Monday, June 7, 2010

Podcast test

This is the link I created to my podcast that was created and published on my iPhone using an app called Audioboo. Check out how I did it here Podcasting to my blog from a mobile device

Podcasting to my blog from a mobile device

I agree with Sarah Hollands comments in her May 19, 2010 blog entry that, "podcasting is a great technology that allows students to present and share what they have learned, their opinions etc. with the focus clearly on the learning". As an ICT specialist I used podcasting with the middle and senior school around speech time and witnessed the advantages. I would get the students to read their speeches and record them using garageband. They would then be required to reflect on their use of expression, timing, clarity of their voice and make appropriate changes. A second recording was usually required. Once they had a good copy checked by me they could upload their podcast via iweb to their classes webpage. The children enjoyed listening to each others speeches and learnt a lot about what it takes to deliver an effective speech. Knowing that they could access the speech online anywhere and share it with friends and family gave them motivation and encouraged them to take greater pride in their work.

Seeing that I have podcasted before I thought it would be useful for me and others reading my blog to investigate ways to podcast to my blog from a mobile device. With the huge rise in mobile phone usage and their potential to publish material like blogs and podcasts ubiquitously I believe this is very topical.

For this investigation I wish to fine a way to create a podcast on my iPhone and upload it to my Google based blog in the fastest and easiest way possible.

In beginning my search I went to the iPhone apps store in the hope to find an application that would allow me to record a podcast and upload it to my blog. I did find that this is possible through using an app called "Audioboo"

however, it would not publish my podcast to my Blogger page as it uses it's own server to store entries. After reading the following article at I came to understand the repercussions of the bad relationship Apple and Google have. Whilst Sony phones have an app that you can use to blog directly from ones mobile phone there is none for the iPhone. The article does suggest ways around this by using SMS and MMS, of course both paid options, but nevertheless an option for people who wont their blogs updated instantly where ever they are.

So somewhat disappointed with this discovery I set my mind to problem solve a way to get my podcast onto my blog page, maybe not as fast as an app would do but free and reliable. Here are the steps I took:

1. Download the app "audioboo" via your iPhone apps.
2. Open downloaded app and create a log in name and password or use your twitter details as directed.
3. Record audio using the available voice recording option in audioboo.
4. Publish this as prompted. If set up correctly it should publish to both your twitter and audioboo websites.
5. You can visit to listen to your podacast.

My overall goal of getting the podcast into my page has not been achieved yet though. Currently my podcast is being housed by a third party. Like most mobile devices when accessing the internet the user is limited by browser options. This is also true when using Safari and Audioboo. I had hoped that like on my desktop computer I would be offered the option of exporting the embed html code onto my mobile device. Unfortunately this is not possible. The mobile-based browser and Audioboo together allow selected social networking sites to share content but not with blogs like So this lead to the following steps:

6. After listening to the podcast online using Safari on the iPhone copy the URL.
7. Log into your site and start a new post.
8. Paste the URL link into the text area and create a hyperlink.
9. Publish your blog

You should now have a link in your blog that will take the reader to your Audioboo page where they can listen to your podcast. The process is longer than what I had in mind but nevertheless the outcome is the same. We have achieved podcasting from a mobile device to our own blogsite.

Here is the link to the podcast I created and linked to Audioboo via my iPhone:

Hopefully in the near future Google and Apple might work out their differences enough to provide an app that lets you record video and audio on your phone and upload it to your personal blog directly and quickly. Until then I have supplied an alternative.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Implementation: From policy to practice

I found one of the treaded discussions on Moodle particularly thought provoking and useful. We were asked to discuss:
1. What are the effective ways to encourage change using ICT to help improve learning?
2. What are some of the pitfalls that you would advise others to avoid?

I have used these questions as a guide for this discussion that looks primarily at scaffolding teachers' ICT learning and the importance of thoughtful and considered implementation from policy to practice.

Anne Cawley's insightful comments regarding how ICT needs to be broken down into achievable steps is so necessary. Yes there are teachers who will teach themselves and use ICT interesting and effectively in their class but the majority of teachers will struggle with this. One key reason for this is due to what Prensky calls the digital divide. Most teachers are what he terms digital immigrants. They unlike their students (digital natives) have not been born into a digital world and thus can feel uncomfortable and unconfident using new technologies. I have witnessed this division between immigrants and natives in schools a lot. On one hand you have students who are digitally savvy and/or eager to learn and communicate digitally and on the other hand teachers who haven't go the skills to engage their student in meaningful digital activities.

