Wednesday, 19 November 2014

A Reflection and Recommendations after 2 Years of Implementation in Year 4-6

Guidelines for use of educational Technology in a 1:1 Laptop Environment
Sacred Heart Primary School, Highgate 2014
A Reflection and Recommendations after 2 Years of Implementation in Year 4-6
(Review in 2016)
Observations of what has been successful.
Observations of what needs further and ongoing attention
  • The combination of using educational technology with Project Based and Authentic Instruction.
  • Using technology to organise core skills of learning. Examples Spelling - Audio recording and Conquer Words in Google Docs, Reading - RAZ Kids reading results.
  • Communication - with parents via class blogs or websites. With students via Edmodo, class blogs, Google docs, Airdrop facility.
  • Ability to use technology to engage higher order thinking and the General Capabilities from ACARA.
  • The quality of lessons that involve meaningful uses of technology directed at improving student learning.
  • Use of MacBook applications such as iBooks Author to consolidate learning.
  • Digital Citizenship has been adopted well by students.
  • Use of flipped learning as a real aspect of teaching that promotes independence and autonomy.
  • Individualise learning
  • Digital Citizenship and the digital licence has been adopted well by students.
  • Ensuring direct and explicit instruction still remains an essential part of the daily teaching strategies implementing technology integration when it enriches and can improve the learning experience.
  • Continued focus on core learning before, during or after technology integration.
  • Incorporation of Google Apps including Google Classroom to further enhance productivity.
  • Using Mathletics in a more directed and strategic manner and for predominantly school based use.
  • Continued focus on the quality of lessons that involve meaningful uses of technology directed at improving student learning.
  • Digital portfolios of learning - using apps such iBooks Author to communicate student learning to parents.
  • Consolidation of the 20/20 model of 20 minutes work time, stand and move and look at something 20 m away. (not being seen in most classes as an ingrained student action)
  • More parent access to planning of fluencies so that they are more informed and better able to help and support their children.
  • Continued refinement of the 21st Century Fluencies as a planning model for project based authentic instruction.
  • Work with Edith Cowan study project ongoing.
  • Parent workshops on using Apple devices.
  • Continued focus on individualised learning
  • Stronger consistency of approaches throughout the three year levels.
  • Continued development of the digital licence process and implementation as required.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Our Contemporary Learning Spaces - A Reflection so far.....

We now have contemporary learning spaces in Years 2, 4, 5 and 6. 
It has been a transforming journey with so many new possibilities that have evolved. 
This blog post is a thorough look at our classrooms from the perspective of our staff.  

Year 2 Teacher - Carolyn Perlini 2014

‘Choice’ is key to students thriving in a contemporary classroom. In the contemporary learning space students are given the choice to sit, stand or kneel to learn. With this, also comes choice of where they want to learn within the contemporary learning space.  My experience of the Year 2 students transitioning to the contemporary learning space did initially pose a few challenges in regards to the above, especially when it came to making “good” choices of where to learn. To help our young students transition to being able to choose their own working spaces in a contemporary classroom, it was useful to first teach, role model/practice and provide feedback on how students can make good choices when it comes to their choice of learning spaces.  In the beginning, I found it necessary to help direct some students to choose appropriate learning spaces. However, it doesn’t take long for students to take ownership of this and become autonomous. Always: Encourage students to choose a learning space that works for them, tell them to have a go and remind them that mistakes are okay.

Be flexible.  I think an important teacher attribute for teaching in a contemporary setting is for the classroom teacher to remain flexible. Teachers need to be flexible in not only their teaching strategies but also the working spaces they create, so that they are able to provide a stimulating and adaptable learning environment. Even at this young age, students can be involved in creating and deciding different learning spaces.  Never shy away from giving new teaching/learning strategies or new furniture configurations a go – you will be amazed at the possibilities!

My thoughts on teaching in a contemporary setting.  In the short time that I have been teaching theYear 2 students in a contemporary setting, I have noted an increase in students’ confidence, engagement and ability to be flexible. They are more autonomous, inspired, assume greater responsibility of their learning, and are more willing to take risks and to problem-solve.  The journey of teaching in a contemporary classroom setting has been extremely rewarding for me as a teacher. It has inspired me to explore new ways of teaching and learning that could not otherwise be achieved in a traditional classroom setting. I have enjoyed my journey immensely and I am excited for what the future brings.


