Tag Archives: ICT

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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Filed under ICT & Technology


I am amazed at the vast difference in opinion regarding homework. Just in the last couple of days, I have heard a news story stating that homework is irrelevant to the 21st century and read a newspaper article stating that two hours of homework each night is beneficial to students. Click here for a previous post I have written about homework.

Isn’t there a happy medium?

In a discussion between @keelygriffiths and @M_Carreiro and myself (@ashleyazzopardi) we agreed that homework is relevant to the 21st century if it;

  • Revises concepts learnt in class
  • Builds on existing knowledge
  • Integrates ICT
  • Promotes inquiry learning
  • Includes open ended questions

Click here for a Prezi I have created in a previous post regarding learning in the 21st century.

I have seen many schools with the following recommendations for the maximum time spent on homework each night (including reading):

  • Kindergarten and Year One: 15 minutes
  • Year Two: 20 minutes
  • Year Three: 30 minutes
  • Year Four: 40 minutes
  • Year Five and Year Six: 60-90 minutes

What are your thoughts about homework?

Does your school have a homework policy?

photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Filed under Homework, ICT & Technology, Student Learning, Teaching Strategies

Classroom Blogs

Ever since I have joined Twitter I have been not only introduced to the idea of classroom blogs, but also to the amazing potential that they can have for student learning.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, the 21st century requires students to possess a new set of skills. Learning needs to be more digital, informal, online, mobile, networked and multimedia and a classroom blog achieves exactly that.

Classroom blogs allow us as teachers to reinvent education in a way that engages, empowers and educates all students.

Classroom blogs have the potential to allow students to find their passion and develop passionate life long learners. They also allow teachers to demonstrate bold digital age leadership and unconstrained vision.     

Watch this youtube clip of 10-11 year olds explaining why they love to blog in the classroom:

Here are some great classroom blogs that have inspired me:

Click here for a link to a fantastic blog a couple of my peers, Zoe and Mel, created as an assessment task explaining more about classroom blogs, including where to start, KLA ideas, a list of benefits and much more.  

Click here for another fanatstic blog post by Kathleen Morris which provides ideas for getting your own classroom blog started.

Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano has also written an incredible series of posts on her Langwitches Blog, which provides amazing information for all bloggers, new and old.

Do you have a classroom blog?

Do you know other inspiring classroom blogs?

What are your thoughts on classroom blogs?

Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Filed under ICT & Technology, Student Learning, Teaching Strategies, Web 2.0 Applications

Teaching Strategies & Resources

The NSW Institute of Teachers’ Professional Teaching Standards includes:

Element 4; Aspect 4.1.5 – Use a range of teaching strategies and resources including ICT and other technologies to foster interest and support learning.

In order to be the best teachers we can be we need to reconsider our methodology. As educators in the 21st century, we need to learn to communicate in the language and style of our students.

This DOES NOT mean changing what is important or redefining good thinking skills.

It means that teachers today need to be adapting materials to students of the 21st century. This way of thinking can be applied to all subjects. It is no longer a question of whether to use ICT and other technologies, but how to incorporate them in order to benefit our students.

There is no reason that a generation can memorise over 100 Pokemon cards and yet cannot learn their multiplication tables or fractions in maths and how power stations work in science.

It simply depends on how it is presented.

If we want to reach every single one of our students, we need to change. It is easy to shrug a shoulder and stick to the usual routines, but is that the kind of teacher you want to be?

ICT and other technologies can BRING CONCEPTS TO LIFE and ENGAGE STUDENTS, which leads to GREATER UNDERSTANDING.

It’s all about being the best teachers we can be for our students and helping them reach their full potential.

I have created the following ICT resources about perimeter and area, with the help of my sisters. It is resources like these that can foster interest and support learning. It doesn’t need to be time consuming, the following are easy to create and can be kept for future use.

IWB RESOURCE – PERIMETER (click on the images to enlarge)

PHOTOPEACH – PERIMETER AND AREA (click on the image)


Click here to start using PhotoPeach.


GO ANIMATE – PERIMETER AND AREA  (click on the image)

Click here to learn about GoAnimate for schools and educators.

These resources can be placed on a class blog where students can freely access them to reinforce their learning independently and in a fun way. Homework activities can also be designed to incorporate revision using these resources on the blog.

Get creative and share your ideas, you just might be surprised with what you can come up with!


Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon. 9 (5).


Filed under Graduate Professional Experience 1, ICT & Technology, NSW Institute of Teachers’ Professional Teaching Standards, Resources, Teaching Strategies

Using Technology To Support Learning

The NSW Institute of Teachers’ Professional Teaching Standards includes:

 Element 4; Aspect 4.1.5 – Use a range of teaching strategies and resources including ICT and other technologies to foster interest and support learning.

