Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The clip I have decided to include in this blog is one that I have previously utilised for a Science unit of work using the 5Es Investigation Model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate). (Primary Connections, 2008). The background details of the unit are as follows:
Scientific Concept/Topic: The Water Cycle (and the use/conservation of water)
Time Frame/Unit Length: 7 lessons
CLO: Earth and Beyond 1.1 – Students identify and describe obvious features of the Earth and sky. (Queensland Studies Authority, 1999).
Relevant Essential Learnings by the end of grade 3: Earth and Beyond
- Earth and space experience recurring patterns and natural cycles of events, including season, weather and moon phases and these can affect living things. (Queensland Studies Authority, 2008, p. 2).
- Materials of Earth can be used in various ways. (Queensland Studies Authority, 2008, p. 2).
The YouTube clip planned to be used in this unit is a simple clip that has a catchy tune and sings the process of the water cycle.
The clip is useful in relations to this specific unit because it offers a way to help students remember the terminology and the process/order of the water cycle through song and a visual means. The clip itself has the words fly in and out, turn around and change numerous times to show the lyrics of what is being sung. The students are also able to see the spelling of the words through having the lyrics appear as the song plays. (After listening to this clip a few times, this tune that was stuck in my head!)
I see YouTube and TeacherTube as very practical sites that have so much to offer in regards to educational content. I do believe that students in schools should not be let to their own devices on YouTube as there are so many clips that have no place in the classroom. Therefore, I believe it is the responsibility of the teacher to find suitable clips to share with students relating to lesson topics, instead of students looking for ones themselves.
By using other technology such as powerpoint, students could create clips to place on YouTube that can share what they are learning in class with the ‘outside world.’ After looking at many clips on YouTube, there are already so many clips that have been clearly made by students (such as beginner clay animations, etc). Creating a project where students could create a clip that the teacher can place on YouTube, could prove to be a great way to engage students with the content, create a hands on approach to what they are learning and giving students a permanent reminder of what they did and learnt by making available to them on the internet.
Primary Connections. (2008). An elaboration of the Primary Connections 5Es teaching and learning model. Retrieved July 27, 2009, from http://www.science.org.au/primaryconnections/resourcesheets/5Es.pdf
Queensland Studies Authority. (2008). Queensland Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Framework: Science Essential Learnings. Retrieved on March 11, 2008, from http://www.qsa.qld.edu.au/downloads/assessment/qcar_el_science_yr3.pdf
Queensland Studies Authority. (1999). Science Years 1 to 10 syllabus. Retrieved on March 7, 2008, from http://www.qsa.qld.edu.au/downloads/syllabus/kla_science_syll.pdf
ScienceExplosion. (2008). YouTube - Water Cycle Song. Retrieved on July 27, 2009, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yw275056JtA
TeacherTube. (2009). TeacherTube. Retrieved July 27, 2009, from http://www.teachertube.com/
"This project focuses on learning designs implemented with the use of Information and Communication Technologies. Oliver (1999) argues that a learning design comprises the following key elements:
- Tasks that learners are required to do.
- Resources that support learners to conduct the task.
- Support mechanisms that exist from a teacher implementing it." (AUTC, 2003).
AUTC. (2003). Learning Design. Retrieved July 30, 2009, from http://www.learningdesigns.uow.edu.au/project/learn_design.htm
Sunday, July 26, 2009
In my current placement, the school is lucky enough to have interactive whiteboards in each classroom, which can be linked up to a program called ActivExpressions. (Promethean, 2009). Each child is given a ‘remote control/phone’ type device that is linked up the active expressions program on the computer and then projected to the whiteboard for students to see. Teachers are able to use a program very similar to ClassMarker to create quizzes for students to complete. I was able to watch the students complete different quizzes with multiple choice, multiple response, true/false, free text, punctuation and essay styled questions. Instead of being made to write answers, the students typed their answers in and were excited to complete different tests. After completing the tests, there was no need for the teacher to sit down and mark each students’ answers one at a time (making it a very time consuming task that can see teachers making marking errors after spending a long period of time looking at the same questions over and over). Instead, the results were calculated by the program, and students were able to see the questions again on the whiteboard, see the correct answers and be able to see graphs and statistics of all the students’ answers. I saw that this collaboration of the answers created active discussions and interest amongst the students and the content of the test itself. It made it more interesting and interactive for them.
