Thursday, August 20, 2009


Starting out with this course I felt like a digital immigrant (Pensky, 2001) as I had to adapt to the digital world and learn all these new technologies I had never even heard of before. This experience has taught me to remain calm when technologies don’t work and to research topics a little further to understand how they work.

Currently in the school where I am completing my prac, (I am sure it is a similar situation in other schools) there is only one 60minute session each week where students have access to computers. With all these great ideas I have of how to incorporate these technologies into their learning and the curriculum, it is difficult to find time for these to be taught and the students to learn, explore and play with the technologies. This is where I will have to be flexible and perhaps set tasks for the students to complete outside of the classroom and post reflections to their blogs.

I have learnt about Kearsley & Shneiderman’s (1999) Engagement Theory and how it can be applied to my pedagogy. I have found useful ways of how it can be related to the type of technology and how to apply the basic principles of Relate, Create and Donate. Kearsley & Shneiderman (1999) said that
“Engagement Theory is that students must be meaningfully engaged in learning activities through interaction with others and worthwhile tasks”
This can be done with the use of technologies.

The technologies I would like to explore further and use in my teaching to enhance students learning include:
1. Flickr
as it can be used by all different year levels across a variety of different curriculum areas. This is a great online sharing tool where students can use the photos in their work and no copyright laws will be concerned, as Flickr is covered by the Creative Commons Licence.
2. Picnic
is a photo editing tool which changes the effect of the photo. When I was exploring this tool the opportunities were endless with what you can change and I found it very engaging.
3. Classmaker quizzes
can be used for reflection at the end of the task, finding out what the students already know about the topic and checking their progress through the topic.
4. Google earth can
encourage collaborative learning, as students can explore a variety of different tools linked to the site and share their findings. It can be used as an engagement tool, following students on holiday or even to just find more information about a country.
5. Webquests links with the Learning Pyramid (ACU, 2000) as students will be putting what they are learning into practice and this has a 75% retention rate. Extension activities can also be designed for those students who are fast finishers.
6. When i was exploring YouTube
and TeacherTube I discovered a tip to help out in the classroom. If comments posted about the clip are inappropriate, save the clip to a USB and show the students that way. This will minimise the risk of inappropriate things being shown to the students.
7. Music on the web
can be used as an engagement tool or simply in the background to calm the students down during their work.
8. Voice thread
caters for all learning styles for the 21st century learner.
9. Blogs
can be used for students to develop higher order thinking, as they will be commenting and reflecting on topics requested by the teacher.
These technologies will make the teaching more effective for all learners in the class.

Throughout this blog I have collaborated with my peers face to face, through the discussion forums and comments and replies left on our blogs. An example of this is with Charissa
( I have found this experience successful, as I have been able to post comments, share my thoughts about her blog, help with questions she has asked about the technologies and basically collaborate about the blog. I feel this is a successful way for students to learn, as they can learn from each other and share ideas.

Thank you to everyone for following my blog and sharing this experience with me. I have enjoyed reading your comments and reading your ideas on the different technologies.

- Natalie

This photo was taken by Adritzz's photostream on Flickr

Reference List
ACU. (2000). Why Choose Active Learning? Retrieved August 13, 2009, from

Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A Framework for Technology-Based Teaching and Learning. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from

Pensky. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Digital Storytelling

I was unaware what a digital storytelling was, until I completed research from Primary Access (2006). Now I know more about digital storytelling and how to incorporate it into the classroom. I think this is a useful technology which can be used in the classrooms by the 21st century learners as a great literacy resource. It will engage the learners in the topic as they will be using technology which they will probably know more about it then the learning manager will.

Storytelling is used in many different cultures around the world and has been used for many centuries. An example of storytelling is in the Aboriginal Culture of dreamtime stories. Aboriginals use dreamtime stories to tell a story of how the spirits emerged and what happened before the living memory (Crystalinks, n.d.). The traditional way storytelling is used in classes with the teacher reading the book and the students sitting on the carpet listening is still used in many classrooms, including my own prac class. Although if digital storytelling was to be incorporated into the lessons, it would be a great way to engage students in the lesson, as they can relate to the technology on different levels.

Digital storytelling can be incorporated into a variety of different units as it allows the students to create a story using online sources. When using digital storytelling the copyright legislation needs to be made aware of, as most authors do not approve of their work being using without their permission (Australian Copyright Council, 2009). This is where the student’s creativity can be used to write and create a new story. Unfortunately I was unable to implement digital storytelling due to lack of class time.

