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

Monday, August 17, 2009


A Wiki is a simple online database. It allows users to search, create or edit information. Wikis are collaborative tool that allows users interaction, collaboration and communication to other groups. It enables uses to contribute and edit work within its pages and is supported by hyperlinks and text syntax for creating new pages and crosslinks between internal pages (Ward, 2002).

Wikis are a great tool for the classroom for a variety of tasks. They allow the students to explore for information, communicate with peers and other groups and collaborate on assignments with others in and outside of the classroom, inside and outside of school hours. Learning Managers, students and peers could collaborate together constructing the learning together. Wikis could be intergrated into any KLA in the curriculum as a resource for aquiring new information, this relates to the Connectivism theory (Siemens, 2004) as new information is continually been acquired through their use. They allow the students to build on their knowledge and understandings whilst been engaged in their learning. Wikis are another step forward for the digital educational evolution.


Siemens, G. (2004) Citing computer references. Retrieved 23 July, 2009 from,
Ward, C. (2002) What is a Wiki. Retrieved 1 August 2009 from,


An E-portfolio is a digital version of an paper portfolio. It is a collection of many media types (audio, video, graphics and text) which include demonstrations, groups, resources and accomplishments that reflect the user (Lorenzo & Ittelson, 2005). E-portfolios can be accessed by via the internet, and the data and content is safely stored at a central server. They are similar to blogs but are more professional and can only be accessed by users that the author of the e-portfolio has authorised.

Mahara is a great digital portfolio site that allows the user to design folders and subfolders to upload relevant files to easily, resulting in rich media content (CTER, 2009). Mahara costs $5 (AUS) annually and allows you to store information safely on a central server. After the intial frustation of setting up my Mahara account, I found the site user friendly with a comprehensive tool bar in which the user can design and individualise the layout. It allows the users to select friends, add images, graphics, text and multimedia that reflect the individuals progress and achievements.

Learning Managers could allow their students to create their own e-portfolios to store and showcase their accomplishments. Through creating and managing their own portfolios, students would be learning valuable technology, literacy, and self-assessment skills, all vital skills of the 21st century. Students will have increased meta-cognition and ownership of their learning by understanding how they learn when they use portfolios (Brady & Kennedy, 2009). Students can hyperlink to organise material and to connect evidence to appropriate outcomes, goals or standards. E-portfolios also have the potential to invlove students and parents in the learning and recordkeeping process. For the Learning Manager themselves it not only serves as a professional portfolio to store documents and accomplishments but a collaborative tool where Learning Managers can share ideas, philosophies and resources (Lorenzo & Ittelson, 2005).

Portfolios are a great form of progressive and summative data, as they comprise a collection of the students' work, reflections and accomplishments that provide a picture of the students' progress and development over time. E-portfolios are a natural progression into the digital age and provide Learning Managers numerous opportunities both inside the classroom with the students and outside with other professionals, sharing and collaborating resources and information. As Lorenzo and Ittelson (2005) describe e-portfolios as having the potential to engage and enhance teaching, learning and assessment practises.


CTER.(2009) Mahara Tutorials. Retrieved July 23, 2009 from,

Brady, L., & Kennedy, K. (2009) Celebrating student achievement: assessment and reporting (3rd ed). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Education Australia.

Lorenzo, G., & Ittelson, J. (2005) An overview of e-portfolios. Retrieved August 11 2009, from,

Static Websites

Well I have to say this one took a bit of research. Wikipedia (2009) define a static website that has web pages that is primarily coded with Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). My "digital generation" (Prensky, 2001) son, Dustin Frost (2009), clarified the meaning as a website that you create with links that you manually embed and and only you (the author) can edit and change the webpage. Basically websites fit into two catergories, Static and Dynamic. "Static pages are those on your site that send exactly the same response to every request; dynamic pages can customize the response on the server to offer personalization based on cookies and information it can get from the visitor" (one stop web shop, n.d).

Static websites are great tools for learning as they allow the Learning Manager to create and control a web site specifically designed for the class, allowing the students to explore, investigate, compare and analyse specific content. Learning Managers can control the content and links on the webpage, thus making sure the learning is relevant and that the sources are authentic and reliable. Static websites are considered effective (Dales Cone, 2000) learning experiences as they are direct and purposeful for the students.Static websites are effective and efficent tools for the classroom, as they are simple to set up and there is no concern regarding the safety and validity of the content.


