Friday, August 21, 2009

Reflective Synopsis

I am a firm believer in being up front and honest. So honestly, I have never felt so out of the loop. I thought I was well up with technology. I have a new lap top, flick mobile phone with internet access and 5 megapixel camera, I am a frequent visitor to facebook, msn and hotmail. I used to think ignorance was bliss, but then I realised everything I was missing out on. Skype, Blogs, Voice thread, Wiki, Google earth, Interactive whiteboards, google reader, etc. are all ICT's that I was a stranger to. The truth is these technologies are what connects people all over the world. Tools designed by us, used by us , for us. I have never been one to conform just because everyone else was. It took me over a year to join facebook because I didn't want to be 'just going with the crowd'. But after joining I realised all the advantages of such a system, I could plaster my own thoughts, photos, likes, dislikes, connect with friends, make new ones and ultimately put my self out into the world in a different kind of way. Technology has allowed us to put ourselves up on a stage to be judge. I believe if anything a student can gain great confidence in themselves and their learning ability when these ICT's are used effectively. By incorporating various learning techniques whether it be through music or youtube clips a student is being encouraged into an atmosphere of higher learning. An atmosphere that is engaging, and they are therefore introduced into an environment that is a product of their ever technological advancing society. They are engaging in a society created for them and by them. WE are the web. Students are the future leaders, why teach them in out dated practices when they rely on new and fast ways of communicating with the world around them. The world is ours to explore or as the saying goes, 'the world is our oyster.'

Voice thread

An ICT connecting you to the world and gaining feedback about your images and videos. Well when I set up my account first thing I thought was how useful this would be for an art student. Getting comments from people all over the world. People who see things differently to those who you associate with in your daily routine, people who are less biased. Students could be opened to greater learning experiences not offered directly in a class room.

Music on the Web

I just downloaded a piece of music of Incompetech called Happy Alley, it was a small pop piece. I think it could how been used in a power point, a youtube clip, even a class reflection. Music has a beautiful way of positioning its audience. How do you want your students to feel? Play them a heavy metal band at 9 o'clock in the morning and you will certainly wake them up. Play them a soft piece of music and chances are you will put them to sleep. Truth is music is quite an adequate learning tool. Pieces of information can be triggered by remembering a certain beat. This may not work for every student but if incorporated correctly with other techniques it is sure to reach a greater number of students.


WebQuests challenge students to think out side of the box; to think far beyond themselves. Evidently, webquests are asking them to create some order in a situation that is certainly lacking it. The webquests about terrorism and Antartic Ice are not issues resolved completely but instead explored. A group of students can not be given this task at the start of the week and be expected to research plausible solutions by the weeks closure. Decent theories do not happen over night, they are achieved through higher research. This is exactly what webquests are designed for, looking for the right answer where there are a hundred possibilities. I personally think that most students prefer problems that don't have a clear or easy answer. Tasks are more interesting and engaging when they challenge a student. When the solution is right in front of our nose it is difficult to find, but when there are many possiblities we seem to sift through them until the ideal solution prevails.

google earth

First subject google earth would be fantastic for is Geography. I study geography in high school and to this day i still don't know where half the places are. A sad realisation yes but one that I am willing to admit. Sometimes it is not enough to talk about cities around the world but instead view them yourself. Google earth also establishes accomodation, dining, public sites like gardens all of which are useful for tourists. Google Earth connects students to the world while they are sitting at their own computer.


With such technology at your finger tips, whats stopping anyone from learning? I downloaded Jan Andrews and Jennifer Cayley's, 'The power of folktales in children's lives.' The amount of enthusiasm during the broadcast was unbelievable, which is vital especially when discussing stories. Stories are supposed to be gripping, evoking emotion and this is exactly what this broadcast embodied. The broadcast actually went for over 58 minutes, obviously a teacher would not play the whole broadcast, as a student would lose interest straight away. The ideal aspect of this broadcast is that a story is told right at the beginning of the recording. Instead of discussing the issue of folktales in children's lives straight away, they first give an example of a tale. First step to engaging students, evoke emotion, interest and then build upon it.

Maths made easy..

