Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Journey thus far

It has been one of the most interesting journeys I have ventured on since beginning my degree. There has been frustration towards digital technologies that has been fathomless. Throughout Managing e.Learning evidence of my Digital Immigrant status has been proven time and time again, although I must say this: "Never give up never surrender".

Mastering digital technology is achievable and attainable. My thoughts are that perhaps if there was less of a time constraint, the frustrations about navigating through the course activities and assessment may have been less. With the frustrations, it must be mentioned, have come moments of victory that have left me speechless, pumping my fist in the air, or even brought me to tears. It has been interesting to say the least. Stretching the boundaries of my learning and understanding has certainly enlightened me to the way new students must feel, or students with English as their second language experience as they experience new environments, culture and education structures. Initially there is fear and trepidation, and with experiences such as victories and losses alike, certainly a deeper understanding, and may I say respect, is achieved.

Experiences are not all enjoyable although many can be profitable to varying degrees. As my journey continues to different courses for the next few years, I will reflect on my learning in my blog.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Student Centred Learning

There is definately a great deal of importance in student centered learning. The Relate-Create-Donate concept (Kearsley & Shneiderman, ) is a great argument for engaging students in their learning journey. Learning has to be related to real life concepts or ideas and this in turn generates interest and engagement by the learner. Having learners then create for assessment or for enjoyment further defines the learning journey and comprehension of the task.

As Learning Managers, focus needs to be on making learning fun, interesting, engaging and real. What I have learnt through my own journey is that as I lay my hands on to different technologies and programs, I have greater understanding of how and why these technologies benefit. The challenge therefore is when and how to implement this learning into the classroom, making it real and pertinent to the learner, making assessment purposeful and importantly making it fun.

Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999). A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. [electronic version] Retrieved August 12, 2009 from

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Synopsis - Sumo vs Small Fry or David vs Golliath?

This picture demonstrates how I envisioned my technology driven journey to be. When I first read the Course Profile and viewed the Moodle website for Managing eLearning I was completely and utterly overwhelmed. Digital Immigrant that I am it at times took all my strength not to throw my arms up in the air and leave.

What I have learnt along this journey is that there is a wealth of resources and endless possibilities through technology driven learning. After reading Prensky (2001) I gained a greater understanding of where I and students of today stand when it comes to technology. He argues that students thinking patterns have fundamentally changed. This is important to remember considering the Digital Natives : Digital Immigrants found in most classrooms.

Kearsley & Shneiderman (1999) further consider that students activities should involve active cognitive processes such as creating, problem-solving, reasoning, decision-making, and evaluation. This inturn correlates with the productive pedagogies found in Dimensions of Learning by Marzano & Pickering (1997) in that life long learners develop into complex thinkers, creative individuals, active investigators, effective communicators, reflective and self directed learners, participant in an interdependent world and a knowledgeable person with deep understandings. This is achieved through engaged learning where students are motivated to learn due to the meaningful learning environments and activities summarised by Relate-Create-Donate (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999).

This is certainly true in my own learning journey. The learning was engaging and often confronting in its complexity, although there was a definate journey taking place with myriads of learning experiences. It was interesting to answer questionnaires that investigated personality types, strengths and weaknesses. This is an informative tool considering the diversity of learners. I must note that according to the Jung Typology Test I was assessed to be introverted, which is entirely correct, and because of this, dealing with public forums caused me some angst. It was quite difficult for me to offer opinions and put myself in a vulnerable position to be challenged, criticised or judged concerning my own opinion, although it is also important to note that the audience were themselves in the same position.

It is on these public forums that Netiquette and Cyber bullying need to be monitored and managed. There is risk when allowing students to access the internet and ensure that they are on safe websites with significant protection. With a large debate about how to protect students when using the internet at school, the Australian Government has developed The National Safe Schools Framework and is already addressing these issues. According to Safe Schools, the Government strongly ‘believes that all students have the right to learn in a safe and supportive environment that is free from bullying and victimisation’ so they are developing a pilot program that addresses these issues. There is comfort in knowing that changes will occur within schools.

