Saturday 23 January 2016

Blogging for ESC #515 Complete!

It's been quite a journey reflecting over the past few months through ESC515 on a variety of technology tools and technology integration. I find blogging to be a very beneficial as the reflective process helps to improve my practice. Looking forward to continuing to blog back on my personal blog again.

Best of luck to all!

Friday 22 January 2016

Postings on Others' Sites

Below is just a selection of some of the comments posted on other participants' blogs throughout the course of Classroom Technologies.

Blog Site:
Blog Post: Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants

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Blog Post: Focusing on technology = waste of time
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Blog Post: Our students and technology in the classroom

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Blog Post:Why Do We Have Digital Technologies in the Classroom?

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Blog Post: Why should we use technology in the classroom and why we shouldn't?

Blog Site:
Blog Post: Is technology a waste of time?

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Blog Post: Instructional Software

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Blog Post: Hardware at My School
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Blog Post: Concepts, hopes, beliefs and attitudes…
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Blog Post: Module 2 - Post 1: Why should we use technology in the classroom and when shouldn’t we?

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Blog Post: Module 2 - Post 3 Digital Immigrants vs. natives

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Blog Post: Module 5 – Post 1: Software choices and curriculum in Assignment 1

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Blog Post: Module 6 - Post 1: Potential problems with ICT

Responses to Comments on My Blog

Here is a selection of some of my responses to comments posted by others on my blog:

Blog Post Title: Web- Based Resources
In Response to: Starjester
Blog Post Title: Another Issue - Restricted Access Content
In Response to: Kim Carter

Blog Post Title: Distance Education - Does it have a place in schools?
In Response to: Starjester

Blog Post Title: Instructional Tools for Teaching
In Response to: Starjester

Blog Post Title: Transforming Classrooms with New Technologies
In Response to: Starjester

Blog Post Title: Digital Immigrant or Native? Growth Mindset More Important
In Response to: Janine C.

Blog Post Title:Hardware in International Primary School
In Response to: Narelle Edmonds

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Student Interactions

Describe briefly (one or two sentences) what a group of your students would look like if they were using a form of ICT of your choosing and participating in each.

There are various types of interactions within the classrooms between students and between the teacher and student. Interactions can also include the interaction with technology and ICT. Each type is used in different scenarios but could be used in a number of different situations in an everyday classroom or assignment.

Group interaction
For this type of interaction between students, the teacher has little input other than the learning outcome and initial instructions(Beauchamp, & Kennewell, 2010, p. 762). Students could together determine their own group roles and responsibilities to show the necessary learning outcomes by creating a product. Through this, the group would need to choose an appropriate ICT tool such as Google Slides and work together to build their final product.

Authoritative interactivity
Authoritative interactivity is directed instruction that is planned by the teacher with specific questions and feedback (Beauchamp, & Kennewell, 2010, p. 763). It allows the student to get immediate responses to their answers. An example of this is students watching a BrainPop video individually or as a class on the interactive whiteboard and then completing the quiz following. This type of interaction is very structured. 

Dialectic interactivity
The teacher provides variation to help students develop their knowledge in a constructive mode (Beauchamp, & Kennewell, 2010, p. 763).  An example of this would be a teacher using a Google form with a series of questions for students to answer. In conjunction, the teacher would use Fluberoo to grade answers and email results. Based on their responses, they would receive an email directing them with addional links and questions to further their understanding or support them in developing their understanding to meet their needs. 

Dialogic interactivity
There is less structure given by the teacher and more ownership by the student(Beauchamp, & Kennewell, 2010, p. 764). The ICT tool is a way to interact and builds students' metacognitive skills. This could be a student using a class resource site with a generated list of resources to search for specific information or searching through Google chrome browser. 

Synergistic interactivity
This interactivity requires the most technology skills to be successful. It is when students are reflecting individually but as a whole class (Beauchamp, & Kennewell, 2010, p. 764). An example is when each individual student in the class contributes to a Paddlet board online.

Beauchamp, G., & Kennewell, S. (2010). Interactivity in the classroom and its impact on learning. Computers & Education, 54(3), 759-766.

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Collaborative Learning

What are the key issues raised in this article about collaborative learning for teacher and for students? How do you think these difficulties might be overcome?

