Friday, August 21, 2009

Reflective Synopsis

The journey I have taken through e. learning has shown me just how little I knew about the world of ICT's. At the beginning of my professional blog, I considered myself knowledgeable when it comes to anything to do with computers. I now realise that being competent at operating computers, and the graphic and web design that I enjoy is only a small part of what is to offer.

It was difficult for me to adjust to the concept of a few of the ICT's I studied. I had no idea what VoiceThread, RSS or Podcasts were. It was interesting to learn about them, and I am sure that in my future studies and career I will use them as they are helpful.

There are many valuable ICT tools which I have covered in my blog, I believe the most valued to myself would be LMS, as it is designed to support learning and hold courses. As ICT's are taking the world by storm, many distant learners are relying upon technology to support their studies. LMS is a great platform for educational institutes to work with.

Following other learners blogs, I found it interesting to see the ideas they came up with. Kasey had interesting points on using music from the web in classrooms, and I was really interested in learning that Carissa is in highschool studying through the SUN program, just proof of another inventive learning experience that schools are implementing!

By following other learners blogs, I found it easier to keep with mine, as I felt that support was being offered and encouraged by their regular updates.

I received little comment on my blogs, however ayura, a teacher, commented on my posts concerning RSS and WebQuest, giving me the views of an educator and where they had implimented these ICT's before!

Studying e. learning has given me insight to what is on offer to educational institutes currently and what is in store for the future. It is amazing how much the internet has evolved in the space of a few years, and all the new ideas that are being implemented in to our schooling systems!

ICT's are shaping the way of our future, and giving many disadvantaged students an advantage to succeed.


Wikis are websites that allowed information to be linked within each other and edited to collaborate information to use as an encyclopaedia, they are often used by organisations to create intranet and knowledge management systems. Wikipedia is one of the best known Wikis (Wikipedia 2009).

Sites such as Wetpaint (2009) are free Wiki based sites which serve as a social forum that combine blog features and Wiki features.

Wikis are designed so that all users within the wiki page have access to update information, edit information, or add more pages, such as Wikipedia allowing all users to be able to edit the pages of the encyclopaedia (and why it is not considered to be an academic resource).

Wikis would be of great use to schools, where students would be working on group projects. They would all be joined to the one forum, and be able to update and add information, while commenting on the forums and providing feedback to one another.


Wetpaint 2009, 'What is Wetpaint?', viewed 21 August 2009,

Wikipaedia 2009, 'Wiki', viewed 21 August 2009,


Using music from the web can be a tricky business. Users must ensure that they are using music that has not been copyrighted. Copyright music restricts the act of reproducing, or playing without a license or permission.

Sites such as Incompetech (2009) offer original music, that they have uploaded for general use by the public. The music is safe to be put on websites or used in classes as educational tools, as it has no copyright restrictions, being kept under the Creative Commons: Attribution 3.0 license.

Music is a great stimulation for learners, often getting them into the mood for learning, helping them think and become active. Teachers could use music within the classroom to help students become relaxed, or get into the "mood" of a subject.

Background music is often very engaging during speeches or power point presentations as well, helping students stay focused.

Teachers need to be careful in what music they pick, as some may offend students, or disengage them completely.


Incompetech 2009, 'Royalty-Free Music Licenses', viewed 21 August 2009,


When I first heard the term 'VoiceThread', I thought it related to a web community board that used voice comments instead of text. I have since learnt that VoiceThread has the implication that messages can be sent over the site in various ways such as voice, video and picture to get a view and topic across.

VoiceThread (2009) describes it as

A VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate pages and leave comments in 5 ways - using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam). Share a VoiceThread with friends, students, and colleagues for them to record comments too.

VoiceThread offers section specifically available to educational institutes, with focuses on K-12 and higher education. They offer a safe environment in which students can interact with each other, and only those invited into the group would be able to view and make comments on the threads (VoiceThread 2009). This would be of great benefits to educational institutes in providing interactive, web and ICT based assessment pieces for students to focus on.


