Welcome to my Blog for FET 5601

Here is my blog for FET 5601. I will try to keep all of my Moodle postings here as well as keep a track of my study as I progress through this course.

My Visitor Map

You've been marked on my visitor map!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My new fave webtool - VoiceThread

What do you think?

Monday, April 21, 2008

2nd Discussion Activity

Hi Everyone,
I am truly sorry for my late posting. It is taking me a while to get my head around this. I am experiencing a rather steep learning curve here.

I have chosen a section of my original project outline for this discussion. This was at Shirley's request and although it confused me at first I can see why "less is more".

I have decided to focus on the section in which the learners will create a series of podcasts for the school community. You might remember that my original plan was to create and run an online radio station with my Grade 3 class. The podcasting part will be done in small groups. The main concept in this unit of learning is to give the students a real experience of how a company works by the interaction of its employees within different departments. The production of the podcasts will provide a focus activity allowing collaborative participation.

I have found the readings in the course to be very stimulating and as a result I have had many educational discussions and arguments with my fellow colleagues at school. There is quite a division at my school over the whole objectivist verses constructivist approach to teaching and learning.

I often find myself overwhelmed by the complexity of the whole design process. Just as soon as I think that I understand, I read some more and find myself right back at the beginning.

Thinking about the design elements of this project I can see where the Elaboration Theory fits in well with the flow of the sequence of activities. Reigeluth (2003) states that there are seven major strategy components. I have partnered them here with the corresponding learning activity:
1. Elaborative sequence (making a simple podcast first before making a more elaborate one)
2. Learning prerequisite sequences (learning the skills required for the job – editors learning the editing symbols, writers learning the script writing, advertisers earning to produce a jingle or track editors learning to edit a timeline
3. Summary (Learning to step back a see it as a whole. Keeping a journal of the learning process. The students will use their own blogs and the JPEG Blog for this)
4. Synthesis (learning to combine radio show elements such as music and voice and then making it flow into one podcast)
5. Analogies (comparing the parts of a podcast)
6. Cognitive strategies (Learning skills required such as cultivating a ‘radio voice’. Learning to work according to the job requirement)
7. Learner control (Making decisions within a group and as a company about the podcasts – their design, content and delivery.

The learners will have to produce a series of podcasts. Each of the seven strategies will be integrated into this activity. The seventh strategy will be given the most emphasis as the students will not only be required to produce a series of collaboratively made podcasts but also have control over the design, content and delivery of those podcasts.

I believe that this unit is very flexible in that the work and skills required to produce these podcasts will differ from student to student according to the task. For example, the skills to edit a text document are very different to the skills required to sing a jingle. This also caters to the different multiple intelligences within the class.

I was interested to read what a central role assessment plays in Instructional Design. I often struggle with assessment at my school as criterion based assessment is used for the end of semester report cards but that often doesn’t match with the learning outcomes of a unit of work. This is because I encourage a constructivist approach, which often results in a different product, that no longer fits that pre-determined criteria.

Siemens (2005) states that designers need to see learning as an activity without beginning or end. The podcasts will be a part of a learning cycle. As soon as one has been completed the class and the teacher will review it and a new podcast will be produced.

Using rubrics is encouraged at my school as a way of catering better to the constructivist approach. This allows a certain level of flexibility in that the teacher can make a rubric collaboratively with the students and that rubric can be made just prior to embarking on the activity. Isaacs (2007) states that there are three types of assessment; formative, summative and mixed. He said that summative assessment on which feedback is provided could be classed as mixed assessment.

By using a student designed rubric to assess the podcast, the student will get the benefit of understanding the criteria, estimating where they will fall and then receiving personalized written feedback which will be added to the rubric.

I most certainly agree that assessment needs to be given quickly, be individualized and be based on the performance not the student. I also agree that the assessment should be used to guide learners through roles and responsibilities that reflect real and relevant applications and contexts.
In regards to the assessment of the podcasts it will depend on the performance of the student. As this is a collaborative learning activity, the students will need to be given clear criteria based personal assessment requirements as well as group assessment requirements before they start making the podcasts to help maximize the end results. Each department; Management, Editors (language and track), Show Hosts and Announcers will have specific aims and objectives assigned accordingly. The ability to work collaboratively will be assessed through observation by the teacher, reflection writing and self assessment posted to their blogs.


Isaacs, G. (2001) Assessment for learning. Teaching and Educational Development Institute (TEDI), University of Queensland. Retrieved April 18th, 2008, from

Learning Theories Knowledgebase (2008, April). Elaboration Theory (Reigeluth) at Retrieved April 18th, 2008 from

Siemens, G. (2005). Learning development cycle: Bridging learning design and modern knowledge needs. Retrieved April 18th, 2008, from

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Living Their Lives Essentially Online

I watched this important documentary. The quote that made me LOL was from a father who said when trying to get his son's attention (his son is living in the same house) "I would be better to email my son that walk upstairs and try to talk to him". What will happen with this generation? In Indonesia where I am living there has been a lot of press lately about how Indonesia is ranked 7 in the world for consumption of online pornography. The scary part is that the majority of users are from grades 4 - 6 in Junior school! Here's the link to that important show

