Thursday, July 30, 2009

Restless Natives

I'm in a bit of an ICT dilemma. As I read Blackmore, Hardcastle, Bamblett & Owens, I find that I am very much in a disadvantaged classroom - one that would be hard pressed to be classified as even a Level 1 class. (Blackmore et al, 2003, p iv)

There are many barriers that are currently in place:
  • the classroom was only connected to the school system in May
  • the age of the two computers in the classroom and their speed
  • current teacher knowledge and experience of computers in the classroom
  • lack of wireless connectivity
The natives were getting restless earlier in the year - they could see the clunkers and knew that they were not working. "When will the 'puters be working?" was the main question from the Head Native. The Head Native is enraged - his prized possession is the DS, his punishment at home is to have computer access denied to him, he is hard to engage with any manual or creative task. All he wants is his 'puter. Now, sadly, the Head Native no longer asks.

For the Head Native and his tribe to become the motivated students that all teachers dream about (Prensky, 2005), my current Prep classroom will need to have ICT's integrated into their learning experiences. I am currently learning about and using ICT's and my own knowledge is being enhanced (Blackmore et al, 2003, p v) - how I can now translate that into the Prep classroom will be my challenge.

I will need to develop a sense of confidence (in self, ICT knowledge and in equipment) . I know that I can learn from my students (most of what I know about Powerpoint, I learned from Year 2 students). I know that I will need to engage the Head Native in peer tutoring - his knowledge and skills can be incorporated into the classroom, to enlist and engage other tribe members. By tapping into the cultural capital of the natives, together we can learn about and use ICT's to enhance our learning experiences.

Native knowledge + immigrant knowledge = collaborative ICT learning.

Blackmore, J., Hardcastle, L., Bamblett, E., Owens, J (2003) Effective Use of information and communication technology (ICT) to enhance learning for disadvantaged school students.
Downloaded 9 July 2009 from

Prensky, M (2005) "Engage me or enrage me" What today's learners demand. Downloaded July 2009 from

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A "light bulb" moment!

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In reading Kearsley and Shneiderman's Engagement Theory of Relate-Create-Donate, I had a "light-bulb" moment:

Our e-learning journey is Engagement Theory in an authentic context !

We have been asked to relate - we are creating our own blogs, informing other e-learners of who we are, where we have come from, our backgrounds and other information that we are willing to share to create an online community. We are collaborating and working with people from different backgrounds, life experiences and cultures and we are looking at this subject from many different perspectives.

We have created our own blogs, and have yet to create our Mahara "view". Our creations are with a purpose - they are our assessment tasks!

Our donate component is "making a useful contribution while learning" (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). We will be following and commenting on other blogs and creating an e-portfolio.

I hope that this is not too simplistic a view.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I used a Multiple Intelligence checklist at the beginning of the year to profile my Prep students. The profile showed the predominant "smarts" of the students through a questionnaire. I was wanting to find out the strengths of the students (strong Nature, Maths and Music) and the "smarts" that needed to be encouraged (Word "smart").

My class also has three students with special needs. While the communication skills of the students are not strong, I was able to include them in the profile by asking their parents to complete the questionnaire.

I did find that the questionnaire needed updating - one of the questions asks if the student prefers to go camping or watch a video. The most common response to this was "what's a video?" How old did I feel?! (As Prensky has stated the accent of the digital immigrant can definitely be heard in this checklist)

The student profile has given me the means to find ways to engage the students, while working on ways to increase their other smarts.

However, I have now profiled myself using the link in moodle and I'm going to be brave and post my results for all to see.
I can see straight away that my "smarts" are different to my students. The challenge for me is to develop ways to include my lesser smarts as as entry points for my students, while using my strengths to encourage the use of other smarts in the classroom.

Through this course, and Learning Management 4, I am feeling encouraged that I will be able to develop and enhance instructional strategies to engage students and incorporate the new technologies into their learning experiences. Can't wait to learn more . . .

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Time for my e-learning journey to begin . . .

I can't believe that I've just used the "journey" word - it is now a word that is now associated with ejected, rejected and dejected reality show contestants.

I remember the days when I was a new technology native (and they were many years ago back when my parents bought their first digital clock radio). It felt so natural to be able to program the time and set the alarm for my parents. I had never seen a digital clock radio before and my parents were standing back, afraid to touch it and scared that they may do something wrong and break their new possession. Along comes Miss Jane and dives in head first - pressing buttons here, there and all over the shop. Within minutes the clock radio was up and running and the alarm time set and tested - much to the amazement of my parents and with muttered "how the hell did she do that!?"

Now, in the midst of 2009 and surrounded by the tech-savvy students in both my classroom and uni, I feel less of a native. How do I get all the sensational effects in Powerpoint? How can I include a you tube clip (and make it work)? In this area, I am a complete digital immigrant and feel as my parents must have many years ago.

While I am a facebook, skype and twitter member and user, I do not consider myself to be a native or an immigrant to the Digital Age. Ford (CQU, 2008) coined a phrase "digital resident" - it is one that I feel apt and applicable to myself at this stage of my journey.

Hopefully, my temporary residency will be made more permanent!