Thursday, August 20, 2009


Technology in the 21st century is about an evolution not a revolution. My reflections on my e-learning experience are more of a celebration, of the technologies that I have learnt and engaged with since starting this journey have been truly amazing. As a future Learning Manager it has increased my from a 'toolbox' to a 'garden shed', and am excited about introducing some new tools to my students during their lessons. During this course I was introduced to new collaborative tools and resources for learning that will enhance the learning experiences for my students whilst engaging them.

As a Learning Manager I am a life long learner, and by exploring, analysing and using the latest technologies I am modelling behaviours for my students. The use of digital collaborative tools is increasing, so it is essential as Learning Managers that we learn how to use them effectively. Today's technology allows students to participate in learning experiences that involve active cognitive processes, for example creating, problem-solving, reasoning, decision-making and evaluating (Kearsley, & Shneiderman, 1999)all which allow knowledge and skills to be acquires and integrated effectively. All the technologies can be intergrated into general classroom lessons rather than stand alone subjects and can benefit all students including the educationally disadvantaged students.

When a Learning Manager is designing an e-Learning task, the pedagogical approaches need to be evaluated. An ideal pedagogy is one that allows Learning Managers to effectively create educational materials whilst providing the most engaging educational experiences for students.
Here are some Pedagogical approaches or perspectives that can be applied to e-learning;

* Instuctional Design - the traditional pedagogy of instruction which is curriculum focused, and is developed by an educating group or a single teacher.
* Social-Constructivism (Vygotsky, 1978)- this pedagogy is applicable for discussion forums, blogs, wiki and on-line collaborative activities. It is a collaborative approach that opens educational content creation to a wider group including the students themselves.
* Connectivisim (Siemens, 2005) - students collaborating and networking though technologies such as msn, skype, blogs,podcasts and rss feeds. "Personal knowledge is comprised of a network, which feeds into organisations and institutions, which in turn feed back into the network, continually providing learning to individuals."(Siemens, 2005)
* Productive Pedagogies (2002)- learning and engaging in intellectually challenging and relevant curriculum utilising all the technologies.
* Engagement (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999) - students actively engaged with animations, simulations, blogs, skype and other interactive communication tools.
* Cognitition (Blooms Taxonomy, 2009) -focuses on the cognitive processes involved in learning as well as how the brain works, students remember, understand, apply, analyse, evaluate and create during their e-learning experience.
*Multiple Intelligences (Gardner, 1999)- engaging all the intelligences. Visual, auditory, kinesthetic, musical, intrapersonal, interpersonal and linguitic learners
*Contextual perspective- environmental and social aspects which can stimulate learning. Interaction with other people, collaborative discovery and the importance of peer support through the use of communication technologies, skype, msn, blogs etc.

Whilst all the technologies that I have recently investigated are interesting, I would not be embracing all of them in my classroom. Some of the technologies are time consuming and currently impossible in the classroom that I am in. The students are engaged with technology, the teachers (most) are embracing it, now all we need is the schools to fund it. Even though it is challenging incorporating these technologies presently I have found group rotations an effective way for all students to have a go. Following is a list of technologies that I am using currently in my classroom of 2 computers to 30 year 7 students;
* Interactive games
* Digital cameras.
* Manipulating photos, using basic paint.
* Youtube and teachertube
* Quizzes
* Wikipedia searches
* Research report weekly on a technology, eg bing vs google.

In the near future I hope I will get an opportunity to use these technologies in the classroom. As I am a Learning Manager of the future I better prepare myself for the classroom of the future. The folowing are some examples of how I would include them to enhance all the learning experiences;

* Digital Portfolios- Students could display their past work, reports and relevant information. This could be accessed by the student, parents, Learning Managers and could also be used when the student transfers to a new school, informing the new teacher of the students strengths, abilities and progress.
* RSS feed- would allow the student and Learning Manager to subscribe and keep up to date on information.
* Vodcasts - Students would be able to access learning experiences anywhere at anytime.
* IWB - Learning Managers could model the instruction clearly for the students and the information is saved and can be printed out. I personally can't wait for this one.

As Learning Managers we must prepare our students for lives of creativity, citzenship and social responsibilty as well as success in the workplace. Interactive instruction in any subject can offer an engaging way to learn this new skill. We must expand our knowledge and embrace these new technologies, especially knowing that the students must be engaged in the curriculum in order for effective learning to occur (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). Life long learning is equally the most important skill that we can teach our students, I am both determined and excited about learning more technologies and sharing them with my students.


Atherton, T. (2009) Learning and teaching; Bloom's taxonomy. Retieved 21 July 2009 from,

Gardner, H (2001). Gardner’s multiple intelligences. Retrieved July 24, 2009 from

Kearsley, G.,& Shneiderman, B. (1999) Engagement theory: a framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved 1 August 2009 from,

Queensland department of Education. (2007) Productive pedagogies: classroom reflection manual. Retieved 21 July 2009 from,

Siemens, G. (2004) A learning theory for the digital age. Retieved 23 July, 2009 from,

Vygotsky (1978) Social development theory: Vygotsky. Retrieved 15 July 2009 from,

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Digital Storytelling

Digital storytelling is the use of multimedias to deliver stories using images, sound, music and voice. Digital stories combine mediums such as drawings, photos, text, music and voice into a learning tool. This is an exciting as it adds an extra dimension to the students learning. There are many ways in which a digital storytelling can be presented and displayed, this relates to the Relate, Create and Donate theory.

This technology could be used in a variety of ways across all KLAs and year levels. In lower primary ebooks could be used to display and read. The middle to upper grades could create their books using scanned drawings and images, and make a powerpoint slideshow,photostory, PDF or digital scrapbooking . Another twist could be to create a hard copy book, a photobook. Those of you that go to uni with me have seen my hardcopy book, My art journey and matching photostory. You download the website and follow the prompts to create your own book, prices range from $29.00 upwards and the get delivered to your door. I'm currently putting one together for my eldest sons 21st, something he can keep. This would be a great learning experience, they could then donate it to the library at the end of the year. You can access Officeworks Photobooks from,

Smilebox is another great tool, its a free scrapbooking website that lets you create slideshows, scrapbooks, photoalbums and email them. You can access smilebox from,

All of the above digital storytelling lessons could be intergrated into any KLA. This would promote creativity, enhance and accelerate the learning and engage all the multiple intelligences (Lubbock Independent Schools District, 2009). For all learners, research points to the importance of learning environments which are active, social, and learner-centered. These environments might be described as interactive (Oblinger, D. & Oblinger, J., 2005). Digital storytelling supports at least four major categories of interactivity.


Lubbock Independent Schools District. (2009) Digital storytelling. Retrieved 18 August 2009 from,

Oblinger, D., & Oblinger, J. (2005) Educating the net generation: the real versus the possible; closing the gaps in engagement and learning. Retrieved 18 August 2009 from,

Animations and Simulations

Animations and simulations offer the students opportunities that otherwise may not exist in the average classroom. I have found some really good sites, Real Lives is one, and the Australian electrol commission have some to.Currently I am teaching year 7 politics and have been using interactive games to engage the students in a somewhat dry topic. Animations and simulations are learning resources that can effectively support students when conducting a task (Oliver, 1999).

Real Lives is an interactive life that enables students to go to any country in the world at any time. Real Lives brings to life different cultures, political systems, economic opportunities, personal decisions, health issues, family issues, schooling, jobs, religions, geography, war, peace, and more (Real lives, 2009). This would we a great resource for lessons. You can access it RealLives from,

Year 7 politics can be a very serious subject. I can literally seem them switch off when you tell them to get out there SOSE books. So when I discovered these interactive games on Australian politics and told them half their lesson was playing a game, they went from enraged to engaged (Prenksy, 2005). They come with teachers notes and quizzes at the end to check for the learning. Here are some of the links to government and politics interactive,

In using animations and simulations in the classroom, all the intelligences(Gardner, 1991) will be engage in the learning. As we all know, children learn best when they are been entertained greatly and educated gently, animations and simultions offer this.

Gardner, H (2001). Gardner’s multiple intelligences. Retrieved July 24, 2009 from

Oliver, R. (1999) Exploring strategies for online teaching and learning: distance education, 20, (2). Retrieved 28 July, 2009 from,

Real Lives (2009) Educational simulations. Retieved 11 August 2009 from,

Image Manipulation

Picnik is a free photo imaging website where users can download their photos and edit them, by adding a range of fantastic effects to enhance them (Wikipedia, 2009). Flickr the photo storage site is linked to Picnik, so you can store, share and access your images from anywhere at anytime. I found Picnik user friendly and it would be great tool in the classroom. the results of me playing on Picnik are shown below.

Learning Managers could use it to enhance images being used in learning experiences, powerpoints, photostory and more. I have used basic photo manipulation a few times in different year levels with different tools. Here an example using simple tools;

Year 4...SoSE/Ancient Civilizations....Lesson 12

* in groups students taken outside to take 3 photos of each other.
* students pictures then downloaded to class file.
* students log on and select a chosen ancient scene and character from some images that I had downloaded earlier.
* students then access their photo from the class file and moves it to paint.
* students then mask around their faces, cut and save.
* then they open the chosen background and paste their face onto their character.
* save and print and display in the classroom.

We had Cleopatras', Gladiators, Vikings, Mummies etc. If I had access in the school for Picnik I would definitely have used it, as Maslow (1970) noted that allowing the students to be creative and imaginative is an important part of how they effectively learn. The students take ownership of the images by personalising them, according to Maslows Heirarchy of needs (1970) image manipulation helps meets the self actualization need and gives creative fulfilment.

I have to confess that I have some experience in photo imaging, at home I use Photoshop (CS3) and Corel (X15), these programs have extensive tools. I store all my photos on my external hard drive and can post them from there without the need to go to 3 websites to do the job. But lets be honest, these free websites are far cheaper and easier to access for everyone. In the classroom the Learning Manager would have to set up a generic class site to supervise the control and content. Been able to load photos and images on the internet can be done in several ways, Flickr been just one of them. I do like the simplicity of Picnik , it has basic tools with templates to choose which would be ideal for middle and upper level primary school.


Maslow, A. (1970) Motivation and personality. Retrieved 23 July 2009 from,

Wikipedia. (2009) Picnik. Retieved 10 August 2009 from,


Flickr is a photo and video website that allows users to share personal photographs. Users are able to access and post photos and videos from nearly all camera phones or directly from your computer (Wikipedia, 2009). As well as sharing photos, it can be used as a photo storage website. Flickr is free and easy to upload and use, and as long as you have a camera on you it can be used anywhere at anytime.

First you set up an account, then upload your image which can be on your computer or the web. You are then redirected to a site called Picnik. Picnik enables the user to manipulate and edit the photos with simple tools such as red eye, contrast, colour variation and cropping whilst still been logged into the Flickr account. Bighugelabs was the final program I used, it is a free image accessory website, which has templates for borders and more to complete the photo. I manipulated the photo of my son,Brock by using these three methods. You can see the progress and results below, the first using Flickr to upload, second aided by Picnik and the third framed with Bighugelabs.

Flickr is a wonderful way to store and share images and videos on the internet. As a Learning Manager, I would have to set up and control a class genric site and could upload images for up coming learning experiences. The simplicity of the tools would be great for middle and upper primary students to use as the photos could be sent to multiple sources and as Prensky (2005) noted that engagement is not just about fancy graphics but about good ideas and how to use them. In the classroom Flickr would engage the visual learners whilst they learn and enhance their knowledge about visual, digital and critical literacies.


Prensky, M.(2001) Digital natives digital immigrants. Retrieved 28 July 2009 from,

Wikipedia (2009). Flickr. Retreived 11 August 2009 from,

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Video in the classroom

Wikipedia (2009) define video as the technology of electronically capturing, recording, processing, storing, transmitting, and reconstructing a sequence of still images representing scenes in motion. Learning Managers can utilise videos in the classroom through Teachertube, Youtube or even moviemaker to enhance the learning experiences. Teachers who have used video as part of their instruction, report that their students retain more information, understand concepts more rapidly and are more enthusiastic about what they are learning (National Teacher Training Institute, 2009) .

Videos can be used in conjunction with other resources to create meaningful lessons that engage with all the senses. The images and music can create an atmosphere, which inspires discussion and critical thinking, helps students dismantle stereotypes, can show things that cannot be done in the classroom and can bring history, art, music and plays to the classroom. With video as part of a thoughtful lesson plan, students will make new connections, and discover links between topics and the world outside the classroom (NTTI, 2009). Learning Managers should be aware of the copyright issues, for information about Public Performance Rights and the copyright issues concerning using video in the classroom, see the article, Can These Videos Be Shown in a Classroom or Library Setting?

Using videos as part of the learning will engage and enhance the learning experience for all the students. Videos provides students with visual and auditory information that is eventually stored in the long-term memory according to Cooper's (1998) cognitivism model. Research from the 3M corporation (2001, as cited in Frey & Fisher, 2007) indicates that the human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than test. By using videos Learning Managers can speed up our students learning process 60,000 times.


National Teacher Training Institute (2009). Video Strategies: Why use video in the classroom?. Retrieved 11 August, 2009 from,

Frey, N., & Fisher, D. (2007) Teaching visual literacy: Using comic books, graphic novels, cartoons and more to develop comprehension and thinking skills. Retrieved July 30, 2009 from http://www.visualliteracies/teaching/comics/novels/cartoons.html

Wikipedia. (2009) Video. Retrieved 12 August 2009 from,

Voice Thread

Voicethread is an online image and video sharing tool. Educause (2009) describe voicethread as media aggregator that allows people to post media artifacts for community feedback. It lets users add voice annotation to documents, slide presentation, video, or a collection of photos. The following link is a introduction to Voicethread that I found helpful,

Voicethread is a great collaborative tool for students to use as they actively engage with images, analyse, discuss and add a written or voice recorded commentary. It is easy to set up and use, so a Learning Manager would be able to create one for the class in no time. In a classroom students would be identified on the side bar either individually or as a group, thus allowing all students to actively participate. Activities could range from reading, discussing, debating, interviewing through to designing and building their own in the upper level primary could be part of the task itself

Voicethread aids the students literacy skills, visually by the student interpreting the images, speaking, listening and critically thinking with reading and writing and digital literacy with the interaction of the software. Through the use of Howard Gardner's (1991) Multiple Intelligences theory, Voicethread will aid the visual learners through the use of images and photos, being a hands on activity helps the kinesthetic learners, music and voice reacording for the musically inclined and linguistic learners, group activities to engage the interpersonal learner as well as individual input for the intrapersonal students. "By far the greatest potential of Voicethread lies in the creative opportunity it provides for students to tell their stories and to contribute to or directly critique the narratives of their peers." (Educause, 2009)


Educause. (2009) 7 things you should know about..: Voicetrhread. Retrieved 16 August, 2009 from,

Gardner, H (2001). Gardner’s multiple intelligences. Retrieved July 24, 2009 from