Year 4 Teacher, Assistant Principal - Adrian Torrese 2014

Our new learning space has provided some key influences in student learning that links with our school vision:

Belonging - working in a collaborative environment enables students to be part of their learning process. There is a sense that "we are in this together."

Independence - this is very visible in our class. Students making decisions about where they will learn best in our class. Obviously the teacher can always coordinate the learning in the class but offering choice seems to be very empowering.

Mastery and Competence - the spaces seem to lend themselves to good learning opportunities. Clearly the teacher's ability to create engaging learning opportunities is still paramount, however these lessons or units of work are often enriched by the flexible space.

Generosity - Like any well managed class, a sense of ownership, being part of our own small community and learning with each other is vital. My observations have been that their is greater opportunity for fostering the idea of being part of something bigger in a contemporary classroom.

Central to all of our observations is the following: 

Cool furniture and great technology are wonderful. However visibly effective pedagogy is the glue that binds them both together.

Within less structure their needs to be more structure. It's just not always as visible.

Claire Cooper - Year 5 Teacher 2014

Being a graduate teacher I often get asked by many visitors to our school how I find teaching in a contemporary classroom. My answer is always the same - I love it! Being a first year teacher I don't have much else to compare it to other then a few terms in various schools on prac. There are a number of reasons why I enjoy this setting so much - it is great to watch the students move around the room during lessons - in any one lesson some of my students will move up to 5 or 6 times, yet they are always engaged. This constant movement also allows the students to work with peers that they would not normally have the opportunity to work with if they were stuck at the same desk all day, however, it also gives some of the more introverted students a chance to have some "me" time. I have also noticed a wonderful increase in my students' ability to make "choices" regarding their learning (keeping on task, sitting next to people who wont distract them etc). On top of this ability to move my students love the flexibility of the layout and the fact that they can move the furniture to suit their own needs - I really enjoy seeing the changes that the room goes through during a day - to me, this shows that the whole class was engaged throughout the day.

Gabrielle Trinca - Year 6 Teacher 2014
The Watering Hole:

Working with a small group on the floor.
The Watering Hole is another area where students gather but this is with a smaller group. Usually this is used as a area to share information and ideas whilst guiding each other.

My students often use the whiteboard tables for their watering holes. This allows them to write down key points or ideas that are shared and students can then use these at their own pace. If we are working with our MacBooks, there is always a watering hole in front of the Apple TV. This allows them to mirror their activity up onto the screen and share ideas or tools. It almost works a bit like a Genius Bar; an area where my students can go to ask for guidance from a peer.

The Campfire:
This is an area where students come together as a whole group to learn from an expert. This expert may be the teacher, a guest to the classroom, a student sharing their knowledge or even an online resource.

If you were to look at a campfire in my classroom, traditional teachers may say it looks messy. This is because I encourage my students to be comfortable. Therefore, there may be some students sitting on the floor, some on stools or couches and others standing. As long as they are giving their full attention to the expert, I do not have a problem with this.

The Cave:

This is an area where students go to work independently and consolidate their thinking. It may be at one of the single desks around the room or on a larger table where students are working independently from the people around them.

I often find my students tucked into corners, sitting just outside the classroom door on top of the stairs, sitting cross legged in the old chimney, lying on the floor behind the couches or working independently under tables. Due to them being comfortable in this environment, they move around and find spaces where they are going to stay on task and complete the assigned work.


Thursday, 5 June 2014

Using Technology as a curriculum Tool

Religious Education 2014 
Teacher- Anna Sheehy

The Year Six students have been preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation. As a part of their preparation several tasks were set up in order for them to deeper their knowledge about their chosen saints and the Process of Canonisation.

A website was created so that students had access to their tasks, resources and rubrics throughout the whole process. Students have been visiting this website on many occasions to make sure they are up to date with each task and checking off each part of the rubrics to make sure they are submitting everything.

Students have been working on these tasks throughout Term Two and are currently of Task Four. Below you will find a brief outline of the tasks that the students have been working on. 

Task One:

The first task for students was to find out ‘what is a saint?’ Students watched a Flipped Task and prepared some research about what constitutes a saint. 

Once this was completed, they were grouped and asked to share their research. They then presented their information, outlining the main characteristics of a saint.

Each group created a large poster outlining all of their key points.