I believe that there is really little difference with how children learn and how teachers learn. Both require individual learning styles to be cater for, learning to be reinforced and scaffolding provided. Anne is correct in thinking that in order for ICT to be encouraged and integrated into the classroom that teachers, just like students, need to learn incrementally. A type of scaffolded approach was used at my last school to equip teachers with ICT skills through a gradual and supported methodology. Once a week a given class would come to the information suite which was equipped with an ICT room and an adjacent library. The class was split and I would have half of the class and the librarian the other. The classroom teacher was not released during this time but rather was required to observe, take notes and trial my planned lesson. They could ask me questions at appropriate times and learn alongside the children in the class. If they were confident with the content they could support their students providing an excellent teacher to pupil ratio. Following the session the teacher would have a lesson plan and notes to practice and review. The following session the class would swap as would the teacher conducting the lesson. Rather than teaching I would guide and encourage the teacher providing support when needed. This model proved successful especially as a number of the teachers had very little computer knowledge. Joy Paton's thread highlights the importance of teachers learning together and sharing ideas and experiences through the use of a designated time at staff meetings or assemblies. The point I am making, regardless of the approach, is that teachers need ongoing support to use ICT effectively.

Unfortunately successful ICT and e-learning practice can not just happen in a supportive and collaborative environment -it takes many factors, some of wish Joy brings to our attention in her threaded discussion. One of these factors that I would like to look at further is an area which I believe is key if we are to successfully integrate ICT through out the curriculum. This are of interest is implementation. As I have mentioned in one of my other blog entitled NZ policies I believe that the lack of successful integration in school is largely due to a lack of instruction on how to implement e-learning effectively and how to chose and adopt new technologies.

Ward and Parr (2008) share my viewpoint and they argue that the reason for the failure of ICT implementation to deliver real changes in student learning in schools lies in a failure at the stage between the development of strategic policy and the classroom practice, and that a new theory of Action is required to help us achieve real change. Whilst Ward and Parr identify a gap in planning Fullan suggests that failure of successful implementation is caused by schools adopting innovations which promote their image as up-to-date and efficient. What the public value and faddism become the major reasons for adoption over pedagogical needs within an institution or school.

Interestingly there are a number of implementation models available to educators, however, it has only been through studying this year that I have come across these. There are a lot of similarities between the models and in my opinion it doesn't actually matter which model you are using as long as your thinking is being guided by informed research from policy to practice. Saying that if someone asked my opinion on which one has guided by learning and think I would acknowledge the TPACK model. I think the interrelationship between technological, pedagogical and content knowledge is crucial in not only implementing e-learning but also in the ongoing integration and successful use of ICT. It reminds me through its simple Venn diagramme of the importance of planning and prior thinking necessary to find that middle ground where technology, pedagogy and content knowledge met. This versatile model also acts to counter faddism and technocentrism that Fullan warns against.

Fullen, M. (1985). Change processes and strategies at the local level. The Elementary School Journal, 83, 361-422.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1-6. Retrieved from,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Ward, L., & Parr, J. (2008). Translating ICT strategic policy into action: Reaching for the wrong fruit. Computers in
New Zealand Schools
, 20(3), 52-61.

NZ policies

Study guide 3 questions ask us to look at New Zealand educational policies and to consider their implication on teaching and learning. I have reviewed three key Ministry of Education documents of the last decade in relation to e-learning definitions and vision. The documents reviewed include: Enabling the 21st century learner: e-Learning Action Plan (2006), Digital Horizons: Learning through ICT (2003) and The New Zealand Curriculum (2007).

Look at the definition of e-learning that is adopted?
The NZ curriculum defines e-learning as "learning that is supported by ICT" and goes on to identify in only four bullets points what it "may" achieve if utilized in the classroom. In contrast to the brief and somewhat shallow description of e-learning the e-Learning Action Plan outlines in much more depth what e-learning is and how it looks. I particular like the quote they use from JISC (2004) where they challenge people's preconceived ideas about e-learning being related only with remote or distance learning. Furthermore, it focuses on learning being central and that "conscious choice" needs to be made by educators when using e-learning in order to promote effective learning. Interestingly the Digital Horizons document does not actually define ICT specifically (which was they preferred terminology in 2003 over e-learning) . It defines information technology (IT) and communication technology (CT) but not information and communication technology (ICT). They do define e-learning as "flexible learning using ICT resources, tools, and applications, and focusing on interactions among teachers, learners, and the online environment. E-learning usually refers to structured and managed learning experiences, and may involve the use of the internet, CD-roms, software, other media, and telecommunications. Current e-learning definitions are much more inclusive of all types of ICT being part of e-learning.

What vision is put forward for e-learning in schools?
The Ministry's action plan and vision is comprehensive in it's description of e-learning and in outlining specific goals and consequent actions required.However, although it is useful to see what the government has planned to do (or has/hasn't done) it fails to address what teachers need to do to integrate e-learning successfully. The focus is obviously on Government planning rather than effective pedagogical design, practice and guidance. The Digital Horizons document is similar in that the predominant information is to tell us what the government is doing or about to do to encourage ICT. It lacks strategies for teachers and educators to implement successful ICT into their classes. Reading the document almost feels like a sales pitch - whereby the Ministry is trying to convince us of the benefits of a product (in this case ICT). Further to the illustration it is like buying a new product, which requires assembly, but there are no instructions.

