Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reflective Synopsis

With the integration of varied technologies into our public, work and social lives, the need to understand the different facets of these technologies has never been more apparent. Over the past few weeks, Managing E-learning has provided us with the opportunity to experiment with many of these technologies and in doing so, has encouraged us to consider how these may be incorporated into an educational context. Experimenting with the technologies investigated in this course has definitely opened my eyes to their suitability for educational use. Although there are some that I do not believe would suit the classroom entirely, every technology explored could be used in some way to facilitate students learning. In the process of all this investigating, I have been able to develop online partnerships, many of which I hope to continue long after the completion of this subject.

Throughout this course I have had the luxury of being a part of a collaborative network of online users that I could use for both support and for general discussions about each of the technologies studied. Siemens (2004) is an advocate for the development of online networks and states that connections between individuals leads to the creation of an integrated whole, whereby the individual has access to the knowledge and capabilities held by the entire group. Albert-László Barabási (2002) agrees with this statement, declaring that links between people represent survival in an interconnected world. This was definitely the case in this subject, where more than once I encountered challenges. In most circumstances I tried to solve the problem independently, in the effort to find a way past the dilemma. However, with some of the technologies, – for example embedding an avatar onto my blog –I struggled to find a solution. If it had not been for the collaborative group and employing the Habit of Mind ‘persistence’ (Marzano, 1997), it is likely that my frustration with that particular technology would have led to me failing to take advantage of it in both a personal and educational setting.

The most influential factors that I believe these technologies would have in an educational context would be in the way that they promote student collaboration and engagement. Kearsley and Scneiderman (1999) recognise the role ICT’s play in these two factors, basing their ‘engagement theory’ on the idea of creating collaborative learning partnerships and the development of authentic meaningful tasks that seek to engage the students. When exploring each of the proposed technologies for their educational uses, these two factors were of utmost importance, along with ensuring that the students’ safety would not be compromised. The following technologies meet these needs and are some of the tools that I will endeavour to incorporate into my teaching:

Blogs: Discussions with one of my peers on my ‘e-learning blog’ led to the general agreement that blogs were a great resource for use in the classroom. Some of the ideas discussed included using them as a means for students to work collaboratively both in school and at home, as well as providing an effective tool for parents to follow their students learning. The posting of homework on to the blogs would also be a way to make teaching more efficient. Using this process, parents could monitor what is required of their child, and it would also provide other means for those students who happen to lose their homework, or claim they did not know there was any. Students learning would be increased through collaboration with their peers, improving on their general ICT skills, and ‘blogging’ has also been found to be a great way for students to share their ideas (DET,2009).

Wikis: The Wiki technology was one program that – at first – I was hesitant about. However after finding out about its ‘user authentication’ application (which prevents outside users from accessing and editing it), I now feel at ease with using them in the classroom. One idea I mentioned in my ‘blog’ was that students could work collaboratively using Wiki to develop a class story. Student learning could be enhanced through this peer collaboration, as well as the sharing of ideas and development of self-editing techniques (Augar, N., Raitman, R., & Zhou, W., 2004). This tool also makes teaching more efficient, as the teacher can monitor what each student is contributing and will be provided with an insight into areas of difficulty demonstrated by some students.

Avatars: An avatar is another technology that led to a discussion with someone from my support network. We both thought that its ability to engage students would be highly successful in the classroom, and I was introduced to the idea of enhancing students’ learning by using it as a means for students to communicate with their peers. The efficiency of teaching could also be improved with this technology; it could be used as an individually controlled literacy activity. This can be implemented during reading groups, allowing the teacher to concentrate on the group they are working with.

WebQuests: WebQuests, in my opinion, are the perfect educational technology, and meet all the requirements I look for in an educational tool. As March (2003) states, a good WebQuest is built around an engaging and doable task that elicits higher order thinking in students, as the task puts more responsibility on the learners themselves. Students’ learning is enhanced through taking on this additional responsibility, as well as through collaboration with their peers. WebQuests also makes teaching more efficient, as they are often designed to include a broad range of learning experiences, and therefore cover a large amount of the curriculum requirements that students are required to meet. The best feature of this technology is that there are numerous sites available that can provide WebQuests on a whole range of topics. Student learning and teacher efficiency is definitely optimised with the incorporation of this tool in the classroom.

