Friday, August 21, 2009

Reflective Synopsis

Exploring and analysing the wide range of Web 2.0 technologies has been exhilarating, challenging, frustrating and eye-opening. The first challenge to overcome was my prior dismissal of these technologies as not being relevant to me. I had to stop thinking subjectively about these tools and analyse them objectively - to see how an "immigrant" can make learning and meaning making engaging to the multiple learning styles of the "native" (Prensky, 2004).

In my Portal Task classrooms, I have not encountered many of these technologies, let alone seen them implemented. My challenge will be in finding ways to introduce opportunities for my learners to experience the wonders of their local and global communities.

This course has taken me and my e-learning peers into the ether, where we have established connections, networks and a community of practice (Wenger, nd) as we demonstrate how and what we have learned, encourage each other in making meaning, as well as finding assistance and resources as we continue our e-learning journeys. I know that I have found the blogs of my fellow e-learners invaluable in providing me with my own "light-bulb" moments (Amanda and Stuart for their etymological insights (aggregator and avatar) and upper primary revelations about ClassMarker, Andrew for an invaluable suggestion of how to use podcasts for professional development, and Kira for a sensational way on using Flickr in a lesson on weather). While "lurking" has an odious connotation, I know that my journey has been enhanced by reading the trials, tribulations, joys and wonders of my fellow learners. In turn, I have received food for thought from peers and other visitors.

Using different frameworks as a basis for examining and analysing the different tools helped my own higher order thinking. What was important for me, was to find ways that they could be used to engage students in meaningful learning experiences where knowledge becomes understanding, not just the "CTRL-C, CTRL-V" means of gathering information. (March, 2002-2006).

The main frameworks that I applied in my examination of these technologies were Kearsley and Shneiderman's Engagement Theory (1999) and Oliver's Learning Design Sequence (1999). Throughout my journey, I also used other lenses to look through. These being:
  • A constructivist lens. How do students create their own understandings - by themselves, through scaffolded experiences, working with their peers, informal or formal learning experiences. (McInerney & McInerney, 2006)
  • A Multiple Intelligence lens. Having profiled my students at the beginning of the year, I was well aware of their MI strengths and weaknesses. I undertook my own test and discovered that I needed to work on my weaknesses to fulfil their strengths.
Another challenge that I faced was being in an Early Childhood environment. Some technologies I embraced more whole-heartedly as I could see practical applications in my current classroom. Prep students have a wide range of visual literacies and comprehension of symbols, yet their reading and writing skills presented me with challenges on how to implement some of the technologies - in particular ClassMarker. In saying that, I remain open to its potential.

It was with the visual, auditory and interactive technologies - these being Powerpoint, YouTube and music - that I connected with. I discovered ways that I could engage the Prep students in creating blogs for a purpose and I became intrigued with the possibilities of global classrooms. Security implications were also at the forefront in my examination of these technologies. In examining global classrooms, I saw practical examples of avatars being used to protect the children's images.

VoiceThread is a technology that I would use regularly in an Early Childhood environment. I already use Photostory, but there are far more student centred collaborative applications with VoiceThread. As well as being used for telling stories, excursion recounts, it would be a great tool to use for stories on positional language where students could create concrete examples of abstract concepts.

Another technology that I can see practical applications for in my future classroom is that of e-portfolios. E-folios are becoming an important way of documenting learning journeys. In our increasingly transitory world, they become a powerful portable tool for students to demonstrate their learning as they travel from school to school, state to state, country to country.

So, now what? What are the future implications for me as an ICT user and Learning Manager. By participating in this course I am working towards gaining my ICT certificate, an advantage when I become employed as it will demonstrate that I am "up to the challenge of contemporary learning and teaching from day one". (Education Queensland, 2009). Through my engagement with the course, I have now signed up for RSS feeds from educational sites, I will actively search for professional blogs, and I have discovered the potential of podcasts for my professional development. I am now part of an ICT learners community of practice. I will remain open and objective to new technologies and embrace them, and I now have frameworks with which to examine the technologies and my designed learning experiences.

Bring on the future . . .

Education Queensland (2009) Smart Classrooms. Tertiary Education Students. Downloaded August, 2009 from

Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999) Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Downloaded 5 July 2009 from

March, T (2002-2006) The 7 Red Flags. Downloaded from

McInerney, D & McInerney V (2006) Educational Psychology. Constructing Learning. (Edition 4) Australia: Pearson Education Australia.

Oliver, R. Exploring strategies for online teaching and learning. Distance Education. (1999) Vol 20 (2) p 240- 254.

Prensky, M (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Downloaded July 2009 from,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

The Learning Design Construct. Downloaded July 2009 from

Wenger, E (nd) Communities of practice. A brief introduction Downloaded August 2009 from

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