Category Archives: ICT & Technology

Successful Technology Integration

IMG_8416.JPGMid last year, I wrote an article for ACEL e-Publications about the successful technology
In the article, I discuss the fact that there shouldn’t be such a huge focus on WHY technology needs to be integrated but a shift towards HOW technology can be integrated so that it is meaningful and successful in our classrooms.

In the article I go into detail about ten ways you can encourage technology integration in your school. The ten examples are listed below.

  • Quick tips
    • Think about sharing tech tips at the beginning of staff meetings.
  • Twitter
    • Get your staff on board and active on Twitter.
  • Modelling
    • Incorporate tech in staff meetings in order to inspire teachers.
  • Tech Tips For Parents
    • Add a technology corner in your school newsletter providing useful apps or websites for parents to download for their children.
  • Technology Lesson
    • Set aside some time to specifically teach your students how to use a tool.
  • Technology Needs
    • Identify the needs of each grade regarding technology. It should be a school priority to continue to provide devices in order to meet the needs of the students.
  • Genius Session
    • Consider implementing a Genius Session across the school where students participate in different activities which encourage creativity including a technology session.
  • ICT Resources
    • Consider creating a cupboard of ICT resources. E.g. headphones, iPad adapters, Makey-Makey kits.
  • Support
    • Foster a culture of sharing, support, trust and openness among the staff.
  • Staff Site
    • Develop a page on your staff site dedicated to digital pedagogy.

 Click here to subscribe ACEL e-Publications.

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Microsoft Interactive Education Experience

MicrosoftOn Wednesday 30th September 2015, I was lucky enough to be invited to the Microsoft Interactive Education Experience. The day included a tour of the Microsoft office and a look at the Surface 3.

It was nice to see Microsoft taking a real interest in education and adopting creative and flexible work spaces in their office. I must admit, I love my Mac and iPhone, however it didn’t take long before I was impressed with the new feel to Microsoft and the Surface 3.

Surface 3: Highlights

  • Digital pen
    • Easy to use and erase.
    • Highly responsive with no lag.
    • Palm block technology allows your hand to touch the screen while you use the digital pen.Surface 3
    • The keyboard was never designed as a thinking tool. The digital pen allows you to be more creative.
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Easily converted between a tablet and a laptop – quickly adapts to your needs.
  • OneDrive and OneNote
    • Easy to use.
    • Free app across all of your devices or use it on the web.
    • Share your notebooks with others for viewing or editing – online collaboration (just like Google Drive).
  • Power BI
    • Transform your company data into rich visuals.
  • Multiple desktops
    • Great for setting up desktops for individual students in your class.
  • Long battery life

I’ve really enjoyed using the Surface 3 and I’ve been pleasantly surprised. It has been perfect to take to PD sessions– it is the perfect size and easily converts between a tablet and a laptop. Click here for more information about the Surface 3 and check out #MSAUedu.

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Using QR Codes in the Classroom

QR codes (quick response codes), alongside iPads and iPhones, are becoming increasingly popular. We see them everywhere from commercial packaging to advertisements. You can create QR codes using free apps such as QuickMark and QRReader or websites such as Unitag (click here for a YouTube video I have created explaining how to use Unitag). QR codes can be scanned and take you to a website, show text, a video and so much more – providing an interactive experience.

The excitement and motivation a simple tool can elicit in students is incredible.

QR codes have great potential to enhance learning and motivation in the classroom. They can simply change a simple task to something more exciting or create entirely new possibilities. Below is a simple list of ways that I have and/or endeavour to incorporate QR codes into my teaching.

  • Students receive questions to answer and the QR code provides the correct answer.
  • Students research a topic and create a poster using QR codes to present their information.
  • Rather than students typing in a long URL provided by the teacher, they can simply scan the provided QR code.
  • Create interactive displays and posters in the classroom – if they were simply written they are unlikely to be read by the students.
  • Questions and answers are embedded in separate QR codes which are placed around the room for students to scan and match the question to the answer.

Click here for 40 interesting ways to use QR codes in the classroom by Tom Barrett.

Click here for an article from Edutopia about using QR codes to differentiate instruction.

There are also many products on Teachers Pay Teachers that you can purchase with QR codes already on them. Click here to read about some. 

In the YouTube clip below, Karen Mensing provides some great ideas for the use of QR codes in the classroom.

How will you incorporate QR codes into your teaching?

