Saturday, December 26, 2009

What is literacy today?

Another great post from Scott McLeod's blog, Dangerously Irrelevant, on literacy today.

School is no longer constrained to how far the bus can travel in the morning.

I found this on  Scott McLeod's blog Dangerously Irrelevant, it is so true.... 

I love this slide (courtesy of Dean Shareski and John Pederson). Click on the image for a larger version.



Photo credit: The School Bus

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Still learning

Since I started the e-learning course at uni I have been finding blogs that I like to read and I am garnishing some great information from them.
I have been inspired by Jeff Utech to set up a facebook page for fans, here is Jeff's. Sounded bloated to me, but basically it is a page for a public profile. This keeps my private life private, and when I am a teacher, if a student wants to friend me I can explain that I reserve friends for family, however I have this other page.
There has been a lot written about student/teacher relationships on social media sites, and then some more. This is a good post about how to handle social media when students are involved. And so today I have been setting up my new page, my sister was my first fan- isn't that nice- and attempting to link my twitter account with my facebook page and my blog with facebook and...I think I need a diagram! I am getting linked (and no I'm not even going to look at that site!) in my web2.0 world, oh yeah, how could I forget? I accomplished my first status update via mobile phone. Not a big accomplishment for some, and I'll probably cringe at some stage in the future, if I re-read this post, at how easily I am excited by small accomplishments.
Each step takes me further down the road, but there is no end in sight as technology keeps advancing...BRING IT ON.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Digital Pens 2

Here is a funny video for digital pens. I ended up getting an IntelliPen which is just great. I came across this video through the Education.au blog

Did you know



I found this while reading through Scott MacLeods blog, Dangerously Irrelevant and I thought that I would post it here so I don't lose it! Enjoy.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Re The speed of life

The address where I got the below app is on the bottom of the app if you are interested and, you can find the embed code on that page.
This is a simple app yet it shows so clearly how the digital generation are spending their time!
Ahem, I guess that now includes me as an addicted digital immigrant!

Okay I'm back to the books....

The speed of life

Friday, September 18, 2009

Has my latest purchase been outdated before I receive it?

While I am still awaiting the arrival of my digital pen, I have just read about a PhonePoint Pen in this article by The Brisbane Times.

This seems a great idea, however, I would like to see the technology developed in pen form as well. The reason being is that some phones are just too expensive to go waving around in the air, and air writing increases the chances of dropping, or throwing, the phone. A pen form on the other hand is easier to hold, won't leak in your pocket and gives, I believe, better writing control to the user.

I look forward to accelerometers being developed to the point where they can depict the finer movements of writing and save my four finger typing woes.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Digital Pens

After reading this article in eSchool News, and lots of research on the internet, I have put in my order for an IOGEAR digital pen, and now I am eagerly awaiting it's arrival.

This piece of technology is going to serve me well during my time at Uni as it will allow me to hand write my notes at Uni onto any piece of paper and, when I get home I upload the information straight to my computer. From there I can convert my notes to text through the handwriting recognition software, edit away, print out and hand in!
I think this will save me a lot of time as I sometimes write copious notes that I then need to type into word and organise and I am not the most proficient typist around.

This pen would be great for taking minutes from meetings as well.
This pen would have many uses in school such as having students use it in a rough draft of work, if all the computers are being used in the room, to be uploaded when a computer becomes available, giving the student a head start on their work.
To help students with poor hand writting skills become neater as the computer needs to be able to recognise the letters.
If students are composing a story it could easily be turned into an e-book if the final draft was written with the digital pen, it could be an incentive reward for the students to get to use the pen too.
I could use the pen to collate digital copies of the comments written on students work and put these on the students file without the tediousness of doing that manually and therefore doing everything twice!
Oh the possibilities...now back to work!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Comix

Hello e-learners,
It has been awhile since my last blog as I have been busy applying the skills I have learnt and trying out new tools. I have been designing a learning experience and I wanted to add a little something when I remembered Wendy showing us how to make comics on line. Perfect, I thought, just what I needed. So, very simply, by visiting the Make Beliefs Comix site I created my first two custom comics.

These comics are for an introductory class on algebra.
The beauty of these comics is that they can say whatever you need them to and they are simple to make.
Students could also use these comics to present a short piece of work, or to introduce a piece of work, your limit is your imagination for the number of ways in which this tool could be used.
You also have the option of emailing the comic you make to a friend, what a novel way to send a message or even a birthday wish!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Interactive PowerPoints

I finally got the impetus to make a powerpoint with animations and buttons as I decided that I needed one for my first (and second) lesson I was too deliver. I am so glad I did as my mentor teacher was impressed with the way that "the PowerPoint had all of the students engaged", sounds a bit like Oliver and Keirsley and Schneiderman at work there!

Here is the link for my PowerPoint - don't be disappointed it is for maths after all! and I only had time to put in one button. I did want buttons for each number under the nets but I didn't have the time and I justified my decision not to have all the numbers with linked buttons by keeping the link as a special surprise.

However now that the lessons are over with, I have a resource that I can play with and improve at my leisure (when I get some).



Friday, August 21, 2009

Picasa


I have finally gotten around to playing with the Picasa photo app.

Here is a link for a collage (shown above) that I made with some photo's of my kitten and his new playmate.

