Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Comic Life software

Using the comic life software was an interesting exercise. I found it relatively easy to use as I have had previous experience with the comic format. After seeing a colleague’s example I automatically referred back to my own picture library to supply images for a small project. As you can see the result is a reflective piece that is both personal and I hope entertaining.
As learning tool I can see this as useful for students especially earlier grades as the software is easy to use and literacy outcomes seem straightforward as it explores multiliteracy themes (comic book format) but also allows simple styles such as recount or narrative to be demonstrated.
I am conscious of Kearsley & Shneiderman’s (1999) argument that “Engagement theory is......not individual interaction with an instructional program.” This experience should be part of larger unit of work and in the context of group activities. Collaborative efforts would still be possible using this tool as in longer storylines or different roles assigned to the group members, writer, illustrator, editor, etc.
One issue I can see arising is the use of copyrighted images in a student’s work. Older students might naturally surf the web for images and may rely on corporate images rather than public images if left to their own devices.

Shneiderman, B. (1988), Relate-Create-Donate: An educational philosophy for the cyber-generation. Computers & Education, in press.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A new beginning?


A brave new world of information and communication technologies (ICT's) that makes the next great leap forward to globalisation.

I cannot help but reflect on the historical precedents set by technological change. The wheel, steel, printing press, combustion engine, nuclear fission all created great change and endless possibilities but the reality was, as with steel, a double edged sword. Will this latest technology hugely improve our lives or will the cons outweigh the pros?

In the focus of this blog, ICT's and their application in education, it seems a necessity to engage a new generation of learners. The scope and versatility are undeniably attractive and inevitable.
However the hype of the "new" seems to be getting ahead of established ideas. Kearsley and Shneiderman's Engagement Theory propagates the model of learning around Relate, Create and Donate to bring learning experiences in line with new digital generation. It seems to me they are applying the idea of a community group such as the Lion's Club or any sports club to giving meaning to education. Is it not the reason for being of these clubs to benefit members through social interaction and society through philanthropy?

I am all in favour of moving forward and rapidly! Educational experiences in Australian schools are generally, woefully, rapidly losing the engagement of learners in my experience. I am somewhat sceptical of ideas or models being "new" other than the gadgetry.