Thursday, July 30, 2009


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

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


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 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

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 may be a sign of madness??

Thursday, July 23, 2009


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,, 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

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 You can access this inital attempt and subscribe to my podcast by following this link to my podcast. 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 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!

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.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Learning styles and personality types

Style Scores

Visual 5

Social 9

Physical 7

Aural 11

Verbal 15

Solitary 13

Logical 20
This graph came from
Using the Humanetrics website, it shows that my personality type is ISTJ
The Keirsey website translates this as a Guardian Temperament

Monday, July 13, 2009

Blogs and readers, delicious!

It has taken me a while to get around to writing this initial blog post as, I admit, I have been busy doing other things. This past week I have sent my first email via my mobile phone - I didn't previously know I could! I have also reached the momentous height of exceeding my internet usage limit for the first time in the eleven years I have had internet. It is hard to believe that while having had the internet for so many years I have managed to learn so little about what is freely available using web technology.

I had been going through the course work feeling overwhelmed, wondering how I was to learn what was required. However I felt I was making good headway in an interesting and challenging subject. Then, on Wednesday, I had my first tutorial on the subject with Wendy and she blew my mind open to some of the possibilities available using web technology.

Firstly there is the blog, an online diary. How great is this!?! I had heard of blogs before but only in the context of private people posting 'private' blogs, I had no concept of the scope of use they had. I could get my students, much as we are, to reflect on their school work to deepen their understanding using a blog. These students could then post constructive comments on other students blogs to further embed their knowledge on the subject at hand and employ critical and higher order thinking in the process (Central Queensland University, 2009).
I am imagining a class where students learn from each other through their blogs, as Wendy touched on in her discourse on the subject during the tutorial. The students who are struggling can enter the thought processes of students who may already have a deeper understanding of the subject (Marzano & Pickering, 1997). This may help all students to improve their class work as they utilize thought processes learnt from their class mates.

Monitoring of all these blogs would be pivotal to ensuring protocols (Central Queensland University, 2009) are adhered to and that students are engaging with the task. This monitoring would be accomplished easily using a reader such as Google reader. As Wendy mentioned in the tutorial, Google reader would highlight any blogs that have had a posting made to them so that I would not need to waste time checking students blogs that have no new posting made.

One of the other things that has kept me busy this week is the 'delicious' bookmark application that Wendy introduced me to last week. During the tutorial I added some of my cohorts blog sites to both reader and delicious, and with the use of tags in delicious I saw the opportunity to collate information that I have found on the web, during various courses, in an online filing system.
My computer at home has had many pages bookmarked since I discovered this feature about six months ago. I know what you're thinking, late bloomer, but that is just as well as I can already get lost in my bookmarks when searching for a particular web page. Delicious is allowing me to clear my computer of its numerous bookmarks and to file them with various tags to facilitate their retrieval according to subject or topic area. This feature is also saving paper as I no longer feel the need to print everything incase I cannot find the web page again.
Delicious also allows me to see which web pages people from all over the world with similar interests are bookmarking. This becomes an instant network of information at my fingers tips potentially saving me many hours of sifting through multiple web pages and sites looking for information relevant to my needs. This will also be indispensable to my students in helping them to find information for their studies (Siemens, 2004), as they too will have an instant network of global information regardless of where the student is.

Ooh, I just had a vision of a student at home, with the chicken pox, involved in online study for an assignment and, continuing to join in their group work while absent from school......(Kearsley & Schniderman, 1999).
Does this make me a closet slave driver or was I seeing a student who is fully engaged with the study topic?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Wow! That was easy, too easy. Now to think about my first post at a more respectable hour!

I have decided to use this post to list my references that I use through out the blog, so if you wonder where my ideas come from look below!


Aldred, S. (2009) Effective E-Learning: Authentic learning and assessment. FAHE11001 Managing E-Learning, viewed 5 August 2009,

Central Queensland University. (2009). An introduction to teachers' technologies. viewed 19 July 2009,

Cocks, R. & Watt, H. (2004). 'Relationships among perceived competence, intrinsic value and mastery goal orientation in English and Maths', The Australian Educational Researcher, vol. 31, no. 2, 2004, pp. 81, viewed 31 July 2009,

Cronje, J (2000). Paradigms Lost Towards Integrating objectivism and constructivism, viewed 15 July 2009,

Dodge, B (2001) Learning & Leading with Technology-Five rules for writing a great webquest, vol 28 Number 8

Kearsley, G & Schneiderman, B (1999) Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning viewed July 14 2009,

Queensland Government (n.d.) Learning with digital portfolios, Smart Bytes Classrooms, vol 1,. viewed 8 August 2009,

Kunc, N. (1992), The Need to Belong:
Rediscovering Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, viewed 30 July 2009,

McInerney, D. & McInerney, V. (2006). Educational Psychology Constructed Learning (4th Ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia: Person Education Australia

Marzano,R & Pickering, D (1997). Dimensions of Learning: Teacher's manual. Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision and Cirriculim Development

Oliver, R. (1999). Exploring Strategies for Online Teaching and Learning. Distance Education, 20, (2), 240-254. viewed 3 August 2009,

Prensky, M. (2001), Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, viewed 14 July 2009, Natives, Digital Immigrants/Part1.pdf

Prensky, M. (2005). Engage Me or Enrage Me - What today's learners demand. viewed 14 July 2009,

Queensland Government, Department of Education Training and the Arts, n.d. Guidelines P-12 Cirriculum Framework, viewed 24 May 2009,

Siemens, G. (2004), A Learning theory for the Digital Age. viewed 14 July 2009,

Snowman, J., Dobozy, D., Scevak, J., Bryer, F., Bartlett, B., & Biehler. (2009). Psychology applied to teaching. Milton, Queensland, Australia: John Wiley & Sons Australia.