I am not happy to where I am yet....
But I am pleased to have started the journey.
The process of engaging with each of the presented e learning tools has been both challenging and rewarding.
This engagement has been enriched thanks to the contributions of other colleagues’ ideas, applications and suggestions via our professional blogging network. I am amazed at all the incredible e learning tools that are available to use in the classroom. I have developed a passion for reaching today’s learners in ways that engage them – the digital natives; particularly “as the use of ICT continues to grow globally, students will increasingly demand an education that embraces “ICT” (Education Queensland, 2009). Due to this voice from students who are demanding ICTs in the classroom, I will discuss the following theories and frameworks that support the incorporation of e learning tools as a means of engaging students and enabling them to reach their potential.
There are many learning theories that are mention here but Oliver’s (1999) Learning Design Framework; Kearsley & Shneiderman’s (1999) Engagement Theory; and Siemens’ (2004) Connectivism Theory. These will be addressed in the context of three outstanding e learning tools that I have discovered: WebQuests, Mahara ( E Porfolio) and Blog
Firstly, WebQuests, Mahara and Blog are a fantastic tool that scaffolds learning experiences using links to purposeful resources via the Web, underpinned by an authentic task, and promote student centered learning. A well design WebQuest. Siemens’ (2004) connectivism theory; where new “connections between fields, ideas and concepts” are identified, either individually or collaboratively. Additionally, Productive Pedagogies’ higher-order thinking would be achieved as “students manipulate information.
Oliver’s (1999) Learning Design Framework parallels the implementation of a WebQuest. The learning task involves an investigation or problem to solve in relation to an open-ended question; the learning resources are largely provided via links to essential resources on the Web; and the Learning Supports are evident due to the scaffolded learning structure of a WebQuest.
Secondly, Mahara, Moodle, Scholastic, SlideShare are “collaborative, multimedia tool" that can hold images, documents, and videos. Allowing Learning Managers and educators alike to explore and store to leave comments in multiple formats. These are some of my favourites of the many e learning tools presented here. These tools could provide a powerful medium for student reflections, articulating contributions to group projects or assignments.
Sharing files and resources I find daunting experiences at first. Once I understand the concept of partnering, donating and sharing it made me realised that I am now involved and practicing in the concept of connectivism. Using Media fire or Delicious to store my resource and other important documents can make personal resources accessible and can make sharing easier.
Partnering and sharing learning from other school and classes (perhaps in a global scale) will provide students with a voice to share their learning. The thought of making their learning journey visible to parents/caregivers and other relevant stakeholders make me think that learning is about sharing. This learning reflections and contributions can all be shared in one place from anywhere in the world – without the need to install extra software. Problem solving in where to access information and resources is now accessable.
Utilizing Skype and comments through blogging made it so relevant - these tools I find are necessary for collaborative engagement, involving communication, planning and social skills – thus encompassing Kearsley and Shneiderman’s (1999) first principle ‘relate’ of the Engagement Theory. The ‘create’ component could potentially incorporate two creations: creating an assignment (for example) creating the PowerPoint or a digital story to compliment the task or an activity. Secondly, the PowerPoint and digital story both could be ‘donated’ in SlideShare or in a multitude of way, for example to parents/caregivers, peers, a community organisation, relevant stakeholders, a partnering class, or school.
Ultimately, the purpose of the customer is to create a purposeful environment, as “the authentic learning context of the assignment increases student motivation and satisfaction” (Kearsley and Shneiderman’s, 1999).
Thridly, connectivism using e learning tools have made realised that I have now “scratch the surface” of ICT and technology. There is so much to learn. I encountered a number of set-backs during my experimentations. Some of these popular ICT tools like Twitter,made me realised that I still need convincing on how I could use it effectively in the classroom. However, thanks to Skype, Email, Delivery Forum from Moodle, and suggestions on colleagues Blogs I was able to discover RSS to attach and to view my peers comments. Having to actually see who your peers/followers are it made easier to blog. This process of utilizing my networks to locate information illustrates the emergence of Siemens’ Connectivism Theory, where “the connections that enable us to learn are more important than our current state of knowing” (Siemens, 2004).
By exploring and experimenting on posting and editing process, I have been able to successfully posted and donated my own PowerPoint to SlideShare. Now I am able to utilize this tool in the classroom (see ‘SlideShare’ posting for examples).In saying that, I still need to develop various ways to incorporate ICT tools to fully engage students in their learning.
At the same time as, this theoretical perspective of Connectivism needs to be instilled into our students for developing attributes of a Lifelong Learner (QSA, 2006), as they learn to “nurture and maintain connections… needed to facilitate continual learning” (Siemens, 2004). Students today live in a different world in comparison to the industrial-age based school model (Smith, Lynch & Knight, 2007), and their social being and sense of belonging largely exist within digital social networking forums. Therefore, the inclusion of e learning tools for collaborative engagement may contribute to students’ need for acceptance and belonging at their level.
According to Maslow’s hierarchy, this need for belonging should precursor one’s achievement and mastery (Kunc, n.d.). Marzano and Pickering (1997) reflect this belief, articulating that when “attitudes and perceptions are positive (feeling accepted by teachers and peers), learning is enhanced”. However, in today’s schooling practices the hierarchy is often shifted, where “children are required… to learn their right to belong” (Kunc, n.d.).
Through listening to the students’ voice, we as educators can take a step closer to not only engaging our students through ICTs, but foster a sense of belonging and acceptance when we provide the rich experiences craved by learners inside the classroom (Prensky, 2005). The process of this developing this Reflective Blog, I have a sense of expectation. This journey has remarkably boosted my self-confidence and eagerness for utilizing e learning tools with my future learners. I am now motivated and I choose to engage them… (Prensky, 2005).
References used throughout:
Brady, L. & Kennedy, K. (2005). Celebrating Student Achievement: Assessment and Reporting.Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Prentice Hall
Education Queensland. (2009). Smart classrooms rollout to school. Brisbane, Quensland, Australia: Queensland Government
Gonzalez, C., (2004). The Role of Blended Learning in the World of Technology. Retrieved December 10, 2004 from http://www.unt.edu/benchmarks/archives/2004/september04/eis.htm.
Google For Educators. (2009). Google Earth. Retrieved Nov. 30, 2009, from http://www.google.com/educators/p_earth.html
Hartnell-Young, E. and Morris, M. (1999). Digital professional portfolios for change. Hawker Brownlow Education: Australia
Keirsley, G. & Shneiderman, B (1999) Engagment Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Available from http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm
Kunc, N. (n.d.) The need to belong: Rediscovering Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Retrieved November 12, 2009, from htp://normemma.com/armaslow.html
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Marzano, R. & Pickering, D. (1997). Dimensions of Learning: Teachers manual, 2nd Edition. Colarado, USA: Mc REL.
New Basics Branch and Queensland School Reform Longitudinal Study. (2002). Productive pedagogies classroom reflection manual. The State of Queensland: Education Queensland
Oliver, R. (1999).Exploring strategies for online teaching and learning. Distance Education, 20(2), 240-254. Retrieved Nov 3o, 2009 from http://www.learningdesigns.uow.edu.au/project/learn_design.htm
Prensky, M. (2005). “Engage me or enrage me”: What today’s learners demand. In Educause Review. Retrieved November 13, 2009 from http://www.net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/erm0553.pdf
Queensland School Curriculum Council, (2007). English essential learnings and standards. Brisbane, Qld, Australia: Author.
Queensland School Curriculum Council, (2007). Science essential learnings and standards. Brisbane, Qld, Australia: Author.
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Queensland Studies Authority. (2007). The QCAR Framework — aligning curriculum, assessment and reporting. Queensland: Queensland Studies Authority
Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Retrieved November 2009, from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm
Smith, R., Lynch, D. & Knight, B. (2007). Learning management: Transforming teachers for national and international change. Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia: Pearson Education Australia
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