Friday, August 21, 2009

Reflective Synopsis

My elearning journey to date.
I have learned through participating in the BLM e-learning subject that I am, as Marc Prensky (2001) defines, a “digital immigrant”. Having grown up in the 70's and 80's, my earliest experience with digital technology was the privilege of using an electric typewriter instead of the old clunkers. When I first encountered computers, as a year 9 student, we had to remember what seemed like an endless amount of information just to start a program.

Fortunately technology has come a long way in the last 25 years allowing today’s students’ to be recognized as “digital natives”, having grown up with technology all around them. Today's learners interact with technology on a daily basis, communicating with peers via sms, email, facebook and msn just to name a few. They listen to music and view movies and podcasts via portable storage devices such as ipods and mobile phones. These digital natives download music, perform Internet searches and play games. As Marc Prensky illustrates in his Engage Me or Enraged Me article (2005) "Life for today's kids may be a lot of things - including stressful - but it's certainly not unengageing."

For this reason, as a future Learning Manager, I need to, not only learn how to use the current array of technological tools, but be constantly vigilant of the ever increasing supply and upgrading my knowledge with it. In order to support my learners by providing authentic learning experiences that incorporate the use of the ever changing and developing tools, I will be implementing technology based frameworks such as Kearsley and Schneiderman’s (1999) Engagement Theory and keeping my eyes open for other theories that will help develop my pedagogical practices.

By participating in this elearning journey I have discovered a myriad of elearning tools that I was previously unaware of and have developed a stronger understanding of the applications of many others. Tools such as Google Earth, Wikipedia, Webquest and PowerPoint which I have used before, personally and within my learning design, but through following this process of discovery, reading other blogs and discussing with my peers and lecturers, I have found new and interesting aspects about them that I can now embed into future learning experiences.

Having now discovered internet sites such as Blogger, WikiSpaces, Google Reader, Voki, Picnik, SlideShare, Mediafire, Incompetech and VoiceThread my head is spinning with ideas about how I can implement these in the classroom, to not only engage my students, but increase the intellectual quality of their learning.

As I have now discovered, with tools such as blogs and wiki’s, it is possible to have an internet site where students can work collaboratively both inside the school and from home. Kearsley and Shneiderman’s (1999) Engagement Theory, which is broken into three components;
• Relate advocating for team efforts, communication, management and social skills,
• Create the principle of making learning a creative, purposeful activity and
• Donate which stresses making a useful contribution while learning ,
suggests that collaboration is key to effective learning. This is backed up by Siemens (2004) Connectivism theory, where he suggests that “learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources” and “Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning”

Whether you use class blogs or students’ individual blogs or wikis would be dependent on the age and experience of the learners and the expected learning outcome of incorporating such tools. As a teacher having a class blog would allow posting of resources such as readings and images, homework activities with instructions that parents can follow, and lessons that can be undertaken at the individuals own pace. Students’ entries could then be monitored using an RSS aggregator.

VoiceThread, Youtube and PodCasts are tools that I feel would be beneficial in supporting inclusive education particularly the likes of indigenous students, with their “dependence on the spoken word and observation for sharing knowledge about their own world” (E. Grant, undated) Using podcasts and youtube videos that relate to a topic and provide insights or demonstrations can be incorporated into lesson planning any stage,
• Engage, providing a hook or introduction to the topic,
• Body; used to enhance the learning, provide modeling, prompt discussions or provide information.
• Conclusion; could be used to tie learning together or encourage reflection.
Just as they can be presented in many ways, through embedding in blogs, providing links through wikis, presented via Interactive White Boards or Digital Projection or just as a URL link within Blackboard.

Through computers, the internet and a variety of other technological advances, we as educators of the future have the opportunity to develop creative, authentic and engaging learning experiences that will ensure inclusion of all our students. Just look at the wealth of knowledge this cohort of University students has gained from participating in this journey of elearning.

As I mentioned earlier I have gained a stronger understanding of these technologies not only through my own experiences but through reading my peers blogs, commenting and exchanging ideas. The following is a list of blogs that I have followed and commented on.

Jasmin Winters, Wikipedia,
Rhonda Perrett, Digital Storytelling,Google Earth,
Kerri Norman, Class Marker,
Kira , Powerpoint Quizzes,
Ben Deguara, Incomptech Music for learning,
Donna Webb, ,


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

Prensky, M., (2005) Engage Me or Enrage Me; What today’s learners demand, Educause Review, Sep/Oct.

