E- Learning

Investigate,Stimulate, Activate and Communicate

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Hi, My name is Teresa Anderson, a Professional Communications student at Central Queensland University in Mackay. I am definitely a technology immigrant and am excited about entering into a new world of learning and communicating through e-learning. Information technology is dramatically changing the way we communicate, learn and interact. Being able to keep up with these technologies is an important part of my professional and personal development and I look forward to the challenge.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Reflective Synopsis

Professional Blog: Reflective Synopsis

This blog contains reflections on the new web based technology that pertains to learning in the 21st Century. In a digital age where children are wired to technology around the clock, educators need to familiarise themselves and incorporate web 2.0 technologies into their teaching designs in order to engage students in a more meaningful way. For School based learning and education, to succeed in the task of building and incorporating technology and new media to support learning, education ideals must shift from traditional views on teacher delivery of information.
Teachers of the 21st Century need to provide a platform that engages the learner in activities that involve active cognitive processes such as creating, problem solving, reasoning, decision making and evaluation. Kearsley & Shneiderman suggest in their Engagement theory, that students are more motivated to learn when they are able to interact with others in meaningful learning environments and worthwile activities. Web based technologies provide a extensive forum for learning that involves direct, purposeful, hands-on learning experiences which are associated with the most positive learning thoeries.(Dale 2006).Web-smart kids love discovery-based learning.(Brown 2000).

Many of the Web 2.0 technologies examined in the course of this assessment have presented to the modern teacher tools that would enrich and greatly expand their teaching capabilities. The Internet and other computer based technologies honor the multiple forms of intelligence (Cheek 2006) being abstract, textual, visual, musical, social or kinesthetic. Through the use of these tools educators are presented with tremendous opportunities to design new learning environments that enhance the natural ways that individuals learn. The social and physical context of learning associated with the acquisition of knowledge is satisfied through the interactive process of web technology and through collaboration while engaged in blogging, social networking, wikis, video and the music sharing or on a webquest adventure. These interactions allow learners to share ideas, collectively problem solve and discover new information and knowledge from a collective pool.

Looking at e.learning technology and theory from a professional communication perspective I have taken the view that teachers are communication professionals, though I have tried to broaden the scope of my assessment to encompass teaching in professional training and human resource development, political, media and marketing fields. As much of the theory delivered through the course materials was school teaching based and in relation to children and their engagement with new technology in classroom forums, I have found this quite challenging.
E.learning can be defined as Internet enabled instruction focusing on the revolutionary impact of networking technology, including mobile,wireless,iPod, video, games and other technology. It involves methodology issues such as instructional design and best practices, and includes blended learning, personalisation and collaboration.(Markus. B, 2008. p16)
For the area of professional training and development there has been a shift
from traditional education or training to flexible, individual, self-organized learning. The emphasis in teaching and training has shifted from the product to the process, where learning is being sort through collaboration within a community of learners, experts and facilitators. In an ever changing workforce, the need for training and professional development has required employers to apply constant on-the-job training to remain competitive. E.learning programs have enabled staff members to gain necessary new skills quickly and efficiently. An increasing number of companies, organizations and institutions are supplying to the market of media-based education and training with their products and services. The Internet and in
particular the World Wide Web are setting the pace of this development.
Professional communication in the area of political public relations, media and marketing has adapted to new web 2.0 technology and is rapidly developing new arenas to network and connect with wider audiences. Government bodies are supporting e.learning and expanding their ITC departments to develop these new web bases technologies.

Through the exploration of many of the e.learning technologies presented in this assignment, I have learnt alot about the changing face of education and communication. It is an exciting time for all involved in these fields and through this learning experience I feel more engaged and motivated to continuing to build on this e.learning journey of my own.

References:

Bodendorf. F 2001, Electronic Services for Virtual E-Learning in Marketplaces,University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, - viewed 10 August 2009, published 27 September 2001.

