Thursday, 27 September 2012

Integrated Learning Planning Model
As Jamie McKenzie demonstrated to our staff on Friday 21st September, educational technology plays a role in good quality 21st century learning. However it is not alone.

Other equally if not more valuable "ingredients" play a vital role in developing a purposeful unit of project-based learning.

We are currently trialling a school-based planning model that supports teachers in planning a unit of work. It incorporates technology as well as other vital strategies such as authentic learning, reading comprehension strategies, high-order thinking, assessment, questioning and the physical environment. Each section requires good knowledge, teacher expertise and skill to develop well.

As a critical friend of Sacred Heart pointed out, the sections come under three main headings:
Physical, Virtual and Pedagogical Environments. - Thanks Louise!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Apple TV and iPads

The practicality and ease of Apple TV in the classrooms has enabled teachers to teach from their iPads with ease.
Being able to move around the classroom, switch on the iPad camera and show student work on the screen is really a "game changer". This simple but powerful strategy that assists in sharing and modelling work samples is wonderful for our visual learners.

In the Upper Primary grades, where modelled writing is so crucial, having the ability to immediately share good paragraph structure or a well written topic sentence increases to "flow" of learning.

In demonstrating apps with Junior Primary students, the Apple TV has given teachers a huge advantage to be able to be anywhere in the class and explain the lesson and learning.

Giving students the opportunity for them to share their work from their own iPad to the rest of the class has also been very successful and affirming for the students.

We have connected our Apple TV box to our new Dell short-throw projectors which allow HDMI technology. The iPad simply responds to Apple TV wirelessly.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Teaching Together

Teaching Together

The key to some of the success we are currently having with iPads has certainly occurred because of good teacher planning and thoughtful approaches to the students learning.

Team teaching between teachers and the ICT Key Teacher has fostered a sense of synergy in the planning of ideas that are year level appropriate as well as incorporating meaningful technology use.

This planning is now moving towards creating or building units of work that allow technology to be the driver but not the central focus of the learning.

Selecting fewer, more effective APPS that require students to input ideas or show their learning seems to be the smarter approach. This also allows time for students (and teachers) to learn how to use an APP well and to their advantage when demonstrating what they can do or have learnt.

I sense we are moving towards a transformational stage of what Dr Ruben Puentedura calls Redefinition, which is about creating new task and learning experiences, "previously inconceivable".

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Creating ebooks - Narratives

Scribble Press

The Year 3 class are creating narrative ebooks of their own stories.
They were given a theme, then used a storyboard to plan and write their narrative. This could be done perhaps next time on an iPad app however it was more practical on this occasion for it to be handwritten. We certainly don't what to replace some our strategies just for the sake of using an iPad if it can be done easier without it.
The students then created illustrations for each section of their storyboard. Once completed they photographed their own illustrations using the iPad. These would be used within their ebook.
Using the app, Scribble Press, the students insert their illustrations, storyline and add decorative features to each page.
Student engagement has been very high for this unit of work. The year 3 teacher has found student motivation and the inclusivity of this activity to be the likely reasons for its success. Students were all able to produce a high quality final product. The teacher also commented on the sequencing skills the students were implicitly learning.

The iPad is not a miracle tool and quality teaching was still required in the literacy processes of this task. However by eliminating the challenges that some students have in the presentation of their work, all students could feel like they are involved in the learning and had engagement levels that may not have otherwise been present.

Practical Details

Student Designated iPads

We have chosen to allocate iPads to designated classrooms. Practically speaking, this has been hugely beneficial. As opposed to sharing iPads across the school, giving students designated iPads has assured that the students resume ongoing work and that teachers know which iPads to find students work when it comes to assessment.

Pre Primary students use name labels to identify their iPads. These are placed in front the iPads at learning station in the classroom.

The next step could be that students receive feedback digitally, for example via annotated PDF documents, by accessing the designated iPad email.

Managing Apps
The Year 1 class have developed folders that contain specific learning area apps. The class teacher has cleverly organised apps on each of the 15 iPads in her class then explicitly selects apps that meet the learning needs of the lesson. In learning centre environments (small group, learning stations) the students then access the app required to complete their work. A well managed classroom....

Sunday, 2 September 2012

AITSL  - Teacher standards ICT

As teachers we are accountable for our teaching. The National Professional Standards for Teachers has been developed by AITSL (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership).

The purpose of the standards: "The National Professional Standards for Teachers is a public statement of what constitutes teacher quality. The Standards define the work of teachers and make explicit the elements of high-quality, effective teaching in 21st-century schools, which result in improved educational outcomes for students."

The standards are formatted into 3 Domains
Professional Knowledge
Professional Practice 
Professional Engagement

And each domain into the following career stages:
Highly Accomplished

Although many of the standards can integrate ICT, those that explicitly mention ICT are as follows (each has an explanation of the outcome at a Highly Accomplished career stage):

Professional Knowledge

Know students and how they learn

Physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students
Highly Accomplished
Select from a flexible and effective repertoire of teaching strategies to suit the physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students

Understand how students learn
Expand understanding of how students learn using research and workplace knowledge.

Differentiate teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities
Evaluate learning and teaching programs, using student assessment data, that are differentiated for the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities.

Know the content and how to teach it

Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
Model high-level teaching knowledge and skills and work with colleagues to use current ICT to improve their teaching practice and make content relevant and meaningful.

Professional Practice

Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning

Select and use resources
Assist colleagues to create, select and use a wide range of resources, including ICT, to engage students in their learning

Use ICT safely, responsibly and ethically
Model, and support colleagues to develop, strategies to promote the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching.