Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Reflective Synopsis

Over the last few weeks, I have investigated a variety of different e-learning tools that can be incorporated into the classroom to assist students in their learning journey. Personally, I have gained a variety of skills and new competencies surrounding technology and its application into the classroom.

Each program outlined on the course website was analysed in accordance with various learning theories and frameworks to ensure that these tools were effective in engaging students in rich and meaningful tasks.

Current learning theories such as Siemens (2005) support the use of ICT within the classroom to facilitate metacognitve and problem-solving skills (Lai, 2001). I was surprised as to how ICT linked to higher order thinking and effective pedagogical frameworks (Lankshear & Knobel, 2003). Vygotsky’s constructivist theory provides further guidance on the use of ICT within the classroom to provide a student-centred and authentic learning context (Brady, 2006).

Technology such as blogs and wikis form a foundation to develop critical literacy practices by enabling the students to make informed and educated judgements about information gathered online (Gilster, 1997). Pretensky (2001, p.1) suggests that children of today, ‘think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors.’

Each piece of technology that I have explored can have both positive and negative implications when implementing in the classroom. After reflecting on various tools, I have concluded that I would use the following within the classroom:

1. Blogs. Blogs can be used to promote literacy skills such as reading and writing, to display students’ work and promote collaboration and reflection amongst students and teachers (Huffaker, 2009). When used in an authentic context, students are able to draft, edit, revise, publish and reflect on their thoughts pertaining to the focus topic (EduBlogs, 2009). For example, when used within literacy education, as a Learning Manager, I am able to moderate punctuation, grammar and other elements and conference with students to assist them to overcome challenges they may be facing (Lankshear & Knobel, 2003).

2. Wikis. Wikis are a useful collaborative tool for students to use with peers (Victorian Government, 2005). Students can access them to edit group assignments and discuss classroom learning. I would also have access to moderate and provide scaffolding and feedback to the students. To ensure safety and privacy of students, they can configure their settings to ensure that only their peers can view, add and modify content.

3. Voki Avatars. These allow the students to enter in their text and create their own animated person that then articulates the text, which is beneficial for shy students.

4. Quizzes. These can be used within the classroom as an assessment tool for the Learning Manager. They can be utilised as formative, summative or diagnostic assessment tools (Brady & Kennedy, 2009). Students in the Early Years would need assistance using these tests, however as they progress, these can become independent learning tools. It is important to note that I would need to provide feedback for students on their achievement and provide scaffolding to assist students to acquire the knowledge they may have got incorrect.

5. YouTube. This would arguably be the most used video sharing site. Along with Teacher Tube, YouTube can provide a vast range of videos to accompany a lesson or concept within the classroom. Students could also film presentations, school excursions or class work and upload to this site. I would need to address the issue of safety online for students to ensure that faces, locations and other personal information was not shown.

6. Google Earth. This technology can be incorporated into a wide variety of lessons. Students can use this technology to explore places around the world, various environments and their local area. This can link to many KLAs such as Maths, Science, SOSE and English.

7. WebQuests. I would use this technology as an aide to a unit of work. The use of a WebQuest would be based upon an inquiry unit to which students need to present a solution to a problem in an authentic context. As students work through the site, I would scaffold their learning and provide other information and sources for exploration based upon their own questions and ideas.

8. File Storage (MediaFire). The use of technology is rapidly expanding. Users require quick and reliable retrieval of data, music, pictures and other files. Storing data on one computer, is unadvisable, therefore the use of a file storage system, as well as personal or work computers is recommended. Within the classroom, I will have a vast range of files for learning experiences; therefore, require quick access to this data. The advantage of this program is that regardless of location, data is still accessible. It is also advantageous for the students, if for example, they could upload their assignments, citing easy retrieval for myself, as the Learning Manager to mark.

This task has also proved to be interactive with my peers. By following others’ blogs, I have had an opportunity to gain an insight into their thoughts and applications of various tools. This has given me the opportunity to place comments on their blog, and in turn, they have responded to mine.

Although I would like to utilise these pedagogical tools within the classroom, the technology within schools is lacking. I have found trying to use these tools on my practicum has been ineffective, as the bandwidth at school has been too slow for some programs. I have also found that I always need to check before the lesson to ensure that the site is not blocked on EQ computers.

