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Coonara House Action Research Project Stage 1:Planning and preparation.





OUR PROJECT RESEARCH QUESTION Will the use of elearning tools encourage/assist students to become self-directed learners?




Planning and preparation: developing the course and providing the teacher with support


Actions: Preparation (List actions as you identify them)
Wiki cert2and3commwork wiki

Meet with project support team, Lynne Gibb, Sally Dusting-Laird and Team Leader Leanne FitzGerald
Work out the demographic/needs of the students.
Set up the wiki taking their needs into consideration
Introduce it to the students in a formal class setting - Lynne/Sally
Encourage student interaction with each other on the wiki - give positive feedback both on the wiki and in the classroom

Electronic whiteboard
Set up and demonstrate the functions of the whiteboard
Encouraged students to utilise it themselves
Ensure low level literacy students have more time with the whiteboard

Chat Room
Set up chat room on the wiki
Introduce it to high level computer litereate students and use them as test cases
Utilise these students new knowledge to introduce it to other students
Introduce it in the computer lab first
Set up a time for students to use it from home
Continue to encourage their participation if they wish to use it to chat with each other out of the classroom

On-line forum
Introduce the discussion forums in the class
Establish rules for appropriate conduct
Students play with it in class
Encourage students to contribute from home
Monitor discussion boards for appropriate conduct and to ascertain whether the low level literacy students are contributing
If they are not ask high level computer literate student to buddy with them
Encourage feedback on their reactions to the blended learning style

Digital storytelling
Trial Photostory 3
Run a workshop
Encouraged them to produce own story on any topic
Lynne mentors Sally on how to upload digital story to blip TV
Sally passes on her knowledge to at least two students who upload their stories to the wiki

Podcasting
Purchase an iriver.
Learn and practice using it.
Record parts of a live session.
Upload session.
House on podcasting page of wiki.
Demonstrate downloading it to students.
Encourage all students to download it onto their own computer.
High level literacy students to use Coonara's MP3 players to download and listen independent of their computer.
Encourage feedback on wiki discussion forum.

Data show projector to use internet in classroom


Achievements (List them as they happen and when)

July 10 Karen became extremely enthusiastic and explored all features of the wiki to the extent that she began to find features unknown to the project team. She shared this knowledge willingly.

July 21, 2007 Karen (high level literacy student) has offered to buddy with low level computer/literacy students

The wiki has gone beyond what we intially envisaged. Student input has been paramount in designing the wiki to make it accessible to all. example: using icons beside navigation links, simplified instructions on all wiki features, two students have uploaded their own games to have a bit of fun. Lynne liked the idea of Michael C's Google calendar on AccessACE and introduced it to Sally who uploaded one to the cert2and3commwork wiki. The students love the calendar as it lets them know what's coming up in class. Assessments for Cert 2 and 3 were successfully uploaded. Most students have been able to download assessments at home and feedback is positive. Comment: Sally is kept on her toes with comments from students such as: "The second assessment task hasn't been uploaded yet, where is it?"

July 22 One student has uploaded external links as a resource: i.e: ABC-TV Australian Story

August 2, 2007 Karen has set up her own wiki for a community development project. She also continues to explore features of the wikispaces and shares them with time poor project workers and other students. Visit the Moment-in-time wiki to see what she is achieveing.

August 8, 2007 Karen has taken on the role of leading the discussions and strongly encourages participation by the other students

August 14, 2007 Justine is a committed student and full-time single mum and loves having assignments uploaded before we finish units so she can "pace herself," as her boys are young and don't like her to be on the computer when they are awake.

August 21, 2007 Lynne and Sally uploaded first audio file to wiki.

Reflections


A week after setting up the wiki and running a workshop with the students all were invited and accepted, bar one who is waiting for her computer to arrive.

Interestingly only two have posted anything. I asked the other students the reason for not posting. Their responses were:

"Lack of time to devote to the site and respond."
"Not confident, need more time."
"Need to feel more confident."
One of the students has offered her time for an hour next week to take them through another overview of the site and answer any questions. This particular student has absolutely embraced the wiki and designed her own. She has high level computer-based skills and is moderator of her own site. She is contributing at all levels and is so empowered I had her facilitate some of the wiki training session.

Sally

Since then, there has been a lot more interaction and all bar one have put something on the wiki and joined in discussions.

Aug 22nd: Need to revisit podcasting so that we really do podcasting and not just use audio files (which are all some students can manage). (Lynne)

Evidence/Data Collection

Timetable? Sample content? Enrolments? E-mails? Publicity brochures? Photos?

The wiki, photo slide show, the podcast, the digital stories, the discussion boards, copy of electronic whiteboard print-out (Amber)

Sample of comments from the student discussion on wiki

Jul 31, 2007 8:04 pm
Subject: Environment info gathering
need to organise a time to go with someone to go to the dandenong (NP) info centre (Adrian)
(Showing he understands that the wiki can be used to organise team projects)

Jul 28, 2007 12:59 am
Hi Sally
You may like to add the community meeting to the calendar.
(Student who is working on a project)

Aug 2nd, 2007 I was so happy to see many students with smiles on their faces and enjoying their introduction to electronic learning or e-learning. Yes you are still on planet earth but times are changing very quickly. What I think you've realised is that e-learning gives you a lot more options. If you're sick or caught up in other commitments, work, family, friends etc.. this wiki gives you options to catch up. We can also try chatting with you at home if you're interested. I'm proud of you all for embracing this new research project. Thanks for coming along with me on our journey..I hope you enjoy the ride (Sally)

July 28, 2007 I also had a bit of a thought about A. (low level literacy student). Would it be inappropriate for us to give her a "Student Encouragement Award"? I just think she would get a kick out of it. She has come so far from the first Youth work course. (Karen)
(This is the high level computer literate student who has been encouraging and supporting lower-level literacy students).

Aug 5, 2007 10:20 pm
If apropiate i would to arrange a block of time on wedneday afternoon, that i'm fairly sure has been set aside for reascearch gathering this week. (Adrian)

Aug 5, 2007 5:03 pm
Moment in time now has a background picture. Not the best one but not bad. Just need a good image that is not too dark. Now I know how, it's easy peasy! (Karen)
(High level student who has developed another wiki for Coonara on her own and is looking deeper into the code and mechnics of wikis and teaching the tutors).

THE LAST THOUGHT: Resolutions (If I were to do this again, at this stage I'd...)


Spend more time going back over the mechanics of podcasting. We have both forgotten a lot of the mechanics of RSS run out of time to spend as much time on it as we would have liked by this stage (Aug 27). We have uploaded one audio file of Sally's communication class which will be available to students this week. It is not podcasting as such but we are working on RSS!

Other than that, It is going so well I am not sure we would change anything else. Perhaps organise some extra 1:1 sessions with Amber to help increase her confidence. The project so far is exceeding our expectations.