the engaging nature they are presented. I am genuinely excited about the possibilities of this technology and its applications in the classroom.


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

Siemens, G. (2004). Citing computer references. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from

VoiceThread. (2007). About VoiceThread. Retrieved August 18, 2009, from

File Storage - MediaFire

I was reading Nari's Blog and noted her statement that the use of MediaFire was a Breeze after interacting with some of the other e-learning technologies. At the time I remember wondering if it really is that simple. I was pleasantly surprised that this technology is exactly as it states on their home web page, 'MediaFire is the simplest way to host and share files' (MediaFire, 2009). The instructions were clear, downloads were easy, and the embedding of the link into my blog is by far the simplest I have used so far throughout my journey.

Until the beginning of this course, I was not aware that this kind of file storage and sharing technology even existed. MediaFire is an on site facility for all your file and image hosting needs which provide easy and flexible privacy options such as: Sharing files, keeping some files hidden, you can even set passwords for sensitive files.

Some other fantastic characteristics of this technology are:

  • Image galleries
  • Unlimited storage
  • Unlimited downloads
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Create unlimited folders and sub folders
  • Downloading multiple files in one easy location

Follow this link to view the experimental inquiry document I have downloaded to share.

This document was recently used in our Ensuring Student Success oral presentation at University. If other education students are like us, we struggled with the concepts of using the Dimension 4 (Marzano et al, 1997) strategy for the first time. Hopefully this document may help others to understand its concepts.

MediaFire and other file sharing technologies would provide a medium where connectivism and social networks (Siemens, 2004) may be nurtured with in a classroom and home environment. A task (such as natural disasters) my be set by the learning manager and uploaded into MediaFire and the link emailed to each student in the class. The students are to choose a disaster and provide a factual narrative including pictures and references and upload the documents to this link. Once all Students are finished they can view the collective document online and also print out to make a class book. The link can then be sent to nominated family or friends for their viewing.


Marzano, R., Pickering, D., Arredondo, D., Blackburn, G., Brandt, R., Moffett, C., Paynter, D., Pollock, J., & Whisler, J. (1997). Dimensions of learning teachers manual. Colorado, USA: Mid-continent Regional Education Laboratory.

MediaFire, (2009). Free File Hosting Made Simple: What is MediaFire. Retrieved 19 August, 2009, from:

Siemens, G. (2004). Citing computer references. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Google Earth

Google Earth opens with a view of the world from space which will gently spin when clicked and dragged. The middle scroll wheel or right-click dragging will zoom in and out for close-up views (Karch, M., 2009). Google Earth provides tools such as compass, longitude and latitude, layers (to determine added information about your locations), creation of folders for favourite locations, add direction lines and pins for easy reading.

The map below is a directional map from Maroochydore to Mooloolaba, this was a test run to investigate the possibilities of embedding a map into my blog. Initially the map could not be embedded unless it was changed to a directional map, highlighting the route which needed to be taken. This however would be a great tool for use in the classroom to engage students about their local communities and enhance learning about compass bearings.

View Larger Map

Google Earth can be used:

1. To support hands-on inquiry by students
2. In conjunction with homework and assignments
3. For dynamic presentations in class for students and teachers
4. To create imagery and maps for PowerPoint, Word, and other presentation tools.
5. As a data discovery, organization, and distribution tool for research projects.
(Pedagogy in Action, 2009)
6. Observing different landscapes and terrain, e.g. volcanoes, rivers and bays

After investigating my own residential address, I broadened my search to the island of Crete, (Greece). I journeyed into the Rethymno Port and viewed what seemed to be a submarine anchored in the bay. I then headed down the coast and zoomed in on some beautiful homes situated on a picturesque section of jutting rock with cliff faces on three sides. While I was enthusiastically using this technology I was reminded of the endless possibilities in the classroom.