However, I believe that my role as a Learning Manager is to facilitate and use the technology to the best of my ability and create innovate learning experiences using the resources I have available. If I am passionate about the use of these tools in the classroom, it will be infectious for my students and that in turn will create meaningful and effective learning experiences.

During this course, I have developed my own skills and competencies in technology and have discovered how the pedagogy relates to these programs. My aim is to create a classroom where students feel connected and engaged and take ownership of their learning.



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

Brady, L., & Kennedy, K. (2009). Celebrating Student Achievement. Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia: Pearson Education Australia.

EduBlogs. (2009). Tips on blogging with students. Retrieved August 1, 2009, from

Huffaker, D. (2009). The Educated Blogger: Using Weblogs to Promote Literacy in the Classroom. Retrieved July 16, 2009, from rhetoric readings/huffaker.pdf

Lai, K.-W. (Ed.). (2001). E-Learning. Dunedin, NZ: University of Otago Press.

Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2003). New Literacies: Changing Knowledge and Classroom Learning. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.

Schacter, J. (1999). The Impact of educational technology on student achievement. Retrieved from

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

Victorian Government. (2005). Glossary. Retrieved July 16, 2009, from

Tuesday, 18 August 2009


Hi everyone,

ClassMarker is a free site which allows for the creation of online tests. This provides the Learning Manager with the opportunity to create formative, summative or diagnostic tests. These tests can either be multiple choice, true/false or short response (ClassMarker, 2009).
Students can also use this site, not only to respond to the Learning Manager’s test, but to also create tests for other students.

Here is a task that I have created, but have not had the opportunity to implement within a classroom.

Students in Year Six have been investigating local, state and federal governments. They have visited Parliament House, as well researching these different government levels. The students have been asked, in groups, to create a test for their peers to complete on the knowledge that they have ascertained so far in their learning. Previously, students created their own mini questionnaire that they used to ask their tour guides when on the excursion.

Therefore, I will use the Dimensions of Learning Procedural Knowledge methodology to scaffold students’ creation of these tests (Marzano, et al., 1997).

Construct Models
- Provide or construct with students a written or graphic representation of the skill or process they are learning. Brainstorm with students all the knowledge and skills that they have gained so far in their studies. Identify areas which they believe would be useful to use to construct a quiz and what they may need to research further in order to gain answers for their quiz. Help students to use a graphic organiser which states the question and the relevant answer.

- Help students to see how the skill or process they are learning is similar to and different from other skills or processes. Students will analyse their construction of their mini questionnaires to identify the similarities between tasks.

- Point out common errors or pitfalls. Identify to students common errors when creating a test (spelling, grammar or content errors). Provide feedback to students when they are creating their test.

- Help students understand the importance of internalising procedural knowledge. For example, discuss with students the importance of editing their text. As they are completing this stage of the task, inform students that they will need to practice revising their test to check that the questions and answers are written clearly and concisely for their peers.

The use of this framework also links to the ICT Learning Design Model (AusInfo, 2003) in the following way:

- Learning Tasks. Students are required to work collaboratively to create an assessment test for their peers. The content knowledge is centred on the people that govern in their city, state and country.

- Learning Resources. Students will need to gather information from their excursion and questionnaire to construct the test. They will also need to identify areas that they are lacking in information and search for this from reliable sources. Students will also need to outline, draft, edit and publish their questions and answers.

- Learning Supports. The Learning Manager will scaffold the students’ learning by assisting them to brainstorm information about their knowledge and understanding and to identify areas where further information will need to be sourced. The Learning Manager can conduct teacher-student conferences to assist them to create accurate quizzes for their peers.

Once the students have constructed their tests, they can upload them to the ClassMarker site. They can provide a link to their test for other students to complete.

I feel that this technology is useful as it gives the students ownership of their learning. However, this may not be appropriate in the Early Years, but it could definitely be used in the older grades.



