Friday, September 18, 2009

Windows Movie Maker

I thought that even though I had finished the assessment, I had better keep updating this Blog with my new experiences with technology. On my latest prac visit in a school, I had the experience of using Windows movie maker to make animations. The students had taken pictures and used the pictures to create an animation advertisement clip. The end affect looked great. I found this program great to use, however it was very slow on the computer we were using to edit the program. I found that the program was very similar to power point in some ways because you could add different features and customize each picture. I found this program easy to navigate my way around and so did the students. They were excited to see their still pictures being turned into a short clip. They were proud of what they created and we able to share their work with others.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Well, what a learning journey I have had completing this, my first professional blog! My brain feels like it is overflowing with so much more information and knowledge about so many different technologies that I had never considered looking at in depth before or even heard of. So what exactly have I learnt over the past few months?

In the 21st Century, technology is a large part of society and our lives. Because technology is so relevant now, there is no argument as to why it is being emphasised more and more through curriculum documents and in education as whole. In the Queensland Technology Essential Learnings it describes how students should learn to see that technology has a place in peoples work and community. It also identifies the importance for students to explore the use of technology practices. As teachers it is our responsibility to help students to learn to use tools, technology and Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) to inquire, create and communicate, while also being able to “reflect on learning and consider the uses and impacts of technology in familiar everyday situations.” (Queensland Studies Authority, 2007b, p. 1) “Students live in a technological world where information and communication technologies (ICTs) are integral to everyday situations.” (Queensland Studies Authority, 2007a, p. 1)

This course provided me with a starting point and gave me the opportunity to actually look into and discover many familiar and new technologies. It also made me critically think about how, in my teaching practice, I could utilise these technologies to engage and help all different students, of differing learning styles and abilities to achieve learning outcomes, develop higher order thinking skills and creativity. “Applying ICTs as a tool for learning assists students to become competent, discriminating, creative and productive users of ICTs. ICTs can be integrated in a variety of ways within and across all key learning areas to support thinking, learning, collaboration and communication.” (Queensland Studies Authority, 2007a, p. 1) My somewhat ‘closed mind’ that I had when starting this course, slowly began to be opened and amazed at all the technologies that were available to me. I began to see and realise that so many different technologies would be so great and beneficial to use in the classroom because they provided for real life experiences that students can relate to and help them become life long learners.

So what technologies would I use and how would I use them to enhance student learning and make my teaching more efficient? From all the technologies that I got to experience and practice using, I do have a few favourites that I can see myself using in the classroom to make my teaching more efficient and to enhance my students’ engagement, participation and learning. My specific favourites and ones that I could see myself using in my classrooms are Voki avatars, Flickr and Wikis.

The Voki Avatars, I think are fantastic. They are fun to use and the opportunities are endless as to what characters can be created. In my classroom I would use these as a ‘co-teacher.’ Instead of me (the normal human teacher) giving tasks to students, I would create an avatar that would ‘work alongside me’ to give information and instructions to students. I could see this engaging students better and it would make them want to investigate and complete different tasks because it would be new and interesting for them.

I also loved the capabilities of Flickr. Because Flickr is an online photo management and sharing tool, this would prove to be of great use to recording educational experiences in the classroom. Students like to see what they have done and taking pictures is a way to capture their learning experiences at all different stages. Flickr would work great by having albums of different activities/units students complete. Students would have the capabilities to take pictures, upload them onto the account and then have the opportunity to also be able to add comments and descriptions of what is happening in the pictures and the purpose of them. Ultimately they are sharing their learning journey and knowledge with the class and others.

One more that I can see enhancing student learning and make my teaching more efficient is the use of Wikis. There are many ways that Wikis could be used. As a class, students could create a page to display their understandings and learning throughout a unit of work, utilising a concept similar to a KWL and add different information and questions at different stages of the unit of work. Individually, wikis could provide students with an alternative way to complete assessments such as a report. Instead of presenting their report on a poster for example, students could generate a wiki to display their project. They would be able access it at school and at home to work on it. Through wikis students will have the opportunities to add different fonts, colours, pictures, etc, to ensure that the task is more open ended and appealing.

Throughout using different ICTs in the classroom, the opportunities are endless!!! We just need to get out thinking hats on and design learning experiences that will interest our students and expose them to many different technologies that are readily available to us and our students.

By communicating and collaborating with my peers through the moodle discussion forums and our professional blogs, provided me with the opportunity to professionally collaborate my ideas and opinions, along with concerns and confusions I had. Through expressing them (in the forums and blogs), I learn that a lot of my technical difficulties, questions, fears and worries were very similar to others in the course as well. When peers commented on my professional blog entries, it was great to read their opinions of what I had done, while also providing me with extra points to consider that I would not have thought of if I had not shared my insights and learning with others. By following other peoples blogs that were doing the same course and tasks I was able to see so many different opinions and experiences that people had while learning to work and explore the many different technologies that were unfamiliar to us. It was also a great tool to inform each other of great information/sites/programs that could assist us with our understandings and learning journey.