Picasa allows photo's to be uploaded which ensures you have a backup copy available from anywhere in the world as long as you have access to the internet.
With Picasa you may either share your albums, keep them private or require the viewer to sign in to see the images.
Picasa would allow students to share photo's or to access photo's that may have been taken as part of a school experiment and then use the photo's individually for their report on the experiment.
Albums may be made as required and these may be shared on an album by album basis with you choosing with whom you will share the album. You have the option of whether or not you will allow the people that you are sharing with add to the photo's also.

This is a great collaborative tool that also has effects that can be applied to the photo's and an RSS feed button and a link button to ensure people can readily keep track of any changes to the album.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The new wave

I have just been listening to the MP3 file from the skype conference held earlier today with Scot Aldred as compare. Scot mentioned Goggle Wave as the next thing to watch out for, so naturally I googled Google Wave while listenting to the skype conference. Sorry guys but I'll have to catch the rest of the conference later as I switched over to the video on Wave.

What a great tool for collaboration and keeping all the information together. I can see that I'd have to keep things quite separate and be sure that anyone that was later added to a wave would not be exposed to information that was never intended to be shown to them. You can have private messages within the wave however, if someone is added to the wave later you'd have to make sure that you hadn't earlier discussed what you were purchasing for their birthday so to speak or they could replay the wave and find out who didn't want to spend that much money on them!

Replaying of a wave is a handy tool that would allow a learning manager to see which students had contributed and edited postings and the order in which these were done. The wave can be added to a blog which can then be commented on within the blog and the comments show up instantly on the wave. Media may be added to the wave and comments made at any point within the wave which helps prevent meaning getting lost within the trail of messages. The wave may be edited simultaneously by multiple people. This means that a group of students could all work on their group project at a given time from the comfort of their own homes.

I won't go on any more, go and have a look at the video, it is quite comprehensive - running for nearly one and a half hours. They are hoping to release Google Wave later this year after some feedback form the trial. I have only seen the first 30 minutes of the video and I think it looks great, I'll be back for more tomorrow when my eyes can stay open!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Comment moderation

This blog continues to be a source of information and reflection for me.
I have had to revert to moderating comments placed on my blog after a third party replied to numerous postings I had made using generic comments that advertising was attached to!

I am sorry to all of you that wished to read this advertising, I just did not want it on my blog.

This has reinforced for me the importance of monitoring students use of blogs and the comments they place, along with the benefits of 'The Learning Place' being a walled garden, meaning I don't need to worry about third parties sticking their nose in!

Constructive criticism as always is welcomed!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Webquests

What is a webquest? Well it can be anything you like. The teacher sets up the webquest and the students embark on and complete the quest, and as it is with any other type of quest this is not an overnight thing, you must keep searching until you have found what you are looking for. The quest can be a long term one as I envisage, or a short term quest, both types assist students in digesting and assimilating large amounts of information due to the constructive approach of a webquest.

On first glance a webquest looked like a heck of a lot of work to set up and implement, it also looked like a dynamic way to engage the students and aligns well with both the Engagement Theory (Keirsley & Schneiderman) and Oliver's Learning Theory through the use of complex thought processess and being web based. The benefit here, I thought, would far outweigh the time commitment required to set one up. Upon further investgation and reflection I now see a webquest as an equivalent to a unit plan, and unit plans seem to me like a heck of a lot of work to design and then break down into LEP's and so on.

As I work my way throught this course a webquest is looking less daunting and possibly a great way to plan a unit of work using the backwards method. What do the students need to know? The big picture. How am I going to get them there? By undertaking the requirements of the webquest which can branch off where ever it is needed to go. This way students know what the expected outcome is and what is required to get there. On the way the students get to construct their knowledge through the activities, links and scaffolding provided by the webquest.

