The End to End All Ends

10:05 am / Posted by Aaron Quilty /

Life Long Learning is a continuous journey, it never stops, it never sleeps but it always eats. You see from the minute we are conceived we are growing, we are developing and we are transforming into something that is far beyond measure. We just encountered, explored and been on a journey through 25 different delivery technologies and student centered technologies in just a matter of weeks. That’s a big ask for what we think the human brain can undertake and withhold but the reality is that these things, these technologies are all around us, and our Brain is the greatest piece of technology you can ever encounter. You see the typical adult brain contains 15 billion to 200 billion neurons. Most people think that we use the lower figure but still that is equivalent to writing zero on a piece of paper every second for 90 years. Carl Sagan once said that “the brain is a very big place in a very small space”.

The 25 tools of Technology that we look at included:
1. Blogs and Aggregators
2. Setting up an e.Portfolio
3. Mahara
4. Voki Avatars
5. PowerPoint
6. Learning Management Systems (LMS)
7. Interactive Whiteboards
8. Video
9. Static Websites

10. Flickr
11. Image Manipulation
12. Animations and Simulations
13. Quizzes
14. YouTube
15. Podcasting
16. Google Earth
17. Webquests
18. WIKIPedia
19. Slideshare
20. File Storage
21. Using music on the Web
22. Voice thread
23. RSS Feeds
24. Social Networking
25. Digital Story Telling

Each tool is as effective as one another but it depends on who is using it and what they are using it for. Frank Borman once said that “Exploration is really the essence of the human Spirit”. As I explored these tools I came to the conclusion that most of them have the same purpose for what they are or can be used for in the classroom. Blogs and Aggregators, e.Portfolios, Mahara, LMSs, Webquests, WIKIs, etc., all of which include creating and designing your own website. It depends on what the designer likes. Personally for myself, if I were to create one of my own websites for the classroom I would use Mahara for the main page with feeds to different Webquests that I have designed for the class. I personally would do it that way because I am able to interact with my students outside school hours if they want some guidance, I’ll have different links going to other resources that the students can follow and I can use the students work on the page so other students can look at them themselves. Other links I would include would be all of the different designs that I and the students could create or embed for presentations such as YouTube, Podcasting, SlideShare, File Storage, Using Music on the web, Quizzes, Voice thread and many more that we touched base on.

The Internet is another world, the more we find out about who we are the more the internet will expand. However there is a problem, the more advanced we get the more we communicate with each other. We’re no longer in the days where you can write a letter and then weeks or even months later that person will receive what you sent. We are in the days where things are instant and this can and are a problem. As a teacher or even as a parent when using the internet we have to always be aware of what our kids are doing, creating or saying. As a parent you know you would not allow your child to go somewhere unless you knew it was safe. This is how we need to monitor our kids and even ourselves. We don’t want our kids/student and even ourselves to be caught up in any exposure with inappropriate material, any physical danger, or any harassment or bullying but we want to protect their privacy.

The more I used these tools and the more I found out about them through talking with my lecturer, my fellow classmates and to what I was following through the portal, it is a risk using these things but with the way the world is going, these are the best tools to be using in the classroom. Our kids want to know more and if the world is going in the direction of using technical devices and our kids are following that then let’s not bore them with the traditional pen and paper but lets use these technologies that we have just explored to engage our students in a more productive way and set them up to be Life Long Learners.

Remember what Waterhouse (2005) says...
"e-learning involves improving teaching and learning using instructional strategies enhanced by technology, especially computer technology (p. 3). At a very basic level e-learning is using information communication technologies (ICTs) to engage, enhance and extend learning in flexible and innovative ways, now and in the future".

If these ICT are expanding then the knowledge of our teachers today need to expand. So let's pick it and run with it. We don't want to be behind the eight ball and miss out on the opportunity in teaching the students how to be active learners, but let's use these ICT Learning Design Frameworks to become the teacher of today.


Comment by Kim on 21 August 2009 at 12:59 pm

Aaron, I really enjoyed reading your blog, and in particular your overall sypnosis. You have a way with words this makes for easy reading. I agree with a lot of the points you note in your sypnosis, particularly you inference to the expansion of the internet and internet safety, these are important aspects to consider. E-Learning holds great prospects for educators but we need to ensure that we use it appropriately to ensure safe, effective and active learning environments.

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