Mini Projects

5 11 2011

My first mini project is complete (mini project 13 – Images and learning; I quite enjoyed the content) – well I am going to fling it to Liz to get formative feedback.

My next one to start tomorrow is historical and strategic context. I do not think I will enjoy this one as much, but I feel it is a necessity as Liz states to set a context to whole MSc in multimedia and e-learning.


Digital Natives vs Digital Immigrants

25 10 2011

Digital natives’ versus ‘digital immigrants’

My group contribution on the debate of digital natives and digital immigrants. (Further information to be found on Mairi Glynn blog where our group is discussing this topic).

Bennett et al (2008) in her article titled ‘The ‘digital natives’ debate’ attempts to discredit Presky’s (2001) view of digital natives and the possible outcomes required. Bennett says that Presky firstly clearly defines digital natives and secondly suggests fundamental changes required in education because of this.


Presky says that digital natives have sophisticated knowledge and skills with information technology, but he does not back this up with hard evidence/research. Bennett, however, draws the readers attention to recent research across 13 institutions (post compulsory education) in the USA (4374 students) which showed that 93.4% owned computers, 82% mobile phones but only 11.9% owned handheld computers.  A study of 2007 (of which 4 years can be argued in today’s fast pace technology climate as out of date, but I believe is still relevant in comparison with the fact that Presky says that anyone born post 1980 is a digital native) showed that only 21% maintained a blog and 24% used social networking technologies. This study highlighted that differences in use of technology depend on the children’s school and home backgrounds and socio-economic make-up.

Both studies highlight that today’s learners are not as technological advanced and sophisticated as a whole with only a small proportion of learners being highly adept with technology.

Presky says that today’s learners think and process information differently from predecessors arguing that learners are more adept at multi-tasking as they can be listening to music and taking part in web chats whilst studying. Bennett argues that this is not a new phenomenon that can be attributed exclusively to digital natives. Bennett also questions whether multitasking is beneficial, as this can result in either information overload or loss of concentration as the brain shifts between competing stimuli. Bennett goes on to say that Presky’s view of seeing all learners as a digital native is short sighted as any learners learning style is never static or can ever be generalised to a whole population or group within a population. Biggs (2003) says that students change their approach to learning depending on their perception of what a task requires and previous approaches.

Fundamental changes in education

Presky says that learners (digital natives) are disengaged and that teachers and the education system will need to embrace and utilise learning technologies for learners to learn. Bennett points out learners are actually using technology differently at home when compared with school. Learners are not applying critical thinking and evaluation of information when internet researching. They use a ‘snatch and grab’ philosophy (Sutherland-Smith, 2002). So education has to have a role in fostering information literacies that will support learning. The shift from text based to multimedia educational resources should not be due to the ideology of digital natives but to improve learner’s ability to read and process information in this different format rather than letting technologies dumb down learner’s English skills.


Bennett, S. maton, K. Kevin, L. (2008) The ‘digital natives’ debate: A critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology, Vol39, No. 5, pp. 775-786

Biggs, J. (2003). Teaching for quality learning at university. Buckingham, UK: OUP.

Prenksy, M. (2001a). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9, 5, 1–6.

Prenksy, M. (2001b). Digital natives, digital immigrants, part II. Do they really think differently? On the Horizon, 9, 6, 1–6.

Prensky, M. (2005a). Engage me or enrage me. EDUCASE Review, 40, 5, September/October, 61–64.

Sutherland-Smith,W. (2002).Weaving the literacyWeb: changes in reading from page to screen. The Reading Teacher, 55, 7, 662–669.

Design Project ideas

24 10 2011

For my MSc – Multimedia and Elearning I have to design and provide rationale for a learning activity using technology. Set out below are the ideas that interest me and I feel I am or will be capable of achieving in the timescale allowed.

1. Quiz’s on VLE (moodle)

I would use this as an assessment tool, to capture and record individual learners capabilities across a number of topics. I know the function exists but I have never used this to date, which is a shame that I have a piece of technology at my finger tips being unused partly due to time constraints and partly due to lack of knowledge.

2. Screen capture – online delivery

I like the idea of using software like Jing to record visual and sounds and use this as a learning tool. I feel though that to warrant the effort this might take that I would use this during my lessons rather than a tool to be used outside of lessons. The reasons for this are that many of my learners do not do homework or self-directed study. I could make this a challenge though as a prerequiste for the following lesson.

