Week 9 & 10: Peer Feedback

feedback

This week, we were asked to mark other blogs and provide formative feedback. I was given feedback from the following peers:

Gemma Clarke

Stacey McLaren

Overall, I was satisfied with the feedback provided by my peers. I agreed with Stacey’s points with regards to grammatical errors and provide discussions on learning theories in every blog post. On the other hand, Gemma felt that my blog layout was too simple, boring, and hard to follow. When I was developing my blog, I decided to keep the design simple and minimal. Understanding that each reader has their own personal taste, I was happy to embrace Gemma’s opinion and reconsider my blog layout. Based on my peers’ feedback, I made a few changes to my blog. Firstly, I reviewed all my blog posts for grammatical errors and revised to include discussions around learning theories. In addition, I chose a different blog design and customised a colour scheme to suit.

I really enjoyed my journey of creating and writing my first blog on a subject that is relevant to the use of this particular tool. Through each week’s learning, I discovered and learnt new software that I had never heard of and realised the impacts of technology use in our daily life. I look forward to implementing my learnings and developing digital pedagogies when I start my new career as an educator.

References

Discovery In Action. (2014). Feedback [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.discoveryinaction.com.au/latest-news/the-most-powerful-feedback-comes-from-your-peers/

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Week 8: Life-long Learning

This week’s topic focuses on life-long learning and becoming a global citizen. We were tasked to put together a short presentation on our chosen organisation using a software that we have never used before. I have chosen to present on the Oceania Project using Prezi (view below).

I was highly impressed with Prezi and how it has reinvented the way presentations have been traditionally delivered. After viewing a few example presentations, I found them to be extremely interactive and felt like the presentations were ‘holding my hands’ and guiding me through the narrative of the story. The concept of ‘flying’ and ‘zooming’ around the presentation trigger’s the viewer’s sight and hearing senses, similar to watching an animation or movie.

What I loved about the software was how easy it is to put a simple yet highly effective presentation. The editing functions are self-explanatory and allows users to incorporate most digital content types including YouTube videos, music, voice-overs and many others. Another great feature about Prezi that I found is that your presentations are mobile, meaning anyone can create and edit their presentations anywhere as long as they have access to internet and a device. Presentations can also be shared online, downloaded for offline viewing and can even be embedded into blogs!

There is a wide range of resources available on the internet on how to implement Prezi in education. I found a strategy guide that lists useful tips on how to fit Prezi into curriculum and corresponding grade-based lesson plans to help guide students without overwhelming them with information (readwritethink, n.d.). In addition, the following Prezi also offers tips on how to use Prezi as a teaching tool effectively (Hill, 2013).

I believe that Prezi is a great teaching resource that can be applied and used by both teachers and students. Teachers can use Prezi to present on a specific subject topic while students can use Prezi for a project or assessment. To create their presentation, students need to search, compile, analyse and choose suitable content for their presentation. As information becomes global with technology, these critical thinking skills are essential for students to develop into proficient users and life-long learners (Howell, 2012). Presentations on Prezi can also be carried out in groups to encourage team work and provide opportunities for peer to peer feedback.

The use of Prezi can be applied to the Connectivism theory. This theory involves developing a network of digital information that is driven by needs and drawing connections between ideas. Students will need to make meaning of the information found, assess its credibility and connect ideas into their presentation (Howell, 2012). Furthermore, preparing the presentation on Prezi not only compliments connectivist learning it also facilitates critical thinking and cultivates social interaction. This is a tool that I will definitely implement in my digital pedagogy.

References

Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT: Digital pedagogies for collaboration and creativity. South Melbourne, Australia : Oxford University Press.

