Thursday, August 20, 2009
I just met with the remaining Elite Team members who have either survived or avoided the power of the e-world.
We have reluctantly decided to disband...
Our findings were recurring in the sense of alluding to the amazing potential the e-world offers.
Captain Chris was right from the very start in his first blog entry where he suggested if you cannot beat them, join them. Ultimately, that is what we are doing.
Our apologies go to all of you who were aspiring to join our cause.
Even though we are sorry, we know it is for the best.
It is hard to reflect on what Captain Chris so perfectly touched on. So I presume the best I can achieve is to recap his vision.
Each of the technologies Captain Chris and I have analysed over the last few days would be effective in the contemporary learning environment.
While I would personally only employ some on a regular basis, due to the constrictions of the secondary disciplines I teach, all would be beneficial. Of the twenty or so technologies, both delivery and student-centred, the ones I will most definitely strive to implement in my units are blogs, wikis, PowerPoint, YouTube, and Voice Thread.
I favour these ones in particular as they entail a higher degree of learner interaction and engagement.
For instance, blogs offer a communal atmosphere of using the e-world as a backdrop. They encourage contribution and consistency, two ideals that Captain Chris held close in relation to his education beliefs. Blogs also strip away some of the formal, ritualistic styles of the average day classroom. While this may sound alarming, it is actually engaging for the learners. Blogs can be great vessels of communication that produce effective learning. Another, crucial quality about blogs is that one can integrate many other technologies on their page. These can range from video to images, as well as website links to quizzes and games.
Wikis are very much the same. However, wikis can be established with the outcome of assessment. During my mission I encountered a virtual textbook that a Modern History class had to create using a wiki. This task was an assessment that required learners to collaborate and utilise a variety of different technologies to express the knowledge in a format suitable for all learning styles. In effect, by catering for this need the learners were able to reflect on their own learning style and personality, and thus develop as a lifelong learner. Furthermore, the greatest reward of all this was the final product, a virtual textbook that is still available for use by all who seek it throughout the e-world.
Likewise, PowerPoint constantly serves as an effective delivery tool that can appeal to all learner types. Originally, this technology was a closed system program, however now an individual can upload, in addition to download, presentation slides using the correct websites. This results in teaching being more efficient and connects the education world under one motive and purpose; to manage the learning of 21st century students.
YouTube was a much of a choice of the Captain's as it was mine. The fact alone that it has a branch off, TeacherTube, demonstrates its ability and popularity. This is a technology that will continue to grow as a force to reckon with! I recently had a lesson that predominantly focused on anti-drug campaigns using YouTube to stream an abundance of videos. The lesson was one of the most well-received and reciprocated, I have ever experienced. Video is powerful, especially to a visually inclined generation. Visual connection also demands high levels of engagement hence when learners are 'watching' something are usually learning more than if they were 'writing' something.
The final log of Captain Chris was submitted through Voice Thread, which he deemed his favourite technology of all that he explored. The notion of learners constructing their own learning appears to be the principle when it comes to Voice Thread. I would describe it as a merging of several technologies the Captain and I analysed. This is proven by the selection of how one desires to express their commentary. Voice recording, video upload, image manipulation, and basic typing were four of the predominant features. Similarly, this technology supports learner and teacher interaction with each other and possibly the world!
So in conclusion, the e-world is an entity that will only continue to advance and weave its way into the complexities of the physical world. If we can harness this ability and use it to teach our students, then we are gearing them for their encounter with the technological universe when they finally leave the classroom. However, the e-world facilitates a head start for this transition by networking resources, school, and even countries. They are digital natives. Let us digital immigrants not impair that. It is not about them confroming to us, but us conforming to them.
The whole time the Elite Team was concerned about the future yet no of us knew until now that we are in it.
And so are YOU!
This is Sarah Conn...bler.
Signing out for the the last time.
I'm sure we will meet again. Probably on some social networking system like Facebook.
Until then; Farewell.
BdBlackwood n.d., iTunes becomes self aware, nukes mankind!, video, 6 October 2008, viewed 20 August 2009, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7OJazI30l4&feature=player_embedded
Common Craft 2009, Wikis in plain English, video, 29 May 2007, viewed 23 July 2009, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dnL00TdmLY&feature=player_embedded
RagingRoy n.d., Angry teacher destroys student’s phone, video, 12 May 2009, viewed 20 August 2009, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPbMpadn9ZA
Jsdt4 n.d., Pay attention, video, 4 April 2007, viewed 14 July 2009, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEFKfXiCbLw&feature=player_embedded
RSS Aggregator Diagram
I am not Chris but rather his replacement as leader of the Elite Team.
My name is Sarah Conn...bler. Sarah Connbler. Yes, that is ahh...my name. Always has been. Always will be. Sarah Connbler.
