Friday, August 21, 2009


Since starting this course I have discovered new technologies that can be used in the class room as well as opened my eyes to technologies that I use everyday that I didn't realise or think could make a difference in my classroom. Today's students reside in a media rich world. With so much stimulus for learning and games and activities available on the Internet we would be crazy to not take advantage of digital technologies to engage our students in the classroom. Today's students are Digital Natives (Prensky, 2001) and for Digital Immigrants there needs to be a shift in thinking that traditional teaching methods are going to engage students and give them the education that they need.

When I have my own class there are some technologies I have seen that will definitely be used in my classroom. These include Web quests, Wikis and You Tube to list a few.
Web quests will become a valuable learning experience. As a teaching technology they fit perfectly into Kearsley and Schneidermann's Learning Engagement Theory. Web quests enable students to be "meaningfully engage in learning activities through interactions with others and worthwhile tasks" (Kearsley & Schneidermann, n.d). Collaborative aspects of these quests help to develop motivation in students to learn as well as provide opportunities for group work with students from different backgrounds (Kearsley & Schneiderman, n.d). The project orientation and authentic focuses that are embedded in this delivery method are also key elements that keep the students engaged. Web quests also demonstrate Oliver's Learning Design Construct as all three areas (tasks, supports and resources) are inter-related and aim to achieve the same outcome.

I like the ideas of a class Wiki - and on-line learning classroom that can be accessed at school and from home. When set up correctly I think there is a real opportunity for students to band together in their learning and become more respectful and cooperative human beings. As I mentioned in my Wiki blog post, the online nature of the Wiki means that problems are more likely to be discussed and more solutions are likely to be found than in a traditional classroom setting. This in itself means that by searching for solutions and using problem solving skills students are engaging in higher order thinking, and this is with their own teacher necessary. I don't mean that it creates lazy teachers... I'm saying it would be great if this meant creating lifelong learners!

YouTube is another way of connecting with students. Studies show that "students learn better from animation and narration then from animation and on-screen text" and memory retention is "improved through words and pictures rather than words alone(Stanbury, 2008)." It is important though to use this technology (and any other technology for that matter) to its best effect and to not use it too often. We can become bored very easily when we are constantly being saturated with the same old, same old.

There are some factors that need to be considered in this new look classroom. We will have classes with students from diverse backgrounds, including those who do not have access to a computer or the Internet outside of school, students who are from different cultures, students with English as a Second Language or Indigenous Australians. However we should try and view this not so much as a disadvantage but use these technologies to embrace the diversity in the classroom. Go on YouTube and pod casts to discover other cultures. Create work that celebrates diversity and allow before and after school access to computers for your students. As well as this there are also child safety issues to be considered when children are on the Internet. It is important that students understand the dangers and know how to protect their identity while they are online.

Today's students are not what they used to be. They are not even similar to University students who may have only graduated high school three or four years ago. Yes these technologies may be a little work to set up and yes for some teachers becoming a proficient Digital Immigrant will be a lot of effort. However if it means that our students motivation to learn is increased, their engagement in class is increased and they develop a joy and passion for learning...creating an e-learning adventure for students is well worth the effort!

Kindergarten is Fun - by Woodley Wonder Works

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