Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reflective Synopsis

Before undertaking a course of study in Managing E.Learning, I truly believed I was a fairly up-to-date digital native (Prensky (2001). My age certainly agrees. However, my opinion was quickly changed. While working through the course ware and investigating a set of technological tools, I was reluctantly surprised at the diversity. There is an application for everything, shortcuts everywhere, and most importantly there are many more effective ways of creating meaningful learning experience for our students. I still understand the need for many traditional types of learning activities I see in schools everyday. But the message I have taken from my research into E.learning suggests that, implementing these new technology based tools alongside more traditional methods can produce better learning outcomes for our students.

Within my research one of the major hurdles I came across most frequently was the resources schools have to implement these technologies. Unfortunately, many schools are under resourced in the technology department. This means many students are being enraged in their classrooms rather than engaged. In addition, my research has also identified problems with bandwidth, student access, teacher knowledge and the level of control over the Internet as hinders to providing effective e.learning environments. However, with the right attitude and knowledge many of these problems can be overcome. There seems to be a shortcut for everything, and a million ways to do one thing. So if problems persist, try, try, and try again.

As stated by Waterhouse (2005), “At a very basic level e-learning is using information communication technologies (ICT’s) to engage, enhance and extend learning in flexible and innovative ways. By just experimenting with the technologies outlined I was constantly day-dreaming about how my students learning would be enhanced, how their engagement levels would rise and how flexible the learning space would become If I were to implement these simple technological tools. Technology is the way of the future and I refuse to be left behind again.

During my learning journey I have experienced opportunities to collaborate with other peers and like-minded individuals. This has been a rewarding process as much of my knowledge was refined and extended during this collaboration. My mind was open to the endless possibilities of integrating technology into the classroom. One thing that really appealed to me was the creativity shown from so many people when talking about learning experiences. This also provided opportunities for peer-to-peer teaching. It was a fantastic feeling knowing that help was only a mouse click away. An example of communication I made was on Kira’s Blog

Of all the wonderful applications I have dealt with through my e.learning experience, I will now discuss some of my favourites.

Blogs: Creates opportunities for students to publish work and follow others, express themselves, and maintain important literacy skills. I really like this concept as it can move from the schooling environment to the home environment as well.

VOKI Avatars: I had a lot of fun playing around and creating vokis. They are an excellent tool that will increases creativity and engagement levels in any task. I enjoy the vokis as they can be implemented any where within a learning experience. They can introduce or conclude a topic, or give encouragement and regain focus in the middle of a lesson.

YouTube: YouTube is an excellent programme that has many uses. Firstly you can use a video to help make tasks more authentic and engaging. Additionally, you could have students create their own video to upload onto YouTube. This allows for rich-tasks to be developed and higher order processes to be completed by the students.

Google Earth: Google Earth was perhaps my favourite program. When teaching SOSE or even Science you could use Google Earth as a real-life atlas. The learning improvements you would see in students would be enormous.

Voice Thread: Voice Thread sets collaborative learning into full swing. Students can add their comments to one another’s work as well as other learning objectives set up by the teacher. It encourages creative, out of the box thinking and is a fairly easy tool to use (once you get the hang of it).

To implement these technologies into the classroom will require a lot of time, effort, and patience on both the teacher and students behalves. Students need to be introduced to these technologies in the learning environment and not just thrown in the deep end. It is when these technologies are used in conjunction with other learning tools that they will enhance and extend learning. As a teacher, teaching students in the 21st century can seem a daunting task. However, with a continued commitment to new technologies and a desire to be a life-long learner, effective teaching and learning can be achieved. After completing this e.learning journey I can say with all honesty, I am now confidently equipped with the knowledge to implement effective pedagogical approaches that foster technology in my classroom. Thanks for following my Blog.

· Pensky. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf
· Richard Waterhouse (1995) Private Pleasures Public Leisure: A History of Australian Popular Culture since 1788. Melbourne: Longman.

SlideShare :)

SlideShare(2009) describes itself as giving users the ability to "Upload and share PowerPoint presentations, Word documents and Adobe PDF Portfolios, either publicly or privately and the ability to add audio to these files.

This was perhaps the most challenging to use application out of all the technologies i have discussed in my blogs. It is a great concept and when i finally figure out how to use it I'm sure it will be a great learning tool. But for now i do believe this program has gotten the better of me.
I was going to upload an example of my PowerPoint before the audio and an after take with the audio to demonstrate how much more effective audio and visual presentations can be. However, i was unable to do so.

My presentation URL is =

I had created a PowerPoint presentation as the hook to the unit 'Australia and it's culture'. The presentation was a run through of the lyrics 'I am Australian' with matching pictures. This hook not only introduced students to Australians modern day culture but took them on a journey of our past. It had pictures associated with famous Australians and Landmarks. It was truly a captivating presentation.

Using a program like slide share can increase learning effectiveness and retention rates. However, it still sits at the top end of 'The Learning Pyramid' (ACU 2000). However, by following the video with an activity like a group discussion retention rates can be raised to 50%.


e.Portfolio and Mahara

Before i started e.learning i really had no firm description i could apply to e.portfolios. I knew they were on-line, i knew that they contained a portfolio of objects but that was about it. Because my knowledge was very limited i turned straight to my on-line best bud YouTube and undertook some enlighten videos on e.portfolios. My favourite was e.portfolios for starters

E.portfolios can be seen as a learning record. It provides a collection of electronic artifacts assembled and managed by a users. Users can demonstrate their academic ability while expressing themselves in a safe manner. Evidence of learning may include such things as, text samples, pictures and images, electronic files, blog entries, videos, hyperlinks, and other multimedia applications like voki's and presentations. All of their artifacts are uploaded onto their portfolios and organised in a set manner. The students are given the choice of what to include in their e.portfolios but usually artifacts are picked to demonstrate learning outcomes have been achieved.