Follow this link to Middlebury where Middlebury School uses Google Earth as a food mapping tool. This enabled students to visualize connections to their food system in a fun and compelling way. The foods used in the canteen, or brought in school lunches could be tracked back to its origions and tagged, directional web lines drawn and comments entered. This provides a visual representation of the food map which can be downloaded, used in a presentation or printed. This kind of task can be adapted to any year cohort, allowing engagement through the use of technologies they are familiar with to provide instant gratification using their preferred tool of graphics rather than text. (Prensky, 2001).


Hegman, B., Biette, M., Byrne, J., & Leshinsky, J., (2008). From Farm to Plate. retrieved 18th August, 2009, From:

Karch, M., (2009). What is Google Earth. Retrieved 18th August, 2009, from:

Pedagogy in Action, (2009). How To Teach with Google Earth. retrieved 18th August, 2009, from:

Prensky, M., (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from:,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf


Remember the good old listening stick in school. Until recently I did not remember this attribution of learning at all until our lecturers brought it up in class. How exciting it was to sit around a piece of carpet covered wood with hooks and great big huge sets of ear phones.

Times have certainly changed, the listening post now consists of an ipod, a small multiple connecting devise and sets of much more appropriately sized ear pieces for the students. The concepts remain the same. Instead of using cassette tapes and a large cumbersome tape player, current technology allows the use of the podcast, downloaded to an ipod player.

Imagine a class of year two students who have been busily building a rainforest in their room. The room looks great, vines, leaves and animals hang from the ceiling. Stories books about rainforests line the shelves, and a group of students sit in a circle in the middle of room listening to rainforest sounds, and a story about a rare butterfly which only lives in that particular forest, courtesy of podcast. Can't get more engaging than that.

Using tools such as podcasts to engage learners, we are actively involving students in cognitive processes such as creating, problem-solving, reasoning, decision-making and evaluation. This kind of engagement leads to students becoming intrinsically motivated to learn due to meangful nature of the learning environment and activities, e.g the rainforest (Kearsley & Sneiderman 1999). I can not challenge Kearsley and Sneiderman's engagement theory which is extremely critical in the upcoming information age and emphasizes the positive role that technology such as podcasts and videocasts can play in student interaction and effective learning for the future.

The word podcast is derived from the terms ipod and broadcast, and in an era where this generation of learners can access information anytime, anywhere, this technology can allow students to learn at their own pace wherever and whenever they want (Apple n.d.). Many people think that podcasts can only be dowloaded and used on ipods, however they can be downloaded onto computers and any other portable media device.


Apple. (n.d.). Education - Mobile Learning. Retrieved 18th August, 2009, from:

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

Music On The Web

Music Playlist at

In the classroom there have been many occasions where I have intended to use music however, due to the pressures of delivering a high quality lesson,the music is quite often forgotten. This is a good time to remind myself and others that the inclusion of these technologies enhances not detracts from the quality of the lesson providing stimulation, calmness, and a connection to the tasks (providing the music is used constructively and appropriately).

During my time working in the childcare industry, prior to moving into education, music and song were used effectively to create an atmosphere of learning through words, actions, movements and listening. Children were able to connect with tasks (such as the alphabet, days of the week), transitioning and physical movement, responding in a positive and engaged way. Sometimes we choose to forget that students will also respond in the same positive way.

As mentioned in my previous YouTube Posting, the video 'Give me five - a song about healthy eating' was used to encourage physical movement in the classroom during a lengthy lesson. Not every class has the benefit of an Interactive Whiteboard, however music played from the CD player or the computer using a playlist is also effective. There are many uses for music in the classroom including introductory engagement, connection of topics and information, experiencing different culture, and physical movement (classroom comfort, dance, drama).

Recently my placement class developed video advertisements for a recycled toy they constructed, and this was shown at culminating day to parents. It would have been advantages for the students to have accessed a website called Incompetech and download a genre of royalty free music which complements their advertisement.