Kearsley, G. and Shniederman, B (1999) Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved 25th July 2009 from

Grant, E., (undated), My Land My Tracks; A framework for holistic approach to indigenous studies, Innisfail and District Education Centre.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Voice Thread

My impression of this tool is that it is similar in context to blogs in that individuals can enter content and others can comment on the content that has been embedded. The advantage of voicethread is that it is auditory which supports both the lower literacy learners and it appeals to the learning styles of the indigenous.

Having listened to the promotional videos for their ed.voicethread, it sounds like this site is well set up to supply the security necessary for an educational institute to use such tools. In ed.voicethread the Educational instructor that initiates the thread has control of the members that view it and is the only one who can allow new memebers. The system is set up so the instructor has to moderate all students comments before they are posted for members viewing/listening.

In my opinion Voicethread would support a wide range of pedagogical practices that included learners in authentic engaging expereinces. Having just completed two oral presentations and reflecting upon the way i reacted to them, I would be happy to employ this type of technology in replacement of such assessment tools. Students would be able to orate their learnings without the pressure of being stuck out in front of the class with everyone watching. The assessment would be performed in a way that supports the learners to maintain a sense of comfort and order, which Marzano and Pickering (1997) identify as a key aspect to developing positive attitudes and perceptions

Marzano, R. and Pickering, D. (1997), Dimensions of Learning; Teacher's Manual, Aurora, Colorado, McREL (Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratory)

Using Music on the Web

Although I was aware of copyright when it came ot print, I was not aware of just how far it stretched and what was actually covered and what wasn't. Throughout this course though I have become more aware of the implications of copyright and am now treading carefully when using images, symbols and audio in any public forum.

Fortunately there are tools out there in the world wide web that collate Royalty free images and music so we can still use these forms of media with in our learning design. Personally I love listening to music and really don't have many vices to any genre, I just find music to be soothing.

I have seen and heard music used in many ways within classrooms including; as background music to create a feeling of peace and calm, as revision of learning such as times table raps or Thrass raps, it can be used as a transitional tool (when you hear the music pack up and be ready to listen), music can be used as an engagement tool, it can be used for dramatical purposes. In fact the possible uses are endless, and I believe if you visit my class, when I get one, you will no doubt hear a tune of two coming from it everyday. As Marzano and Pickering (1997) suggest "when our attitudes and perceptions are positive, learning is enhanced" and I strongly believe that music is one way of supporting positive attitudes and perceptions.

Marzano, R. and Pickering, D. (1997), Dimensions of Learning; Teacher's Manual, Aurora, Colorado, McREL (Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratory)

File Storaage

A free internet site for storing and sharing files and images, immediately my defenses go up. Media Fire provides secure access to your files from any computer, any where, any time. Storing files on such a site allows you to free up some of the storage space on your personal computer. Of course it is available for businesses as well. The instructions and information provided seems clear and straight forward and the idea of freeing up storage space in my computer is inviting, but I am still concerned about security.

This tool could serve as a useful networking resource, where teachers could share lesson plans, resources and ideas for learning experiences. Of course there are all the advantages that, the site itself boast, such as sharing your photo gallery with friends and family, while freeing up storage space on your disk drive.
My question is, to those of you out there who might know, can this site be accessed from within the Queensland Education intranet. If it can't there is little value, for us as future Learning Managers, in storing resources on it.

Below I have added a link to a couple of unfinished powerpoints that I have made, the first Myth or Reality was made last year for use with a year 6/7 class the power point was used to prompt class discussion about each image. Images were only introduced one at a time and once students had a go at providing insight as to the meaning behind it the next image or information snipet was added. This had been a practiced activity where students were expected to work out what the theme of the myth ws from the images provided.
The second powerpoint is the one I am currently working on, I have found it difficult to find free resouces that help younger students to define the characteristics of money and perform simple additions and price comparisons (eg; working out which coins and how many are needed to make a purchase of 35cents) Thsi is a work in progress so please don't be too critical just yet.
MediaFire, (2006, 2009) retrieved 20/08/09


Creating an eportfolio with Mahara allows users to create an electronic portfolio htat they can then share whom they choose. This tool enables the user to build their resume, store and present work that they have developed. It is an ideal way of presenting your work and resume when applying for employment, displaying to potential emplyers your ability to navigate the advances in technology. Mahara is also a social networking tool enabling you to allocate groups that you have established links with.
As I have not as yet ventured too far into this resource I can not say much more about it other than to say I look forward to discovering more about his tool.


