Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tamara's reflective synopsis.

I have to say that although there has been days where I have been a little frustrated with some of the technologies within this course I have learnt about some great ones that I can use in the classroom to create rich and engaging learning experience for all students. I personally had no idea there were so many fantastic, sometimes easy to use, technologies available. This course has defiantly opened my eyes up to how technology can be used in the classroom.

Two of the most valuable resources during this course were the step by step instructions on moodle and the forums. The instructions on moodle were very clear however at times I got a little confused and could not do what I was being asked. But this is where the forums really helped. For example when I was unable to embed my Quiz into my blog page I asked on the forum for help and within a short period of time someone had explained how to do it. This feedback not only helped me solve my problem but gave me a chance to communicate with others that were experiencing the same sorts of difficulties. The communication with your peers gave you a sense that you were not alone and that help was available.

Throughout our learning management course we have learnt that today's world is changing rapidly. It should then be no surprise that the way in which we learn is also changing. Teachers in classroom's today are being challenged by students who know more about technology than they do. So it is vital that teachers make an effort to stay up to date with the latest technologies available so they are able to design learning experiences that relate to students real life interests and skills. 'Lifelong learning is a key element of a new view of education' (Latham et al., 2005) and technology will certainly play a large part in students lives. For these reasons it is vital that teachers design curricula that is useful, engaging and relevant to all students needs.

Kearsley and Shneiderman's Engagement Theory (1999) suggests that students will only be meaningfully engaged in learning activities through the interaction with others and worthwhile tasks. Further to this they think that although learning can occur without technology it can facilitate engagement in ways which may be otherwise difficult to achieve. The technologies that were explored during this course, when used meaningfully and in the correct context, allow teachers to engage students in meaningful learning that connects with students real life experiences and skills.

Technologies such as Wiki's, Blogs and WebQuests, to name a few, all provide opportunities for teachers to scaffold learning experiences that encourage students to take more responsibility for their own learning and to collaborate with peers. These technologies are very consistent with the Active Learning (2000) approach where the objective is to stimulate lifetime habits of thinking. Activities are designed to encourage students to think about how as well as what they are learning and to increasingly take responsibility for their own education (2000). Wiki's, Blogs and WezQuests can offer opportunities for students to work independently within collaborative teams that provide a comfortable environment for growth and exploration of ideas and knowledge. These three technologies can also be associated very closely with Kearsley and Shneiderman (1999) engagement theory as teachers can use them to create projects 'that are meaningful to someone outside the classroom' and that are connected to the real world . For example a WebQuest may be developed where the solution to the problem involves the student's sending their idea's to their local council. These three technologies are defiantly things I would use in my classroom as I think they would allow me to create learning experience that encourage student independence, peer collaboration, engagement in activities and links to their world.

Technologies such as Voki's, Interactive Whiteboards, YouTube, Podcasts and Google Earth are tools I would defiantly use in the classroom. I think they are an excellent way to engage student's and allow the teachers to introduce knowledge and ideas in a different exciting way. YouTube, Podcasts and Google Earth allow teachers to bring things and places into the classroom that they usually could not. For example, YouTube could be used to actually show students a Tsunami and Google Earth could be used to explore a local waterway. These learning experiences would reflect Kearsley and Shneiderman's Engagemnet Theory (1999) as they facilitate a level of engagement that would otherwise have be impossible to achieve.

Another important factor I have learnt while exploring these technologies is how they can be used within collaborative teams. This was something that I especially liked as I think students are able to gain a wide range of life skills when working with peers. Most of the technologies can be used so that learning activities are completed in pairs or groups. Kearsley and Shneiderman (1999) suggest students learning is enhanced as the emphasis on communication, planning and social skills is higher within team collaborations. These technologies also allow communication between team members as well as other peers within their learning cohort and people within the community. I think this is a great way to engage learners as they are given opportunities to engage in active feedback and conversation about not only their own knowledge and understanding but that of others as well.

The following technologies are what I will defiantly use in my classroom as I believe they will enhance student learning and make my teaching more engaging and efficient.

Blogs/Wiki's- I would use these in my classroom to so that students were able to construct, display and share their work. It will also be used facilitate the sharing of knowledge and ideas, feedback and communication between fellow peers, teachers and outside facilitators.

