Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reflective Synopsis

Throughout this unit of work, I have had many near-break downs, many happy moments, and a whole lot of learning. I think I will be able to walk away from this course at the end of the term happy that I have achieved my goals - to have added something to the list of things I can do.

I believe that all of the tasks we were given for this assessment can be utilised effectively in the classroom. From simple tasks such as image manipulation to the more complicated like pod casting and google earth, teachers can engage their learners on a whole other level with this sort of technology. Sure some of the tasks we were given were quite tedious, such as PowerPoint's and web quests, but the majority of the tasks were easy to understand. And best of all, they were all free, which doesn't put the teacher (or student) out of pocket.

The world around us is constantly changing, and if we wish to continue to grow and learn, we need to evolve with it. Every day new things are created that will make our lives 'easier'(but are also sometimes just a complete headache), and we are the generation that will be creating more and more of these objects, to help the everyday person. These types of tasks will be the next phase of our lives, and we need to begin to utilise these resources, and grow.

As with everything, there is always drawbacks. The major drawback with this kind of technology, is that availability that it is to our students. When they are at school, the majority of schools have adequate computer facilities, but what about when they are at home? Many homes do not have computers, and if they do, some do not have an Internet connection. Not all families can afford these types of luxuries, and yes, they are a luxury. Also, not every person has an iPod. They are extremely common, but not many 10 year old children have one (well I certainly know I did not have one, but then again, they weren't really out then, and that was only 9 years ago!). We need to take into consideration the different learners we have in our classroom, and also our resources. If you are teaching at a school that has minimal computers, and a very limited Internet connection, you are not going to be able to complete a lot of the tasks that we have been lucky enough to complete for the past 6 weeks. We need to cater to not only our learners' needs, but also the materials and resources we have within our own reach.

Although there is this drawback, the biggest benefit that I can gather from this material, is the impact on our carbon footprint these kind of activities have. Using solely the Internet, we almost completely eliminate any use of paper. This is something that will probably come in handy to us in years to come.

And always remember:

Stop having fun, this is meant to be educational.
Until next time,

Podcasting & Google Earth

Even though it took me a bit of time to finally get around to completing these two activities, I have now done them, and how many possibilities there could be to use them in the classroom!

They are both an excellent little tool to have handy to you. Firstly, Google Earth. This tool could be great if you were teaching your students about geography or sea beds, or something along those lines. Using google earth would actually get the learner to become interactive with the information they are learning about. This would benefit the hands-on learner as well.

With podcasting you would be able to utilise this program as well with regards to teaching lessons. I have not gone too in-depth with the podcasting, as it still confuses me quite a bit, but if there is a way to add your own video onto the website (which I'm sure there is), you could quite easily create your own little carry around lesson for your students. If any student was ever away, or did not fully understand what was taught throughout the lesson, and require some further help, simply by posting your podcast onto the website, you have a video that they can access 24/7.

Obviously, the limitations with these programs are still there. For example, if your school only has a very limited access to the Internet, google earth is something that may not be available to you. Also, the students within your classroom may not have access to tools such as the Internet and an i-pod when they are at home, therefore completely eliminating the option of a podcast.

With all great inventions, there are obviously limitations. If you can look past these limitations and maybe work out an alternative for your learners, these two programs can be utilised effectively within the classroom, if you wish.

Voice Thread

Wasn't this a brilliant idea someone had! I honestly had no idea that we had that kind of technology available to us to use every day, FOR FREE!!!!! Here is the link for the quick little voice thread I made. This could be used so well in the classroom. For example, if you were to take a class for SOSE and you were doing a unit on poverty, or something along those lines, you could easily throw together a few photo's of children/adults living in poverty and let all of the students see the photo's together, using the Internet.

Also, another way you could utilise this technology, would be if you were doing distance education. Once a week, or something along those lines, you could arrange for the student to have a class with you over the Internet.

The possibilities are endless with this kind of technology. It's all at your finger tips and it's all ready for you to use, you just have to get around to using it.


