Thursday, July 23, 2009

Types of Technologies part 1

Greetings everyone,

I have been working my way through week fours online activities and information and so far I have looked at many different yet amazing technologies that I could use in my classroom to engage and explicitly skills and knowledge to my students. The technologies that I have looked at so far are astounding and I wish I had of known about them sooner so I could utilise them in my classroom. Technologies such as 'Google Reader', 'Wikis', 'Mahara', Voki Avatars' 'Power Points', Interactive White Boards', 'Videos' and 'Flicker' are all elearning (technological) tools that will bring 21st century learning into your classroom.


'Google Reader'
What is it? A web - based aggregator capable of reading atom and RRS feeds online or offline. (Wikipedia, 2009)
Google Reader is an easy way of gathering and processing information that is of interest to you. It allows you to add subscriptions from other peoples blog sites and easily monitor and view what you wish. I have created my own Google Reader account and in my experiences using this aggregator I have been able to easily and quickly source information that interests me without searching for it. I personally think Google Reader is amazing, it creates less of a hassle for me and save me hours of time searching on the Internet.

How could I use this technology in my classroom?
I could set up a generic class Google Reader account that is accessible for all of my students. In this site I would be subscribing to educational websites and blogs with an RRS feed that contain scholarly and academic information and resources that supports the content of that particular unit of work. This would allow students to find and research information in a way that is different to normal methods (books) both individually and collaboratively. Because students in the 21st century are 'digital natives' elearning technologies such as Google Reader are essential.

Google Reader is a 'learning resource' that positively supports students to complete a presented task or activity, which reflects Oliver’s (1999) learning design framework. Google Reader is a learning resource that allows students to read and view documents, newspaper articles, web links and case studies, which are all, classified as 'learning resources'. Google Reader can enhance and enrich any task if it is used correctly - a learning resource.

'WIKIs'
Wikis are readily available to anybody that holds a wiki account. Those who have access to a wiki groups can edit and adjust the content that is written on that particular page. Wikis create many opportunities within a classroom. They allow interaction, communication, exploration and collaboration amongst students both in and outside of school. Wikis allow students to engage and co-construct their own learning with both peers and teacher. Within a unit or learning experience Wikis can be used to enhance many tasks such as, creating projects, writing reports, sharing ideas and even reflecting on their own learning.
Wikis could almost be used as assessment for a particular unit. Wikis could allow teachers to access, view and comment on students’ progress and give feedback. It also allows teachers to monitor and track how students engagement and work together on tasks. In relation to communicating and collaborating ideas between teachers Wikis are wonderful. They give teachers the ability to share and create unit plans, events, meetings etc all via the Internet.

As we already established Wikis allow and provide opportunities for students to communicate and hold group discussions via the Internet. J Halls learning pyramid (2008) details that students’ retention rate is 50% when they are involved and actively participating in group discussions like the communication methods a wiki presents. According to Oliver’s (1999) learning design framework a wiki can be classified as a 'learning resource' that supports learners when conducting tasks or activities.

'Mahara'
Mahara is an open source e-portfolio with a flexible display framework containing 'artefacts', 'views' and 'groups'. Mahara holds a comprehensive blogging tool, which is only readily available to others when you decide to share them. Like Google reader Mahara uses RRS feeds. This technology allows students to keep in touch and communicate through messaging. The biggest advantage that I believe Mahara has for me is its ability to safely store content and data. This is comfort for me, as I know my work has been backed up and is readily available if something happens to an original.

Voki Avatars’
Voki Avatars are an effective elearning tool that provides content and information to students through different methods. They allow teachers to write exactly what they want the students to hear. In my classroom this technology would be great to engage (hook) my learners into the learning experience. Since finding out about Avatars and how they work I have used them in my classroom and already I have seen a major increase of student engagement and participation, maybe because it is completely different to contemporary teaching methods (teacher talking). This was the first Avatar that I experimented with. I found it easy to create and use.



As previously stated I would use these Voki Avatars in my classroom as a tool to hook and or engage my learners into an authentic learning task or unit of work. According to Oliver’s (1999) learning design framework Voki Avatars are 'learning supports' - a mechanism that exists from a teacher implicating it.