In my short time as an ICT/e-learning specialist in a school I must admit I was neither provided nor seeked information or research regarding integration of ICT. Courses, conferences and meetings would focus on technology, infrastructure and money but little time was given to implementation. I guess over the last decade good models of ICT and e-learning have been developing but each school is has different needs and school culture that needs considering. The use of simple and generic implementation models like TPACK (Koehler & Mishra, 2009) and Somehk's 6 stages (1996) would have been very beneficial in the school I was in to guide the implementation of new technology and guide the purposeful direction of e-learning in the school. To read more about integration and implementation read by Blog entitled Implementation: From policy to practice.

I feel that the government is sorely missing in their documentation evidence and examples of best practice and strategies to implement e-learning into our unique schools environments. As a teacher I would never give out a piece a worksheet without instructions on it and expect my students to do well. Reading these three documents feels similar. Sure there is some suggestion as to how ICT can be used but given the lack of successful integration of ICT in NZ it would seem teachers and educators see the vision for ICT but don't have the instructions to implement it.

Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological content knoweldge? . Contemporary Issues in Technology and Techer Education, 9(1). Retrieved from

Ministry of Education. Digital Horizons: Learning through ICT. Wellington: Learning Media Limited.

Ministry of Education. (2006). Enabling the 21st century learner: An e-learning Action Plan. Wellington: Learning Media Limited.

Ministry of Education. (2007). The New Zealand curriculum. Wellington: Learning Media Limited.

Somekh, B., Tinklin, T., Edwards, L., & Mackay, R. (1996). The Evaluation of the National Record of Achievement. Edinburgh: Scottish Council for Research in Education.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Critical multiple literacies

The paper by Kahn and Kellner (2005) was a real eye open and centered around really important implications for the future of Education. I like most teachers in NZ are familiar with the concept and practice of Information Literacy and the importance of our students having the ability to search through screeds of information, differentiate between good and bad information and use it effectively. I have not thought extensively about the critical nature of other multimedia and literacies. The influence media has on us is hugely significant. Many adults let alone children would often be unaware of the impact media can have. Children typically do not have the skills to discern much of the multimedia they are bombarded with on a daily basis. Kellner recognizes media culture as a form of pedagogy, but one that is "frequently invisible and subliminal". I had not considered a pedagogy that is not intentional - but it is so true and quite scary really that we are influenced and being taught by what we see, hear and experience. From a spiritual dimension I have understood the effects media can have on ones beliefs but pedagogically not so much. Media is powerful and can influence for good or bad. Those in power can determine what people will see and hear and consequently think and do.

The importance of being technological and media literate is massive, but maybe more important is the ability to have the skills to critique and not be sucked in by everything we see and hear. I didn't REALLY start to critically analyze until I got to Teachers College. Here it was drummed into us constantly and at the time it seemed overboard. I am very grateful for that now though. In school a critical thinking mind wasn't really emphasized the same. Yes we were asked to occasionally think alternatively but there was the focus that I think needs to be addressed particularly in relation to multi literacies.

Media literate students will be able to "learn from media, resist media manipulation and use media materials in constructive way". This quote is key I think. We can't escape media and wouldn't want to but we all need to be able to identify when we are being manipulated. The knowledge will help enhance democratization as people particularly the lower class will have access and the technological and critical skills to be educated, express themselves on a global platform if necessary and avoid becoming a "cultural zombie".

Kahn, R., & Kellner, D. (2005). Reconstructing Technoliteracy: a multiple literacies approach. E-Learning 2(3), 238-246.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Great quote along time ago

‘A society which is mobile, which is full of channels for the distribution of a change occurring anywhere, must see to it that its members are educated to personal initiative and adaptability. Otherwise, they will be overwhelmed by the changes in which they are caught and whose significance or connections they do not perceive.’ Dewey (1916, p. 88)

I don't think Dewey would have been talking about mobile technology as such when he wrote these insightful words but it amazing how true they are for todays teachers, students and educators. Teacher today do need to be adaptable in relation to the changes in technology but more importantly how students learn best. If it is with mobile technology then we need to be able to provide for that and CHANGE our teaching to suit. I think we see a lot of teachers and educators who are "overwhelmed" by the changes in society and its many implications for teaching. It is vital that we use the filters to decide what change is need to impact learning for the best.

Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education : an introduction to the philosophy of education: New York : The Macmillan Co., 1916.

Friday, March 26, 2010

E-Learning, society and curriculum

To what extent do you accept Prensky's analysis?
I think Prensky's categorization is helpful in order to understand how students that we are teaching are growing up in a world that we didn't. It reminds me anyway that I can't assume that I can teach students in the same fashion I was.

To what extent do you identify yourself with the "digital immigrant" generation? Although I fall in the digital immigrant category by just a few years I don't really think I am one. Although I didn't grow up as a baby with ipods, mobile phones and the interest I was still young enough and still a student to be effected and influenced by the introduction of the internet, the PC, etc. and other digital and technological changes. Maybe it is more about adapting to change that seperates the real digital natives from immigrants?

Are there any benefits in being an "immigrant"? I think there can be if they are open to change and learning styles of the new generations. Immigrants still have many skills and processes that they can use that are not as common or accessible to the native. For example, writing a letter, face to face communication, etc

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1-6. Retrieved from,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf