Thursday, July 30, 2009


Picnik is a fun and free editing program which allows you to upload any pictures from your computer and edit it using a variety of different effects. It is linked with not only Flickr but with other popular internet programs such as myspace and facebook. It has effects such being able to crop, adjust the colours, shape and exposure. It also has fantastic special effects under the create tab which allows the user to air brush (my favourite, lol!), place stickers on the photo, frame it and many more. Most of these are free but you are able to pay to have more special effects available to you.

I have included a photo in which I have edited using the Picnik program. I have included the same photo I used above of my daughter to show how effective it can really be and not to mention FUN! I used the crop effect as well as one of the creative tools (sorry slipped my mind which one!).It is easy to use and navigate around (especially for all aged students - with some instruction) and can also promote knowledge and skills in how to edit photos as well as students being able to use these within projects such as brochures, the creation of webpages, wikis and blogs. It can also be an effective tool to get the students to edit their own pictures, print them out and place around the classroom giving the student pride in their room! The use of this program comes under the learning design and resources aspect within Oliver's framework (as cited in AUTC, 2009) as the teacher or LM is designing a lesson to enhance students abilities to capture and edit images for their final project, the students are then using the Picnik program to apply these different special effects to support information within the project and to make it stand out.

AUTC. (2003). Learning Design. Retrieved July 29, 2009, from


Flickr is an online (basic is free) account which allows users to manage their photo and videos sharing it with friends and family OR the whole world! I found this resource easy to sign up to and even quick and simple to upload my photos (which with many other applications can be a hair pulling nightmare!). Features available with this application range from simple editing through Flickr OR editing can be done with their sister site Picnik (which will be further discussed later!), photos can be organised into categories/folders, you can choose to share your photos, this allows you to keep updated with friends and family OR you can have it on private (which when using in the classroom is a MUST), Maps can be added to show where and when you took a particular photo as well as to see where pictures and photos have been taken near you and of course my favourite part where you can make your own stuff such as photo books, framed pictures, videos and many more (Yahoo Company, 2009)!

I have uploaded a picture I found on another members Flickr page and one of my own just to show how it can vary from being personal photos to those of nature etc, although I had to save the photo and upload from my computer as I could not figure out how to properly upload from the internet, any input or comments on this would be great! I think this site is perfect for the classroom (although proper safety precautions must be taken especially if photos of the children are posted on there) as it can not only be used a social and fun site for the students to display their work and pictures but it could also provide various educational purposes. Using students 'photography' pictures the teacher could use these as a starting point for imaginative writing, descriptive writing and many more. But my favourite of all is students are able to contribute to online stories using the photos. By writing within the description area students are able to create their own story and link the photos (changing their order to suit), students within the younger years could also use the photos to create 'silly sentences' or 'silly stories,' making literacy exciting and fun! Following Oliver's ICT framework theory (as cited in AUTC, 2003) students will be given the required task or project e.g. creating a photo story highlighting the first aspect of the learning design. Students then will use resources (Oliver as cited in AUTC, 2003) such as flicker using the photographs as visual stimulus to create their work while the teacher implements a schedule and safety procedures to provide learning supports (AUTC, 2003) to ensure each student is allowed equal amount of time at the computer and teacher assistance.

AUTC. (2003). Learning Design. Retrieved July 29, 2009, from

Yahoo Company. (2009). What is Flicker. Retrieved July 29, 2009, from

Power Points - Introducing Packaging

Ahh yes when I think of powerpoints the first thing that comes to mind is the never ending slides jammed with information that pretty much make you fall off your seat snoring! Well powerpoints definitely do not have to be that way and yes they can be an effective, easy tool to incorporate withing your lesson frameworks whether it be an assessable item or merely a tool to engage the learners within a particular topic. After much deliberation as to how this could be used as a teacher tool to engage the learners I thought of a way to introduce the topic of packaging that the students would be participating in this term. Although this has already been introduced to the students I though this could be an easy tool to the students to refer back to and refresh their minds on what will be happening.
At the moment the students are completing a unit on packaging and their task is to create a nutritious biscuit for the tuck shop and create its packaging. The class who has the best tasting nutritious biscuit and packaging will be selling their biscuits at the tuck shop. So a powerpoint would also be a fantastic tool to 'sell' their biscuit (although we must also work on the taste but first impressions always last!).

On the powerpoint (introduce and engage) the first slide will hold a video clip of the tuck shop lady issuing an inter class challenge to see who could create the perfect biscuit and packaging. The other slides would not only hold effective animations, entrances, and hyperlinks to specific sites to provide students with examples and pictures of biscuits,recipes and packaging but would also contain informative and useful information to assist them with their task. This use of the etool relates effectively to Kearsley and Schneiderman's (1999) as it "relates to a real world authentic problem" e.g. First slide presenting the tuck shops problem and competition, the biscuit, packaging and presentation powerpoint will then be 'created' and the solution will then be 'donated' to the judges and the rest of the school (their biscuits and packaging).

Overall the use of powerpoints is an effective tool to not only engage students but to enhance their knowledge, understanding and skills for a particular task. It is an easy and fun program to navigate around and has many talents such as charts, clip art, music, narration, video clips and many more to enhance the presentation and make it shine (ACT Media Ltd, 2009).

ACT Media Ltd. (2009). Power Point in the Classroom. Retrieved July 28, 2009, from

Kearsley, G. & Schneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 28, 2009, from

Monday, July 27, 2009

Voki Avatars

Creating a voki avatar was exciting and fun as I played around and made outrageous characters before I decided to settle with my simple character. I found this web site interesting and easy to navigate my way around (which would be easy for digital natives!)
I think that this effective tool can be useful in helping ESL learners within the classroom develop language, reading and writing skills. As students develop their skills they can begin to record their own voices enhancing their speech e.g. pronunciation skills. It can also be used as a fantastic tool to engage the learners within a topic or even give them a chance to introduce themselves as they wish to be perceived to their peers on collaborative classroom sites such as a wiki web page.