My synopsis

Over the last 6 weeks I have looked at and experimented with web 2.0 applications as listed in Appendix 1 and as detailed on this blog. Each of the listed tools offers an opportunity to engage students and enhance their learning whilst using school resources efficiently. Through this experimentation I have discovered many tools that I will utilise in my position as a Learning Manager including, but not limited to: Webquests, wiki’s, blogs, The Learning Place LMS, power points, RSS aggregators, Interactive White Boards, delicious bookmarking tool, mobile phones, online quizzes, bubbl_us, and weebly.
Webquests, being an online tool, will enhance student engagement with the topic (McInerney & McInerney, 2006) and they are a great way to present a unit of work to learners that aligns with Oliver’s Learning design framework. Webquests show the student the entire journey, related resources and, outlines what is expected of them for that unit (Oliver, 1999). Webquests facilitate teamwork and collaboration among students (Dodge, 2001) while teaching students where and how to find information, using connectivism, (Siemens, 2004) to help students construct their learning around the topic (Kearsley & Schneiderman, 1999). A well designed webquest will scaffold the students learning (Dodge, 2001) via background information with a breakdown of the steps required to complete the task and hyperlinks to high quality sites to elicit a high standard of work from the students (Dodge, 2001). Webquests appeal to today’s digital natives’ (Prensky, Digital natives, digital immigrants, 2001) and students have the choice of where they begin their research on the topic, this gives the students some control which contributes positively to their level of engagement (McInerney & McInerney, 2006). An elaborate webquest could be used over the period of a term to develop a deep understanding around the topic and engage students in higher order thinking (Marzano & Pickering, 1997).
For each class I intend to set up a project room within the Learning Place or Ning. Within this project room students will have their own blog for reflection on their learning (Queensland Government Department of Education Training and the Arts, n.d.). I will monitor the appropriate use of these (Churches, The Digital Citizen, n.d.) via an RSS aggregator and I will post questions to students’ blogs to foster higher order thinking (Eisner, 2000). There will be a forum where students can discuss topics, ask questions or chat, and group wiki’s will be established to facilitate student collaboration (Kearsley & Schneiderman, 1999) and work on group assignments. There will be multiple open online quizzes progressively added that students may access multiple times to embed their knowledge on the work covered each term and to provide them with instant feedback (McInerney & McInerney, 2006) on their results and to refresh their memories prior to any exams or tests.
I will use this project room as my virtual class room; I will post assignment details with related criteria sheets and guidelines for completion of various stages, I will post recommended reading and websites, I will post the work that we will be completing/ have completed in class along with resources such as PowerPoint’s, and hyperlinks to files or other media as well as to the class website that I will also set up.
The class website will provide such details as; my contact details, general school contact details, along with links to government sites that outline curriculum requirements, a link to copyright laws and, a link to the school’s homepage and policy information. Now that all of this is in the virtual class room and on the website what will I do in the real classroom? I will utilise bubbl-us with the interactive white board to brainstorm with the students on the given topic. I will give the students the background information they require and I will ask questions of the students to stimulate their thinking and, I will ask if they have any questions. I will provide positive descriptive feedback to the students (Queensland Government, Education Queensland, 2006)and I will encourage students to use creativity and technology in their assignments (Queensland Government Department of Education Training and the Arts, n.d.) and I will give the students guidelines to follow when using the internet (Churches, The Digital Citizen, n.d.). In short, I will provide the students with the assistance they require as they require it to scaffold their learning (McInerney & McInerney, 2006).
The outline I have given above, along with Webquests, allow students to access their class details at anytime, from anywhere in the world as long as they have their mobile phone with them, or access to a computer. This gives students control over their school work and there should be no surprises bar good ones. The use of online file storage, wiki’s and a virtual classroom means that I never need worry about leaving a file I need on the wrong computer or forgetting the memory stick as the information would be available to me online. I would like to utilise the mobile phone as well by using SMS to remind students of when major tasks are due as well as use in the classroom for information searches and data input such as I have described in my blog posting http://kylies-e-learning-journey.blogspot.com/2009/08/i-am-addicted.html.
I have had discussions with my peers in regards to the use of these technologies and copies of these postings are included in Appendix 2, I anticipate these discussions continuing as we each progress towards becoming Learning Managers in different fields and implementing these technologies. To ensure that I stay current with technology and its uses I have subscribed to the blogs of various authors I have citied in this paper and I have subscribed to various e-newsletters and the educational origami wiki, as they each explore technology and its educational uses in depth with many ideas in implementation of web2.0 tools in classrooms.

Here is my complete list of references used.

Hello my name is Kylie and I am an addict...

I spent yesterday imagining opportunites, as I have been doing a lot since I began this course, and I rang the telephone company to ask some questions and I found out the following.
It will cost me $5 per month to have internet access on my phone that will give me 25Mb of data or $10 per month to have 200Mb of data. 200Mb of data allows me to view 13000 web pages or 17000Google searches or 200 minutes of you tube. Of couse there are higher data plans available too. I thought that if my students are using this technology then I should know about it too however, I thought that I would start off with the small plan until I worked out how I was going to use this technology....Now I have decided that I would need the second plan as I am getting excited about the opportunities the mobile phone opens up for me such as; I could do all the work I normally do on my computer anywhere at all, I am turning my phone into a laptop ( so this is my excuse to get a flash phone!!).

I can now see the vision more clearly that was shown to me by Wendy back in March this year in another course. By year 10 all students would most likely have a mobile phone and if they didn't wouldn't it be great to have one on the booklist; mobile phone with 200Mb data allowance. Maybe in the future there will be packages offered by phone companies especially for the schools?

I can see a the start of a lesson... okay students today you will need your mobile and paper and pencil if you'd like to take some manual notes as you will not be able to cut and paste verbal comments made during our meeting with council to discuss the logistics involved in planning our ..... we are using a chat room for our discussion and if you would like to ask a question you may do so by typing it in via your phone and wait for it to be answered by council, we are lucky to have a video feed as well which I will display on the IWB so that you may keep your phone on the text box.

This would save students needing to lug laptops around that may get damaged and cost more to replace, this would allow students to access the internet at home to retrieve messages from teachers, homework (they might loose their phone at this point!), partake in quizzes and collaboration with other students in a very inexpensive manner when compared to buying a computer and having access to this computer when other family members also need to use it. It allows students to choose when and where they complete these activities they could write a quick reply on the bus home from school or during tea break at weekend job.

Well both Oliver ,Keirsley and Scheiderman knew how to hook me in and get me engaged with this course! Once again human nature has an element of predictability to it.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Visual words


I have just stumbled across a great tool for the classroom, an online thesaurus and dictionary, Visuwords.

Okay sounds pretty boring, however this is a sound resource that aligns with Oliver's framework as it adds visual elements with colour coding and lots of detail, for those that wish to delve more deeply, to a dictionary/ thesaurus. Picture this on anOHP or even an interactive whiteboard....type in your chosen word and it pops onto the screen, then related words pop into position around your chosen word with links, the different colours and style of lines signify things such as a verb, a noun, an adjective, a derivative and so on. When you hover over a bubble the meaning of the word appears. You can also drag the image around the screen and it flows as if 3D and you can zoom in or out to see the big picture or intimate detail.