Brown, J. (2000) Learning in the Digital Age. Viewed 18 August 2009, http://www.johnseelybrown.com/learning_in_digital_age-aspen.pdf

Jonasson cited in Mergel, B. (1998). Learning Theories of Intructional Design. Viewed 22 July 2009, http://www.usask.ca/education/coursework/802papers/mergel/brenda.htm


Cheek.B 2006, 'Multiple Intelligence, gp-training.net -gp-training.net - a GP education and training resource, viewed 30 July, published October 2006. http://www.gp-training.net/training/educational_theory/multint/multint.htm

Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement theory: a framework for technology-based teaching and learning. viewed July 16 2009, http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. viewed July 23, 2009, from http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Prensky, M. (2005). "Engage Me or Enrage Me" what today's learners demand. EDUCAUSEreview, September/October Edition 2005

Friday, August 21, 2009

e.Portfolio

An e-portfolio resembles an electronic resume. It is a purposeful collection of electronic evidence that demonstrates an individuals efforts, progress and achievements over time. The e.portfolio allows the user to publish on the web an inventory of goals, performance-based achievements and evidence of skills, knowledge and attitudes through reflective logging. I think that the e.portfolio is an excellent e.learning tool for school education and workplace training. E.portfolios are used in professional life to keep up-date on career development and for the student they may be an excellent way to demonstrate, record and reflect upon learning achieved.
E.Portfolios may include a range of digital evidence such as audio, video, photographs, electronic files, blogs entries and hyperlinks. E-portfolios, if they are online can be maintained over the school life or career of the user.

Animations and Simulations

This in another very engaging e.learning experience. How exciting for young children to be able to see a frog or a starfish being di-sected. I am sure some of them possibly the boys, would have loved to do it for real. The interactive features of this simulation tool allows learners to participate in a more engaging way with the lesson.

Video Streaming

Video is an excellent educational tool that adds audio/visual and demonstrative elements to your lessons. Every learner loves to be show how to, through demonstration and explanation. YouTube videos are usually short in length. They are an entertaining multimedia tool that allows students of different learning preferences to engage in learning. You can find almost anything you what to learn about, or how to do - on YouTube. It is an excellent addition to a teachers e.learning resource box. I have added a YouTube video demonstrating Sketchcasting(which I spoke about in another posting) to explain Kindling which is an excellent web 2.0 tool used within organisations for idea development, sharing and collaborative communication.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

File Storage Systems

A file storage system is a special-purpose database for the storage, organization, manipulation, and retrieval of data. I used a storage system at Mediafire and uploaded two files. This application allowed the users to share ideas and create content from a vast resource of collected information. Users could securely download, view, or edit files. Another File storage system called 'Box', had an additional feature that allowed for on-line collaboration. Users could leave comments such as approvals or feedback and attached them to a specific document. This feature did not seem to be available with Mediafire. Recommendations to useful information are always helpful when searching. My E.learning files are at the following link.
http://www.mediafire.com/?kmddvmmjzj2

Government Innovation uses Web 2.0 Technology

The new $15 million collaborative Internet Innovation Fund (cIIF) will accelerate the use of 'next generation' ICT in Victoria by supporting government agencies, industry and community groups to innovate using Web 2.0 technologies.
The Collaborative IIF program will enable businesses, community organisations and government agencies to use next generation technologies to develop innovative ways of working in Victoria's environment, health, education, local government, emergency services, community and industry sectors.
Using Second Life as a case study, the project involved the development of a prototype - Melbourne Laneways - created in partnership with Victorian Government agencies Multimedia Victoria, Tourism Victoria and Invest Victoria.
Over a three-month trial, Melbourne Laneways will provide a means of gathering further information and data for the Victorian business community and others interested in testing the potential of virtual worlds.
Using virtual worlds as a tool to engage with the community and to collaborate in the short term may potentially reap rewards for both government and business. Adapted from e.Government Resorce Centre
http://www.egov.vic.gov.au/index.php?env=-innews/detail:m2803-1-1-8-s-0:n-1460-1-0--

e.Learning Post

After the boom, is Wikipedia heading for bust?
An article from the New Scientist has Palo Alto Research Center in California warning that Wikipedia's growth is tailing off and extreme governance could be behind it.
Researchers believe that Wikipedia now includes so much information that some editors have turned from creating new articles to improving existing ones, resulting in more disputes about edits. Such disputes are not a level playing field because established editors sometimes draw on extensive knowledge of Wikipedia's guidelines to overwhelm opposition in a practice dubbed 'wikilawyering.'
Permalink Tuesday, August 11, 2009"http://www.elearningpost.com/blog/