The playlist I have developed on this posting has been selected from the Incomputech Royalty Free Music Site, composed by Kevin MacLeod. I have chosen vocal free soothing music to play during lessons where students may others wise get distracted. When I think of engagement I usually think about the hook to a lesson, however I believe the incorporation of soothing music during some well chosen lessons can provide an atmosphere where students remain relaxed, on task and engaged in their work.

As one of Howard Gardner's major intelligence areas, music is valuable for its own sake as well as for what it can add to a lesson (Prescott, 2005). The infusion of music into the curriculum can ensure that the students who are inclined to learn through music (auditory learners) are receiving opportunities to maximise learning..


Prescott, J., (2005). Music in the Classroom. Retrieved 18th August, 2009, from:

Wikipedia and Web 2.0

Since the birth of Wikipedia, I have been using this application on a regular basis for fast and easy access to a bank of information. Until now I have not really thought about the Who, When and Why this was created. You too may be interested in these questions. Find out the answers by clicking the TED icon to watch a video of Jimmy Wales (the creator of Wikipedia) discuss the conception of his online encyclopedia.

What I found really interesting was that I would jump on Widipedia at any time and not really comprehend the enormity of this Web 2.0 tool. Wikipedia is truly global and produced in many languages, with English only accounting for approximately one third of it usage (Wales, 2005).

Launched in 2001, by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger Wikipedia is the most popular general reference work on the Internet (Wikipedia, n.d.). The website is managed by a group of volunteers and the articles can be edited by anyone who can access the site. It is for this reason the information is regularly questioned and viewed as nonacademic and unverified.

Wikipedia is a Web 2.0 application. Web 2.0 is simply the second generation of Web development and design. The new Web boasts a rich user friendly interface through which interaction is possible, where as, the initial Web was essentially constructed of static sites which allowed little interaction. They were basically a viewing platform from which to read and gather information. Some other applications (Wikipedia, n.d.) with in Web 2.0 are:

  1. Wikipedia
  2. YouTube
  3. Myspace
  4. Blogs
  5. Wikis
  6. RSS
This image was uploaded from Wikimedia Commons. After reading Tony's site I began more in depth investigations within Wikipedia and soon realised there are many more opportunities for classroom learning than first thought. Hopefully I have transformed into one of those "Smart Adults" (Prensky, 2001) who accepts that they don't know about the digital natives' world and will endeavour to take advatage of their knowledge, integrating it with modern technologies to provide and engaging and exciting learning environment.

Wikimedia Commons is a great place to locate relevant pictures and drawings available for downloading. As my class has just finished several lessons about the life cycle of a flower, including ICT interactive activities, Their next step could be to gather their own research in groups of two, within Wikipedia, and using other integrated applications such as Wikimedia Commons, Wikispecies (to research animal life and insects whith a food web), and Wikibooks, which provide a link to Wikijunior (online books for Junior learners).

Tasks for Students:
  • Collaborate with a partner to research 'The Life Cycle of Flowers' and 'Food Webs' using Wikpedia, Wikispecies and Wikibooks.
  • Search Wikimedia Commons for relevant pictures to assist in construction of a food web.
  • Construct the food web using ICT's. (using pictures, labels, and arrows)
  • The web must include the initial flowing plant.

My most favourable aspect of Wikipedia is that all research can be done from one site. Links are provided for further understanding of terms and extra research gathering. Students are also able to use these Web 2.0 applications at home to complete homework activities and the extension of research.


Prensky, M., (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from:,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Wales, J., (2005). The Birth of Wikipedia. Retrieved 18 August, 2009, from:

Wikipedia, (n.d.). About Wikipedia. Retrieved 18 August, 2009, from:

Wikipedia, (n.d.). Web 2.0. Retrieved 18 August, 2009, from:

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Power of WebQuests

"The educational use of ICT has changed over the years as new inventions forge new pathways for learning opportunities."

(O'Neill, 2004 & Knight, 2006, as cited in Smith, Lynch & Knight, 2007, p.44).

One of these new pathways is the creation of the WebQuest.