As a Learning Manager I was incredibly excited about the technologies and resources available. Having access to sites with free registration makes the journey easier than first realised. Sites such as Flickr, Picnik, Wiki, ClassMarker, Slideshare, MediaFire, Wetpaint and Blogspot, to name just a few, certainly create engaging tools and a safe environment for learners.

Of concern is the issue of access. My personal computer was unable to download some of the tools and did not have access to some of the hardware. This needs to be a focus when considering learning in the classroom. Not all children will have the technologies required or requested, therefore modification needs to occur. While most schools already have access to these sorts of technologies not all schools will.

Through the use of technology there is certainly a need to be creative thinkers. Flickr, Picknik, and YouTube are great tools for students to communicate their ideas. For those learners that are shy or reserved, introverted possibly, these technologies are a great resource. The only issue again is access. During my portal task I evidenced students accessing different sites to document and research myths and legends. In my own classroom students would gather information and then generate their own myth or legend, document it using video and create a link to a classroom Blog. Through the use of Flickr or Picnik, students could document a school camp and create a newsletter for parents/caregivers. This would engage the student through real life interactions and connect to a real audience.

Vygotsky (1978) affirms that relationships and cultures impact on a learner’s cognitive development. By engaging the students in pertinent and reflective endeavours and assessment pieces, student will refine and extend their knowledge and understanding (Marzano & Pickering, 1997). So as a Learning Manager I hope to encourage interactions between the classroom and the home.

Throughout my degree I have been challenged through technology, to think outside the box and consider new and inventive ways to present information. Developing a WebQuest at first was incredibly exhausting, although when the project was completed there was great satisfaction. As a Teacher Aide it was necessary for me to create powerpoints for various activities throughout the school. Attaching music files and voice thread was part of the journey. Having access again to free downloadable tracks and software made the job incredibly easy.

This technological learning journey for me was one of the hardest I have experienced to date. It required me to involve all of my cognitive processes. It certainly was a Sumo verses Small Fry scenario in the beginning. There was much advice on the forums about taking it step by step, and to not look at the whole picture, rather at each piece. Sound advice!

As a creative person I can envisage the technologies addressed in Managing eLearning in Art, the challenge is using it cross curricular. Of a great and satisfying surprise was the amount of support given to educators and parents via the internet. One can Google or Bing search and find access to great resources and educational support. Technology is all about engaging the learner to the world around them. The internet has made the world smaller, why not use such a powerful resource and have access to a wealth of experiences?

Computers and programs still hold a healthy fear for me. It is too easy to press a button and lose an entire document, never to be seen again. Viruses, hackers and content also hold concern, although there is strong evidence of change in regard to these issues. At this point in my journey, my attitude towards technology has changed. I will never become a Digital Native although I can certainly evolve my Digital Immigrant status. The term lifelong learning has never been witnessed as much as the progress made through this subject material.

So where to from here. I am so excited about developing units that engage learning through the use of technology. The range of free websites and free registrations certainly makes it more enjoyable although there are some sites such as Picnik where it is worth paying for full registration. Now at the end of my introduction to new technologies I consider that my journey has evolved from Sumo verses Small Fry to David verses Goliath. In the end David won.

Australian Government (2008). The National Safe Schools Framework. Computer citing August, 12 from

Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999) Engagement theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. [electronic version] Version 4/5/99.

Marzano, R. & Pickering, D. (1997). Dimensions of learning: Teacher's manual. Colorado, USA: McRel.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. [electronic version] MCB University Press, Vol. 9 No. 5, October 2001)

Picutre Modification

This is a picture taken on a digital camera and manipulated through Flickr. I love this technology because it makes something simple into something quirky. The only suggestion I could make is that most of the "free registration" has very limited choices and it is very worthwhile in purchasing a full registration. There are more options this way and when it adds up it is a small price to pay.

