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Term 1 2013 Technology in education • 5


Term 1, 2013 Feature storY

Introduction WELCOME to the first issue of Technology in Education for 2013. It promises to be an exciting year ahead, and we’re getting the ball rolling with a look at how online learning is making the shift from tertiary to school settings. Our Feature Story (p.8-18) includes a fascinating contribution from Orange Lutheran Online director Patty Young. She gives an insight into the workings of the California school’s extensive online program, including the range of options offered, and the planning and preparation that goes into adapting classroom-based curriculum content. The first term of the academic year is often a time when educators reassess their own learning. For those of you interested in developing your ICT skills, our PD listings section (p.20-28) is a handy reference guide highlighting the scores of courses, workshops and conferences on offer across Australia. Our Infrastructure section (p.34-35) visits Victoria’s Wooranna Park Primary School, where students can access technology in exciting surroundings.

PD Listings


Teachers there decided to introduce Stimulating Learning Platforms as a way of engaging and challenging youngsters. The result sees students using technology to travel across the globe in a dragon boat ship and put their skills to the test in a flight cockpit, pictured below. Our regular Cheat Sheet feature is a beginner’s guide to Flipped Learning (p.4445). Educator Steve Collis shares his own experience along with some handy tips for how to get started. Enjoy the Term 1 magazine.







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NLINE learning has traditionally been associated with university courses, but schools across the globe are allowing students to swap the classroom for the cloud. Our Cover Story features two schools offering online learning options. Patty Young, director of Orange Lutheran Online, explains how staff are delivering 55 classes each semester. Young also talks about how teachers have converted content, and the flexible staff structure that exists to support this innovative way of working. Lisa Knight, of the Sydney Centre

8 • Technology in education Term 1 2013

for Innovation in Learning, looks at online schooling from an Australian perspective. For those considering the introduction of online or blending learning, Monash University professor Neil Selwyn offers a quick checklist of things to consider. At the other end of the spectrum, Technology in Education Magazine talks to Lucy Wurtz, development and outreach director at the Waldorf School of the Peninsula. The school is in the heart of Silicon Valley, but teachers still use slate blackboards and you won’t find any tech gadgets or screens in the lower school.


Digital edition free to download

Patty Young

Orange Lutheran Online Innovation flows from tradition


OMETIMES surprises come in the most unlikely places. Who would have thought that one of the very first online high schools in America would have sprung from a very traditional private parochial school? Southern California is a crowded corner of America, packed with students and parents with high expectations. Our campus houses 1300 students in 13 landlocked acres in the middle of urban Orange County. Orange Lutheran High School is a comprehensive high school where students in Grade 9 -12 are encouraged to strive for excellence in academics, athletics, fine arts performance and character development. The fact that 720 student athletes are using one gym, weight room and field; and 500 choral, orchestra, band and drama students are using one theatre creates some heady master schedule conflicts. With the addition and expansion of our Advanced Placement, Science-TechnologyEngineering-Math (STEM), Leadership and Missions programs there just didn’t seem to be enough space to do it all. These constraints birthed a new way of looking at how and when students can learn. Creative problem solving and a “can-do” attitude propelled our leadership into bold action a decade ago. They were willing to put resources behind their vision of 2025 when high school academic courses will be mostly online, while the physical school will be used in a far

different way. Our current leadership continues this innovative spirit. Instead of classrooms with rows of desks, a future campus with learning commons in which students can meet to collaborate, create, and interact face-toface with content experts (formerly known as teachers) excites new passions. Arts, athletics and extra-curriculars also have expanded places to rehearse and practice. Course offerings are online or hybrid. Our board of directors support innovation by their continual financing of all areas of infrastructure, staffing and software. We have not quite arrived at this vision yet, although we are making progress. Ten years ago we launched Orange Lutheran Online – a fully online platform that now hosts 70 of our on-campus courses. So, how does a school begin an online program? Buying prepackaged courses from a vendor was not an available option a decade ago, nor would it have been financially possible for our school. The most practical way was to use our existing curriculum and teacher expertise.

We trained a volunteer cadre of our oncampus teachers using an existing online teacher-training course through the University of Phoenix. Their experts helped our teachers think about the instructional design of a virtual class, and how students might be more fully engaged. The first class we converted to an online course was a semester long health class that is required for all students. We used the backward design process – after aligning the curriculum with state standards and collecting the on-campus teachers’ activities, and assessments. Our online courses are asynchronous, eight week-long semesters consisting of discussion groups, assignments, readings and assessments. We work to incorporate technology and make our online classes visually appealing and stimulating using tools such as videos, web links, audio files, and live chats wherever possible. As courses are designed, we use the course objectives, pacing, and assessments of our on-campus classes, but adapt the class to an online modality attempting to reach all

Term 1 2013 Technology in education • 9



levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. We ran that first health class during the summer, and received very positive comments from our students and families. They appreciated the individual feedback and attention received from the instructor, such as the detailed weekly quantitative and qualitative assessments. The discussions in health about nutrition, friendships, dating, and sex were open and honest. It became quickly apparent that some teenagers were willing to share their thoughts and opinions even more openly online than in a physical classroom. Conveniently, students can work in their online classes from anywhere with an internet connection so classes can be completed during camp, on a family vacation, or in between football practices. The flexibility factor turned out to be a huge attractant! Soon, our English teachers were writing American, British and world literature classes for virtual consumption. And then, each department chair collected course syllabi, objectives, activities and assessments for each course offered. Next, we matched curriculum writers with interested faculty and paid them extra stipends to write. In some areas, we hired content experts from other area schools to design online classes from our syllabi. Most of the conversions took place originally over our summer breaks. We discovered it took an average of 100 hours or approximately three months for a teacher to convert his/her course, including all the editing and graphic design work. We are, to this day, constantly revising and updating curricula so that as our on-campus classes change and evolve our online classes can reflect the same changes. For staffing we decided to hire a separate pool of teachers to independently work the online classrooms. This has worked out fabulously, and we have grown a strong network of online teachers all over the USA. The requirements for our online staff are the same as our on-campus staff, but we provide an additional 25-30 hours of tech10 • Technology in education Term 1 2013

nology training to ready them for their teaching online. Our academic affairs coordinator, Mrs Diane Gihring, leads periodic staff training, evaluates the online classroom teachers and generally provided support to all the staff. We maintain a pool of about 85 teachers at any one time in order to run a semester of 55 classes. Each class averages about 15–18 students, a good size for individual attention. Teachers are contracted by semester, which allows for flexibility. Our average teacher is a fully credentialed experienced classroom teacher who is currently a stay-at-home mum raising her children and remaining active in education virtually. Our teachers generally teach one or two classes at a time and we run sessions all year round. Students at our school may choose to take their courses in an on-campus or online format. This allows for flexibility; they may be able to start school late, or finish early – or attend only every other day. Students are broken into three categories: “full-time on-campus” – who are allowed to take up to two classes online per year;

“blended” – who take four classes on-campus and three classes online for a reduced tuition; and “full-time online” – who can take one course on-campus and the rest are all online for a reduced tuition. These last students are mostly those with special needs such as health issues, or extraordinary talents that demand a non-traditional schedule such as actors, athletes (ice skaters, equestrians, hockey players, tennis players), concert musicians, American students abroad, and even a NASCAR driver. Our flexibility has allowed us to create individual schedules to fit the needs of all our students. Our venture 10 years ago into the online world has allowed our school to thrive in the middle of a national recession. We have our highest enrollment to date this year. We look forward to seeing where the vision of our leadership will take us in the future, but we know that a major factor in the future of our school is in online education. Patty Young is director of Orange Lutheran Online at Orange Lutheran High School, California, US.

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Jo Earp

Taking a slow-tech approach in the Silicon Valley


S many schools integrate technology into early years learning, Waldforf School of the Peninsula in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley has attracted global media attention for taking the opposite approach. We speak to the school’s development and outreach director, Lucy Wurtz, about a ‘slow-tech’ approach to keep gadgets away from students until Grade 8. You’re in Silicon Valley and a lot of the students’ parents work in hi-tech industries – why do you think they send their children to your school? Parents who come to our school recognise that the work of young children is PLAY, developing their senses in nature, developing their small and large motor skills through building, digging in the dirt, circle time, and developing their pre-academic learning through storytelling, fairy tales and rhymes, and developing their social skills through group activities (e.g. soup or bread making) and free play. Parents who bring their children at ages older than early childhood recognise that children learn and develop their capacities best when they are engaged with the teacher, subject matter, and peers, rather than a computer. Can you explain a bit about the school’s approach to learning? Waldorf schools nurture the full range of human capacities through a rich interdisciplinary curriculum that integrates rigorous academics and hands-on learning with the fine, performing and practical arts. Each student gains a comprehensive foundation in world literature, history, maths, science, a foreign language and geography, as well as skills and confidence to think independently and work together harmoniously. Waldorf education aligns its curriculum with the child’s cognitive, emotional and physical development. Outside the US, Waldorf schools are generally known as Steiner schools. Is there any tech at all in use – for admin staff, teachers or students? Yes, we are typical users of technology for 12 • Technology in education Term 1 2013

work and communication-related purposes. Teachers and admin staff all use computers. High school students are allowed the use of technology outside the classroom. [From Grade 8 the school encourages limited use of technology]. All of our staff have mobile phones [mostly smartphones] and many have tablets. Our teachers feel that being able to access and respond to emails during the day is advantageous so they can use their evening hours primarily for lesson preparation. We do ask all adults [faculty, staff and parents] not to use their phones directly around the younger children, rather in places like the faculty room, office and parking lot. What are the benefits of this approach? Exposing children to computer technology before they are ready can hamper their ability to fully develop strong bodies, healthy habits of discipline and self-control, fluency with creative and artistic expression and flexible and agile minds. Technological literacy – a crucial 21st Century skill – can be mastered quickly when children reach adolescence and have the developmental maturity to know how, why, and when to use technology as a tool. We believe students who have been educated in this manner enter adulthood with confidence and self-discipline, the ability to think independently and work with others, mastery of analytical and critical faculties, fluency with creative and artistic expression, and reverence for the beauty and wonder of life – the very skills needed for the 21st Century. What is the response of students, particularly those who have moved from schools with lots of technology? Students have typically made two sets of comments: They feel more engaged in the subject matter and with what is happening in the classroom without the use of technology. The human-focus in the class allows deeper penetration in the subject matter and deeper listening/collaboration with peers. They are happy to not have social media be part of the school culture during the day. At school, they look each other in the eyes and

have face-to-face conversations that would not have occurred in a setting that allowed kids to be using phones in and between classes. Of course, as normal teens, some of these same kids admit to heavy texting outside of school hours, but have an appreciation of the significant difference between these forms of communication. Does the school encourage students to stay away from technology at home too? [With regard to students] we are not antitech but believe in “the right thing at the right time.” [From the Electronic Media Guidelines we give to our families] you can see that we follow a developmental approach and would like our teens to understand the use of technology as a tool by the time they graduate. * In a presentation at Google last year, maths teacher Dr Lisa Babinet pointed out the school does not shun technology. “I would like to clear up any misconceptions that we are luddites or we are against using computers and, although you will not find any computers in our lower school classrooms, by the time our students reach high school, we carefully integrate technology only in ways we feel are appropriate and enhance learning. Our high schoolers are pretty tech savvy: they blog, create websites, publish music and videos online and one even has a job running a social media site for a local cable station.” What advice would you give to schools in Australia considering your approach? The media attention has pretty much focused on what we consider a false dichotomy: Technology or no technology? The value of what Waldorf schools offer, I believe, is much more nuanced. Give children what they really need in the order they need it (the developmental approach) and focus on the development of strong bodies, healthy senses, rounded and inspired emotional development, and a passion and curiosity for intellectual learning before introducing the powerful influence of technology. This slow-tech approach to learning will lead to stronger children in the end.