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Education Technology Hits and Hopes

Take a look at this great article in The Australian Teacher Magazine (@OzTeacherMag) about education technology hits and hopes that I was lucky enough to be a part of! Click here to download  the magazine on your iPhone or iPad (it’s free!). Also, be sure to follow Summer Howarth (@EduSum) on Twitter.


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Filed under ICT & Technology, Teaching, Teaching Strategies

iLE@RN with Mobile Devices – iPad2

I have completed a course created by the eLearning team at CEO Sydney about iPads. The course required me to blog about each module.

Module One

I am quite confident when it comes to using iPads and iPhones so module one was quite straightforward for me, however there is always something new to learn. Three activities that contributed to my learning from module one, included the following.

  • Locating and downloading the iBooks.
  • Learning little things such as how to orientate and lock the screen and revealing the multitasking bar by swiping with four or five fingers is very useful as well.

Module Two

Module two required me to read the iPad User Guide, click here to read it.

The guide is very detailed and easy to understand. Chapters 9, 15 and 17 were interesting as they provided information about useful Apps.

Chapter 9 – Photo Booth: Photo Booth allows the user to apply different effects to a photo. Perhaps the App could be used in a visual arts lesson.

Chapter 15 – Notes. It got me thinking about students taking notes using this App. Perhaps it would give them some motivation to write notes/key points while listening to the shared reading book or a Bible story. They could also work in pairs and take turns writing an important point. Alternatively, the students could use it to jot down ideas as they are completing group work or it could even be a spelling activity.

Chapter 17 – Maps. When learning about a particular location, perhaps students can find it using Maps. This would allow the students to visualise the location.

Module Three 

This module has been my favourite so far. It provided the iLE@RN App Framework for identifying Apps that will engage students and deepen their learning. I liked the following Apps.

Questioning Skills: Socrative, Inspiration Lite

Communication and Collaboration Skills: Popplet, Sock Puppets, iMovie

Creative Thinking Skills: PuppetPals, Toontastic, Idea Sketch, SimpleMind

This module also provided fantastic App evaluation forms. I particularly liked the evaluation form which evaluated students interaction, differentiation, syllabus outcomes and feedback. It highlights the fact that it really is important to evaluate Apps and think about how they could be improved. There are so many Apps available, they should’t just be used for the sake of using them.

Module Four 

This module was about working with files and collaborating on the iPad. I prefer to use Google Drive to to store and share documents. The files can then be accessed from any device that is connected to the internet. I also really like the idea of being able to annotate PDF files and easily share them with others.

Module Five

This module highlighted that multimodal literacy is one of the 21st century skills that is part of the iLE@RN model. Literacy exists in three modes: talking and listening, reading  viewing and writing. There are useful Apps that students can use for each of the three modes, including: Quick Voice, Voice Memos, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, Our Choice,Toy Story, Hangman, Scrabble, Dragon Dream, Toontastic, Doodlecast, Strip Designer, Comic Strip, Poetry Magnets, Story Kit, Creative Book Builder and Ebook Creator.

Integrating just a few of these Apps into literacy lessons can make even the simple tasks so much more exciting and engaging.

Module Six

Transformative Devices: Apps may be seen as transformative devices as they allow for the creation of new tasks that were previously inconceivable.

For example: The Kids Write Text Types App allows students to plan/write their own piece of writing, annotate over it and then save or email it to someone.

Camera and Annotating: The camera allows the students find examples of something they are learning about and take photos of them and then upload them to another application (such as Skitch) and add text in a matter of minutes.

Blogging: The WordPress App allows the user to access their blog via their iPad or iPhone. I like using the WordPress App to write draft blog posts, approve comments and write comments. I prefer using the desktop version when adding images/presentation tools into posts.

iMovie: The iPad can be used to record a series of short videos. This activity gave me the idea to allow the students to use the iPad to record themselves more often. Instead of the students continually recording their reflections after a lesson into their books, I am going to encourage the students to record what they had been doing that lesson with a partner. 

Have you completed this course? 

How do you incorporate the iPad into your lessons? 


Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot /

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Google Presentations

I have been starting to use the Google presentation tool in my classroom and it has been a hit with the students.

To create a Google presentation, follow these simple steps (there are also many YouTube videos explaining these steps and more).