Although there are many other technologies that I would consider using in the classroom, the programs I have listed are the ones that best ensure collaboration, engagement and student safety. These programs are also the ones that could be used across the entire spectrum of year levels, whereas some of them – such as e-portfolios – would be better suited to the upper schooling year levels. Through this course I have learnt to use and have improved my knowledge on many different technologies (such as creating my first Wiki), and in the process I have developed many new technical skills (such as resizing, file conversion and embedding programs). I look forward to continuing in my exploration of these technologies and others; with the continual growth of ICT in the classroom, I feel confident that I will be able to meet the needs of the digital immigrants as they progress in their educational development.


Augar, N., Raitman, R. & Zhou, W. (2004). Teaching and learning online with wikis. In R. Atkinson, C. McBeath, D. Jonas-Dwyer & R. Phillips (Eds), Beyond the comfort zone: Proceedings of the 21st ASCILITE Conference (pp. 95-104). Perth, 5-8 December. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 18, 2009, from

Barabási, A. L., (2002) Linked: The New Science of Networks, Cambridge, MA, Perseus Publishing.
Department of Education and Training (2009). Resourcing the curriculum. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 13, 2009, from

March, T (2003). The learning power of webquests. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 18, 2009, from

Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 18, 2009, from

Marzano, R., Pickering, D., Arredondo, D., Blackburn, G., Brandt, R., Moffett, C., Paynter, D., Pollock, J., Whisler, J. et al. (1997). Dimensions of Learning. Teacher’s Manual, Aurora, Colorado,
United States of America: McREL

Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the Digital Age. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 18, 2009, from

VoiceThread is great!!

The technology VoiceThread is a free, online multi-media slideshow that can be used to hold documents, images and videos (VoiceThread, 2009). Using this program is simple. Once a user has uploaded the files that they want to present, he or she can then add comments in a variety of ways including via the use of voice, text, audio and video. When your VoiceThread is complete, you are given the option to share what you have created with friends, family, colleagues and students. They are then given the opportunity to record their own comments, which I believe is one of the best features. In effect, this allows the user to have a group conversation with people from all over the world. This relates directly to Siemens’ theory, as the VoiceThread begins with the individual before developing into a connected support network (Siemens, 2004). VoiceThread allows the creator to have control over whether other users can edit, view or comment on the uploaded slideshow and for this reason it is safe for use in an educational context (Learning Place, 2009)

VoiceThread’s ability to engage students is achieved by encouraging personal expression as well as the opportunity to collaborate with both their peers and teacher – as an educator you can view class collaboration, the feedback that has been given and ensure that appropriate ‘netiquette’ is being adhered to at all times – one of the joys of an interconnected computer program. When experimenting with this technology I decided to create a short digital story that followed my experience of skydiving. In this presentation I included all the pictures, starting with those of me putting my parachute on, right through to those depicting my landing on the beach. Comments were provided throughout about what was happening and my thoughts and feelings at the time. I thought that using VoiceThread for students to create their own digital story would be a very engaging activity and would be very effective in gathering an idea of their thoughts and understandings about a particular theme.

Overall, I found Voicethread to be an exceptional social and educational tool, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. This technology is so simple and offers an engaging, authentic and worthwhile task for students to complete. It is definitely a technology I will endeavour to use in the classroom.

An excellent example of how this technology could be used in education can be found by clicking on the following link:

I have also attached some useful links I have come across and would recommend them to anyone who has further queries with this particular technology.

Tutorial -

Resource for use of VoiceThread in education -

Bacer, K. (2009). UTILIZING AUDITORY AND VISUAL TOOLS TO ENGAGE THE 21stCENTURY eLEARNER. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from ).

Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the Digital Age. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from

The State of Queensland (Department of Education and Training) 2009. The Learning Place: VoiceThread Pilot. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from
VoiceThread. (2009). VoiceThread. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from

Incompetech – Music for learning.

Incompetech is a royalties-free music website which allows you to legally use music without paying the musicians. In the past I have used music in a dance/drama lesson where students were required to mimic the animal movements used by Aboriginals in their cultural dance. I have also incorporated music into the classroom by using it to assist students in the transition of activities. I found the Incompetech website relatively simple to use, however thought that the layout of the site and the variety of music available left plenty of room for improvement.

The piece of music I selected was a track titled AngloZulu, which was written by the musician Kevin Macleod. The music is described as “a collision of musical traditions put together in an epic theme (Macleod, 2008). The track has quite an ancient sound to it and could possibly be used in a drama piece depicting ancient times.