At high school maths was a subject I was good at. It was also the subject I found most boring and struggled to maintain focus in. I knew I wasn't alone in this department. The amount of disruptions created by other students was no surprise. It wasn't until I had a quick look at youtube that I stumbled across the clips about maths made easy. These clips were not just reducing maths down into a simple understanding but actually making it more enduring. Seeing a person use illustrated fingers to calculate times tables is a method that I have never seen before. I think this kind of learning would genuinely encourage students with in this subject. Say a student is too embarressed to approach a teacher and tell them that they struggle with multiplications then clips like this would certainly be an advantage. Simple out lets for students to build up their self esteem in a subject. Knowledge is a powerful tool and without it students may shy away from asking for help. As technology continues to advance, I honestly believe that education is also following in its path. Traditional practices are out the window and are being replaced with systems designed not only to reinforce what a student is learning within the classroom but also what they are learning in their own time. It is one thing to engage them within a class environment but to do so outside of the classroom is an amazing accomplishment.

Tassie Adventures

tassie and unit 144
Originally uploaded by Hayley1988
I cropped this image, played around with the exposure and colours. I ended up changing the image from the usual to the odd appearance. I wanted focus to be directly on his face and the extreme facial make up. The black and white surrounding him creates the focal point of this image his face.

Through The Mountain - Episode II

First photo from flickr.

Power point

I have used power point through out my education, so this tutorial was just a reminder. One thing I always had difficulty doing was adding sound. Trying to have it narrate my slides. I was that frustrated with a past piece of assessment trying to save them both together, that I just handed them in seperate. So finally figuring that out was certainly a plus. I have just had a bit of play around with a power point using my own personal pictures and music on my computer. That was the easy part as they were already available. I can honestly say I am not a fan of recording my own voice, just never sounds the same when recorded. Although, powerpoint I created had no educational purpose what so ever, the different forms of learning were still incorporated with in the show. Visual, Audio both apparent to the viewer. In order to keep a student interested in what they are viewing, you need to display more than just words on a screen and a narration. Music, gag noises, image fading in out, etc by using various effects within power point a teacher is ultimately engaging their student. Like I have said in previous blogs, give a student something different and they will remember it.

Voki Avatars

If you can see it and hear it on the computer then what more can you ask for? A teacher could be standing in front of students saying the exact same thing that a manipulated character on the screen and chances are they will remember the manipulated image rather than the teacher. But why? For one thing a teacher is real, obviously but an image that is not seen in the every day classroom lingures on a persons mind, it is memorable and so is the information it is discussing. How do you get a student motivated, engage them in their learning by creating alternative paths. Students all learn different ways, some are audio learners, some visual, some learn better hands on. Which ever form of learning is required one thing is for certain, by giving them something different and aberrant you are increasing their chances of with holding that information.

Get a Voki now!

Mahara- the Educational Facebook.

I Have only really started playing around on Mahara but my first impression was similiar to the first time I signed up for facebook. The way you can communicate and share resources with other students is quite similiar. I don't think this form of communication would be as social as facebook but instead a vital tool for researching and collaborating ideas and opinions. Mahara is a great way of networking and I am only just starting out. I am so sureprised at all these different ways of connecting to the outside world that I honestly can't believe how naive I have actually been. I don't like feeling ignorant and I am certainly glad to now be aware of such ICT's. Now to how this technology can benefit students. One of the major concepts within this course is how ICT's can effectively engaged students in a class room environment. So why not give them an educational Facebook or myspace. Give them a communication system that they also use in a social environment and see how well they adapt. If I used this ICT back in high school I can assure you I would have been much more focused and probably would have enjoyed my time there a whole lot more. The key to a happy student is to engage them by keeping up with their technological needs. A happy student is a productive one.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wiki.. What a way to go!

I just checked out a wiki,, and I actually thought it was a fantastic idea and a far better first attempt at Wiki than mine. Hehe. I think the concept of this technology is wonderful. By adding , editing, removing etc information, viewers are gaining a better understanding, a more fresh out look. Whether the Wiki is descussing teaching techniques like Kellies or whether it is discussing a film directors career. The truth is most people look at text books as out dated. The first source I know I go to is the internet. When you want information quick and up to date, this is where you come. The web keeps us connected. I also think that students can gain alot out of this form of communication technology. What better way to inspire them and keep them interested by actually allowing them to partake and change online information. Being apart of the process instead of an outsider looking in. Like they say, give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he will never go hungry.

A Fan Of Google Reader.

I'm one of those people who loves the quick and simple approach. If there are too many steps to take than chances are I am just going to wig out. I found that Google reader was excellent with managing everyone elses blogs, I'm just a little disappointed I didn't realise what an advantage I had infront of me a little earlier. Nevertheless, it's always better late than never. I thought the format was a littl similiar to an email account, I guess thats the point. But everything is well organised, you know what you have read and what you haven't. Thought I'd just let you all know I am a fan, no harm in spreading the word, I guess.