Term 1 2013 Technology in education • 13


Lisa Knight

The online shift – a growing imperative


ERTIARY online education has been gaining momentum with the advent of Open University, online courses offered through vocational websites and universities offering their degrees via Coursera and iTunes. Most people would be familiar with the opportunity to take a course online and may have even undertaken tertiary studies via the internet. Whilst growth in the tertiary sector may be obvious there is a less publicised but significant growth in the delivery of, and need for, online learning at a school level. Online learning can be found on a continuum with students taking aspects of their current course online (blended learning), a full subject course online to a full year of study. The international experience provides a window into the direction of online learning: • More than 200 online schools serve over 600,000 students in China. • Over 1,500 students from 268 schools in New Zealand, primarily from the secondary level, participate in online classes and programs. • Online schools in British Columbia, Canada, provide complete programs or individual courses to 71,000 students (12 per cent). • Thirty five of the 54 countries surveyed indicated that online and blended learning opportunities were available to at least some students. 14 • Technology in education Term 1 2013

(source: The International Association for k-12 Learning (iNacol) Online and Blended Learning: A Survey of Policy and Practice from K-12 Schools Around the World 2011). In the case of the US, the growth to online has been exponential. “In 2000, roughly 45,000 K-12 students took an online course. But by 2010, over four million students were participating in some kind of formal onlinelearning program. “The pre-K-12 online population is now growing by a five-year compound annual growth rate of 43 per cent – and that rate is accelerating,” (Innosight Institute Heather Staker et al 2011.) Thirty US states have a statewide fully online program. Although growth has been in part fostered by financial need there is a pedagogical imperative to ensure that students are ready for the world beyond the school gates. This is the driving force behind seven states mandating online study as a prerequisite to high school matriculation. Whilst online learning is still in its early

stages in Australia, the potential is growing with the advent of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and laptop programs, the sophistication of online delivery tools, Learning Management Systems and teacher ICT skills. Government distance education was the forerunner to online delivery. Whilst the original focus for distance education was geographically isolated students there is a growing need to provide alternative learning options for other reasons. Asynchronous learning, i.e. where students are not required to be online at the same time as the teacher and other students, is being sought by students in a variety of situations who would benefit from its flexibility. This includes students who are travelling or temporarily residing elsewhere, mature aged students who have different life contexts and most of all, talented sports and performing arts students whose schedules do not fit the normal school pattern. The DETs review of distance education and related discussion paper: A Vision for Distance Learning in the 21st Century (2008)

Term 1 2013 Technology in education • 15


online learning reframes the notion that learning must occur in a certain place and time and in the same room as a teacher.”

noted there was a “350 per cent increase” of enquiries in the previous two years from talented sports and performing arts students and it predicted that “there is the potential for significant increase” in this same area. Although access to courses may have been available via correspondence in the past, the online environment has the potential to be more engaging, powerful and interactive. Effective online learning is not just about practicality but pedagogy. Rather than just being an alternative to mailing worksheets, online learning provides a way to connect with a digital generation. Good quality online courses use a variety of tools and activities to engage the learner in higher order thinking and encourage virtual connection with other students and the teacher. Northern Beaches Christian school (NBCS) launched HSC Learn Online over seven years ago, as part of our Sydney Centre for Innovation program, to broaden course offerings for both its own and external students. Given that teachers had already been developing online course materials for their own students it seemed a natural step to open up and develop this resource for external use. NBCS was the first independent day school in New South Wales to offer single course enrolment. The initial offering of three courses has expanded to an annual offering of around 25 accredited courses across, primarily preliminary and HSC level. To date, it has delivered over 1,500 courses to students from over 90 schools in New South Wales. To provide maximum flexibility, courses are primarily asynchronous (with the exception of French language courses that have a weekly synchronous component to enable practice). The majority of users of HSC Learn Online courses are students who want to take a subject that their school doesn’t offer. Even 16 • Technology in education Term 1 2013

if a school offers a course, timetable issues can prevent a student taking their first choices – an online course provides the solution. Online courses are also undertaken by gifted students, allowing them to study a course a year ahead of their usual cohort. Enquiries continue to grow from talented performing arts and sports students wanting to create a flexible timetable. Blended learning is another growth area involving online courses. Apart from applying blended learning in our own context, NBCS is now licencing some of our courses to schools who are using online learning to provide an extended learning environment, combining online with face to face elements in their own schools. As per the international experience, online learning will continue to grow in Australia as this learning option provides opportunities for: • Student choice: students can avoid forfeiting a key subject of interest. • Student retention: offering online learning increases the breadth of a school’s offering. • Student flexibility: students can pursue other interests to a higher level rather than sacrificing their education to do so. • Differentiated learning: the online learning environment enhances the ability to provide a choice of activities. Teachers can use Learning Management Systems to implement learning gateways in courses and focus on mastery. • Acceleration: students have the opportunity to move through coursework faster or to take a course ahead of their year cohort (difficult to achieve in smaller schools without this resource). • Engagement: with pedagogy as the driver, the technology enables the teacher to design rich experiences. • Extending the learning community: teachers and students can connect across geographies and schools. • Extending the learning environment: on-

line learning reframes the notion that learning must occur in a certain place and time and in the same room as a teacher. • Flipped learning: Students are able to work through and with learning materials before dialoguing with the teacher and class, increasing the quality of that interaction. • Student readiness beyond school: Online learning fosters a skill set that will place students in good stead for tertiary study and the workplace, where self-direction and lifelong learning are requirements for success. Our own market research study via an independent researcher (McCrindle Research 2011) indicated that 94 per cent of our online students believed that their independent learning skills had increased and 89 per cent their time management skills, as a result of completing an online course. Lisa Knight is director of online school development at the Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning, Northern Beaches Christian School, NSW.


Professor Neil Selwyn

Online for learning? A quick checklist students), large-scale participation and collaboration, coupled with asynchronous and synchronous communication. It is crucial for any online teacher to be clear what these concepts mean for learning.


NLINE courses are a growing feature of K-12 schooling. Many Australian schools are beginning to experiment with online provision for some classes, following the lead of the United States where it was reckoned in 2009 that over one million high school students were taking at least one online course each year. With various elements of Australian schooling set to soon go digital – not least NAPLAN tests in 2016 – online courses are not a matter of ‘if’ but a matter of ‘when’. It therefore makes sense for even the most technology-shy teachers to start thinking about their digital practice. Yet, this is not a simple matter of directly exporting ‘what works’ in the conventional classroom onto the internet. Here are five basic considerations for anyone gearing up to teach online: Is your course truly ‘digital’? As Edinburgh University’s Manifesto for Teaching Online states, “the best courses are born digital”. In other words, an online course is not a digital dumping-ground for pre-existing materials and lesson plans. Avoid thinking of this as an online version of traditional classroom teaching. Instead, this is an opportunity to support new forms of learning through different digital applications and practices. Key aims for online teaching should include the idea of ‘produsage’ (i.e. the combination of production and usage of content by 18 • Technology in education Term 1 2013

How open is your online course? When teaching online there is an understandable temptation to recreate the manageable, ‘closed’ model of the traditional classroom. Yet the main educational benefits of online environments stem from their openness – in other words the capacity to link different bits of content together and support flexible interactions between users. An online course, therefore, has to strike the right balance between legitimate concerns over safety and excessive levels of protection or control. Successful online teaching certainly involves showing a fair degree of trust in students. So, what other online content are you going to link your teaching and learning to? Is your online course a nice place to be? A crucial aspect of online education is design. This not only includes pedagogic design (i.e. arranging the teaching and learning that you want to take place), but also aesthetic design. While it is easy to neglect what an online course looks, sounds and ‘feels’ like you should remember that your students will be accustomed to hanging-out in a variety of high-spec digital environments. While online courses don’t have to mimic the appearance of Facebook or Habbo, neither do they have to be monotone, garish or just plain un-engaging. Who benefits from your online course? Two of the key questions underpinning any online course are: (i) why is this course being provided online; and (ii) who is meant to benefit? If your answers are primarily the teachers or the school, then the course is unlikely to work as well as it could. There are many obvious institutional benefits of teaching online – not least in terms of

cost, time, space, replicability and accountability. Yet, these supply side advantages need to be balanced against any likely demand side costs. So, how are your students really gaining from this course being online? What is the genuine added value to learning? If you are struggling to think of any substantial learning benefits then perhaps it is time to think again. Are you prepared to put even more work into teaching? Finally, don’t be fooled into thinking that online courses are an easier ride than traditional classroom teaching. If anything, online courses demand extra preparation, effort and vigilance from teachers. While a good online course should be learner-driven and self-directed, the teacher still plays a key role in initiating and supporting interactions between learners. Online teaching is not a simple case of ‘facilitation’, but an ongoing process of stimulation, encouragement and subtle behindthe-scenes orchestration. Online teaching is definitely time-consuming and tiring, but ultimately should be worth it! Useful links: • Edinburgh University Manifesto for Teaching Online – intended to stimulate ideas about creative online teaching: ulupKN • The Quality Matters Rubric – a set of eight general standards and 41 specific standards used to evaluate the design of online courses: • Teenagers, Legal Risks and Social Networking Sites – covers the legal risks and obligations faced by professionals when using social media with young people: http:// Neil Selwyn is a member of Monash University’s Learning with New Media research group (@LNM_Monash), and the author of Education & Technology: Key Issues and Debates (Continuum Press).

Top Security for Top School


s one of Australia’s most progressive and creative educational institutions, St Michael’s Grammar School (St Michael’s) sits at the leading edge when it comes to implementing technology for its staff and students. Not only does the School offer easy access to applications and the Internet through its network of computer laboratories and workstations, it also has a fast wireless network covering the school grounds. The infrastructure allows its family of some 1,300 students and 300 full-time staff across its Junior and Senior School campuses to comprehensively access its IT resources and to collaborate on projects and instructional materials. However, with children as young as seven in its care, St Michael’s takes no chances when it comes to the safety and security of its students, and online security is no exception. “It is critical for us to ensure that our students, especially the younger ones under our charge, are adequately protected against various forms of inappropriate content lurking in cyberspace,” said Jai Ross, Manager of St Michael’s ICT Department. While it’s current firewall seemed to be doing an acceptable job protecting the School’s network, when St Michael’s examined its academic requirements more closely, it discovered that a broad-based appliance preventing generic categories of content was insufficient to meet its needs. “Catering to such a wide range of age groups and academic levels, it is important for the School to have the flexibility to manage what it deems to be appropriate content for different levels,” said Mr Ross. “We need a strong but fine filter to be able to quickly sift through content without affecting performance.”

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After considering many options, Mr Ross finally settled on Barracuda Networks, selected the Barracuda Web Filter 610, and installed it in early 2012.

From an IT administration standpoint, St Michael’s also found the Web Filter 610 to be highly effective.