My initial reaction to this was, not another site that I have to sign up for, how long is this going to take? The process was actually relatively easy. I quickly uploaded my Powerpoint Slideshow and was able to view it. Then I read the next part of the instructions, “Select Embed in your Blog code” Oh no, now what, Why does mine say embedding disabled. Once again panic set in, How am I ever going to teach this, if I can’t do it? But I went back to edit slideshow and found a square I needed to tick to enable embedding.

As my presentation is quite lengthy and is aimed at Year 7 level, I have not added narration to it. The idea of adding narration though is very appealing as I am currently working on a Powerpoint slideshow for year 2’s and narration would no doubt reduce the need for explicit instruction during its use by individual students.


The Term 4 Transdisciplinary unit, planned for the Year 2 class I am working with, is called A Feast of Authors. In order to support this unit with the implementation of ICT’s I have conducted a search of Wikipedia for suitable Australian Children’s Authors. I came up with the following list of sites, which includes information sites, on Wikipedia, about each of the selected Authors. There are also links to sites such as Mem Fox’s where learners can, search the list of books she has written, listen to Mem read some of her stories aloud, there is also a page of frequently asked questions that Mem has answered. This page could lead into a discussion about conducting an interview, resulting in a brainstorm of possible questions to ask an Author.

English Essential Learnings by the end of Year 3

Speaking and Listening
Words and phrasing, volume and pitch can add interest and emphasis, clarify meaning and be monitored by listeners.
Speakers and listeners use a number of strategies to make meaning, including identifying purpose, activating prior knowledge, responding, questioning,identifying main ideas, monitoring, summarising and reflecting.

Reading and Viewing
Writers and designers can adopt different roles for different audiences.
Text users make choices about grammar and punctuation.

Wikipedia not only provides a definition and explanation of the subject of your search it also provides direct links to a range of resources that are related to the topic. It is however up to the individual, or in this case the Learning Managers, to critically analyse the content of these links and determine their value as a respectable source of information. When educating ou lerners we must inform them that Wikipedia is a source of information that can be edited by onyone, therefore, not everything we read on is entirely accurate. Iin this case it is our role, to begin educating even the youngest of our learners to develop and use their own knowledge and skills for evaluation and decision making about the content of the resources.


My first encounter with WebQuests came last year when we were required to design one for our BLM subject SOSE. This was very interesting, a task that yet again was not without its dilemmas. I don't know how many times we had to redo our hyperlinks and in the end I still don't think they all worked correctly. My hand goes out to those whom have created, what I think are an excellent resource for inspiring problem based learning.

WebQuest are an interactive inquiry base lesson framework that contains links to the information that learners require to investigate the key question that defines the direction of the learning. WebQuests are a technology based teaching and learning tool that allows students to learn using the basic principles of the Kearsley and Shneiderman’s Engagement Theory. They provide opportunity for students to use the internet while engaging in the kinds of thinking that the 21st century requires.

As a learning Manager trying to be proactive about increasing the use of technology within the classroom I believe that Webquests are an effective tool for conducting problem based learning, particularly in the key learning areaas of SOSE, history and related topics. The time required to produce personalised Webquests is dependent on the depth of knowledge and understanding outcomes that are expected and on the ability of the designer. These are issues that need to be weighed up when choosing whether to design ones own Webquest or choose from one of the many that are already available and makiing adaptations where possible.

Dodge, B (2007); What is a Webquest?, San Diego State University Department of Educational Technology, Retrieved 19th August 2009 from

Kearsley, G. and Shniederman, B (undated) Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning, Retrieved 25th July 2009 from

I love Google Earth

Google Earth, how much time can we waste playing with this tool. I discovered this tool early last year (2008)and downloaded it to my home computer straight away. I was wrapped to discover, when I purchased my Laptop, that it was automatically installed.

I have used this numerous times in my lessons and at home with my own children. (It comes in really handy when your husband travels everywhere for work. We have been able to keep track of his travels by zooming all around the country and even overseas just by typing in a destination and clicking a button.)

