Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Reflective Synopsis....


E-Learning is electronicly-based training, that can be CD-ROM based, network based, Intranet or Internet based, which could include text, video, audio, animation, powerpoint and slideshare with new software and programs becoming available every minute. It is a hands on self-paced learning tool that can be implemented into the classroom for effective engaged teaching. These effective Learning tools can be utilised throughout the Curriculum in all KLA's (2007)along with the in school Frameworks which go along with many theorists.

The purpose of this Blog is to map out the advantages of implementing them within all Curriculum areas in the classroom whilst still meeting criteria that is set out with the Queensland Studies Authority and Queensland Education.

Many theorists like Kearsley and Shneiderman (1998), Oliver (1999) and Prensky (2005) all agree that in using the Engagement Theory which is a conceptual framework for technology based learning and teaching through interactive meaningful and relevant activities that are linked to the real word will facilitate engagement. Whether they are Digital Natives or Digital immigrants (Prensky 2001).

The many and varied topics of technologies that have been researched and some tested within the classroom, throughout this Blog will inform you on how they can be implemented in the classroom regardless of subject, age, year level, cultural background, learning ability and even limited accessability to some technologies. However, most but not all of these technologies do require access to the internet.

In using a Blog to reflect and demonstrate my learning and research of these technologies has enhanced my understanding and knowledge whilst using my critical thinking skills and creative skills. I have been encouraged to think about my thinking whilst practicing higher order thinking in my ideas and lesson activities to ensure my students will be engaged throughout a lesson that is presented when using these applications, like; Will my students be able to distinguish between ......, Will they be confident in trying self-directed learning after ....... and so on.

Throughout the varied technologies I have indicated that by utilising some or most of these technologies you can create a virtual classroom, that will faciliate engagement throughout the lessons and enable the students to fulfill the curriculum requirements whilst developing their Literacy and thinking skills, becoming analytical, critical and creative thinkers (Marzano, 1997) and building their confidence and self-esteem. All of this builds to a confident happy student who will envelope learning and knowledge building.

I have also indicated in some of the applications how the Essential Learnings(QSA,2007), Learning Designs and Problem based Learning Methodologies (CQU, 2002) are incorporated into each lesson. I have also commented and noted on other students Blogs regarding some of their ideas and suggestions.

I found Kerri Norman's suggestions on Blogs in the Classroom very interesting, she suggests; the use of avatars, along with uploaded videos, handouts and quizzes that could be all to one task along with homework tasks to be completed. Kellie Stephens also had some great ideas and suggestions on using Powerpoint Buttons and quizzes. She suggested to import a quiz into a powerpoint and and have the quiz at the end of a powerpoint that holds all required information. I will have to try that one.

I had no idea the amount of programs and free ones that are out there in cyber world. Discovering the many engaging and interactive uses these applications can play in the classroom for a more effective teaching approach is mind boggling. I originally thought that it would be limited to what you could do in the classroom with some of these applications but my eyes have been opened and my mind is beginning to tick. I have no doubt that using a lot more technology within the curriculum will definately engage and encourage higher learning and enthusiasm towards learning in the classroom. Particulary the remote Indigenous communities, this approach to learning and teaching will bring a renewed energy to the classroom and attendance as long as they are related to real world activities and also to themselves. These kids do not have a big opportunity to engage and experiment with these types of tools, so implementing them into the classrooms will invigorate their attitiude in the right direction.

I am looking forward to using and testing a lot of these ideas and technologies in the classroom, I have enjoyed my time researching and learning about these not so new technologies although sometimes may have been frustrating and I have ended up yelling at the computer, I have a new attitude towards technology and it's uses. Wouldn't it be great to have a wiki that is dedicated to different uses and lesson plan ideas for these technologies that could be shared, hmmm just might set my Wiki up for that.

Thanks Wendy.


Central Queensland University. (2002). Problem-based Learning. Retrieved on August 17, from

Kearsley, G & Shneiderman, B. (1998). Engagement Theory. Retrieved August 20, from,

Marzano,R., Pickering, D., Arredondo,D., Blackburn, G., Brandt, R., Moffett, C., Paynter, D., Pollock, J. & Whisler, J. (1997). Dimensions of Learning, teacher's Manual. Colorada. McREL.

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

Prensky, M. (2005). Engage Me or Enrage Me - What today's learners demand. Retrieved August 20, from,

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved August 20, from,,%20Digital%20Immigrants%

Queensland Studies Authoriy (QSA), Queensdland Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Framework (2007), Essential Learnings. Retrieved August 20, from

Image: created by Wendy Gaines on

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Digital Storytelling

What is Digital Storytelling?