Collaborative learning has many benefits in an educational setting such as developing social skills, a deeper understanding of knowledge and soft skills (Chai & Tan, 2010). However, like with any learning approach, there are challenges for both teachers and students. For teachers to effectively facilitate collaborative learning, they must be willing to loosen the structure of the classroom. The teacher cannot be in control of groupings, specific group roles and learning expectations, rather, it is important that the students in the group feel like they have ownership in the learning process as a group and agency (Sing, Wei-Ying, Hyo-Jeong, & Mun, 2011, p.8).  One way for both teachers and students to deal with this issue is for teachers to begin with cooperative learning and gradually work towards collaborative learning through scaffolding.

For students, a number of issues often present themselves during collaborative learning. Often students feel there is an unequal workload in the group with some people taking leadership roles and other students slacking. During the cooperative learning, teachers should model how to divide group tasks, model ideal group roles and how to reflect as a group throughout the process for the next steps. Teachers can also support students in how to give critical feedback in a positive way. If these strategies are developed during cooperative learning, they will carry over into collaborative learning as strategies to be used by the students.

Often students get off task during collaborative learning tasks (Sing, Wei-Ying, Hyo-Jeong, & Mun, 2011, p. 7). As the teacher, I will go around monitoring the different group and have conversations about what they have done, where they are at, and where they are going. I don't provide too much feedback, rather, ask questions that make them think to guide them moving forward. Often groups will have a timekeeper and someone to monitor task behaviour which also helps the group move forward productively.

With collaborative learning, conflict is enviable to arise at some point. Perhaps there are different perspectives of where to go next, someone isn't pulling their weight or things have been forgotten at home and therefore productivity is at a standstill. These are excellent opportunities for students to develop their problem-solving skills. For me, I always try to get the students to talk through their problems first. We spend a lot of time near the beginning of the year stressing how to express how you are feeling with ' I statements' instead of pointing blame. If students still struggle after a period of time, I support them by mediating the situation but mostly letting them talk. It is important that the students work through the situation together so that they feel they have autonomy in the resolution process.

It is important for the teacher to facilitate a positive collaborative community from the beginning of the year and cultivate this type of culture. From there, teachers can facilitate cooperative learning and through a gradual release of responsibility and scaffolding, shift the ownership of learning to the students in collaborative learning.

Chai, C. S., and Tan S. C. (2009). Professional Development of Teachers for Computer‐Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) through Knowledge Building. Teacher College Records, 111(5), 1296‐1327.

Sing, C.C., Wei-Ying, L., Hyo-Jeong, S. & Mun C. H. (2011). Advancing collaborative learning with ICT: conception, cases and design. Ministry of Education, Singapore. Retrieved from   

Sunday 17 January 2016

Classroom Management & Technology

There are five elements of classroom management practice identified in the first article, briefly describe how would you plan to incorporate these elements in your lessons? The second article hopefully made you think about the potential of computers for classroom behaviour management. Are there ways you could incorporate the lessons learned in your own lessons?

Classroom management focuses on creating a positive classroom culture where students can learn. A number of factors play into this such as discipline, building trust, routine, learning spaces, and transitions. Classroom management can make the different between a good teacher and a great teacher.

There are 5 elements of classroom management as outlined in Chai, Lim, & Pek (2005). that teachers need to consider when integrating technology into lessons.

1. Supporting activities for ICT tools
Learning technology tools to complete an activity adds another level of complexity to the learning for students even when technology is a great way to engage students. When I am teaching a class where I am introducing students to a new technology, I model how to go about doing it and then allow them the opportunity to try. This is aligned with Hudson & Notman's paper (2001) that suggests teachers should model a few technology skills to begin the lesson. Often I also give students time to explore a tool first and allow them to inquire into what the technology tool can do. Then we share what we've learnt and ask questions about things we still can not figure out.

2. Role of the teacher
Teachers are no longer the only source of information with ICT and a class of students. Thus, teachers become the facilitators of learning(Chan, Lim & Pek, 2005, p.410). I always make sure I can see the students' screens easily and walking around to monitor students' online behaviours. Visual timers and sound cues help to cut down on transition times in order to make the learning the focus and not the time getting ready for learning. I also ensure my materials are ready prior to the start of the lesson in order to have a lesson that can flow from one part to the next.

3. Role of student helpers
In my class, I have always had student helpers. The students in my class generate the jobs at the beginning of the year that we feel are needed to help the class run. Each week I would move the helping hands so that everyone had each job at some point in the year to make it fair. The students take their roles very seriously which helps students get on with the learning.

4. Technical support for teachers
The best technical support in my classroom always came from my students. Each week I had two students designated as the techsperts. There role was to help other students and myself solve any technical issues they were having. This meant the students would go to the techsperts before coming to me for support, creating a culture of collaboration and community of support.