‘Power Points’

Microsoft Power Pont is one of the elearning technologies that I am most familiar with. I utilise this technology in the implication of my learning experiences all the time, I find it easy to use and very effective. Because 21st centaury students are ‘digital natives’ almost all of them know how to create and use Microsoft Power Point. Microsoft Power Point can add a new dimension to learning, which allows teachers to explain abstract concepts, while accommodating all learning styles, visual, kinaesthetic and auditory (Technology Tutorials, n.d.). “When it comes to enhancing students learning black boards are good, overheads are better but Power Points are the best” (Technology Tutorials, n.d.).
Power Points provide students with multiple opportunities to experiment with pictures, phonics and texts. Many positives come from using Power Point with students through there are some negatives.
· It isn’t always a simple process so student may become frustrated because they are unable to come up with a product that is what they specifically want.
· Because of all the movement and pictures that could be added to Power Point student can loose the authenticity of the task and become side tracked.
· Students who hold skills or have access to other presentation technologies may become disengaged because they have found something better.
As I previously said Power Point does have benefits, it allows students to be creative in the way that they present their knowledge, understanding and skills. Maslow (1970) believes that one of the biggest needs a student must fulfil is 'creativity' which inevitably allows them to effectively learn. Dale's Cone (2000) reveals that students who have an opportunity to work through kinaesthetic methods (hands on, creating, making) are more likely to benefit from media learning experiences. Power Point can feed students’ both visual and auditory information. According to the Cognitivism theory (1998) of learning, students need both visual and auditory information to effectively store knowledge and content in their long-term memory.
Though Power Point may not specifically help the children learn however what makes the difference is how this technology is used and incorporated into lessons to provide effective learning experiences (Poole, 2009)


‘Learning Management Systems’
A Learning Management System is a form of software developed for delivering, tracking and managing training or education. (Wikipedia, 2009) This software allows educators to distribute content, manage assessment and provide communication opportunities for peers and students directly over the Internet meaning they are virtual learning systems (Wikipedia, 2009)

There are two categorised types of learning management systems, these being ‘proprietary’ and ‘open source’. I believe these learning management systems are good for a visual learner, because they display content clearly and concisely. Though I don’t think they are beneficial for those who learn through kinaesthetic method (hands on) because these learners generally want to be told of the facts and important information and then want to be able to construct, make or involve themselves in learning through hands on activities. I personally don’t enjoy learning using this particular technology because it seem boring to me, though I do see how it could potentially be beneficial for learners within the classroom. This type of technology also allows students to actively involve themselves in learning outside of school, which is appealing to some students.

Because there is so much reading involved with this technology students according to the learning pyramid only have a 10% retention rate, which is quite poor (Hall, 2009). According yo Maslows hierarchy of needs (1970) a student must meet the self- actualization need (creativity fulfilment) before effective learning can occur. I dont believe that this type of technology allows for creativity, meaning that effective learning may not occur from the use of learning management systems such as blackboard or moodle.


I have just looked at and touched on a small amount of technologies available for us as teachers to use in our classrooms. Over the next few days I will work my way through some of the other technologies outlines in weeks fours topic ‘Teacher’s Delivery Technologies’.

Thanks everyone for reading, Ill be back to post more soon,
Sarah


Reference:

DR Cooper, G. (1998). Cognitivism. Retrieved July 30th, 2009 form,
http://moodle.cqu.edu.au/mod/resource/view.php?id=580

Hall, J. (2008) The Learning Pyramid. Retrieved July 30th, 2009 from, http://www.simulations.co.uk/pyramid.htm

Maslow, A. (1970) Motivation and Personality. Retrieved July 30th, 2009 from, http://moodle.cqu.edu.au/mod/resource/view.php?id=580

Poole, B (2009) A Philosophy Of Instructional Technology Use For Teaching and Learning. Retrieved July 23rd, 2009 from, http://www.education-world.com/a_tech/columnists/poole/poole017.shtml

Technology tutorials, (n.d.) PowerPoint in the Classroom. Retrieved July 23rd, 2009 from, http://www.teach-nology.com/tutorials/powerpoint/

The Abilene Christian University Adams Centre for Teaching Excellence, (2000). Dale’s Cone. Retrieved July 31st, 2009 from,
http://www.acu.edu/cte/activelearning/whyuseal2.htm

Wikipedia, 2009. Google Reader. Retrieved July 22nd, 2009 from, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Reader

3 comments:

Amanda Wischusen said...

Hi Sarah,

I think that you have some fantastic ideas when it comes to incorporating these etools within the classrooms! I especially like the idea of incorporating a class google reader to compile educational information for the students! I think this is a great idea and especially engaging for the students! Of course this would have to be continously monitored by the educator to ensure no sneaky websites are added by the students! This is a great idea to take into our future jobs! Thankyou for sharing it!

NicoleMiller said...

Hi Sarah, I love the way you just talked about all of those technologies! I haven't yet started week 4's task, but from what I have read you really got into it. A lot of good ideas in there!

Nic.

NicoleMiller said...

Sarah,
Through further reading of your blog, I think that you have some fantistic ideas about how you as a learning manager could bring technology into your classroom. Its fantastic that your school has so much technology for you to use, also. I too liked the google reader idea like Amanda did- thankyou also.

Nic :)