My most recent usage of Google Earth in the classroom was when my Year 2 class went on an "Our Town" excursion. In the week before the trip we talked about maps and showed them an aerial shot of the school. After the trip I down loaded all of the photos from the big day and created a PowerPoint to display them. While showing the photos we paused and used Google Earth to find where in our town we were when the photos were taken. Using visual images to prompt their memory and Google Earth to show the aspects of mapping and distance between venues/sites visited. Students were then instructed to write a recount of the excursion, using chronological order of events.

Links to the essential Learnings (QSA,2007)
SOSE Essential Learnings by the end of Year 3
Place and Space
Maps have sympbols to represent places and identifying the relative positions of features including landmarkds and locations.

English Essential Learnings by the end of Year 3
Literary and Non-literary texts
Non-literary texts inform, report on events and issues, explain, explore ideas, express opinions, conduct tracnsactions and negotiate relationships, goods and services, and give directions.

Google Earth is able to supply a 'birds eye' view, which helps illustrate the mapping aspects, and then by clicking on the camera icons you can come down to street level and get, in most cases, a 360 degree view of the site. This tool provides an engaging hook for the introduction to a lesson, and would be an interctive resource for an inquiry based learning experience. Fitting well with Kearsley and Shniederman's (2009) Engagement Theory where students use technology for meaningful learning that involoves active cognitive processes.

Kearsley, G. and Shniederman, B, (2009) Engagement Theory: A framwork for technology-based teaching and learning,

Queensland Studies Authority (QSA), (2007), English Essential Learnings by the end of Year 3, Brisbane, Qld, Queensland Government.

Queensland Studies Authority (QSA), (2007), SOSE Essential Learnings by the end of Year 3, Brisbane, Qld, Queensland Government.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Podcasts, this is one of the tools that I would most certainly use within my learning design. As a self diagnosed Auditory learner, I can see the many benefits of using this technology to assist my learners. I'm not sure if it is just me, but I find that I understand better if I hear the instructions or information and I make connections quicker if I see it modeled or related to something visually. According to the Social Cognitive Theory, people learn effectively if they observe, attend to and perceive accurately the significant features of modelled behaviour. Zimmerman & Kitsantas, ((2002)in McInerney & McInerney, 2006)explain that learning occurs through observation of modeled actions, hearing descriptions and critically analysing.

Students are already using ipods or similar devices on a regular basis, why shouldn't we as Learning Managers take advantage of this and provide resources linked to the learning that they can view or listen to in their own time. Is this not a form of Operant Conditioning through reinforcing the learning, or as Marzano and Pickering (1997) would suggest would we not be supporting the learners to perceive tasks as valuable and interesting through provision of a variety of ways to engage them in classroom tasks.

I have mentioned to my study partner, on numerous occasions, that having university readings and presentations available in Podcast format would assist my learning. There are often occasions when the readings I have read have not been clearly understood, it has been through discussion with peers that the pieces have slowly been put back together.

Using Podcasts as a form of presenting information for learning expereinces would actively support the holistic learning styles of our indigenous learners, as explained by Ernie Grant ()in My Land My Tracks; A framework for the holistic approach to indigenous studies. "Indigenous culture reflects an oral as opposed to written tradition; it relies largely on observation." These students will aquire a better understanding of content if presented in a form hta sits with their natural culture.

McInerney, D. and McInereney, V. (2006) Educational psychology; constructing Learning (3rd Ed), Frenchs forest, NSW, Pearson Education Australia.

Marzano, R. and Pickering, D. (1997), Dimensions of Learning; Teacher's Manual, Aurora, Colorado, McREL (Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratory)

Grant,E., (undated)My Land My Tracks; A framework for the holistic approach to indigenous studies, Retrieved on 10th August 2009 from

Monday, August 17, 2009

Video, Youtube

This has been a trying adventure, it has taken many attempts and countless hours of trying to embed a youtube video into this blog. Try as I might I have not been successful, for some reason I can only get the audio to come across. There is obviously something I am doing wrong but time is of the essence at this stage, and this old dog is running out of ideas. So in a last ditch effort I will attach a link to the youtube video that I would have liked to attach.

This youtube provides an explaination of how Glow sticks are made, demonstrating how the two chemicals are mixed together when the sticks are cracked. As my Year 2's current transdisciplinary unit is "Light Fantastic", this Youtube presentation would provide an engaging introduction to an enquiry lesson on sources of light, particularly focusing on chemicals. It could lead into discussion about neon lights even on to lightning. The direction it takes would depend on the depth of knowledge the learners have obtained. As Siemens (2004) explains learning "is focused on connecting specialised information sets, and the connections that enable us to learn more."