If necessary, we could also call on the tech department for support.

5. Establishment of rules and procedures
It is important to set the tone of the classroom from the beginning of the year. Each year, the students create their essential agreements together and sign them stating they will abide by them. Having students come up with the essential agreements mean they have more ownership over the class and more responsibility to follow them.

For ICT, we have our acceptable use policy that we also use and abide by. Students read it with their parents and return it to school signed. Online safety is important and students understand that if they are unable to follow the agreement, they may not be able to use technology in their learning experiences. These agreements are reviewed and reflected on regularly throughout the year.


Chai, C., Lim, C., & Pek, M. (2005). Classroom management issues in information and communication technology (ICT)-mediated learning environments: back to the basics. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 14(4), 391-414.

Hudson, R. & Notman, H. (2001). Challenges of ICT resourced classes and helpful routines: Lessons from teaching practice. Computer Education, 99, p. 24-26. 

Friday 15 January 2016

Assessment Using Technology

How do you think you will assess what your students have learned in that time? In what ways could you use the capabilities of the technology they are using to assist you in this?

Assessment is an important part of the teaching and learning process. Assessment can be done for learning, as learning or of learning. Assessment drives the planning and informs future teaching and learning. Assessment shouldn't fall solely on the teacher, rather self and peer assessment also play an important part in the reflection process to help students grow. There are a number of technology tools to support assessment.

Google Docs

Google docs can be used as collaborative document and has some great features for peer and teacher assessment. I would use this mostly for editing writing assignments or projects. The comment features allows a peer/teacher to leave feedback directly where they want it throughout the document. The suggesting feature allows the teacher or peer to go through and make suggestions such as where to insert a full stop. Students can then review the suggestions and choose to accept them (adding them into the document) or reject them (leaving the suggestions out of the document). Google docs is web-based.

Available at: 
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GradeBook Pro 
GradeBook Pro is an app for iOS devices. It allows teachers to enter grades for expectations as well as ancedotal observations in a quick and easy manner. With the mobility of the device, teachers can move around the classroom easily to assess their students in a matter of minutes. As a teacher, you can also quickly see who you haven't assessed to make sure you are conferencing with all your students. Reports can be generated easily for specific students or classes.

Available at:

Image result for gradebookpro
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Kahoot is a great formative assessment tool that is used as a game. Students need a device for this assessment. The teacher creates a multiple choice quiz and the students use a device to identify their answer. The teacher can see how students are understanding the concepts so far. This would be great as an warm up activity or exit ticket activity.

Available at:

Wednesday 13 January 2016

Lesson Planning Advice

Lesson planning takes practice, and for those who have done very little, if any, what worries you the most about the process? Those of you who have done some lesson planning, what advice can you give to others?

Advice for lesson planning :

1. Start with the end in mind. Know what you want your students to know. Use backwards by design.

2. Think about a strong hook to capture your students' interest. What provocation can you use?

3. Be prepared to change your plan on the fly - be flexible.

4. Choose assessment tools that make sense with your lessons.

5. Have opportunities to extend and support the lesson.

6. Prepare all your materials in advance.

7. Only integrate technology if it makes sense and enhances the learning.

8. Think about your questioning strategies.

9. Be aware of timing, including transitions.

10. Think about the set up of the classroom, groups, physical layout.

11. Don't plan too far ahead - let your students' inquiries guide you. 

Sunday 10 January 2016

Issue: Illegal Downloads and Software Piracy

Choose one of these issues, relevant to the level you will be teaching, to investigate further. While you will have already investigated acceptable use policies there may be other issues related to safety you wish to explore further.
Use the links listed in the text as a starting point for your research.
Post a brief summary of your findings to your blog.
As an educational institution, our schools are responsible for leading the way as digital citizens. This includes providing staff and students with legal software. Piracy and illegal downloads are not uncommon. According to one article, 1 in 10 Europeans admit to illegally downloading, with the number likely to have been higher (Debating Europe). 

There are two organisations whose roll is to police the illegal downloads of music and video. These organisations are: Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Doug Chappell said that people need to "understand that digital theft does not only hurt the artist or the record label but also every one who works for them or is a supplier to them ie: couriers, recording studios, graphic artists, office workers, accountants, press and promotion people. The list goes very deep of those that will lose jobs or income due to the theft" (Wolfe-Wylie, 2012).

