Friday, August 21, 2009

Synopsis – My eyes have been Opened!!

Well I can definitely say I have learnt a lot by completing this course. I thought I was using a lot of ICT’s in the classroom with PowerPoint, YouTube and music. How my eyes have been opened! I could not say I am a pro at using any of these technologies but I will adopt a lifelong learning approach to continually develop and expand my skills and knowledge. I understand our students today are all “native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet (Prensky, 2001), and as their learning managers we need to use technology tools that will engage and enhance student learning. The theorists I have been viewing these tools with conclude that that technology can facilitate engagement in ways which are difficult to achieve otherwise (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). Our students do require greater engagement as they just don’t tolerate the old ways—and they are enraged we are not doing better by them (Prensky, 2005).

While experimenting with the technology tools, I have been noting the approach I would like to take with each. I have concluded (and not limited to) that I would find the following tools valuable to enhance student learning and make my teaching more efficient.

Blogs & RSS – I am really excited to use blogging in my classroom. I would like to use it as a journal of students learning in various topics. I also would have a class blog where students can take turns writing a newsletter updating it for their parents. I think by having an RSS Aggregator would reduce the chasing up of assignment submissions and make my teaching more efficient.

Wikis – Learning managers could use this collaboratively with their students to compile information about topic. Students can contribute questions or research findings, photos and links to work together to build a great class site.

PowerPoint & SlideShare – Learning Managers can allow students to create presentations and share them via SlideShare. Students can leave thoughtful feedback and comments about each other’s work directly under the slideshow.

YouTube – This could be used to “hook” students into a topic. YouTube has such a large range of clips, that the learning manager could find one for nearly every topic. It could be to simply create excitement for a topic or a discussion starter. This is a technology tool I will use for a long time.

Voki – The learning manager could use avatars for many types of literacy or counting activities. Students could record themselves as the avatar counting, reading, explaining or journaling. I am excited about using this tool in my classroom, especially for literacy rotations.

File Storage – This would be a great way for the learning manager to have files ready for students and to access whenever they need to and from anywhere. It could eliminate the need to hand in lots of paper for assignments, students could simply upload their file for the learning manager to retrieve and grade. It would definitely make a teachers work more efficient.

I am becoming increasingly aware of the legal and ethical issues which come alongside the technology tools I am exploring. I especially want to be careful when it comes to teaching students how to manage their information and to protect against misuse. The CyberSmart site provides some practical ways to help protect your students. I believe educating them and the staff are a great start to tackling this issue. Also, it can be fun for students to create new identities to use online. Another issue is the vast amount of inappropriate material that the students could be exposed to. This could be material that is sexually explicit or offensive, violent or encourages activities that are dangerous or illegal (Australian Government, 2009). Education Queensland understands that inappropriate content may be potentially harmful or disturbing for their students and have policies and procedures in place to stop any indiscretions.

While there is so much information and technology which is readily available, it has also raised a number of issues related to copyright that must be considered in schools. This Education Queensland policy provides direction on accessing and using ICT’s by defining and promoting best practice for information systems and technology infrastructure (Department of Education and Training, 2009). Text, music, video clips, DVD’s, photos, articles and so much more are covered under the protection of copyright. By using material with a Creative Commons License it gives the public (teachers) permission to copy, distribute, and display material as long as the copyright holder is credited or the work is not altered or used for profit (Creative Commons, 2009).

I feel I have so much knowledge with so little experience. I can’t wait to trial these tools in my classroom. I am keen to explore the technologies more and enhance my knowledge so I can keep up with the digital natives. I really liked the article by Prensky (2005) and hit home that our students need to be taught in a way that will engage them, not by just reinventing the “old stuff”, but by using tools relevant to this generation. So, are you going to engage me today or enrage me? The choice is yours (Prensky, 2005).

Thanks for your time,


Australian Government. (2009). CyberSmart: Retrieved August 21st, 2009, from

Australian Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA). (2008). Smartcopying: The Official Guide to Copyright Issues for Australian Schools and TAFE. Retrieved August 21st, 2009, from,

Creative Commons. (2009). About. Retrieved August 21st, 2009, from

Department of Education and Training: (2009). Guidelines: Retrieved August 21st, 2009, from

Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory:. Retrieved August 18th, 2009, from

Prensky, M. (2005, September/October). Engage Me or Enrage Me. Retrieved August 21st, 2009, from

Prensky, M (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved August 21st, 2009, from,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

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