Dodge (2001), states that WebQuests are an inquiry-orientated activity in which most or all of the information used by learners is drawn from the Web. These are designed to encourage higher order thinking skills using open ended questions to solve real and relevant tasks (WebQuest Direct, 2009). If anyone should know what a WebQuest is it should be Dodge as he developed the concepts at the San Diego State University in February of 1995 (Dodge, 2001).

Using the Web effectively in conjunction with solid learning strategies (March, 2003/2004), WebQuests are an excellent platform where students can learn individually and collaboratively to achieve intended outcomes. The Quests are constructed to guide students on a journey of learning through authentic, rich tasks which require deeper thinking and research skills to solve a real world problem. Students can progress through the Quest at their own pace using links and information provided to form conclusions to the tasks.

Previously I have constructed a Science based WebQuest using the topic 'The Life cycle of Bees'. Although I have not introduced this Quest to a classroom environment, the process of developing the Quest has been instrumental in the understanding of E-Learning and its capabilities to engage. To ensure a successful WebQuest was created the following essential components of a WebQuest (WebQuest Direct, 2009) were used:

  1. Introduction -draws the learners attention to the topic and inspiring action (hook)

  2. Task -a problem based focus question drawn from the introduction and sets out the goal.

  3. Resources - 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. the conclusion should encourage further action and investigation beyond the WebQuest.

  7. Teachers Page - Contains learner profiles, curriculum and essential learnings. Any additional information noted important, such as time needed to do quest.

Knowing that today's students have spent their entire lives surrounded by and using technologies (Prensky, 2001) I have a growing passion to engage them through the mediums they best learn. Realising that the students will have more in depth knowledge about technologies and there applications than myself, it is important to integrate teaching pedagogy and relevant tasks with technology to ensure student success within their learning.

Bye for now,



Dodge, B., (2001). Five Rules for Writing a Great WebQuest. Retrieved 17 August, 2009, from:

March, T., (2003/2004). Educational Leadership. Retrieved 17 August, 2009, from

Prensky, M., (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from:,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Smith, R., Lynch, D., & Knight, B., (2007). Transitioning teachers for national and international change. Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia: Pearson Education Australia.

WebQuest Direct, (2009). What is a WebQuest. Retrieved 17 August, 2009, from:

Creating A Slide Show with Flickr

I just wanted to put something a little interesting and light hearted in my blog. Something to be merely enjoyed.

This Slide Show was originally sent to me as a PowerPoint format. Using Flickr I investigated and constructed a slide show using tools such as editing, manipulation and reorganisation. This slide Show was viewed by a year five cohort, who then collaboratively chose the photo of the Praying Mantis to base the construction of a narrative. The students were totally enthralled and engaged with the slideshow, with a lot of commentory of oooh and ahhh.

Enjoy the Slide Show.


Watch this YouTube clip for a great example of Collaborative Learning

I called my two daughters in to watch this video and I knew it would engage my seven year old immediately as she has just learnt this song with her school choir. I spent the next twenty minutes watching this video over and over while she practiced singing and dancing. No doubt I think the clip is definitely engaging.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Advantages of Video

As educators and future educators, it is our main objective to engage and energise our students with tasks which are hands-on, authentic, and interesting (Griffin, 2009). The use of video as a learning tool provides a medium for which innovative and effective stimulation can occur, providing engagement and the perfect environment for visual and auditory learners.

Through video students can be taken on a journey around the world, see places with a real world context. Students can experience the pyramids in Egypt, a trip into space, famine in Africa, the colours and sounds of extinct species, and remote wilderness half way around the globe (Griffin, 2009). These journeys can be engaging and authentic, and encourage deeper understanding and higher order thinking about diverse cultures and the differences in their way of life.

Before using video in the classroom, specific outcomes should be determined and scaffolding of a lesson to be planned. The video is most effective if used as an enhancement to the lesson to provide engagement, relational and instructional information. It is ideal to keep the videos to a minimum to remain effective, as stated previously on my blog, these tools are not a substitute for good teaching pedagogy.

