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Daniel Lang 100098632 Dr Wing Au

Part A:

The first step in completing this portfolio was selecting a topic. The topic is the “Solar
System and the Planets” and the target audience is Year 6/7 students. The duration of this
topic would be over a school term, about 10 weeks, with a lesson each week, as well as
giving students the option of using their free time to work on their project. Students would
be required to complete a project of a planet of their choice, and present it using an ICT tool
designed for interactivity. As a result of this, 10 resources were required and a criterion
needed to be established with each resource being weighed up against this criterion to
determine the effectiveness. The criteria’s assessed within this discussion are as follows:

Credibility Visual Appeal Readability Navigation Interaction Content

Fallows (cited in Metzger 2007, p. 2078) explains that credibility refers to what extent you
can believe the information and its source. Credibility has two main focal points, the first
being how much you can trust the information that is displayed, the second being
attractiveness. Metzger (2007, p. 2078) explains that information is available from
increasing amounts of sources and can be accessed more easily than ever before.

Robins and Holmes (2008, p. 386) state when opening a website, the first impression is
made within a few seconds and is based on factors such as visual appeal and judgement
about the sites credibility. This example relates to web sites; however the same rules apply
for all resources located in this portfolio. Before reading the content, judgements are being
made based on the visual design of the resource, with arrangement of colours, design layout
and fonts used (Robins & Holmes 2008, p. 386). Lindgaard et al. (as cited in Robins & Holmes
2008, p. 390) explain that visual appeal is the main assessment of a positive reaction to a
web site.

Fogg et al. (cited in Metzger 2007, p. 2083) evaluated the credibility of several web sites by
determining what features of a web site are noticed. Fogg et al. (cited in Metzger 2007, p.
2083) determined that people often consider four categories of elements, the first being
site presentation, including graphics and readability. In addition, Fogg et al. (cited in
Metzger 2007, p. 2083) highlighted the importance of navigation and functionality, with a
sites design and presentational elements the criteria most people used when judging
credibility.

The final criterion for resource assessment is interaction. According to Liu (2003, p. 3) an
interactive web site should allow users to control the flow of information on the site and
customise the messages they receive in accordance to their goals. Interactive web sites
provide users active control and also give the user the ability to participate as well as
influence what occurs.

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Daniel Lang 100098632 Dr Wing Au

Resource 1: Website: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

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Interactivity 
Visual 
Appeal
Readability 
Navigation 
Credibility 
Content 

This resource is courtesy of NASA (2014), who are one of the most recognisable
organisations when it comes to the solar system. The website is suitable for year 6/7
students because it has a vast array of information and a helpful feature is the lengthy list of
frequently asked questions which may answer some questions students have. For teachers
there is an education tab which lists teacher-favourite lessons. It also has options of games
with puzzles, and a homework helper tab which helps students with their homework and
also has an option to create a report.

Resource 2: YouTube – The Solar System song

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This video is probably just appropriate for year 6/7 students, but the site won’t particularly
be used for gathering information, rather in getting students to be creative. It could be used
as an introduction video in order to help the kids get to know a little about the planets.
More so, it is a bit of fun and could be used to encourage students to create their own
planets song. A worksheet could be created as a result of the video and most importantly,
students will learn while they are watching and enjoying the catchy song.

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Resource 3: Website: National Earth Science Teachers Association

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This website is useful for students and teachers alike. It contains a tab specifically for
teachers, where activities and workshops are options. Amongst these options are power
point presentations and worksheets for students. In terms of information for students,
there isn’t a large amount of information but it contains links to other websites that might
be useful. This interactive website contains many games, including crosswords and word
searches, which students could include in their projects or even make their own. This
resource also has options for beginners, intermediate and advanced, catering to all learning
needs.

Resource 4: Book: Phillip’s Solar System Observer’s Guide

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Containing many images, facts and figures, charts and tables, this resource is a good one for
year 6/7 students. The book is much smaller than a usual book, and as suggested by the
title, it is a guide book. It has a content list which provides easy navigation for students.
Similar to the Cambridge University book which is also in this resource list, this book is
detailed to the extent that students could pick just a few aspects of each chapter to which
they chose to research. It helps students gain the skill of being able to pick the most relevant
information.