This tool would be great in creative writing or language to show links between words and the many relationships in our language. This tool may help visual learners to see how it all goes together and it certainly has a constructivist theme as you watch the web being built! Typing in constructivist as my word however yielded little return.

I urge you to have a go, go on, pick a word...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Quizzes


I have had a play around with class marker and I find that it is much like the online quizzes that I have taken during my university studies. I have found these online quizzes to be great as it has helped me with my revision and let me know how my memory retention is going. Also if I get a question incorrect I receive a correct answer at the end of the test, and so I can correct my recall. These online quizzes align well with Oliver's theory and Keirsley & Schneiderman's theory as they to engage the students, provide instant feedback (teaching machine), and when the correct questions are asked can greatly assist me in designing my lessons by giving the students an avenue in which to express their thoughts. For example if I was to provide a learning styles questionnaire and some questions giving choices for student interests so that I may align lessons with student interests to facilitate their engagement.
I think that any opportunity to help students embed their learning is worthwhile, so I can see that I will be using this for my students in the future as we are supposed to give them every opportunity to succeed and help them along the way. Therefore the test I have created is short and sweet, you get immediate feedback on what the correct answer is and you may have unlimited attempts at the quiz to keep testing your knowledge as you go.

Having students stats automatically calculated to see how they are progressing would be a great tool and being able to provide students with feedback such as best score to date would entice those students who like to know these things and improve each time. Here is the link to my quiz!

Soccer day free

Now that I have worked out my uploading glitch I can load up my new version of soccer day which includes a light and lively musical number which I sourced from the royalty free music site. This version is copyright free!!

video

As I had mentioned previously but I have since deleted in trying to fix the copy right issues and upload new clip, I believe that this medium is great for many uses. Students could use this method to deliver presentations, a sporting or other team journey through the year could be documented in this manner and handed to the members at the close of the year as a momento of their involement. Maybe this could even be done using each students school photo's through the years as a life compendium?

This is an area where students can be given creative licence and with sites such as incompetech for the royalty free music, The Learning Place with its licence free clip art and flickr for its wide range of creative commons pictures, the students choices are virtually limitless and this fits well with both Keirsley & Schneiderman's engagement theory and with Oliver's learning theory.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bubbl.us


Here is an online graphic organiser or mind mapping tool. Bubbl.us is simple to use and free. As you can see from the above image the boxes can be of various colours and the black lines are like elastics, you may move a box and it stays linked to other boxes as the lines streeetch.

In teaching, mind maps are priceless, whether as an advance organiser that is done for the students benefit or as one done by the students when planning their assignments. It could also list responsibilites for individual people in group work and what those people are discovering/doing; as I haven't mentioned, these graphics can be shared with others and they can either add to the graphic or it can be a read only file.
This tool aligns with Oliver's theory as it is great visual tool that may be used by the students to scaffold their learning and progress, it is also a great tool for collaboration as it may be added to and/or altered by many students.

My graphic organiser was prepared on the bubbl.us website.

Ning, The Learning Place, Blackboard LMS

Okay, Ning is a great online community that encompases Oliver's learning theory to a 'T' as you join groups of like minded people in collaboration and discussions on topics of your choosing or you may start your own group. Ning also aligns with Keirsley & Schneiderman's engagement theory as Ning is an all in one tool for collaboration and creation within a community.
The tools within Ning facilitate the process by allowing, individual blogs within groups, chat rooms, forums, wiki's, everything you need to collaborate with others. I however, do not envisage myself using this tool with my students as all of these features are also housed in a 'project room' at The Learning Place and Ning will require further investigation on my part to set it apart from the Learning Place's project rooms.

The Learning Place is a terrific facility for me, as a teacher to be, as it has the features listed above within a secure Ed Qld site that I do not need to obtain extra permission to use. There are multiple links to other educational sites, I quite simply have not had time to explore the site in its entirety due to the sheer volume of information. I can access copyright free clip art and pictures which are always great for students projects and various unit outlines, teaching tips, personal development courses and other Ed Qld pages. The Learning Place has a Learning Management System in the form of Blackboard, which through my CQUniversity courses I have a good understanding of.

Blackboard is an easy to navigate site for e-learning. Threaded conversations can be held under differing topics in forums, quizzes can be included, and links provided to other sites of interest. You can use Blackboard to give students notice of their grades as soon as you have completed marking assignments so students don't have to wait until the next class to receive this information. Students can upload assignments as well as participate in chat rooms which I have the ability to close down or open only during specific times that I am able to moderate to ensure that proper netiquette is followed by all students.

Interactive White Boards

Ooh, I'm saving up! I saw Wendy's mimio on Wednesday, it is a portable interactive whiteboard. How great is that?!?! It seems as if this tool was developed by Oliver as it is a great ICT resource that allows students to collaborate in class, it has many modes of operation as it is simply a large computer screen that students can work with as they would a private computer but the whole class can see.
If I am working at different schools and I don't know what resources they have, I can take my own IWB with me. This portable version has all the functionality of the full scale model. You simply attach a bar to the whiteboard via suction cups, perform a quick and easy callibration on the whiteboard and you are ready to go. The image is projected via an OHP, preferably ceiling mounted. The mimio comes with a capture kit so that as with a standard IWB you can capture any markings made with special whiteboard markers on the screen to provide learners with a copy or as a record of what transpired. The mimio also comes with software that facilitates interactive use of the equipment, down to a playable keyboard.