Hill, P. (2011, October 28). Copy of Thoughts on using Prezi as a teaching tool [Prezi Presentation]. Retrieved from http://prezi.com/m5ck-ufn10hg/copy-of-thoughts-on-using-prezi-as-a-teaching-tool/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy#

Readwritethink. (n.d.). Strategy guide: Teaching with zooming slideshows through Prezi. Retrieved from http://www.readwritethink.org/professional-development/strategy-guides/teaching-with-zooming-slideshows-30886.html

Week 7: Digital Blurring

Digital blurring‘ is a term used to describe the blurring of boundaries between the physical and digital world. The common theme often referenced in digital blurring is the concept of storytelling, which often ensues two-way communication between the physical (the human participant) and the digital content (game, movies or videos). For example, gamers strategize ways to unlock stages according to the narrative story of an online game or children singing along and mimicking dance moves of a Sesame Street episode. In a simple and effective way, Stackhouse (2013) explained the power of storytelling in a digital world through games and social media and how this affects us in our physical world. Check out his video below:

This week’s task involves creating a game using Sploder, a free online gaming software that allows your to create your own game using five pre-existing themes. These themes are Retro Arcade, Platform Creator, Physics Puzzle Maker, Classic Shooter and the Algorithm Crew. Each theme contains elements that allows game-makers to create multiple stages by increasing difficulty of the game. Sploder also has a YouTube channel containing video tutorials and examples.

Here is the link to my game: http://www.sploder.com/?s=d004blk6 

I spend approximately two hours creating my game and only reached Level 2 within that space of time. The majority of this time was spent on understanding what the features and functions are for each element. I believe that the more time I spend on practising, the easier and quicker it would be to create my game. However, I do have some reservations when considering the appropriateness in introducing arcade-like game activities in a classroom environment.

I fully support the use of blogs, pinterest, videos and presentation tools in the classroom environment and that these resources have been tried and tested by educators around the world. However,  I may have a biased opinion about the use of computer games such as Sploder in education. I personally do not find computer games fun at all and I spent most of my childhood playing outdoors, toys and reading books. I do enjoy playing Wii as it involved more physicality than just using a console. Howell (2012) suggest that Wii games help promote sporting skills and techniques but selection of games require careful consideration to ensure that the desired learning outcomes are achieved.

In saying that, some of the features in Sploder does promote critical thinking in building the game such as understanding physics, gravity, springs, direction, friction and material types. I also used skills like drag and drop, resize, and customising. In two separate TedTalk videos, MacGonigal (2010) and Chatfield (2010) conveyed strong messages on why computer games should be implemented in education. Both speakers emphasised the pleasurable feeling of being rewarded encourages continued participation and team efforts. This concept of reward and encouragement is equally applied in non-technological teaching environment.

By the end of this week, I felt that I should reconsider my initial uncertainty of introducing computer games in the classroom environment. The amount of time spent in understanding elements within Sploder and designing my game led me to feel slightly frustrated and afraid of using this game. Therefore, I will continue to research further on the use of Sploder or other emerging games and consider incorporation of games into my digital pedagogy.

References

Chatfield, T. (2010, July). Tom Chatfield: 7 ways games reward the brain [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/tom_chatfield_7_ways_games_reward_the_brain

Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT: Digital pedagogies for collaboration and creativity. South Melbourne, Australia : Oxford University Press.

MacGonigal, J. (2010, February). Jane MacGonigal: Gaming can make a better world [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world

Adam Stakhouse (2013, May 21). Blurring the Lines: Storytelling in a Digital World [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c0bEZS1jC4

Week 6: Digital Fluency

images

About Scratch

This week, we learnt to use the program Scratch to create a story, game or animation. Scratch is a free programming software developed by the MIT Scratch Team and is designed to “help young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively”.

My first impressions of the Scratch website is that it is user-friendly and attractive. The main page contains ‘featured projects’ and other animations which the ‘community is loving’ and current animation themes. It drew me to click on one of the ‘featured projects’ to have a first look at what Scratch is about. This page reminds me of the YouTube homepage where users can easily access ‘suggested’ videos with just one click.

Browsing through the Scratch website, I was highly impressed that Scratch has established an online community platform for educators, researchers and parents to share their Scratch stories and experiences called ScratchEd. There is a wide range of resources shared by community members which are categorised under educational level, content type, curricular area and language. Of particular interest, there are approximately 600+ videos available under the preschool, kindergarten and elementary levels.