VoiceThread 2009, 'VoiceThread', viewed 21 August 2009,

Thursday, August 20, 2009


In today’s modern age, technology is taking hold within the learning environment of schooling institutes. Computers are relied upon for a vast variety of educational tools used in classrooms. Learning management systems (LMS) are software designed for delivering, tracking and managing education. They range from tracking learning records, to delivering courses over the internet.

Andrius (2003) describes LMS as “Very simply put it is a software application or Web-based technology that supports the management of learning. Typically, a LMS provides practitioners with a way to upload, create and deliver content, monitor student participation, and assess student performance.” He goes on to explain the benefits of LMS in distance education,

LMSs also have the capacity to provide support for distance learning. It is generally recognised that courses can often start anytime and study habits can vary from student to student, depending on their available time, commitment, etc. A LMS can simply provide a distribution mechanism for the course material and provide online access to tutor help when and if required.

Universities throughout Australia are currently using LMS for many courses, examples of these are Blackboard, Moodle and Webfuse.

The above mentioned LMS are used by CQUniversity, CQUniversity (2009) are currently piloting the new online LMS Moodle with 35 courses in term 2 2009 (read the entire article by clicking here). The purpose of piloting Moodle is to eventually run all courses through Moodle, eliminating Blackboard and Webfuse.

LMS are of great advantage to universities, as students are available at different times to study, so it provides a level environment for all to access at their own pace. Students are able to upload assessments, communicate with lecturers, tutors and other students, and access resources.


Andrius, J (2003), 'Learning Management Systems: A Teacher's Perspective', Australian Flexible Learning Community, viewed 20 August 2009,

CQUniversity (2009), 'Moodle for Students', viewed 20 August 2009,

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Interactive whiteboard works on the basis that it is the same as a normal whiteboard, you can write anything you want on it. Interactive whiteboard differs in that it is linked to a computer, so any item on the computer can be opened on the white board and then be edited.

Department of Education and Training Western Australia (2009) supports interactive whiteboards as an educational tool within schools

As schools move progressively into a digital learning environment, interactive whiteboards are being widely adopted in primary and secondary classrooms.

Connected physically to a computer and a projector by a USB cable, or wirelessly using technology such as Bluetooth, the whiteboard display typically emulates the computer mouse and keyboard and is operated by using a special pen, or finger touch, depending on the model. Either front or rear projection models can be used and software is available to support all learning areas.'

Watch this short video found on YouTube (2009) which shows a Social Studies teacher demonstrating to his class how interactive whiteboards work:

YouTube - Interactive Whiteboard Demonstration


Department of Education and Training Western Australia 2009, 'Interactive Whiteboards', View19 August 2009,

YouTube 2009, 'Interactive Whiteboard Demonstration', Viewed 19 August 2009,


Static websites are a basic web site which are easy and affordable to make. They hold the same information presented to all users to download.

The most basic form of websites, static websites hold content that rarely needs to be updated or added on to (Show The world 2009).

This would be a great tool for schools to use as basic web projects. Students could be assigned a topic which they must create a page for. For a basic assignment for middle school students, they could be asked to research an animal and create a page. The welcoming page could be a brief description of the animal, then have linked content pages for information on habitat, life style, life span and species in the family. This would be a good example of a static page as it is set information which would not need to be updated, and would present itself the same to anyone who viewed it.

Business Systems Online (2009) offers static website development and state that

A dynamic website is useful when you are looking for a site that can perform a number of functions. These sites create more of an interactive experience. A dynamic site is powered by a website management system, bringing all the content together and allowing you to change the content as you need. A dynamic website also allows you to change one aspect of your site, for example, the design without having to re-enter all the other data.

A static website on the other hand just sits there passively. The functionality of this type of site is not as diverse as a dynamic site and any changes that you need made needs to be done by us. A static website works mainly as an online brochure, making you visible on the internet. This can be a starting option for businesses that aren’t at a stage where a dynamic site is affordable for them. In the past we have done a number of these sites for ‘contact us’ pages, which was all that was necessary for it to serve its purpose.

Comparing static websites to dynamic websites shows that static websites are designed for viewing and hold very little interactive qualities. They are great as information websites. Static websites are valuable tools as educational resources, as they can introduce students to the basics of web design.