AusInfo. (2003). The Learning Design Construct. Retrieved July 24, 2009, from Learning Design:

ClassMarker. (2009). Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved August 1, 2009, from

Marzano, R., Pickering, D., Arredondo, D., Blackburn, G., Brandt, R., Mofett, C., et al. (1997). Dimensions of Learning: Teacher's Manuel. Colorado, USA: Mid-Continent Regional Educational Laboratory.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Using Flickr in the classroom

Hi everyone,

I have not been able to implement this into a classroom, so here are my ideas of how this tool could be used with Year Four students as an example.

Year Four students are studying animals and are going on an excursion to Australia Zoo. Their job is to take photos of their animal that they are studying. Once they get back to the classroom, they must upload these photos to their own Flickr account. Once they have uploaded these pictures, they are required to link them to their own wiki as a reference point for their oral presentation.

Students are also required to search the Flickr site for images relating to their animal of study. Once they have found images relating to their study topic, they will link and embed them into their wiki.

After their oral presentation, the students will respond to the following questions:
- Why did they choose those pictures?
- What makes them effective?

Also, ask the students to reflect on their process and discuss the challenges they faced and the strategies they employed to overcome these difficulties.

Reflecting upon this task, had I implemented it, the following challenges may have arisen:

- Equal sharing of the camera during the excursion. Students could possibly use personal cameras.
- Time to upload photos to Flickr. The Learning Manager could assist students in learning how to compress files to make them easier to upload through the use of a program such as Microsoft Picture Manager.
- Assist students to set up their own Flickr account. Use a data projector to show the students how to create their own account before they do it themselves.
- Scaffold students’ learning and show them how to embed and link their photos to the class blog or wiki. Use a data projector to show students how to complete this first.
- Computer access. If there are not many computers available for access, set up group rotations, making this activity a group rotation ensures all students have the opportunity to set up their account and upload photos.

The use of this technological tool relates to the ICT Learning framework (AusInfo, 2003). This framework is broken into three components:

- Learning Tasks – students are engaged in real-life authentic learning tasks
- Learning Resources – the resources necessary to complete the task
- Learning Support – scaffolding provided by the Learning Manager to assist students to complete the task.

Within this task, the students will be using all of the components of the framework. They are gathering resources for a task that is authentic and relevant to their world by taking their own photos as well as searching for other images on the Flickr site. The Learning Manager is giving the students support by scaffolding their learning to create an account, upload photos and link to blogs and wikis.

Once students have established their own account, they can also organise photos into folders, upload personal photos, and have access to these files at anytime (Yahoo7 , 2009).

Even though I did not have the opportunity to implement this idea into a classroom, I believe that it would have been an effective task for the students.



AusInfo. (2003). The Learning Design Construct. Retrieved July 24, 2009, from Learning Design:

Yahoo7 . (2009). What is Flickr? Retrieved August 1, 2009, from Flickr:

Wiki - A sample unit plan

Hello everyone,

Here is an outline that I have created for the use of a wiki within the classroom. I have not been able to implement this, but hopefully one day I may get the chance.

Key Question- "How does recycling save our environment?"

Grade: Year 5
Unit Length: 5 weeks
Topic: Recycling


Science Essential Learnings
Science can help make natural, social and built environments sustainable and may influence personal human activities.

English Essential Learnings
The purpose of writing and designing includes entertaining, informing and describing.

The intended outcomes (derived from these Essential Learnings) are:
- Students will understand the impact that recycling has upon the environment
- Students will understand what is required within the recycling process
- Students will understand the elements associated with a wiki
- Students will create and edit a wiki
- Students will write and present an oral presentation about recycling using the wiki as an aide
- Students will prepare a wiki for publishing

Task Description
In teams, students will work collaboratively and populate a class wiki, which will form the basis of a presentation in their local community about recycling. The students will also send their information into Wikipedia for verification to be published on that site.

Weekly Overview
Week One: Students are hooked into the unit by visiting the recycling centre. They are informed about the amount of rubbish that is placed into landfill that should be placed in recycling. On the wiki, they will post pictures and comments of their visit to the recycling centre. Students are able to add and edit comments where appropriate.

Week Two: Students investigate how to recycle. The Learning Manager will place links on the wiki for students to visit that will assist them in finding information about recycling. Students will view these clips and read necessary material and comment on their learning on the wiki. Within their groups, they will research recycling and place information that they find on the class wiki site. The Learning Manager will monitor the use of this wiki and ensure that all students’ workload is the same.