Any program, similar to ClassMarker, I believe can provide a great learning and formative and summative assessing tool for teachers. It enables them to design personalised tests, modify them frequently and see results instantaneously after students complete the test/s. It definitively provides a more interactive way of testing students that is more technologically advanced than ‘boring pieces of paper and a pencil.’
Below this blog is a link to a very simple maths quiz I created just to test my skills at creating a quiz using this specific program. I even found a mistake in it when I tested it myself, and found that it was so great to be able to go back and quickly correct it!
Promethean. (2009). ActivExpressions. Retrieved on July 25, 2009, from http://www.prometheanworld.com/server.php?show=nav.15997
Saturday, July 25, 2009
I have always been interested in altering and manipulating personal photos. On my own computer I have a few programs such as Paint.Net and Adobe Photoshop that I use to play around with images. I never considered, prior to this course, about looking for a program to use online. Although Picnik was okay to use, I did find it a bit difficult to change my image in certain ways because a lot of the options only become usable when you sign up and pay for a premium account. After a while, it was frustrating me because I was clicking on different settings, however when I went to apply certain features permanently onto my picture it requested that I had to upgrade and pay to use what I had chosen (which I was not prepared to do). Therefore this limited what I could do with the pictures significantly. I did however like that I could see what each setting did to the picture and click cancel to be able to look at more options before making a decision of the changes I wanted to make. In the end, I did end up altering a picture I had uploaded to the site and made some minor adjustments to it. Even though I had only changed a few elements of the picture, it made it look totally different to the original.
In relations to using a program like Picnik in classrooms, it would be useful in a number of ways. For younger audiences, through adding in simple pictures onto photos would be great to add some character to student folios. For example, if the students were doing an activity looking at frogs, then a picture of the student/s engaging in the activity could be altered to have some pictures of frogs around the border, etc. By altering and manipulating photos, it can essentially bring elements to pictures that we cannot capture through just the original picture itself. Through using these programs, we can change pictures that may have some focus or colour impurities and in turn make it a higher quality picture than the original. Through manipulating images, it is also possible to crop out unwanted parts of the picture that may detract from the intent or key part of the picture.
With these programs, the options are endless as to what a picture can be turned into. It essentially to me is a form of art in itself to transform a simple picture into something that looks so beautiful, fun and/or interesting. A site I did come across talked about digitally manipulation and posed some questions that made me think about how they would relate to digitally manipulating pictures in education. “The important questions when we manipulate an image are, why are we doing this, and what are our purposes and intentions? Where do we draw the line? What is ethical in the digital manipulation and enhancement of a photo?” (Lodriguss, 2006). I am interested in hearing what other people would consider when answering these questions and how they personally see the use of altering pictures for educational purposes.
Lodriguss, J. (2006). The Ethics of Digital Manipulation. Retrieved July 25, 2009, from http://www.astropix.com/HTML/J_DIGIT/ETHICS.HTM
Picnik. (2009). Picnik. Retrieved on July 25, 2009, from http://www.picnik.com/app#/home/welcome
Through looking around the internet for information about powerpoint itself (because technically I didn’t know much background information about it, apart from that it was automatically on my computer when I installed the windows office package), I came across the ‘PowerPoint in the Classroom’ website. “PowerPoint is a high-powered software tool used for presenting information in a dynamic slide show format. Text, charts, graphs, sound effects and video are just some of the elements PowerPoint can incorporate into your presentations with ease. Whether it's a classroom lesson, a parents' group meeting, a teachers' seminar or an unattended kiosk at the Science Fair - PowerPoint shows you how to make a powerful impression on your audience.” (ACT360 Media Ltd, 2007). I was quite impressed with how this website gave so much information about PowerPoint itself and step by step instructions of how to do/complete different things in the PowerPoint program. It not only has information dedicated just for teachers, but also easy, step by step instructions with diagrams suitable for even younger students to follow (ideally with the aid of a teacher). To be able to incorporate PowerPoint in the classroom and teach students how to use it properly, this site would be fantastic to use in a classroom. Lessons incorporating PowerPoint also have potential to reach out to many different learning styles and appeal to students because it can be a fun way to present different information and projects to an audience.