As an integrated content filtering, application blocking and malware protection appliance, it suited St Michael’s needs perfectly. “It was a quick, fuss-free installation, and we could immediately enforce Internet usage policies by blocking access to websites and Internet applications that are not applicable to the School, as well as eliminating the entry of spyware and other forms of malware,” said Mr Ross. “One of the great features the Web Filter 610 has provided is that even inappropriate ads are blocked on safe websites,” he added. “Unfortunately, a lot of websites hosting valuable content do sometimes have unsafe content on them as well, but with the 610 we don’t have to be so discriminating.” In addition to meeting the School’s main objective of securing its IT system, the Barracuda 610 also supplied the flexibility St Michael’s needed to enhance the productivity of its users. The Barracuda Web Filter 610 integrates with Microsoft’s Active Directory to provide real-time access to the different users and groups managed by the directory server with different policies applied to different users and groups. While an association is typically made on log-on between an IP address and a username, the override feature extends the functionality of the web filtering to bring-your-own devices,” said Mr Ross. “This is one of the great features which allow students and staff who are on their own personal devices to connect to the Internet through their Active Directory credentials.”

“It is surprisingly easy to manage and allowed us to produce highly customisable reports,” noted Mr Ross. “It is also very reliable and we’ve never had any unplanned downtime.” Being able to reduce mundane IT administration was a significant benefit to the School’s department and allowed Mr Ross and his team to spend more time on more strategic academic programs. The scalability and power of the Web Filter 610 also meant that the School only needed to install one system to manage all its users, saving much time and money. Most importantly, and beyond the additional productivity benefits, the Barracuda Web Filter 610 served its primary role exceedingly well. “The primary reason was to protect our students from the unsafe content out there,” said Mr Ross. “It has helped keep our students safe on the web.”

“It is critical for us to ensure that our students, especially the younger ones under our charge, are adequately protected against various forms of inappropriate content lurking in cyberspace.” - Jai Ross, ICT Manager, ICT Department

About St Michael’s Grammar School, Australia St Michael’s Grammar School is a creative and caring school which strives for educational excellence and celebrates the diversity of its community. It aims to set the benchmark for innovative, K-12, co-educational schools in Australia. Its extensive academic, cocurricular and pastoral care programs empower students to chart their preferred educational paths, explore individual interests and enjoy rich learning experiences. Founded in 1895, St Michael’s boasts a rich heritage and visionary principles and values of diversity, compassion, dignity, respect and creativity. As such, the School focuses very much on educating for the future and strives to challenge young minds and equip its students with the skills, knowledge and confidence necessary to engage with life as contributing citizens of the 21st century. Part of the School’s strategic mandate is to support excellence in teaching, learning and caring, with broad-reaching programs that aim to develop high-quality infrastructure and business practices to support innovative learning.

About Barracuda 610 Web-Filter The Barracuda Web Filter is an integrated content filtering, application blocking and malware protection solution. It enforces customised Internet usage policies by blocking access to user-selected Web sites and Internet applications, and completely eliminates spyware and other forms of malware. For more information, please visit


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Blooms Taxonomy for Mobile Devices and Apps June 6, 4:00pm- 6:00pm; TLN online training space; M free, NM $150

IWBNET K-12 Masterclass Third National ITL Masterclass Conference The theme of IWBNet’s Third National ITL Masterclass Conference is “raising standards and teaching better with digital technology: to enhance teaching and learning”. Throughout the two-day conference, delegates will reflect on how to use interactive digital technology in the classroom to boost their teaching skills. They will also discuss what makes high quality teaching practice. Early bird pricing options are available before March 31. June 14- 15; Novotel Brighton Beach, Sydney; M/NM $625 (two days);

teacher learning network Using iPads in Early Childhood March 6, 5:00pm- 7:00 pm; TLN online training space; M free, NM $150 Using Outlook to Support Time Management March 7, 4:00pm- 6:00pm; TLN online training space; M free, NM $150 Designing Great Lessons for the Technology Rich Classroom March 21, 4:00pm- 6:00pm; TLN online training space; M free, NM $150 iPad apps for Education April 12, 9:30am- 12:00pm; the AEU building; M free, NM $200 Introduction to Facebook April 12, 9:30am- 12:00pm; the AEU building; M free, NM $200 Digital Storytelling April 12, 9:30am- 12:00pm; the AEU building; M free, NM $200 Using Computers to Support Thinking Skills

Australian Teachers of Media National Media Education Conference: Connected Creative Critical July 4-7 ; Queensland University of Technology, Garden’s Point campus; IWBNET Tenth National Interactive Teaching and Learning Conference August 8- 10; St Hilda’s School, Gold Coast; M/NM $525 (three days); National Leading a Digital School Conference August 29- 31; Crown Conference Centre, Melbourne; M/ NM $1395 (three days) Australian Literary Educators’ Association Online Reading Assessment- What do young children attend to when reading online text August 29, 3:30pm- 5:30pm; Corrimal library, Wollongong; M $10, NM $30; au

NSW Kodaly Music Institute of Australia Interactive Whiteboard/ Choral Training and Tips March 2; Assumption School, Bathurst; M $60, NM $75; The association of independent schools NSW Using Interactive Whiteboards Effectively in K-6 March 4, 9:00am- 3:00pm; Level 12, 99 York Street, Sydney; M $185, NM $405

20 • Technology in education Term 1 2013

Android Tablets 101: Practical Strategies for Teaching and Learning March 11, 9:00am- 3:00pm; Level 12, 99 York Street, Sydney; M $185, NM $405 Augmented Reality: Bring Any Publication to Life April 9, 9:00am- 3:00pm; Level 12, 99 York Street, Sydney; M $185, NM $405 Storytelling with Digital Video May 17, 8:30am- 3:00pm; Level 12, 99 York Street, Sydney; M $370, NM $810 Tablets in Languages 7-12 July 29, 8:30am- 3:00pm; Level 12, 99 York Street, Sydney; M $185, NM $405 ePubs: Satisfy your students’ thirst for knowledge August 14, 8:30am- 3:00pm; Level 12, 99 York Street, Sydney; M $185, NM $405 Planning and Programming for the New Science and Technology Syllabus: K-6 October 23, 8:30am- 3:00pm; Level 12, 99 York Street, Sydney; M $130, NM $290 ICTENSW PD Weekend Workshops March 9- 10; University of Sydney, Sydney; Cost TBA; www.ictensw.

Campus, School of Information Technology & Electrical Engineering; M/NM $75; Computer Science for High Schools 2-day PD Workshop for Teachers November 19- 20; The Unviersity of Queensland, St Lucia Campus; M/ NM free; QSITE State Conference September 30 - October 1; Sunshine Coast Venue TBA; Cost TBA; Association AND CommunicationS events EduTECH 2013 Australia’s largest education technology event, EduTECH, brings the entire education sector together. In 2013, it will host one big exhibition, five conferences, workshops, 3000+ delegates, 150 exhibitors, dozens of sponsors and partners, multiple sector-endorsed programmes, speakers from around the world and the inaugural Official Networking Cruise. EduTECH is the region’s only event that brings together leaders from across the entire life-span of learning including K-12 school education, tertiary education, business and government learning. June 3-5, 2013; Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre; Subsidised registrations for K-12 schools – only $495 for 2 days.



independent schools queensland ICT Managers Forum Semester 1 April 24, 9:00am- 3:30pm; Brisbane Venue TBA; M free (not available for non-members); registrations@aisq.

Computers in Education Group of SA Inc (CEGSA) Evidencing National Standards March 2, 9:00am- 4:00pm; Immanuel College, Adelaide; M $139, NM $239

ICT Managers Forum Semester 2 October 23, Time TBA; Brisbane Venue TBA; M free (not available for non-members); registrations@aisq.

Finding and Sharing: Images, Ideas and Resources March 9, 9:00am - 1:00pm; Star of the Sea School; M $89, NM $119

university of queensland Robotics Workshops for Teachers May 7, 9:00am- 12:00pm; St Lucia

Comprehending IT March 11, 4:00pm - 6:00pm; Modbury West School, Modbury; M $39, NM $59

Term 1 2013 Technology in education • 21



MARCH 2013 $4.95




60.50 54.75 72.05 59.30 43.35 65.15 62.25 70.00 62.25 80.25 83.05 73.55 60.35 80.60 60.30 66.00 68.00 70.00 67.00 66.25 68.00 77.10 58.75 72.00 65.10 64.35 90.00 80.60 54.75 60.35 80.60 65.15 75.00 65.95 74.35 78.00 62.00 71.60 80.25 62.05 66.00 76.05 79.05 75.00 60.50 65.10 67.05 60.50 79.05 60.00 77.10 86.00 90.05 78.00 72.00 68.45 68.45 84.05 60.35 62.05 72.00 64.35 90.00 79.05 65.10 67.05 58.75 65.15 86.00 54.75 75.00 65.00 73.55 84.05 66.25 62.25 59.30 43.35 65.10 67.00 65.95 59.30 72.05 62.00 65.95 67.00 84.05 76.05 76.05 60.00 60.30 80.25 90.00 72.00 Looking 62.05 68.00 74.35 83.05 54.75 62.25 Beyond 43.35 64.35 60.50 66.00 62.05 60.30 The 70.00 65.15 66.25 68.45 78.00 67.00 Numbers 60.50 60.35 90.05 58.75 90.00 58.75 80.25 67.05 65.10 60.30 73.55 84.05 77.10 83.05 75.00 43.35 73.55 66.25 68.45 79.05 62.00 80.60 83.05 66.00 68.00 74.35 67.05 59.30 60.00 70.00 77.10 62.05 54.75 65.00 65.95 62.25 76.05 74.35





Print Post Approved PP381712/02553


To download the iOS edition, visit To download the Android edition, visit

S30 Notebook Trolley • Designed to accommodate 16 devices • All doors secured with multipoint locking • Breakaway mains connection • Large 360° locking castors • Easy to see charge status • Handy storage bay on top • Ergonomically designed • Large shelves to suit even the biggest laptop • Loads of venting • Available in 5 colours


P (03) 9801 1044 P (02) 9749 1922

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22 • Technology in education Term 1 2013

E E 1800 1800 463 463279 279

keepad’s guide keepad’s education education technology guide TurningPoint Student Response System Classrooms thrive on student interaction and engagement. It is time to turn your classroom into a learning community with the TurningPoint Student Response System! With the TurningPoint SRS you are able to undertake both formative & summative assessment or just extract opinions and check understanding levels in a low key non-confrontational manner. Your students will strive to be involved! TurningPoint is the most engaging technology available to educators because it gives every student a voice in the form of a credit-card sized Keypad or an IP device; like a laptop, smartphone or tablet, creating a truly connected learning community. The TurningPoint software offers full integration with Microsoft PowerPoint and has a floating TurningPoint Anywhere version that floats over any application and is ideal for use with an IWB!

Turningpoint in a nutshell:

Poll over ANY application!

Poll in PowerPoint®

Generate Reports

Self-paced testing

Vote from mobile devices or PC

eBeam Interactive Whiteboard eBeam Classic Pod

Buy 2 & get a FREE Sony Handycam HDRCX190!

A cost-effective yet fully functional IWB that is portable or can be permanently installed to any standard whiteboard or flat surface. eBeam Classic Pod boasts a large interactive workspace of up to 2.4m.

eBeam Edge

Buy 2 & get a FREE Sony Handycam HDRCX190!

The eBeam Edge system includes a sleek receiver with lightning-fast response time and pixel-perfect precision. It works with the ergonomic eBeam stylus designed for natural and comfortable writing, drawing and computer navigation and boasts an interactive workspace of up to 2.7m.

eBeam Engage

eBeam Classic Pod

eBeam Edge

Buy 2 & get a FREE Sony Handycam HDRCX190!