Interactive Whiteboards- After undertaking some training I would love to use this piece of technology in my room. I think it would allow me to introduce and use a range of other technologies and resources in the classroom to create engaging learning experiences. I would also encourage students to become actively involved in using the whiteboard during learning experiences. For example getting them to move things around or explain how something works.

Quizzes- I would like to use these Quizzes in my classroom as formative pieces of assessment. They would allow me to pose questions about topics that indicate the level of understanding a students has. Although they would essentially be tests I think students would find them much more engaging and challenging compared to the normal paper based tests.

YouTube/Podcast- I already use YouTube in the classroom. I think they are an excellent way to engage learners at the beginning of the lesson or to explain something that would otherwise be hard using traditional methods, such as texts. Podcasts are something I start exploring and using. There are so many things in the classroom you could do with them and I think they would be a technology the students would really enjoy and get allot out of.

Google Earth- I already in my lesson plans for the next unit of work. I think it is a fantastic technology that can be applied and used over a variety of key learning areas. This may include mapping and griding their local area to exploring the Australian outback. It is a technology that brings the real world into the classroom and is an excellent way to engage all learners in authentic learning experiences.

WebQuests- This is defiantly a technology I would use for older students. I like the way that teachers can design and adapt them to what they want the students to learn. I also like the fact that students are given the responsibility for their own learning and that a WebQuest can bring real life problems to the classroom.

To finish off I think that technology is a great way to engage learners using a variety of exciting and fun tools. Technology brings to the classroom what students today are interacting with on a daily basis. Technology allows teachers to enhance students learning by bringing a variety of stimulus and challenges to the classroom that relate to their real life experiences and skills.


Latham, G., Blaise, M., Dole, S., Faulkner, J., Lang J., & Malone, K. (2006). Learning to teach:New times, new practices. South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.

Kearsley, G & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagment Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 29, 2009, from CQUniversity e-courses, FAHE11001 Acitive learning & learning diversity.

ACU Adams Center for Teaching Excellence. (2000). Active Learning Online.
Retrieved August 19, 2009 from

Slideshare File Storage

Well after about four hours I finally worked out what I was doing wrong! Guess its all part of the learning.

After I finally got the hang of it I can understand the benefit of SlideShare. It would be a great tool for teachers to use as they can share their work with others and use other peoples slide shows in the classroom. And I especially like that you can make your own adjustment to suit your class. Overall I think its a great tool for teachers and would really benefit students as their teachers would have access to some fantastic Slide shows.

The above slide show is what I used for my grade six class last year. They really enjoyed it as it was not just paper based and included some video footage on an actual Tsunami.

Tam's voice

What allot of fun VoiceThread could be in the classroom. I uploaded some photo's and made some comments which was fun. Given more time you could do so much more. This would be an excellent tool for students to use in art or expressing something they had done or learnt.

As an example for older students I would set them the task of creating a story and then telling via a voice thread. They could work in pairs or groups to create a story, make the characters/or be the characters themselves, upload the photo's and then narrate it using words or audio. It would give them a variety of choices and a chance to really use their imagination.

I think VoiceThread would really give teacher's an opportunity to create learning experiences where students work either in pairs or groups. Kearsley & Shneiderman (1999) suggest that the idea underlying engagement theory is that students must be meaningfully engaged in learning activities through interaction with others and worthwhile tasks. VoiceThread would not only encourage these interactions but also use technology to actively engage students in authentic learning experiences.


Kearsley, G & Shneiderman, B (1999). Engagment Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 29, 2009, from CQUniversity e-courses, FAHE11001 Acitive learning & learning diversity.

Using Music on the web

Well I got quite a shock after reading all the information copyright. I knew that you were restricted with what you could use in presentation's/slide shows but I didn't realise it went beyond that. I think the Royalty Free music available on incompetech is really handy as you don't have to worry that your doing the wrong thing.

I think music in the classroom is great and not used enough. It can be used for educational purposes and for creating a classroom environment that is relaxing. Music I think is a great way to explore different countries and cultures. It also adds a fun element about the unit or lesson as the students can have a dance.