Unlike Chris, who was focusing on delivery technologies my attention was drawn to student-centred technologies. I am most certain he would concur that the two share a somewhat, overwhelming deal of commonalities.
Take for instance, PowerPoint. PowerPoint can be used by the learners just as much, if not more than, the teachers. It supports the theory of engagement and enables learners to construct their own learning in addition to any peers. This is also the case with blogs, quizzes, Flikr, and wikis. Overall, these technologies are susceptible to a diversity of users regardless that they may hold alternate motives. To illustrate this point, these motives would be to teach or to learn.
Digital Storytelling is also an effective medium to engage learners. This technology is fundamentally student-centred as it is student-created! Of course, I would not expect teachers to get involved, as creative writing is only for learners...
For my next entry I will debrief both Captain Chris' and my own missions. Before that occurs though I came across a YouTube clip that, while alarming invoked the beginning of a process that I believe is called a change of heart.
I'm sure throughout your individual journeys, you too would have seen it.
They were protecting the world as usual. And I was saving the world as usual.
We have a lot in common. HA! Pun. Common. As in Creative Commons! Wow, sleep deprivation is really kicking in. Saving the world requires a lot of energy. No wonder the e-world is such a dominant foe. It does not require sleep! Damn my physical body! Maybe I should become a cyborg?
I cannot believe I just said that. What is happening to me?! Clearly I only have a matter of hours left before the e-world consumes me. Before that occurs let me debrief you on using music in the classroom.
Music has the ability to invoke relation, stir emotion, and grant inspiration. So why is its presence lacking in the learning environment? I guess one reason would be copyright infringements although with technologies like INCOMPETECH, a sidekick of Creative Commons, such boundaries are alleviated. Personally, I would implement music when presenting slides of some form and mainly for background sound when the learners have been assigned to a task. Likewise, I would use it as stimulus pieces for evaluative responses and reflection.
If it will engage the supposed unengaged, then use it!
Just when I start investing in the ideal of USBs; they become inadequate.
SlideShare and MediaFire are two similar technologies that coexist in the e-world and could eventually be harnessed to benefit the learning of this contemporary knowledge-based economy, you people live in.
I have had previous experience with SlideShare and even used a presentation for one of my Ancient History lessons. Fast and easy is a real bonus about this site. Moreover, I am sure you can imagine that for someone with the paranoia I thrive on, MediaFire is an intimidating concept. Maybe it is the word "fire" that disturbs me. Regardless, I did not endeavour any further into the site yet thoroughly read its self-proclamations. It sounds promising. I think I will consider revisiting it once I have successful cleansed the e-world from the dangers it fosters.
By the way, I am nearly the end of my mission.
Members of the Elite Team are starting to be exposed! I had not heard from a ranking officer since the publication of a recording one of his students uploaded recently. I can only assume the e-powers that be have taken him. He will be remembered...
I can feel the e-world closing in on me.
It may only be a matter of time now that, I too, am disposed of.
I must go into intensive hiding.
Until next time...
While this is not recommended, this technology would be ideal to gain background knowledge before enduring the exhaustive quest of sifting through the knowledge laden e-world, as well as the physical one!
Wikipedia is a well received site that is usually one of the first that learners visit when researching for an assignment or an in-class exercise. Convenience reigns supreme here.
Furthermore, as it is essentially a wiki, Wikipedia encourages contribution and consistent update. This enhances its worth as a resource in the classroom.
The other day I was venturing through the site and someone asked me what I was doing. I replied "Wikipedia-ing." Has it really come to that? Now that I consider it, last night I did a fair bit of "YouTub-ing."
I got lost along a few tangents before finding the following article. And after you read it, I'm sure you will agree that Wikipedia is overseen by a small band of the Elite Team, who strive to keep humanity alert about the e-world. Therefore, I have marked it safe and effective. This technology would be a great tool in the learning environment, particularly when the teacher needs to introduce a foreign skill or topic. Here is the link -
They sound great. Lots of potential, although also lots of effort and time. And while that is not necessarily a bad....Okay yes it is!
Again I will stress time is of the essence and this time I am not saying it in light of our pending doom, but rather in comparison to all the previous technologies I have looked at. I recall making several inferences to how some of them are ideal for time efficiency and resource management.
Moreover, WebQuests appear to be relatively new on the scene of the e-world so it probably has a fair quantity of growth to do.
I probably sound impatient. I'm not. But my learners are!
There may be a time and place for WebQuests, just in my opinion neither are now.
I searched around iTunes today to see what they had to offer and the selection was big to say the least. I'm pretty sure if you ever want to audibly learn something than iTunes would be a helpful port of call.