Week Three: Students will investigate current recycling measures within the community and identify ways that these can be improved. Students will post their thoughts and ideas to the wiki. They will also begin to identify ways that they can create an effective presentation.

Week Four: Students will begin to use the information from their wiki and use it to create their presentation. Students investigate other wikis to analyse their information and sources to ensure their classroom wiki is accurate and succinct.

Week Five: Students will finish writing their oral presentation, using the information gained from the wiki. They will give their oral presentation to the class as well as an information afternoon at the local community centre. They will use their wiki as an aide to their presentation. After the presentations, students will reflect upon their new understandings. With the Learning Manager’s assistance, students will submit their completed wiki to Wikipedia for verification before publishing.

This unit plan could also be designed to fit the Learning Engagement Theory (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). This could be outlined as follows:

Relate – students have identified a real world, authentic task in which they need to find a solution.
Create – students must design an effective oral presentation, using a wiki created collaboratively with peers about recycling.
Donate – students conduct their oral presentation at their local community centre. Students also submit their wiki to Wikipedia for verification before publishing.

I hope that this provides a general overview of how to effectively use a wiki within classroom instruction.



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

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Digital Storytelling

Hi everyone,

In the classroom, story time can be considered an activity where teachers sit and read a book to the students. Although this form of literacy is still vitally important in a child’s education (Winch, Johnston, Holiday, Ljungdahl, & March, 2006), Digital Storytelling has become a new way of viewing and responding to text (Lubbock Independent School District, 2009).

Digital storytelling within the classroom allows (Lubbock Independent School District, 2009):
- Engaging learning experiences
- Faster pace of learning
- Opportunities for creativity
- Use of multiple intelligences

A Digital Story needs to be (Lubbock Independent School District, 2009):
- Clear and concise
- Personal
- Planned
- Constructed with readily available resources
- Formed in collaboration with others
- Engaging for the audience

Creating a Digital Story involves (Lubbock Independent School District, 2009):
1. Planning
2. Producing
3. Presenting
4. Assessing

It seems to be really simple to create a Digital Story. The software required is, but not limited to, Windows Photo Story or Windows Movie Maker. Students can also import and edit pictures from their Picnik account.

This program could be incorporated into all year levels by creating a display of classroom work throughout the year. Specifically within the Early Years, teachers use digital portfolios to showcase students’ learning throughout the year in alignment with a report card.

This is an example of a task that I have just designed myself, which could be used within the classroom. Year Three students have been learning about sea creatures and have just been to Underwater World for an excursion. Whilst they were there, they took pictures of marine life and took notes about how to effectively care for these animals. Once they returned to school, their teacher asked them to take on the role of a sea creature and give a presentation from that creature’s perspective. Students were allowed to use photos from the trip and also from Internet searches. They were asked to present their findings by using either Windows Photo Story 3 or Windows Movie Maker.

Here is how the task relates to the Learning Engagement Theory (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999):

- Relate. Students would work collaboratively in teams to create a presentation from the perspective of a sea creature.

- Create. Students would gather resources from their excursion, using photos and written notes. They would also search the Internet for information pertaining to their chosen creature. Students would upload pictures and place text and sound over the images to tell the story of their chosen animal.

- Donate. Students would place their completed presentation on the Learning Manager’s MediaFire account, which is shared with other Learning Managers to use within their classroom. The students would also provide links to their completed presentation in a class handout. Students would also visit a lower grade and show them their completed stories.

Although I have not had the opportunity to use this resource within the classroom, I believe that it would be effective. It also links well with other Key Learning Areas such as, ICT, English, Arts, SOSE and Science. It is definitely a resource that I will be looking to use in the future.

As a final thought about the use of this technology, consider this quote by Marco Antonio Torres, an expert within Digital Storytelling who states, “Digital kids need learning to be relevant, meaningful and applicable now” (Lubbock Independent School District, 2009).

Until next time,



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

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

Winch, G., Johnston, R. R., Holiday, M., Ljungdahl, L., & March, P. (2006). Literacy: Reading, Writing and Children's Literature: 3ed. South Melbourne, VIC, Australia: Oxford University Press.