Today, I observed a teacher revising fractions with the year six class as they had performed badly in their pre-test. She went over the test on the whiteboard while the students were at their desks. While the teacher had good intentions, she;

– Moved through the questions very quickly

– Did not give the students enough time to answer her questions

– Did not rub off the writing on the whiteboard once moved onto the next question

– Did not provide much praise to the students

– Did not allow the students to write anything in their books

– Did not allow the students to use concrete materials

– Did not use the interactive whiteboard

Unfortunately, it seemed that the majority of the students took very little, if anything, away from that math lesson.

We need to acknowledge that our students have changed radically. The educational system wasn’t designed to teach today’s students.

Today’s students represent the first generations to grow up with digital technology in the last decades of the 20th century. During their entire lives, they have been absorbed by computers, videogames, digital music players, video cameras, mobile phones and many other digital tools and toys of the digital age.

As educators, we need to be thinking about how best to teach our students of today. We need to invent new ways of teaching, but not necessarily from scratch. Adapting materials to the language of this generation has already been done successfully, in particular the creation of games which help teach the content, even the most serious.

I can only imagine how different that lesson could have been if the interactive whiteboard had been turned on. Instead of the students looking out the window, hoping not to be the one chosen to answer a confusing question next, they could have been excited, engaged, learning and participating in a visual and interactive math lesson.

The below YouTube video demonstrates how the interactive whiteboard can be used for a fraction lesson. Get creative and become inspired!

I have also created a Prezi, ‘Learning in the 21st Century and Beyond’ to further encourage educators to grow with the change of the 21st century.



Leonard, L. (2010). Fractions – understanding using visuals [Video File]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQ6UGZ_p0U4

New South Wales Institute of Teachers. (2006). Professional Teaching Standards. Retrieved 4 Februray, 2009 from http://www.nswteachers.nsw.edu.au/Main-Professional-Teaching-Standards.html

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon. 9 (5).


Filed under Graduate Professional Experience 1, NSW Institute of Teachers’ Professional Teaching Standards, Web 2.0 Applications

My First School Visit

“If you want to feel secure, do what you already know how to do. If you want to be a true professional and continue to grow…go to the cutting edge of your competence, which means a temporary loss of security. So whenever you don’t quite know what you’re doing, know that you are growing” – Madeline Hunter.

I decided to open with this quote because I found it in the opening pages of one of my book of readings and it has stuck with me ever since. In fact, it is now on my study wall providing me with motivation and reassurance.

My first, of six day a week visits, arrived without delay and that morning, I nervously made my way to my allocated school.

I found my way to my allocated year six classroom and was relieved beyond belief to be greeted with a welcoming teacher (yes!). She proudly showed me a box of posters, bottles, lanyards and stickers she ordered from a health organisation promoting drug and alcohol awareness, which we organised into groups for each class.

When the bell rang, the students poured inside. A smile spread across my face as soon as I saw their happy faces, and I knew it was going to be okay – that I could do this.

The teacher welcomed them and introduced me as a prac student who deserved the same amount of respect as all other teachers which was quite nice, however I wished she had let me say hello.

My first day was quiet as the students completed tests for the majority of the day. I was able to walk around and help those with their hands up.

The year six teachers have split up the subjects of health, HSIE and art, with my classroom teacher focussing on health. Today, the teacher displayed posters advertising the negative effects of drugs and alcohol. It was difficult for the students to see the detail in them from their desks. On reflection, to improve the lesson, the teacher could have divided the students into groups, each group having a different poster, and answer questions which could be presented to the class at the end of the lesson.

All in all, it was a good day and I left the school feeling positive.

The NSW Institute of Teachers’ Professional Teaching Standards includes:

Element 4; Aspect 4.1.5 – Use a range of teaching strategies and resources including ICT and other technologies to foster interest and support learning.

Wordle is a great engaging resource that can be used in your classroom. It is a fantastic word cloud generator that the students can use in many different ways for many different purposes. Click on the image for 51 ways to use Wordle in your classroom.


Today, I will leave you with my own Wordle, reflecting my thoughts and feelings about my first school visit.


Feinberg, J. (2009). Wordle. Retrived 4 February, 2011, from http://www.wordle.net/create

New South Wales Institute of Teachers. (2006). Professional Teaching Standards. Retrieved 4 Februray, 2009, from http://www.nswteachers.nsw.edu.au/Main-Professional-Teaching-Standards.html

Tanti, M. (2011). EDFD529 Effective Teaching and Professional Practice (Primary). Australian Catholic University Ltd

Warner, M. (n.d.) 51 Interesting Ways to Use Wordle in the Classroom. Retrieved March 30, 2011, from http://www.ideastoinspire.co.uk/wordle.htm


Filed under Graduate Professional Experience 1, NSW Institute of Teachers’ Professional Teaching Standards, Web 2.0 Applications