Reflective Synopsis 1

Reflective Synopsis

Prior to commencing this course, my mindset was that i had fully explored the amazing technology of a computer and the World Wide Web. Throughout the past six weeks my eyes have been opened up to a whole new digital language that i did not know existed, and i must say it is a journey that am now completely immersed in. The heavy accent of my digital immigrant persona is beginning to fade and i am slowly adapting to this new and exciting digital landscape (Jukes & Dosaj, 2006). The following synopsis will deliver an outline of the technologies and collaborative conversations i have participated in and provide theories as to why i believe they will enhance student learning and make my teaching more efficient.
Throughout the journey of creating this blog, the principles of Kearsley and Schneidermans (1999) 'engagement theory' have been adhered to. These essential components of relate-create-donate are a framework that allows learning managers to construct learning experiences that are creative, meaningful and authentic and will foster to the needs of the digital age student.

Prensky (2001) suggests that today's students think and process information fundamentally different from their predecessors. I believe that in order to prepare these students for life long learning and to become change agents in this digital world, it is essential for learning managers to build upon their own confidence and skills and join them with a 'native' perspective.

I have explored an extensive assortment of pedagogical tools that are beneficial in any learning environment, be it in a classroom or from a distance education site. I can foresee that during my future career there will be a time and a place for most of these tools to be included into the curriculum. However, i would like to refer you to a selection that i believe, with further exploration, can provide me with opportunity to create learning experiences that will engage our digital students and help to prepare them for the world beyond school and into the future.

Flickr and Picnik have both provided me with an array of ideas, that i can use to adapt and apply to lessons both in and out of the classroom, that will facilitate technology in a way that engages students. In alignment with Kearsley and Schneiderman's (1999) engagement theory, Voki Avatars will encourage and foster the creativity and communication skills that are needed to nourish this student engagement in the classroom.

YouTube and TeacherTube are a bank of information and knowledge for learning managers to use in the learning environment. I have had concerns regarding the appropriateness and safety of some of the content on YouTube; however, by utilizing programs such as KeepVid these implications are reduced. Felder and Spurlin (2005) suggest that some students prefer to work with concrete information, some with abstractions, some with visual presentation and some from verbal explanations. VoiceThread offers the opportunity to allow learning managers to cater for the needs of each of these students to enhance student strengths and collaborative learning. Digital Storytelling has also inspired my creative thoughts and extended my creative thinking during my e-Learning journey.

Frameworks such as the Productive Pedagogies (New Basics Program, 2004) enable learning managers to critically reflect on their work, and design curriculum and learning experiences that allow students to demonstrate a deep understanding of the concept. The use of a 'true' WebQuest can cater for these needs while encouraging students to use higher order thinking to answer a relevant and realistic real life problem. My knowledge of PowerPoint and its many practicalities and possibilities have been strengthened during this course. Although i was already an avid PowerPoint fan i now have an extensive repertoire of tools to use within the program, that i had not yet investigated.

Up until just a few weeks ago i was completely naive to the world of Blogs and Wikis. Smith,Lynch & Knight (2007) suggest that digital technologies such as these can be developed to share ideas, co-develop thoughts or plans, or discuss or debate pertinent topics. Brady (2006) highlights that collaborative learning involves learners learning through interaction with other learners in the atmosphere of a caring, collaborative dialogue in which learners are encourages to inquire, challenge, express feelings and opinions and reflect. Throughout the duration of this course we have been encouraged to exchange ideas and comment on our fellow colleagues blogs. Without doing so, i would not have the knowledge and understanding of many of the topics that i have explored and would not have learnt many of the valuable pedagogical approaches that i can include in my future education career.

Kellie has provided me with a useful and interesting insight as to how to include online quizzes as a form of peer assessment. Nari provided me positive guidance and reassurance through times of frustration and Rhonda reiterated my positive thoughts on why a blog is a beneficial tool to use in the classroom. Wendy allowed me to once again consider the importance of why todays practicing educators should update their skills and knowledge of ICT and Margaret reassured me of my reasons why i feel music is such an important concept to include in daily classroom activity. I must also say thank-you to the many other students who i have collaborated with along the way and that i hope our discussions have lead to some creative, worthwhile and fundamental benefits that we can all incorporate into our learning.

Siemens (2004) implies that new information is being acquired on a day by day basis and that having the ability to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information is vital. What is important, is that ICT is known as the modern digital age students 'oxygen'. Catering for this oxygen led me to a search of new technologies, and when i discovered Googles newest venture 'Google Wave' i was blown away.

Google Wave (2009) is a new online communication and collaborative tool. It is transmitted character by character, directly by line transmission to the person, or people, you are communicating with. It allows users to merge the technologies of email, instant messaging, wiki and social networking to create one unique portal that caters for a vast array of modern day technology. It is this method of ever changing digital technology which will continue to provide a positive role and promote the engagement theory to this new 'twitch speed' generation.

Upon completion of this assignment i am able to reflect on my e-Learning journey to date. There have been many ups and downs along the way, however, the outcomes have provided me with a firm foundation that i look forward to building upon, during the next few months and into the future. This blog will continue to grow, to enable me to use it as a framework that will guide my digital knowledge and allow me to reflect on my current knowledge and understandings of the rapidly expanding 'digital world'.

Until next time,


Brady, L. (2006). Collaborative Learning In Action. Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia: Pearson Education Australia.