Reflections from students on the processes of learning can also be added to e.portfolios. "The reflective process of portfolio development can be as important as the final product" (TeacherTap, 2007). Additionally, because e.portfolios are a work in progress and can continually be updated and added to, they present opportunities for students to take on the role of life-long learners.

Mahara is one such example of a e.portfolio application. Not only does it provide users with a e.portfolio but has other options like, blogs, file repository, social networking, resume building, profile building, and security features. "What makes Mahara different from other ePortfolio systems is that you control which items and what information (Artefacts) within your portfolio other users see" (Mahara 2006).


  • TeacherTap (2007). Electronic Portfolios. Retrieved 10, August, 2009, from: TeacherTap web site:

  • Mahara. (2006). About E-Portfolios. Retrieved August 1, 2009, from

Voice Thread :)

Voice Thread is such an easy to use piece of software with endless educational opportunities. According to VoiceThread (2007), "a VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds image, documents and videos and allows people to navigate pages and leave comment in 5 ways- using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam)".

It allows students to creatively publish, edit, and add comments to work, pictures, or presentations. It is an effective critiquing tool and has its roots in a social networking persona. This means students can collaborate, comment, and critique other students work.

The VoiceThread website contains excellent examples of how to incorporate voice thread into the classroom. However, for the purpose of my blog i will give you my own example today.

When i created my voice thread presentation i added a set of pictures outlining the different procedures involved in making ice cream. I than added voice comments to each of the photos describing what was occurring in the picture. Once i had completed this i shared my presentation to my class group. When i created my presentation, however, i re-arranged the photos to demonstrate the wrong sequence of events for making ice cream. In small groups, the students were asks to watch the presentation, once they had finished watching the presentation they were required to make comments about the correct sequence for making ice cream. This particular learning activity came from the unit 'Where Does My Shopping Come From?' which has students looking at natural and processed materials as well as production flow charts.


"Music is everywhere: in stores and offices, at parties, and on the car radio. It has become an integral part of our lives from the time we are children" (Ostergren, 2008). So why is it not played more freely in our classroom? Using music in classrooms can provoke many different responses. If used as a tool to aid a learning experience it can provoke some pretty positive academic reactions. However, if used alone it really only is effective for stimulating the students.Music can help students de-stress and refocus. It also gives students a means to collaborate with one another and to be creative.

Music can be used in many different ways in the classroom.

  • Play music in the background when students are reading or being read to.

  • Play music to signify a transition in the classroom (when music plays students pack up and get ready for lunch).

  • Traditional music can be played to signify different countries.

INCOMPETECH supplies users with royalty free music covered under the Creative Commons agreement. This means that any music found on this site can be downloaded and replayed to students at any time. Incompetech has an extensive list of royalty free music, frequently asked questions and answers section, as well as a music licencing section.

The song i chose to download from Incompetech is titled Frost Waltz.It goes for 2 minutes and 15 seconds and is instrumental composition. Incompetech describes it as "a calm but mysterious composition that uses Glockenspiel and Celesta throughout. The French Horns and Bass intercede throughout to accompany the Glockenspiel and Celesta. The Violin and Viola are heard in the background throughout the piece" (INCOMPETECH, 2009).

This is a very mysterious and exciting piece of music. I would implement it into my classroom at story time. I would prepare my year 2's for the story by playing the music. This will help them settle, de-stress from previous tasks and focus on the story about to be read to them.


File Storage with Media Fire :)

Media Fire is a free file hosting website. It allows you to upload your files, make them public, and access them anywhere and at anytime on the Internet. It is an easy to use application that first requires you to create a login. Once you have your login you can begin uploading your files. This is a handy tool for teachers and students alike. Once files have been uploaded they can be accessed anywhere there is an Internet connection. This in itself has many advantages. MediaFile also allows users to upload large files, up to 100MB per file and allows for unlimited uploads and downloads.

The file i chose to upload was a guide for APA referencing. This means that if i lose the original file i can easily obtain another copy. Furthermore, where ever I am undertaking my study, as long as there is an Internet connection, i can easily view the APA referencing file.
The URL to this file is :

This technology could be used in any educational setting. Students could use it to upload assignments or homework. Teachers could use it to upload lecture slides or presentations. It can be used in group assignments where students upload their work for other group members to add to read through and reflect on. The list is endless. Overall i found this program easy to use, the design is logically and easy to follow and the free features more than cater to my needs.

WikiPedia :)

WikiPedia is one of the largest known Wiki applications. It comes in over 25 different languages and it's basic function is to provide information and resources on a large variety of subjects. It's open to all individuals to add and source information and it classifies itself as a free encyclopedia.

As the information posted on WikiPedia can come from any individual the academic world discourages it's use as a reliant source or quote. However, this is not to say that the information presented on its sites cant contain relevant information. One of WikiPedias main functions is to guide readers onto further information. It is here where relevant scholarly references and quotes can be used.

Take for example, my year six class is currently undertaking a topic on 'Where Does my Shopping Come From'? By typing into the wikipedia search bar 'nutrition' a wonderful informative piece comes up all about nutrition. It lists an overview of the topic than continues down to discuss relevant parts associated with nutrition. at the bottom of the page it's a topic with 'links to further readings'. This list of further readings are all resources i could use to support my teaching. I could make these websites available to students by posting them onto the class blog, including them in a web quest, or even allowing the students to do a scaffolded search themselves. On top of the list for further reading, wikipedia also provides you with a list of resources and external links. These too can becomes resources used to support my teaching.