Introducing eBeam Engage: our new all-in-one interactive multimedia console! eBeam Engage is an interactive whiteboard device that combines multimedia and navigation tools in one sleek console to make lesson delivery efficient & engaging.

eBeam To-Go Take your ultra portable eBeam IWB and Epson Projector Bundle and instantly transform any classroom into an interactive learning space!

eBeam On Wheels Take your ultra portable eBeam IWB and Epson Projector for a “joy ride” from classroom to classroom! eBeam Projection Mode works with any projector! eBeam Whiteboard Mode allows you to digitally capture ink marker pen annotations without a projector. eBeam can be utilised on any existing whiteboard!

eBeam Engage 1800 463 279 LED Touchscreen conversions using Sony Panels

32-Touch Tabletop Model coming soon!

Keepad Interactive offers a new range of multi-touch LED Touchscreens utilising Sony Commercial Panels and BRAVIA Pro TV’s. These Touchscreen Panels offer a new dimension of collaborative teaching & learning and are available in 2 or 6 touch on the following models: - 55” FWDB2 Commercial Panel - 55” FWDSH2 1000 nit high brightness Commercial Panel

- 55” BRAVIA Pro LED Smart TV - 65” BRAVIA Pro LED Smart TV

All Touch Conversions and Panels come with a 3 Year RTB Warranty. - A truly immersive way for Educators and Students to collaborate - Add the eBeam Interact IWB software to create a versatile backlit IWB solution - Connectivity Kits available including Wall Plates & Cables - Includes RS232C-HDMI Converter for control on BRAVIA Pro models - Compatible with Windows 8/7/Vista/XP & Mac OS X

Add eBeam Interact IWB software!


2 or 6 Touch models! 55” or 65” models available!

immersive learning!

Introducing the Sony VAIO Windows 8 Touch lineup for schools! ™

VAIO Duo 11

VAIO Duo 11

Notebook or Tablet?

Why decide when you can have the benefits of both with the VAIO™ Duo 11 from Sony! The VAIO™ Duo 11 from Sony is an 11” hybrid slider PC that has the power to run PC applications. Students & teachers can elect to type via the in-built slider keyboard, navigate with finger touch control or use the provided digitiser stylus to take notes. - Thin, light & ready to go - Attach a Sheet Battery (optional) and double your battery life Annotate

- Write directly on the screen - Everything just a touch away Notebook OR Tablet

VAIO™ Duo 11

Desktop Style

VAIO™ Tap 20 A 20” Convertible PC that inspires collaborative learning. The VAIO™ Tap 20 from Sony can be placed at any angle, even fully flat, making it the perfect personal digital workspace for visualising content & ideas. The VAIO™ Tap 20 puts fun and versatility back into learning! Desktop Style

Lay-flat Style

Touch Comfortable Style

VAIO™ Tap 20

3 Year Warranty!



Fourier Data Loggers

Panel Supplier under QLD DETE Contract

The Fourier data-logger and science suite ensures students no longer find science too abstract or theoretical, incorporating activity and enquiry based learning via hands-on experimentation!

NOVA5000 The Nova5000 offers schools a versatile, robust and cost-effective solution for data-logging & computing in their laboratory, classroom and for conducting experiments in the field. Boasting a 7” Touchscreen, VGA out, LAN, Wireless, 3x USB Ports & 4x Sensor Ports, SD & CF Card Slots - a student can conduct an experiment, display the results via a data projector, export the results to SoftMaker Office Suite, write reports, introduce web-based content and print their reports - all without leaving their Nova5000!

NOVALink NOVA Link is a simple sensor interface allowing powerful data-logging applications to be run on any computer. NOVA Link utilises the awardwinning comprehensive MultiLab software and works with over 65 Fourier Sensors.


Nova Air A compact and lightweight wireless adaptor for Fourier’s sensors that is designed to transmit data to PCs and Apple iOS devices. Nova Air has the ability to conduct a wider range of scientific experiments without the limitations of cables.

Dynamic System The Dynamic Track System, compatible with the Nova5000, NOVALink & Nova Air, features a low-friction 1.2m track for experimentation in the field of Physics and Mechanics. Ideal for use with Distance, Photogate, Force, Magnetic Field and Smart Pully sensors. NovaLink

Weather Station A great tool for teaching earth science & monitoring your local weather Fourier’s Weather Station is a sturdy, solar-powered, wireless unit for teaching Earth Science to middle school and high school students. This easy-to-use station features 6 built-in sensors: Temperature, Humidity, Barometric Pressure, Rain Collector, Wind Speed and Wind Direction.

TERRA NOVA Solar & Wind Renewable Energy Science Kits Encouraging students to explore sustainable energy solutions and discover the benefits of solar and wind power can go a long way to improving the quality of life on Earth. Fourier is pleased to introduce, TERRA NOVA, renewable energy science education kits, which provide teachers and students with the tools needed to effectively investigate this topic. NOVA5000


Nova Air with Dynamic Track

Keepad provides the entire education package! Consulting, Installations & Technical Support Keepad Interactive offers a comprehensive range of consulting, installation and technical support services on world-leading products and technologies. At Keepad we strive to understand the pedagogical outcomes our schools are looking to achieve so that we can provide the best advice. We pride ourselves in providing solutions that reflect the best compromise between cost and functionality. Our highly trained staff will provide clear direction and innovative technologies & solutions as well as training, technical support & cost effective installations.

‘it’s all about the pedagogy!’

Weather Station

Nova Air


Listings FIRST LEGO League Workshop March 20, 9:00am - 12:30pm; Venue TBA; Cost TBA ALEC COUROS: Teaching and Learning in a Connected World April 4, 7:00pm; EDC, Milner Street, Hindmarsh; M free, NM TBA ALEC COUROS: Developing Key Literacies in a Connected World April 6, 9:00am - 4:00pm; Immanuel College, Adelaide; M $189, NM $259 Getting Started with iPads May 18, 9:00am - 1:00pm; Venue TBA; Cost TBA TeachEat May 23, 4:30pm - 6:30pm; Star of the Sea School; M/NM free ICT and the National Curriculum May 29, 4:30pm - 6:30pm; Flinders University; M $10, NM $25

VIC VICTORIAN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION iPad based media projects for early to middle years This three hour iPad-based session will allow participants to explore projects using the media capabilities of iPads. Technology gurus Peter Wardrobe and Gene Geoffrey from Doveton College will lead the session. The event promises to explore a range of different software programs including iStopmotion, Garageband and iMovie. This course is suited to a variety of educators including middle years teachers, primary classroom teachers, music and art specialists, and literacy teachers at a primary and secondary level. April 23, 4:30pm- 7:30pm; Doveton Secondary College; M $130, NM $150;

Association of independent schools of south australia ICT in the Literary Classroom March 21, April 5, June 5 and October 25, all 9:00am- 3:30pm; 301 Unley Road, Malvern; M free (not available for non-members);

primary english teaching association australia Creating multimodal meaning with 3D animation software March 1, 9:00am- 3:00pm; Wooranna Park Primary School, Dandenong; M $160, NM $215;

hOME ECONOMICS INSTITUTE OF AUSTRALIA (SA) INC Implementing technologies in Home Economics June 1, 1:30pm - 4:30pm; Venue TBA; M $10, NM $15; rmtaylor@

victorian information technology teachers’ assoc Introduction to 3D Modelling and Animation March 4- 5, 9:30am - 3:30pm; Arts Centre Melbourne; M $320, NM $360

lead teachers association of south australia 21st Century Learning and ePortfolios June 5, 5:30pm - 7:00pm; 99 Douglas Dr, Munno Para West; M free, NM $15; Belinda.radcliffe@

TAS cRITICAL AGENDAS How to effectively use iPads in LOTE April 12, 9:30am- 3:30pm; Hobart Venue TBA; M/NM $259; www.

Part 2 March 20, 4:30pm - 6:30pm; Strathcona Multimedia Centre, Canterbury; M $80, NM $100 Flash in Game Making 2 March 26, 4:30pm - 7:30pm; Mullauna College, Mitcham; M $130, NM $150 Visual Literacy: Adobe Flash 1 May 9, 4:30pm - 6:30pm; Strathcona Multimedia Centre, Canterbury; M $80, NM $100 Digital Story Telling with Adobe Premiere Elements May 17, 9:30am - 3:30pm; Melbourne Arts Centre; M $200, NM $250 Teaching in a Virtual World May 20, 4:30pm - 7:30pm; Doveton Secondary College, Doveton; M $130, NM $150 Green Screen in the Classroom Part 1 May 27, 4:30pm - 6:30pm; Coburg Senior High School; M $80, NM $100 Green Screen in the Classroom Part 2 June 13, 4:30pm- 6:30pm; Coburg Senior High School; M $80, NM $100 CRITICAL AGENDAS How to effectively use iPads in LOTE March 5, 10:00am- 3:00pm; Manningham Convention Centre, Bulleen; M/NM $199

Managing Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century Classroom March 5, 4:00pm - 6:00pm; 134 Cambridge St, Collingwood; M $80, NM $100

Teaching and Learning with the iPad March 8, 9:30am- 3:30pm; Darebin Arts & Convention Centre, Preston; M/NM $279

Music for iPads March 6, 4:30pm - 7:30pm; Doveton Secondary College, Doveton; M $130, NM $150

ict in education victoria Oracle Academy - Alice Workshop March 7, 9:30am- 4:30pm; Statewide Resources Centre, Carlton; M/NM free; ictev@ictev.vic.

Flash in Game Making 1 March 11, 4:30pm - 7:30pm; Mullauna College, Mitcham; M $130, NM $150 Visual Literacy using Photoshop

28 • Technology in education Term 1 2013

ICTEV2013: IT Takes A Village May 25, 7:30am - 6:30pm; Melbourne Grammar School, Wadhurst Campus; M $200-$260,

NM $390; independent schools VIC Digital Media for Creative Arts in Primary and Middle Years March 13, 9:30am- 3:30pm; 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne, M$115, NM $250; enquiries@

WA association of independent schools western australia iPads and Maths Do you ever wonder how to integrate iPads into your mathematics program? Well this workshop might be perfect for you! Throughout the event, participants will learn about the features and functions of an iPad, explore a variety of consumable mathematical applications and discover a variety of productive applications to use in their mathematics teaching. This event is targeted at primary school educators from Prep to Year 6, and participants must bring their current iPad along with them. April 2, 9:00am- 3:00pm; AISWA Training Room; M $20, NM $80;

Western australia department of education Teachers have Class! Can be taken any time; Online; free; cRITICAL AGENDAS How to effectively use iPads in LOTE March 11, 10:00am- 3:00pm; Perth Venue TBA; M/NM $199; www. Association of independent schools western australia Powerful Language Learning with technology April 4, 9:00am- 3:00pm; Newman Siena Centre; M TBA, NM $60; To list your ICT-related PD event in the Term 2 issue of Technology in Education send full details to ict@




Michael Beilharz

Computer gaming project out of this world


t Knox Grammar School in New South Wales we are harnessing students’ passion for computer gaming and using it to engage students in the classroom. Year 8 students are being introduced to Minecraft, a first-person virtual reality computer game where users collect resources and use them to craft buildings and landscapes. At the end of Term 4, 2012 the Year 8 students were given the mission of working in teams to design and create a sustainable Mars colony. We wanted the students to think critically about the atmosphere, temperature and geography of Mars and apply this knowledge. The colony each team built needed to be informed by research and could be created in Minecraft, a computer animated drawing program such as Google Sketch-up or even as a Lego or cardboard diorama. The vast majority of students chose to use Minecraft.