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Daniel Lang 100098632 Dr Wing Au

Resource 5: App: Solar Walk

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This app is free to download however it will cost $3.79 to unlock the full version. This app
has terrific visual appeal as the graphics and images are very effective. You can view a 3D
model of the Solar System in motion, and it contains general information, figures and
internal structure of each planet. Students would enjoy this app as it doesn’t suffer from
information overload, rather highlighting what it sees as the most important facts. This
resource would be effective for primary students as they can work independently and
explore about the planets without necessarily requiring “teaching”.

Resource 6: Website: NeoK12 Solar System

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This website gives students a lot of freedom, it isn’t just a website that has page after page
of information, rather it gives the user the chance to be in control and to discover how they
learn best. It has a lengthy list of videos about the solar system, each of which have been
reviewed by teachers. The site also has a few quizzes that the students can take, and also an
option to create their own quiz which would be a great way for students to learn and for
teachers to get a better understanding of the knowledge of their students.

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Daniel Lang 100098632 Dr Wing Au

Resource 7: YouTube – Planets in our Solar System

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This YouTube video is high in content, easy to understand and has good visual appeal
through excellent images. The video could be used within the classroom as a worksheet.
You could have a list of questions and pause as a question approaches, informing the
students to be ready. For example a question was, “Why is Mars nicknamed the Red
planet?” To which the answer was “Because it is covered in red coloured dust. The video
would be appropriate for year 6/7’s because it contains useful information that could be
used for projects.

Resource 8: Book: The Cambridge Guide to the Solar System

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This book is extremely detailed and would be a good resource for primary school students
who want to do a detailed project on a particular aspect of the solar system. It may seem a
little overwhelming to students who have not identified what aspect of the solar system
they are studying but there is such variety of information that students could use the same
book, be researching the same planet and still come up with very different information. It is
a good resource for teachers as there is enough information about each planet to talk about
over a number of weeks.

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Daniel Lang 100098632 Dr Wing Au

Resource 9: Website: Nine Planets

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This website is a great resource for primary school children. It contains an excellent
interactive tour of the solar system which contains many facts and information. It has an
uncluttered design with tabs at the top of the page which easily direct the user. It contains a
nice mixture of texts and images, which create a nice contrast. The content is excellent with
many facts on each planet, and the site has many links to other relevant websites. Students
could then follow these links to other useful websites about the solar system.

Resource 10: Book: Smithsonian: Our solar system

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This book is more simplistic than the other books used as resources. As the book contains
quite simple, straight forward information, it might help students to become interested in
the solar system and may motivate the students to develop greater, more in-depth
knowledge. Through reading this book the students develop a core knowledge about the
planets, and for teachers the large images would be good if you wanted to read the book to
the class. The book may be good for students who struggle to grasp more complex
information, as it is presented in a way that will be helpful.

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Daniel Lang 100098632 Dr Wing Au

Part B:

The topic chosen for this portfolio was the solar system and the audience was year 6/7
students. The aim of this topic was for students to develop a greater understanding of the
solar system, and to research a specific planet and create a research project relating to their
chosen planet. Throughout their research students will require the use of numerous ICT
tools; these include PowerPoint, blogs and movie maker. PowerPoint would be a main tool
used as the teacher can use the most relevant information found on the websites used as
resources in Part A and place them into a PowerPoint. This tool is interactive and engaging
and allows students who are more visual learners to get a better grasp on the topic. Movie
maker is another tool that could be used, for example resource 3, the YouTube Solar System
song, could inspire the students to create their own song, film it and upload the video to
make a movie. Blogs is another as it allows students to be creative and enhance their
language skills while having fun.

Potential of ICTs to enhance learning:

Lim (2002, p. 411) states that as we move into the 21st century, schools have to assist
students with being lifelong learners and that students need to learn how to search for new
information, think critically and show initiative to keep up with a world that is constantly
moving forward. According to Kachala (cited in Lim 2002, p.411), research studies of
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in schools have concluded that ICT
assists the processes of students adapting to lifelong learning. Lim (2002, p. 413) argues that
ICT may cause changes in the activities, curriculum and even relationships in the learning
environment.