Downloading music is an extremely common occurrence in this day and age. My youngest sister is 12 and she knows how to download music (she even showed me how to do it, and I'm only 19!). Because almost every man and his dog knows how to utilise this tool, people (especially the younger generation, who will be growing up with this surrounding them) need to understand that music does have copyright issues, and that we need to abide by these, and to not break the law'.

Having a website such as Incompetech is a great idea, as it gives people an understanding of what music they can download without breaking any rules.

I downloaded a song and it was extremely easy to complete, I had absolutely no problems at all. Knowing that this kind of website is so easily accessible to the majority of people is a great thing. When teaching children about breaking the rules, or even about being safe when using the Internet, using this kind of website would be a great idea to introduce them to copyright laws, etc.

File Storage

Here is the URL for the link that I posted. I have only just purchased a new computer, and I have not yet got around to putting all of my old files onto this one, so I don't actually have anything very interesting to share. The only other file I have on here (besides Uni stuff) was a recipe for a lemon cheesecake, so I thought I would share it :)
I think file storage would be an excellent idea for teachers to use in the classroom, and even amongst teachers. You could utilise it amongst teachers if you had some information that another teacher wanted, or there was a letter you wanted sent out to everyone, and instead of creating a large carbon footprint, you could just put it on the Internet and give everyone the website to get it from. This would be a great little tool to have access to.
Using it within the classroom would also be beneficial. If, for example, a student was absent for the week from class, instead of giving them a big pile of paper to catch up on, you could save it all to one document, and give them the URL to find it from. This would, yet again, impact on your carbon footprint, and simply make it a lot easier for the student to gain access to the information they require.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


"Wikipedia is a free Web-based encyclopedia, that is collaboratively edited by countless individuals around the globe. As an encyclopedia, it consists of individual entries on a single subject (Wiki pages) that are densely hyperlinked to related content (using Wikilinks). Wikipedia’s links are a special case of the general hyperlinks that connect the World Wide Web." (Berlin, et al. 2008)
Within the search field for Wikipedia, I typed Education. I thought this would be the most broad field to undertake a search.
I came up with the following results:
  • Systems of formal education
  • Primary education
  • Secondary education
  • Higher education
  • Adult education
  • Alternative education
  • Indigenous education
  • Curriculum
  • Learning modalities
  • Teaching
  • Technology
  • Educational theories
  • Economics

And the list goes on.

With regards to wikipedia, I think it is an excellent tool for learners to get an understanding of a subject, but not an effective tool to use for assignments, etc. Wikipedia has an area where you can edit what is written, which I believe, although effective if you want to put your two cents into the topic, also highly wrong for use on such an information-based website.

If the website allows anyone to put information on the site, who knows what information that is given is fact or fiction.

I would encourage students to search Wikipedia for a sample of what they are competing their assessment on (if they have limited prior knowledge, etc.), but I would not encourage them to base their whole assignment's research solely on Wikipedia, they need to back up their evidence and prove that what they have found in Wikipedia, is what they have also found from other sources.

Web Quest

"A well-designed Web Quest combines research-supported theories with effective use of the Internet to promote dependable instructional practices." (March, T. 2003)

Web Quests, if used correctly, are an engaging and challenging experience for learners. They open the learners thinking and engage them through interesting and relevant material. I have completed a web quest for another subject in my first year of my degree, and I found it quite enjoyable, but time consuming at the same time.

I believe that if a teacher had the time to complete a web quest, it could be used so well in the classroom. You would be able to have the students working at their own pace, on a task that you have created yourself. The only real constraint of a web quest is the amount of time it takes to create one.

As I have made one already, I understand the time it takes to complete, even just a simple web quest. And even when you think you have completed it, the amount of links that are needed, etc. can be quite daunting for teachers who are not extremely technological savvy.

If the teacher did have enough free time to complete something like a web quest, and they did have the right classroom environment/computer lab to complete a full class activity, a web quest could be utilised effectively.

There are just so many constraints with a web quest.