Learning Management Systems for Education and Business

Learning Management Systems are innovative learning platforms used for delivering, tracking and managing training/education. Most LMSs are web-based to enable access to learning content and administration as well as online collaboration. LMSs are used by industries (e.g. engineering and financial services) for compliance and performance management. They provides a platform for employee appraisals, competency management, skills analysis and assessments and for the commercial market, recruitment and reward systems.
In education institutions(eg. universities, LMSs enhance and support classroom teaching and offer courses to larger populations of learners across the world.
From a Professional Communications perspective LMSs are a very necessary component in the management and training of human resources.
I have experienced Learning Management Systems as a learner at CQU through Blackboard and Moolde and have successfully accessed course information, uploaded assessments and participated in collaborative communication through this learning system. Blackboard has just releases it latest version of Blackboard which has Web 2.0 capabilities so allowing for a wider range of applications.
http://learntechgalway.blogspot.com/2009/02/blackboard-version-9-now-available.html

Podcasting

A podcast is an audio file archived on the Internet that can be automatically accessed by a personal computer, downloaded and transferred to a portable MP3 player. The term derives from combining the words iPod and broadcasting. This technology can be utilised successfully into a classroom curriculum, where relevant, up to date information may be downloaded via the Internet.

In the professional communication field podcasting programmes generate an increased listener base which is great for marketing and public relations professionals. Podcasting is a superb communication tool as it engages a one-to-one conversation with the listener. Podcasts may be used to motivate staff, inform shareholders of company performance, communicate new products and services to customers and provide news updates to journalists and financial analysts.

WebQuest Journey

What is a WebQuest?
A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented lesson format in which most or all the information that learners work with comes from the web. .http://questgarden.com/86/02/1/090809130503/index.htm
This e.learning tool would be a great learning and teaching resource for school educators. I have had a look and a play with this technology and can see how engaging students through the use if this tool would guide them in an active learning experience, that would allow them ownership of the search and journey of discovering information via the web.

Wiki - What a wicked approach!

I had never heard of a wiki until about two weeks ago and after I read in the e.learning resources about the philosophy of the wiki, its uses and how easy it was to set one up, I thought that it was an excellent, practical way of allowing collaboration of ideas and information to be formatted in such a simple way. The uses of a wiki for group work, projects, organising an excursion etc would allow students/co-workers a space to call there own where they could collectively compile ideas and information. Many ideas have sprung to mind on the practicle uses of a wiki in professional and personal life activities.
Wicked!

Wikipedia - A Collaborative Approach

Web 2.0 technology, through its wiki application has provided the infrastructure for the development of 'Wikipedia' a free, web based encyclopedia project. Since its inception in 2001, it has become one of the most widely used research tool available on the Web. Wikipedia is written collaboratively using multi source editors and it contains definitions and articles that link and guide its users to other related information and articles. I have used Wikipedia often to begin research as it gives a broad definition and a starting place for further research. I have been told that for scholarly work Wikipedia is an unreliable source as its contents can be edited by anyone who has access to the web. My children at schools have also been told not to use Wikipedia. Web 2.0 technologies that use collaborative sources for input must always have some level of unreliability unless they are seriously scrutinised. What a job that would be.
I think that the many positive outcomes that occur through collaboration and networking in these web developments must far outweigh the negative ones. An increase in creativity and inclusiveness in learning forums must surely be one of them and I am sure that Abraham Maslow would agree to that.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Web 2.0 Technology

To the digital immigrant, Web 2.0 technology is a discovery that will blow the mind. As fast as you can learn about this new technology you will see it move on with-out you,its format and capabilities ever changing and evolving, so you had better put on your running shoes. Web 2.0 refers to web development and web design that enables information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design and collaboration on the World Wide web(thank-you Wikipedia). Web 2.0 involves interactive and co-operative participation between interested members on the web, who gather,create, update,add to, share, communicate, support and distribute information with-in the boundaries of the Web.
There seems to be an endless number of applications under the title of Web 2 technology and blogging is one of them. Through this complex communication/networking tool, expansive opportunities in e.learning have developed.
I liked the story in the course resources about how a teacher was helping a young student- Natalie in mathematics tutoring via blogging communications. The applications added to blog pages share specific information, demonstrations and explanations which could be used by the student as an aide to their learning experience. While wandering through the corridors of Web 2.0 technologies I discovered an application called sketchcast. using a doodle pad you were able to sketch, draw, doodle, show the workings of a maths problem etc and then add voice explanations or instructions as if you were personally showing the viewer a problem being solved on a white board. Sketchcasting simulates the same "draw-as-you-talk" experience. It's podcasting with a sketchpad!
Shetchcast could then be posted on a blog page and in the case of Natalie and her tutor. I think that it would be a perfect addition to this tutoring blog.
Other Web 2.0 technologies include social networking sites, virtual communities, video-sharing sites eg.YouTube, wiki pages eg. wikipedia, blogs, mashups and folksonomies. Some of these technologies will be investigated in further blogs, but I will leave you with this web site called Go2Web20 applications. http://www.go2web20.net/
Hey even when you spell check your work many of the names of these new web technologies are not recognised. Someone at spellchecker.com had better to get up to speed with Web 2.0.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Moving on with the Smart Board

