E-Learning refers to the collaborative use of electronic media and ICT within education:

  • multi-media learning 
  • technology enhanced learning
  • computer based training
  • computer assist instruction
  • internet based training
  • web based training
  • online education
  • virtual education
  • virtual learning environments

Parks suggested that the “e”  in E-learning should refer to “everything, everyone, engaging, easy”

  • Everything: A wide range of sources through the World Wide Web
  • Everyone: Anyone can access these sources through the internet. Classroom Blogs and Wikis enable a sense of belonging and direction for students and can be accessible beyond the school gates
  • Engaging: Through different education platforms students are encouraged to participate, through audio, visual etc.
  • Easy: Easily accessible!

E-learning is the terminology that describes the form of education using electronic technology. This form of hybrid learning is greatly used in today’s classrooms as information is easily accessible through the World Wide Web. This an example of collaborative learning within the classroom and enables students to become facilitators of their own learning. Class blogs and wikis are another example of collaborative learning. On these platforms students are able to communicate and explore concepts beyond the school gates into their home environment. This provides them with easy access to homework, study tools and may even be able to seek assistance form their teacher outside of school hours.

This is a great way to further enhance student learning and through the use of technology teachers are able to communicate content on a relatable platform.

Twitter Link

Resource: Personal Learning Environments – the future of eLearning?

Reference: What’s the ‘e’ in E-Learning?


Cyber Bullying

Cyber bullying is increasing in adolescents with technology being apart of our everyday lives: Internet, mobile phones, laptops, tablets. It is difficult to monitor this unacceptable behaviour. Cyber bullying generically is a psychological type of abuse. It is a bullying which occurs through technological devices.

An Educator’s guide to Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats defines the behavior as verbal aggression such as:

  • Harassment or repeated insults through various forms.
  • Defamation of a person’s character through derogatory postings, rumors, or images.
  • Flaming or fighting messages using anger and vulgar language.
  • Outing or deceiving someone into sharing secrets or private information.
  • Polling such as posting an image on a voting website to make fun of a person’s looks.
  • Impersonation or identity theft to embarrass or destroy a person’s identity.
  • Cyber Stalking including sending intimidating or threatening messages.
  • Sexting including sexual solicitation and/or exploitation.
  • Unsafe digital communities with shared interests, such as social communities that validate eating disorders, violence, or drug use. 

Cited From: http://newsroom.opencolleges.edu.au/features/15-strategies-educators-can-use-to-stop-cyberbullying/#ixzz2PYth0622

This is not a new phenomenon. This is abuse which is being carried on beyond school gates. This has caused students to become disengaged in school, become depressed and in detrimental cases commit suicide.

Young people are often fearful of telling others about being bullied. They sometimes fear that it may become worse if they seek help. They may also fear that privileges will be taken away from them, such as, not being able to use the internet for recreational purposes or their mobile phone will be taken away. The cyber bully knows who they are abusing. On the other hand, the victim may not know who is sitting behind the screen bullying them. This can result in serious psychological repercussions. The victim feels isolated, with no one to call for help because they are fearful of making the situation worse.

This is an issue which is being addressed in many schools nation wide. Some schools carry out cyber bullying programs, which educate students on how to behave appropriately online and what to do if you are being harassed electronically. This form of bullying is currently evolving and students need to continually be educated and informed on this subject matter. This is significantly important as it not only happens in school, but also at home. Students may not have the supportive environment at home  to assist them in coping with this matter. That is why it is crucial as teachers to be aware of what is going on in the classroom.

Whether at school or at home creating a positive, supportive atmosphere for reporting bullying as well as building awareness of the issues are important steps that can assist in the reduction of cyber bullying. It is also important to provide an open culture where bullying of this nature can be freely reported and discussed.

Cyberbully Zombie Game

Social Constructivism

“You never anything absolutely from scratch.”

Lev Vygotsky founder of the Social Constructivist Theory, or Zone Development Theory (ZDP) believed that students:

  • Use their past experience to create a basis for new ones
  • Build on prior knowledge to create a foundation of understanding for new knowledge
  • Use both new and past experiences/knowledge to create a solidified understanding for new content

The core of constructivism  is that students are actively branching their own knowledge and understanding from past experiences. This theory encourages student-centred learning. Students are believed to learn better when they are stimulated with their own prior knowledge to discover things independently, rather than what is written on the board or instructed. Social Constructivism strays from the more traditional objectivist strategies. The student must play an active role in the direction of their own learning rather than being spoon fed information and content.

Ideas to implement into a classroom:

  • Before starting a new topic, ask students what they know about it
  • Use what they know to create a foundation of understanding and build on it!
  • Involve students in learner centred activities. This allows them to think critically and draws on prior knowledge to connect with the next content given
  • Encourage students to ask their own questions, carry out their own experiments, make their own analogies and come to their own conclusions

Alternatively, as teachers you will come across on the rare occasion where you will have to teach a whole new idea or concept where a student has never seen or heard about it . However, you can use the social constructivist model. You can provide examples and analogies that are relative to the real world. This then allows the student to visualise it and relate that concept to the real world.

Social Constructivism is a useful way to assist students with learning a new topic. It provides a basis for new content and allows their education to become a more personal experience.

Reference: Journal Article 

Promoting Intellectual Quality with an IWB

Technology is increasing exponentially in our classrooms. It is crucial as teachers that we keep up to date with the use of digital media. The interactive whiteboard (IWB) is a highly engaging classroom and learning tool. It helps present information in a more simple and aesthetically pleasing manner.  It utilises simple tasks such as games, puzzles, sequencing, labelling and many more. Although it may seem simple this educational tool facilitates engagement, promotes whole class discussion and adds an element of randomness and belonging within the classroom.

IWBs allows students to think beyond the memorising knowledge. As information is visually presented the whole class is stimulated and encouraged to participate in classroom discussion. IWBs facilitates student centred learning, information is presented in a way which is interactive and easily manipulated.

When creating lessons teachers should be very cautious on the level of the activities ambiguity. By doing so, determines the level of intellectual quality within the activity. Some ways to incorporate this is:

  • Shift the students’ focus. Try to limit memorising and centre on grasping a solid understanding of the topic area.
  • Ask though provoking questions. This enables classroom discussion.
  • Instead of giving the students the information, present it in a way that is problematic and open to various interpretations. This allows students to think for themselves and create their own understanding.

It is significantly important not to get carried away when planning activities with the IWB. Activities should not limit the learning of a topic area.  This is a great learning tool, however, I believe it is not appropriate for certain age groups or subjects. It can be well adapted to the Primary sector, but I found it very difficult to cater for a year 7 class learning Pythagoras’ Theorem. Although it may be difficult to utilise within a secondary classroom, it can be a great motivator for a special needs class, or Friday last period. Revision exercises through games is a great way to end a topic or to refresh knowledge.

IWB software activities are a great way to promote intellectual quality learning in classrooms as long as teachers utilise the software accordingly to stimulate higher order thinking.

Reference: IWBs Productive Pedegogies & Literacy Learning