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


  1. Hi Kellie,
    I have really enjoyed following you on your journey and your words of wisdom have often provided me with guidance when, at times, I've felt completely lost. You have done a fantastic job and I will continue to follow your blog in the coming months to see what new adventures you have taken.
    Take care,

  2. Hi Kellie,

    I really cannot believe how far we have all come in such a short time. I remember as clear as day our conversations about how difficult we thought it would be just a create a blog, look what we have achieved!

    It had been a wonderful journey that i am looking forward to continuing. I believe this blog will be a useful tool for us for quite some time to come.

    All the best,

  3. Hi Nari, Kerri,

    This blog will be a great tool to reflect, especially when we are tying to engage a difficult class into their curricilum. We will remember the theories very well and how they can applied to learning.

    It has been great collaborating with you, not to many assessment pieces we can do that with except maybe presentations.

    Bye for now,