Why so strict???

When I was in high school there was nothing worse than going online to search for sources only to be prompted that the site was prohibited. My view of such restrictions began as quite a naive one, whats the point in researching if nearly every site is restricted? I can honestly say though that this form of rejection actually helped with my research at home. I could distinguish between information that was either biased or down right lies. If sites were not restricted in school then I know personally I would have had a terrible time at home trying to figure out the more reliable information. This is obviously a more personal view on internet restirictions in schools as well as a basic one. However, I think its better to have a starting point regarding these kind of issues than not have one at all. In the third topic, one of the clips described us as being the web. We created it, not out of thin air but from our own minds. Youtube is a perfect example of 'us as the creators'. Ten years ago I would have been impressed by seeing an inflight movie while flying overseas and now I can get on the internet on my mobile phone and look up absolutely anything. It is amazing to see how far we have come regarding technology. But as they say 'what goes up must come down.' I highly believe this is why some sites are prohibited, not to frustrate students but to protect them from certain sites that are more of a hinderance than helpful. I know I have enough trouble studying at home when facebook is tempting me, so the fact that schools restrict these kind of sites isn't alarming but in a students best interest. I think in order to preserve our technological advancements some restrictions must be made within the school system. Teenagers are the future leaders and although outside of the class room they are free to roam the web, within the class room I believe that in the best interest of a students development site restrictions is a must. So what comes up must come down? Site prohibition is just a small way of keeping the minds of students focused and protected. So why must everything come crashing down? WE ARE THE WEB. And I certainly believe that is something worth protecting and nurturing.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Technologically challenged!!

For the past two weeks I have been fighting with my computer. So Lucky for me that also means I am two weeks behind in all four of my courses. I got half way through my second block of E-learning and am just finishing up with all the remaining readings and activites now. I have actually taken most of the quizzes before in another subject but it was refreshing to see how my out look on learning has changed in the past six months. They weren't drastic changes but just little things. I've come to realise that although the technology I use in my studies is a little unreliable at times, I prefer this mode of education. I'm not the kind of person that can sit reading a book for hours on end. However give me the internet and I can make a whole day feel like an hour. One of the major things that stuck in my head from the 2nd week is the clip of Sir Ken Robinson; There I thought he was going to be dull and drag on but I was shell shocked by how many times I laughed during his speech. I agree quite strongly with his opinion regarding creativity and how children don't grow creative but how they grow out of it. I have a fair few friends that grew up in a dancing environment. Great commitment of time and money goes into a dancers career and it is not just dancers themselves that have to be dedicated but also their families. About two out of the twenty dancers I know have actually continued on in the performing arts. Which leads me to ask, why spend 16 years of your life dancing if your just going to turn your back on it? I think the arts appear less important in today's society because they are not a sure thing. I guess the best way to put it is, you always try to back the winning horse. I don't know about you but when it comes to gambling, I usually lose. So why take the risk if you're just going to land on your face.
One of my dad's colleagues asked me a few weeks ago what kind of job was I expecting after I finished with my studies. Truth is I want to write novels, short stories pretty much any form of writing I can manipulate to my hearts desire. He then continued to tell me that his brother was a writer for a theatre company overseas and that he made little money, but that he was doing what he loved, so income was just a formality.
I believe this is what holds alot of people back. Money makes the world go round. The way I see it I'd rather be a poor writer, happy with my shortcomings than stuck behind a desk or calculating numbers just so I can make money.
Like they say you can't take it with you, I'd rather leave something behind thats worth far greater value than money.
Sorry about blabbering on but I just could not help myself!!


Sunday, July 19, 2009

And so it begins!

I'm Hayley, this is my first time at blogging so I guess it would be wise to start from the top. I am the youngest of six children. Five girls and one boy, what can I say my parents didn't own a tv. Kidding. I currently work full time for my parents at the local steam laundry while I'm studying at university. All I can say is I can't wait for my two and a half years to be up. I'm studying a Bachelor of arts degree in literary and cultural studies. I guess I'm best described as a dreamer, I love writing fiction and hope to one day publish a novel. All I am really lacking is the life experience.
This doesn't mean I don't have any life experience but just that I think I could use alot more. So far I have travelled to Bali, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Vanuatu, Fiji and I am going back to New Zealand for the fourth time in December. I think I may have been a kiwi in a past life because I absolutely love New zealand.
Well I think thats good enough for a first attempt at blogging. You know what they say practice makes perfect..