According to the Australian Curriculum (2013) under science for Year 6, it lists a content
description as communicating, and this mentions that students are to communicate ideas,
explanations and processes in a number of ways, including multi-modal texts. There is also a
heading that lists processing and analysing data and information, and this explains that
students need to construct and use a range of representations, including tables and graphs,
describe observations in data using digital technologies, for example ICT tools such as the
ones this portfolio discusses. Therefore this topic of the solar system is in line with the
Australian Curriculum, especially through the use of ICT tools.

Watson (2001, p. 254) stated that IT is to improve and extend learning throughout the
curriculum as well as to assist young people to gain confidence and enjoyment from using
Information Technology. Through the use of ICT, schools will help students become
knowledgeable about the nature of information as well as being confident with new
technology (Watson, 2001, p. 254). Loveless, Burton and Turvey (2006, p. 5) explained the
relationship between the three elements of creative practices that are linked with ICT, these

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being creative processes, the features of ICT and ICT capability as an sign of higher order
thinking. Furthermore, when using ICT you are likely to be using imagination and perusing a
purpose, engaging with the features of ICT such as interactivity, and also developing ideas
and putting them into practice (Loveless, Burton & Turvey 2006, p. 5). As is evident, ICT are
great learning tools that benefit not only the students, but the teacher also.

ICTs as learning tools:

Movie Maker:

Movie maker is an example of a great ICT tool that could be used by teachers in the solar
system learning package. Movie maker could be used by students when presenting their
research on their particular planet. Movie maker is a video editing software that gives the
user the ability to create videos, which can then be published to a variety of sources. Sadik
(2008, p. 493) explains that creating a digital story such as what occurs in movie maker,
requires skills and concepts that teachers need to teach by introduced their students to the
digital storytelling concept. Therefore teachers need to have knowledge about movie maker
and how it works, and be able to explain it to students for it to be most effective. As an
example of how students could put together their own movie, they could save images they
have found on the NASA site for resource one into a folder stored on the computer. From
here, students can browse these images and add them to their own movie. Students could
also incorporate themselves in their movie, by including videos of them talking about their
planet. Students can easily add music, animations and visual effects to their movie to make
it more interactive and more entertaining. Adding a student’s favourite song to their
presentations may help the student feel like the project is theirs, and through this
ownership they will take pride in their work and want to see it finished.

Movie maker allows students to be creative and to express themselves however they want.
Being occupied in the movie maker tool, it allows students to be creative and to explore
different, more interactive ways of creating a presentation rather than the old fashioned
way of researching a topic and then presenting to the class. Loveless, Burton and Turvey
(2006, p. 7) explain that being involved with activities they feel are creative will help
students to not just become fixated on ideas and outcomes, but also on the feelings that are
associated through what they are in engaging in. In addition, children described satisfaction
and excitement which lead to more participation, and a willingness to follow things through
(Loveless, Burton & Turvey 2006, p. 7). The movie maker tool provides an excellent
opportunity for the students to actively engage with the topic, and for teachers to get a
better understanding of whether their students may learn best and engage more with a tool
that requires more creativity.

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Power Point:

Another ICT tool that can be used in the classroom when delivering this teaching package is
PowerPoint. PowerPoint is another good ICT tool as it is a basic slide show software that
enables the user to once again be creative and design their presentation in whatever way
they desire. Lim and Tay (as cited by Sadik 2008, p. 489) explain that PowerPoint is one of
the most frequently used tools by students for constructing presentations for curriculum
based assignments. Like movie maker, PowerPoint enables students to use a range of
multimedia, including the use of videos, animations and music. PowerPoint is an excellent
tool for teachers as it provides an opportunity to present a large amount of information in a
more interactive and engaging way. Through multimedia and music, it breaks up
information from being delivered in a more traditional approach. This ICT tool is relatively
straight forward to use therefore students who may struggle with more complex tools may
find PowerPoint to be more useful. Students could use the information gathered on the
eighth resource of this portfolio by Lang (2011) and use it to insert into their presentation.
They could use information and tables found on this book, and even possibly images, in
their PowerPoint presentation to create a dynamic project.

