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!