One Stop Web Shop (2009) Dynamic or static webge. Retrieved 15 August, 2009 from,

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

The Abilene Christian University Adams Centre for Teaching Excellence. (2000) Dale's Cone. Retrieved 28 July, 2009 from,

Quizzes - Classmarker

Online quizzes are a great resource for Learning Managers. Basically they are the digital form of what teachers have been doing for years on paper, with the extra advantage of instant feedback for the students and the ability for them to do it again to improve their success. On line quizzes could be used as an assessment for learning, where the information gained from the quizzes could be used to shape the teaching and learning process (Curriculum Corporation, n.d). As a regular part of the unit, online quizzes provide feedback for the Learning Manager and as Brady, L. & Kennedy, K. (2009) state feedback helps students improve their learning.

Classmarker is a free site that lets you create online quizzes. You can design multiple choice, true or false, free test and punctuation tests to fit the individual cohort and intended learning outcomes (ILO). Classmarker can be used in the classroom where the students themselves are registered and they can log on to a class to complete the test or students can use the 'rebranding' feature which allows them to create their own tests (Datapedia, 2009) that can be shared with their peers. In creating their own quizzes, students would ideate questions to go on their quizzes that relate to the unit, they then would create the quiz and finally share their quiz with their peers. This would refer to the Relate, Create and Donate framework. You can access Classmarker at;

Classmaker could also be used as an extension activity for the fast finishers in the classroom. I currently create and print out (seems archaic now) extra activities that relate to my classes unit of work. Classmarker automatically marks the quizzes and the results can be recorded which will save the Learning Manager time. Online quizzes are a great alternative to the traditional pen and paper tests, but should be used with a variety of assessments, such as formal and informal because different forms of assessment test different kinds of knowledge and skills (Brady, L. & Kennedy, K. 2009)


Brady, L., & Kennedy, K. (2009) Celebrating student achievement: assessment and reporting. Frenchs forest, NSW: Pearson Education Australia.

Curriculum Corporation. (n.d) What is Assessment for Learning?. Retrieved August 7, 2009 from,

Dataopedia. (2009) All you need to know about Retrieved August 7, 2009 from,

Sunday, August 16, 2009

File Storage

File storage allows anyone to safely store and keep files with the ability to share. You can upload hundreds of files, organise folders, share your files by a variety of methods such as instant messenger, myspace, blog or forum. There is also a photo gallery so you can share photos and graphics also. And best of all its free.

Heres a few reasons why you should get a Mediafire account;

* unlimited storage
* up to 100MB per file
* unlimited up & downloads
* no sign required
* no software to install
* it's quick and simple to use
* did I mention that it's free.

I have created my own Mediafire files as I have a huge amount of powerpoints, photostories and pdfs that take up an enormous amount of space on my hard drive. I already have an external hard drive for big or old files but with Mediafire I can share them with others who have internet access. You access my media file at;

This would be a great tool for Learning Managers to use as students would be able to link to the site from anywhere at anytime. According to Siemens (2004) connectivism theory, it is important to plug inot sources to meet our desired requirements that are to become vital skills in the future. Rather than handing out pieces of paper, students would have to download the work before they began the set task. With the strict filtering tools in place in the schools, Mediafire could be an alternative for out of school time access. File storage could be intergrated into any KLA task and as Stansbury (2009) found these tools will make it easier for the students to go beyond their classroom walls.


Siemens, G. (2004) Citing computer references. Retrieved August 1, 2009 from,

Stansbury, M. (2009) Eschoolnews: six technologies soon to affect education. Retrieved July 21 2009 fom,


Slideshare is a service which lets you share your PowerPoint presentations on the internet. It allows you to upload, view and search for presentations and users can collaborate in the comments and group sections (Wikipedia, 2009). It's a great way to embed Powerpoint or Keymote presentations into your Blog and other websites.