The boys were also required to complete English, maths, science, languages and geography tasks and write a detailed report that summarised the factors that influenced

the design of their colony. The task was designed to be a fun activity to finish the academic year while consolidating knowledge and skills from many of the Key Learning Areas covered throughout the year. At the conclusion of the project we assessed the teams and assigned them with a rank of Mars Commander, Mission Specialist, Navigator, Astronaut or Rookie, based on their work. At Knox, we’ve found that Minecraft can be a great way to foster skills in collaboration, communication, problem solving and creativity. It’s also a good way to connect with students who might be challenged by traditional classroom learning. We’ve also used the game for several other projects, including a virtual Sculpture By The Sea competition and to simulate sea level rise at Manly Beach. Michael Beilharz is ICT integrator at Knox Grammar School, Wahroonga, NSW.

30 • Technology in education Term 1 2013


Digital edition free to download

Dr Stephen Zander Nigel Mitchell

Science teachers’ use of online professional learning logical


HE Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA) is a federation made up of the eight state and territory science teacher associations

(STAs). Each association has two representatives and along with an executive made up of a president, treasurer and either the president elect or the immediate past president, form the governing council. In addition, ASTA has a secretariat situated in Canberra with several paid employees to undertake the day-to-day tasks. ASTA has four strategic goals that underpin the contract and other activities that it undertakes on behalf of science teachers around Australia. The third of these goals is: Support and development of the science teaching profession (including professional learning, networking, resources and member services). This article highlights how ASTA is adopting Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to meet some of the professional learning needs of science teachers around Australia. ICTs have become significant tools for teachers since the mid 1970’s. There have been numerous political, business and educational forces acting, particularly over the past 20 or so years, to encourage teachers around Australia, including science teachers, to incorporate ICT into their pedagogy.

What usually springs to mind with regard to ICT is the use of computers and related peripheral devices, along with accessing the internet and online databases to gather relevant information. ICT is essentially viewed as a means of conducting individual research or to access information by most facets of society and is equally as true for the teaching and learning of science. For science as a subject, however, ICT is much more. Science involves making and recording observations from the conducting of experiments and investigations into phenomena — so it is essentially a practically based subject. With that in mind, to learn and teach science also involves the use of tools and technology that can extend the capabilities of the human senses to collect data through observation. Devices such as dataloggers, probes, digital cameras and microscopes and similar digital technologies enable teachers and students to collect, store and analyse observational data. The benefit of using ICT is that more data can be collected and that the analysis of that data is more accurate and can be undertaken more efficiently. What is less known is that science teachers are increasingly incorporating newer innovations in computing and telecommunications, such as smartphones and iPads, into their classrooms, along with using social media to extend collaboration and to access science taking place beyond the laboratory or school classrooms. Most science teachers in Australia have reasonable skills in using ICT in their classrooms. In some states it is mandatory that ICT be incorporated into the teaching and learning of science and other subjects, and this will only increase with the rollout of the Australian Curriculum. It was determined by ASTA’s governing council that the introduction and implementation of the Australian Curriculum: Science

offered an opportunity to provide a much needed service to update teachers’ scientific knowledge in order to meet the knowledge requirements embedded in that curriculum. Science is a dynamic subject where new information about the world around us is increasing at an incredible rate we really cannot comprehend, let alone keep up with. Making use of ICT enables science teachers to access information that is current, which has direct relevance to the lives of their students. Importantly, using ICT in the teaching and learning of science replicates the ways by which research and experimental scientists work in their daily lives. ASTA was of the opinion that it could rely on science teachers’ ICT skills to enable them to access quality professional learning opportunities and teaching resources using an online presence. A decision was taken by the governing council of ASTA in November 2010 to commit financial resources to employ an online

Term 1 2013 Technology in education • 31


Considerable research shows educators can benefit immensely from connection with a network of colleagues through online media.”

professional learning manager and to develop an online professional learning portal to support science teachers as the Australian Curriculum: Science was rolled out across the states and territories. The decision to move in this direction was not taken lightly given the significant costs involved. The decision was based on the considerable research that showed educators could benefit immensely from connection with a network of colleagues through online media, and that it can lead to improved student outcomes, enhanced teacher job satisfaction and professional advancement. This was particularly important for ASTA where members of the STA’s are located in metropolitan, rural and remote parts of Australia. ASTA was of the view that every science teacher should have access to quality resources and professional learning opportunities irrespective of their location. Recent graduates and those who will join the profession in the years to come use ICT to do many of their daily tasks, which could also include accessing resources and undertaking their professional learning at a time and place that would suit their lifestyle. The decision to go online was an obvious step to take. In mid-April 2011 ASTA employed a manager of online professional learning, Nigel Mitchell, who then set about developing the association’s online portal and building an online network of science educators. The ASTA online project is built around three separate but interrelated aspects. The first of these was to establish online networking, building on what already existed within the STA’s through email lists and professional development that took place faceto-face at a local and national level. The online networking made use of Web 2.0 tools, and establishing and enhancing ASTA’s Facebook and Twitter presence. Part of the work of the project has been for the online manager to attend various member associations’ conferences to run workshops providing a ‘beginners guide’ to building an 32 • Technology in education Term 1 2013

Figure 1 online Professional Learning Network (PLN). This step recognised that science teachers bring with them various levels of experience and skills in using ICT and accessing social networking. The second aspect of the project was to establish a virtual classroom using a suitable commercially available platform. This was to be used to enable national and statebased online professional learning events. Trialing of the virtual classroom began with a webinar in Term 3 of 2011. The intention is to enable science teachers to volunteer and share their expertise on content and pedagogical aspects of teaching science through webinar courses, whilst also making the virtual classroom available to science organisations such as the CSIRO to run their own webinars. Several of these sessions have taken place from Term 3, 2011 onwards and throughout 2012. There are several government and commercial science organisations that have approached ASTA to run events on the ASTA portal to get their message and available materials out to science teachers around Australia.

The main aim that ASTA sets in providing these webinars is that the content of all of these online sessions must support the implementation of the Australian Curriculum: Science or model good teaching practice. The third aspect was to establish a portal on an updated and revamped ASTA website ( that will enable teachers to access the links to courses and resources for professional learning. ASTA’s online manager selected Moodle as the Learning Management System. The intention was to establish a site that enabled science teachers to access a wide range of quality professional learning provided by ASTA, the STA’s, commercial bodies and tertiary institutions. The portal was planned to also include discussion forums and the ability to provide advice to science teachers and laboratory technicians on practical activities. At present, there are approximately 1000 registered users, including both members of the STA’s and non members. It is hoped that the quality of resources and the opportunities that become available through the portal will encourage those who are not cur-


Digital edition free to download

We want to build the use of the portal and social media sites ... where users are encouraged to be creators and collaborators, not just consumers.”

rently members to sign up with their respective STA. The new ASTA website and the online portal ( went live in October 2011. Since then ASTA has been populating the Moodle with resources provided by practicing science teachers, partner organisations and those collected and generated by ASTA activities. As you can see in Figure 1, the portal currently has nine buttons including a search tool that connect users to a range of categorised resources. Some of these are self-explanatory whereas others need to be described in a little more detail. For example, the Conferences button links to videos of keynote addresses and copies of powerpoint presentations from the ASTA annual conference and the National Science Teacher Summer School. Some of this material may be restricted to participants only, but most is freely available to anyone who creates a login on the site with a valid email address. The Webinars button links to upcoming webinars that individuals can enroll in as well as the archived materials from those already conducted. There are links for Laboratory Technicians that include access to resources and professional associations. Most importantly there are button links for primary, middle and senior science teachers to a growing number of useful resources. Whilst the portal was seen as integral to professional learning, ASTA has sourced funding to develop units of work prepared by science teachers to meet the requirements of the Australian Curriculum: Science. One successful collaboration has seen ASTA working in collaboration with Education Services Australia (ESA) to initially develop 15 curriculum units for use by primary and secondary teachers, with many of these units including extension work to meet the needs of gifted and talented students. The first tranche of these units will be available during the first term of the 2013 school year and further units will be added over the

coming six to 12 months. It is hoped that if more funding becomes available that further units will be added in coming years. In addition to the portal, the online professional manager has been busy developing ASTA’s social media presence through Facebook and Twitter. Many teachers are finding that through these social media platforms they are able to connect with other teachers, and also with science organisations in Australia and overseas. Resources, current affairs, and quick answers to questions can be sources through social media by teachers in ways that have never been accessible before. ASTA and the STAs are also using social media to promote face to face professional learning, and to encourage a back-channel of conversation and collaboration during and after conferences and workshops. This online networking is augmented by a series of workshops at STA annual conferences promoting the ASTA portal and seeking teacher input and contributions in the ongoing development of the site.

ASTA has made a significant investment in promoting ICT in professional learning for teachers of science. In the past two years there has been considerable interest in the project from teachers, science organisations, and other professional associations. In the years to come ASTA is looking for ways to build these partnerships, provide a growing bank of resources through the portal and the virtual classroom, and respond to the needs of teachers. We will be looking to build the use of the portal and social media sites with a web 2.0 philosophy, where users are encouraged to be creators and collaborators, not just consumers. And in all of this, our aim is to serve the goal of providing support and development of the science teaching profession. Dr Stephen Zander is a secondary physics and science teacher and president of the Australian Science Teachers Association; Nigel Mitchell is ASTA’s manager of online professional learning. Term 1 2013 Technology in education • 33


Mic Lowne

All aboard: a journey beyond the classroom


ARLY in 2011, a group of teachers from Victoria’s Wooranna Park Primary School entered into rigorous discussions around several proposed changes to the school’s Raison D’être (Reason for Being), which outlines the philosophy of the school. One of these proposed changes was for the inclusion of technology into the list of themes that already included, Principles of Learning, Pedagogical Practice, Physical Environment and Assessment. The discussion was intense and passionate with some teachers arguing that technology is a driver for change in schools and should be included while others argued that it is simply a tool like pens and pencils. This latter group believed that while technology should be present, it does not and ought not define the learning but simply provides opportunities for learning to manifest itself. In the end, the position of the latter group was agreed upon and the Raison D’être was updated ( to include the phrase “The ubiquitous use of technology is an essential component of living in contemporary society”. Inspired by this new contemporary learning imperative, Wooranna Park teachers built a 12 metre long dragon boat and an 18 metre long spaceship in the Year 2 and 3 learning units. Dubbed Stimulating Learning Platforms (SLP’s), these areas allow teachers to create learning environments that challenge students with exciting problem solving situations. Technology is integrated throughout the SLP’s with animation studios, interactive whiteboard stations and an Xbox Kinect space. But ‘the real magic happens’ at the ship’s bridge and the cockpit where students with the aid of technology can travel across the country, globe or galaxy. Their learning experiences have been transformed into broader real world situations. The Bridge 34 • Technology in education Term 1 2013

At the front of the dragon boat sits a ship’s wheel connected to a computer and two screens. On one screen the students select a location from across the world using a drop down menu, while more advanced students can enter longtitude and latitude coordinates. They also select a speed and as they press start the second screen shows Google Earth with a small icon which reveals the ship’s current location. As students turn the wheel, the icon turns and so they can proceed towards (or away from) their chosen destination. The system was created by parent Dung Thai who is continually working to improve the system, tweaking features based on feedback from students and teachers. Last year the teachers found students wanted to travel huge distances but the program’s maximum speed meant a trip to Europe was taking days rather than minutes! Until further modifications can be made, students are guided through a select set of destinations. In a further update, there are plans to incorporate Google Liquid Galaxy so that when students reach their destination, they can become more deeply immersed in the experience.