Regardless of the answer, podcasting and even the recent introduction of vodcasting are two amazing delivery technologies that facilitate the notion of 24/7, around the globe learning.
The nature of each also highlight the ideal of consistency with knowledge acquirement and integration. For example, if a learner enjoys or understands one particular cast then they are more inclined to delve for more. This would rarely occur in the everyday classroom where the familiarity and constant nature of serialised teaching breeds complacency. Whereas an episodic approach to learning seems to be what learners of the 21st Century engage with more. Of course, attention span and other distractions play a major role in this although that is besides the point. Our learners are like that. We need to accept it and ultimately comply to it!
That is how great it is. Its own name is an adjective, verb, and noun, all in one.
This contemporary age of mankind are more visually inclined than ever before. Visual stimulus exponentially increases the engagement levels of learners.
YouTube harbours a vast array of videos that would be beneficial for the delivery of content in any lesson. And for those who are not so trustworthy of it then shame on you! No, let me rephrase that. For those who struggle with its reliability, TeacherTube is a more credited branch off, made for teachers by teachers.
These two sites also echo of how the e-world is smaller than the physical world and has the ability to connect users to the world, namely the classroom.
I explored the goldmine of the site YouTube is, and found a real gem one of my fellow Elite Team members left behind. I think it encapsulates my stance towards the potential of the e-world better than I could ever articulate.
Enjoy. Actually no! Do NOT enjoy! HEED ITS WARNING!
This would be beneficial for learning managers as it fosters networking by sharing tests online. Moreover, much time would be saved in both marking and distributing each learner's quiz.
One issue that would need to be constantly remembered though, is that internet access is not always guaranteed. While most learners may successful complete the task from home, others may experience connection of technical difficulties.
Nevertheless, the nature of these quizzes could be implemented for homework, assignments, or even exams. Wow! That would mean the learners would not even need to leave their house...
I think I'm starting to get the motivation towards using the e-world as an educational resource.
After you have logged on to ClassMarker, I implore you to attempt my recruitment test at -
The member, whose name I will purposely omit, sent a photo of themselves to me. However, it had been manipulated so that his undercover identity was not blown. I could still tell it was second-in-command though. I would never forget those eyes...
Anyway, image manipulation. What a fun technology to engage learners. After all, is not half the battle of effectively teaching students, first motivating them?
Initially I presumed that this would only seem enjoyable to learners of primary cohorts. This, of course, was dispelled the more I found myself being distracted by the abundance of features that are contained on Picnik, one of several image manipulation software available throughout the e-world.
My concern would be the opportunity, or lack of, to consistently implement such a technology during lesson delivery. There are merely a few instances I can consider although maybe my ideas are clouded by the more mature nature of secondary learners.
The following is the aforementioned picture -
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
While I place a copious amount of trust in the ability of the Elite Team, it is great to know that other teams that are striving to use, not abuse the e-world, exist.
My meeting with one member of this syndicate, which I have entitled the Justice Team, happened today when I was assessing the benefits of Flickr.
The member was Creative Commons, a non-profit licensing company that offers alternatives to full copyright. This notion is significant to the development of e-learning as the ethical values of a learning manager are likely to be imitated by their respective learners. If a learning manager were to cheat, steal or disregard the labyrinth of legalities in the e-world than so may one, a few, or even all their learners.
In addition, Flickr is a website with arguably one of the largest collection of images. These images could be used for learning purposes when designing lessons. Your contemporary world heavily relies on visual consolidation thus Flickr is an ideal and legitimate means of ICT application.
Here is an image I found using Flickr that a fellow Elite Team member submitted. It depicts a product of the future I am from. The future where the power of the e-world has fell into the wrong hands, or should I say hard drives.
Although in retrospect I do not understand why. Maybe I was closer to submitting to the dark side of the e-world than I presumed.
Recently, I have been confronted by PowerPoint and now perceive it in an entirely different light. After all, it is capable of delivering an array of video, sound, image, and anecdote, on a single slide!
I can only imagine channeling this variety of communication forms at one time to a group of learners whom all maintain diverse learning styles.
A defining observation that I have made since my crossing from the future has been that even though learning styles are vital for effective learning, they are most often dismissed. In my future, many students’ learning journey were cut short or lost because of this.
While this occurs for several reasons it seems to transpire most when a learning manager does not attain the resources or time to design alternate learning experiences based on communicative form.
However, PowerPoint serves as a vehicle of overcoming this. Together with it, the learning manager can present the same lesson with the same information or the same slide yet the learners will receive it differently according to their personality and learning manners.
A quarter of the way through my mission and already, I can feel the work of the Elite Team changing the destiny of learning and the e-world…
Of course, transferring the physical to the technological does obtain various benefits such as the ability to blog, frequently update and customize one’s regime, learning experience plans, and social networks.