When these digital stories are being completed, it is important that the safety of the child is the first priority (Australian Government, 2009). By students creating their own story using digital storytelling they will be displaying Kearsley & Shneiderman’s (1999) second principle of create. Students will be engaged and involved in creating a digital story with a sense of control, as they can create the story how they wish.

When students are creating their digital story they can develop their literacy skills. These include;
Writing skills: creating a story, proofreading, using imagination and using a variety of different words
Technical Skills: taking pictures using a digital or video camera, uploading these photos using the appropriate device and search Flickr for appropriate pictures
Speaking skills: use projection when talking, speak clear and read out story they have written

- Natalie

Reference List
Australian Copyright Council. (2009). Australian Copyright Council's Online Information Centre. Retrieved August 20, 2009, from

Australian Government. (2009). Protecting Australian Families Online. Retrieved August 20, 2009, from

Crystalinks. (n.d.). Australian Dreamtime. Retrieved August 20, 2009, from

Primary Access. (2006). Digital Storyteller. Retrieved August 20, 2009, from

Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from

WIKIs in the classroom

This unit of work is created for a year 2 class. This is a SOSE Patchwork of Memories unit and requires the students to understand what memories are, how things have changed from the past and predict what will happen in the future.

I would set up a WIKI site for the students in my class to access and use throughout the unit. Students will be using the WIKI to post their reflections about each activity and comment how they are working in their groups.

Year Level: Grade 2
Unit: Patchwork of Memories
KLA's: SOSE- Time, Continuity and Change: Changes and continuities are identifies through events, peoples contributions and the stories of local communities.

Activity 1: What is a memory?
Students will be researching using a variety of different sources to answer the question, what is a memory?

Activity 2: What are your past experiences?
In small groups students will be sharing their past experiences and relating them to feelings and our memories. Each student in the group will think of one experience to post on the WIKI by finishing the sentence; I remember when.... It made me feel....

Activity 3: What is this feeling?
This whole class activity involves the students acting out scenarios relating to feelings. The other students are to guess what experience/memory is being displayed and the emotion which accompanies it. Students will use the WIKI to answer questions about how they felt during the activity and post any new memories they can think of to display a different emotion.

Activity 4: Photo journal
This is an individual activity where students have to use their personal photos and photos from Flickr to display at least 7 different emotions. Students will be doing this on a poster and will upload a picture along with a caption to the class WIKI site. Students are to comment on each others photos and memories.

Activity 5: How things have changes over time
Students will be reflecting on how they think things have changed over time. These reflections will be posted to the classes WIKI.

Activity 6: Patchwork of Memories
With the help from their grandparent or parent, students will be creating a patchwork of memories quilt which will display these memories using certain objects. A photo of this quilt will be uploaded to the WIKI site and students will need to reflect on this experience and share any positive and negative thoughts about it.

As students are completing this task they will be displaying Oliver’s 1999 Learning Design Framework Learning Theory (AUSInfo, 2003). This is because they will be using learning resources, learning support and completing learning tasks in groups, whole class and individually, across a variety of different activities.

Please comment me of how you feel about the unit and any other comments you may have.

- Natalie

Reference List
AUSInfo. (2003). The learning design construct. Retrieved August 20, 2009, from

Animations and Simulations

I have just been dissecting a frog without getting my hands dirty or even touching a frog. I have been doing this by using animations and simulations. By using this web based tool students will be demonstrating Kearsley & Shneiderman’s (1999) second principle, create. When students are using the tool they will be learning through creativity to use their knowledge learnt as it applies to the context.

Animations and simulations are resources which can be used by schools if they have lack of resources, internet access or expenses. An animation and simulation can be created with any unit across the curriculum and allows the students to learn through technology, creativity and exploration. I think the traditional learning techniques of text books and chalk and talk are slowly disappearing, as technology is being used more in the classrooms.

A simulation activity I was looking at was Frogus,
I think it is amazing. I have ever seen anything like this before and would have preferred to do this in year 8 science class, then the real thing! This simulation is like a science lesson on the computer. This example would be a great way for the students to learn about the body parts of animals, dissection and toads/frogs. I think that this activity could be modified and my year 2 students could participate in it. The picture moves around when it is clicked and it is an interactive activity the students will be able to learn from. If students in the class have religious beliefs they can participate in a different simulation activity and will not feel left out as everyone will be using a computer, they will just be completing different activities.