The addition of this feature will extend the task beyond simply the journey from point A to point B, help students form meaningful connections across the globe and introduce further tasks related to the journey and destination. While the students love the idea of travelling around the world, their experiences are made richer in learning opportunities through a range of literacy tasks such as narratives of the students journey’s, persuasive texts on why their destination is the best, instructional texts on how to use the system through to diverse numeracy activities which focus on measurement, directions and time. Supporting the technology, the bridge is covered with other ship paraphernalia such as a log book for students to record their journey, globes and atlases to gain a better understanding of what they see on the screen and signal flags for students to advise other students around their classroom of their journey and travel status. The Cockpit After the success of the dragon boat in 2011, a decision was made to create a similar environment challenging students further through a spaceship simulation.


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In line with Sugata Mitra’s Hole in the Wall project ( the school wanted a number of students to be able to share and contribute to the learning experience – something that was not possible in the confines of the dragon boat bridge. So, a 59” LCD screen was placed in front of the cockpit to replace standard computer monitors. The dragon boat bridge experiences had taught teachers that there needed to be a variety of technology options so that students were continuously challenged throughout their time in the unit. The initial programs included Moonbase Alpha ( – an immersive 3D game from NASA, Microsoft Flight Simulator and Orbiter Space Simulator ( But, as the year progressed, teachers and students added content including NASA and space related Twitter feeds as well as additional links to the control panel. The variety of programs in the cockpit stimulated learning in a number of ways, depending on the students. While one student may choose to focus on the mathematics associated with space and flight, another may be more interested in the scientific study of planets. It was essential that the teacher facilitate

the program for each individual student to maximise their learning opportunities and help them to share their learning with others in the class. The experience of the cockpit was further enhanced by a control panel consisting of 48 buttons mapped to the computer keyboard as well as additional mini monitors to simulate the experience of a real life cockpit.

consistent with its approach to education – i.e. learning is not always linear and people construct understandings together from experiences. Having created the bridge and the cockpit, there wasn’t a fixed plan for how the two environments would work in the classroom. But, over the last two years, the feedback from students and teachers has been invaluable in helping the technology to evolve and best serve the needs of our student learners. These experiences have taught our teachers to never underestimate the ability of the students as they deal with concepts far beyond what the traditional curriculum would say they are capable of achieving. From as early as Year 2, students have shown that they are capable of guiding their own learning through questioning each other and co-constructing meaning as they fly their spaceship or guide the boat across the globe. Most truly technology has transformed the learning experiences for students and staff at Wooranna Park Primary School. Where to next is but another learning challenge for us all.

Approach to technology Wooranna Park’s approach to technology is

Mic Lowne is ICT leader at Wooranna Park Primary School in Melbourne.

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Young ICT Explorers – teaching tomorrow’s technology leaders



HE Young ICT Explorers (YICTE) initiative is run by SAP Research in partnership with the University of New South Wales and University of Queensland. This annual competition — which encourages students to develop technology projects and share their creative ideas — started in Queensland in 2010 and expanded into New South Wales last year. Students and teachers work together and align projects with the school curriculum. As well as giving teachers a way of integrating ICT into lessons, the competition allows students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom. The 2012 winning projects in NSW included a robot dog that trains and entertains toddlers, a set of stop motion animations designed to teach primary kids about safety, an app which will SMS the phone camera to take a picture and a solar powered MacBook Pro charger. Student projects that impressed the Queensland judges included video games, a stop motion Lego movie and a neural network-based smartphone app that reads business cards. Saxon Rice, assistant minister for technical and further education at the Queensland DETE, attended the state’s judging event. “It’s wonderful to see the Young ICT Explorers Competition going from strength to strength each year,” she said. “The competition opens young creative, technical minds to the benefits and potential of a career in information and communications technologies. “It helps them develop powerful skills in working to a brief and problem solving and assists them in gaining valuable exposure to potential employers.” Students enter in teams across four age groups (covering Year 4 to 12). Projects don’t 36 • Technology in education Term 1 2013

have to be specific IT-topic — judging criteria includes creativity, level of difficulty and accompanying documentation. After presenting to judges, students get a chance to showcase their projects to a panel of academics, industry partners and ICT professionals. It’s also a great way to network with other students from different schools. Over the years the entry numbers have grown. In 2011, 171 students from 20 Queensland schools took part. The expansion into New South Wales saw an increase in participation of more than 50 per cent. Thirty-six schools from across NSW and the ACT, and more than 200 students from 27 schools across Queensland were involved. For information on all the 2012 winners, teacher resources, and details of how to get your school involved this year, visit the www. website.


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Athena Hain-Saunders

Collecting dolphin data in the field


N the modern teaching world, incorporating technology into science teaching is especially valuable, given that technology plays such an enormous part in the field. The mere act of including technology into a science project or lesson has the ability to convert a standard experiment or excursion into ‘real’ science, where the students themselves become the scientists at the front line of scientific research. A number of award winning programs enabling this type of learning have occurred at Newton Moore Senior High School, a public school in the south west of Western Australia. These programs provide great examples of where the incorporation of technology has worked because they provide a relevant, meaningful and challenging alternative to a teacher directed, text book reliant, learning environment. Marine Managers The school had an established partnership of over 10 years with the Dolphin Centre, where students took part in one-off excursions and acted as volunteers on weekends. With planning and formalisation by the head of science and science staff, the Marine Managers Program was developed to provide a challenging, ongoing real life experience working in the field with a scientist. Students are now involved in two to three research boat trips per year into the local Koombana Bay to study and monitor bottlenose dolphins, and into the adjoining inlet to study the southernmost stand of white mangroves. Here, they photograph the dorsal fins to identify the dolphins and observe the behaviours, alliance groups of males, and female groups. Students have learnt how to use SLR cameras and software to edit and crop the dolphin fin photos. They use digital microscopes to identify, classify macros from the mangroves, NOVA touch computers with sensors to record data microprocessors and a palintest to analyse water samples. Data is brought back to the lab, entered on Excel and analysed over the course of a term – producing an ongoing database of the number of dolphins and their activities within the bay.The dolphin data

can then be added to the Dolphin Centre’s database. Students are currently working on developing a sensitivity index for the macroinvertebrates in the mangroves. Crucial to the program is the use of technology, all of which was purchased by money obtained through local grants. Soil Science During 2009, the school applied to be part of a team of six teachers across WA who implemented a pilot soil science project within their school. The research was done in conjunction with the University of Western Australia, with the schools’ role to complete a trial run with lower school classes. Under the direction of a soil scientist, students worked together over the second semester to collect data and take readings of soil characteristics from two plots in the school grounds. Technology was introduced to enhance the research and make soil appear more interesting. A website was used to generate random numbers indicating positions from where the samples would be taken within our plots. Students were taught to use school microprocessors to record pH and electrical conductivity of the soil. Rather than simply recording the numbers of mites and springtails in our samples, they were shown how to use digital microscopes to count, record and take photos and videos of the organisms. To give class memebers a better understanding of what they were looking for, when a mite, springtail or other soil organism was located, a document reader projected the images onto the large screen for all to see. Students presented their findings using PowerPoint and the class agreed on the best combinations to send in a final report to UWA. Based on this presentation, two students and a teacher were selected to travel to Brisbane for the 19th World Congress of Soil Science, 2010. The students, their data and our slides were used in a presentation at the international conference.

searching the wetlands and surrounding waterways. The biology class collaborates with other science classes to come up with a management plan for each year. Students collect monthly data on frog populations, macro invertebrates and chemical analysis of water. They have learnt to use microprocessors, data logging, dino microscopes, Excel spreadsheets and the school intranet to compile data which is then added to the web page. This research forms a major fieldwork assessment for senior biology students. At the end of the year they are required to produce a scientific report including analysis of data and recommendations. The benefits The incorporation of technology has led to an increase in motivation, collaboration and relevance for the students. They are creating podcasts in their own time and enabling learning between classes and schools to take place more readily. Having accurate and reliable scientific tools to collect data has also validated students’ work modeled on the real scientific world. Athena Hain-Saunders is a science teacher at Newton Moore Senior High School, a science specialist school in Bunbury, WA.

Out in the swamp A wetland strip is located on the school grounds and students have been involved with its rehabilitation since 2006. Classes play a crucial role in managing and reTerm 1 2013 Technology in education • 37


karran williamson

Student technology LeaDER’s


OU know the scenario: those students who seem drawn to each other by a shared passion for the possibilities afforded by a digital world. In many schools across New South Wales, these students gather together to discuss technological skills and know-how. Along the way they become, with varying degrees of reluctance, the informal ‘go-to’ people for technical support and advice for staff and students. As a part of the Digital Education Revolution (DER) one of the Illawarra South East Region’s strategic plans was to create groups of Student Technology LeaDER’s in order to formalise these groups and allow them to gain leadership opportunities and recognition. One year in, and the project is shaping up to really gain impetus throughout 2013. Here’s a little bit of background. The pilot program, called ISER Student Technology LeaDER’s was a result of observations, interviews and evidenced based research. The most significant contribution to the plan came from a 2007 Student Action Teams initiative. This started in Victoria in 1998 and was a collaborative project between the Department of Justice and Crime Prevention and the Victorian Department of Education. The applicability extended to Students Technology LeaDER’s as the core components of the strategy are: research planning and action that is identified and carried out by students, based on teamwork, and occurs in a school context solving real issues. Two very diverse schools were selected

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to participate in the pilot project; Illawarra Sports High School (pictured) — a designated specialist sports high school with a broadly based comprehensive curriculum for Years 7-12 — and Bowral High School, also a comprehensive high school based in the Southern Highlands offering a very diverse curriculum in both academic and vocational education. A staff member from each school was nominated through an expression of interest. The actual success of the project was underpinned by the quality of the staff members who volunteered. The pilot project was divided into various strategic stages. Stage 1 – Teacher training Mel Steele and Natalie Ottens participated in an intensive one-day training session that outlined the project, application training and focused on the Microsoft Peer Coaching Philosophy. It was essential for the teachers to understand that their role was as a mentor facilitator and not a leader. Students who took part were able to have some of the hours attributed to gaining accreditation through the NSW Premier’s Student Volunteer and Service Learning Award. Stage 2 - Student training Students applied to be a part of the pilot by registering their interest through an online survey and completed a day of training. It was a definite paradigm shift for them as they were asked to solve real world problems in a creative way. The student groups had complete autonomy to decide on a project based on their own research. Stage 3 - Team forming In order for the groups to be more successful a team building day was also held by each of the two pilot schools and a decision on what to do was unanimously decided on by the Student Technology LeaDER’s. Stage 4 –Team storming This stage involved the LeaDER’s carrying out their action project; teacher mentors attended regular meetings to ensure the group was working cooperatively and to assist where required. These meetings were held remotely and students communicated

via Adobe Connect and all minutes and resources were uploaded via Edmodo. Stage 5 – Team performing Surprisingly, the technological issue that both groups of students recognised was the lack of use of the DER laptop devices in the classroom. However, the resolutions were quite diverse. Whilst one of the student groups conducted face-to-face training sessions of staff and students, the other group decided to make a series of online tutorial videos for staff only. Stage 5 Evaluation – team reforming Students and teacher mentors concluded the pilot with a combined showcase and presentation. This was an extremely valuable process as it was attended by school executives, parents and regional consultants. The recognition and feedback the student’s received was encouraging and as a result students all committed to conducting another action project the following year. The pilot did attract interest in other high schools and in 2013 there will be a total of four Student Technology LeaDER’s groups who will complete projects in their schools. Karran Williamson is a DER project officer for the Illawarra and South East Region, NSW.