An IWB turns a standard whiteboard into a large version of your computers desktop. The students of your self can then touch the 'screen' with a special pen to open and close windows, launch applications just as you do with a cursor on your computer and this is how the students get to interact with programs, on a class level, such as google earth. This alleviates the need for every student to have access to a computer for that session and it saves all the students using bandwidth to see an individual image themselves, they can observe the enlarged image instead.

As for engaging students, this is a tool that would easily do that, which student would be the best behaved so as to ensure they get chosen for first turn?

Creative commons, copyright, royalty free music and still frame animation

On the tutorial given by Wendy on the 5 August, I learnt about creative commons and attribution, which is acknowledging where the work came from, copyrights and royalty free music.
With copyright laws, the easiest rule to remember is the 10% rule, do not use more than 10% of any given work unless you have received permission from the author/creator of the work.
Wendy also showed a wonderful site incompetech where there is royalty free music that may be downloaded and used for free, this is great news as it gives the students some music they can use for their assignments without worrying about any copyright breeches.

When including links to various webpages you must also be aware of copyright legislation. Your link must take people to the home page for the website, not a page within the website as information is then taken out of context and not in the manner that the creater intended. You may of course try to contact the webmaster and ask permission to have links to various pages and they may say yes with some provisios.

I am having problems loading my still frame animation that I hope you'll like, and it is copyright free, unlike my earlier posting with the Hot music that has now been removed!

Lizard - no copyright

I am now wiser thanks to the tutorial Wendy gave on the 5 August on copyright laws. As a result I have removed a posting from my blog and I have replaced it with this copyright free lizard. If you like my lizard still frame movie feel free to copy it!

Now, I have had a lot of troubles uploading this video and after wasting a lot of time going through help pages I realised I had not saved the video in the manner I should have. So, without further ado, here is LIZARD!



During the tutorial on copyright and the 10% rule (that is a rule that is easy to remembre) Wendy showed us the incompetech website where copyright free music is available for downloading and use. There is a great variety of musical styles available from this website and it is perfect for back drops to home movies and student projects.

Both still frame movies and the royalty free music website give students scope for choice and creativity. Still frame movies align with Keirsley and Schneiderman's engagement theory when the students relate to what they are creating and then donate by posting onto their blog or wiki or even website all the while being aware that they have not breached any copyright laws. Still frame movies also offer students another avenue to use when presenting assignments as it is a simple technique with a lot of options available to the students.
video

Monday, August 3, 2009

You Tube

You Tube has really exploded onto the scene since its inception around 5 years ago if I remember correctly. So much so that you can find a video on virtually any topic. A careful search of you tube will produce many video's or animations, that following Oliver's multimodal theme, I could use as another delivery method to help my students grasp a complex idea.

Through my biological studies I have followed links to some spectacular animations on DNA and cellular reproduction. The visuals in these clips have helped me to construct my knowledge on the topics and it would certainly do the same for my students and, the media side of you tube makes it more engaging than reading a text book and is supportive of Keirsley and Schneider's engagement theory. You tube is a great medium for visual learners however I would suggest finding and embedding the links you like as there could be anything out there including rubbish that does not correspond to our version of reality.
I found this short clip, to show you, by a man who is entertaining and has put out a series of science experiments done at home...I have not however watched them all and I don't know if they are safe to try.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

On line file storage

Mozy offers an important service of keeping a copy of the files that you choose to have backed up to their servers. As computers crash, eerily, at a time when you can least afford it, this is a valuable tool.

As for my use of it in education, I don't think that I would need to back up any official records of student grades or work completed by them as this would be held on the education department servers. What I would use it for is any resouces I had made, or sourced, for my classes that I would like access to regardless of whether or not I had the computer with me that these items had been saved too.
This could also be a way for me to share a resource I had made with my students as they could download the file from mozy themselves. Alternatively I could create a class folder and students could up load assignments to this file so that I may retrieve them for marking.

I wonder...I will have to look at whether I could store files here that are linked to my wiki or web page...I could certainly store things here that I want a backup copy of and I would suggest that my students do the same under their own account to protect the work they put into their files.

Voice thread

Voice thread is an application where you can upload photo's or files and have these commented on in a variety of ways by many different people. The various ways to comment on the uploaded item satisfies Oliver's multimodal requirement and it gives students a choice, which is in regards to in which manner they would like to comment, verbally, text, uploading of their own item, webcam, or via phone and if they would like to annotate the item in question using the drawing tool.

As for using it in education...Students could comment on an item, should probably have a time limit imposed, without interruptions and be able to alter or delete what they say; it's a bit hard to permenantly delete something when you are discussing in person!
All of the comments could be collated into a general view or statistical information and, students could see the opinions of others in their class or group and use this as a basis for their reflection on whatever the topic is and whether or not their initial opinion has been altered. Mmm, this could be used for many subjects as well...a tricky math problem, a piece of poetry, current affairs.
This tool facilitates connectivism and collaboration within the cohort which is a feature of Oliver's learning framework along with giving the students multiple perspectives that is also a feature of Keirsley & Schneiderman's Engagement theory.
By using this application it would make the thinking of the students visible to their teacher and classmates, good for modelling thinking patterns.