Task Two:

The second task that the Year Six Students needed to complete was a research stage. They needed to research the Saint whose name they were taking for Confirmation. 

Students needed to include information about their early life, education, and a timeline of the significant events of their saint’s life. 

As a class, we explored 
TimeGlider. This is an online timeline creator tool. Each student set up an account with their school email address and then we did some explicit lessons and some Flipped Tasks related to using the tool.

Students needed to identify examples of how the influence of the Holy Spirit can be seen in the life events and words of their saints and complete an expose of their lives.

They also needed to outline the reasons why they make a good Saint, explain why they chose this Saint, and how they relate to them and their story? 

I encouraged students to be creative with their presentations, letting them choose how they wished to present it to their peers. 

Task Three

During Task Three, students needed to research the process of Canonisation. Canonisation is the act by which the Holy Father declares that a Catholic Christian is in the glory of Heaven, that is they have been declared a Saint. 

There are certain steps that are required to be undertaken in the process of Canonisation and the students needed to display this in the form of a flow chart.

Some of the students decided to use to create an infographic outlining the process. This is a free web based tool that the students are very capable of using. Other students used Comic Life and some opted to create a poster by hand. It was great to see a range of resources being used.

Here is a video briefly showing some of the finished products.

Task Four:

The Year Six students are currently working on Task Four. In this task students needed to define what they think are the ten main qualities of Saints. They needed to create a definition for each of these and then think of someone, whom they know, who displays these Saint-like qualities.

These students needed to interview this person about the ten qualities they had chosen and are now using this information to create a 2-3 minute speech.

All of the Year Six students are confident speakers and will be well prepared for their speeches. I am very much looking forward to the listening to each of them.

There is a final task where students will be researching Australian heroes who they feel may be Saints in the future. Students will be creating a persuasive argument in an online format to complete this task.

Reading and Writing in Year 3 using iPads 2014

This semester the Year 3 class are using the app Kids Journal to record short daily journal entries. The students, filled with motivation and engagement, type their thoughts and recount their activities from the previous or current day.

The app has icons that allow them to depict their mood, the day's weather and take a current photo of themselves.

The Year 3 teacher cleverly integrates this process into the student's English learning program.

RAZ - Kids is now being used widely at Sacred Heart as a supporting reading tool. The variety of text types and the relevant reading levels makes the tool very popular with our students.

As part of their lesson flow the students move to relevant reading on RAZ Kids once they have completed their journal entries. 

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Contemporary Changes in Year 2 2014

Term 2 2014 has seen the Year 2s at Sacred Heart transform into a contemporary space.

The teachers and students are also part of a study through Curtin University in understanding the educational and physiological impact of a contemporary space.

The class was set as a traditional arrangement in Term 1. The teachers and students were then fitted with a movement measuring device over a week that measured their level of movement. Classroom observation also took place during that week.

A follow up observation and study will be conducted in Term 2 to measure and compare the outcomes.

Both Year 2 teachers have made informed and proactive decisions that have enabled a smooth and harmonious transition. They have both adjusted to the environment very quickly. Their expertise and professionalism in educating our students has definitely assisted in this.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Screencasting (Flipped Learning) Google Docs and iBooks Author

Blended Learning is taking shape in Year 4. By creating screencasts to demonstrate and share directions, Google Docs and iBooks Author, Mr. Torrese, the Year 4 Teacher has been able to connect aspects of a project and the learning that will place in the classroom.

Follow the videos and links below:

Using Google Docs

The Reading Comprehension Project - Youtube screencast of the project explanation.

Using iBooks Author - a Youtube screencast for the Reading Comprehension Project: 

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Our Latest Parent Handbook on Education Technology at Sacred Heart Highgate

Sacred Heart Primary School, Highgate

Educational Technology
Information for Parents


Education Technology SHPSH

Our Vision

As a 21st century community we are responsible for quality teaching and learning which enhances meaningful student engagement and promotes responsible (digital) citizens.

 Our Beliefs and Assumptions

·      All students can learn.
·      Technology is a tool that is one part of a quality learning process.
·      Meaningful educational technology integration is an essential element to learning in the 21st century.
·      Effective teacher up skilling is important in raising competencies, for all educators, students and parents.
·      Other effective pedagogical strategies need to work in conjunction with technology.