Smart Board e.learning technology is fast replacing the the white board methods of information display. Current research is showing very positive responses from teachers and students who have experiences lessons using the Interactive white boards in classrooms. When students are engaged and stimulated by interactive technology, enthusiasm to learn is increased giving better learning outcomes. The vast array of audio /visual functions and touch screen capabilities that the White Board presents to teaching and learning environments allows for the different learning preferences and varying skills and abilities that individual students posess,engaging them in an inclusive learning environment.The Interactive white board as a communication tool, is being increasingly utilized in boardrooms, offices and professional and public forums also. I have yet to personally experience the White Board technology, but I hope that my children will enjoy learning experiences with them in the near future and possiblly myself also in a communication profession.

Google Earth

From a professional communication prospective I would say that e. learning technology including Google Earth is an exciting and vastly expansive tool that enhances professions in Media, Journalism, politics, marketing eg. ecotourism, mining, business planning and development and teaching . Its application offers endless possibilities for learning and research and ideas development.For the teacher and student, lesson plans in any subject could be enhanced through the use of Google earth giving the visual, active learners exciting opportunities to discover geography, history, mapping, longitude, latitude, distance, views of their community and the communities of others and many more. Students are given an interactive look at the world, its history and its communities, and are able to navigate and investigate and be stimulated by this technology. In researching Google Earth I have found some excellent sites that give examples of how to use this technology in practical terms for teachers. An interesting application of Google Maps lets you pick a spot on the world map. When you select a spot, you'll have the option to dig there. Doing so will spit you out where you would land if you dug a hole straight through the Earth. Digging a hole in Seattle will land you close to Africa. I thought that this was good for five minutes of fun maybe to end a lesson. Another amazing feature of Google Earth lets users get up close and personal with the Prado museum's masterworks in Spain. Using Google Earth's map program, anyone with a computer can now view masterpieces by Rembrandt, Goya and others.
Once the exclusive domain of the military, government officials, and specialized scientists, satellite technology is fast becoming an indispensable tool for researchers and educators across a wide spectrum of professional fields.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Voki For Web

Voki For Web

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Using Avatars in Education and Professional Communications

What is an Avatar?
Simply, an avatar is a digital representation of a physical self or an on-line character with which a person may interact, simulate, or practice with. Voki is a free service that allows you to create personalized speaking avatars and use them on your blog, profile, in email messages or as an e-learning tool in education.
Avatars may act as a host or coach who guides a learner through content and provides feedback. On-line characters that speak and interact with learners can create a more meaningful learning experience, increasing trust, satisfaction, memory and a willingness to return for more learning.
Some examples of using avatars in elearning include as a host or coach – a character who guides learners through content, pointing out interesting information or highlighting important concepts. The host might also provide feedback on learning exercises, or provide direction on ways to think about the information being presented.
In the use of Avatars as an e.learning technology, educators must always be aware of the different types of learners,learninging preferences and technology experience. Where the learners are younger and generally “digital natives”, familiar with gaming and online environments where avatars are commonplace,incorporating characters to a learning space can make the learning environment more interesting, in touch, and contemporary.
Digital immigrants, who are typically a bit older and are less comfortable with the use of on-line gaming or virtual worlds, might find avatars off-putting, preferring a more basic and “conventional” approach to e.learning.
In addition, it is important to recognize that some learners are more visual
and some more aural. The use of close-captioning options whenever possible when using avatars is important as it allows the more visual learners to read along and not just listen to what the character is telling them.
For other professional forums, Avatars may be used to enhance a public profile on a blog or website and to creatively and interactively advertise your business or product. By using an Avatar illustration or cartoon version of yourself to engage an audience, you add a social presence to your business profile and capture aduience attention. For communication professionals in media, marketing or human rescourse development, interactive technology is a necessary tool for sucess.