Overall, this technology can be utilized as an e-repository for an e-learning manager. Time and access efficiency are fundamental aspects of managing learning and with e-portfolios, one can ensure both.
What better way but to design ICT learning and ultimately take on the e-world, than by using products of the e-world itself. Now that is effectiveness.
Geared with one of these tools, the learning manager is truly able to use the e-world as the managing force its potential holds. Furthermore, e-portfolios can establish productive connections between teacher and student.
Mahara is an organization that facilitates the creation of these great delivery technologies. It can be accessed at via this link - http://mahara.org/
With this race on our side the internet would be a more user friendly system. For instance, rather than reading a bulk mass of written instruction or information, one can listen and watch a humanoid-like technology that presents the same content. This would mainly appeal to those learners who are visually and audibly inclined. Similarly, younger learners may remain more attentive if a character explains the lesson as opposed to the mundane, 'normal' learning manager they are familiarised with.
The greatest ideal with Avatars though, is that they can be manipulated. They are willing to say or do whatever you require them to do.
I came across with one such Avatar that was prepared to portray a learner from the future where the e-world was neglected in the classroom. Heed his warning...
The creators of this clip who, like me, are clearly from the future; explain this technology’s ability by using the analogy of a camping trip. Although, I read between the lines and interpreted the message as wikis can be safehouses for the Elite Team to infiltrate the e-world. Likewise, they can be formed as virtual classrooms or a discussion board for learners.
Moreover, constructivism is a primary learning theory, which the core of wikis support ‘that personalizes the learning for each individual. No two learners have had the same experiences, and according to constructivism principles, the mental processing that occurs in learners' brains is not the same for all learners for identical learning tasks and activities’ (Aldred 2009).
I can see this being an effective medium particularly for group assignments in the future. This would transpire as wikis enable learner interaction and more importantly, learner input.
While it is simply the reversal of information feeds, such a technology is incredible for ensuring consistency and remaining updated in this rapidly, ever-changing world. Surely, one of the Elite Team who was sent back before me is responsible for this.
Nevertheless, if contemporary learners are able to tap into this abundant stream of knowledge, then it would be near impossible to hinder their access to learning.
In addition, having information directed to them, rather than them having to scout it out in the near infinite vast that the e-world consumes, protects learners against many of the harms that linger amidst the e-world. After all, let us be honest; some areas of the internet can be a cesspool of inappropriate content that are capable of inflicting damage, ranging from the psychological to your average virus.
RRS aggregators are a system of networking; therefore learners will be able to connect with each other as well as the world. This delivery method also fosters learner diversity as learners can personally select what knowledge they intend to endeavor. As this decision will most probably be based on personal aspiration or interests, there will be no conforming limitations.
If RSS begins to be implemented into the learning environment immediately, I can foresee that the future I am from will never happen. Instead of being a place of structured and somewhat outdated regime, whose society stigmatizes the e-world for all its hazards; it will be a place where learning is student-directed and occurs regularly, both in and out of the physical classroom.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
My name is Chris Parsons.
I am the leader of the Elite Team, a covert unit of humans who have been waring against the e-world in your near future.
Many of the Elite Team have either submitted to digital addiction or have already been sent back to infiltrate the matrix, the technological realm, the e-world, or whatever you are currently labeling it.
I am the last member to come back.
The year I have come back from is 2023. I cannot describe the state of Earth except saying that humanity is virtually void.
It appears that the e-world has already established itself as the central focus of your contemporary world.
Humans of today are, most definitely, immersed in technology to the point of survival!
For instance, one of the first people I encountered upon my return was a teenage girl who appeared to be suffering from withdrawals from Facebook. I will be sure to post the audio recording of her statement however, until then, here is the unedited transcript.
Teenage Girl:This is exactly how the rise of the e-world commences and its grasp tightens.
If I don't check my Facebook account in the next five minutes, I am going to die!
In the near future a syndicate of juggernauts that rule the e-world ultimately control Earth; attempting to suppress humanity into extinction.
Facebook is one such technological being.
My mission however, is not to expose such threats, but to explore the e-world for delivery technologies that foster active learning. Some of these have been created by various members of the Elite Team who have been living amongst you. Their reason for this being to create a platform for practical and innovative use of technological competencies.
Our mission derives from the strategy, "If you can't beat them, join them."
This does not mean that we are submitting to the e-world but rather using it against itself!
The e-world has such potential for productivity, task orientation, networking, communication, the list continues. Yet if such potential is not harnessed now then all will be lost. For once, the battlefield is not in our physical world. To fight this war we must fight technology with technology, using it for good.
Over the next few weeks I will post my findings on each.
I trust you will join me and the Elite Team.