This type of program allows students to be as creative as they need to be. It's a great way of expression because there is no 'right' answer or 'right' way of doing things. This could be used for students in creating an advertisement to sell an idea. Imagine students trying to sell the importance of mathematics. They would be asked to develop an ad that will generate interest or engagement in a mathematic problem such as digital vs analogue time pieces. Pictures of digital and analogue clocks could be photoshopped and placed in brochures debating the importance of or the non requirement is up to the individual. Not only will it engage them but also challenge their own thoughts and ideas about maths.

File Share

Below is the link to a couple of valuable resources students have shared with each other over the last year or so. These are only a very few although I endeavour to add more as my degree continues.

Why I chose to share these is because during last term it was necessary to profile our learners while on our Portal Task. There were many different issues arising from this and a template was found that suited everyones needs. It can be manipulated according to everyones needs. I hope you find it helpful.

Google Earth/Podcast

I was unable to access some programs due to the capacity of my computer. This is where as Learning Managers we need to consider diversity within the classroom when it comes to technology.

Not all students will have access to technologies such as ipods, computers, iphones, or even the internet so we must modify the learning experiences to suit. Prensky (2005) aruges that we need to make education and learning engaging, and that students of today already have access to technologies. He continues to ask the question "Where is the programming, the genomics, the
bioethics, the nanotech—the stuff of their time? It’s not there."

Therefore, how do we further engage students who have no technology in their lives because of the socio economics? We can also bring Mazlow's Theory into play. What happens when we have students in our classrooms that don't have a shelter or have food everyday? Extreme as this may sound it still happens.

So where to from here? Managing diversity within the classroom not only from culture, language, socio economics or technology is of paramount importance. According to the Department of Education and the Arts Inclusive Statement (2004):

"Inclusive education ensures that schools are supportive and engaging places for all students, teachers and caregivers. It is about building communities that vlaue, celebrate and respond to diversity. It is underpinnned by respectful relationships between learners, teacher and caregivers. It is about shaping the scoiety in whch we live and the type of society to which we aspire."

I was unable to download Google Earth, although I could download a podcast, I was unable to present to a class as I am not doing a Portal Task, although I was able to upload powerpoints, photos, create a wiki, a blog, an avatar and all the other requirements for my elearning. This is where I believe that I am part of the diversity due to abilities, or understanding, or to my own available technologies. Therefore, as a Digital Immigrant, I am very aware of the diversity that introducing technologies can impact on ones learning and will endeavour to take these experiences with me into the classroom.

Department of Education, Training and the Arts, (2006). Inclusive education policies. Retrieved March 20, 2009 from

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives digital immigrants. [electronic version] On the Horizon (MCB University Press, Vol. 9 No. 5, October 2001)

Prensky, M. (2005). Engage me or engrage me: What today's learners demand. [electronic copy]

Music Downloads

What a great website for music!!!
I downloaded a piece of music entitled Celtic/Folk. In grade 7 students have just completed a Medieval Unit complete with Banquet and dress up. Students dressed as maids, princes, princess, knights or knaves and feasted on typical sweets of that era. During the banquet music played in the background as it would have played in days of old.

Being able to access a larger range of music and for free is a great way of generating the climate or feel wanted in classrooms. Through music we can further engage students in activities because music takes us to places in our minds.

Accessing free downloadable music is just wonderful....


The following is my SOSE Webquest in Powerpoint form without the hyperlinks. This proved very daunting for me and although I am half way through eLearning, there are some things my Digital Immigrant mind just cannot comprehend. I am not willing to upload the WebQuest or publish it to a site because I dont think that at this stage of its development, it could vastly be improved upon.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives digital immigrants. [electronic version] On the Horizon (MCB University Press, Vol. 9 No. 5, October 2001)


When I was enrolled in Art in grade 11 in 1981, my teacher was a very creative soul and encouraged us to go above and beyond our imaginations. We were required to create a short film using various methods of animation - 2D and 3D. There needed to be a beginning, a complication and an ending. The film needed to start with 2D and progress to 3D, sound was later added.

The story began about a worm that fell from a tree onto the ground, and after landing the worm needed cross a path, at which time a large stone came rolling down that path and ran the worm over, he did not survive. Remember that I was 15 at the time and only at the beginning of my creativity. Much much patience is needed when working and handling 3D animation. I am not much of a patient person when it comes to fiddly workings because I have to get it perfect and need the process to go quickly. I honestly thought that I would never have any use for this type of activity or subject again in my life, until now.

