Thursday, 2 June 2011

Domination WrapDog

As semester one draws to a close, here are some final thoughts on blogging. The whole blogging process has been fun and a great learning experience!

The main advantages of blogging include being able to embed different links to both the blog posts and down the sides of the blog; being able to write a draft blog and go back into it to edit and polish before posting and also following my classmates’ blogs to see what they have learnt as well as their progress and interaction with some of the new technologies we have seen in class (such as Voki and StoryBird). Using the blog as one point of reference to store, display and reflect on information has been really useful, too.

I found that regularly reflecting on the content of the course was really useful to reiterate and cement concepts that have been introduced. Further to that, it meant that some of the new types of technologies could be played with and used in the blogs as well.

I have learnt a lot through this blogging experience. The outline set by Mark required that we make a blog posting every week reflecting on what we have learnt as well as commenting on our peers’ blogs. The part of the experience that stands out to me the most is how different all our blogs are but still within the parameters that had been set up. Blogging allows for much more creativity and differentiation than simply writing an answer to a question that has been set. Also, scrolling through YouTube videos, making tag clouds and experimenting with StoryBird is really fun!! 

As I am generally a fairly opinionated chatterbox, I found it quite easy to establish my public voice. I think the most important thing for me to remember is that tone can be easily misunderstood when communicating via text. This is the case for any text and not just blogging.

Some of the key points that I will take with me to use as a teacher include:
  • Structuring the task to ensure that the blogs are used effectively
  • Setting up class rules around Netiquette
  • Developing students’ understanding of cybersafety
  • Improving students’ critical literacy and critical thinking
  • Using the technology to support my pedagogy in the classroom


Saturday, 28 May 2011

Can I make my avatar blue??

The below clip gives you a short introduction and overview to Second Life:

Wow! Such an amazing place! And I am not being sarcastic! Strangely, the opportunities in this world are real and the educational opportunities are enormous. Students can learn life skills such as planning and budgeting. Imagine taking students to the Louvre to visit the Mona Lisa – they can be taken on a guided tour and interact with each other within the virtual world. 

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


As Web 2.0 has developed into a collaborative and interactive environment, there has been a proliferation of social networking sites. Social networking sites such as Facebook require people to be at least 13 years old to join. In the Primary School domain, there are sites such as Moshimonster and Club Penguin that allow students network with each other over the internet. These are great for students to develop and maintain networks and increase their ability to communicate with each other.

It is essential that issues surrounding online issues and behaviour are addressed in the classroom. The ACMA cybercitizen profile is based on four capabilities:
  • Positive online behaviour
  • Digital media literacy
  • Peer and personal safety
  • E-security
It is important for people to be aware of what their online profile is and to think of what some of the impacts of their online profiles might be. For example, children that have a profile with their full name and date of birth may encounter some level of identity theft in the future.

Treat people in the online world as you would in everyday life.

Monday, 9 May 2011


This short clip on youtube gives a quick introduction and overview to what a webquest is and how it can be used in the classroom:

The purpose of a WebQuest is to understand a topic through the use of the Internet and is a way to organise and present information on the topic.

There are many websites that have been developed for school students to collaborate together across the globe. One that was particularly interesting is iEARN which is a website that can connect schools and teachers around the globe.

The school students in the remote community of Nyirrpi in Central Australia are participating in the Teddy Bear Exchange program with students in Canada. This extends on the more traditional adventures of the classroom teddy bear where students take the bear home for the weekend and take pictures of their adventures. The Canadian students have sent “Bucky the Bear” to Nyirrpi where he has been part of a bush-tucker expedition and traditional Aboriginal dancing. The students of Nyirrpi sent a kangaroo who has played in snow fights and been to Niagara falls.

It is such an interactive and amazing way for students to learn and connect with other geographies, cultures and lifestyles.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Collective Intelligence

Collective intelligence is a shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals. It is not a new concept, but with the development and progress of Web 2.0, it has multiplied the opportunities for people to work together and collectively use their intelligences.

In the article, “Concept of Collective Intelligence” by David Wechsler (1971), Gustave LeBon put forward the concept of the “popular mind” to explain the predictably irrational behaviour of crowds. He hypothesizes that when part of a crowd, an individual acts as if he is on automation, subject to the will of a leader and at the mercy of his unconscious drives. Further, LeBon argues that the intelligence of the crowd is always below the average of the population as a whole.

If LeBon is correct and the intelligence of a crowd is always below the average of the population, this has a number of interesting implications for using Web 2.0. For instance, as a member of a group or a blog, are you part of a crowd? What happens during an online discussion with a time limit and strong opposing opinions are expressed? Are students more likely to jump on the bullying bandwagon if they see their peers bullying and don’t want to be excluded?

By using the web to interact, discuss and build knowledge, people are generally able to put more thought and time into responses. A sentence can be written, edited and even deleted as the piece goes on. People have personalities, values and opinions and these continue to play a significant role online. However, just because someone says or argues a point online, does not mean that it is right or accurate or necessarily reflective of your own opinion and this is where the role of critical literacy comes in to play.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

"If the news is that important, it will find me"

College student cited in WaPo (2009)

Search engines allow people to look up information on the topic that they are interested - people can search for local sports clubs, holiday destinations, cooking recipes, current affairs and any other topic that they are interested in and want to find out more information about. 

Social search engines are a more sophisticated type of search engine as they take into account the online profile that a user has created and developed. This enables results to be tailored towards how the person currently behaves online.

Teaching points in the classroom:

  • What are the results that come up in a search? What is the order that the results come up in and are they reliable?
  • In using someone's social profile in a search engine, how does that impact what results are displayed? What are some positives and negatives of using social profiles?
  • Compare search engines - google, bing, yahoo and also the new search engines that are entering including searchcloud, witguides, timetube, taggalaxy, rollyo, hunch, flipboard and newstrust. Use the same keyword for all searches - what results do each show? How are they different or the same? 

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The Evolution of the English Language

The English language has constantly been going through an evolutionary process.

The English language began to develop when the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes invaded England from across the North Sea in the 5th Century AD. Up until around the 1100s, "Old English" was spoken.

In the period of 1100-1500 AD, when the Normans invaded and ruled England, French was spoken amongst the royal court while the lower classes continued to speak English. At this point, as expected, many French words were added to the English language. Towards the end of this era, there was a significant change as the pronunciation of vowels became shorter and shorter. 

In the 1600s, the invention of printing also led to a fundamental shift in the English language. "Printing brought standardization to English. Spelling and grammar became fixed, and the dialect of London, where most publishing houses were, became the standard (English Club)".

As English speakers today, if we were to go to England in the 5th, 8th, 12th, 15th or 18th centuries, we would barely be able to converse with the people. If we went back 50 years ago, the language would still be slightly different to what it is today.

The evolution of the English language is a constant process that is speeding up in line with technological advances and in a world in which we live that expects us all to 'go, go, go'.

As teachers going out into a world where language continues to be a fundamental pillar to our society and is also undergoing rapid change, we need to make sure that we embrace netspeak, txtspk and whatever comes next. Otherwise, there will be a "Words Their Way" written for us by our students and they will be able to assess and categorise what developmental phase we are in and give us word sorts based on this (electronically, of course).