Looking and thinking about what I thought was quite a simple program that I use on a regular basis, instead is now to me, much more than that. It is such an important tool that is so readily available to many students/people that have access to a computer. As teachers, I do believe we need to be finding ways to utilise some programs like PowerPoint, that on the surface may seem so simple and not necessarily very important, or in way, ‘outdated’. However, when used in many different ways for many different purposes, they offer great learning tools and resources for us and our students that are not necessarily based solely around ‘internet technologies’. We need to use all programs and resources that are available to benefit our students and to expose them to as much knowledge and hands on experience as possible.
ACT360 Media Ltd. (2007). Powerpoint in the classroom. Retrieved July 25, 2009, from http://www.actden.com/pp
Originally uploaded by Jillie89
This is a test blog to see if I can successfully add a photo onto my blog from my Flikr account. This picture is of my friends and myself at the start of the year at Wet N Wild on 'The Mammoth'. This 'lovely' picture was taken during our ride and because it was such an awesome picture, we all got a copy to remind us about that specific ride and to laugh about it all over again!
Flikr - What a great site to store and share digital photos online! From playing around with the site, I found it user friendly and really fast to upload photos. On many other sites that I have tried to upload photos onto, I end up sitting there waiting for a long period of time. It didn’t take me long to work out how to set up a link between my Flickr account and my blog and found it quite straight forward to successfully put a photo onto my blog. In the information in ‘An Introduction to Teachers’ Delivery Technologies’, it described that students would be able to upload and use images also. (CQUni, 2009).
This site would be useful to create an account that all students in a class could access. The teacher and students could take pictures of different events and activities that the class participates in and upload these photos on the site. The students themselves could then label the pictures, write descriptions of what is happening in the pictures and show the photos to parents and other teachers, etc, ultimately sharing the different learning experiences that have been captured in the pictures. This would be a great way to store the photos in once central location that is readily accessible with internet access. It would initially work as an online photo album of the class events throughout a year that students can access both during the year and also in future years.
CQUniversity. (2009). An Introduction to teachers' Delivery Technologies. Retrieved on July 19, 2009, from http://moodle.cqu.edu.au/mod/resource/view.php?id=671
Flickr. (2009). Flickr. Retrieved July 25, 2009, from http://www.flickr.com/
After finally understanding what e.portfolios were and the relevance of them, it then left me with another step to complete… understanding how it works. This is something that I am still working on, however after playing around with my new Mahara account, it made me think about the use of these not just for teachers to create a professional folio to present for interviews and to show their work to professional, but also for students, especially students in high school. I remember having to write my own resume in grade 9 and found that it was always a hassle to print off all my references and certificates that I referred to in the resume itself. If I had known about an e.portfolio program and knew that I could compile a comprehensive resume online, I could have directed my potential employer/s to my e.potfolio or handed it to them via disc. It would have been a lot easier and tidier way of handing them my resume (plus good for the environment).
I am still yet to full understand how to navigate my way through Mahara, however I do know that once I can use it efficiently, it will become a very useful resource in my career that I can constantly build on and refer to.