Overall, Incompetech is not really a site I would recommend or use in the future. The incorporation of music into the classroom however, is something I value highly and will continue to use with students.


Carlton, M. (1997). Music in education:a guide for parents and teachers. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from

Macleod, K. (2008). Royalty Free Music. Computer citing August 17, 2009 from

File Storage with MediaFire!!

I think this is by far the simplest and best presented technology that I have investigated. MediaFire allows its users to store files and images online in a secure and safe location (MediaFire, 2009). What I really like about this technology is that you can free up space on your computer (something I desperately need to do at the completion of this course), and have the option to keep your files private or make them accessible to others. This free service has quite a substantial amount of space for all of your educational files, but if you find you need more, there is always the option to upgrade.

In an educational context, MediaFire could be used to post homework, assignments and activities. By posting it publicly on to the site, students have the opportunity to work with it both at school and at home. For me personally however, this technology would best be used in the sharing of resources between teachers. The file I have uploaded is a retrieval chart that could be used for students researching Australian animals on the internet. Overall I think that MediaFire has the potential to be a great technology for both students and teachers and, at the very least, it is something that I will use personally.

Until next time,


Please click on the link to access the retrieval chart resource.


MediaFire. (2009). What is MediaFire? Citing computer references. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from

SlideShare - Suitable for Students??

SlideShare claims to be the world’s largest online community for sharing presentations (SlideShare Inc, 2009). It enables its users to upload their presentations and view other presentations posted on their site. SlideShare is a free service and is relatively simple to setup. To sign up for an account all you need to do is select an account name, enter some personal details and then you’re free to upload and view presentations. This site is ideal for social purposes as well as for educators wishing to share their lessons and view others’.

Siemens Connectivism Theory (2004) is an advocate for sites connecting people. It highlights the point that networks function on the simple idea that individuals can be connected in the effort to create an integrated whole. Albert-László Barabási (2002) agrees with this statement, declaring that links between people represent survival in an interconnected world. SlideShare definitely has the potential to be a great teaching resource; and as I found out when uploading my first PowerPoint, it is easy to use. The potential for student usage once again comes back to the issue of safety and whether or not all of the content on the site is appropriate for students to view. SlideShare is a site I will definitely be adding to my Favourites list, and is an application I urge all educators to trial.


Barabási, A. L., (2002) Linked: The New Science of Networks, Cambridge, MA, Perseus Publishing.

Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the Digital Age. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 18, 2009, from

SlideShare Inc, (2009). What is Slideshare. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 18, 2009, from

Wikipedia - Appropriate in Education??

Wikipedia is one technology application I have never really investigated. This is probably due to the fact that from the very first day of university, the lecturers seemed intent on reminding the group that Wikipedia is not a scholarly source of information and therefore should not be used in our assignments. Today I explored Wikipedia properly for the first time, and I have got to say, I am amazed at the amount of content that is available on the site. Wikipedia is the largest online collaborative encyclopaedia in the world, and its database is increasing all the time (Wikipedia, 2009). Siemens’ Connectivism Theory (2004) explains that the cycle of knowledge development allows learners to remain current in their field through connections being made. Wikipedia directly relates to this theory as it allows anyone to edit and add appropriate information to a particular topic and therefore builds on the connections being made. Although this technology is constantly monitored by administrators, the open nature of this technology makes it vulnerable to vandals, who are able to place incorrect or unsubstantiated information on a particular topics page. Because of this, Wikipedia can not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided and therefore the information within it cannot be used or relied upon.

Whilst conducting my search on Wikipedia about food chains, my mind was working overtime about how this technology could be used safely and advantageously in the classroom. Because of the extensive array of knowledge that could be located on this site, and the inappropriateness of some of this content, I can really see no other way of using this technology other than conducting a full class session. Ideally I would like to be able to give groups of students a section of the food chain to research (producer) and let them experiment with this website, however unless there is some safety feature that I am unaware of I do not see how Wikipedia can be used without absolute supervision.


Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the Digital Age. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 18, 2009, from

Wikipedia. (2009). About Wikipedia.Citing computer references. Retrieved August 18, 2009, from

WebQuest - A chance to discover!!