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jo earp

Finding the city of the future


TUDENTS are gaining skills in specialist geographic information system (GIS) technology and teaming up with expert industry mentors to solve real life issues. A team from Hale School, in the Perth suburb of Wembley Downs, won the WA section high school category of the Spatial Technologies in Schools (STiS) competition. Year 9 students Samuel Ranson, Archie Stapleton, John Shepherd, Adam Wong and Andrew Weng, worked with a mentor from Esri Australia to find the best location in WA for a town that could produce enough food and clean electricity for 10,000 residents without having to rely on outside support. They examined information such as renewable energy generation, water availability, sunlight hours, rainfall, and Indigenous land areas by using GIS technology to identify and display the information in different layers on a map. The team analysed a range of criteria in order to determine the regions that met their challenge requirements. Two locations satisfied the criteria marked by the technology and Broome was chosen for the site of the sustainable city thanks to its proximity the coast.

The school’s head of geography, Robert McFarlane, said the competition exposes students to the world of spatial sciences, which is an extension of skills offered in the classroom. “The Year 9 team have had hands-on experience about how GIS technology works and it’s fantastic to see the way they have applied it to such a practical and relevant situation”, McFarlane said. Industry team mentor, Tom Gardner, explained more about the process students went through. “[They] looked at information ... around the natural and man-made aspects required to support a completely self-sustaining town. “Using [GIS] technology, they displayed this information as layers on a map of the state and analysed regions that matched set minimum standards, and excluded those that didn’t. “The technology generated two ideal locations for a truly sustainable city: a spot in the far north-west, near Broome; and areas

of the Great Sandy Desert. The area near Broome was the obvious choice because it is on the coast, which makes travel and importing and exporting easier, and is far more attractive and liveable for potential residents,” Gardner said. “The students also speculated on ideal citizens, concluding that scientists were preferable because they could further develop the city’s renewable energy systems.” Gardner added the Hale School project embodied the competition’s aim to open youngsters to the world of spatial sciences. “Maps have been the catalyst to some of the greatest stories and adventures in history because they have the power to guide and inspire. “The evolution of GIS technology has added another dimension to maps and brought a cutting-edge world of geography and navigation to a new generation.” The STiS competition, open to schools across Australia, is coordinated by the Western Australian Land Information System. Term 1 2013 Technology in education • 39


CANADA Education officials in Alberta say installing wifi on school buses has improved student behaviour. The National Post reports the Prairie Rose School Division came up with the idea as a way of making the commute more pleasant for students. Some travel for more than three hours each day and enjoy the opportunity to log on during the journey. Lyle Roberts, the division’s technology director, says students can do homework, or just surf the net. He adds drivers have also noticed an improvement in student behaviour since the launch of the program.

UK US Computer graphics students at a Maryland high school will see their latest logo design on FBI uniforms and official letterheads. The three classmates at Linganore High School, Frederick County, came up with the design using Adobe Illustrator. It will be used for the bureau’s new Baltimore Cyber Task Force. According to the Frederick News Post, the logo features an eagle, the state flags of Maryland and Delaware and binary code. Teacher Tracy Bozzonetti encouraged all her students to come up with designs after a colleague and FBI staff member came up with the idea.

Jo Earp 40 • Technology in education Term 1 2013

Google has announced a program to donate 15,000 free microcomputers to UK schools. The Raspberry Pi devices are being dished out across the country in a bid to encourage more students to develop an interest in coding and computer science. The microcomputer is a no-frills device that runs the Linux operating system and costs around $25. The BBC reports the link-up between Raspberry Pi and Google has prompted UK teaching union the NUT to question the role of major corporations in schools.

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SWEDEN Teens at a Stockholm school are being given compulsory Minecraft lessons. Teachers told The Local the game helps 13-year-old pupils at the Viktor Rydberg school learn about environmental issues and city planning. Some parents were reportedly uncomfortable with the idea at the beginning, but educators say the move is proving to be a big success. The compulsory lessons were introduced for 180 students after youngsters were asked to take part in a competition to design a city of the future.

UGANDA New software to track absent teachers is being piloted in 1800 Ugandan primary and high schools. Education commissioners in Kampala told the Daily Monitor the new technology will send a raft of data – including teacher and student absenteeism – to the Ministry of Education headquarters. The newspaper says a 2009 report found Uganda has the highest rate of teacher absenteeism in the world, with 35 per cent skipping at least two days a week. The $2.9 million software pilot is being funded by USAID.

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Apps for the new school year CLASS DOJO



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BEHAVIOUR management moves into the 21st Century with Class Dojo. This free service provides a simple and fun way to track and manage student behaviour. At its heart, this is an online database that tracks positive and negative behaviour. It is remarkably user-friendly and can be updated using an app or web browser. Recording data is a one-tap affair; simply tap on a student’s monster-themed avatar. Class Dojo is flexible enough to fit with most teachers’ existing behaviour systems. Points can be displayed on a whiteboard using a projector or updated secretly in the teacher’s pocket. Sound effects can be turned on to publicly acknowledge positive behaviour or turned off to avoid distraction. Regular email updates are even available for parents and students who wish to track behaviour. Most importantly, Class Dojo feels positive and fun – essential components of any effective behaviour management system.

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FOR years, teachers have been encouraged to abandon their marks books and switch to a digital record-keeping system. Apple’s spreadsheet software, Numbers, might just be the app that convinces the masses to make this switch. Numbers can store any type of data but really shines in a school environment. This is because there is no need to be seated at a computer to enter data. Teachers can enter observations in the classroom using an iPad, on a sports field using an iPhone or at home using a Mac. All of this information synchronises automatically via Apple’s iCloud service, making the fear of losing your marks book a thing of the past. Numbers also includes a handy ‘form’ view which lets teachers view one student’s data at a time. It also reads and writes Microsoft Excel files, making it easy to collaborate with others no matter which platform they use.

THE start of a new school year is a great time to get organised. Based upon the ‘Getting Things Done’ philosophy popularised by David Allen, OmniFocus sets the gold standard for GTD aficionados and productive teachers alike. More than just a to-do list, this app is a powerful tool for managing the countless roles, projects and commitments of a modern educator. Using OmniFocus, urgent tasks can be assigned firm deadlines while pipe-dreams can be stored on a ‘someday maybe’ list. Actions can also be grouped by context or location. If you are in the city, a map will display all of the tasks that you can complete in that area. In a meeting with your boss? – it will remind you of everything you need to say. The iPhone version of OmniFocus is handy for capturing ideas on-the-go. Better still, it syncs automatically with the Mac and iPad versions of the app.

Paul Fuller is a Year 6 class teacher at Landsdale Primary School, WA.


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Term 1 2013 Technology in education • 43


Steve Collis

A beginner’s guide to Flipped Learning


T its most literal, Flipped Learning refers to switching live lectures in class with video lectures at home in order to liberate class time for project work, collaboration and creativity. Learners are expected to walk into class having already listened to the lecture, making class a lecture-free zone. Now, I don’t know anyone who implements a flipped strategy as rigidly as that. In fact, if you look at the shape of the conversation about Flipped Learning it consists predominantly of debunking, criticism, and even derision! As with any edu-holy grail such as Web 2.0, GBL, PBL, BYOD, and so on, the reality is complex and messy, and will stand and fall with the one element that has never changed in the history of education: the relationships between learners and teachers. Question the assumption What’s the point of a lecture anyway? This is where critics really dig into Flipped Learning and also into popular third party websites like Khan Academy, where explanatory videos on almost any topic imaginable are available. Their protest is that video learning is shallow learning. Of course, but let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater. People can learn from almost any experience. Learning is complex, unpredictable, and emergent. No one knows when the learning light

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bulb will go ‘ding’! Learning creeps up from behind and says ‘boo!’, sometimes when least expected, and often after an ongoing journey driven by an engine of curiosity, or cognitive dissonance, or a veritable zoo of irrational impulses: desire to please, to understand, to tick a box. This is realpedagogik and refuses to fit into any model. If I have 30 learners in my class, I have 30 different complex learning journeys. Some already get it, some don’t, some like to move, some to listen, some to see. Some are in a foul mood today, some fighting fit. Some have family troubles, and some skipped breakfast. For one student, it’s their birthday, and that’s all they’re going to be thinking about! Differentiate for that! No wonder Flipped Learning is critiqued. At face value it is as rigid as the regime it seeks to replace, and does not truly come to terms with the complexity of learners and learning communities. The Learning Landscape approach I propose what I call the Learning Landscape approach as a more sophisticated alternative to Flipped Learning. We replace the concept of a linear unit

with the notion of a ‘learning landscape’ which learners can explore like free-range chickens. This landscape can contain myriad possibilities, from the sublime to the mundane. You can build it around a central project, or opt for something more contentdriven. It can contain blank space to cater for unforeseen student agendas, without losing the structured scaffolding that others might need. Videos, interactive tutorials, text, links to third party websites, podcasts, web quests, optional challenges, compulsory challenges, diagnostic tests - shape these all into a kind of game-board that learners can access at school or from home. Use your Learning Management System, or if you don’t have one, use instead. If the students don’t have computers, use hardcopies. If you can’t use videos to provide teachertalk-on-demand, then repeat the same explanation multiple times and let students opt-in if and when they wish. Follow the Flipped Learning insight through to its logical conclusion: the right resource, the right experience, at the right time, available for every learner.


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An example The Learning Landscape technique has been tried and tested at a growing number of schools. At its best it takes the emphasis away from content and resources, and facilitates an engaged and empowered learning community. In my Year 8 French class, we use Moodle as a container for the learning landscape. It contains anything from open challenges like ‘record a French rap song’ and ‘speak French only for a lesson’ through to vocab drilling videos, spelling exercises and so on. These learning opportunities are presented to the students in a graphic featuring five trees. The graphic has about 40 clickable hotspots. Each hotspot is a simple hyperlink that takes the students to the instructions or resources. Each tree on the graphic has a theme, such as speaking, listening, grammar, or dictionary skills, and students can ‘level up’ each tree at will. This means the tired student can opt into a low-key structured activity, while the extroverted learner can major on the collaborative challenges. What you can’t see in this graphic is the ground that the trees are planted in: a single challenge that unifies the entire 12-week unit, which is to perform the Trois Petits Cochons play in a group. You can see a video of my class in action at The technical side You can implement this approach with nothing more than pen and paper. Print and copy the graphic, or put it on the wall in the form of a poster, and stamp it with codes that correspond to printed stimulus cards. However, if your students have computers in class, you can create a digital learning landscape. Go to and create a free website. Create a series of ‘pages’ from the main menu and populate these pages with your learning activities. You might embed videos created by third parties, or simply point an iPhone at your-

self, create your own video, and click the video icon in Weebly to upload it to your page. If you’re camera shy, you can upload an audio file too – or point your iPhone at a blank piece of paper and use it as a chalk ‘n’ talk board. You’ll notice each of your pages has its own website address. Create your own graphic (the Visualize app for iPad makes this very easy), use a stock image, or recruit a student or colleague to create one. Now download the Snag It program on a PC, which is free to trial or $30 to buy, open the graphic and click on the hotspots menu to drag clickable hotspots onto the image. For each hotspot copy and paste the website address for the Weebly page you want it to link to. Click on ‘export’ and choose the ‘SWF’ option, unless your students have iPads, in which case choose ‘PDF’ since they can’t open Flash files. Back at your Weebly website, upload the SWF file via the multimedia menu, and there you have it: a transparent, non-linear learn-

ing landscape for your free-range chickens to explore. They can have teacher-talk when they want, or avoid it altogether. Whether this makes for great learning or not still rests on your rapport with and support for your students. The learning landscape simply takes ‘delivery’ out of your hands so you can focus on what really matters. None of this forces you to throw out full-class sessions where everyone is on the same page, it just liberates you from its necessity and tyranny. You can see an example of the technique by Adrian Francis from Concordia College at and interviews with his students at I have some tutorials you can follow too, available at Steve Collis is director of innovation and learning at the Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning – the research and innovation unit of Northern Beaches Christian School, NSW. You can follow him on Twitter @steve_collis Term 1 2013 Technology in education • 45



5 mins with a notable techie... a school today that does not rely on ICT in some way. The biggest challenge that the ICT department faces is balancing the priorities of all stakeholders. Everyone sees their particular needs as critical and the requirement for the ICT staff to have a holistic view is often misunderstood. Keeping abreast of advances in technology and maintaining infrastructure within increasingly tight budgets is also a major challenge.