Elaboration Theory

SO what is that? It is putting the learning in a sequence that ranges from easy to more difficult. My son has just enrolled in his first eLearning program. He is in Grade 3 and I have just enrolled him in Mathletics. The units of work follow the process of Elaboration theory. The courses are available from K-12 and all learning has been ordered in three levels from easy to hardest. The great part about Mathletics is that my son has the flexibility to make his own way and can choose to attempt a course by competing a pre-test at the start of each section. Check it out http;//

Design and development: Constructivism and Objectivism

Which is which? What really is constructivism and what is Objectivism? When I look at the table below from the course readings I can see that both are very valid in my classroom but I often lean towards the constructivist approach. Why? I guess that I have learned that students prefer to invent. I think that it is easier to take the objectivist approach as the learning can be more closely controlled by the teacher. 

When learners are given the freedom to construct that doesn't mean that the teacher can just sit back and let it all happen. I believe that the facilitator needs to have a very clear understanding of the learning goals so that they can lead to learners or point them in the direction that the learning needs to take. 

In my teaching and learning context I see that objectivism is more suited to thematic learning in which the teacher controls the learning and the outcomes. The key factor is the use of a static sequence of learning tasks that need to be completed according to a range of pre-determined criterion referenced assessment. 

Constructivism is suited to inquiry learning which is learner centered and focuses on the student producing an artifact, experiencing a situated learning or learning in collaboration. It's not so much about what the students have learned, it's more about where the learning will go next. What will the learners' action be as a result of this learning? The IBO describes this as enabling the learner to develop "enduring understandings".

My Feedback on my Analysis

I received the feedback on my Project Outline for the JPEG Radio unit. Shirley has advised me to focus on a section so that I may better apply the ID analysis. Looking at my proposal I must agree that it is very large. It is my current teaching unit in Grade 3. I think that for this course I will focus on the Podcasting section. I will use this part as it clearly makes use of ICT and it involves all of the students to work collaboratively. I have been reading the Siemens (2005) article carefully and would like to share my thoughts.

How can I use Siemens’ approach in my context?

I have highlighted the quotes that resonate with my current teaching and learning:

“Learning is a process that can be created if only the instructional component is properly managed”

“Effective learning design is no longer a formulaic process. It’s a rich engagement of learners and their needs.”

Frand (2000) “We need to think in terms of transforming the educational experience so that it is meaningful to the information-age learner”.

Richard Restak (2003) discusses a core understanding of neuroscience: plasticity. “Plasticity refers to the brain’s capacity for change” (p. 7). Our brains are constantly changing, evolving, and reacting to transformations within our environment and the tools we use. New tools require more than adaptation on the part of the user; these tools rewire the brains of users.

“Designers no longer create only instruction sequences. They must create environments, networks, access to resources, and increase the capacity of learners to function and forage for their own knowledge.”

“Objectives are no longer the only starting point for learning design.” Wow! When I write my lesson plan for the week I must always take the objective as the starting point! I have struggled with that many times.

“In many types of learning, the task of the designer is to create the right environment for continued learning (i.e. design the ecology). Learners themselves will seek and acquire needed elements.” This rings true in the inquiry learning model.

Learner Centered – What does it mean?
Learner-centred design focuses on giving the learner the ability to decide what he/she feels is important and relevant. Yes! this is the kind of learner flexibility that I would like to give more focus to.

“Views of knowledge as comprising of “know what” (explicit) and “know how” (tacit) are being usurped with “know where”. “Know where” means developing the Capacity to know more, or what more can be learned. In my context this learning is described as “student initiated action”.

The four domains of learning as defined by Siemens (2005) are 
Accretion, Transmission, Acquisition and Emergence.
What I have found most interesting about these four are the following:
I have also included how I am able to do this in my current situation.

Accretion: Learning as a continual process
Designer’s Role: Create networks and learning environments
I am using blogs with both of my classes at school. The blog is used as a forum and a chance for students to publish their work. The students connect by being able to read each others work and comment on that work.

Transmission: Learning as courses
Designer’s Role: Create courses or workshops
This in my context would be the writing and updating of curriculum documents. There are set learning objectives that must be met for each grade level.

Acquisition: Learning as self-selected
Designer’s Role: Make resources available and accessible
I think that I enable this for my students to a certain extent by giving the students links to educational games online via the class blog and by allowing them to explore the use of widgets on their blogs. I give no formal assessment for the students work in these areas but I believe that there is a lot of learning happening there. Why do I believe this? It’s because it’s the games that keep the kids motivated to check out the class blog. They are always talking about those games amongst themselves too. There is a natural competitiveness that has grown in my class from the creative use of blog widgets to make their blogs dymnamic.

Emergence: Learning as cognition and reflection
Designer’s Role: Foster and encourage reflection
The role of reflection is clearly encouraged throughout the IBPYP. There are 8 student learner attributes (Caring, Open-minded, Balanced, Principled, Communicator, Risk-taker, Reflective and ) that must be encouraged throughout the teaching and learning process and these must be highlighted in student self assessment. I encourage my students to visit the blogs of other students and leave comments. We have also just recently started collaborating with the Grade 5 from Bethlehem College in New Zealand to further develop our skills of reflection. Our current activity is to make a slide show featuring our national anthem with pictures. This is to begin an exchange of cultural knowledge and promote international mindedness, which is a big theme in IB schools.