Arched toadstools


Arched toadstools
Originally uploaded by algo
While browsing through some photo's on Flickr I found this pearler.

I got lost in Rome for awhile...This application is a treasure trove of photo's on every subject imaginable. I searched fungi after finding this photo and the range is exquisite!
Students could easily be directed to flickr to find images on any topic they are studying and find a plethora of images awaiting them.
Students could also upload photo's they take for various projects or experiments and add to this on line library which works in well with Keirsley & Schneiderman's relate, create, donate and also with Oliver's authentic and multimodal tasks.
Some photo's are able to be used in the way I have used this one and others require licensing which must be paid for, but then if you really love the photo you'll pay. I didn't check how much the cost was as I'm currently not interested and there are plenty of other photo's I can use. Another benefit of using flickr is that the details of the photo's origins come with it and I don't need to find the correct way to reference it!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

E-books

Thank you Wendy for showing me this site!!!
I have a lad with whom I do some reading activites, I try to keep it interesting and different as reading is not his first love.
The best reading activity I have planned to date has been when we have read and comprehended a recipe for peppermint lollies and then made them the following week (after re-reading the recipe of course)...We really enjoyed the eating part. However this is a great site and I have chosen the below book for my next session with my boy. I can see his face light up now as I sit him at the computer!!

Some feedback on reading session... my lad was quite surprised when I sat him in front of the computer and he got to listen to the story prior to reading it himself. The only drawback I found for using it as a reading tool, was that I could not have a single page read at a time, the audio kept running and when sound was turned back on it could be on any page at all. Apart from that he was engaged the entire time and only stopped reading when I said to, the halfhour flew by!
This application fits well with Oliver's resources being multimodal and it assists different learning styles as you can read with or without the narrative.

With this site you can also make your own e-books. This is a great tool for teaching students about the different sections of a book, the sentance, paragraph and page structure of a book and to have the children think deeply about what actually makes a book a book. It is also in keeping with Keirsley & Schneiderman's Learning Engagement Theory as students get to relate to the story's available and children's joy in using the site, create their own ebook and donate the e-book for other children to enjoy on the site.

Students could create an ebook (password protected) to showcase their term holidays via pictures or drawings and a narrative with voice over. Students would need to use creativity in their display and higher order thinking to ensure their book ad correct structure and other parts as required.
I think it should be mandatory that by Grade 7 every child has made an e-book! What a display of student enthusiam and engagement there would be. For privacy and security e-books may be sealed with a password to prevent public access.


Myebook - Puss in Boots - click here to open my ebook e-book from http://www.myebook.com

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Animations

This is great, here's the link for edheads, have a look.

I have been back and screwed the fiducials into the patients skull and it was quite an eerie sensation. I do not have a squeemish stomach and the photos are great to look at, but screwing into an animations skull? That was eerie. Anyway...I am positive it will engage all students who grace the website with one animation or another.

The graphics are great and, as a science teacher to be, I am going to find a way to include at least one of these animations every year...now how many different classes do I get?

This included in a lesson would have the entire class sitting enrapt and surley pique their interest in the sciences.


Not only do teachers and students appreciate our free activities, Edheads has been recognized by almost every major award on the Web for our excellent educational content! Quote taken from www.edheads.org

There are also other animation sites, this link takes you to a web page that holds a science animation directory, great stuff.

Among the many animations available there will be one that the students can relate to , edheads is great as the student has control over what they see, to a degree, and it has real world focus which is shown to engage students. The interactivity relates to Oliver's framework and this along with the authenticity makes it compelling viewing and assists the students in constructing their knowledge around the topic.

My Weebly website

What could I possibly use my own website for? It is after all an ultimate multimodal tool that may hold many resouces or links to resouces as well as having embeded items that can enhance learning for all learning styles and this relates to Oliver's learning framework.
Well, I can have more than website hosted by weebly and, they are free. At my last tutorial Wendy introduced me to the weebly website. Through this website I was lead in steps, by Wendy, to setting up my own website, you can find my Website here. Weebly has templates for the page layout that you drag and drop where you want them to go. There are tabs to add pages, multimedia items, RSS , order forms, product descriptions and many more.
I can use a weebly design for my header or I can create my own. It is all very easy to set up and I can alter my website at any time.
So, back to my question, what could I possibly use my own website for? Well, I am going to create a webquest, but I'll address that in another posting.
The web site is static, that is, generally they are created and then left that way. Therefore I would want to use a website for information that wasn't going to change radically over the period of time required by me.
My ideas are still forming and require some more reflection however, I could use a website for each class that I teach. A specific website for each individual class would outline what will be completed in that class for the year ,broken down into terms, a lot like a course profile actually. Included would be outcomes to be achieved, criteria to met and how we aim to achieve this. Also would be assessment details and contact details for myself along with various links such as to the QSA, Dept. Education, and whatever the current cirriculum is. I could also embed a short introductory video or avatar.

This would give the students knowledge of what is to come and what is expected of them for the year/term. Forewarned is forearmed and the student's will not feel left in the dark during the year. It is also a medium that students may access while away from school which gives tem choice in keeping with Oliver's framework, or even if they travelled during the year with their parents they could still keep abreast of the course happenings.