It is also important to know that copyright laws vary from country to country. While living in China, the copyright laws were very loose and didn't really exist. One of the main search sites in China, Baidu, actually supported and to some extent encouraged illegal downloading. It always boggled my mind that Google was blocked, VPNs were blocked but yet downloading music was so easily accessible in such a country. 

Nowadays, options such as Netflix and Spotify provide users with a wide range of songs and videos for a minimal monthly fee for unlimited views. Using these options also moves people toward a legal option of paid streaming with Spotify paying royalties (Spotify Artists, 2015). This ensures that these industries are properly being supported. 

We should continue to educate our students about illegal downloads, the impacts on industries and the impact on us if it is continued. Our students need to know that while one song downloaded may not seem to be an issue, one song multiplied by many times and many individuals definitely does add up. As educators, we should be the role models for our students and teach the alternatives to illegally downloading with legal options. 

Debating Europe (2015). What would save the music industry from piracy?

Spotify Artists. (2015). How spotify is contributing to the music industry.

Wolfe-Wylie, W. (2012). Music piracy hurts. Toronto Sun.

Friday 8 January 2016

Web-Based Resources

Record in your blog some of the web-based resources that you may be able to use and how you will integrate them into your teaching.



Piktochart is a great way to create digital infographics. Students can use these to represent primary or secondary data that they find. This can link to mathematics and data handling as a way to show the results of surveys.

Available at:


Padlet is a digital cork board where post-its of ideas, videos or images can be posted. In a class setting, this is a great place to brainstorm ideas, generate questions, create a plan, or even share some of the learning that has been happening in the classroom. 

Available at:


Wordle create a word cloud based on a list of words you provide the programme. This is a great way for students to generate a list of word related to a unit or topic. Students can also create a word cloud for a given piece of text to see what the most prominent words are in it. 

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QR Code Generator 

QR Code Generator generates a QR code for any digital resource. These QR codes can be used in class as part of a scavenger hunt, instructions for an activity or even on the back of a book to create an audio book. 

Thursday 7 January 2016

Digital Citizenship and Cyber Safety Links

Post to the Wiki and your blog any useful links you have found digital citizenry and cyber safety.

CommonSense Media  -
 - Scope and Sequence -
 - Graphite -

Digital Passport (Grades 3-5) -

Digital Compass (Grade 6-8) -

Digital Bytes (Grade 9-12) -

MediaSmarts  -

Google Digital Citizenship -

Cyberbully -

SchoolAtoZ: Raising Good Citizens -

Australian Government - Digital Citizenship -

Digital Citizenship NSW -

Edmodo Digital Citizenship Starter Kit -

NetSmartzKids -

5 Minute Film Festival - Teaching Digital Citizenship -

Resource Roundup - Digital Citizenship Edutopia -

Discovery Education - Digital Safety Resources -

iKeepSafe - Google Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum -

Digizen -

TeachInCTRL -

Alberta Digital Citizenship Resources -

Digital Citizenship resources -

Digital Literacy Day - Resource RoundUp -

Social Media Education Resources -

Tuesday 5 January 2016

Good Digital Citizens

Post to your blog your ideas for ensuring your students are "good digital citizens" and "safe" users of technology in your classroom. This is much easier said than done, however there are a range of strategies you will have found recommended.

Like any behaviours that teachers want to instill in their students, the expectations for behaviours need to be laid out at the beginning of the year. Within the first week of school, students engage in a lesson about the acceptable use policy. They are then expected to take a copy home, sign it and review it with their parents before returning it. All students in the Primary school begin with this routine. From there, it is easy to reference back to as the students begin to do activities. Teachers must be fully versed in the acceptable use policy as well and hold their students to this standard. Our acceptable use policy is quite thorough for students and focuses on the following topics: respectful, responsibility, care for devices, privacy, accessing appropriate information, referencing, discipline and social media (Chatsworth, 2015).

Another important aspect of teaching students about digital citizenship is actually modelling it as a teacher. It is extremely frustrating as a education technology coach when teachers ask me how to do things that are illegal, not aligned with our acceptable use policy or incorrectly. If teachers do not model how to be a good digital citizen, how can we expect our students to? As teachers, we should be showing students how to engage appropriately with emails, citing our work and referencing images in presentations. We need to be leading the way when our students turn to use for the standard. One way I have done this is set up an email writing programme in the past where students email me each week and I respond with an email. From this, students understand the format of an email, appropriate email communication all while building their written communication skills and rapport with the teacher.