Slideshare is just one host, others include Slideboom, SlideServe and Authorstream. Slideshare allows you to embed items up to 100mb where as Slideboom only allows for 30mb upload. Slideboom allows animated .gifs movement when the slideshare animation is static. Slideboom also allows custom animation movements while slideshare does not. I think Slideboom has some positives to it especially with the animations but, I will stick with Slideshare as has the 100mb capacity compared to the 30mb.

Slidehare is another tool that the Learning Manager could utilise with tools to create an effective and meaningful learning experience. Engagement as Prensky (2005) stated is not just about the fancy graphics but how we use.


Prensky, M. (2005) Engage me or enrage me: What today's learners demand. Retrieved July 28, 2009 from,

Wikipedia. (2009) Slide hosting services. Retrieved August 13, 2009 from,

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Web music

We have all downloaded music from time to time, but was not aware of the copyright regulations regarding the sharing of music until I was recently. The copyright laws within the schools are complex, but there are ways of utilising music from the web in the class without infringing on these laws. As long as you are using it for educational purposes and not sharing the music with others (school community, web) it should be allowed.

File sharing is the distribution or the providing of access to digitally stored information (Wikipedia, 2009) such as computers, MP3 players, iPods where they can manually share. There are numerous options for sharing files but the most popular is the peer to peer networks (P2P), which allows the sharing of any type of digital media.

As a Learning Manager I feel that music can create a sense of comfort and order to a classroom, it can enhance a learning experience, provide inspiration and motivation, release tension and create a sense of fun. Teaching my year 7 class to check for copyrights before using music is a great learning experience for them as it is meaningful to the learner in and outside of the classroom (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999).


Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999) Engagement theory. Retrieved 11 August, 2009 from,

Wikipedia (2009) File sharing. Retrieved 12 August, 2009 from

Music in the classroom

In the 21st century, research has been undertaken to validate and expand our analytical knowledge of music. This research supports what we know, music greatly affects and enhances our learning and living! Research continues to be conducted to provide helpful guidelines for our intentional use of music, especially in the classroom. "Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents." (Beethoven, L, n.d)

I have seen music used in the classroom in several ways. Firstly soft, gentle soothing music playing as the students enter the class room to help create a sense of comfort and order within the classroom. Music used in photostory/powerpoint assignments is another, to create an atmosphere and represent the chosen task. Music is also used in the memorization of formulaes with the students designing and writing their own is a great learning tool.

Music creates attitude, attention and atmosphere (The 3As) in the classroom (Boyd Brewer, 1995). Certain music creates a positive learning atmosphere and help students to feel welcome to participate in the learning experience. In this way it also has great affect upon students' attitudes and motivation to learn. The rhythms and tempo of musical sound can assist us in setting and maintaining our attention and focus by perking us up when we are weary and helping us find peace and calm when we are over-energized in some way.

Using background music during classes, vocabulary decoding, or group readings is a foundation in Accelerated Learning (effective multisensory and whole brain learning) techniques . There are 2 methods for using music, designed to create very different but equally effective learning environments, Active Concerts and Passive Concerts. The Active Concert activates the learning process mentally, physically and/or emotionally while the Passive Concert is geared to place the student in a relaxed alpha brain wave state and stabilize the student's mental, physical and emotional rhythms to increase information absorption. Both teaching methods result in high memory retention. Music can help support Learning Managers in implementing a lesson experience (Oliver, 1999) as music can reinforce the learning by creating another layer for the learner tho engage with.


Boyd Brewer, C. (1995) Music and learning: intergrating music in the classroom. Retieved 11 August, 2009 from,

Oliver, R. (1999). Exploring strategies for online teaching and learning: distance education, 20, 240-254. Retrieved 11 August, 2009 from,


A Podcast is like an audioblog. I was familiar with downloading music to my ipod (music soothes my soul), but I had not heard of vodcasts before. Just as podcasting downloads audio files, vodcasting relates to video (visual) files. So I suppose you could call it 'videoblog'. Both podcasts and vodcasts can be listened and viewed through a variety of ways, computer, MP3, ipod, mobile phones and even Nintendo Wii as my sons have just informed me. The students could have control over when, where and how they wish to view the casts, which instantly creates a sense of comfort and order.

Podcasts allow students to practise their literary skills through the use of vocabulary, writing, editing, public speaking and presentation skills as well as communication, time management and problem solving skills (Schmit, 2005) which will be envaluable for their future. I have subscribed to a Podcast called 'Technology 4 Teachers' (Martinson, 2009), which aids Learning Managers in intergrating the technology into their classroom. As well as teaching tools they are also a great resource for the Learning Manager.

As we all know, Children learn best when they are entertained greatly and educated gently, and by creating an educational experience in an environment where they feel a sense of comfort affects student's ability to learn (Marzano & et al, 1997). By using vodcasts as learning resources in learning experiences, they can create meaningful and worthwhile tasks (Oliver, 1999) that engage students in medias that they are comfortable with.


Martinson, S. (2009) Technology 4 teachers. Retrieved 11 August, 2009 from,

Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., Arrendondo, D. E., Blackburn, G. J., Brandt, R, S., Moffet, C, A., et al. (1997) Dimensions of learning: teacher's manual (2nd ed). Alexandria, VA: Association of supervision and curriculum development.

Oliver, R. (1999). Exploring Strategies for Online teaching and learning: distance education, 20, (2), 238-240. Retieved 11 August, 2009 from,

Schmit, D, J. (2005) Kidcast: podcasting in the classroom. Retrieved 11 August, 2009 from,


Wikipedia is a free web-based reference guide. Wikipedia is a learning resource that can support students in completion of activities and tasks (Oliver, 1999), it is quick and simple to access so that students usually use this as there first point of call when investigating. I find Wikipedia a good starting point for discovering new things before I move onto a more academic or authorative source. The pages contain links to other resources and learning materials. Wikipedia is a collaborative encyclopedia, which anyone with access to the internet can edit, add or delete (Wikipedia, 2009), so students must be aware that it is not an authentic reference source.

My year 7 class are studying politics at the moment, and recently conducted group work on the Australian Parlimentary Process. The seekers in the groups searched Parliamentary System and found the relevant links needed for their groups, Commonwealth Government, House of Representatives and the Senate. This information was then reported back to the group for a class presentation.
As every classroom is time poor, Wikipedia is a fast, effective learning resource that can be utilised by both Learning Managers and students. It presents many opportunities for students to collaborate and investigate tasks that are meaningful and worthwhile (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). How often do you or your students use it?
Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999) Engagement Theory. Retrieved July 28 2009, from,
Oliver, R. (1999). Learning Design. Retrieved August 12, 2009, from,
Wikipedia. (2009). Wikipedia. Retrieved August 13 2009, from,


A webquest quite simply is a quest for information on the web. It is purposeful, organised and scaffolded that using the inquiry model promotes higher order thinking. The different inquiry models include intergrating socially, action research and the TELSTAR approach. Students are presented with a focus question which defines the task and has the students investigate, ideate, create and evaluate. The webquest task should be rich, real-life and relevant to the learner which give a connectedness to the students real lives (Queensland Education, 2002). When the students make connections and build on their on understandings, "it is this process that enhances their reflection and metacognition."(Wilson, J. & Wing Jan, L., 2008)

Webquests were created in 1995 by Bernie Dodge and Tom March, as a type of electronic lesson
plan that included links to World Wide Web. To be honest the first time I heard of a webquest was last year when we were asked to create one for a SOSE class. The webquest asked the students in groups to investigate endangered flora and fauna in their local area and choose one and investigate its vulnerabilities, predators (introduced or native), what is being done to protect this species, and what they can do to help. They then had to write a detailed report on their findings and choose to either write a poem, create a poster or oral presentation in front of class. Even though it was time consuming to design, the students were engaged and as I was only in the classroom one day a week, the students were able to work on it while a wasn't there.

We also created electronic learning tools for Science, which contains information, web links and activity pages. After comparing the two (webquests and electronic learning tools) I found that the electronic learning tool is about the facts, more lower level thinking and more appropriate as a learning experience, whereas the webquest was more an investigation guide for the students as it presented problems and could be seen as a more a unit of work.

A good webquest should be purposefully planned and contain real, relevant and rousing tasks that hooks them in by challenging them with an intriguing scenario that inspires them to take up the challenge."With careful planning, WebQuests can allow both students and teachers to be creative and productive, using this powerful medium to spark the imagination, solve problems, and promote discussion about important issues"(Brown Yoder, n.d)


Brown Yoder, M. (1999) Learning and leading with technology:The student webquest. Retrieved August 12 2009, from,

March, T., & Dodge, B. (2001) What are webquests. Retrieved August 12 2009 from,

Queensland department of Education. (2002). Productive pedagogies: classroom reflection manual. Retrieved July 28, 2009 from,

Wilson, J., & Wing Jan, L. (2008). Smart thinking:Developing reflection and metacognition. Primary english teaching association:Marracksville, NSW.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Learning Management Systems

I have to admit,I did not know what a Learning Management System (LMS)was a few days ago. Now I realise that is what our E-Learning course is one, Moodle. Another name for LMS is Course Management Systems (CMS), which is a virtual learning environment. Its software for delivering, tracking and managing education (Wikipedia, 2009). It allows for onlne collaboration, online assessment, automated record-keeping and student self-service and more.

This the first time I have ever undertaken a course online, and find the collaborating with my peers helps me. I have been responding and reading others blogs, following and replying to threads on activities and communicating with them through Skype and email. I suppose I'm showing my age, as I still struggle sitting
in front of the computer working and wondering if I'm doing the right thing or not.
It is this interaction that I find most engaging, when I can discover things that my peers already know, or I analyse and compare notes with my peers.

With the use of LMS students as Marzano & Pickering (1997) suggest, are able to do group work within a supportive environment ( 1997). Through collaborating together, diplaying and reporting their tasks, the students are constructing a shared learning environment (McInerney & McInerney, 2002). LMS or virtual learning environments are designed to aid Learning Managers in creating online courses with opportunities for student collaboration and interaction.

Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., Arrendondo, D, E., Blackburn, G. J., Brandt, R, S., Moffet, C, A., et al. (1997). Dimensions of learning:teacher's manual (2nd ed). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

McInerney, D, M., & McIerney, V. (1998). Educational psychology: constructing learning (2nd ed). Sydney, NSW: Pearson Education.

Wikipedia(2009)Learning Management System. Retrieved 12 August 2009, from

Interactive Whiteboards

I have yet to have the opportunity to see an interactive whiteboard (IWB) in action in a classroom yet, but am excited by the possibilities. Last year I used a digital projector for my Learning experiences, using PFDs, photostory and powerpoints. I found it useful but difficult when it came to art classes and teaching perspective, as I could only show one slide at a time, with an IWB I would have been able to annotate the lesson better.

I have been investigating the capabilities of the IWB and must say I am amazed.I found that the IWB users can connect to the school digital video system, can interact with online shared annotation and interactive drawing sites. The Learning Manager can record annotated notes and print out for later which would save a huge amount of time.

It's like a huge touch screen computer, in which the Learning Manager and students can interact and record their findings. We all know how invaluable modelling skills for our students are and up until now, students were given instructions and sent of to their computers to work by themselves. Interactive whiteboards allow for class discussion,collaboration and the sharing of information between other classes. As much as IWB are effective tools the most important thing in teaching is the effective Learning Manager. As Kearsley and Schneiderman (1999)described learning that must be meaningfully and engaging for the students through interaction with others and worthwhile tasks. The use of the IWB increases the collaboration and engagement for all the learners and I'm sur that the will become common place in our classrooms of the future. What do you think?

Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999) Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 28, 2009 from

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Google Earth

We all have used Google maps and are aware of its abilities such as viewing roads, 3D buildings, street view cameras, weather and terrain tools. Google Earth's capabilities are far more advanced with tools which will enable Learning Managers to take their students to a world beyond their classroom. As Jon Callow (1999) states, a diversity in images allows us to understand and appreciate various cultures and ideas that we would not necessarily encounter in our own environment.

Google Earth's tools are amazing and could be applied in all KLA's. Learning Managers could engage the students and explore, investigate and compare anywhere on Earth, under the ocean, on the Moon and even Mars. Here are some of the features that I discovered on Google Earth
* Historical Imagery button that allows you to explore and compare how locations have changed over time.
* Earth, Sky, Moon or Mars button which allows you to explore above and beyond Earth.
* Ocean tool that lets you swim and navigate the ocean floor and explore the underwater terrain.
* Touring allows you to record, share and play custom tours that capture your actions and movements.