Following Oliver's (as cited in AUTC, 2003) learning design framework, the Learning Manager (LM) will not only be able to develop an effective strategic plan to ensure student success but will be able to incorporate the use of Avatars to enhance their learning. The use of voki avatars can be developed within the learning tasks and resources (AUTC, 2003) aspect of Oliver's framework. Through the LM developing a learning design based upon trying to enhance a ESL learners phonetic skills through creating an investigation into different phonemes within the English language. By choosing one particular phoneme to focus on the LM can model this and then incorporate resources such as the use of the avatar simulation to help engage the students, make the phoneme memorable and practice to find the phoneme within spoken words (The Reading Genie, 2009).

AUTC. (2003) Learning Design. Retrieved July 28, 2009, from

The Reading Genie. (2009). Making friends with Phonemes. Retrieved July 28, 2009, from

Voki. (2009). Voki Avatars. Retrieved July 28, 2009, from

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Wikis are an effective and useful collaboration tool and are becoming more popular within educational purposes each day. Wikis can be described as a web page primarily constructed for the use of online collaboration and authoring (Peterson, 2009). They are easily accessible for all individuals/groups and can be an effective pedagogical strategy. Wikis open up several avenues for students to gain success within their educational journey and can provide an appropriate space for students and teachers to work collaboratively and actively together. Wikis allow students to actively participate within their learning through activity based experiences while taking responsibility for their own learning (ACU,2000). There are many different ways to incorporate this effective etool within the classroom through creating and completing assessment items, classroom discussions and sharing ideas while evaluating and reflecting their own and others work/performance. Through collaboration with some other students within another subject we shared some useful and effective ways to help students enhance their knowledge base and skills through active hands on and meaningful activities (ACU,2000).

One idea conveyed within the group was students interacting and creating their own text book via a wiki website created by the teacher. The students would be given a topic and would discuss what they would write about within their text books e.g. whose point of view that would look at, what information they would include, how they would write the information (include journals, videos & other forms of text). From this the educator can assess what the students have collaborated and created, so they would be creating their own means of authentic assessment. Another idea is students can collaborate and gain skills via each year level e.g. grade 4 might create ideas for a story, grade 5 might write the story based on the collaboration of ideas and year 6/7 can edit and correct mistakes and finalise the book. Looking at these uses for wikis within the classroom it becomes evident that it follows the frame work of the Active Learning Processes ( ACU,2000). These steps within the active learning framework follows the Input, where students are accessing a multiple of sources through various senses such as visual materials (text, pictures, videos), audio (recordings, videos etc) and many more (ACU, 2000). The process is then followed where these students are interacting with these resources e.g. creating a text book with videos, diary entries etc stimulating multiple areas of the brain. Finally the students produce the output which would be the assessable item in which they have collaborated on and shown evidence of the active learning that has taken place (ACU, 2000). This according to Dales Cone (as cited in ACU ,2000) provides direct and purposeful experiences which is an effective and successful form of ensuring student success within the classroom.


ACU. (2000). What is Active Learning? Retrieved July 27, 2009, from

Peterson, E. (2009). Using a Wiki to Enhance Cooperative Learning in a Real Analysis Course 19 (1). Retrieved July 27, 2009, from Proquest Database

Google Reader

Google Reader (as pictured) is a feed reader which allows the user to subscribe and read RSS and Atom feeds while online or offline (, 2009) (Wikipedia, 2009). RSS (really simple syndication) and Atom are types of feeds which are lists of updated items from blogs, webpages or photo albums which can be a simple headline or an entire entry (, 2009). After subscribing to my very own Google Reader I have found it quite easy to navigate my way around the page and easy to subscribe to the many different blogs or webpages I find interesting and wish to follow. By locating the RSS button on any webpage/blog (as featured)

I am able to follow and keep tabs on any new entries made by my peers making my life easy as I am able to read ALL new posts without trying to continously navigate my way back to their blogs/webpages wasting valuable time and my patience! Another aspect of this particular tool I find helpful and easy is my ability to create and sort these feeds into category folders and change the names so it is easier for myself to know who or what has made the latest update.
I think this is a fantastic tool to incorporate into the classroom to enhance the students knowledge base and skills. I would do this through asking each student to create their own blog (of course with the correct and proper safety measures taken) and ask students to use this as a collaborative tool to assist with developing their understandings on the content presented during lessons (homework). This will allow students to help each other (peer tutoring) in developing a deeper understanding of new processes learnt and allows those 'shy' students a chance to become actively involved within discussions and express their views and ideas without having to be face to face with others. The Google Reader will then allow these students to be able to keep tabs on each students entries without having to navigate their way to each page. It will also provide an effective tool for students to gather information from websites that may help them with assessment items. This pedagogical practice fits snugly with Kearsley & Shneiderman's(1999) engagement theory. It emphasises collaboration amongst a community of learners while providing active processes such as reasoning, problem solving and reflections (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). This also creates an opportunity for self directed learning as the collaborated ideas that may be posted by students can lead to ideas for assessment pieces providing an authentic and engaging focus for students.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Welcome to my first ever blog!!

As part of this course we are required to not only create a blog but also analyse a variety of elearning tools using a variety of different frameworks! So here is my blog and stay tuned for my views and analysis on a diversity of elearning tools!

Please feel free to place any comments on here along the way!