PS I have finally worked it out, I was looking for more than was necessary, in fact embedding a youtube video was as simple as copying the embedding link from alongside the clip in Youtube, then pasting into my blog. Some times it seems just too easy.

Seimens, G. (2004) Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age, elearnspace everything elearning. Retrieved 23rd July 2009 from

Online Quizzes

I have just created a quiz that I can use to assess my year 2 classes knowledge adn understanding of Earthworms, how and where they live. It is simply titled Earthworms. It is only my first attempt at writing one of these type quizzes for this year level so it no doubt has room for improvement.

This has been another interesting task, which took some time to work out, but as I have said before, I am a lifelong learner. The Queensland State Education in the 2010 statement () depicted the attributes of a lifelong learner as, " learning in formal and informal settings, problem solving and critical thinking." Thus I proclaim myself a lifelong learner, as I see learning how to use and attempting to become proficient in internet based tools as requiring plenty of problem solving and critical thinking skills.

In the process of opening an account with ClassMarker, designing my first online quiz and embedding it into this blog I utilized a variety of resources that I had at my disposal. Once I had registered (well even during this part) I flicked back to my Google RSS feeder where I viewed blog entries from those that I have been following. It was here that I found the confirmation I was seeking that a) I was not the only one having trouble with some of these sites and b)the steps that I was taking in ClassMarker were the same others had taken.
Queensland Government, (2000)Queensland State Education - 2010,Retrieved 17th August 2009 from,

Up the wall

Up the wall
Originally uploaded by Margie Cumner

OK the previous attempt to attach this photo didn't work, but alas, I am showing my true lifelong learning form and have kept trying until I succeeded. What a blast when it finally works.

Photo Sharing through Flickr

Up the wall on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
I have just had another go at image manipulation through Picnik and created another wonderful image of my children. I then followed the instructions and saved it to Flickr, from which I was able to attach it straight into my blog. Isn't it wonderful how technology works. I can definitely see the value in these tools for learning experiences, just imagine the fun a year 2 class could have with these tools and some digital photos of them and their worm farm. Using tools like this they could easily create a photo story with a lot more info than just the photos could provide. These tools would provide opportunity for students to access and develop their multiple intelligences. Howard Gardner (1991)identified seven distinct intelligences after conducting cognitive research, he "documents the extent to which students possess different kinds of minds and therefore learn, remember, perform, and understand in different ways." Carla Lane (undated)suggests that the ability to teach to all learning styles has become easier with the move towards increased use of media and multimedia. In this Multiiple intelligences article Lane identifies visual media as an ideal meium for students to acquire
"concrete concepts, such as object identification, spatial relationship, or motor skills where words alone are inefficient."

Lane, C.(undated) Multiple Intelligences, The Distance Leaarning Technology Guide, Retrieved 17th August 2009 from,

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Picnik - image manipulation

This is one tool that I could have fun with. When you look at the photo you will probably think it's pretty boring but it is late and I am tired. i can always edit it later that is the beauty of these sites. nothing seems to bbe set in concrete, I can always come back and change my mind.

Flickr and Creative CommonLicence

I hope this works, I copied this from the Creative Common licence site.
Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that provides legal assistance to change the copyrights from all rights reserved to some rights reserved which leaves material available for free legal use by the public to be presented, remixed and reproduced.

I have just spent the last 3 hours trying to upload some of my photos to Flickr with very limited success. At this stage and without further guideance with this site I can not see myself using this as a learning tool in my classroom. But as I say this is only at this stage, I am forever hopefull that when I have more time to play with some of these sites that I will discover hidden values that could be extremely usefull when embedded into learning design. I am afterall a lifelong learner, willing to accept that I don't know everything and hopeful that in time I might just learn.

Ooh PS. See I knew if I stuck with it I would work it out. I have just added an image that I retrieved from Flickr.

Creative Commons Retrieved 16th August 2009 from,

Interactive Whiteboards

Wow interactive whiteboards, don’t these sound great. I haven’t as yet experienced using one but by viewing the outlined information and doing some further research I am looking forward to having the opportunity to use these in my educational settings.
I found this PDF on Interactive Whiteboards it is from the British Education System but it is very interesting. I t explains what interactive whiteboards are, how they can be used, what the advantages and disadvantages of use are, issues and implications of use and what the alternatives are.