Digital citizenship should be embedded into the curriculum and not taught in isolation. Students need to make meaning of it by connecting it to real life experiences inside and outside of the classroom. The Year 6 students are currently doing their puberty unit and learning about body image. This also translate into their online image and how they see themselves.  The teachers and students are having conversations about the impact of media and social media on their views of themselves and the images they also share. They are also discussing how to communicate appropriately on social media platforms. These topics are completely integrated, giving students context for the topics. 

There are also those times when teachable moments arise. Perhaps someone posts something inappropriately online or you see another student properly reference images. These are great conversations to have in the moment even though they weren't planned. When questions come up from students about something online, you shouldn't shy away from it but rather support the student's inquiry and help build their digital citizenship schema.

One of the other things as an educator I need to be cognizant about is that educating a child is a partnership between the school and home. This is why we also need to educate our parent community. When I was a homeroom teacher, I made sure that my class parents were informed regularly about what we were doing in our classroom, the technologies we were using and conversation starters they could have with their children. As an education technology coach, I work with members of our leadership team to develop and conduct parent sessions related to their child's technology use. We also have an open door policy for parents to drop in and ask questions whenever they need to.

Educating our students to become good digital citizens is not an easy task and not a task that can be accomplished in a year. It requires the whole school to approach digital citizenship as the way of moving forward. Currently our school is looking to build a digital citizenship curriculum that is integrated into various units from kindergarten to Year 13. Together with a whole school approach, we can work to support and model good digital etiquette for our students to follow.


Chatsworth International School. (2015). Acceptable Use Policy - Chatsworth Group of Schools [internal document]. 

Sunday 3 January 2016

Web 2.0 Tools Considering For Assignment

Post to the Wiki if you haven't already done so, links to the Web 2.0 tools you are considering using in your assignment or classroom.

Please find a few of the resources I am currently considering for Assignment 2 below:

Applying social and ethical protocols and practices when using ICT

- CommonSense Media - 
- MediaSmart  -

Investigating with ICT

- Kiddle - 
- Encyclopedia Britannica for Kids -

Communicating with ICT

- Google Sites - 
- Blogger -
- Weebly -

Creating with ICT
- Piktochart -

Managing and operating ICT
- Google Drive -
- Diigo -

Web 2.0 and Social Media in Lessons

Post to your blog the ways are you considering using Web 2.0 or social media in your lesson plans. If you are not planning to, how could you utilise it’s potential in the future if you were teaching your assignment topic?

As we aim to broaden our students knowledge of the world, connections and communication becomes more important. Teaching through Web 2.0 allows students to communicate with others, instead of just a one directionally path with no authentic audience input (Hew & Cheung, 2012, p.48). Collaborative approaches to learning are key to helping students construct knowledge together.

In my classroom, I have used a number of Web 2.0 and social media tools to support learning:


Edmodo is like Facebook for education but fits the needs of my students who are under age 13 (age requirement of Facebook). It can be used a general discussion board to ask questions and share resources both during the school day and after hours. As a teacher, I can post polls and also reward students with badges for their efforts. It also provides a great platform for some important digital citizenship conversations such as appropriate online communication, what to reveal about yourself, the difference between professional and personal communication, who to connect with, avatars and profiles and online image.

Available at:

Skype is often an under used resource. Skype allows you to make video calls to another around the world. Last year, our class did a number of Mystery Skype calls with other classrooms to develop our geography and problem solving skills. We also sang Chinese songs with another school for Chinese New Year, wrote poems together and played math games against other classes.

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In Year 4, students create cultural blogs to explore their identities. As an international school, the students can find this task challenges with many being third-culture children. The blogs allows them the experiences of writing different posts to explore aspects of their identities and follow the journeys of their classmates and interacting with each other through the commenting features.

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e-Portfolios (Google Sites)
All students at our school have e-Portfolios from K1- Year 6. This is a great way for students to reflect on their learning and select pieces of work they wish to share. Students share these portfolios with parents, teachers and other students. Together it opens the lines of communication in person and through the comments. It really helps students to know we are all working to help them grow and learning with constructive feedback and encouragement.

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As a teacher, I use Twitter to connect globally with other educators. It is a great way to have short discussions while also getting ideas and resources. With the options of both private and public messages, I can easily communicate with the many educators I have met online.

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Here are 2 articles related to introducing social media to your classroom in the Primary school:
Introducing Social Media to Elementary Students 
A Guidebook for Social Media in the Classroom


Hew, K.F. & Cheung, W.S. (2012). Use of Web 2.0 Technologies in K-12 and Higher Education: The Search for Evidence-based Practice, Educational Research Review.  doi: