Saturday, August 22, 2009

Reflective Synopsis

Before starting this journey I had never heard of the 'Digital Native' and the 'Digital Immigrant'. This has now become my catch cry. When I am frustrated with technology I merely take a step back, count to ten and say out loud 'I am a digital immigrant, my papers have not come through yet, but one day when I have proved myself to this digital world I will be accepted and I will pledge allegiance.' There is a saying that goes something like this "You have to crawl before you can walk". I am like a baby learning to walk. In this process I feel that perhaps I am at the stage of almost crawling making my way to walking. This journey for me has been steps. Sometimes tiny steps at other times it feels as though I have been pushed to walk before I have been ready. And perhaps I have needed this push for if I am not pushed into this digital world I will be left behind. I will be failing myself and I will be failing my students by not embracing digital technology.
In this process of digital discovery I have been like an explorer chartering waters not yet travelled. At times a very frightening process at other times quite exhilarating especially when I have discovered that 'yes' I can do this. The light bulb moment of 'Wow I actually did that without breaking my computer!" That may sound strange to all those digital natives out there but for me it is a real fear.

'To effectively participate in this future, students are required to be lifelong learners, develop transferable skills that enables them to contribute to a meaningful society (Qld College of Teachers 2006).'

For my students to be lifelong learners, develop transferable skills and contribute to a meaningful society I must be armed with the skills to pass these on to my students. If I have a limited knowledge of the digital world then I can only pass on limited knowledge to my students but if I empower myself with knowledge and a willingness to learn then I will inevitably pass these skills and knowledge onto my students. I cannot live with my head in the sand anymore when it comes to e-learning. I have to be willing to learn, to take risks, to look outside of the box in my efforts to reach my students in all areas of their learning.
Prensky (2005) explores engaging our students. He states that students of today are being served a stale, bland and almost entirely stuff from the past (Prensky 2005). We are educating children in the yesterdays for readiness in the tomorrow. This statement in itself is an oxymoron. How can we be teaching our children in the yesterdays. Yesterday is gone. We need to be focusing on the tomorrows. Todays students are challenging us to engage them at their level in many areas including our curriculum (Prensky 2005). We as pedagogues have to find ways of presenting the curriculum in ways that will engage our students(Prensky 2005) and this must include e-learning. The choice inevitably is ours. If we are not willing to take on this e-learning journey ourselves our students (Digital natives) are not going to be engaged in the learning process.

My Ideal Classroom

Throughout this process I have learnt about many wide and varied technologies. Some I can honestly say I would not use at this moment in my classroom, that's not to say that with more discovery of these technologies I wouldnt use them. Other technologies I have thought yes I could definitely use this in my classroom. In my ideal classroom I would be equipped with technologies of varying capacities. My students would all have Ipods for enhanced learning with the incorporation of podcasts. I would most definitely have an electronic whiteboard. I would use a blog or a wiki to aid in communication with my students and parents within my classroom. Days of a note sent home to the parents I feel are long gone. Having a wiki would eliminate the use of the note sent home which along the way could become lost or not even taken out of the child's port. In my ideal classroom I would have technology savvy parents/carers. It is all well in good to have these technologies but we must be willing to utilise them as well. What would the use of a blog or wiki for communication if my parents/carers hadn't bothered to log on to catch up on their child's day at school?
Some of the technologies that I have found interesting and worthwhile in my classroom would be the following:
  • Blogs/Wiki's
  • Webquests
  • Avatars
  • Image Manipulation
  • Google Earth
  • Wikipedia
  • File sharing
I realise that these technologies are the speck in a very large digital ocean but for now (today, presently, in this moment) this is what I feel I could incorporate in my teaching. That's not to say that in the future I will be using an incorporating other technogies as I hope that I am.

Our attitudes and perceptions influence our learning. When these attitudes and perceptions are positive our learning is enhanced; when they are negative our learning suffers (Marzano 1997). Fullan (1982, cited in Bitner & Bitner 2002) an expert in change theory stated that 'educational change depends on what teachers do and think- it's as simple and as complex as that.' We as Learning Managers must learn to use technology and must allow it to change our present teaching standards (Bitner & Bitner, 2002).
This responsibility should not just rest on the shoulders of the Learning Manager it should also be the a shared responsibility of the school, the school community, the state education system and the soon to be national curriculum standards. We cannot do this alone it must be a collaborative effort.
Finally, as a digital immigrant I want to say thankyou. Thankyou for opening these eyes to a digital world that is ever evolving into something that at times blows the mind. On a personal level I realise that I have so much to learn and that I am intrigued and really do want to learn more. On a professional level I realise that this professional journey is going to take me far if I am willing to open my mind and take risks and if I am willing to do this it is going to enhance my teaching and enhance the engagement of my students.

