Thursday, July 30, 2009

Watermellon Fiend

Watermellon Fiend
Originally uploaded by chenoa b
I had a play around with this picture in Flickr, mainly cropping it and adjusting the colours and highlights. Jordan's hair sure does look red in this photo! I was changing Amali's nappy and came back into the lounge room and he had taken the entire watermelon from the fridge and was ploughing into it!
I have just realised that I have blogged flickr and picnik around the wrong way - however, I think that I like the picnik layout better. It seems less busy and crowded, even though they seem to use the same system. I am not quite sure how that works though!

Pretty as a Picnik

I thoroughly enjoyed playing around with the Picnik site. The tools are simple and easy to use, especially the way that the program shows you what it is doing with your photo as you manipulate it. My class is doing a unit on natural disasters, so I chose a photo that had a large, long crack line in it, possibly from an earthquake.
To use this program in class, I could ask them to find a photo of a natural disaster, manipulate it, put it in the Polaroid frame like the one to the left, and produce an information report on what happened in the photo.
The students could be enrolled as geologists who then need to present their findings to their peers.
This type of task could cross many KLA's, including Art, English, ICT's and Science.

WebQuest Questathon!

I have had the chance to make two webquests in my short time at uni, and even though they are not aswonderful as the pro's, I am extremely proud of them. The time and effort that goes into creating one of these is huge.
However, when compared to a unit of work that HOC's and teachers design - is it really that much more work? Personally, I do not think so. The beginning of the 'old' way of devising a unit of work is fairly much the same as designing a webquest - outcomes, focus question, research, activities that meet the outcomes, designing worksheets and then delivering the unit. All but one part of this is similar - the engagement. We know that we now educate digital natives who are computer savvy, but that doesn't mean they are instantly engaged because there are computers involved.
Webquests need to engage the students from the word GO, so that they are focused and determined to get through the quest, to most importantly of all - the authentic destination. Allowing students to go out on the world wide web - even with the safety restrictions of the school intranet - is dangerous in itself. This type of 'webquest' is not a true webquest at all. Teachers need to find and research sites, then provide searching activities through questions and tasks that engage the student in higher order thinking. This is the type of thinking that out students need to do, thinking that enables them to look outside the square and deepen their knowledge of topics. True webquests do this.
I believe that the time and effort that go into creating these are worth every minute. Plus - they're always there for next year.....

Earthquake Powerpoint

When thinking about PowerPoint, one usually thinks about slide after slide after slide. It doesn't have to be that way!! Using PowerPoint in the classroom is an excellent way to use technology, that is as simple as you want it to be, or as complex as you want it to be. PowerPoint provides a way to deliver content that is not a worksheet or hand written notes on the blackboard. Students can take notes from it, watch it, listen to it and enjoy it!
In a recent PowerPoint presentation that I used in the classroom, I embedded hyperlinks to almost every page, to make it more like a mini webquest for the students. I added sound for the first time - a large 'BOOM' at the beginning (the unit is on earthquakes), to 'wake' the students up - and it worked - they were hooked.
One of the students' assessment pieces for this unit is to create their own PowerPoint on a natural disaster of their choice. Since they were not too familiar with PowerPoint, I modeled one for them, using animation entrances and exits as well. This allowed for their "learning to take place in an authentic context" (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999, p.1), which deepened their knowledge on the subject.
One of the other students enrolled in this course gave me the wonderful idea of allowing the students to work through PowerPoint by themselves, with a small amount of instruction from the learning manager. I had never thought to use this application in this way, and I can't wait to try it out on my students.
I have also just inserted a windows movie maker file into a PowerPoint for the first time, which I am extremely proud of and happy with the result. I feel that PowerPoint is an excellent tool for students to view as a delivery method, and to learn and create for their assignments. Its versatility and simplicity makes it an easy choice for me.


Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 17, 2009, from

More Avatars

Hi All,
Here is a link to another blog site that I have created some avatars for, using the SitePal characters.
These are for our Ensuring Student Success presentation, in relation to the NAPLAN testing system.
Update: This site has been closed due to the SitePal 15 day trial ending.