From what I have seen and read, Interactive Whiteboards, although relatively expensive, are receiving in most cases, rave reviews with students and educators praising their applications. With reviews stating that the introduction of the boards have reduced behaviour management issues and increased students ownership of learning. This all seems to fit well into Prensky’s (2005) Engage Me or Enrage Me theory, the new technology has students engaged in learning reducing the likelihood of them becoming disengaged and behaviour management issues.

Tech Learn,(undated) Interactive Whiteboards in Education PDF, Retrieved 14th August 2009 from,

Prensky, M., (2005) Engage Me or Enrage Me; What today’s learners demand, Educause Review, Sep/Oct.

Blackboard, Moodle and other Learning Management Systems(LMS)

A definition from Wikipedia (2009) defines a Learning Management System (LMS) as “software for delivering, tracking and managing training/education. LMSs range from systems for managing training/educational records to software for distributing courses over the Internet and offering features for online collaboration.” According to Blackboard (2009), “LMS’s drive learning achievement by creating personalized and engaging learning experiences”. They can contain detailed subject information including assessment details, readings and other course resources such as podcasts, YouTube and URL hyperlinks.

Learning Management Systems are in regular use within Queensland education institiutes. For example Universities such as, C Q University utilise both categories of LMS, Moodle an open source LMS and Blackboard a proprietary LMS. While Education Queensland supports a Blackboard LMS. Learning Management Systems provide opportunity for collaborative learning through discussion forums while providing a secure environment for growth and exploration of ideas. "What a student discusses with others and what a student teaches others enable him or her to acquire understanding and master learning." (Silberman, p6). According to Dale’s Cone and the information available in the Learning Pyramid, LMS’s provide for an active learning environment that increase the effectiveness on the learning experiences through the media it uses and the collaboration it enambles.

As identified in elearning design, internet safety is the issue in schools, hence the need for Education Queensland to support a proprietary LMS such as Blackboard where the support and security required are in place.

References retrieved 14/08/09 retrieved 14/08/09 retrieved 14/08/09 retrieved 14/08/09

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Power Point

Yippee, finally a tool that I know how to use. I have been using power point presentations in my lessons all along. I know what you are thinking, Power points have been used and abused for years. The thing is they are useful as a visual aid, they can be used as schematic organisers, visual cues, and prompts. They can also be manipulated to create Learning Objects which are interactive powerpoints where the learners choose their own path.

My most recent power point presentation is a learning object designed to assist my year 2 students to further develop their knowledge of Australian coins. It specifically focuses on the characteristics of the coins, to enable identification and comparisons of coins and their values. Learning Objects are a great tool for getting students involved in the learning, they problem solve through drawing on the information presented to answer the questions presented and for each response they receive immediate feedback. This type of learning is comparable to BF Skinner’s Operant Conditioning where reinforcement is the key element.

TIP: Therories, (undated) Operant Conditioning (B. F. Skinner), Retrieved 23rd July 2009 from,


RSS, stands for really simple syndication, really simple for some maybe, but I am still having trouble finding my way around this and most of the other sites we are required to use. I have however learned that this tool assists me to view new posts from those sites that I have been following without having to go to each one, open them and view. The list of sites you subscribe to is up to date with new or unread messages in parenthesis next to the feeds title.

Once you click on the title of the one you wish to view the expanded articles appear in the main screen. As you scroll down these they are marked as read you can see this by the colour of the border around them it changes colour as you move to the nest entry.

You can receive latest entries from any site that has an RSS feeder symbol, just by clicking on the add subscription you can add new sites to your RSS reader. Once you have read through the entries you can share them with your friends and even add notes of your own.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Continuing the journey - Wiki's, Facebook, Skype, and the list goes on.

How many forums are out there for communicating? Until the last month or so I had no idea of the number of tools available for communicating with the outside world. In recent times I have been introduced to, used and become reliant upon the following list of communication tools:
• email (yes, yes, I know this one is old hat but is still useful),
• etherpad (boy has this one been useful, our last two group assessments have been produced using this tool, it doesn’t matter where you are or what the others in your group are doing you can add, edit and copy and paste from these documents making them a constantly changing and developing work in progress.),
• Skype (love the multimodal aspect, plays to my multiple intelligences)
• Facebook (just starting to familiarize myself with this one, but having fun finding and contacting acquaintances from long ago.)