Business Systems Online 2009, 'Dynamic & Static websites', viewed 19 August 2009,

Show the World 2009, 'Static or Information websites', viewed 19 August 2009,

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Picnik is a create photo editing site that enables a multitude of effects that can be used on photos.

This would be of benefit to art classes, students could be assigned photography assessments, which they then need to edit in Picnik in creative ways.

Picnik works with many platforms, extracting photos from social networking sites and photo feeds, to use the photos that you have already posted on the web (Picnik 2009).

It is a helpful tool for users who do not posses any photo editing software on their computers, as it fixes photo impairments, re-sizes, crops and applies fun effects.

Here is an example with a photo I edited from my Facebook account:


Picnik 2009, 'Photo editing made fun', viewed 18 August 2009,


I found Mahara to be a very interesting educational program.

Mahara is designed to be a blog, social networking site, resume builder, file depository. Already used by schools and institutes, Mahara is a powerful tool which promotes user interactivity and learning.

High school business classes could benefit through this, by getting students to create portfolios on their career aspirations and building resumes for potential jobs. They could track their process and learning experiences through the blog section, upload assignments to the file depository and keep track of their peers progress.

Watch this short video found by Mahara (2009):


Mahara 2009, 'An Introduction to Mahara', viewed 18 August 2009,


RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is a tool that publishes web feeds such as blogs and audio and video items. It shows the order that they are presented in, featuring time and date and information on what they are about.

'RSS (Rich Site Summary) is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. Many news-related sites, weblogs and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS Feed to whoever wants it.' (What is RSS? 2009).

I opened my blog feed with Google Reader (2009), an RSS reader to gain a better grasp on the blogs I had subscribed to.

As you can see in my screen shot, they are easier to follow than what is provided on the Blogger Dashboard, as it expands to a whole page with cascading entries on the left, and the information for each blog in the centre.

Take another look at when I open a blog:

I have now navigated to Carissa's page, which has come into the reader where the blog explanations had been moments before. The layout stays the same, being designed to be a user-friendly interface.

RSS is a helpful tool that offers a view platform for easily accessing web feeds.


Google Reader 2009, 'Google Reader', viewed 18 August 2009,

What is RSS? 2009, 'What is RSS? RSS Explained', viewed 18 August 2009,


WebQuests are an interesting tool for teachers to use in their classrooms. Working on the basis of being inquiry orientated, students research questions to draw out information on a topic that has been presented to them. This saves time by avoiding having to view numerous sites to find specific information, as the information constructed in WebQuests have been designed by teachers, being designed to be seen by the views and perceptions of students.

WebQuest Direct (2009) describes WebQuests as 'activities, using Internet resources, which encourage students to use higher order thinking skills to solve a real messy problem. WebQuests are a sub-set of Problem-Based Learning (PBL).'

The idea is for information to be made readily availabe to give the student more time to critically analyse and evaluate the topics they are being presented.

Read this page about Learning Quests suggested by WebQuests Direct (2009) to gain a greater understanding of how WebQuests are a great tool for learning using the web.


WebQuest Direct (2009), 'What is a WebQuest?', viewed 18 August 2009,


I had no idea what Podcasting was until I watched a video on YouTube.

Watch this short video to gain an understanding of what Podcasting is:

YouTube - Podcasting in Plain English

Pod = Personal On Demand

Podcasting is a very valuable tool that could be utilised to great lengths on many platforms. Learning channels could be subscribed to by students to be watched at any time.

Podcasts have the benefits of being downloaded free by anyone, covering a wide range of topics, and being interactive by having files constantly added for others to access.


YouTube (2009), 'Podcasting in Plain English' viewed 18 August 2009,


Considering this assessment consists of compiling a professional blog, we need to take a look at what a blog actually is! (2009) defines blogs as 'Blogs, short for web-logs, are a form of online journal.'

Blogs are interactive, letting the user control how private their blog is, whether all posts can be viewed by anyone, themselves, or those watching their blog and blogs they are watching.

They are used to present any kind of information from personal to business.

Blogs could be used within organisations by employees to give brief updates on projects for other employees to view at their leisure, or by schools and universities for students to communicate interactively on a level playing field.