As a Learning Manager it is quite obvious to me the importance of animation within the classroom setting. Animation is an instant winner with children and most are eager to engage themselves in relating activities. It can also be used cross curricular because as individuals with diverse learning styles and personality types, using animation to gain understanding and further refine and extend their knowledge. My only argument would be that it would be difficult in a Lower Primary setting although not unachievable. Therefore I could see great benefit in this type of technology in an Upper Primary setting.

Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999). A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. [electronic version] Retrieved August 12, 2009 from
Marzano, R. & Pickering, D. (1997). Dimensions of learning: Teacher's manual. McRei.

You Tube

This video is of The Wombles. I chose this to use in my blog because it would be a great resource for SOSE and Art. The reasons behind this is that it is a good example of how television has changed, how animations change, changes to codes of classification, changes to society and what we find as entertainment, the list goes on. There is merit in looking at the past experiences of television as a way of understanding technology and how it has evolved.

Another great link would be the video of Bill and Ben the Flowerpot men. For those that dont know this show, the flowerpots (Bill and Ben) would come to life after the farmer had gone to his house for tea. These characters were puppets and dialogue was very limited although children were engrossed in their antics. It is interesting to observe reactions of present day students to television of old espcially when it is viewed in black and white.

You Tube has a wealth of resources although considerations about content, subject matter and code of classification need to be carefully considered and monitored before using in the classroom setting.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


It was a very interesting yet easy site to use the ClassMarker site. I have often wondered how quizzes were generated considering that during my degree there were many to do. My first quiz is a Mental Maths quiz designed to take 10 minutes with only 10 questions ranging from simple to more thought provoking. It is aimed at a grade 7 class.

The questions may seem simple but students need to know these basic math problems instantly. There is great potential in having a quiz set for the end of the week as homework rather than students taking something home everyday - the only issue there is that there is no control over who actually does the test and if there is assistance. The clever student could get an older sibling or parent to either take the test for them or have them offer the answers.

It's a great way for feedback as well. By making it available to parents is it possible to generate a "feedback" quiz, again we are opening ourselves up to a number of issues although there is definately potential if it is done wisely. The fact that results can be emailed directly to your inbox allows for teachers to instantly keep up with each individual student, who is paying attention, who is not.

It can be embraced across the KLA's as simple assessment pieces for all students or individuals who are falling below the mark and just need extra work for assessment. I can see a real benefit to using ClassMarker in the classroom.

Take our online test

Friday, August 14, 2009

Not a care in the world

At last I have been able to upload a picture from Flickr....I chose this one in particular because it appears they have not a care in the is something I would like to achieve....probably in retirement. I really like the angle of the shot and the is very creative.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Flickr/Picnik in the classroom

The use of Flicker and Picnik in the classroom goes futher than just a great art lesson. These website generate the creative person in all of us. So in what ways other than art can they be used?

It is interesting to note that pictures or images can be downloaded onto items such as t-shirts, mugs, postcards, cards etc and these can be a great fundraising idea. For instance, downloading images of each student onto mugs for Mother's Day or Father's Day. Student's artwork can be manipulated and used in a classsroom newsletter or be used as a "What we did at camp" poster.

A point to note is that the programmes are easy to use and follow which would allow students with barriers (or special needs/disabilities)to participate in any project. All students could design their own Christmas cards, Birthday cards or Easter Cards for parents or grandparents. Essentially the programmes allow all types of ability levels to be creative and generate a pride in their work. There is a great benefit in introducing students to programmes that they can access at their own computers and involve their own family members. Isn't this as Learning Managers what we want for our students - To take the classroom home to the family.....making education connected to real life situations and experiences?

SOSE Webquest

Another student and I worked on a Webquest for our SOSE assessment. The thought of a Webquest certainly sounded daunting although with careful planning, choosing a topic, planning the slides, and deciding in advance the outcomes required for student assessment, our Webquest was successful. Admittedly the end product could have been improved.

