We’re Closing Down…

Hi all,

Thank you for your readership. Unfortunately we will be closing the blog down, and we won’t be posting further.

Please monitor the #ACTLearn hashtag for the latest trends etc. We also recommend Scootle Community as a good way to keep in touch with education news.




3 Things I found on Twitter this week

Well, things are a little quiet here on the social media front as we busy ourselves with the SchoolsNET rollout. Still, the good thing about Twitter is that we can get our information quickly, and in bite-sized pieces. Here are some things I have found Twitter this week.

Digital Storytelling

Sue Waters shared this link to Anthony Speranza‘s article about Digital Storytelling. It’s a great read, explaining the importance of a multimodal approach and including some great examples (make sure you watch the ‘Henri 2, Paw de Deux’ video). An easy way to bring technology into the classroom and enhance literacy learning. Well worth a look.

Learning Spaces

The very clever Ewan McIntosh presents an interesting video that discusses the different types of learning spaces that exist, and how we can harness them; work with them as we design (and re-design) classrooms and learning spaces. Food for thought.

Ready for iPads?

An interesting article that encourages us to think carefully about the need for iPads in the classroom. Do your staff have the time/energy to investigate and evaluate apps, and plan new ways of teaching? Is it more important to put an iPad in every student’s hands, or to hire great teachers? Have you thought about the ways your students will use iPads? Are you sticking to one device when you should be looking at multiple platforms and systems? A good read if you’re planning on some big purchases.


3 Cool Things We Found on Twitter this Week

Hi all, while we wait for school stories, one thing that remains extremely active is Twitter. If you haven’t had a look yet, why not give it a try? Here’s a little guide to get you started: Twitter for Beginners. You can also check out this resource, created by the Powerful Learning Practice network: Twitter for Teachers.

And here are a few cool things that we have found on Twitter this week:

Using Evernote for Fluency

Edudemic posted a video where a 2nd grader posted a video demonstrating how they use Evernote for improving their fluency. It’s worth a look. If you don’t have Evernote, or access to it, this could still be done using the basic apps found on an iPad: voice recorder, camera and notes tool. Basically, students record themselves reading, and then can reflect on the skills that they need to work on. The same concept could be used for public speaking or writing.

What Teens Get About the Internet that Parents Don’t

There’s a lot of pressure on students nowadays: getting a job, having the right set of skills, housing affordability, etc, etc. It’s probable that these pressures are tricky in America, where this article was written, but it’s something to think about. This article is about teens learning from the Internet, and how powerful a tool it has become. Worth a look.

25 Twitter Tips for Students and Teachers

Another Edudemic article. Here are 25 tips for making Twitter work for you in the classroom.

Another thing that came up on Twitter this week was the idea that schools might benefit from parents (and other community members) donating their old smartphones to schools. What do you think of this idea?

Still looking for exciting stories!

Now that schools are up and running for the year (wait, isn’t it nearly the end of term?), I’m sure there are some exciting stories to tell about the teaching and learning in ACT schools. If you (or anyone you know) is doing cool, innovative stuff with your kids, please let us know. You don’t even need to write the blog post, we can do it for you!

5 Cool Things We Found on Twitter

We’ve jumped right back into it after a lovely long summer, and I thought we should kick off the year with a few interesting Twitter finds.

Cisco Connected World Technology Report by Cisco

Do you check your smartphone before getting out of bed? According to this Cisco survey, 90% of the Generation Y folks that responded to their survey do. There’s some interesting reading here. After all, many of our teachers are Generation Y. And it’s probably a good indicator of what’s to come with our students.

Obvious to You. Amazing to Others by Derek Sivers

We never think that the things we’ve created or the ideas that we have are going to be an amazing revelation to others. This nice little video reminds us that maybe, it is.

Social Media for Administrators by George Couros

A collection of articles by George Couros about the growing importance of social media in education, and the ways that teachers, schools and jurisdictions are using various social media platforms with great results.

Blogger’s Guide to Creative Commons by The Blog Herald

If you haven’t heard of Creative Commons, it’s a collection of licences that allow people to use, share and remix other people’s work. Perfect for a participatory web where we are constantly creating and sharing. Creative Commons images give us a safe option for using images in our work, free from any copyright concerns. This blog post shares three images that help explain what Creative Commons is and how it works. 

Getting More Out of Student Blogging by Sue Waters

Sue Waters is an Australian educator with a strong presence on Twitter. This article is about student blogs and helping them to develop their skills. Sue discusses scaffolding the blogging process, digital footprints, developing good commenting habits, and monitoring student blogs. Well worth a read.

Speaking of Twitter, here’s a presentation we put together the explain the basics about Twitter, and give you some ACT contacts to follow. Please feel free to use it: Twitter for Beginners

iLearn – Digital Technology at Calwell Primary School

Engaging all learners through the use of digital technology at Calwell Primary School

Throughout 2012, Calwell Primary School Executive, Teachers and Learning Assistants worked together to investigate the use of iPads in engaging students in their learning and in improving outcomes. Renee Berry (Executive), Warren Brompton (Teacher) and Belinda Scargill (Learning Support Assistant) worked collaboratively to utilise iPads in the classroom with a focus on working with students with identified learning difficulties (Integration Support students) and engaging year 6 students in Mathematics.