Hi everyone,

The Webquest is one area of technology that I am somewhat familiar with, having just completed a presentation on their uses, and I have also created a few of these in my past two years of university. For those of you digital immigrants that are a little unsure about Webquests I hope this provides a bit more clarity.

Webquests are a ‘teacher created’ digital instructional tool of the 21st century, which guide a student’s work via specific web-based resources (Dodge, 2007). As the name suggests, ‘Web’ refers to using the World Wide Web, and ‘Quest’, refers to the objectives which students are to accomplish. A good WebQuest is built around an engaging and doable task that elicits higher order thinking in students, as the task puts more responsibility on the learners themselves (March,2003). This encourages co-operative student interaction as they formulate solutions to their tasks, based on ideas gleaned from inquiry and constructivism.

One of the key benefits of Webquest is that the teacher can have the students work in large groups, small groups or even individually. This makes Webquests ideal in any schooling situation. The only resources you require are a computer and an internet connection. This makes it accessible for those schools with limited resources as well as the larger more technologically privileged schools.

My only problem with this technology is to do with the process of creating a Webquest. Building my own Webquest last year with a peer was a rewarding yet time-consuming task. Our major problem was the time wasted trying to get the layout of the Webquest correct, for it seemed that whenever we placed a picture down, it would move as soon as it went to webview. This may have been due to the fact that we used Microsoft Word as our program; I would like to trial the software again, using a different program.

Webquests are an engaging tool and align perfectly with the three key principles of Kearsley and Schneiderman’s (1998) engagement theories:

Relate – Having students work in collaboration with their peers.

Create – The presentation of an authentic real-life problem requiring them to conduct their own investigation to solve the problem.

Donate – With the use of an authentic task to be solved, students will – in effect – be working towards making a useful contribution.

Overall, Webquests are a technology that I have used in the classroom in the past, and will continue to use. Unless you have an excessive amount of time however, I would not recommend creating your own website but rather searching for pre-made Webquests that match your requirements. The exploration of different Webquest creation programs is something I am highly interested in, and with any luck in my future blogs I will be able to direct you to a more user-friendly system.


Dodge, B (2007). What is a WebQuest? Citing computer references. Retrieved August 18, 2009, from

March, T (2003). The learning power of WebQuests. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 18, 2009, from

Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 18, 2009, from

YouTube = Greater Engagement in Learning!!

YouTube and TeacherTube are two technologies I am reasonably familiar with. YouTube is best explained as being an online public communications website that allows its users to upload videos and watch other users’ videos for free (Feldman, 2009). Registering for YouTube is relatively simple, however is only necessary if you want to upload a video, access restricted content, or rate an existing video. Because of the simplistic nature of YouTube, anyone can upload their video. With this in mind it is apparent that YouTube is not an ideal website for students to investigate on their own, and this is the reason why YouTube is often not available to students at school (Welford, 2007).

This does not mean that YouTube can not be employed as a useful tool in the classroom. In fact quite the opposite, I have seen first-hand the effect that a ‘YouTube’ clip can have in engaging students into a particular topic, and it is a visual technique that I have used in lessons many times. The YouTube clip I have attached below could be used in the context of a class studying decomposition and micro-organisms. Students could watch the video and then be asked what caused the fruit to decompose, which could possibly lead to a scientific investigation of their own to complete. Students could also be given a task in which they are required to demonstrate their creativity and collaborative skills by making a video that could be put on their own class-made YouTube site possibly through the Wiki program or by posting their video’s on a blog.(I suggest a class-made YouTube site to avoid compromising the students’ safety and privacy). This would align well with the Learning Design Theory which highlights the importance of peer collaboration and creativity with the use of ICT’s (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). Overall, YouTube can be an extremely useful educational tool, and like the rest of the technologies listed, it is a program I look forward to exploring further.


Feldman, B. (2009). YouTube: What is it and Why use it? Citing computer references. Retrieved August 16,2009, from

Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory:. Retrieved July 10, 2009, from

Welford, R (2007). “Tough stance taken on cyber bullying in state schools”. Press release, 1 March. Minister for Education and Training and Minister for the Arts. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 16,2009, from

Podcasts in the classroom??