Now I am faced with another new tool, wiki’s, once again I am totally mystified, what is a wiki and why do I need one? Ok, I know I am on a learning journey, but this is taking me way outside my comfort zone. Back to the trusty Google Search.
Through investigation I have learned that a wiki is a collaborative tool that allows users to communicate, design, plan, create, and update all with the touch of a button. A wiki is a database of information that anyone can edit, add to and update. A wiki is a collection of pages that have been hyperlinked to other sources of information. In the words of Wikipedia “A wiki is essentially a database for creating, browsing, and searching through information.”

Having just had an incident where my daughter was kept home from school for two weeks, I can see where access to a class blog or wiki would be extremely valuable. The learning that she missed out on could have been available to her while she was at home rather than having to go back to school after two weeks and attempting to catch up. During which period she is either drawing her teachers, somewhat divided, attention, or relying on peers to catch her up, meanwhile they are all missing whatever else is being taught.

A class blog or wiki would provide students with opportunities to view and review information at school and at home, allowing for reflective learning in an environment that supports their comfort needs and allows for their individual learning pace. Learning through non human resources such as computers, via blogs, supports the Connectivism theory as depicted by Siemens (2004)

For those of you who are still confused as to the uses of a wiki watch this short you tube clip ‘Wiki’s in plain English.” At

References retrieved 14/08/2009
Siemens, G., (2004) Connectivism; A learning Theory for the Digital Age, elearnspace; everything learning, retrieved 23/07/09

Friday, July 31, 2009

My Voki

Creating a Voki avatar, what an interesting experience. I felt like a child playing dress ups. Having created my first avatar with ease I can see that these would be useful tools for most ages, if this took me back to my child hood, I don’t see why students as young as year 2 could not successfully create one. What an interesting and fun way to embed ICT’s into learning experiences.

The year 2 class that I am currently working with have just learnt all about earthworms and have built a worm farm. Part of their learning experience is to explain what they have done. Wouldn’t it be great if they each created an avatar that announced to the world the knowledge they have gained through this authentic learning experience. They could all then be saved and presented to their parents as a culminating activity.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Beginning my eLearning Journey with a blog

I have discovered that you can teach an old dog new tricks. Everyday since beginning my BLM I have learnt something new, this has been most evident over the past two weeks. I believe that sometimes it is necessary to be pushed into learning. If it wasn't for this course it would have been years, if ever, before I would have created a blog. Basically because I didn't even know what one was until recently.

Blog, excuse me what is a blog, what is it for, where do you get one and how do you use it? These were all questions that were flying around my head in the first few weeks of this course. Well I think I have the answer, a blog is kind of like a diary, an online diary, it can be a record of a learning journey, basically it is an online tool used for sharing news of any shape or form. Once an entry is shared followers ae able to read your news and make comments, providing an insight into their understanding of your knowledge. Each entry is placed in chronological order with a date and time of publishing.

As I am now aware, the history of blog has its routes in the 90’s when Peter Merholz (1999) jokingly broke Barger’s 1997 term “weblog” into the phrase “we blog”. Shortly after the term blog was used as a verb, meaning to edit ones blog entry. Is it any wonder then as a 'digital immigrant' that I was totally mystified when we were first told to create one? Creating this blog, and defining its use was not something I could do totally on my own. I found myself utilizing various other tools within this world wide web to build my knowledge and understanding of the application of a blog.

In refection I can see that my learning journey has followed the path of Vygotsky's Social Constructivist,on the other hand Cronje(2000) would describe this learning as Chaos. Chaos is explained as an integration of constructivist and objectivist theories, where learning is not determinied by an outside entity, learning is opportunistic, there is no cognitive scaffolding. By only being supplied with a list of tools to discover I felt I had been "Thrown in the deep end", therefor this learning experience is in the domain of incidental learning.

References retrieved 13/08/09 viewed 12/08/09
Image, Retrieved 13th August 2009 from
Cronje, J. (2000), Paradigms Lost; Towards Integrating Objectivism and Constructivism Retrieved on 12th August 2009 from, http;//

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Hi All, I have finally made it into the 21st century.
What do I do next? I know, read the instructions, follow the steps.