Apart from the tutorial video made available on the Blackboard, I viewed a number of tutorials and examples on YouTube to help myself familiarise with the functions on Scratch (just search ‘scratch animation tutorial‘ and you will find loads of videos!). I decided to create a game based around a hungry monkey looking for bananas in the jungle. As I was creating my game, I found Scratch easy to use in terms of its functions and user-friendliness. I could build scripts by using the ‘drag-and-drop’ gesture to place functions into the positions I want. What I found most challenging behind creating my game is determining the logic behind the game in order to achieve the intended outcome. For example, I had to work out how to make the banana change position as soon as the monkey touches the banana and making this change a random one.

My Scratch game can be found herehttp://scratch.mit.edu/projects/32264456/

My ‘Monkey and Bananas’ game is relatively simple, which is more suitable towards preschool students. It requires students to be able to demonstrate proficiency in moving the mouse-pointer towards the ‘changing’ bananas. To make this game more challenging, I could set a time limit to the game and add other ‘obstacles’ such as a tiger chasing the monkey, so scores are reduced if the monkey touches the tiger.

Overall, I found Scratch to be a great resource that can be implemented in the classroom environment. However, teachers should first familiarise themselves with the program and how this resource can be used to assist in their digital pedagogies (Howell, 2012). Teachers can create story-telling animations and games that can be applied to many subject areas. Students can develop skills and abilities depending on the level of education, such as proficiency in using mouse-pointers and keyboard words in accordance with the required response, timing, critical thinking of logical sequence as well as understanding basic terminology and meanings of the program. From simple scripts in preschool to more complex ones in primary school, teachers can also set tasks for students to create their own game with room for creativity. This is all part of the process to help students develop the skills they need to be digitally fluent.

References

Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT: Digital pedagogies for collaboration and creativity. South Melbourne, Australia : Oxford University Press.

Scratch (n.d.). About Scratch. Retrieved from http://scratch.mit.edu/about/

ScratchEd (n.d.). Resources. Retrieved from http://scratched.gse.harvard.edu/resources

Week 5: Digital Information

It would not be surprising to say that if you have encountered digital hardware at some stage in your life such as mobile phones, televisions, tablets or computers, what you see and hear from these digital devices is also known as ‘digital information’. To put simply, digital information refers to the data that you come across ‘online’, such as online news, Twitter, Facebook, emails,text message, blogs, images, games, applications, videos, music and many more. This bombardment of digital information can be overwhelming to adults, let alone young children. So, what can educators do to help children learn how to filter, organise and prioritise the information they receive?

In this week’s task, we learnt how to use Pinterest, a social scrapbook that allows users to ‘pin’ their favourite digital information on to their ‘board’. Pinterest allows users to share visual material, including images, articles, websites and videos. My experience in setting up my Pinterest board was very rewarding as I discovered an abundance of resources through my peers and across the Pinterest social network. I found Pinterst really useful to organise my ideas and allows me to return to my board at any time without having to search for the same information again.

Using Pinterest in education

Using Pinterest in education

As an educator, I see many benefits incorporating Pinterest in teaching and learning. Through collaborative projects, students get to brainstorm ideas and learn how to compile, organise and store content. At the same time, teachers can demonstrate ways to search for materials using effective keywords and how to filter information critically. Pinterest also encourages social interactions and peer feedback with students as well as teachers (BBC Active, n.d.).

Furthermore, Pinterest is a mobile application that is not limited to the confines of a classroom. Students can easily work on their project using their tablets and mobile phones. The flexibility and effectiveness of Pinterest in promoting positive social interaction and encouraging creativity is certainly appealing and I look forward to applying this resource in my future education career.

Pinterest is not the only resource available for educational use, I came across Educlipper which is designed specifically with teachers and students in mind. It has added features such as setting up ‘classes’ and allows users to upload Powerpoint presentations, word files, excel files, PDFs and many more. Check out the Educlipper website and the video tutorial below.

References

BBC Active (n.d). Using Pinterest for education. Retrieved from http://www.bbcactive.com/BBCActiveIdeasandResources/UsingPinterestfor
Education.aspx

Hopkins, D. (2012, December 18). Using Pinterest in the classroom. Retrieved from http://www.dontwasteyourtime.co.uk/social-network/using-pinterest-in-the-classroom/

Week 4 : Participation and the Digital Divide, who misses out?