They are of great use for communicating with distant colleagues, friends, family and peers.

Some other blog example of blog sites are:

The Online Diary

References: 2009, 'What is Google Blogger?', viewed 18 August 2009,


Similar to Google Maps, Google Earth supplies users with the abilities to travel anywhere around the globe to view satellite images of specific locations!

Google Earth is a great tool that could be used by any body for different reasons. Individuals could view an area that they potentially wish to live in and schools could use this in Geography classes for studies on areas.

It is a free down loadable program which has the option of upgrading to the advanced version for $400.

According to Google Enterprise (2009), 'Organizations with existing investments in geographic information system (GIS) technology and data realize the full potential of these existing investments by using Google Earth as a cost-effective means of making GIS data usable by the organization's end users. This proven solution is in use by many organizations today'

Google Earth is a proven method of providing geographic information throughout the world, and a great ICT tool!


Google Enterprise 2009, 'Google Earth pro for business users', viewed 18 August 2009.


Wikipedia is an interesting and interactive web encyclopedia that users can share information with on any topic.

Many interesting articles and information is presented on Wikipedia, however as this is not actually an academic site, it is not the best reference to find correct and precise information.

Articles found on Wikipedia are often truthful, however as anybody can add information on to areas and enter input, some articles may be flawed.

click here to find the various meanings Wikipedia comes up with for 'ICT'!

If not an academically acclaimed encyclopedia, Wikipedia truly does make up for this with all the interesting information it holds.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


It is interesting the ways directions can be given when wanting to reach a destination. There are a wide variety of choices surrounding this including UBD's, Navman,, Google Maps and more.

I accessed Google Maps to find directions on how to travel to Fremantle from my base in Kalamunda.

This is of value to those who have access to the internet, instead of having to purchase a Navman or carry a UBD with you. Google Maps can show you directions to every where in the world, and are of good use to research an unfamiliar area, or find directions to places you have never been before.

See below the route I mapped to reach Fremantle!

View Larger Map


Swan Valley 1
Originally uploaded by clairjk
Flickr is a free, interactive photo management and sharing application that strives to achieve its goals of "Helping people make their content available to the people that matter to them" and "Enabling new ways of organising photos and video" (Flickr 2009). Flickr works on the basis that you can search for any topic, and all photos that have been labeled or "tagged" under that topic will appear.

I created an account on Flickr to document some of my adventures in Perth.

Check them out by clicking here.

Above is one of the photos that you can find on my Flickr.


Flickr 2009, 'About Flickr', viewed 13 August 2009,

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I believe many of us have experienced the phenomenon of youtube at some point, and what better way to be involved in ICT than searching youtube for an explanation.

Youtube is an interactive video sharing site that is free for anybody to access. People from different backgrounds can upload any videos they like to share with the world, it is a fun, interesting and often educational forum for all.

Watch this short video that asks school students their views on ICT's to gain a greater understanding on how ICT's can be of value to people of all ages.


Voki caught my eye the instant I moved my mouse across the screen and it followed... at first a little creepy, but soon became interesting. I decide to create my own. Aside from being an interesting tool for learners to experiment with, it could also be used to help learners in many ways. Learners could utilise this tool by typing sentences, then replaying them to gain a grasp on voice tone and pace. It could also be used by distance learners to record their voice over and share with other learners their animated selves.

Listen to my Voki creation for a further understanding of its purpose:

Extremely late start!

Embarrassingly so, I have finally had a chance to make a contribution to my blog.
Due to many reasons (excuses?) such as moving house - becoming very sick from moving house, work/having to catch up on work from being sick and traveling to Perth to visit my family, I am finally finding the time in my holidays to put this blog in to action!

Being naturally a computer savvy person, I find it hard to admit I actually have found the moodle pilot difficult to navigate and hard to understand.

I think this stems from my natural understanding of conventional learning platforms so any kind of new concept and more "casual" learning styles are being rejected from my train of thought (my thoughts: THIS IS NOT WHAT LEARNING IS!!).

So instead of sitting around and dwelling in a shell of ignorance, it is time to open my mind and let the pedagogy's seep in...