  1. Sign into your Gmail account (or create an account).
  2. Click on ‘drive’ in the black bar on the top of your page. 
  3. Click ‘create’, then click ‘presentation’. 
  4. A box will pop up asking you to select a theme. 
  5. Click ‘untitled presentation’ to rename the presentation. 
  6. Add slides by clicking on ‘insert’ and then ‘new slide’.
  7. Begin typing into the slides!

The Benefits of Google Presentations

  • Google presentations encourage collaboration. More than one person can access and edit the presentation at the same time while using different devices. 
  • Your work is saved automatically.
  • It is all online – no need for USBs.
  • The presentation can be shared with those you choose. 
  • There is only one copy which can be accessed through drive, unlike PowerPoint which needs to be emailed to each person in the group, creating multiple copies.
  • It is user friendly as it is really easy to use. 
  • The teacher can type into the presentation, leaving comments/suggestions for the students to use to edit their work. This instant feedback and in a new and exciting way motivates the students.
  • The students are motivated as they know the whole class can see their work.

My Experience with Google Presentations 

  • In a staff meeting, the presenter shared a Google presentation with the staff members about useful iPad apps for the classroom. The staff members were encouraged to add to the presentation by creating a slide and writing about an app they use in the classroom and how they use it. 
  • While working on a presentation with other staff members, we were able to work on the same presentation at the same time without emailing each other once. Using Google presentations allowed us to get a lot of work done in a short amount of time. We could easily see what the other person was working on and provide instant feedback/comments/suggestions.  As we were working on the original presentation, there was no need for someone to collate the work of both parties into a final presentation as you would need to with a PowerPoint presentation.
  • I created a Google presentation about the novel we are reading and shared it with the students in my class. The first slide included images of the novel and the blurb, while the second slide included questions for the students to answer.  The next 28 slides were blank except for the name of a student. Allocating slides makes it easier for the students to work on the presentation simultaneously.  

In class, the students opened the Google presentation and answered one of the questions in their allocated slide. They were so excited to be able to read what other students were writing and to contribute to a class presentation.

Next term, I’m hoping to create a Google presentation that the students can contribute to throughout the term rather than just one or two lessons. Similarly, I’m going to create Google presentation about the book we will be reading throughout the term, except I am going to allow the students to choose their groups and allocate each group to a slide and a question within the presentation for them to work on each week.

Have you used Google presentations?

How have you/could you use Google presentations within your classroom?  


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Google Docs

This week, I attended a CloudShare bootcamp that was all about Google Apps and how they can be useful for my school and my class. Take a look at the video below to gain an understanding of Google Apps.

I attended the bootcamp with other teachers from my school and we are now the Google Guides for our school. We are in charge of creating a Google Site for the students and parents at our school to use. Google Docs is one of the Google Apps we were introduced to. Take a look at the following video for an explanation of Google Docs.

I am so excited about the potential Google Docs has in the classroom – the options are endless! My year five class are learning how to write a persuasive text at the moment. I created a Google Doc that contains a table. Each student has their own row in the table where they are to write their statement of position (introduction to their persuasive text). As the document is online, we are all able to access the same document at the same time on different computers.

I can enter my suggestions/tips in the same box in a different colour and the student can then read my tips/suggestions and edit their statement.  Not only does this help the students save time and motivate them to complete their work, they can see everyone’s statement of position, allowing the students to learn from each other.

Statement of Position - Google Doc Image

As the document can easily be accessed from home, the students are able to share their learning with their parents and family members in an exciting way. As the students type into the document, they are able to see other students type into the online document at the same time. The students know that everyone in the class and their family members will be able to see their work – ta-da – an instant audience that motivates the students!  The students are further motivated as they are able to paste their statement into a class blog post which reaches an even wider audience.

I have been blown away by the excitement and motivation of the students. Some of them have been  checking the Google Doc regularly during the weekend to see if I had replied. They become even more excited when they can see me typing into the Google Doc in real time. The image below sums it all up.

Statement of Position - Google Doc

Other ways to use Google Docs:

  • Each group may have their own row to fill in and respond to ideas from other groups. 
  • Encourage class discussion as each student contributes. 
  • Joint construction of a text – everyone can see it and contribute.
  • Students are able to edit a piece of writing together. 
  • Brainstorming before a task. 
  • Each group could be responsible for researching a particular topic and adding it to a class document.
  • The students are able to publish their own piece of writing all on the same document and provide tips/suggestions on how they could improve it.

Click here and here for presentations with more ideas. 

How do you use Google Docs in your classroom?


Filed under Google Apps, ICT & Technology