3. Quiz/Games – hot potatoes

The subjects I teach lend themselves to mini quiz’s and formative assessment to see if learners are on track for the exam. Getting learners to complete quiz’s and activities online would be good to assess learning but to also give learners a feel for doing work online (as their Functional Skills maths and English exams are online for the first time this year). This point is very similar to point 1, it maybe that I do one or the other or they can be combined.

4. Voting pads – class room technology

We have these at work but I have never tried them due to the set up time required. This design project might just be the inspiration that I need to dust them off. I really think the learners will like the interactive nature of them. I like the idea of amonously answering the questions, but everyone needing to answer before the next question or view can be presented.

5. Interactive whiteboard

We have these at college, but I never use them, partly due to time getting to grips with them and also the fact that not every room I teach in has them, so for some lessons where it might suit I do not have the technology to enable me to use them.

6. Prezi – presentation tool

I have designed one Prezi – which I have used as a presentation tool. I could develop this idea further and see if I can make it interactive for learners to find information and answer questions. I would like to get learners to create their own Prezi – but thats them design it not me. An idea to implement but not for this design project.

I would be grateful if you could vote on the above to help me make a decision.

Lino It

24 10 2011

I have recently been introducced to Lino It as a new interactive tool to use in the class room.


  • Visual
  • Colourful
  • Interactive
  • Group private settings can be added
  • Quick and easy to set up
  • Images, video and text can all be added
  • Ideal for lesson starters, finishers and project work
  • Embeds the use of technology/multimedia


  • Learners can overtype others posts
  • Learners can delete others posts (and I can not find a way, other than removing the learner from the group, of stopping this)

Please help if you are a Lino It user and share how you combat this problem.


20 10 2011

I have just created something using to use in my FS maths lessons. After half term I will be delivering fractions as a new topic for my learners. I thought I would have a go at using some dialogue to introduce fractions. I am really pleased with what I have produced and hope my learners will like this as well. I am going to consider using this as an assessment tool as suggested and get learners to create their own animation in groups to play back to the class about what they have learnt. The fact that you can only keep it to ten lines of dialogue will focus the learners on delivering content in the correct amount of time and also checking their spelling and punctuation.

Area and Volume – Cuboid and Cylinder

16 10 2011

I was tasked by another course leader to do area, shape and size and in particular in relation to circles to assist with her Delphi unit whereby learners were struggling to understand and visualise Pi and its associated formulas.

I realised that I needed an interactive lesson and first of all did the following exercise as an intro into the lesson, one to check prior knowledge and two to see how alert learners were as a first morning lesson. As part of this activity I had a box of a similar shape to the task so learners could actually visualise the position of the boxes inside a box, (as I find with area and volume learners struggle to visualise in their head or on paper).

I briefly covered with the group formula’s for circumference, area and volume and the use of Pi and BIDMAS.

I then wanted to gain interactivity in the lesson and still stay with the visualise theme and asked learners (in groups) to discuss and decided the answer to the following just using their current knowledge and no calculations.

Question: does a sheet of A4 paper have a bigger volume when rolled on its longest length or shortest length, or does it have the same volume. 

It was really good to see some learners arriving at the correct decision (by stating that the one with the biggest circumference will have the biggest volume) but the majority of learners where choosing the wrong answer or remained unsure.

I then used a box of Frosties (this could be rice or pasta, however my IT boys loved the Frosties, so much half the box went missing during the lesson) and asked learners to put the longer tube inside the shorter tube and fill up the longer tube. They then had to life up the longer tube to see if the contents filled or more then filled the shorter tube. It did not and resulted in the shorter tube having the larger volume. I then asked groups why and asked them to back up why, of which then used V = Pi x (rxr) x h. I really enjoyed this lesson and so did the learners. I am definitely going to do this again later in the year for my other groups (but I am going to use uncooked pasta as I do not think they will eat that ensuring that the pasta lasts for all my classes). I just wish I took some photos – learners actively engaged and motivated in a maths lesson.

Lesson Starter – Flat Numbers

14 10 2011

This has been a really good puzzle that learners have enjoyed and it got them thinking and engaged right at the start of a maths lesson.

A new block of flats has been built with 100 flats.

Dave has to paint the numbers from 1 to 100 on the doors.                                                                                                          

How many times will he have to paint the number 9?

A lot of learners say 11 as they do not count 90, 91, 92 and so on as they have counted up from 9, 19, 29 and their brain gets into a pattern. Then when they do realise they get to 19 and forget the number 99 has two 9’s in it. The answer is 20. This creates dicussion regarding writing information down, so that learners can visualise what they are doing.