I downloaded a few songs that were of African origin. I think this music would be great for students to listen to in class during a unit of work on different countries. There was also other music from different origins that you could use depending on the country you were exploring. I also don't think it would hurt to have music from different countries playing in the background when appropriate so students were exposed to different cultures.


Mediafire has a couple of really great benefits. It allows you to share files with others but to also store your personal files so that if anything happened to your computer you still have all the files available via the web. This would defiantly save allot of heart ache for teachers who had built up there files and resources over a long period of time.

Mediafire also allows people to share files and images with people such as clients, partners, colleagues, customers, students, friends, and family (Mediafire, 2009). Medifire explains on its website that because digital media has changed so much large documents require larger files and more storage space. It goes on to say that MediaFire 'allows you to store all your files online for easy secure access and enables you to distribute large files to hundreds or thousands of people without clogging in boxes or bogging down your website (Medaifire, 2009).' I think this is also a fantastic point. As teachers over the years we are going to accumulate allot of resources and the reality is we would have to burn these files onto disk which can get lost or damaged. I think Mediafire would be a great alternative for storage and would also allow you to access older/newer files anywhere and any time via the web.

It also allows you to create files for different people and only share certain files with certain people which I think is fantastic. You can keep your professional groups and personal groups in the one place choosing who you share and collaborate with.

A fantastic tool and one I will defiantly be keeping in mind as I near my final year at uni.


Mediafire (2009). What is Mediafire? Retrieved August 20, 2009, from


I was actually surprised to read on the E-learning description that although Wikipedia allowed anyone to contribute is has a tight set of guidelines/rules and moderators that keep the information accurate and avoid breaches of copyright. I actually just had an idea in my head that you as the user needed to work out what was fact and fiction. Which is still the case to a certain degree but its is good to know that the information is monitored.

As a resource for your students I think Wikipedia would be an easy quick way to look up knowledge that they don't know or are not clear on. In the classroom I would use it to get students to research answers to questions or problems that they had rather than just telling them the answer. Wikipedia would allow students to engage in a learning activity that involved them using cognitive processes such as problem solving and evaluation to come up with a solution/answer (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). Obviously time would be a factor and it could not be done all the time but when time allowed it I think it would be an excellent tool for students' to develop their research skills.

I actually used Wikipedia in my class a couple of weeks ago. We were reading a book about amphibian's and they asked me what it was. I actually was not to sure myself so we went over the computer and looked it up on Wikipedia. I looked through several sights but that was one of best as it explained it in easy direct terms. One of the students enjoyed the lesson that much she went home over the weekend and made a book about Amphibians. It was great to see that she really wanted to find out more about the topic! Plus she did a fantastic job of the book!


Kearsley, G & Shneiderman, B (1999). Engagment Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 29, 2009, from CQUniversity e-courses, FAHE11001 Acitive learning & learning diversity.


WebQuests are a great way to challenge students with a problem or task that includes a driving question that has no single answer or solution. I really like WebQuests because they can be done as teams, pairs or individually and this can also be a decision made by the students. WebQuests allow students to research and apply new knowledge to a problem that often requires them to create an authentic solution to that problem. The best thing about WebQuests, if designed smartly, is that the solutions can be linked back into the real world for authentic feedback. This authentic feedback may be from government bodies, local environmental groups, zoo's and many other sources.

Personally, I really like the way WebQuests can be related to issues in the real world, that student's can connect with. Students in today's' day and age are constantly bombarded with new information and knowledge from all kinds of sources. It is therefore essential that they know that is relevant and useful and what is rubbish. Siemens Connectivism (2004)outlines that new information is continually being acquired and the ability to recognize when new information alters the landscape based on decisions made yesterday is critical. WebQuests give students' the opportunity to develop these skills by filtering out which knowledge is relevant in order to develop an authentic solution to the problem.

I think WebQuests are defiantly something that I would but only in the upper grades. I don't think students at younger levels would get the full benefits out of a WebQuest that older students' would as they would not be able to do the research that is required. The only other thing that bothers me a little about WebQuests is the actual making of them. I had to design one last year for an assessment piece and it was not very successful. However, I think with practice and more time it is defiantly a piece of technology I would like to use in the classroom to create rich learning experiences for my class.


Siemens, G (2004). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved August 20, 2009, from