Systems and Structures

·      School funded iPad program in junior program K—3.
·      School funded1:1 iPad program in Year 2 and 3.
·      Strong links are made to the General Capabilities component of the Australian Curriculum
·      Key ICT Teacher working with junior school staff in implementing effective iPad integration.
·      Project Based Learning and integrated planning documents have been created using 21st Century Fluencies by Lee Crockett.
·      iPad configuration with Apple ID volume licence .
·      All parents have an Apple ID before 1:1 roll out occurs. Support parents in doing this if required.
·      SHPSH to image laptops and coordinate roll out days. Apple consultant will support.
·      Maintain communication with parents via posted letter and email to families.
·      Digital licence for year 4 and 5 students at the start of 2013.
·      Teacher integration of 21st century planning and learning strategies through further PD and opportunities and sharing of knowledge gained.
·      Parent involvement and participation in information sessions.
·      Survey distributions in 2014 and each year following for parent and student feedback on the purchase and roll out process as well as their thoughts on the effectiveness of the program. Students to be surveyed regularly throughout the year.

Our Digital Licence for Students

Practical Use - Care and Maintenance.

Take care of your screen. Clean by following the correct directions.

Sweep and Sleep strategy. Sweep your hand across your keyboard then close the lid for it to sleep.

Always place your device inside its bag, then into your school bag.

Never walk out of the class with your device in your hands.

Keep food and drinks away from your device.
Have your device charged up for the next day at school.

Cyber Safety

Don't place pictures of yourself on line.

Don’t give out your personal information.

Don't give out your passwords to anyone.

Ask an adult before going to an unfamiliar website.

Inform an adult if you see something on the internet you are not comfortable with or you think is inappropriate.

Avoid clicking on unfamiliar offers or sites.

Don't accept new contacts that you do not know at all. Ask for adult help.

Never use someone else's password for anything. Let an adult know if you accidently know someone's password.
Educational Tool
Your digital device is for learning only at school.
Not for playing games.
Have your device charged up for the next day at school.
Only work from the programs on your device that your teacher has asked you to use.

Find an adult if you see or read something inappropriate.

Well Being

Be careful of your posture when using your digital device. Sit up straight, keep the screen away from being too close to your eyes, keep both feet on the floor.

Put your digital device on a cushion or stool, not on your lap.
Put a pillow behind your back if you are on a couch.

Avoid your screen being too bright.

The 20/20/20 Rule. After 20 minutes look at something 20 meters away for 20 seconds.

Don’t lie on your stomach and using your device.

Move into a different position when you start to become uncomfortable.

Digital Etiquette

Look away when someone is typing their password.

Use headphones or keep the volume low when you are working near others.

Avoid copying the work of your classmates. Ask permission from them before you look at the work on their screen.
Digital Property

If you see a copyright symbol it means it can't be copied.

The information, pictures, music and videos on the internet belong to the people who made them.
It is against the law to copy their property.
Only use information when permission is given from a website.

SHPSH Educational Technology Guidelines
A Sacred Heart Community Round Table Discussion – December 2012

What are your beliefs and assumptions about Educational Technology?
What values do you think we as a community should ensure we maintain and/or develop as we take this journey in Educational Technology and 21st Century Learning? How does this link with our Vision Statement?

·       Our Catholic identity is a relevant part of Educational Technology.
·       Teaching and learning is about building character.
·       Technology use in the near future will be much more embedded in learning.
·       We can be engaging our students more.
·       Continual changes in technology are inevitable. We should help students to understand this.
·       We cannot replace social skills and human interaction.
·       Adult role modelling is vital.
·       Technology is a medium to compliment teaching and learning strategies.
·       Parents need input and information.
·       Teach skills that provide life-long learning.
·       Assists in self-directed learning.
·       With the change there is a sense of fear.
·       A need for digital etiquette.
·       Kids react to digital equipment.

What do you think is expected from Sacred Heart when providing Educational Technology in a way that encourages learning and digital responsibility?
  • Provide parents with information for how to get help and understanding.
  • Provide the best infrastructure.
  • Vigilant supervision.
  • Parent workshops.
  • Accessibility to seeing the use of technology within the learning.
  • Role modelling responsible usage.
  • Professional development for staff.
  • Uphold our Christian values.
  • Expectations of use from the school.
  • Innovative methods that engage and allow self-directed learning.
  • Teaching and learning strategies that encourage collaborative learning.
  • Educational Technology goal setting by the school.
  • SHPSH recruitment policy that encourages skilled teachers with progressive teaching and learning strategies.
  • Constant monitoring of use and effectiveness.
  • Provide a safe and respectful environment.
  • Gain student feedback.
  • Develop partnership with Cyber-Safe police unit.
  • Development of student "digital licence".

What do you think is expected of families and students in regarding the use of Educational Technology at home and at school?

·       Challenge parents. "What are they modelling at home with their own computer and where is it placed in the home?"
·       School structures to support home usage.
·       Follow set expectations from the school.
·       Accommodate different parenting styles.
·       Role model responsible usage.
·       Teach understanding about care for equipment.
·       Parents seek opportunity to attend workshops at the school.
·       Students encouraged to share their learning at home.

Student Educational Technology Forum – A Round Table Discussion with Sacred Heart Students

To follow up from our community round table discussion, some of our students from Years 4,5 and 6 discussed the following questions and the following responses came from the conversation. Their feedback also informed our practise and Digital Licence process.

What are your thoughts and feelings about using Technology at school for learning?

·       It makes people want to learn.
·       Gives them motivation and determination to learn.
·       Can use technology in your future employment.
·       Helps us get ready for high school.
·       Don't have to carry as many books.
·       Our parents can see what we are learning at school.
·       It is portable.
·       Helps us to connect with and learn from others.
·       Able to present our work in creative and interesting ways.
·       We should still learn how to do handwriting.
·       We would have less anxiety about forgetting work.
·       We don't have to use technology all the time, for some things we don't need computers.

What do you think is expected from Sacred Heart when providing Technology in a way that encourages learning and digital responsibility?

·       Strict rules about social media.
·       We should be taught to use it safely and responsibly.
·       Students learn from using technology. Learning not playing!
·       The school should monitor Internet use by everyone.
·       The focus should be learning about the subject.
·       Let parents know that the learning is happening.

What do you think is expected of families and students when using Technology at home and at school?

·       Separate learning from playing.
·       Use only during school time.
·       Be careful with handling the computers.
·       Parents and the school are responsible for the safe use and the monitoring.
·       Incorporate but restrict technology use in their daily life.
·       Students should use technology purposefully.
·       Students need to be organised with charging batteries and packing laptops ready for the next day.
·       Students should have an organised hard drive.
·       Students with their own laptops should have a digital licence. Inappropriate use may mean the licence is taken away for a period of time.

Student Misconduct

Technology Misconduct includes:

1.   Cyber Bullying or taunting
2.   Accessing inappropriate information or images
3.   Using a digital device at school in a manner that does not enhance learning. For example, accessing and playing un-educational games.
4.   Not following the directions and instructions set out by a teacher in a learning situation.

If there are incidents of student misconduct in regard to the use of technology devices, parents will be immediately notified and depending on the severity of the incident this may result in the removal of the student from the digital learning program for a period of time.

If this does occur the school and teacher will make alternative provisions that still enable the student/s to learn the same content. Consequences will be restorative and directed in assisting the student to develop a sense and responsibility and accountability when using technology. Parents will also be advised on how they can support their child to learn from the incident.

Home use Guidelines for our Parents

Sacred Heart, Highgate suggests the following guidelines for technology use at home.

·      Always ensure your child is interacting with a digital device in a shared area of your home with an adult present and aware of the context that your child is using the device.

·      Because students use their device during their school day, set time limits in regard to technology use after school. Use a visible timer if necessary. Maintain uses of laptops or other devices only for homework and preparation for school learning. Under supervision allow recreational use of devices for weekends only.
In regard to student “down-time” activities, traditional play methods (sport, puzzles, lego, construction, drawing/painting, learning a musical instrument) is always recommended instead of time on a digital device.

·      Any student use of social media or digital interaction between students (outside of school hours) is not supported by the school. Parent should be aware whether their child is engaging in such practice.

·      Consider the following questions when your child is using a digital device at home:
1.   Do I know exactly what he/she is doing?
2.   Is this beneficial to his/her learning?
3.   Is the time spent on the device appropriate and does it compromise his/her wellbeing?
4.   Has my child had enough exercise or other recreational (down-time) activity today?

Parents are suggested to visit and learn from