The format for a Webquest simply is a powerpoint with hyperlinks throughout the document that carry the reader through a series of stages, ending in assessment. These hyperlinks are links made to other slides in the powerpoint and to external internet sites. I say simply only because of my ever evolving digital literacy, when understanding how the Webquest is developed through a powerpoint I gained a greater comprehension of the task and gained more confidence in my own ability to develop it.

This type of presentation requires alot of planning and concentration. Also remembering that as Learning Managers we must be aware of the change in digital language, Digital Natives vs Digital Immigrants. There needs to be a clear outcome as to what you want to achieve through this resource, is it user friendly, does it engage students easily, and importantly is their learning experience a rich one filled with new knowledge and prior learning. They are fun and entertaining which aides in the learning journey. Therefore the journey must be engaging....not just at the beginning of the lesson but throughout that lesson.

It was an enjoyable experience and again I learnt the issue with new types technology literacy is about going through the processes required to learn it stage by stage. When one looks at the whole picture without understanding it appears too difficult, once it is broken down into smaller pieces, understanding is achieved. It was an enjoyable process and I hope to use this type of Teacher delivery systems in my own classroom.

These Webquests can be used cross curricular with some planning, make them enjoyable and applicable to subject matter and they are a great tool in the classroom.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives digital immigrants. [electronic version] On the Horizon (MCB University Press, Vol. 9 No. 5, October 2001)

Smart Board

Smart Board

Even though the example from You Tube is not spoken in English I was amazed at how easy it is to use. I was excited to see this technology and can't wait for when every class room has this type of technology readily available.

Powerpoints are being used everywhere and there is alot of information about how to use them and especially how not to. Working as a Teacher Aide I created powerpoints daily for various uses in and out of the classroom. This is the first time I have actually viewed a smart board in action and was awestruck.

What a marvelous invention! The possibilities are endless. Using these within the classroom setting will further engage students. The interactive component further engages the student, andalong with the simplicity of use allows students with barriers to also be involved in the learning journey. It definately adds visual literacy to every lesson. Students are exposed to computers from Preschool therefore using this type of technology will further their own learning journey.

Doing things more than once

I have found that when I attempt things twice I am able to better retain and understand the processes behind things. I have redone my voki, added pictures and a video just to see that I could do it. I'm begining to feel more and more confidence in my abilities in tackling new technologies. It is truly a very interesting journey albiet a little stressful.

Could this be used in the classroom and how?
This would be difficult to have students at primary level developing their own Voki as I believe it would require a large amount of overseeing - although in saying that it would depend on the classroom dynamics and amount of teacher aide time.
Could it be done....yes.

What would it's use be - I could see this being used for oral presentations. This is a great tool for those students who are introverted, and especially for students with barriers.

Avatars are a great tool for all students regardless of ability levels. As I have worked with ASD students with high intellect and having poor writing skills, using Avatars to generate oral presentations, voicing an opinion or and idea and for communication strategies would be of great value in and out of the classroom. The process of creating it is part of the engagement. I'm encouraged again by technology and how it can suit the individual and their needs.

Not all individuals are called to be speakers although through using avatars individuals can have a voice.

Another Voki cause I could

Get a Voki now!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why I dont have a cat

RSS feader

Plowing my way through all the technology grammar and requirements has been a struggle. According to Prensky (2001) I am truly a Digital Immigrant and this has not helped me in any shape or form. Primarily I have needed to overcome a fear of the unknown and more importantly a fear that I could stuff this up in a more than ginormous way, that I could ruin my computer at home and make everyones day a bad one. Slow and steady is surely going to win me the race.....I really need to change my Voki as it looks like a lady of night (apparently..LOL) and make another more interesting on. Even that is a challenge but I am really excited by it now that things are becoming clearer.

Like the opening title of my blog....what a learning journey!!

Cheers, Tania.

Prensky, M. (2001). On the horizon: Digital natives digital immigrants. University Press.


Wikipedia is a great resource in classrooms although the technology may only suit an older audience. As I am Primary trained I can see alot of issues arising from having students create and develop their own Wiki. It is not about ability but more about content. Wiki's would work wonderfully in a high school setting although there is merit in introducing primary students to this type of technology.

Wiki's are a great engagement tool there is no doubt and students would happily involve themselves in the tasks. There needs to be control about editing for example, a friend of mine went onto Wikipedia and searched for the Great Wall of China and someone had edited the page by saying the wall was built with weetbix. In saying that, if there is clear control of the Wiki page it can be successul in allowing students to be creative, exercise individuality and learn through their own learning style.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

So this is one of my favourite places to relax and escape the hustle and the bustle of uni life. My family go here every year to hang around the camp fire, go 4WDriving, hang out with family and friends and just chillax for a couple of days. This is Landcruiser Mountain Park at Jimna located 20 mins from Kilcoy. This place helps me unwind my brain and just take in the beauty of nature.

Active learning

I have found the quizzes on the active learning section of the course very enlightening. As I further delve into education and become more involved in the classroom setting, I have become quite passionate about certain things.

During the quiz I was categorised as INJF - Introvert, Intuitive, Judging, Feeling. Judging left me a little thrown because intuitive and feeling were equal percentages. Even the term introvert surprised me although upon reflection, I have to agree. Being intuitive and feeling certainly helps in the classroom with profiling learners.

And here is why I am so passionate......
Being intuitive and feeling I have noticed that some students have a poor self image of themselves be it physical, emotional or academic. With reference to Mazlow's heirachy, my argument is that if the food and shelter layer is corrupted, how does this affect the proceeding levels. Surely this will intern corrupt safety, belonging and love and then self esteem.

As Learning Managers how do we get the best outcomes for our students when there is corruption in the heirachy? I believe this is where Dimensions of Learning comes into effect through Attitudes and Perceptions and Habits of Mind (Marzano & Pickering, 1997, p4-6). Through positive reinforcement, words of affirmation, modelling respect and creating a safe environment for learning will have a dramatic affect on all students. Sure some will fight it, but overall engaging students and generating trust and respect regardless of their backgrounds and diversities has to make an impact on the individual.

At a 20 year school reunion I met up with my favourite teacher of all time. I mentioned this to her. She was running a news agency at the time and no longer taught. Her response to my gush of admiration was this.....
"No one will ever tell me I was their best newsagent of all time. There is the greatest of rewards in teaching. Thank you."

She had had such an impact on my learning in that she never let me believe I couldn't do anything, achieve anything or be anything and I only had her for one year. So this is where the passion originated. Now that I have 3 children of my own, I instill in them the same habits of mind and attitudes and perceptions.

Kunc, N. (1992). The need to belong: Rediscoveing mazlow's heirarchy of needs. [electronic version]
Marzano, R. & Pickering, D. (1997). Dimensions of learning: Teacher's manual. McRei.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Like sands through the hour glass.....

So are the days of our goodness it has taken some time to get this blog up and running.

After reading Prensky's articles I have realised I am a Digital Immigrant but am having far more victories than first realised. Challenges have been to firstly enter in.....after reading the course profile and the content required I just wanted to run.....although the further I venture in the more curious I become and want to learn more.

I have edited my profile and am excited about just this space as I learn to manoeuvre the wonderful world of technology. Although I strongly agree that one cannot dismiss the past but rather use it to prop the future learning journey.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Let's get started

What a learning journey!! From an old school stand.....

I started out on an Mac 3 computer using large floppy discs, learnt to use the Plug and Cord telephone system, the telex machine, used carbon paper, manual typewriters, electronic checkouts where the operator typed in the price of each item, and used electronic switchboards with more than 2 lines. The first computer was purchased and I was asked to learn how to use it and teach other was an Apple MacIntosh using the old Dos system of operation. Wow!!

Today I am learning to Blog, enter forum debates, manage my own learning via the internet and more!!! Technology is both amazing and terrifying. Through the use of Facebook the world has become so much smaller......and faster.

What a learning journey I am undertaking and embracing. I'm all for it!!!