Category Archives: education

Turning a flat LMS such as Moodle into a virtual 3D classroom

I was having aI discussion with a colleague earlier day about Learning Management Systems (LMS), and we started talking about the disadvantages and advantages of each system that CQUniversity has adopted over the years. Whilst talking about moodle, and how the current implementation is slowly being improved, we started talking about virtual classrooms and 3D environments. Then he showed me a paper about using second life in conjunction with moodle, which just blew my mind away with the possibilities. Especially in situations where remote or flexible learning is the only viable option, as this makes it so the student can access the classroom anywhere in the world, at any time of the day.

White paper
Video introduction [11:28]

Linking some digital pedagogy theory to practice…

It’s one thing to use technology in the classroom, it’s another to use it appropriately to scaffold learning, provide support of thinking processes, and to support the individual needs of the learners. For example, there exists ‘Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy’ which maps the different levels of the 1990 revision of Blooms Taxonomy to ICT resources that can be used in the classroom. However, an inconsistency in the digital taxonomy is the use of a different tool for each level. Why can’t a single tool be used for two, three or even four (or all!!) of the stages? Well, it is possible!

Using PowerPoint, students could:

  • Remember: List / describe what they know about a topic
  • Understand: Use an interactive PowerPoint to classify different animals
  • Apply: Create a PowerPoint based on a set of requirements
  • Analyse: Collect online news article clippings on an issue and compare, outline, and de-construct them
  • Evaluate: Create a prototype for an kiosk interface and have potential users evaluate it
  • Create: Students could create a multimedia presentation to support their proposal as to why a dump should not be built in their neighbourhood.

Now, I’m not saying these examples are great, but at 8:45 at night, after my brain has been absent for the last half-hour, I was able to come up with these ideas as to how to use one tool across all the blooms taxonomic levels. I know in a discussion with one of my lecturers a couple weeks back we managed to traverse three levels using a wiki whilst working on the one topic, so why couldn’t PowerPoint do the same or more?

Netiquette? Why should I bother?

Was reading the blog of another student who’s currently doing Managing E-Learning @ CQUniversity at the moment, and liked this blog post he made:
“What is the most important thing to remember about Netiquette?” … “Remember the Human”
btw, for a great breakdown on netequitte, have a look at this Lifehacker article.

Source: Petes Blog

Sometimes the simplest technology tools are the best

A Tasmanian High School teacher. Mark Smithies, received the 2010 Microsoft Innovative Teachers Award [for Tasmania] for his innovative use of ICTs in the classroom. Mark took a mainstrean software package (Microsoft Office), and used it to create highly interactive games for secondary students.
What he really demonstrated, was that complicated software tools are not needed, it’s the application of pedagogy that makes the difference. He took the simplest technology tools, and used them in an innovative way to really engage his students. Another tool that could be used more effectively to achieve this same goal is a interactive whiteboard (IWB). When set-up and used properly, it is a powerful tool that can be used to provide interactivity and engagement in the classroom. Coupled with learning objects, and the ability to display a learning object on the IWB and directly interact with it on the screen.

Source: Tasmania’s Most Innovative Teacher of 2010 Announced – David Bartlett, MP

Could video games be the next great educational tool?

If medical students (or any individuals, for that mater) are open to learning with video games or virtual environments, could this be the next advancement in education?
For instance, virtual reality or virtual environments enable medical students to learn how to interview patients or run a patient clinic, or even perform surgery on virtual patients. So why this be used in an educational settings to provide students will the ability to go into dangerous or normally inaccessible environments in the safety of the classroom or their own home. You could do a class excursion to another country, do a tour of the solar system, or visit the bottom of the ocean. You could do dangerous science experiments, or your could keep working on perfecting the perfect sales pitch to sell a product to a customer.
These are just a few ideas I came up with after reading this article, and are just a sampler of what could be in classrooms in the near future.

Source: Medical students open to learning with video games

Will The Web Will Soon Offer The Best Tertiary Education |?

The web will probably never replace physical P-12 schooling, or tertiary education. But according to Bill Gates, university’s need to be less ‘place-based’, and be more flexible. And the most likely way in which this will happen will be through the Internet.
In my own opinion, this could be a step forward. However, for this to be the case, educators need to fully understand the benefits of the technology they are using in ensure they are used appropriately. For instance, simple ‘tools’ (I use the term tool deliberately) can either be used so the educator can say they’re using the latest flashy technology (Web 2.0), or can be used deliberately to scaffold and support the needs of the learners. For example, wikis can be used to help students remember the course material, analyse it, understand/process it and even create a new end product. Software tools like powerpoint can be used in the same way.
This means the real question will not be whether the web will be an essential part of future school and tertiary education – this is a given, but whether it will be a step forward for education!

Source: Bill Gates Thinks The Web Will Soon Offer The Best Tertiary Education

Parenting in the 21st Century

The University of Queensland (UQ) and Queensland University of Technology (QUT) are running an online survey to find out how Australians are parenting their children in the 21st century. They aim to have at least 1000 parents completing the survey, and can either fill it in and have no further involvement, or can be part of a follow-up in six months time.
Dr Stallman of UQ said that research has not been keeping pace with the marked changes in how today’s parents parent their children, and this is what they trying to correct through the survey.

Source: National online parenting study – parents sought to participate

Advice on cyber-safety from the people that count… Young People!

This issue is of particular interest to me at the moment as I am working towards developing a program that can be used in schools to broach the topic of cyber-bullying to grade 8/9 students, by teachers who have no background knowledge of the topic. This resource is aimed to provide a scaffolded series of topics to be covered, with discussion starters and stimulus resources and activities accompanying each.
So it was interesting to finally read this article from June, which talked about Senator Stephen Conroy taking part in a 50 student summit into cyber-safety, with students coming from primary and secondary settings.

Young Australians advise the Government on cyber-safety

Flexible learning is ‘where it’s at’

Another research article to support the Horizon 2010 Report, which says that young Australians need an education that is holistic, flexible and encompasses a commitment to both work and life.

Flexible learning ‘where it’s at’ for young people

Australian educational technology research and development

Just to back up what the Horizon 2010 report said about technologies and practices that would impact the education sector over the next five years, here is a list of six e-learning trials that received a total of $100,000 to develop guidelines and standards for… wait for it… ipods/iphones (mobile) and virtual worlds (augmented reality).

Technology trials set to advance mobile learning