Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mahara and PowerPoint


Mahara is a social networking application, but is also an ePortfolio. Mahara can be used to blog, store data and content and may also facilitate learning experiences through it having sections where one’s view of a topic can be posted onto their profile (if the user allows it). This could be used to generate educational discussions online. A major advantage of this technology is that like other blogging sites, Mahara has RSS feeds and therefore, in this scenario where it could be used as an educational tool, learners wouldn’t have to search for the page they were commenting on all over again.


The purpose of the PowerPoint I have made is to educate learners on the famous Frilled-Neck Lizard. The colours used in it are bright, there’s movement, the photo’s and words have been kept to a minimal. I tried to imbed it in this blog, but it didn't work.

However, in the analysis of this technology being used as an educational tool (using framework: Dale’s Cone), it was discovered that the PowerPoint technology did not facilitate a large amount of active learning. In fact, verbal symbols, visual symbols and still pictures were rated as the least effective type of learning on Dale’s Cone of active learning. Given that PowerPoint is the most prevalent form of technology found in classrooms (Young, 2004), perhaps educators might benefit from looking elsewhere for interactive, engaging ways of delivering content with technology.

Additionally, students of a university have reported that overhead projectors and chalkboards are much more engaging than a PowerPoint because there is movement in the classroom, they can be drawn on (which adds a higher degree of interaction) and the lights are on, making it easier to stay awake during a class (Young, 2004).


Reference List

Young, J, R. (2004). When Good Technology Means Bad Teaching. The Chronicle of Higher Education: Information Technology, 51(12), 21.

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