Sailing ship Manurewa ca 1910

# A bit of fun! If you would like to take this test that I made in Classmarker to see if you are on your way in becoming a "Digital Native" click on this link

Bitnel, N., & Bitnel, J., Integrating technology into the classroom: eight keys to success, Journal of technology and teacher education, vol. 10, 2002.
Prensky, M., 2001, Digital natives, digital immigrants, On the horizon, vol. 9., no. 5., October 2001, University Press.
Marzano, R., 1997, Dimensions of learning, McRel, Colorado, USA.
Queensland College of Teachers, 2006, Professional standards for Queensland teachers, Queensland College of Teachers, Brisbane, QLD


One of my focuses in my prac classroom is testing students on their own subitizing skills. Looking at the Wikipedia website on subitizing I am able to get a clear meaning on what the term actually means which then gives me ideas on how I could be testing my students and what I need to be looking for. The article also gives references which can lead to further investigation of the subject.
I was always under the impression that Wikipedia was not a reliable source of investigation as others can edit articles to add inaccurate content. But just like a Wiki you would need to sign in to make comment and your comments would be tracked. As all websites one must be sure of the reliability of the content and safety of the site. If it sounds ridiculous it most likely is incorrect and you move on to the next article.
I would use this wiki in my classroom as one source of investigation. I don't think I would use it as my sole source of information. Just as we look at numerous texts, journal articles, websites to glean our information for our assignments it is vital to teach our students that Wikipedia is not the answer for every question. Sure, it can certainly be a starting point but not the end point. Wikipedia has its place in the classroom if used correctly and judged for what it is: One source of information that can lead to other sources.

How many Elephants?
Amboseli Elephants.

  • Subitizing refers to the rapid, accurate, and confident judgments of number performed for small numbers of items (wikipedia 2009).
Wikipedia Inc, 2009, Subitizing and counting,, viewed 22nd August, 2009.


Another program another opportunity. VoiceThread is a fairly easy program to navigate. It did take me a while figuring out some of the steps but I did get there eventually.
I uploaded some photos looking at primary colours and how when mixed make different colours. Students are able to see the mixing, the colours used, and the final result. This program would form part of a students digital literacy. Olsson & Stalbrant (2008) states that the concept of digital literacy is related to the learning process as social practices. Technology transforms learning and the conditions for learning (Olsson & Stalbrant 2008). Kearsley & Shneiderman (1999) claim that for students to learn they must be meaningfully engaged in learning activities through worthwhile tasks. Learning to mix colours and linking these coours with primary colours would be seen as a worthwhile task and with the assistanse of the VoiceThread program students are actively engaged in the process.
Kearsley, G & Shneiderman, B., 1999, Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning, viewed 20th August, 2009.
Olsson, L & Edman-Stalbrant, E., 2008, Digital literacy as a challange for teacher education, Implication for educational framewirks and learning environments, Stockholm, Sweden.

Royalty Free Music

Have I been living under a rock? Incompetech is a site which provides royalty free music and best of all it is free! Although if you do read the fineprint the creator of this site Kevin McLeod does appreciate a $5 donation for every file you do download. This is optional.
I chose a piece of music entitled "Super Circus". As the title suggests it is music set to a circus type march. I would use this piece in my prac prep class at the moment as a way of getting my students to change rotations. At the moment rotations are timesd and then the teacher tells the students that they need to move to the next station. By merely playing this music at the relegated 5 minute turnarounds students are self directed and know when that music plays they pack up what they are doing and move to the next station. It would be important to inform students that when the music stops they are expected to be seated at their next station ready to begin the activity.

Macleod, K., 2009, Incompetech, Super Circus,, viewed 20th August, 2009.


mediafire logo

The Mediafire program allows larger files to be stored and accessed easily through a secure site and therefore you wont be bogging down others email inboxes or your own website/blog/wiki. Personally this would be a fantastic site to upload all those photos and having relatives who live worldwide easy access to the photos without having to download. As a student I can envisage this program being my online USB where I could keep all of my assignments etc. As a professional this would be useful to store unit plans, photos, documents, templates. The list seems almost endless. This program would definatley aid in my organisational requirements regarding my professional needs.
The program itself was very easy to use. For a digital immigrant it was extremely simple to navigate my way around the page. Signing up was simple and quick and in next to no time I was able to upload my files. I chose a template file used for timetabling. This file is simple to use and will assist in time managament. So here it is Timetable Template.

Mediafire, 2006, Free file hosting made simple, Mediafire,, viewed 20th August, 2009.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Slideshare take 1 & 2 explained

Well this has taken a long time. I have been scratching my head all afternoon on how I could record my own voice on my computer and I cannot find where or how I can actually do this without a microphone. So then I thought well if I cannot embed my own voice on to the Powerpoint I will embed someone else's so that is what I have done.
Finding the MP3 file format was in fact a collaborative project completed in my first term, first year of Uni when I was a real true blue digital immigrant. Along this journey that I am partaking my immigration papers are slowly moving up the digital ladder and I do hope that one day I will take the plunge and become a digital citizen.
The Slideshare program was easy to use and again it is a free share page. This program could be used to share presentations with peers, students, parents and other schools.
Slideshare Inc., 2009, Upload and share powerpoint presentations, Slideshare,, viewed 20th August, 2009.

Slideshare take 2