From what I have learnt from the site indicated for us to view I have found that Digital storytelling is oral storytelling combined with the use of modern multimedia tools to help deliver tales using images, sound, music, and voice. It brings out the creators views and perspectives of a certain story that is being relayed to an audience.
These stories begin in the old traditional way of being written on paper or orally spoken then are transformed into a digital format through the use of computers and digital cameras.

During this process the Essential Learnings are used througout the learning process, the students;

Construct a story
Sequence and Summarize
Edit and Proofread
Use descriptive words
Use words to create imagery

Show clear expression and enunciation
Learn projecting and phrasing
Communicate ideas
Engage the audience
Match images with voice
Match music with script


Technical Skills
Personal Development Skills
Implement DS software
Use a digital camera/video camera
Scan pictures and objects
Record voice and music
Import Internet Images

Enhance self-confidence
Build community
Establish observational skills
Develop social skills

Dyck, Brenda. "Digital Storytelling: Igniting New Life into Writing." Classroom Connect Newsletter (2005): 16-17.

What a great concept, What a great way to encourage writing and creativeness in the classroom. Using these skills would cover most of Gardener's Multiple Intelligences and learning styles (2003) for learning, bringing certain confidence to any student in the classroom.

This Learning Tool could be used in many ways, documenting a field trip is a great collobrative learning lesson, telling their own story if they are from a different country, an ancestry / family Tree documentation, one example that I remembered was from one of my earlier Blogs was the story told by the students from Aurukun school - "Voices from the Cape part 1 & 2" (click on the story below)

Prensky (2001) states that digital immigrants find it difficult to engage with technology, but this was not the case with Aurukun as you will see once you view the storyclip. Prensky (2005) also states that students are challenging us to engage them not to enrage them, and this is what Aurukun school and community recognised and came up with a framework design that Kearsley and Shneiderman (1998) refer to; a framework for technology-based teaching and learning set about engaging them by trying something different but something that was real, relevant, self-directed, full of self-discovery that was about them and involved cognitive processes such as creating, problem-solving, reasoning,decision making and evaluation . The staff and trainers engaged in using another Learning Design Framework (Oliver 1999) which consisted of Learning support, Learning Tasks and Learning Resources; the trainers to train, what was expected of them to make - a story about themselves and the equipment to be utilised.

I have always wondered how to make these storytelling videos, first you must have a video, mine I think is a little old. It would be great to see the many personalities of all the students come through and possibly those who are normally quiet may show a new view of themselves. A great colloborative learning tool with lots of fun.



Gardener, H. (1983). Howard Gardener's multiple intelligences. Retrieved August 20, from,

Kearsley, G & Shneiderman, B. (1998). Engagement Theory. Retrieved August 20, from,

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

Prensky, M. (2005). Engage Me or Enrage Me - What today's learners demand. Retrieved August 20, from,

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved August 20, from,,%20Digital%20Immigrants%

Queensland Studies Authoriy (QSA), Queensdland Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Framework (2007), Essential Learnings. Retrieved August 20, from


Blogs; hmmm with my limited experience but enthusiam about Blogs, I trust students would jump at the chance to have their own personal Blog. Having limited access to computers and time of course in schools, it may be a little difficult and knowing that not all students have access to a computer and the internet at home is another stumbling step.
First students would need to be aware of ethical and legal issues surrounding the internet and the copyright aspect when using images, music, videos etc from the internet or from home, an introduction to sites the Creative Commons agreement site and then list some of the sites that are loyalty free and freee from copyright.

The way I believe would be a great way for students to begin once they have set up a Blog page and it is only visible to the Teacher and other school staff and students, I would begin with them giving an introduction of themselves, possibly a backgound look at them as a person, uploading a photo of themselves and family if they wish and then writing a reflective goals outlook of where they want to go, how they would get there and what they would need to do to reach that goal.

Once they are familiar with their way around their blog and can comment on others, using it again a as a reflective tool on what they have learnt today in class, why, what was interesting and what was not, and how it could be better next time, and possibly some new questions they would like answered. What a great way for a teacher to get a perspective on where each particular student is at and where they need to go to keep them engaged.

A Blog could also be used as an information dump for assessments and other authentic tasks. Placing their views and researched information about a particular subject (like; ANZAC day), add some photos of real ANZACs or possibly someone from their family. Then students could comment and check out each others to see what they have found and this could be then used as a collaborative learning tool. These particular posts could also be publicised for access to other schools and educators also. Possibly two or more schools around the state, country or world could possibly link up to use their Blogs as a learning tool of what is happening in their area and school and their views on particular topics etc it is endless of what could be done.

I think there are many ways to use a Blog as I am discovering myself. One day we hope to have all students within access of a computer and the internet in the classroom more and more.

The use of Buttons on your PowerPoint

image from
(click on the link to view my button powerpoint quiz)

This activity began with many frustrations and hair pulling, as I could not find my action buttons located in the PowerPoint program, with much searching and thowing hands in the air, I decided to try "help", yeah finally found where these buttons are hidden away, they are actually just shapes, but they can be used as a button. Setting up the PowerPoint was considerably easy as I have done many of these before, using buttons is a new experience and once I got the hang of it, I was off and running. I only created a simple slideshow using buttons going one way, but I did manage to have them make a sound when clicked on, that is so cool!.

What a great way to make your slideshows look more proffessional and fun for the kids. In the classroom, I think the students would love to create their own and they would come up with quite a few varieties. Making things fun and engaging (Prensky 2005) will keep our students no matter how much of a digital native (Prensky 2001) they may or may not be, it will keep them thinking and coming up with new ideas and let them think outside the box. Who knows we may learn a few more things from them.



Prensky, M. (2005). Engage Me or Enrage Me - What today's learners demand. Retrieved August 19, from,

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved August 19, from,,%20Digital%20Immigrants%

Mahara Portfolio

Wow what a site...... Another one to add to my growing list. Well I found this site a little confusing at first, trying to navigatge my way around, first I had trouble logging in, as I couldn't remember what usename I had used (I have so many) I finally got through and managed to enter data into my profile. My next step was to enter a view. Well this was the most frustrating part, it took me about 20 mins to finally get one up and running after realising I had to actually write one not upload one. I also managed to upload a photo from my computer with ease I must say, Whew, glad for that. Putting my views up for public view was reasonably easy, having to trawl through all the names was a little tedious though. After entering 2 views I then returned to moodle and followed the instructions to head to the website to view more about the Mahara site and how to use it effectively. Boy, if only I had seen this first it would've made things so much easier and faster and less stressful, and believe me I don't need anymore of that.

Anyway after going through these tutorials, I was able to go back and fix a few things up and look for friends and mangaged to join a group as well. I'm pretty proud of myself to be able to have completed that.

In the classroom I could see a great way to have students and Teachers introducing themselves to each other before the year starts and also enabling a Teacher to advise all students what is upcoming on the calender for the term and setting out authentics tasks that are to be completed during the term on their unit of work. These could be used for collaborative tasks or reflections between students whilst working on them. A great place to store all students work that has been completed also and have them ready for jobs by using the resume section.
Being able to keep the portfolio within a group and not for public sharing is a great way to keep track of students work and progress. I am curious at what others have thought about this site.


What a great tool. I have chosen random images from my photo album. The first is an Indian Rock garden in its first stages, the second are toy dinosaurs and lions in a rock garden, the third is my son doing archery.
A great way to have different thoughts, perspectives from students with particular pictures. From here a story could be written about the subject, a story line, what happened before/after, how does a picture make you feel?, why? and what emotions do they bring forth. It could be used as a history project, each student can research something about the photo and add this comment to the page about what happened etc. Students could write a statement about the subject, write a poem, add music, there are so many options. Another great learning tool for the Digital age for engaging students, as Siemens (2004) states the diversity of opinions rests in knowledge and learning. Having the students give their own opinion and ideas to a simple image brings about a great debate of how it is perceived in others eyes and why, does it come back to prior knowledge or their life experience?
Would love to get the opportunity to use this in the classroom.

Wendy Gaines.

Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved August 20, 2009, from .


Royalty Free music on the web. Wow what a great site. Isn't it great to find something you can use for free. As we all know that using music in our powerpoints, movie videos etc are all subjected to copy right unless we have gone through the correct channels to have permission to use a piece of music for a certain purpose at a certain time which can cost most of the time. On the Incomptech site the Creative Commons agreement allows the use of the particular music that is available on this site for free. Kevin McLeod writes all the music and produces them all except where stated like Beethoven etc. He believes some music should be free for those who cannot afford to pay for the use of music composed by others, like schools and movie makers etc. However, you can choose to give a donation to use his music and there are some pieces that he has compiled that do have a price on them. He has a large variety of music available which is set out in catergories and also has links to others sites similiar to his.

What a great way to have access to music that can be used in the classrooms; like Drama / Dance, powerpoint presentations, movie making, or just a soothing backdrop whilst students are working. Prep and and some year 1-2 grades still have a quiet time when they return to the classrooms after lunch break, heads are layed on desks for a rest and calming effect with calming soothing music played in the background.

The piece I chose was called "Winter Selections" by Kevin McLeod. It is a piece played via 3 ipods with bops and balls but it is a very soothing calming piano piece. It could be used in a play where the snow is falling lightly or used in a Dance piece like finding your way through a forest where fairies can be found. There are many ways you can use a particular piece of music, depends on the way you use it and your imagination. I love all types of music, well except for the rap music and techno. But music is a great way to reach some children in the classroom, especially some special needs kids, Autistic kids and others who are musical learners or those who just love music.