A podcast is most simply explained as an online audio broadcast that you can listen to on your mp3 player or computer (Hegelheimer, 2006). The term ‘podcast’ comes from the integration of the words ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcast’. A Podcast can be listened to by a user for entertainment, or he or she can create their own and post it on the internet. Podcasts can serve as a useful educational program; however student privacy and the whether or not the content that they have access to is appropriate, needs to be considered. A comprehensive list of podcasts suitable for education use can be found by clicking on this link: Podcasts Suitable for Educators, Schools and Colleges. With the steadily increasing use of technology in both our work and social lives, educators should be trying to promote these new types of technologies in their classroom.

Kearsley & Shneiderman (1999) – authors of the engagement theory – and Oliver (1999) – author of the learning design framework – both recognise the importance of providing students with authentic, real world scenarios for their students to relate to. Some authentic applications that could involve the use of podcasts may include: students recording a radio show discussing a particular topic; developing a podcast as a guide for new students, parents or teachers; or taking on the role of park ranger and developing a podcast on the area around the school. These are just a few of the ideas that I believe would be an engaging and collaborative task incorporating the use of podcasts. Overall I think the possibilities for podcast use in the education system are endless and with further investigation of this topic, this is another technology I could definitely see myself using in the classroom.


Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory:. Retrieved August 17, 2009, from

Hegelheimer, V (2006). ESL Podcasting Project – Information: IOWA State University. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 17, 2009, from

AusInfo. (2003). The Learning Design Construct. Retrieved August 17, 2009, from Learning Design:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Food Chain Quiz.

Through the use of the ClassMarker website I have just finished creating my first online quiz about the food chain. For those of you who do not know, ClassMarker is a free (there is that word again), easy to use, professional online quiz creator that allows you to create a range of different quizzes and will mark it for you as well (ClassMarker, 2009). I found the process of making the quiz a relatively simple task, however thought the presentation of the page could be improved on to make it a little bit clearer. Creating the quiz was also a time consuming process, however the one thing I need to recall at times like this, is that once you have created the learning tool, it is a resource that you can use over and over.

Oliver’s learning design theory (1999) highlights the point that there are three key elements that make the foundation of his framework and each of these relate directly to each other. The key elements include: Learning Tasks, Learning Resources and Learning Supports. Oliver highlights the use of quizzes in his learning design model, directly relating the use of quizzes as a learning task and learning resource. In using education online, quizzes could save the teacher a substantial amount of time in marking, and is also ecologically sound, as there is no waste of paper. Students can also experiment with this technology, perhaps in a task requiring them to create a quiz to test their peers’ knowledge about a particular unit of work. Overall, I think the ClassMarker technology is a great resource and the time spent on creating the quizzes now is time saved in the future.

Follow this link to trial my Food Chain Quiz and test your knowledge.

Australian Universities Teaching Committee. (2000). Learning Design - The Project. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 16, 2009, from

ClassMarker (2009). F.A.Q (Frequently Asked Questions. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 16, 2009, from

Go places with Google Earth!!

Well isn’t this an interesting piece of technology? Google Earth is a web application that allows the user to work with addressing, 3-D models, actual co-ordinates, directions and much more (Coombs, 2007). Through the use of satellite pictures the user can view earth from space, before zooming down onto almost any location and seeing it at a 3 dimensional street level (Chandler, 2008). This initial idea explored by Google Earth has now expanded to others; including Google Sky – for those interested in astrology – and Google Mars, which allows the user to get a closer view of the red planet. Before today I had only heard of Google Earth, but it never really sparked enough of an interest in me, for me to download it. After the reasonably quick download of this software and twenty minutes of looking at my house and other symbolic landmarks, I found myself growing a little bored with this software. It wasn’t until I started investigating its potential uses in education that it really opened my eyes; I began to grasp what this extraordinary technology can actually do.

Google has devoted an entire webpage - Getting Started Guide – to the display of ideas for educators, and the ways in which they can use Google Earth in their classroom (Google, 2009). Some of the ideas listed that grabbed my attention included the use of Google Earth to explore the distance between certain places, examine the tectonic plates shifting, or even to study the major land forms from around the world. Being in such a diverse classroom, I thought that it would be a great idea to place photos of the students on the map, to better show their peers the different countries they are from. This could lead to a unit in which the class could explore each of the countries. This provides a fantastic opportunity to developing a greater understanding and appreciation of their peers’ country of birth, and a better cultural understanding of the world around them. By providing tasks that are relevant and meaningful to the students, the engagement level of the class is likely to be at a higher level (Kearsley and Shneiderman, 1999). Overall, I would have to say that my first impressions of this technology were not great, however now I am already trying to think of ways that I could use this technology in my next day of teaching.


Chandler, E. (2008). Future of Google Earth. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 18,2009, from

Coombs, T. and DeLeon, R. (2007). Google Power Tools Bible. Indiana, United States of America: Wiley Publishing Inc.

Google (2009). Google for Educators. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 18,2009, from

Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 17, 2009, from

Picnik = Picture Perfect!!

Hello again,

In today's blog I will be talking about one of the more creative technologies I have come across so far - Picnik.

Picnik is a free photo program that allows its user to upload and edit both their pictures - and others’ pictures - in a variety of ways (Picnik, 2009). This can include cropping or resizing, adjusting brightness, colours and exposure, and removing the dreaded red-eye. The photo I have attached is of a painting I received for my 21st birthday. One of the problems with the original photo was that there was an unknown person standing in the background. Using Picnik I was able to crop this person out of the photo, so that the primary focus was on the painting. Picnik also has a ‘create’ section where you can have some real fun. In this feature you can add shapes, frames, effects and much more. The Picnik photo program appears to have many uses, both for personal use and as a highly useful educational tool.

In an educational setting, the use of Picnik could be used in any project requiring students to use images. Such projects could include brochures, business cards, posters or class books, or anything else requiring the use of photographic images. Students using this program will have the opportunity to demonstrate and showcase their creative ability with ICTs. This relates directly to the second principle of the engagement theory framework – the Create Principle ( Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). Picnik is definitely one program you could have a lot of fun with and I encourage you all to explore this site for yourself.

Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 16, 2009, from

Picnik. (2009). Frequently Asked Questions. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 16, 2009, from

Flickr Fun!!

Let me start by telling you that the technology ‘Flickr’ and I did not get off to the best start... For some unknown reason it would not let me create an account – it was really quite irritating. After countless attempts I finally managed to get in and was able to explore the wonder that is Flickr. Flickr is best explained as an online photo management system and photo sharing application (Turnbull, 2005). Flickr is a free program and once you get through the process of setting up your account it is relatively simple to use.
Signing up for an account requires only a few minutes of your time, and with this completed it is the possible to upload your photos to your file.

One of the major benefits of this program is the wide array of photos available that other users have uploaded. In a classroom setting you could use these photos for a digital storytelling session or basically any lesson that requires digital photos. Despite this, I don’t think this program is appropriate for student use in education. It would be far too easy for students to come across inappropriate pictures in their searches and this is the primary reason why it is blocked in most schools (DEECD, 2007).

The picture I have attached is one of my surfboards just after I had had a design put on it.


State of Victoria (Department of Education and Early Childhood Development), 2007. Cybersafe Classroom. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 16, 2009, from

Turnbull, G. (2005). What is Flickr (and Hot tips for using it). Citing computer references. Retrieved August 16, 2009, from

Monday, August 17, 2009

Powerpoint or Powerpointless

The use of PowerPoint is one technology I am reasonably familiar with. Power Point is an interactive learning tool that allows users to present their information in a much more effective and interesting way. PowerPoint was originally a business presentation tool used to enhance lectures (Marcovitz, D. 2004); however it now extends to almost all facets of life. PowerPoints can also be a highly useful pedagogical tool for both teaching and learning in the classroom. The PowerPoint I created for use in the classroom was based on the Tasmanian Devil and the effect of the Devil Facial Tumour Disease. One of the achievements I learnt in regards to PowerPoint was the use of the hyperlink feature. Through the use of this feature I was able to make my PowerPoint similar to an interactive webquest.

When using PowerPoint in the classroom the students liked its interactive nature and enjoyed engaging with the tasks and quizzes throughout. One of my major challenges I had with this technology was the use of timing and animation. Although I figured this out eventually, it did take a lot of time to get things exactly how I wanted them to go. A further problem I faced in a lesson I took on PowerPoint was that students wanted to rush the content they were putting on their PowerPoint and spend more time with animations. For future lessons I ensured that students had the content done and ready to copy onto the PowerPoint before they could begin playing with animations. PowerPoint’s are something that I will continue to employ in the classroom as I have not found any tool that can engage active learning thus far.

Marcovitz, D. (2004). Powerpoint for Educators. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 14, 2009, from

Avatars - So much fun!!

An avatar is a computer generated tool that allows the user to express their thoughts or opinions through a talking character. When creating an avatar the designer has control over their character’s identity and also the way they sound. The avatar I created was through a site called Voki, there are however a range of different sites in which these avatars can be made but some of them do incur a charge.

When experimenting with my avatar I could see many practical uses for in the classroom. Something as simple as posing the key question at the beginning of the lesson could be an effective way to engage the students. Another idea could be having the students read a fairytale or take on the role as the actual character. For example - a student taking on the role of the ‘wolf’ in Little Red Riding Hood. The student could create a wolf avatar identity and offer the wolf’s perspective of the story. Although this could be a useful tool, I wonder about how much effect these avatars will have on students. Dale’s cone (2000) suggests that both visual and verbal symbols – two of the key attributes of an avatar - have little impact on students learning. Despite this I can still see many uses for this type of technology and for something so simple, it is definitely something I see as worthwhile at trialling in the classroom.

‘Hang in there while I try to figure out how to put this avatar on my blog’.

Dale, E. (1960). In Abelene Christian University (2000). Active learning Online. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 14, 2009, from


Hi everyone,

Last week I signed up for a Mahara account and have been experimenting with it since. A Mahara – which means ‘think’ or ‘thought’ - is a digital e-portfolio, weblog, social networking system and résumé creator, all in one. Mahara was developed in the effort to create a lifelong learning application that with the use of ICT’s would promote more collaborative, interactive, mediarich and personalised learning (Brown, M., Anderson, B., Simpson, M. & Suddaby, G. 2007). The setting up of a Mahara account was relatively simple – despite some problems with the credit card – with the program guiding you though the process. Although I have only skimmed the surface of what Mahara has to offer, several ideas have already emerged as to how I could use this piece of technology in an educational setting.

Learning managers could use this as a way of documenting the growth of students over the year and highlighting their strengths for both the student and parent(s) to see. Lorenzo and Ittelson (2005) point out that these types of e-portfolios offer opportunities for students to digitally showcase their work and skills for employers. Overall, I find Mahara and the ideas of e-portfolios in general to be a much more effective program than the former paperback method and would definitely recommend it as a useful program to any educator willing to give it a try.


Brown, M., Anderson, B., Simpson, M. & Suddaby, G. (2007). Showcasing Mahara: A new open source eportfolio. In ICT: Providing choices for learners and learning. Proceedings ascilite Singapore 2007. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 14, 2009, from

Lorenzo, G., Ittelson, J., (2005) An Overview of E-Portfolios. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 14, 2009, from

Wiki Wiki!!!

For my first Wiki I decided to create a page that could be of use to both myself and others studying this course. Too many times I have found a good interactive learning website and when I want to find it again it is impossible to find. With this in mind I decided to create a Wiki that provided websites with interactive learning tools embedded in them. For my home page I had all the key learning areas listed and then from each one I worked out how I could link it to its own individual page. After experimenting with my page I now understand a Wiki to be a website that can be edited by anyone with the right access. Leuf and Cunningham (2001) call this ‘open editing’ with users being able to edit information, change layout, and update structure and content and much more. Wikis have already been recognised for their ability to facilitate collaborative learning and studies have shown them to be a great way for students to exchange ideas (Augar, N., Raitman, R. & Zhou, W. 2004).

The possibilities for the use of Wikis in the classroom are endless. I thought a great way for a Wiki to be implemented into class instruction could be through a class story. Students could build on to the story over a period of time, with every student having an input into its direction. I have also just found out that many Wiki sites have a feature called ‘user authentication’, this feature means only certain people can access the Wiki. This makes it ideal for an educational setting as it can prevent outside users from adding inappropriate information. Overall I found the process of creating a Wiki to be relatively simple and it will be something I hope to keep adding to. As long as measures are put in place to protect the students’ security and wellbeing, I believe Wikis have the potential to be a worthwhile and engaging educational tool.

Check out my Wiki at -
(It is a work in progress, so please feel free to add to it).


Augar, N., Raitman, R. & Zhou, W. (2004). Teaching and learning online with wikis. In R. Atkinson, C. McBeath, D. Jonas-Dwyer & R. Phillips (Eds), Beyond the comfort zone: Proceedings of the 21st ASCILITE Conference (pp. 95-104). Perth, 5-8 December.

Leuf, B. & Cunningham, W. (2001). The Wiki way: Quick collaboration on the Web. Upper Saddle River, NJ, USA: Addison Wesley.

