Friday, August 21, 2009

Reflective Synopsis

My e-learning journey began when I was young after being introduced to MSN by my older brother and sister. I soon learnt this new way of communication. Slowly I got deeper into my journey signing up to Myspace and Facebook and frequently using these communicative tools. It was recently that I took a huge dive straight into the deep end of my e-learning journey to enhance my understanding and knowledge of the e-learning tools. This in turn gave me a new set of skills to enhance the possible learning outcomes in my classroom for my students. This Synopsis will reflect on this E-learning journey.

Throughout this journey I have been given the chance to explore a variety of e-learning tools for example Blogs, Flickr, RSS Feeders, Slideshare, Wiki and Web quest just to name a few of them. I have learnt how to use them and have discovered many applications for them. My task was to discover and research each of these tools and their uses. I evaluated whether the technology could be a useful teaching and learning tool for the classroom. I had to create and research possible uses for the different tools. I engaged in online forum conversations answering a couple of questions that were asked. I thoroughly enjoyed Skype chatting to my class mates. I found Skype very useful but also rather distracting at times chatting to family and friends overseas. This also provided an opportunity for me to work collaboratively with my peers asking questions answering theirs. This collaboration was not utilized enough by me and when I reflect back I see that it is a very beneficial process. I will continue to develop this skill as my journey continues.

As a student teacher on my journey to become a teacher I am keen to use the basic tools. Voki Avotar is one of the tools I am keen to implement into the classroom as I believe it would be a very engaging tool for the learners. Mazarno & Pickering (1997) believe it is important to "use a variety of ways to engage students in classroom task" as it is believed that students learn more when engaged. Through the use of the Voki Avator I would be teaching using a mixture of both the visual and auditory senses therefore catering for the different learners needs. The use of Voki also changes the setting or environment in the class. The students rather then just listening to me speak which they do all day, they would get to listen to an exciting Voki instead. The Queensland University of Technology (2009) believes "students learn best when they are engaged in their learning and when learning activities, resources and materials are presented as part of well designed learning environments". Similarly video and Youtube could be used for the same purposes. Here are a couple of examples of how Voki can be implemented in the classroom. Voki could be used to introduce a topic to the students or Voki could be a Policeman online ready to talk to the class about road safety. There was a lesson I prepared for teaching to a class where I dressed up as a park ranger and videoed myself talking about national parks. It would have been much easier if I had created a Voki park ranger for the class to listen to. There are many uses for Voki. It is another means to communicate with the students.

Another tool I would like to use is Wikis. I would use Wikis because it is an awesome tool for group work. Once I learnt about a Wiki I used it for another assignment. As this was a group work assignment I was able to learn first hand how useful it was when working in groups. An added advantage is that Wiki is a very easy tool to use. Group work is a very important part of learning. Students need to learn how to work together because once they are in the workforce they need to know how to relate to and work with people. Group work helps build up an important set of skills for the students. These skills can be recognized as working through various decision-making steps such as organisation, critical thinking, conflict resolution and reflection (EDU Bennett, 2007). Bennett (2007) believes "this approach follows/models many industry situations, including task forces, formal decision-making bodies, committees and informal interactions". PowerPoint is a great tool and enhances learning when used correctly. Jones (2003) believes there are problems with the use on Powerpoint in education and believes “one of the major problems is that its current use is frequently limited to an information transmission mode, often with excessive content, a usage that obscures the wider potential for diverse professional and pedagogically-sound presentations”. Jones (2003) also believes that the use of Powerpoint can enhance learning. I have been using Powerpoint for many of my lessons and believe it helps me provide framework for my lessons and it helps me deliver the correct content. I also like having the ability to add pictures, audio and video which will help engage the different learning styles. Jones (2003) discusses some good reasons to use Powerpoint. One of these is that Powerpoint can provide support and encouragement to the teachers through the facilitation of the structure of a lesson, also through the use of sophisticated audio and visual aids making the presentation more stimulating.

As I am a newbie to these different tools, I have chosen to focus on a couple at a time. I think that further down the track as I feel more comfortable in the classroom and have discovered the capabilities of the other tools I will implement them into the learning journey. I strongly believe that the E-learning technologies have a lot of potential for enhancing learning. I also believe that it is important for a teacher to find which tool suits them and in which circumstances the tools should be used. As a students teacher I will definitely experiment with the different e-learning tools to assess which tools work for me and which tools work for my students. There are some great tools out there on the World Wide Web and many of them have the potential to be brought into the classroom. While all these technologies and tools for the classroom are great, it is of high importance that the Essential Learnings and Pedagogical ways are implemented into E-learning. The QLD Government Department of Education and Training defines productive pedagogies as the "art of teaching" and encourages teachers to use a variety of different teaching styles and strategies. Let’s embrace this virtual world and use it to enhance our teaching methods, but lets not forget how useful the real world context is as a teaching tool as well.