Frand, F. L., (2000). The Information-Age Mindset. Educause. Accessed on July 13/4/08

Restak, R. (2003). The new brain: How the Modern Age is Rewiring Your Brain. New York, NY, Rodale.

Siemens, G. (2005). Learning development cycle: Bridging learning design and modern knowledge needs. Accessed on 13/4/08

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Analysis

Analysis of Creating a Working Online Radio Company

This project is to create, form and run an Internet based online radio station by developing the necessary skills needed to run it. A further aim of this project is to cater to the needs of the school community by way of providing a series of podcasts for that community.

As a starting point I will refer to Clark (1995) who states that the analysis stage is an assessment of the systematic exploration, of the gap between what the learner knows and what needs to be learnt. Analysis of the `gap? by Daigre, Regina M. et al (2007) has been further defined as to determine the current state of skills, knowledge, and abilities of the learners and to identify the desired or necessary conditions for success. For this analysis it will be further broken down into `whom?, `what? and `when?.

Learner Needs (Whom)
The learners are all aged either 8 or 9 years old. They are all in Grade 3 and twenty out of the twenty-three students in the class are ESL learners. The remaining 3 students are native speakers of English. The students have had weekly computer lessons since Kindergarten and have made a couple of podcasts prior to this project as well as maintained a blog for 5 weeks.
The students reading age has been tested using the Waddington?s Reading Test and the class range is between 7 years to 11 years old. Cultural considerations are that the broadcasts will be in English with special segments in Indonesian. This will reflect the needs of the school community in which the language of instruction can be either English or Indonesian.
There is a school expectation that all learning be Bible based as this is a Christian school, however the teachers must be sensitive to the fact that there is 1 Buddhist, 2 Confucian?s and 4 Moslem students in the class of 23 children. All the students are highly motivated and will be involved in the design and implementation of all learning activities.
Instructional Goals (What)
In the cognitive domain of Blooms Taxonomy the analysis section recommends, ?Material needs to be separated into concepts so that its organizational structure may be understood.?

That rings very true when designing a unit of learning using the International Baccalaureate?s Unit of Inquiry planner. The learning aims are defined as a central idea and further supported by the key concepts. In this case the central idea is ?Effective communities are managed by responsible citizens?. The key concepts are function, form and responsibility.

The IBO (2007) encourages teachers to continually refer to the key concepts when designing learning activities for the students. All learning must support the continued developing understanding of these key concepts within a range of learning activities. The teacher must continually analyze the learning by asking ?Is it worth knowing?? or ?Does it develop enduring understandings??

The key concepts might be deconstructed into the following:

(Form) To learn how to build a company. What workers are needed and what are their job descriptions? To learn how an online radio podcast is made. What are the steps and who is involved?
(Function) To learn how to write a podcast. How to write creatively? How to make it interesting for the audience? How to read using a `radio? voice. To engage an expert, a primary resource to learn radio announcing skills.
(Responsibility) To learn how to cater to the audience?s needs. How do we know if we are successful? How to make the podcasts popular? Are our podcasts accessible for all? How do the different departments work together to produce a podcast?

Learning Outcomes (when)
Checking for understanding needs to be done on a continuous basis. The teacher will use a range of assessment strategies such as checklists, rubrics, anecdotal notes and audience feedback to measure the progress of the learning. At the completion of the unit the students will write a reflection of their learning process. A learning journal will be kept by all students, which will be published on the students? individual blogs. A special blog will be set up to record the process of the learning.

Clark, D 2007, Learning Domains or Bloom's Taxonomy [online], Available from: [Accessed: 05.04.08].

Clark, D 2006, Big Dog ISD Page [online], Available from: [Accessed: 05.04.08].

Daigre, Regina M. et al. 2007, Instructional analysis: Analyzing the learners. [online], Available from: [Accessed: 05.04.08].

International Baccalaureate Organization 2007, Making the PYP Happen, 2007 edition (copies may be downloaded from the IBO site by member schools only at

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Where to begin!

I am in a state of confusion. Every time I try to analyze my ID proposal I end up getting more and more confused. I guess that means that I need to read more. I am torn between Blooms and the IBO. I will try to combined the two.

My Students After School Lives

The main reason why my students can't ride a bike is that they have lessons after school until dark. They have no time to play! They also have lessons on the weekend as well. My son wanted to work on a project with his friend in Grade 3 and his friend said that "I only have from 3.30 until 4.00 on Thursdays as free time". Indeed when this child was having problems with his blog on Wednesday last week I SMSed his mum to suggest that he drop by my house so that I could help him post to his blog. She said "Jordaan has Kumon until 6pm and then after that another lesson with Mr. Steve (my neighbor) so Jordaan can spare 5 minutes between Kumon and Mr. Steve at my house because after seeing me he just has to walk next door! Wow I think these kids will have a crisis before they hit high school.