What is RSS??

What a great idea! RSS or Really Simple Syndication is a web based tool that aims to save you – the user – time. To keep it simple a RSS is a way of making the information you seek come to you rather than you having to look for it yourself. RSS aggregators are most commonly used to track blogs, news, podcasts more and it is so simple to set up (Commonwealth of Australia, 2009). The first thing that I was required to do was to subscribe to an RSS reader or aggregator. This is a simple and also ‘free’ program that requires you to fill in a few details. This takes no more than a few minutes and could be quite simply done by almost anyone. From there it is as simple as subscribing to the information you want. This can be done by clicking on the RSS feed symbol (commonly an orange button) which is found on many websites or some sites have their own button. From here whenever an update or new bit of information comes from one of these sites your RSS reader will have it. The RSS reader I have used is Google Reader, my experiences with this reader so far have been nothing but positive and I would recommend it highly to anyone.

Educators could make the most of a RSS aggregator in tasks that require the learners to post blogs, create a wiki, flickr or a range of other sites. Rather than the teacher being required to go and check on the progress of every student in the class, the information is able to be brought to them. Learners too, could use an RSS reader successfully, perhaps by subscribing to a site relevant to a particular piece of information they are after or even to track and comment on their classmates’ work. This would allow students to keep in touch with one another and therefore relates specifically to Kearsley & Shneidermans (1999) engagement theory which encourages collaboration between peers in authentic and meaningful tasks. Whether this technology could be used for all age levels would require further investigation, however in my mind there is definitely potential for this technology to have a lasting impact in education.

Commonwealth of Australia (2009). RSS: really simple syndication. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 13, 2009, from

Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology- based teaching and learning. Citing computer references. Retrieved July 10, 2009, from

Blogs in the classroom???

For Managing E-Learning Assignment one, students were required to create a Blog and make regular postings to it. A blog or weblog - to be technically correct - is a webpage that contains brief and arranged items of information, often containing the author’s views on a particular topic (Scott, 2001). A blog allows a person to express their opinion and often invites comments from others on the topic. Through I found the process of creating my blog relatively simple and found that it was possible to experiment with a range of different settings to make my blog as visually appealing and as professional looking as I could.

When using this technology I was quite astounded to see all the connections I could make between social ‘blogging’ and how I could integrate this into the classroom as a useful tool for learners. The Power Point I have attached lists these benefits and is something I believe all educators should consider. While blogs can be used as a personal communication tool they could also be used for student journals and portfolios as well as for communication with parents and their peers. Kearsley & Shneiderman (1999) highlight the importance of students working collaboratively and having the opportunity to hear from people from diverse and multicultural backgrounds. One way to achieve this could be through a student collaborative blog. A section from one of these blogs is listed below and has some meaning to it.

We are students: the ones who come to school every day, raise our hands with safe questions, and keep our heads down. Except, now we have a voice—a strong voice—to share our ideas through a global network (DET, 2009).

Glogoff (2005) states that students taking part in collaborative blogs contributed to better understanding of course content. Blogs could therefore be used to develop metacognition and critical thinking skills. Overall, blogs appear to have many benefits for students. With proper moderation of the blogs and ensuring correct netiquette is adhered to, I believe that they could be used successfully in the classroom.

Department of Education and Training (2009). Resourcing the curriculum. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 13, 2009, from

Glogoff, S. (2005). Instructional blogging: Promoting interactivity, student-centered learning, and peer input. Innovate. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 13, 2009, from

Scott, P (2001). Blogs in Education. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 13, 2009, from

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Little About Me!!


My name is Benjamin Deguara. I’m 21 years old and currently live on the Sunshine Coast. I’m currently in my second year of university studying for a Bachelor of Learning Management with 1 year left before I graduate (fingers crossed). Before beginning my studies, I worked as a Mechanic for close to 5 years, I also worked as a roofer and painter. When study isn't consuming my life (very rare) I enjoy spending time down at the beach. I’m New Zealand born (don't hold it against me) however I have been living here for the past 10 years so the accent is long gone. I love most sports; I especially enjoy surfing, camping, fishing and playing soccer. I look forward to investigating each of the recommended technologies and seeing how I can use them in both a schooling and social context. This is my first blog, but keep an eye out for future -hopefully more interesting - blogs coming soon. I have also set up a Mahara account so feel free to add me.