I used Google Maps last term with my year 7 class as a way to hook them in. It was the beginning of a local Indigenous unit, and I started with a zoom in on their school, I then zoomed out and spanned across(2km) on to the local hospital and zoomed into a clearing in the forest next to the helicopter pad. There in the clearing is the Indigenous 'Noosa sacred serpent'. I then showed them the photo of the sacred sight in their backyards, to say they were surprised was an understatement.

Google Earth will engage the students and allow them to discover and explore the world and beyond. It is an essential tool for all Learning Managers.

Callow, J. (1999) Image matters: Visual texts in the classroom. Primary english teaching association: Erskinewille, NSW.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Youtube & Teachertube

Both Youtube and Teachertube (educational video sharing website) are invaluable resources for Learning Managers to use. They can engage and make the students think. Research (3M Corporation, 2001) has found that the human processes visual images at an astounding 60.000 times faster than text. As Learning Managers this means that by using visuals we can speed the learning process up 60,000 times!

'Youtube ' and 'Teachertube' are powerful learning tools, if used correctly. For safety reasons it is essential that the Learning Manager uses a program called 'Keepvid' so that they can save and store clips prior to lessons without the advertisements and related comments appearing next to them.

Last term I showed the following clip (Dove evolution) to my year 7 class as part of their HPE lesson. It provided a quick clip on image distortion in the media using photshop. This clip was a great hook for the beginning of the unit as well as an essential for 12 and 13 year olds to understand not to believe everything that the see. We had a discussion afterwards then in groups they went through some popular magazines cutting out pictures that they thought were touched up by photoshop. They then had to create posters with an image and had to display their posters in the school foyer. These learning activites relate to the engagement theory (Kearsley and Shneiderman, 1999) in which the students relate, create and donate thoughout the learning experience.

I recently had a presentation at uni on visual literacy and found this awesome clip, but due to limited presenting time I could only show half of it. It hooks you in instantly and the core meaning comes through with few words. I hope you enjoy watching it.

3M Corporation (2001). Polishing your presentation. Retrieved July 26, 2009 from,

Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retreived August 2, 2009 from,


Powerpoints can be an effective learning tool, not only as presentations but the ability to turn them into multimodes, such as webquests and online links. My knowledge of creating powerpoints was limited, but I do know what engages me and what doesn't. I have much to learn about creating powerpoint presentations, and found the 'Powerpoint in the classroom' boring and tedious but, it had some helpful information that I did not know before. I have discovered that you can
  • create notes for each slide that can be printed out but will not show up on each slide.

  • rehearse the time of your slideshow by using the 'rehearse timing feature'.

  • that you could a movies via the 'movie from gallery' feature.
These features will be extremly helpful and will save me time and hopefully make my presentations more effective in the future. Another feature that I recently stumbled on was when I am creating vectors(animations) in Coreldraw and illustrator, that there is no need to cut and paste them onto the powerpoint, you just simply drag them and then create the movement there. This will save me a lot of time also.

Another way of using powerpoints is to create games so that you "make the students part of the learning process". I have included a link below to an interesting Youtube clip 'Using training games to teach in the classroom' it uses games to teach core content' which shows how it can be used to prompt students to think and answer, mainly through visual clues. By using powerpoints as gsmes, all the intelligences would be engaged. Through the use os Howard Gardners (1991) Multiple intelligences theory, the images, and videos will aid the visual learner, the hands on interaction will engage the kinesthetic learner, music and clips for the musical, group activities for the interpersonal and investigations for the intrapersonal, and finally music and verbal speech for the linguisyic learners.

Powerpoints can be powerful if used correctly. We all have seen the clip 'Death by Powerpoint', and understand that it should be used more as a visual cue not the crutch of the lesson. I find that keeping visuals and movements to a mininum has a greater impact as too much can be distracting and annoying. As Prensky (2005) discussed visuals it was not just about fancy graphics but about good ideas and how we use them. As a visual person a do prefer images and I think they are an effective resource if used creatively and correctly.

Powepoint in the classroom -

Using traing games to teach in the classroom -

Prensky, M. (2005). Engage me or enrage me: What today's learners demand. Retrieved August 4, 2009, from

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