Video can also be used within the classroom through the use of technologies such as video cameras. During the last unit of work at a placement school, video cameras were used to film students role playing an advertisement for a toy they had constructed out of recycled materials. They were provided with a criteria and brainstorming sessions about effective advertising prior to filming. Once filmed the students downloaded the footage onto movie maker adding music introductions and credits. The completed advertisements along with the original toy were viewed by parents on culminating day.

The project was extremely successful and proving the theory of engagement where students must be meaningfully engaged in learning activities through interaction with others and worthwhile tasks, which is facilitated by the use of technologies (Kearsley, Shneiderman, 1999). The task provided the intimate use of technology and collaborative tasks which when intertwined proved to be highly engaging and meaningful.



Griffin, L., (2009). Using Video in the Classroom. Retrieved 16 August, 2009, from:

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

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Quizzes with ClassMarker

Grade five quiz - 'Life Cycles of Flowers'

Take our online test

First a little of my journey to ClassMarker.

For some reason, I have been avoiding ClassMarker during my progression through the Delivery Technologies section of the E-Learning course. When I finally accessed the site and constructed the quiz, there was a feeling of success and relief, that is until I began the process of downloading the URL to my Blog.

It was easy to put the URL to the blog except it did not connect to my quiz. I was quickly getting frustrated and gave up for the night and returned with a fresh start the next day. This is when I accessed the external test link and embedded the above link to my blog. I am still unsure if this was the correct procedure as others have the actual link posted to their blogs. Please feel free to access the test and let me know how it goes.

What is ClassMarker

Today's generation of students are computer literate and aren't the least bit intimidated by technology. For these reasons it stands to reason that they would prefer the efficiency and speed of taking part in online tests. As Bruce & Perry state(n.d., as cited in Prensky, 2001), the information introduced to today's students is processed fundamentally differently from their predecessors. Online tests and quizzes, when used appropriately, would provide a renewed interest, engagement, and willingness for student's to participate in testing.

ClassMarker provides a simple program to create and construct tests and quizzes that your learners can take online (ClassMarker, 2009). Online quizzes are not only an excellent technological tool for classed-based, and individual testing, this technology can be used as a personal study tool to set tests for individuals and their friends (ClassMarker, 2009).

Some of the available quiz features include:

1. Creating quizzes
2. Save quiz results
3. Link quizzes directly to website, email or blogs
4. Randomise quiz
5. Variety of quiz types including - multiple choice, true/false, short answer
6. Have quiz results emailed to you
7. Investigate and use other quizzes on ClassMarker
(ClassMarker, 2009)

During a lesson I will be conducting with in my placement school, the students will be instructed to access the following site.

Life cycles - Flower

Here they will use interactive online programs about the life cycle of flowers (which was previously taught), allowing students to label parts and access more in depth information about each specific part and its role in the flowers life cycle. Once students have completed their investigations they will progress to the online quiz from the link above. Once the test is completed the students will produce a hard copy of their own diagram of a flower and labeled its parts . This will be placed in their science journal, started specifically for this unit of work.



ClassMarker, (2009). About ClassMarker. Retrieved 16 August, 2009, from:

Prensky, M., (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from:,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Friday, August 14, 2009

SlideShare boasts itself as being the world's largest community for sharing presentations (SlideShare Inc, 2009). SlideShare is a valuable tool for uploading, tagging, downloading or embedding presentations into blogs and websites. Simply sign up free of charge, and begin downloading your presentations to your personal SlideShare page. Once you have downloaded your presentations they are stored into a tab called My Slidespace and may be shown publicly or privately.

Siemens (2004) believes that within social networks, there are hubs of well-connected people who are able to foster and maintain knowledge flow. The implementation of technologies such as SlideShare foster the environment of social networking, providing a place where people can download and share knowledge, ideas, presentations and work collaboratively to achieve a common outcome.