I have learnt, and now believe that e-learning (technology supported education) enables us to take what is considered ‘normal everyday’ learning experiences and turn them into engaging, fun, interactive and hands on learning that benefits all styles of learners. Technology has a very important place in education! To be efficient and resourceful teachers, we need to be constantly practicing and experimenting with unfamiliar technologies along with applying our knowledge, experiences and different pedagogical strategies in our learning experiences. We need to embrace technology, just as I am finally learning to do myself!


Queensland Studies Authority. (2007a). Information and Communication (ICTs) Cross Curriculum Priority by the end of Grade 3. Retrieved on August 16, 2009, from

Queensland Studies Authority. (2007b). Technology Essential Learnings by the end of Grade 3. Retrieved on August 16, 2009, from

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Everything old is new again for internet-weary young adults

I came across this article on a news website. I found it interesting to read and I was wondering if anyone had any specific thoughts or opinions about it. If you do, feel free to comment! Thanks heaps!,28348,25779367-5014239,00.html

REFERENCE (2009). Everything old is new again for internet-weary young adults. Retrieved on August 15, 2009, from,28348,25779367-5014239,00.html

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Integrating Technology, Higher-Order Thinking, and Student-Centered Learning

I came across on SlideShare a great presentation titled: Integrating Technology, Higher Order Thinking and Student Centered Learning. Through studying this course for the past 7 weeks, it has amazed me how technology helps us to engage, interest, facilitate and help our students develop higher order thinking and creative thinking skills. This sideshow has great definitions, images, diagrams, links and, questions and activities! Feel free to take a look.


Adams, D. (2009). SlideShare - Integrating Technology, Higher-Order Thinking and Student Centered Learning. Retrieved on August 16, 2009, from

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Digital Storytelling

“Digital Storytelling is a fantastic way to engage students. There are many different definitions of "digital storytelling," but in general, all of them revolve around the idea of combining the longstanding art of telling stories with any of a variety of available multimedia tools, including graphics, audio, video animation, and Web publishing.” (Country Areas Program, n.d.).

In YouTube, I came across a great clip called 'Digital storytelling in plain English', that explained what it really was, and its relevance and usefulness in education.

On the Digital Storytelling web page by the Lubbock Independent School District, I found one of the tables of information quite interesting and very relevant to students learning. Digital storytelling isn't just a fun activity that students completed where they require few skills to produce, but instead, it requires a variety of writing, speaking, visual, technical and personal developmental skills. It made me questions, if this is such a great learning tool to use in the classroom that benefits students, then why hadn't I heard of it before or seen it being used in classrooms?

(Lubbock Independent School District, 2009).

So why is Digital Storytelling beneficial to students and how does it fit with learning theories? A document on the Tech4Learning website, titles 'Digital Storytelling in the classroom, directly states that: "Digital Storytelling can be very powerful for many students addressing various types of learning styles and modalities. Digital Storytelling provides meaning to learning through the use of their auditory, visual and kinesthetic skills. Students are also required to use higher order thinking skills in their creativity of their stories. However, much of the power of Digital Storytelling comes from the collaboration and teamwork process. In a collaborative environment, students are actively engaged in the exchange of ideas and are not only responsible for reaching their own academic goals, but the goals of others in the group. This provides opportunity for students to think critically, which promotes life long learning. Digital storytelling is an effective way to engage students in their learning. First of all, it asks for their perspective and validates it as important. Secondly, they get to work in a medium that is relevant and meaningful to their lives (computers). The ability to tell their story in a variety of ways - through sounds, music, graphics, photographs, and original artwork allows them to express their creativity in ways other than just text. The skills used in creating digital stories requires them to build planning, organizational, and time management skills." (Tech4Learning, 2007).


Country Areas Program. (n.d.). What is digital storytelling? Retrieved on August 15, 2009, from

Lubbock Independent School District. (2009). Digital Storytelling. Retrieved on August 15, 2009, from

Sublimities. (2009). Digital Storytelling in Plain English. Retrieved on August 15, 2009, from

Tech4Learning. (2007). Digital Storytelling in the classroom. Retrieved on August 15, 2009, from

PowerPoint Quizzes

I have seen PowerPoint quizzes used before, however I have never attempted to make one myself. A PowerPoint quiz that I remember seeing and liking was a few years ago on a school holidays activity for children where I was volunteering at. One of the activities that the children experienced was a modified version of ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ that had been created using PowerPoint. All the children loved it as the questions had been created to target their knowledge and understandings; it engaged them and in was interactive! They especially loved that the music of the 'Who wants to be a millionaire' TV show was played at certain stages of the clip, including the drum roll when waiting for the correct answer on the next slide. It made them feel like they were actually sitting on the real millionaire hot seat and they were excited because they had a chance of winning different prizes for reaching different levels of the quiz. The Quiz gave them a fun reason to want to take the questions serious and show that they had the knowledge to answer them correctly. This idea I would love to implement in a classroom one day to make learning fun and appealing for my own students.