Miers, J. (2005). Professional E.Porfolios in Education. Retrieved July 19, 2009, from http://www.teachers.ash.org.au/jmresources/ePortfolio.htm
Siemens, G. (2004). E.portfolios. Retrieved July 20, 2009, from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/eportfolios.htm
The use of avatars in the classroom can aim to engage students on a totally different level than what they would normally experience on a day to day basis. Nowadays, children are surrounded by games and different characters, therefore the concept of an avatar wouldn’t seem ‘foreign’ to most students. Often I have seen children watch programs and then be able to restate what the characters have said or reinacted their actions. Their memory skills of something they were so interested in amazed me. Therefore, if teachers can create avatars of different characters, it can enable students to be given instructions or information through an avatar instead of straight from the teacher, which may help in students to remain engaged, entertained and in turn retain information and comprehend what the avatar has said/ explained to them what they need to do. Also, by having an avatar giving instructions and information to students, it can be used alongside the teaching of the class teacher. (The avatar can be seen by students as someone/a character who is ‘overlooking’ their work and is working in collaboration with the teacher, with the teacher ‘informing’ the avatar of the students progress, etc.) An online article described the benefits of virtual teachers/avatars in educational settings. It stated that, “we know that retention is improved, we know that "lean back" education can be effortlessly absorbed and we know that there is nothing more powerful when it comes to delivering complex ideas or facts than the spoken word.” (Jay, 2009)
Avatars not only can be designed for teachers to use, I can see how they can also be used by students themselves. Students would be able to create avatars for different projects and to communicate with each other in the classroom. It can make presenting to the class or collaborating with each other more interesting for them. The biggest concern that I believe teachers would face with letting students create their own avatars would be monitoring the use of them and ensuring that students use them appropriately in the school setting.
The Avatar I have created and embedded into this blog, has been designed to introduce a class to its topic of Australian Animals. WARNING, it is very brief and sounds a bit strange.
Jay, A.J. (2009). Talking Avatars in Education - The Virtual Teacher comes of age! Retrieved on July 19, 2009, from http://www.goarticles.com/cgi-bin/showa.cgi?C=1716860
The Wiki that I have created using WetPaint, is a test one (that is quite bare, however it gives you an idea of what I am referring to in this blog post). I decided to create this Wiki to suit the class I am currently laced with now – Grade 3. Their unit is currently focused on Life and Living, particularly looking at the life cycles and environments of Australia native animals. Because Wiki’s are a great way to communicate, collaborate and are very easy to add to and to change around, I thought that this would be a great technology tool for students to learn throughout the unit of work as individuals and share their learning with the whole class. The students are able to add new information they find and learn based on the unit topic.
For, more structure on the Wiki, at the start of the unit, the teacher could conduct a KWL and place all the students’ responses on the Wiki. Students can then add to the K (what they know), W (what they want to know) and L (what they have learnt) sections as the unit progresses. On the Western Australian Department of Education and Training, it identifies the benefits of using wikis in classrooms. It states that “wikis encourage group social interaction and collaboration and support asynchronous communication allowing users to contribute at a time, and from a place that suits them. Many students find that their learning is most effective when they are actively involved in the construction of their knowledge.” (Western Australian Department of Education and Training, 2009). If students are given the opportunity to communicate and share (through the use of Wikis) what they discover and learn, students may take more of an engaged and active interest into, and enjoy their many different learning journeys with their peers while at school.
The WetPaint site I have created is available by clicking on this link. http://aussieanimals.wetpaint.com/
Queensland Studies Authority. (2009). Information and Communication Technologies, Cross-Curricular priority by the end of year 3. Retrieved July 23, 2009, from http://www.qsa.qld.edu.au/downloads/learning/qcar_ccp_ict_yr3.pdf
Western Australia Department of Education and Training. (2009). Wikis in the Classroom. Retrieved on July 23, 2009, from http://www.det.wa.edu.au/education/cmis/eval/curriculum/ict/wikis/#value
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
My first step to setting up an RSS aggregator was to find out what it actually was. After looking at the very helpful Youtube clip attached to the course materials, I learnt that it stood for Really Simple Syndication. (CQUniversity, 2009). I also learnt that instead of wasting time to look for new blogs or information on different websites, a single website (a reader) can follow the sites for us and notify us of the updates or new information for us. (LeeLeFever, 2007).