- Natalie

Reference List
Froguts. (2009). Demos. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from

Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from

Students learning with and creating videos in the classroom

The only experience I have with making videos is through using my digital camera. I work at an afterschool care centre and the children love to make movies using the digital camera and then uploading them to watch them on the computer. I would love to show you some of the creative ideas they have displayed in the videos but due to privacy I am unable to do so. By observing these students it gave me an idea where I could incorporate videos and Movie Maker into the classroom.

By allowing the students to create a video they will be using Kearsley & Shneiderman’s (1999) second principle ‘create’. This will be an activity the student will be engaged in and can find creative ways to film what is required from them. This makes the learning creative and interactive for the students and can help them to understand the information.

Another way to engage students in the lesson is to use tools such as YouTube or TeacherTube. They are great video resources which can be used in the classroom. Kearsley & Shneiderman’s (1999) state in their engagement theory that
‘Technology can facilitate engagement in ways which are difficult to achieve otherwise’.

I believe this theory, as the students we are teaching are the 21st century learners and digital natives (Pensky,2001), we need to relate the learning into a way they will understand and be engaged.

By hooking the students in with a video they can learn the information through a technology they are familiar with and will engage with. If a video is viewed in the classroom it needs to be referred back to in later lessons and activities for students to make the link to where the video connects with the unit or topic.

If the school is unable to access
YouTube or TeacherTube they can always make their own video or movie using video or digital cameras.

- Natalie

Reference List

Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from

Pensky. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Flickr in the classroom

This is another technology I am not able to implement in the classroom due to lack of class time. Here are my ideas about Flickr in the classroom and how I would use it.

The year 2 students in my class have been completing their photo journals to finish of their Patchwork of Memories unit. Flickr would have been an affective tool to use with these photo journals. Students learnt about different emotions and how they can be related to their memories. The photos were displayed on a poster and a sentence was written to accompany each photo. An example sentence is; this is a happy memory of me spending time with my family in Thailand.

According to the Learning Pyramid produced by ACU (2000) when students practice what they are learning, by doing it, they will have a retention rate of 75%. This is another reason why Flickr should be used in the classroom.

When using Flickr in the classroom for the unit students will:
Step 1: Create a Flickr Account
Step 2: Upload their personal photos for each emotion they have faced. This will save parents printing out photos and cater to the Digital learners in the class
Step 3: Search for photos on the Flickr website which display emotions they do not have photos of
Step 4: Create a PowerPoint presentation where these photos are displayed
Step 5: Write a short explanation about what is happening in the photo, the emotion expresses and what the memory is

The photo on the right is showing a photo journal I created to show the students what is expected from them.

If this were to be implemented in the classroom I would assist the students throughout the process of setting up an account, uploading images and searching for images. As students are at different literacy levels in the class, some will be unable to read the information if this was done alone. I would also observe students to make sure no inappropriate images pop up and they are following the correct process.

By having students learning through technology is will aid them in future learning and engage the students in the learning process. By engaging the students and having hands on activities according to Dale’s Cone (ACU, 2000) it will be more effective than traditional teaching practices like verbal symbols.

This can also be an activity the students reflect on in their blogs!

- Natalie

Reference List

ACU. (2000). Why choose active learning? Retrieved August 13, 2009, from

Using blogs in the classroom

This is a great reflective tool which the students can take part in. I would love to design a unit of work and get the students to post reflective comments about the activities they have completed. However currently in my class there is not enough time to add this into the current unit of work, as any free time is taken by rehearsing for showcase performances.

The next unit the students will be learning about would fit in perfectly with blogging. The unit starts at the beginning of term 4 when I am completing my 2 week block. This will give enough time for blogging to be taught to the students and how to write a reflective post. This blog involves the students writing about their experiences with each activity, positive and negative comments and if they struggled with any areas.

An example activity designed from the unit of work involves students’ blogging about what they found when exploring their home environment. They are to create a table and categorise the objects into; plastic, wood, glass, metal, cloth and paper. Students will then write why they think that object is made out of that material.

Blogs not only have to be used for units of work. A blog can be incorporated into the LMS (if one is used by the class) to inform students of their homework, any extra tasks and recap of what has been taught during the day.

- Natalie