This week’s topic on ‘Digital Divide’ has been an eye opener for me, primarily because I had not given much thought about unequal access to Information Communication Technology (ICT) and the Internet. I was privileged enough to grow up in countries, or more specifically capital cities including Kuala Lumpur and Sydney, where the internet is readily accessible to households that can pay for connectivity.

Since the emergence of the Digital Divide in the 1990s, issues surrounding this topic have been heavily discussed by educators, politicians, researchers, employers, and parents. It is important to acknowledge that the Digital Divide is a worldwide concern and a rather complex issue that leads to serious consequences. I decided to develop a mind map to summarise my understanding of the factors that led to the onset of the Digital Divide (click image below to enlarge). I discovered the effectiveness of a mind map in a previous unit EDC131: Valuing Language and have been utilising this tool frequently.

Mind map: factors that contributed to the Digital Divide

Mind map: factors that contributed to the Digital Divide

This week’s task involve creating an infographic that visually represents the issue of a digital divide. Infographic is like a ‘digital poster’ and what makes it visually engaging is that it is a multi-modal representation that consists of different forms of texts including charts, images and diagrams. Before I leaped into creating an infographic, I chose to establish my approach to this task by asking myself the following questions:

  1. Who is my target audience? Educators, parents and students. This means that the language should be simple and not too technical. 
  2. What are the key messages do I want to present? Represent the meaning of digital divide through words and data/graphical representation, illustrating the issues surrounding digital divide and how we can bridge this gap. In essence, my infographic should demonstrate the ‘What, Who, Why and How?’.
  3. Where do I find resources for my infographic? Using readings from this unit and Google search for data and graphics from reliable websites.

There are countless number infrographic tools available on the internet. I discovered a useful blog post that lists out various infographic tools with a summary of its features. I decided to use Piktochart which is suitable for beginners (like me) without any design knowledge. I found Piktochart to be user friendly and self explanatory. There are multiple features available in the free version, such as icons, image editing, fonts and layout options. It took me an hour to create my first infographic and a Wordle which I have created to include as an image (click image below to enlarge).

My first infographic: the Digital Divide

My first infographic

Upon completing my first infographic, I reviewed others created by students in Group 6. Most of the infographics were very creative and addressed a range of issues, such as the digital divide in Australia (Kane, 2014). The key factors that I presented (third block of the infographic) here is directly related to ‘technology-rich’ (understanding), ‘technology-poor’ (lack of skills) and ‘have-nots’ (affordability). As I reflected further, it appears to be somewhat simple and could be improved with more detailed information. Therefore, I decided to revise my infographic to include the mind map which I have developed early in the week (click image below to enlarge).

My final infographic

My final infographic

Infographics is a great tool that can be used in teaching and learning. Teachers can incorporate infographics in lesson plans where students are able to achieve learning outcomes including effective research methods, data collection, analysis and representation digital information types, image editing and enhanced peer feedback . Suggested topics could be current issues or a subject topic being taught. On the other hand, educators can use infographics in various subjects as visual aids to promote learning and engage students. I will most certainly make use of infographics as soon as I start teaching!

To finish off this post, here’s taking infographics just one step further.

References

Analysys Mason (2013, July 8). Bridging the digital divide: connecting the unconnected. Retrieved from: http://www.analysysmason.com/About-Us/News/Insight/Bridging-digital-divide-Jul2013/

Educationcloset (n.d.). Creating infographics in the classroom. Retrieved from http://educationcloset.com/steam/creating-infographics-in-the-classroom/

Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT: digital pedagogies to collaboration and creativity. South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press

Internet World Stats (n.d.).World internet usage and population statistics. Retrieved from http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm

Kane, M. (2014, October 6). Thread: Michelle Kane – Infographic [Group discussion board comment]. Retrieved from https://lms.curtin.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&forum_id=_396024_1&group_id=_122161_1&nav=group_
forum&conf_id=_169419_1&course_id=_71765_1&message_id=_6163753_1

Teacherstechworkshop (n.d.) 19 great tools to create educational infographics. Retrieved from http://www.teacherstechworkshop.com/2013/06/19-great-tools-to-create-educational.html

Jorge R Canedo Estrada (2009, June 29). Growing up – infographic [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgwboxatZPw

Week 3 – Digital Security

This week’s topic is about digital security – how does events such as scams, identity theft, cyber bullying or Facebook happen and what can we as individuals to protect ourselves and as teachers in helping students do the same?

