Friday, 31 July 2009


Hi everyone,

I believe that PowerPoint would have to be one of the simplest programs to use within the classroom. It is easy to create a new presentation, allowing the Learning Manager to upload images, movies and graphic organisers.

PowerPoint can be used as an effective delivery tool within the classroom to place key ideas and facts for the students to make notes about the content of the lesson. Links can also be easily placed for quick access to videos, learning objects and other sites relevant to their topic (Tuscaloosa City Schools, 2002).

When using PowerPoint there are many things to consider. Recently, I created a PowerPoint as a visual aide to my lesson. I was teaching my Prep students about the lifecycle of the butterfly. After downloading and saving pictures from the Internet, I placed them in the presentation. I had to ensure that these pictures would not become too blurry when they were shown through the data projector on the whiteboard. This was achieved by selecting pictures that had larger dimensions through the advanced search function on Google Images. I then placed links to learning objects that I was able to easily click on during the presentation and have the students complete. I placed notes on the slides as prompts for myself to pose higher order thinking questions for the students. When I was creating the PowerPoint, I used various animation tools such as shrinking, fading and zoom. Although these did not add academic value to the presentation, they assisted the children in remaining focused throughout this part of the lesson as they had not been exposed previously to this presentation format.

The links that I placed on various slides gave the students opportunities to work collaboratively. These sites were learning objects featured on various educational sites, primarily Education Queensland’s Learning Place (Education Queensland, 2009). The students were then encouraged to assist each other in completing the learning objects. A few students were able to have a go on the various sites. The students who did not have a turn were allowed to use the computers at the back of the classroom during the day to complete the activities, enabling me to cater for students' individual differences.

This collaborative learning approach links to the Learning Engagement Theory, whereby students are engaged in a group context and able to work together to achieve the desired outcome (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). The activities had an authentic context as the students were learning about the lifecycle of the butterfly so they could apply their learning to understand how to effectively care for the living world.

A couple of PowerPoint tips that I have discovered when using this presentation mode:

- Be aware of the amount and size of text for each slide
- Ensure that the colour of the background and text is clearly readable for the students
- Save as a PowerPoint Show. This ensures that all pictures and movies can be viewed from any computer

I encourage you to try this technology within the classroom, however, pose these questions in conclusion, and look forward to hearing your thoughts.

1. As PowerPoint is arguably the most used presentation tool, is it becoming too common?
2. Are students not as engaged in their learning if for every project they have the option of creating a PowerPoint presentation?

Until next time,



Education Queensland. (2009). Retrieved July 10, 2009, from The Learning Place:

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

Tuscaloosa City Schools. (2002). Using PowerPoint in the Classroom. Retrieved July 31, 2009, from Online Technology Learning Centre:

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Voki Avatars

Hi everyone,

In this posting, I aim to reflect on my creation of a Voki Avatar.

Click on this link for the site to create a Voki Avatar.

This site is free to join and I must admit I quite enjoyed customising my own avatar. The only problem is that the amount of text allocated for each avatar is smaller than fee-paying sites.

Featured below is the avatar I created.

I am planning to use an avatar in an upcoming university group presentation. The avatar will take on the role of a newsreader which will provide an introduction to our topic. This will allow for minimal group role changes throughout the presentation.

The students of today can be considered ‘digital natives’, therefore, require different methods of engagement compared to students twenty years ago (Prensky, 2001). Prensky (2001) continues by discussing that they have been exposed to technology such as mobile phones, computers and digital music players, which have contributed to their shorter attention span. Therefore, as Learning Managers, our role now incorporates educating students using a futures orientated pedagogy, rather than traditional rote learning (Prensky, 2001).

Prensky (2005) states the need to engage students in the curriculum through ways that are aligned with their fast-paced, technology-rich society. The use of a avatar could be effective within the classroom as an introductory hook into the lesson or unit of work. The avatar could take on a role within the lesson as an expert regarding the focus topic or as a segment in students’ oral presentations.

Allowing students to create their own avatar within the classroom can provide Learning Managers with explicit teachable moments in literacy training. Students would need to understand how to effectively create a piece of text that the avatar can articulate. This aligns with Oliver’s theory, whereby Learning Managers scaffold students’ learning in authentic contexts (AusInfo, 2003). After creating their piece of text, the students would then be able to produce their avatar, thus demonstrating their application of learning through this tool.

I believe that this piece of technology can be used within the classroom. The Learning Manager needs to value it as a pedagogical tool and create learning experiences that engage the students and ensure that learning outcomes are achieved.

Until next time,



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

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

Prensky, M. (2005, September/October). Engage Me or Enrage Me. Educause Review , 61-64.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Mahara - The Online Portfolio

Hi all,

At the end of last week, I created my Mahara account. To create the account, I was required to follow the online instructions and pay five dollars, charged annually, for access.

Mahara is an electronic portfolio program, which in its simplest form, is similar to a paper portfolio, only an online version (Mahara, 2009). Data such as blogs, resumes, multimedia and documents can be stored in this facility. The benefit of this system is to provide a central location for the storage of documents in a secure server environment. One of the benefits of using this system is that it is accessible through any computer internet connection.

Mahara can be considered as a valuable pedagogical tool in a new approach to teaching and learning. This program allows both students and Learning Managers to demonstrate their acquired knowledge, skills and learning to a selected audience. It provides a place for reflective practice that can be utilised for both teacher and student.