Monday, July 27, 2009


I now have an understanding of what a WIKI is, but I am still confused as to what to really use it for in the classroom. I find WIKI's busy and confusing, with too many tabs and options, like a large overcoat with too many pockets. Personally, I find using Google Docs much easier and user friendly. The one difference that I can see is that you can upload personal effects like pictures and videos to a WIKI.
However, in saying this, they fit into the Engagement Theory perfectly as they are "providing an authentic setting for learning" (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). WIKI's are a magnet for collaborative learning, with many people having access to it and contributing to it. "A Wiki is a powerful tool for constructivist learning environments because it facilitates collaboration" (Notari, 2006).
They are, naturally, project based, and can then be used to create a project on top of their natural function. An example of this could be a class trip to Parliament House. In the lead up to the trip, the teacher could put information and links there for both parents and students, even a 'what to bring' list. During the trip, photos and videos could be taken and then uploaded as a way of showing parents and reflecting on the trip. In the aftermath of the trip, students could be asked to write a report on Parliament House and place it there, again as a way to show parents and the wider community.
However, there is one part in all of this that bothers me - internet safety. A WIKI is exactly that - a tool that anyone can access to create data, and change that same data. I would be worried that cyber bullying could occur through WIKI's, and there are also the ethical considerations as well. I like the ease and privacy of Google Docs, so I am sticking to it.

- Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999), The Engagement Theory. Retrieved July 13, 2009, from
- Notari, M. (2007). How to use a Wiki in education. Retrieved July 27, 2009, from


I can honestly say that I have taken Avatars and run with them! I think this an amazing tool to use in the classroom, it is fast, simple and effective. I wanted to use these to deliver a lesson on earthquakes and my mentor teachers were also trying to teach their students how to take notes. I decided to use the avatars to give them short bursts of information throughout my power point presentation. This broke the presentation up and gave the students something new to look at.
However, the Voki site avatars did not allow for more than about 40 seconds worth of information, so I signed up for the 15 day free trial with SitePal. I now have access to hundreds of avatars, options and voices using this free trial. I began creating my four characters, but could not figure out why they weren't saving. After literally an hour, and reading through the help sections, I found that you need to hit save twice, once in the voice option, and once at the end. Finally I had my avatars ready to go, but then I realised that you can't put them on a power point presentation, so, being the 'blog specialist' that I now am, I created another blog, especially for this lesson.
Avatars can be created to relate to any audience, and they are an effective engagement tool because "they provide the human element to online teaching" (Classrooms Without Walls, 2007). I am asking my year four students to take notes from my avatars, then, in groups, create their own avatar to report back to me about what they learnt. The students can then donate this to the world wide web my embedding them onto the blog I created specially for them. When students upload a project onto the world wide web, they realise that anyone is going to be able to see their work, not just the teacher, so they try their hardest to do their best work (Smith, 2008). Avatars provide an excellent way to engage students in their work and ICT's, an they can be used for just about any KLA there is.

- Classrooms Without Walls, (2007). Avatars and Education . Retrieved July 27, 2009, from
- Smith, B. (2008). Transparent Learning: Avatars. Retrieved July 27, 2009, from

Here is the link to my earthquake blog with the four avatars I created:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Well - that worked! I have never embedded anything before and I wasn't sure to delete what came up when I clicked the 'edit html' box, but I decided to leave it there and see what happened. I just pasted my code in and clicked on post, and there it was!
I am not sure if there are other sites that have better characters or voices on them, but would only allow me to type a small amount of text into the box, unlike Scott's avatars on Moodle. Does anyone know how to solve this?
Next time...the 'real' avatar!

Get a Voki now!

e-Learning = engagement theory

After reading through the engagement theory reading, I was quite suprised when I realised that the Managing eLearning course IS actually the engagement theory! This theory is all about engaging students through collaborative learning and authentic tasks that have authentic uses. Let me explain my theory:

So far the discussions that I have been having, or those that I have been reading through have opened my learning up and allowed me to have a wider view on topics, and without the elearning tools we are using - blogs and Moodle - this would not have been possible. Lecturers have a large amount of information to be heard/work through each lecture, and a large amount of students (Noosa has about 50-60), so very little time is available for questions. The forums, posts and comments allow students to "work with others from quite different backgrounds and this facilitates an understanding of diversity and multiple perspectives" (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999, p. 1). This is the Relate principle of the engagement theory that the authors describe.

Task 2 of this course asks us to establish our professional elearing portfolio using Mahara, which allows us (to the best of my knowledge) to upload any type of document, elearning tools or activities that we can then use in the classroom, thus creating a project. This is the create principle of this theory where we are focussing our efforts on "application of ideas to a specific context" - the course profile and criteria sheets (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999, p. 1).

The final principle of the engagement theory comes into play throughout the rest of our course and possibly the rest of our careers. Donate is about handing this creation over to someone or using it for a purpose. We are firstly handing this task over to ourselves as a way to merge all our elearning ideas and our portfolio, then we are handing it over to our potential employers - schools, and finally we are handing it over to our future students; by giving them these activities to learn from and possibly sites like Mahara so that they too can relate, create and donate their ideas to others.

Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999). The Engagement Theory. Retrieved 17th July, 2009, from

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Aha! It didn't work!

Well, so much for my predictions! I figured that if you 'followed' a blog, it would automatically link to my Google reader account - I was wrong! I thought that by wanting to 'follow' it, you would also want the easiest way to see new posts, especially since blogger is a Google application.
Oh well, there is probably an extremely good reason as to why this is not an automatic process, or maybe there is room for improvement?

My RSS Feeder?!?

Well, after reading Anthony's post (which was very helpful - thanks!) about the start up video on Google Reader, I watched it and am slightly less confused about what an RSS Feeder is. I understand that it allows me to add people to my account (or websites) which helps me follow the latest updates/news all on one web page.
However, I am still confused how to add 'subscriptions' as I tried to add my hotmail and facebook accounts (the only way I can keep up with my friends) and it didn't recognise the addresses? I copied and pasted their URL's........?
I am also wondering if any new blogs that I decide to 'follow' through blogger, will automatically link up to my google reader account. So I am going to go and do a little experiment. I will find someone's blog who I haven't added yet and add them, then check my Google reader account. My prediction is that it will automatically link up......that would be logical. We shall see!
Next post will tell....

Importance of Blogs

Hi Guys,
Just found an interesting video through one of the sites off Blackboard for our English task. He talks about the importance of blogs for students......
Cheers, Chenoa

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

blog Homework - the future?

Hi All - just had a great idea (my mind works overtime in the morning!)
What about using blogs in your class to get the dreaded homework done!!?? Each student sets up a blog and then they all link with one another and the teacher, who then posts 'homework' on their blog, which the students have to access, say, once a week, then they post their answers/discussion on their own blogs and those of their peers.......what a great way to get them engaged, get their homework done and using ICT's at the same time - from HOME!!!!!
What do you think???

Friday, July 10, 2009

What is this for????

Ok, I have just figured out that our blogs are for assessment....duh! Now I feel a little worried about this - should I have made mine look better, not had family photos in it...the list of questions goes on and on! Well, it is only week 1 and I am doing 4 subjects - that's eight assessment tasks - surely I am aloud to not remember them off by heart yet? (I need to stop making excuses!)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My Angels and I

My two kiddies.....awwwww. Jordan is an amazingly advanced child who already speaks in 20 - 25 word sentences (holy crap!) and blows us away with the things he comes out with. He has also just hit the terrible two's, so combining that with the above can guess - crazy house hold at the moment.
ali is so easy going, she has been coming to lecturers with me since she was 6 weeks, sleeping perfectly and has plenty of 'aunties' to give her a cuddle. I am so lucky to be able to bring her - yay for Noosa Campus!

The First Step

Well, here goes! My name is Chenoa Barnes. I am 27, about to get hitched (finally!) and have two gorgeous children, Jordan, 2 and a half; and Amali, 6 months. I live on the Sunshine Coast and am in my second year of studying the Bachelor of Learning Management - Primary. In other words, I am going to be a primary school teacher. My personal quote in life is:
If you shoot for the moon and miss, you know you will always hit the stars
Previous to beginning this course I was a horse riding teacher in Brisbane, but when I moved back to the coast to where I was fortunate enough to have grown up, I decided to look for a different career path. They say never work with animals or children - well I did both and loved it. There wasn't much work up here for riding teachers and my best friend told me that I would make an awesome teacher (she is also a teacher) - so that was it. I had found it. As simple as that. And I love it!

This year so far has been that hardest. I had Amali 6 weeks before returning to uni, and then it was 5 subjects, plus 10 school placement days, 10 assignments, 10 weeks, then a 3 week placement in school. Needless to say I was a tad tired at the end of last term!

I must admit I was a little annoyed to see another FAHE subject - our last one was hailed a complete failure by students and some lecturers! But - soldiering on, so far, so good. Don't ask me what a wiki, RSS or even a pod cast are (I don't own an ipod yet), but, hopefully, I will know what they are at the end of this course.