Bennett, T (2007). Edith Cowan University (EDU). Computer reference, cited 20th Augast, 2009, at

Jones, A., (2003), The use and abuse of Powerpoint in Teaching and Learning in the Life Sciences, cited on the 07/08/09 at

Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., Arrendondo, D. E., Blackburn, G. J., Brandt, R, S., Moffet, C, A.,(1997) Dimensions of learning: teacher's manual (2nd ed). Alexandria, VA:

Queensland Government ( ). Department of Education and Training. Pedagogy: computer resource cited on the 20th Augast, 2009 at

QUT (2009). Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Computer reference, cited 20th Augast, 2009, at

Voice Thread

Now Voice thread is an interesting tool, similar but different to the rest. In a voice thread you can either upload photos or videos then invite anyone to comment on it. They can comment on it using voice or just text. So it is similar in you can upload pics and stuff for others to veiw and comment but with addition of voice comments and the ease in which you can do so creates an added engagment (Educause, 2009).

Through reading Educause- 7 things you should know about voicethread website, I was amazed at the amount of uses for voice thread in the classroom. It was also interesting to see the number of educators that the Educause website descibes as already using it. Educause. (2009) says K–12 educators, have used voicethread in projects such as oral histories and presentations about books the students read. The common use may be "spurred in part by the free instructor accounts that VoiceThread offers to K–12 teachers, but the application is popular in higher education as well". "Many educators, present students with an image or video, asking a question related to it, and having them respond in VoiceThread" (Educause, 2009).

Educause. (2009) 7 things you should know about. Voicethread. Cited 18 August, 2009 from,


Now Podcasts is something that I had not experimented with yet although I had iTunes for a few years. I had never clicked on podcasts instead I had just used it to listen to music. I guess it is about time I experimented with podcast.

I followed the itunes store link clicked on podcasts, then education, followed by k-12. I decided after looking at the podcasts that I would subscribe to a couple. I chose Technology for teacher and Stories for kids. I chose technology for teachers because I thought it might keep me up to date with all the new technologies that might be useful to me as a teacher. This will save me from having to go searching for them. I subscribed to Stories for kids just to see if I could use these podcasts in the classroom. I believe I could use the stories for kids podcast in the classroom. Instead of the students hearing my voice, they could listen to an exciting story teller. This would add variety and engage the students.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Royalty free music, well I didn't know there was such a thing. This gives you a chance to have music in the class for movement/dance lessons or some soft music could be played in the background while students are working. The Royalty free music site not only has music on offer but also sound effects, clip art, photos and footage. The site describes different uses for these royalty free items many of them educational uses. These items can be used by either teacher or student as the uses range from the common powerpoint presentation to creating a video just to add some extra effects. The site states "Educators can download royalty free stock music, slideshow music, sound effects, and more for use in educational projects to enhance learning" (Royalty Free Music, 2008).

As I was looking and listening to some of the music I got a different mood/ feeling from each song as one was called ghost then another called techno. A possible lesson which came to mind was the students could use the miusic to help them write in specific genres. They could be asked to write a narative genre piece to the feeling they get from the different songs and as the song changes they would move onto the next scene of their story. (Just a thought)

Royalty Free Music, (2008). Computer siteing, retrieved 19 August, 09, from

File Storage (mediafire)

Mediafire is a site for file and image hosting needs. Its a useful site for businesses, professionals and anyone who wants to share files with clients or friends etc or just have a backup storage location.

Well I signed up to Mediafire and worked out how to upload photos. I uploaded some photos and it said it had worked. When I went to my files to veiw the pictures and it says the file is there but when I click on it it says file cannot be found. I will have to try and play around with this one again later.

When try and try again does not work seek help, if you ask the right person help is given. Here is my URL feel free to take a look, you will need to down load it to veiw it.

With the ammount of work completed on computers these days and saved to the hard drive along with music, games, movies and pictures, inevitably it fills up. Media fire creates an option to upload files to the world wide web and save it there. It is your choice as to whether you share it with the world or keep it to yourself. This is a very handy tool as it gives another back up. When you are working on assessment, the students can save it to computer and then on the net as well. This takes out the risk of leaving saved data at home because you can open it up on any computer as long as it has access to the world wide web. Students could be working on something at home, save it to mediafire and then the next day at school keep working on it without having the risk of leaving their USB stick at home.
Mediafire, (2006-2009). computer cited, 17 August, 2009 from


I had never heard of slideshare and found it pretty simple to follow to upload the PP then copy the link to the blog. I need to discover how to add some audio.

Now this was and still is a challenge. It began when I tried to load the page and it repeatedly said server is down. So I restarted everything I could and tried again, with success. I tried to upload the audiofile (already transfered to MP3 format) but an error 2028 would come up as soon as I tried to load it. As I was not sure what error 2038 was, I kept trying. After many goes it worked but then froze on synchronize page. I had another go and finally success. Once loaded I found it was pretty simple to link the audio to the slide.

Please excuse dog barking on slide 2 and 3 and dog howling when mum arrived home on slide 6. Some things are just out of our control.


Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia hence wiki(PEDIA), with 13 million articles on it in many different languages. This gives it the name (WIKI)pedia for the multilingual purposes (Wikipedia, 2009). This makes wikipedia a very useful tool. I often use it just to gain some basic understanding of a topic I am unsure about. Seeing as anyone can contribute to or edit Wikipedia it is important to make sure the information is correct by also searching for more reliable sources like government sites, education sites and scholarly articles. I would encourage my students to search a topic on wikipedia to gain an understanding of what it is but then to search for more reliable sources.

Wikipedia (2009). Wikipedia About. retrieved August 16, 2009 from