When making a PowerPoint myself, I found it a bit confusing and fiddly even with an instruction page open in another browser to refer to. I soon got frustrated after spending some time working on it and needed to take a break and then come back to finish it. I found that the more time i practiced with it and fiddled around iwth different ideas, I began to get faster at making changes and creating a flowing, professional looking and appealing PowerPoint Quiz. If i was to choose to use ClassMarker or PowerPoint to create quizzes I would most likely choose to use ClassMarker because of its ease and because it takes a shorter amount of time to create.

Even though I would choose to use ClassMarker over PowerPoint, I do believe that ClassMarker, compared to Powerpoint Quiz is visually less appealing. With the PowerPoint program, the opportunities to create interesting, interactive and visually appealing slides (to suit the content of the quiz) would in turn make the quiz more appealing to students who need to take the quiz. It also gives them the opportunity to navigate their way through the PowerPoint Quiz depending on how it was created by the teacher. There are fewer limitations when designing PowerPoint Quizzes compared to ClassMarker.

When searching the internet for information about PowerPoint quizzes, I came across some sites that have PowerPoint quiz templates available to download. This, I thought would be a great tool for teachers to look into using if they are having trouble creating PowerPoint quizzes from scratch, however still want to use PowerPoint instead of other programs.

I can see PowerPoint Quizzes being used in the teaching of specific units of work and therefore they could be used for students to practice their knowledge (formative assessment) where students are able to be given feedback and practice their skills without being graded as such. ClassMarker, on the other hand could be used as a summative assessment tool at the end of a unit of work and provide teachers with a clear understanding of what students know and ultimately what they don’t know (more of a formal test/quiz, showing clear results and answers students chose). Oliver’s ICT model shows that in the learning process, quizzes are a tool to use for student learning tasks and can be used as a form of assessment along with tutorials, simulations, worksheets, databases and models. (Oliver, 1999, in AUTC, 2003). Not only can teachers create PowerPoint Quizzes for the purpose of their class, students can also learn how to create them to test each other and engage each other for specific educational units of work and topics.


AUTC. (2003). Learning Design. Retrieved July 30, 2009, from

Voice Thread

After looking at the video under Voice Thread on Moodle, all I can say is that I was overwhelmed. At first, I could not get my head around how so many different features Voice Thread actually incorporates into it. Then it hit me, how would I make something like that??? “Voice Thread is an online media album that can hold essentially any type of media (images, documents and videos) and allows people to make comments in 5 different ways - using voice (with a microphone or telephone), text, audio file, or video (with a webcam) - and share them with anyone they wish. A Voice Thread allows group conversations to be collected and shared in one place, from anywhere in the world.” (Cassinelli, 2009).

I decided to take a look around the site before attempting to create my own voice thread to give me some more ideas about what others have created. I came across a page on the site that listed the benefits of using voice threads in relations to education. It stated: “Voice Thread notes that: Students learn to use technology. Students learn ways to discuss learning outside of school with family and friends. Students learn to use online applications and tools for networking. Students respond to questions and interact in new ways; and, students think critically about what they have learnt in the past.” (Voice Thread, 2009).

I noticed while browsing at different voice threads, that some were more ‘professional’ than others. Some were made for a specific purpose or to discuss or teach a specific topic, however some were not. I liked that there was a digital library to search through different topics of voice threads and was pleased to find that there was an educational section.

Instead of posting my really bad progress and attempt at a Voice Thread (like this specific blog task asked), I thought it would be more beneficial for you who are reading this and for those of you who are wondering about how Voice Thread really could be of benefit in an educational environment, by sharing a specific Voice Thread I came across. This was a Voice Thread that was designed by a teacher for the purpose of explaining a PowerPoint that she used to help her students learn how to use a blog. I thought it was great how she explained in this Voice Thread what she did through her PowerPoint presentation to help her students and explained why she did certain teaching practices for specific reasons/purposes. She also invited viewers of the Voice Thread to give suggestions and encourages us to modify what she did to suit our own classes.

I thought this clip would show a better description of how a presentation can be made, and ultimately how Voice Thread can be used in teaching specific content, compared to the one that I have practiced making.

(Baker, n.d.).


Baker, S. (n.d.). Blogging Tutorial. Retrieved on August 14, 2009, from

Cassinelli, C. (2009). Voicethread 4 Education. Retrieved on August 14, 2009, from

Voice Thread. (2009). Library of Uses. Retrieved on August 12, 2009, from