My Map



View untitled in a larger map

I can see Google my maps being used in every subject at school. It is important for students to have a basic knowledge of the world at large and by using my maps this can easily be achieved in any subject as everytihng came from 'somewhere'.
If the students were to find this 'somewhere' in my maps I feel that it would help with their deeper understanding and contextualisation of topics. Exactly where did that something come from i.e a person, a product, an invention, an animal and so on, and how does it relate to what I know. Also, kids will just love playing with it.

My Maps is a perfect tool for students to relate, create and donate with (Keirsley & Schneiderman) via creation of their own maps to which they upload their photographs for others to utilise. The students could put together a tourist map pack for visitors to the region in collaboration with the local council or information board. This would also have the students thinking about things from a perspective other than their own, how do other people see their home town?

Friday, July 24, 2009

It's getting late...but I'll Mahara on.

I was a little dubious about setting up my mahara account after reading some of the forum posts on the subject, but I have managed to do so and I guess by expecting the worst it seemed quite easy!

I feel that this is a wonderful tool and it would have many applications in educational settings. Apart from setting the page up in the style of moodle, mahara is a great (for want of a better word) portfolio tool. I can see myself, as I create new multimedia items, adding them to my view or views, if I choose to arrange them in order of subject. This would be a great compendium of the work that I have created, the work others have created that I like and recommend to others and possibly an overview or sample of the wonderful work created by my students. This could be a digital brag book.
My students would equally benefit from having a mahara account as they could include their own resume with examples of applications they have used to show their knowledge areas and build on these as they progress through their studies. This would give a real world value to the students work (Keirsley & Schneiderman) and as such would hopefully elicit their best efforts (Marzano).
Students could use mahara as their hub with links to all of their online school assignments (as I would still require access to and administrator rights to school items and group projects), and they could set up their own groups, as I have, for their own collaberative learning or study groups (Oliver, Keirsley & Schneiderman).

It is late however and I need a cuppa so I'll sleep on this topic and I may have more to say at a later date. In the mean while have a look at my mahara page and join my group The 'I'll make my own group' group. Excuse my ramblings, but being the only member...it may be a sign of madness??

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Picnik


Here is a picture of my wonderful children that I put together using picnik. I was going to put up my photo too, but it was taking too long to edit...

I think that picnik is a great tool for Keirsley & Schneiderman's engagement theory as the students can certainly create with picnik and their creations can be uploaded for others to see either onto blogs, wiki's or slideshare. The students could use picnik to do cover pages quickly and easily for various projects and for the more advanced students, or those with time to fiddle, there are many professional tools and fun tools. The collage feature would be great for showing the various stages involved in bringing projects to fruition and, the images created could also be added to movies or podcasts and so on. A great tool although the only draw back is having to pay for some of the more advanced features.


21st Century School

While I was having a look through slideshare presentations I came across one that documents a schools plan and journey as they become more technologically focused. I think it is a great example of the steps that schools can take in order to take full advantage of ICT's and embed them in all cirriculum areas not just technology subjects. I encourage you to have a look at the presentation as it contains some great examples, photo's of engaged students and reference to some interesting websites!


21st Century School Presentation - Acorn High School

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My tagcrowd experience

Where there is a will there is a way and, if someone needs it, someone will create it! I really like this site, tagcrowd.com, as it quickly and easily picks out the main theme or tag words in any text that is copied onto the site. This is brainstorming computer style! If I ask students to pick out the main theme for a piece of writing and, whether or not I was aware of their use of this application, I would have to ensure that I question the students to ascertain their level of understanding about the theme and how they came to their conclusion of the main theme I think, just to be safe, as it is no good having students know about these sites if they are then not required to think for themselves.
This site would be perfect for scaffolding learners prior to them reading a book or passage so that they may more easily construct their knowledge about the text as they progress through the text, having had a preview into what the text is about and the ensuing class discussion. In keeping with Oliver's framework, this site provides a scaffolding tool for the teacher to use and a resource for students themselves to use in order to gain another perspective on an item they may not have picked up themselves.

Can you guess what the topic of text I used was?


created at TagCrowd.com


Here is the link to my video feedburner which allows me and others to subscribe to video feeds via itunes, much in the way that we subscribe to RSS feeds, but with pictures! This provides yet another aspect of student control and choice as outlined in both learning theories as the students are able to decide when they watch the clips and where they watch them.

So if you want to follow my video posts subscribe HERE!

I do like these hyperlinks.

Podcasts, vodcasts and voki's


Today I was introduced to the world of podcasts, vodcasts and voki's wihch are great tools to assist in Oliver's multimodal delivery method which provides the student with choice.
Two of my cohort and I produced our podcast using a simple MP3 player to record our voices and then uploaded this to the internet as a podcast using the site mypodcast.com. You can access this inital attempt and subscribe to my podcast by following this link to my podcast. Mypodcast.com also makes podcasts searchable through itunes. This feature adds a real world dimension to students work if they are required to put there podcast 'out there' for anyone to access and can increase a students engagement with the coursework. The process was so simple even a child in grade 2 could accomplish the task.

So what else can podcasts do for me? Well, I can download other podcasts that are available on the internet from various sites such as you tube and teacher tube, that are applicable to my requirements, and use them to spice up, break up or otherwise enhance a lesson. I can also import these podcasts to my blog, as I have done with my initial attempt, or to a wiki that I could put together for my students studies.
Students, or even I, could use vodcasts, which include video, as a diary for projects that they are working on so they can look back and see just how far they have come as the project evolves. Podcasts and vodcasts may also be used as a tool to present these projects or other displays. Podcasts make the task authentic which according to Keirsley & Schniderman is important when attempting to engage students.