After finding this useful information out, I had to then set up my blog that would ultimately be the platform for my assignment. Setting up the blog was quite simple enough for me, since I had already (all by myself) mastered setting up and navigating my way around all the many different features of facebook. I went though the different steps on the blogger site, set up my profile and uploaded a display picture. After fiddling around with all of the settings, I finally had an up and running blog. Yay!
Looking around the blogger site, I noted that there was an ‘Add’ button to type in other people’s blog URLs to ‘follow’. I went onto the discussion forums on the moodle site and read people comments about their experiences with setting up a blog and any queries they had. I also found that some people had added their blog URLs! I quickly went back and added their URL into the correct section on Blogger, and amazingly, I could see their blogs and their postings!
My last step of the day was to set up this ‘aggregator’. I followed Scott’s suggestion (because I trusted that he knew what he was talking about) and went with Google Reader. To my surprise, when I went into Google Reader, the blogs that I had added on my blog to follow were already listed and showing me updates! I had unintentionally set up an RSS Aggregator! Using blogger I was automatically linked to Google reader! It was easy to read with my ‘subscriptions’ on the side (bolded when there was new content) along with new information sequentially listed in the centre of the page under headings.
From my experience creating the blog and understanding RSS Aggregators, I discovered what useful tools they really are. I could also see the advantages for both teachers and students in schools. If there are websites that teachers constantly refer to that aid them with educational information, by using a RRS Aggregator, they would be able to much easily monitor updates for that site.
CQUniversity. (2009). An Introduction to teachers' Delivery Technologies. Retrieved on July 19, 2009, from http://moodle.cqu.edu.au/mod/resource/view.php?id=671
LeeLeFever. (2007). Video: RSS in Plain English. Retrieved on July 19, 2009, from //www.youtube.com/watch?v=0klgLsSxGsU&feature=PlayList&p=D75F3D44376CEEB2&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=3
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Active Learning – Reaching out and engaging learners through understanding different learning styles, multiple intelligences and incorporating ICTs
Learning styles, put simply are different ways people learn. The most common are Visual (looking/viewing), Auditory (listening/hearing) and Kinaesthetic (doing/hands on). Key multiple intelligences that can be noted also are visual/spatial (thinking in pictures, being able to comprehend information better through visual stimulus), verbal/linguistic (thinking in words and process information better through text or verbal instruction), logical/mathematical (learn best through reason, logic and maths, are curious and inquisitive about the world), bodily/kinaesthetic (express themselves through movement and hands on activities), musical/rhythmic (thinking in sounds, music and patterns, sensitive to their environment), interpersonal (outgoing and relate and understand to others) and intrapersonal (self reflective and prefer working individually). (LdPride.net, 2009).
After completing a few of the quizzes available on the site, these confirmed my predictions about my own learning styles and multiple intelligences. My results told me that I was Logical/Mathematical (definitely fits me because I HAVE to write notes and to do lists to be able to cope and things just have to be broken into chunks and worked out slowly), Kinaesthetic (explains why I cannot stay on task for a large length of time and easily get distracted, I need to break things up), Visual/Spatial (hence why I cannot read large chunks of text and understand it) along with Intrapersonal.
From reflecting on my time at different schools on my different practicums, I was able to recognise that I have encountered students with all of the learning styles and multiple intelligences. I often find myself, when I plan lessons somewhat concerned about lessons that I plan. I worry my lessons may not cater or reach out to all of these different learners’ abilities, styles and preferences in my class. I find that sometimes what I can plan and do in my lessons are to some extent limited because of time constraints, content to be taught and resources available to me. I have found some ways to overcome this however. If I can plan a few lessons on the same or focusing on a similar topic and utilise different learning styles/multiple intelligences in different lessons (through different activities), I can somewhat achieve ‘properly teaching’ to all students in my classes. I personally believe if we fail at teaching all students in our class, then we have not fully met our expectations of a teacher.