When I first read the term ‘scams’ and ‘identity theft’, I immediately related this to my own personal experience with online shopping. Last year, I was on the internet trying to find the ‘best price’ available for a GoPro camera as a birthday gift for my boyfriend. I stumbled across a website that looked similar to other well known websites such as Kogan and GraysOnline. Needless to say, this website turned out to be scam website which costed me $300 without receiving the goods. Reflecting back on this event, there were three important steps during this process that I could have done to prevent getting scammed:

  1. I was running out of time searching for a gift and overlooked warning signs including no padlock symbol in the browser frame, payment terms were by credit card and bank transfer only. Naively, I decided upon bank transfer thinking that this would not cause delays in delivery time. This also meant that I have given away my name, address and personal banking details to the fraudster.
  2. The price was too good to be true as it was approximately 25% cheaper than retail prices.
  3. Thinking twice and using some common sense would have helped.
Internet fraud concept.

STOP!

Rather than retreating and avoiding online shopping due to this costly event, I decided to educate myself on safe online shopping and learnt helpful tips to ensure a safer shopping experience.

Researching on the topic of ‘scams’ and ‘identify theft’, the Australia Bureau of Statistics estimated from 2010 to 2011 approximately 1.2 million Australians aged 15 years and over were victims of personal fraud and incurred a lost of $1.4 billion. It is evident that scams and frauds, including identity theft are common threats to adults. Furthermore, social media such as Facebook has been an easy target for scammers to bait users into clicking links that contains malicious software in order to access personal details. This is also known as ‘clickjacking‘. Considering that adults are frequently exposed and falling victims to the dangers of cyber crime, children who are already using Youtube, email, Google and online games can be vulnerable targets of cyber criminals.

I researched further on the role of the Australian government in relation to digital security. In the 2014-15 budget, the Government committed $10 million to enhance online safety for children, of which $7.5 million will be used to assist schools to access accredited online safety programmes. Although details of these online safety programmes are yet to be announced, the Cybersmart programme, managed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), has reached out to 3438 schools since the program started.

The Cybersmart website a variety of resources and lesson plans available on the website to assist schools and educators. In particular, I discovered that Hector’s World is a very useful resource that can help educators introduce the concepts of digital security to young children in a format that they are familiar with. I was highly entertained by each episode as the storyline was easy to follow and characters were interactive. As children are born in a digital world, I strongly believe that it is important for me to prepare young children with foundation skills to becoming a future responsible and diligent digital citizen,

hector-289x270

Hector’s World – Introducing digital security to young children

References

Australian Bureau of Statistics (2011). Children of the digital revolution. Retrieved from http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/LookupAttach/4102.0
Publication29.06.117/$File/41020_Childrendigital_Jun2011.pdf

Australian Bureau of Statistics (2012). Snapshot of personal fraud. Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/65767D57E11FC149CA2579E4
0012057F?opendocument

Australian Government Department of Communications (n.d.). Online safety. Retrieved from http://www.communications.gov.au/online_safety_and_security/cyber_safety

Cincotta, K. (2014, September 4). Online scammers just a click away. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/consumer-security/online-scammers-just-a-click-away-20140903-1084kg.html

Cybersmart (n.d.). Cybersmart 2013 – Report card. Retrieved from http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/About%20Cybersmart/What%20is%20Cybersmart
/~/media/Cybersmart/About%20Cybersmart/Documents/cybersmart_snapshot_
PPTversion.pdf

Cybersmart (n.d.). Hector’s world. Retrieved from http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/Schools/Teacher%20resources/Lower%20
primary/Hectors%20world.aspx#videos

Mcafee (n.d.). Safe online shopping. Retrieved from http://home.mcafee.com/advicecenter/?id=ad_sos_wmap&ctst=1