Using Windows Movie Maker, my cohort and I uploaded some photo's taken with a digital camera and combined this with a brief voiceover we did, to make our 'movie'.This was also an easy process that has the potential to spice up an otherwise more tedious piece of work that would normally have no ICT involvement and, will give students some control over the way they present various assessments, this control and choice can have a positive impact on learning outcomes and participation levels by students as stated through Keirsley & Schneiderman's engagement theory. Also, when the applications are used through Google they are automatically converted to the required formats which adds to their ease of use and availability to all.

As you may have noticed, I used a hyperlink to direct you to my podcast. Hyperlinks have been an enigma to me for awhile and I am thrilled that I no longer need to sully my blog with URL's as I believe hyperlinks look more professional! The value of hyperlinks as I see it, aided by Wendy's sight, is to easily direct my students to where I want them to look for information on the internet, it is much too easy to get side tracked by all the wonderful web pages available for viewing and miss the required information.

Today I also put my hand to creating a voki. This adds a fun dimension to web pages and students could use a voki to introduce their assignments or I could use a voki to alert, or as Pavlov would say, condition students as to the content they will be working with or researching such as; investigative work could use a Sherlock Holmes type, creative work could have an artist type and so on. Voki's would also break up what could otherwise be an online worksheet...how boring, may as well just print it out and hand it to the students! Oliver requires various delivery modes in his learning design theory and avatars certainly fit the bill.

So for now,
my group video is below and my first born voki follows!

video


Friday, July 17, 2009

Slideshare, Powerpoint and Wiki's

These three tools should certainly come in handy in the classroom.

Slideshare is great for finding and using resources that people have put on line instead of creating my own from scratch. This can be a great time and lesson saver as Wendy pointed out in the tutorial on 15 July 2009.
Slideshare would also be valuable if a student is having trouble understanding a particular element in a subject, in keeping with Keirsley & Schneiderman's engagement theory and Oliver's framework, the student has a choice in the delivery style and control as they may be able to find the same information, presented in a different way, that helps the topic 'click' for them.

The most famous wiki I know is wikipedia. Wikipedia is a great starting point for students' investigation into an unfamilliar subject as virtually all topics are covered by someone in wikipedia. What needs to be done when using wikipedia is to inform students on how to check the validity of the information they find by checking the credientials of the person or people who have put the information up. There will most likely be links to further webpages related to the topic under investigation and this information can help to point students in the right direction. I have used wikipedia myself to kick start my resaerch for a topic that at the time I knew nothing about, then I simply conducted more reasearch at other sources to further my knowledge. A real world project, which is endorsed in both Keirsley & Schneiderman's engagement theory and Ol'iver's learning framework, for students could be to add their research to a wikipedia article or to creat a new entry on a topic that does not yet exist. The work would need to be of a high standard and the students work would be on display to the world.

Wiki's would be very useful for student group work as they can add to their page as they complete their research and reflections. Collaboration is an important part of Oliver's learning design framework and wiki's provide the forum for such student collaboration. All posts are logged and tracked so that it is easy to see which students are contributing and how to group projects. Students can then go in virtually any direction in the presentation of their group work by enhancing their wiki with numerous digital tools.
I could also use a wiki as my virtual classroom. If I was to load everything digital that I needed for a class into a wiki I wouldn't have to worry about leaving anything at home and being unprepared as I could access the tools I required from any computer with an internet connection. I could post homework or assignment details onto a wiki so that no student can say that they missed the handout! I would then of course have to ensure that all students had the access they required to a computer with internet connection to enable this to be a viable option (Blackmore et al. 2003).

PowerPoint...I have accessed a lot of material on PowerPoint through my lectures and, the PowerPoint set up allows me to print out smaller versions of the slides to jot my notes on which is rather handy. PowerPoint's if used correctly can enhance learning for visual students and for students like myself who like to have notes taken of the pertinent points and find it difficult, through a lack of shorthand ability, to take notes quickly enough and comprehend what is being said at the same time. Power point gives the students another mode to receive information through this should be the way things are structured, multimodal, according to Oliver.
PowerPoint allows professional looking overhead projections to be put together easily for use with a class or other audience by virtually anyone and the more advanced can embed movie clips and sounds to enhance the presentation. These powerpoints can then be uploaded to Slideshare and if this is used for a student project, it adds to the real world value that a student can see in the task and, according to the ICT report by Blackmore et al, this ICT use increases the students engagement with the topic, their attitude and study habits, and I see this as a desirable outcome.

Learning styles 2

As apparent from my previous post, I have undertaken some online personality typing questionnaires. These online tools, I believe, are an invaluable resource in helping to consolidate 'I'm okay, you're okay' mindsets.
While I'm pleased with the resource and I can see its value in helping me to understand my students personality types and learning styles- my ability to do this unaided is lacking- so that I may arrange my LEP's accordingly. I am inherently disappointed that it is so easy to classify people and, that unsavory traits may be quite hard to alter/change as they are embedded in who we are. I don't like such fatalism.

However, ICT's are great for all learning styles; interactive for the kineasthetic, you tube, read from the screen for visual, podcasts and the computer will even read it to you for the auditory learners. There are many more applications and there is something for every learner, I am the one who needs to link and scaffold the process for them in keeping with Oliver's learning design framework.