Blogs:

One additional ICT tool that will be used by students during this teaching topic is blogs.
Blogs are usually maintained by a single person, with entries that express their thoughts, or
expressing facts or figures, and these blogs may contain graphics or videos. Therefore they
are used to express the users understanding or knowledge of a particular topic. According to
Murray and Hourigan (2008, p. 210), blogs can successfully encourage self expression while
the learner is personalising information, while managing their language learning strategies.
According to Rourke and Coleman (cited in Murray & Hourigan 2008, p. 210), blogs are both
individualistic and collaborative and have the potential to go beyond language barriers and
may be used for language learning purposes. Therefore, blogs could be helpful in developing
student’s language skills, and it could assist students from backgrounds other than English
and provide a greater ease in communicating their ideas and expressions. When it comes to
using blogs in an educational setting, according to Xie (cited in Murray & Hourigan 2008, p.
211) blogs notably increase students’ reflective learning practices. In addition, Ford states
(cited in Murray & Hourigan 2008, p. 211) that blogging requires higher-order thinking skills
such as the ability to evaluate. Therefore, this ability to evaluate and engage in higher order
thinking will help students to assess which information they should use in their blogs, and
through blogs their language skills will be developed.

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References:

Australian Curriculum 2013, Science, Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting


Authority, viewed 2 June 2015, <
http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/science/curriculum/f-10?layout=1>

Elearnin 2014, The solar system song, video, YouTube, 8 June, viewed 24 May 2015, <
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o25FwI2TQ_0>

Grego, P 2005, Solar system observer’s guide, Phillips, Heron Quays, London.

Hourigan, T and Murray, M 2010, ‘Using blogs to help language students to develop
reflective learning strategies: Towards a pedagogical framework, Australasian Journal of
Educational Technology, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 209-225.

Kids Learning Videos 2014, Planets in our solar system, 14 June, viewed 24 May 2015, <
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veaI2Rajimg>

Lang, KR 2011, The Cambridge guide to the solar system, Cambridge, Cambridge University
Press, New York.

Lim, CP 2002, ‘A theoretical framework for the study of ICT in schools: a proposal’, British
Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 33, no. 4, pp. 411-422.

Liu, Y 2003, ‘Developing a scale to measure the interactivity of web sites’, Journal of
Advertising Research, vol. 43, no. 2, pp. 1-30.

Loveless, A, Burton, J and Turvey, K 2006, ‘Developing conceptual frameworks for creativity,
ICT and teacher education thinking skills and creativity, Education Research Centre
Faculty of Education and Sport, vol. 1,no. 1, pp. 3-13.

Metzger, MJ 2007, ‘Making sense of credibility on the web: Models for evaluating online
information and recommendations for future research’, Wiley InterScience, vol. 38, issue 13,
pp. 2078-2091.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration 2014, Solar system exploration, NASA,
viewed 24 May 2015, < https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/index.cfm>

National Earth Science Teachers Association 2012, Windows to the universe, viewed 24 May
2015, < http://www.windows2universe.org/windows.html&edu=mid>

NeoK12 2015, Solar system for kids, Educational videos, lessons and games for K-12 school
kids, viewed 28 May 2015, < http://www.neok12.com/Solar-System.htm>

Nine Planets 2015, Nine planets – solar system tour, viewed 28 May 2015, <
http://nineplanets.org/>

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Robins, D and Holmes J 2008, ‘Aesthetics and credibility in web site design’, ScienceDirect,
vol. 44, issue 1, pp. 386-399.

Sadik, A 2008, ‘Digital storytelling: a meaningful technology-integrated approach for


engaged student learning, Education Tech Research Development, vol. 56, no. 4, pp. 487-
506.

Simon, S 2007, Our solar system, Collins, New York, NY.

Vito Technology 2014, Solar Walk, app.

Watson, DM 2001, ‘Pedagogy before technology: Re-thinking the relationship between ICT
and teaching’, Education and Information Technologies, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 251-266.

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Appendices:

Appendix 1:

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Appendix 2:

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Appendix 3:

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Appendix 4:

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Appendix 5:

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Appendix 6:

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Appendix 7:

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Appendix 8:

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Appendix 9:

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Appendix 10:

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