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.

1 comment:

  1. It turns out that I have wrong in my belief that elearning tools are no good as a learning management system, as I have been thinking since I heard of the concept. I was thinking that all these e-learning tools taught the learners were how not to interact with others and simply confine themselves to their learning tasks, since the electronic mode in which e-learning solutions come work were seemingly designed to be learned by individuals in the privacy of their own homes or work stations, since this learning management system is particularly geared to provide individuals with a learning tool that can be adjusted to their preferences and pace.