Felder, R., Spurlin, J. 2005. (citing computer references. Retrieved July 30, 2009, from:


Google Wave. (2009). Google Wave Developer Preview at Google I/0 2. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from: http://wave.google.com/

Jukes, I. & Dosaj, A. (2006). Understanding Digital Children (DKs)Teaching & Learning in the New Digital Landscape. The InfoSavvy Group: MediaFire.

Kearsley, G., Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from:


Prensky, M., (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from:http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

New Basic Program. (2004). Productive Pedagogies. Department of Education, Training and the Arts. Retrieved August 12, 2009, from:


Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved July 19, 2009, from: http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.html .

Smith, R., Lynch, D. & Knight, B.A. (2007). LearningManagement:Transitioning teachers for national and international change. Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia: Pearson Education Australia.



ClassMarker is a free quiz maker for online testing. The program is relatively simple to manipulate and allows students to participate in meaningful and engaging activities through interaction with others (Kearsley and Schneiderman, 1999).

Due to insufficient time with my students i am unable to implement this method of technological activity. However, the following is a brief synopsis of how i would use this learning tool in the classroom environment. 

A year 4/5 cohort has just completed a unit of work entitled 'Endangered Species'. In groups of 4-6 the students researched a particular animal, created a PowerPoint and presented an oral presentation. An online quiz, created by each member of a group for another member within the group, would then be used as a form of reflection and assessment for the students. The conceptual elements of Marzano and Pickerings (1997) Dimension 2 - Acquire and Integrate Knowledge, would be followed during the lessons in order to  help students acquire and integrate specific procedural knowledge skills.

  • Discuss as a class the animals that have been researched and recall their habitat, diet, threats, distribution, description, quantity and classification
  • Use the think-aloud process to verbalize questions that would be appropriate to ask in an online quiz, that would demonstrate students knowledge
  • Students create a list of ten multiple choice questions pertaining to the animal they researched
  • Learning manager would point out common errors that need to be targeted including grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors before allowing sufficient time for students to practice creating the quiz
  • Once the learning manager has approved all work, students will provide another member of their group (preallocated) the URL in order for them to complete the test  
  • Students will provide feedback on the quiz to the creator, in the form of a graphic organiser 
This learning journey that began with researching each animal in collaborative group work and resulted in students creating a quiz for a 'customer', is derived directly from Kearsley and Schneidermans 'Engagement Theory'. Students have participated in active cognitive processes that include creating, problem solving, reasoning, decision making and evaluation, whilst maintaining intrinsic motivation.  

I look forward to exploring a variety of other online quiz applications that will help me to provide my future cohort with learning experiences that cater to the digital needs of todays students.

Until next time,

Kearsley, G., Shneiderman, B., (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from

The 'Cons' of Technology.

The 'Cons' of Technology.

Hello once again. Right at this moment my mind is not in a state to function properly. I have just left my daughter at school, in an inconsolable state, in the caring hands of the school chaplains. Yesterday evening two of the most beautiful people i know on this earth were tragically taken from us. The couple were an inspiration to so many on the Sunshine Coast and i know that many Noose campus students will be affected  by this loss. 

You may be wondering why is this relevant to e-Learning? The women/wife/mother/role model/confidant/teacher/mentor involved in the accident has been my 14 year old daughters ballet teacher, and inspiration, for quite some time now. At 6pm last night, Jess, being the digital native that she is, was on facebook on her iPod touch. All of a sudden she looked at me in a state of shock and said mum read this, it cannot be true. Just moments before, the phone rang and i decided to let it ring out as i would return the call in just a few minutes. If only i had of answered i could have broke the news to her in a much more compassionate way! This form of technology, was used to deliver the news to thousands of children across the coast that this couple had just passed away in a car accident. I was completely mortified that this was delivered by this small piece of equipment.

This just reassured me of the enormous differences between digital immigrants and digital natives. I would not for one moment think to inform someone of this tragedy through these means. However todays youth see this method of communication as second nature, it is the world that they live in. 

I don't know about you, maybe i am just old fashioned, but i feel that sometimes technology should take a stand still and return to more personal forms of communication.





Welcome once again,
Before i get into the necessities required for this course, i thought i would just show you a brief slideshow i created through Flickr. The photos were taken during a family holiday in Melbourne last year and display the sun rising over The Great Ocean Road.

As i mentioned in a previous post, flickr is a program that allows users to upload, edit, organise, shape and share their photos, all at the touch of a button. I have enjoyed using flickr and would have loved to have had the opportunity to utilise the program within my current learning environment, however, this was not possible.  

Kearsley and Shneiderman (1999) suggest that the fundamental idea underlying engagement theory is that students must be meaningfully engaged in learning activities through interaction with others and worthwhile tasks. They also suggest that the use of technology can facilitate ways in which to promote the engagement factor.  With this in mind i have created the following brief scenario of a possible way to include flickr into the classroom. 

Students have recently returned from a 2 night camp at a local park, where they encountered many team building activities. Throughout the duration of the camp the learning manager, and the teacher aide, took many photos of each student. Upon return to school, each member of the cohort are asked to choose a selection of 6 photos that they feel captures the epitome of the team spirit. These photos must then be uploaded to flickr and edited using the free image manipulation tool; picnik. I would then ask student to arrange the photos into a PowerPoint and add narration that describes their individual  feelings of the positive and negative attributes of such a team building exercise. 

During the lessons i would reiterate the importance of copyright procedures and regulations. I must also, once again, state that the use of any technological tool within the classroom must be supported by quality teaching pedagogy to ensure maximum student learning.

Until next time,

Kearsley, G., Shneiderman, B., (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from