Students were encouraged to be active participants when investigating the effectiveness of iPads in the classroom. Teachers utilised student surveys, visual checklists, assessment data, daily journal reflections and discussions to gather information around the use of iPads and make adaptations accordingly.

The iPads were integrated into everyday learning and teaching rather than seen as an extra add on. They were used to support students with a range of learning needs to access the curriculum, understand difficult and challenging tasks and as a ‘calm and cool down’ resource for Integration Support. Teachers and students worked together to support each other to apply the technology effectively – with a focus on students owning and understanding their own learning.

The use of iPads in the year 6 classrooms resulted in improved learning outcomes. In particular, student’s improvement was evident in their willingness to attempt and engage in mathematical tasks. Results also indicated that Integration Support student’s engagement in curriculum tasks increased when an iPad was utilised.

As a result of the projects more iPads will be purchased with financial support from the P&C and further work in utilising iPads across the school will continue. The work in 2012 has provided teachers with an effective model in engaging all learners through the use of digital technology at Calwell Primary School.calwell image

How we used iPads to support student engagement…

Calendar/ Reminders/Camera:

The ‘general features’ that are already installed on all iPads are easily accessed by students and teachers and were used on a daily basis at Calwell. The reminders, calendars and cameras were integrated into daily use to support students who required an overview of class routine, a list of tasks for the day and visuals of activities or experiences that they will be involved in. Students could organise their own work quickly and easily and ‘mark off’ when they had completed tasks. Teachers could further support students by providing additional information in the notes section e.g today you will be in the group with… or use ‘pop’ up reminders when a change of routine is approaching.

Speaking, Recording and Playback Apps

Speaking, playback and recording apps are a fantastic way to engage students and support a range of learning abilities and needs. Explicit teaching lessons can be recorded by the teacher and played back to students. These apps allowed students to watch the lesson as many times as needed. This was particularly supportive when teaching concepts in mathematics. There are many apps available that do this.  We used Educreations and Showme.

Problem Solving and Strategy Games (Jenga)

Problem solving games were utilised to explicitly teach social skills and guide positive interactions with others including turn taking, winning and losing and listening and responding appropriately. Apps like Jenga were used by the LSA to guide conversation, encourage students to work in small groups and as a ‘brain break’ when students required some ‘time out’.

 Curriculum and Calming Apps

We found a range of apps that supported students when accessing the curriculum. Apps that appeared ‘game or comic like’ were the most popular with year 6 students. We used both curriculum and calming apps to support student engagement in classroom tasks and for a ‘break’ if students were feeling anxious or unsettled. This also supported re-engagement and we found that students were willingly to ‘give work a go’ following the use of iPads.

 Notes App

The notes app was used for written tasks. Students felt confident to write without the fear of ‘getting it wrong’. The notes page also supported students with fine motor difficulties and allowed them to get their ideas down on paper. Students were confident and comfortable to take risks when writing.

This post was submitted by Calwell Primary School. If you'd like to share your school's story with us, get in touch!

Combining Learning Technologies with Creative Thinking Capability from National Curriculum

This is a lesson I taught towards the end of the 2012 school year. My aim was to connect two of the Australian Curriculum general capabilities. The lesson incorporated the Information and communication (ICT) capability with the Critical and creative thinking capability. More specifically I wanted the students to communicate ideas and feedback using ICT while operating ICT. 

The objective of the lesson was to develop creative thinking. Students had five exercises to work through. These activities are not new. They have been used by many teachers who engage students in thinking skill development. For further information check out Habits of Mind and Michael Pohl Thinking Keys.

  1. Bar key – Choose any product. Make a part bigger, add a part and remove a part. Rename your invention.
  2. Commonalities key – What are the commonalities between a toothbrush and a car? 
  3. Question key – The answer is inventor. What are the questions?  Write 3 questions.
  4. The reverse key – What are 10 things you think an inventor would never do?
  5. What if key – What if you were an inventor. What would you invent and why?


The students worked cooperatively in groups of three on a MacBook. All groups had several minutes to respond to each exercise. The responses were recorded on a blog set up on a website.

Once all groups had typed in their responses, they had the opportunity to read the other responses. They were invited to give written feedback via the blog remembering to follow cyber etiquette rules.

The students did not have difficulty using the ICT to communicate as hey had prior experience, however on occasion when emotions ran high, some students chose to call across the room to another group to give their feedback. Interesting! In fact it got quite heated at times with activity 4 as they students had very strong opinions on this.

Below is a selection of the responses for exercise 2.

This lesson developed and rehearsed their general capabilities. Working in groups led to collaboration and connection. Students could help each other with the ICT skills, the literacy and the thinking skills. It also reduced anxiety about giving answers in an online forum.

One young boy, who is generally very competitive, expressed positive delight in working with a different group of students and said he didn’t realise there were such friendly, cooperative students in our class. A great outcome for him, and a reminder that I should regularly change the composition of cooperative groups.


This post was submitted by Trish at Mawson Primary School. If you'd like to share your school's story with us, get in touch!

The Twitter

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