During the process of uploading a PowerPoint presentation into SlideShare, I was pleasantly surprised at the ease and use of the application. After a hick up or two I was able to import my relevant YouTube clip, and easily embed the presentation into my blog. Although I was happy with my progress with SlideShare, considering it was my first visit, I became quickly annoyed as I noticed that the animations (which took so long to adjust and enter) were no longer active. This is obviously an element of SlideShare that needs further investigation to ensure a quality product is produced.

SlideShare also offers the syncing of audio into your slides to provide a more engaging and descriptive presentation. The following embedded presentation was developed in conjunction with my fellow University buddies, Kerri and Nari, and used in a multiliteracy group presentation.




Siemens, G. (2004). Citing computer references. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from

SlideShare Inc, (2009). What is Slideshare. Retrieved 14 August, 2009, from

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Interactive Whiteboards - Engagement and More

Over the last two years I have had the opportunity to use Interactive Whiteboards (IWB's) in the classroom and witnessed first hand the effect and engagement these tools/technologies have with students. Their ability to provide interactive activities relevant to key learning areas enhance student focus and enjoyment for learning.

Yes, as you might tell I am an advocate for the IWB and have increasingly noted that teachers using the IWB's have a renewed passion for teaching and learning. It is at this time that I must reiterate that the boards are only as good as the human element controlling them. Teachers must provide good pedagogy skills to back up what is used on the IWB, and ensure they are not used merely as a babysitting tool.

Many teachers and administrators believe that IWB's are not as effective as expected and feel that the outlay of initial set up costs could be better spent elsewhere. I believe this is because the IWB's are not being used to their full potential and the technology has not been fully embraced.

Mitchell (n.d.) states that "students demand interactivity". This is a powerful statement which underpins the concepts of learning, especially knowing that students must be engaged in the curriculum in order for effective learning to occur (Kearsley, & Shneiderman, 1999). Interactivity and the ability to create, collaborate and share, are the focus of the IWB, providing invaluable opportunities for students to learn through hands on activities and in a style they prefer.

IWB's are more than merely an engagement tool. This tool:

1. Provides abundant teaching resources
2. Allows recording of instructional material to be posted for review by students
3. Presents presentations created by students or teacher
4. Digital storytelling
5. Teaching of software applications
6. Brainstorming

Just to name a few.
(The possibilities are endless)



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

Mitchell, B., (n.d.) Watch this video in a new windoweSN TechWatch: Interactive Whiteboards: Boon or Boondoggle Retrieved 12 August, 2009, from

Sunday, August 9, 2009


In 2006 Google bought a new and immediately popular video hosting and sharing service call YouTube for approximately 1.6 billion dollars, even though the service was not yet earning a profit (Karch, M. 2009). Obviously Google could see the potential for such a service which proved to be an instant hit from its early conception.

YouTube videos can be watched from the host site, or they can be viewed from locations such as: Blogs, and Webs sites, where the videos have been embedded. To successfully watch a YouTube video, a program call Adobe Flash must be installed, however this is a standard format supported by most browsers (Karch, M. 2009). Very few Digital Immigrants are informed that the new generation of Digital Natives can also source and watch YouTube form mobile devices such as mobile phones, Nintendo DS, ipods, and even Nintendo Wii game systems. This access allows a technology driven generation to obtain random access and fast receipt of information (Prensky, 2001).

There is great potential for YouTube to play a positive role in education (Karimi, 2009). Video's coupled with good teaching pedagogy can strengthen a subjects' curriculum and provoke interest, participation, deeper thinking, and engagement. Kearsley and Shneiderman (1999), suggest that by being engaged in the process of learning, students are intrinsically motivated to learn.

The following YouTube video Give Me Five - A Song About Healthy Eating was used during a unit pertaining to healthy eating for a year two cohort. The video was used to introduce the concepts of attitudes and perceptions, in particular comfort and order (Marzano et al 1997). Students were encouraged to participate in physical movement to a small routine through the duration of the clip. This strategy was used as an interval half way into a long lesson to regain focus and recharge.