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR CAREER I began my teaching career in 1980 and, after 20 years and several different administrative positions, I left teaching to set up an online education division for a publicly listed ISP. This was the start of a period during which I also consulted in curriculum delivery, accountability and educational administration. I was invited to take up my position at Prince Alfred College at the start of 2010. WHAT IS THE MOST ENJOYABLE PART OF YOUR JOB? Since I began my career the educational process has changed radically and continues to evolve, but I still believe that education is apostolic. Few have greater responsibility than those charged with the shaping of the mind of a young person, and to have been able to maintain an active involvement in the delivery of education, albeit from a different perspective, has been a privilege. Helping to provide the platform that supports teachers in their endeavours to engage with students and seeing the paradigm shift that occurs when teachers have confidence in the tools at their disposal and when the students are engaged is very satisfying. AND THE MOST CHALLENGING? There is no aspect of the daily operation of 46 • Technology in education Term 1 2013

WHAT ARE THE SCHOOL’S MAJOR ICT TARGETS FOR 2013? At PAC, our major targets this year include de-commissioning our existing SCCM Server and replacing it with a new server running the latest version of Microsoft’s SCCM management suite. This will provide enhanced and simplified management capabilities, and better support for Windows 8, which is also being rolled out from the start of the school year. We will also be deploying a whole of school VOIP solution during the first six months. The college will, in 2013, become a Samsung Lighthouse School that will highlight the educational outcomes that can be derived from employing world leading technologies and solutions across a range of educational levels, from early learning to the end of the primary years. The teaching

the end of primary school. The college is also planning to establish a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning later this year. It will provide a range of professional development opportunities for teachers at PAC and offer teachers from throughout South Australia the opportunity to participate in PD programs that will improve the effectiveness of the use of ICT in teaching and learning. In the first instance, many of the courses designed by ITL Research and Microsoft’s Partners in Schools program will be offered and as the centre becomes established, teachers will be offered research and development opportunities in the centre. The desired outcome is that there will be an alignment of instruction and assessment with research and best practice in teaching and learning. WHICH SCHOOL ICT PROJECT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY PROUD OF, AND WHY? In the last three years at PAC the ICT team has performed major upgrades of the core infrastructure, virtualised in excess of 30 physical servers, deployed campus-wide wireless cover and deployed a state-of-theart disaster recovery and backup solution in preparation for the largest single ICT initiative ever undertaken at the college, the

“There is no aspect of the daily operation of a school today that does not rely on ICT in some way.” staff, under the leadership of the director of teaching and learning, will then conduct a comprehensive action research study (case study) that looks at the learning patterns of children, the place of app-based devices, and the progression from app-based activities to program-based activities as the child progresses from the early learning years to

launch of its one-to-one computer program and what is now referred to as our One-toWorld teaching and learning program. To celebrate the launch of Windows 8 in October last year, PAC was invited to be the only school in Australia to participate in a virtual event hosted by Anthony Salcito – vice president, worldwide public sector education,


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If ICTs are to be used, it must be because these ICTs complement best practice and only then will learning be enhanced.”

Microsoft Corp. Sean Tierney, academic programs nanager for Microsoft, when speaking to our boys, said that he invited PAC because he wanted “To give our VP visibility to what’s happening at PAC. It’s always good to connect with someone like him and let him know PAC are ahead of the curve.” Several boys from Years 7 to 9 had the opportunity to introduce themselves and ask questions of the vice-president. This was a great example in how technology allows students to connect with experts outside of the classroom in ways not possible in the past and was a terrific endorsement of the college’s One-toWorld program from a global organisation. The roll out of the underlying infrastructure that has helped our teachers embrace the use of the tablet and touch technologies, OneNote and the plethora of other programs employed in classes, has helped position PAC at the leading edge in appropriate use of ICTs, but more importantly, is enhancing the teaching and learning experience for the boys. The relatively smooth transition to the one-to-one program is something I see as a credit to the ICT team, but ultimately it is only the uptake of the technologies by the teachers that makes such programs a success. WHAT IS THE MOST COMMON ITRELATED QUESTION YOU’RE ASKED BY STAFF, AND BY STUDENTS? I think the most common issues relate to forgotten and expired passwords for both staff and students. At PAC, whilst we stipulate a recommended computer and operating system, we do allow non-recommended devices to be used, but the degree of support offered by the ICT department is necessarily reduced. Around 90 percent of helpdesk issues relate to network connectivity and access to college resources [from] students using non-college recommended or supported devices. We run network management

tools that disable access for those devices detected running peer to peer programs, proxy anonymisers or infected by malware and this does help protect the integrity of the network, but also means that our students are having to become far more aware of what they are doing and how it can impact the performance of their own computers. WHAT IS THE BEST IT-RELATED PD WORKSHOP OR SESSION THAT YOU’VE ATTENDED, AND WHY? The combined SchoolTech/ELH conference where teachers and ICT managers share their experiences and stories stands out as one of the best IT-related series of workshops available in Australia. I couldn’t endorse these more highly. WHICH PIECE OF TECH OR GADGET HAS HAD THE MOST IMPACT ON YOUR ROLE IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS? I would suggest that the arrival of smartphones and hand-held tablet devices like iPads and other tablet devices have dramatically changed the teaching and learning landscape. In a relatively short time we have progressed from striving to ensure that all students had access to classrooms with computers to preparing for the inevitable arrival of BYOD. Technically, I think that most network managers and ICT leaders would be ready now to handle BYOD. I am not sure that our teachers yet appreciate the full impact that becoming truly device agnostic will have on classroom practices. WILL THE NBN BE A GAME CHANGER FOR AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLS? The NBN has the potential to be a game changer in those schools where access to reliable, high-speed internet is non-existent, but my fear is that the time taken for the rollout to occur and the political lobbying surrounding the NBN will lessen the impact

before any benefit is realised. DO YOU THINK ICT SHOULD BE A CORE SUBJECT IN THE AUSTRALIAN CURRICULUM? The short answer is no. Appropriate use of ICTs should, however, be a key feature of teaching and learning today across the curriculum. That said, we need to ask ‘why’ before deciding ‘what’. If ICTs are to be used, it must be because these ICTs complement best practice and only then will learning be enhanced. As teachers we have been trained to appreciate that our students learn in different ways and in response to different stimuli. Left brain, right brain, auditory, visual and kinaesthetic are all terms we should recognise. Appropriate use of ICTs can provide stimulation that utilises all of these and so we should not be afraid to employ them in our curriculum delivery, but rather should embrace them as valuable teaching and learning tools. I do, however, believe that we should be looking to use computers not simply to do better what we have always done, but rather to embrace new theories of learning. Whilst the use of ICTs is not mandated by these theories, it is certainly true that many “learner-centred” methodologies are enabled by ICTs. IF YOU COULD VISIT ANOTHER COUNTRY TO STUDY THEIR USE OF ICT IN EDUCATION, WHERE WOULD IT BE AND WHY? Strangely, I think I would visit a South East Asian country where the internet and other ICT resources are probably less accessible than we are used to, because teachers in those regions have to be far more creative in how they employ ICTs in their teaching and learning programs. Rob Sieben is director of ICT at Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, SA. Term 1 2013 Technology in education • 47


News from around the education departments ... BROADBAND boost for schools AN upgrade of the Victorian school broadband network is increasing bandwidth capacity in 260 schools and improving videoconferencing in another 600. The State Government says Kyabram P-12 College is an example of how the enhanced network is giving students additional educational opportunities and subject choices. “What’s happening at Kyabram P-12 College is a great example of what schools can do with better broadband,” Victorian Education Minister Martin Dixon says. “When the school’s broadband capacity is more than doubled it will be running Indonesian classes via video-conferencing next year in four local primary schools that do not have an Indonesian teacher. “No longer are our students confined to their physical classrooms – the benefits for all schools, and particularly for regional schools, are huge. Principal Stuart Bott adds the technology has given students amazing access to world learning. “... the opportunities will only be restricted by our imaginations,” Bott says. The network upgrade is expected to be completed in early 2013.

SID13:Connect with respect SCHOOLS across the country have taken part in Safer Internet Day 2013 (SID13), with the theme Online Rights and Reponsibilities and slogan ‘Connect with respect’. The international event is celebrating its 10th anniversary. It is supported in Australia by Cybersmart – part of the Federal Government’s education program on cyber safety, managed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. 48 • Technology in education Term 1 2013

As part of the celebrations, organisers produced a SID13 kit for schools which included lesson plans and resources, competitions, certificates and posters. There is also a short video for use in schools to raise awareness of the theme which can be used to prompt discussions in class. Visit the http://www.saferinternetday. org/web/guest/sidkit site for more information and links to the resources. The Cybersmart website www.cybersmart. also includes links to SID13, as well as lesson and professional development resources for teachers and students.

induction help QUEENSLAND’S education department has launched a new website for the induction of school, TAFE and DETE office staff. Education Director-General Annette Whitehead says the dedicated resource supports the induction of all staff at every stage of their careers – including newly appointed, returning and relocating employees and those who have been promoted. “The website is also a great resource for principals, managers and supervisors when planning local induction programs for their teams,” Whitehead explains. The website includes information about policy and procedures, professional learning and performance frameworks.

elearning in the pilbara FUNDING totalling $9.4 million from the $50 million Western Australian Government’s Pilbara Cities Education Fund will improve student access to eLearning. WA Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls says the eLEarning project will support bandwidth upgrades, infrastructure,

hardware, technical support and professional learning. Education Minister Peter Collier says the Royalties for Regions funding will give public schools in the Pilbara full access to Connect – an online learning resource. “Connect allows teachers, parents and students to access a secure, online place for information, data and services - anytime, anywhere from a range of devices. It definitely will transform the way students learn and interact,” Collier says. “Enhanced broadband also allows schools to take advantage of new and emerging technologies like videoconferencing and web conferencing so they can connect with neighbouring schools without fear of electronic disruption.”

Epilepsy smart schools site VICTORIAN teachers can access resources to support students with epilepsy through a new website. The State Government says the Epilepsy Smart Schools site features presentations incorporating key standards from the Australian Curriculum (AusVELS) developed by the Epilepsy Foundation of Victoria. There are two presentations: All About Us All About Others (suitable for Years 1-4) and Turning Into Our Diversity (suitable for students in Years 5-8). The presentations also include lesson plans and practical hands-on information on how to support students and raise awareness of epilepsy in schools. And there is a short video documentary highlighting students’ thoughts and experiences of living with epilepsy at school. In addition to the online resources (log on to the foundation is running a series of face-to-face workshops during Term 1 with teachers in the state.

Technology in Education (Term 1, 2013)