Within the classroom, this piece of technology can be used by providing students with a secure and simple environment where they are able to upload work samples and documents that they have created. This will allow other members of their class to view their portfolio. This is definitely a more formal approach to learning, whereas a wiki can be accessed and modified by any user, depending on the security settings.

This portfolio enables students to build a profile of themselves through text and pictures. It is an effective way to become familiar with the interests and hobbies of each class member. This aligns clearly with Dimension One strategies for developing positive attitudes and perceptions in the classroom (Marzano, et al., 1997).

There are many different programs that can be utilised within the classroom. I believe that as a Learning Manager, I need to identify specific knowledge and skills that I want the students to acquire and consider the range of different pedagogical tools that will enhance the creation of effective learning experiences.

I am looking forward to creating and expanding my Mahara profile.




Mahara. (2009). About. Retrieved July 24, 2009, from Mahara - ePortfolio System:

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.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Wikis - A valuable learning tool?

Hello everyone,

I have just recently created my own wiki page. Feel free to view this page using the following link,

Click on the following link and it will take you to a YouTube site which explains in simple terms the definition of a wiki and its uses. I found this clip extremely helpful which allowed me to create my site and reflect in this post on my experiences.

Wikis in Plain English

The following is a reflection of my understanding of the creation and use of a wiki.

A wiki is an online resource which promotes collaboration between users to add and modify content (Victorian Government, 2005). A wiki’s security setting can be set to only allow members of the site to view and modify content, or open for anyone to post comments and change data. It is the wiki’s creator that determines the level of access to their site.

When I setup my own wiki, I logged onto and followed the online instructions to open my account. I was able to choose the colour scheme for my wiki and was able to decide the level of access I wanted other users to have. When prompted for a title, I chose, ‘Melissa’s Classroom Ideas’.

The aim of my wiki is to provide a site where members are able to add and modify pages that lists educational websites in an attempt to collate teaching resources and ideas.

After the creation of my wiki, I considered how this piece of technology could be incorporated into the classroom.

I believe that this piece of technology corresponds well with the Learning Engagement Theory (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). This theory states that productive learning occurs when students are engaged in meaningful tasks through interaction with their peers. Effective collaboration can occur with the Learning Manager creating a class generic page where students can add and modify information pertaining to their classroom academic work. The use of this medium for collaboration with peers emphasises this as a valuable communication tool (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999).

I believe that this tool can be effectively used within the classroom. Students could upload pictures and information that is useful for group projects, thus allowing other group members to edit the project where necessary. To ensure safety and privacy of students, they can configure their settings to ensure that only their peers can view, add and modify content.

This piece of technology is very simple to setup, maintain and control, making it an effective learning tool in the classroom.




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

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

Friday, 24 July 2009

RSS Feeds (Google Reader)

Hi all,

I have now been able to construct my RSS feed. The use of the acronym of RSS is defined as Really Simple Syndication. This system enables the user to subscribe to different websites such as news, blogs, audio and video. Regular updates from these sites are read using an RSS reader or aggregator. This reader checks the subscribed feeds for new works and updates automatically to allow the user to read the feeds from one simple location. A RSS feed symbol can be found on many websites and often is able to be accessed on the Internet Explorer task bar. There are many different reader programs, but the one that I have used for this assignment is Google Reader. Every time I join a new blog, it enables me to view it through this program.

A part of this assessment task is to comment on peers’ blogs. Google Reader provides a simple and effective way of checking if new posts have been made. This also provides a quick link to blog addresses where responses can be posted.

The incorporated of ICT in the classroom is fast becoming a desired pedagogical tool. Kearsley and Shneiderman (1999) discuss that technology can aid the engagement level of students. The intent of the Learning Engagement Theory is to provide a conceptual framework for teaching and learning in the area of technology. The use of this technology within the classroom could extend to students setting up their own RSS reader and subscribing to websites that are relevant to their academic work. Using this technology would allow the Learning Manager to equip students with the last information and resources pertaining to the content knowledge required for their current unit of work.

Personally, I believe that this technology is valuable within the classroom. As technology grows and the opportunity for students and teachers to use blogs to post homework and other classroom tasks increases, it would allow students to stay connected with each other and promote collaborative learning (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). The question that I have with the use of this specific piece of technology is the minimum age it would be appropriate. Children in the Early Years may not be able to understand this form of technology, however, I believe that it could be shown using a generic class page in these years, and this knowledge built upon as the students progress in their learning journey.

I look forward to your thoughts on this topic.



Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology- based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 10, 2009, from

Friday, 17 July 2009

E-learning - the classroom of the future.

After yesterday's lecture/tutorial, it made me consider how technology can be used within the classroom as an effective learning tool. After being exposed to many types of resources, it left me feeling slightly apprehensive about how these can be incorporated into the classroom.

As a learning manager, I need to equip myself with the skills necessary to teach children how to effectively manage these mediums to ensure that they become well-equipped for the future.

As I progress through this course, I aim to explore various learning tools and how I can apply them into the classroom. So venture with me as I try to manage e-learning!

Until next time,


Saturday, 11 July 2009


Welcome to my first blog ever!

Let me tell you a bit about myself.
I am currently studying the BLM (Primary) course at CQU since 2008. I have only got 1.5 years left of this degree, then it's into the wonderful and exciting world of teaching!
Having graduated school in 2006, many say that I should find this course easy, since I did grow up in the technological age, however, this is still quite daunting.
I look forward to the journey ahead, to learn more about wikis, blogs, rss feeds (?) and many other terms that I have no idea about!

Until next time,