Blogs in the classroom - effective?

Hi everyone,

As I do not have the ability to gain access to a class to trial the use of blogs, I will just post my thoughts on this technology tool.

Recently in an English presentation, my group presented the argument that blogs should be used as a tool for literacy instruction.

The use of blogs within the classroom can promote the following attributes in students:

- Interactivity (Weiland & Hayden, 2007)
- Collaborative learning with peers
- Sense of community in the classroom
- Creating own opinions and viewpoints
- Personal reflection
- Critical thinking skills
- Assist with confidence and clarity
- Lifelong learning
- Higher order thinking
(Williams & Jacobs, 2004)

The Learning Manager could create a blog and post homework, links to sites and encourage students to post comments and reflect on classroom learning. It will also be important that the students are taught correct netiquette as well as being safe online.

There are three keys to an effective blog:

1. Evidence of a clear and strong sense of purpose
2. Recognisable and well-informed point of view
3. A good standard of presentation
(Lankshear & Knobel, 2003).

Blogs can be used as a great collaborative and engaging tool for students. Although they link well to multiple learning theories, Siemens (2005) states that learning best occurs within networks. One of the principles of connectivism is that learning and knowledge is constructed when viewing different perspectives and opinions (Siemens, 2005).

The use of blogs within the classroom is endless. For example, they can be used to upload photos of recent trips and allow the students to comment on their images, or post homework assignments. It is important to note that a password can be set to ensure that only the Learning Manager and students are able to view their blog to maintain online safety standards. They are a great tool and when used in the correct context, have great learning benefits for the students.



Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2003). New Literacies: Changing Knowledge and Classroom Learning. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.

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

Weiland, S., & Hayden, R. (2007). Online Literacy for Distance Learning. Retrieved August 5, 2009, from

Williams, J. B., & Jacobs, J. (2004). Exploring the use of blogs as learning spaces in the higher education sector. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology , 20 (2), 232-247.

PowerPoint (Quiz)

Hi everyone,

I have just learnt about how to create hyperlinks within PowerPoint presentations. I followed the instruction guide on creating PowerPoint buttons through the Internet4Classrooms website. I never knew that in PowerPoint, links can be added to easily other sites and pages throughout the presentation. Buttons can be designed for the user to either click on or hover the mouse over for them to perform their function (Brooks & Byles, 2000).

I have created a very simple PowerPoint for my Prep students to help them to understand colours. I would also have them try to use their prior knowledge of sounds and find the word that corresponds to the colour. For example, pink – they would need to look for the ‘p’ word. Below is the link to my MediaFire account where this quiz is located.

Colour PowerPoint Quiz

I found that the creation of this quiz was quite time consuming. I have concluded that ClassMarker seems easier for the Learning Manager and students to create and use. The only problem with ClassMarker is that once students have chosen an answer, they are unable to change it. However, by creating a PowerPoint Quiz, it can be considered an informal test or learning activity for students.

In the upper grades, students could use this technology to create their own quizzes for classmates, based upon their classroom work. This would assist students to gain a deeper understanding of their content knowledge and develop ICT skills. It is also important to note that students would need to understand copyright laws to ensure that they are creating their own original work.

The use of this technology relates to the Learning Engagement Theory (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999) by using the following framework:

- Relate – students work in collaborative teams to create a quiz for their peers in a real-life context.
- Create – the PowerPoint is created based on a problem. For example, students create a PowerPoint for their peers to test their understanding of how climate change is affecting their local community.
- Donate – students allow access to the PowerPoint and provide opportunities for peers and teachers alike to test their knowledge.

Although this technology is time consuming, it is a good learning tool that students can take ownership of and present to their peers a quiz that challenges current knowledge and viewpoints.

As a Learning Manager, it would be my role to facilitate and scaffold students’ learning of how to effectively use this tool. It would also be important that I teach the students appropriate research and referencing skills so that they create a PowerPoint within copyright laws.



Brooks, S., & Byles, B. (2000). PowerPoint: Using Buttons on a Slide Show. Retrieved August 17, 2009, from Internet4Classrooms:

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