I have remembered back to how I felt at primary school, high school and even now at university, where my needs were not being met, my learning styles were not being catered for and in turn how it affected my learning. There was no point in giving me a novel to read at any point of my schooling, because I was never going to sit down long enough to read it, let alone understand it, nor enjoy it. I find even now, having to sit and read large readings or just sitting and listening to a lecturer talk for 2 hours, I do not learn a thing!
Anyway, bringing my blog back to how technology can help ALL students engage with content and learn effectively. By utilising different technologies that are readily available in all schools now, can cater for all students learning styles and multiple intelligences, while also making learning fun for them! Through the use of simple powerpoint for example, students can work in groups or individually, they are learning through a hands on activity, they are able to incorporate pictures, text, music and all different elements that relate best to how they best learn into their learning tasks and assessments. It is out job to source out what technologies are available and make them fit into the lessons we plan.
The important point that I felt has struck me throughout this section (Active Learning), is the fact that even though the learning styles and multiple intelligences we (and students) demonstrate, have remained the same over time, the way in which we have and continue to recognise, embrace and cater for them in education has dramatically changed thanks to technology in schools. Through all different technologies available in schools, we, as teacher should be able to more effectively engage students and meet their learning needs.
LdPride.net (2009). Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligence. Retrieved on July 17, 2009, from http://www.ldpride.net/learningstyles.MI.htm
Lynch, D. (2007). Learning Management: Transitioning teachers for national and international change. Pearson Education Australia: Frenchs Forrest, NSW
Thursday, July 16, 2009
While reading through the information about netiquette on moodle, and reading peoples postings to the discussions, it made me question people’s individual perceptions of different netiquette ‘rules’ and ‘beliefs’. It made me question: Do we all see netiquette in the same way? For example, typing text in all capital letters according to netiquette is seen as shouting or being rude. However when I read all capitals in an email or text, I view it as important information or even excitement(depending on what the content of the message is).
It then made me think, do people really take offence to emails/texts, etc that do not comply with proper netiquette? Personally, I don’t. I understand that not all people know all netiquette rules and conventions (just like me) and therefore I do not take offence to emails/texts, etc, typed certain ways. I just read the message and take in the content of it, no matter how it is formatted. My mind tells me, “I cannot see this person, therefore I do not know for sure what their emotions are”, and therefore I have no reason to take offence unless they have blatantly written something rude. Even though I obviously do know (unintentionally) some netiquette ‘rules’, from looking at my results of the quizzes, I have realised that I may still ‘offend’ people in some way, some time in regards to my nettiquette. Although some people may read it as a direct offence to them, it is unintentional because I haven’t fully understood what is ‘acceptable or unacceptable’ in regards to communicating using technology prior to this course.
So ultimately, if people are not netiquette savvy, is it fair for others to take offence to the way people interact via technological means in different ways? Do we read too much in to how people ‘act’ on the internet or with technology in regards to netiquette? To me, netiquette is not so clear cut, and there are a lot of uncertain areas that can be read different ways by different people of different experiences and beliefs/understandings.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
I moved from my home town of Biloela to study university after completing high school. My brother and sisters are triplets (now 13) and to this day my mum still doesn't know how I wasn't put off kids for life! I work part time at a Child Care Centre and I absolutely love kids, especially the bubbies! I am very fortunate enough to live with my boyfriend who is studying Information Technology. He might just come in extra handy while I am doing this course and find myself stuck with technology issues at the most inconvenient of times. (Fingers crossed this isn't the case.)
This post is just to see if I have the capabilities to actually get something onto my blog. Blogs are not something which i am very familiar with at the moment. I am more of the 'procrastinate on facebook' type of person. (As i am sure majority of uni students are as well.)
I am hoping throughout this course that I will learn a great deal more about technology and the large role it plays in our lives and also in education, on many different levels. I am looking forward to seeing the views and ideas that others raise in their own blogs that will teach me things that I never would have ever thought or considered myself!
Catch you all around and I look forward to collaborating with you all!