The second video Fruit Glorious Fruit was used as an engagement tool at the beginning of the lesson and to provide an introduction the topics to be learnt. Both YouTube video's proved to be successful and were embraced by the students.

Although these video's were downloaded as engagement and classroom comfort and order tools, YouTube provided a new dimension to the delivery of the lesson and allowed a glimpse of where the future of teaching and learning lie.

Bye for now,


Fruit Glorious Fruit

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

Prensky, M., (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from:,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Karimi, S., (2009). The Value of E-Learning with YouTube: Video Sharing for Education. Retrieved August 13, 2009, from:

Karch, M., (2009). YouTube explained - Overview of the Google Video Sharing Tool Retrieved August 13, 2009, from:

Marzano, R., Pickering, D., Arredondo, D., Blackburn, G., Brandt, R., Moffett, C., Paynter, D., Pollock, J., & Whisler, J. (1997). Dimensions of learning teachers manual. Colorado, USA: Mid-continent Regional Education Laboratory.

The Power of E-Portfolios

Over the past few weeks I have struggled with the concepts and power of e-portfolio's. I ponder how to use its applications to my advantage for myself and in the classroom. What is an e-portfolio you might ask. Lorenzo and Ittelson (2005) provide the following definition, "An e-portfolio is a digitized collection of artifacts, including demonstrations, resources, and accomplishments that represent an individual, group, community, organisation or institution." These artifacts may be graphic, multimedia or text-based.

Most D-gens(digital generation)(Prensky, 2001), have heard of, and constructed an e-portfolio for personal use and are fully aware of all their functionalities. These digital native speakers (Prensky, 2001) rely heavily on accessing and receiving information as quickly as possible from one central site. E-portfolio not only provides these features, it also provides opportunities to keep personal treasures and information solely for the eyes of the keeper of the key (password).

It is Presnky's (2001) comments regarding teaching both Legacy and Future content in the language of Digital Natives, which has me reviewing some of my thoughts about the applications of these technologies. Students need to be taught some of the fundamentals of legacy content, but perhaps it is the responsibility of Digital Immigrants to embrace modern technologies and ensure that the intended learning is understood by the children of the present and future.

E-portfolios have the potential to engage and enhance teaching, learning and assessment practices (Lorenzo and Ittelson,2005), and provides a valuable tool for both student and educator. Some of the benefits of compiling an e-portfolio are:

Student -

1. Showcase examples of work
2. Encouraging critical thinkers
3. Development of writing and multimedia communication skills
4. Collaborative learning
5. Learn and use of technology literacy skills
6. Offer opportunities to digitally showcase their work and skills for employers
7. Reflection on what is learnt
(Lorenzo and Ittelson,2005)

Teachers -

1. Plan educational programs
2. Document skills and accomplishments
3. Critical reflection
4. Collective learning and knowledge sharing
5. Share ideas inside a class
6. Teaching philosophy
7. Provide a central location to store relevant data and teaching strategies/ideas and resources.
(Lorenzo and Ittelson,2005)

Life long learning is equivocally one of the most important elements a teacher can pass on to their students. The use of flexible learning environments which are learner centered and provide opportunities for social networking, creativity, and future orientated concepts within an educational environment, are imperative to the construction of foundations from which students can build a passion for this life long learning.
It seems it is a natural progression for both students and teachers to utilise tools such as e-portfolios to compile and represent evidence of both teaching and learning. As you can see, after much research, reading, and experimentation with e-portfolio's, I seem to have a much better grasp of the concepts surrounding this technology. Unfortunately this not mean that I am fully able to apply all of the capabilities, but I am determined and excited to progress through the journey of the e-portfolio world.
Until next time,


Prensky, M., (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from:,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Lorenzo, G., Ittelson, J., (2005) An Overview of E-Portfolios. Retrieved August 9, 2009, from: