Sunday, 9 December 2012

Student Educational Technology Forum

To follow up from our community round table discussion, some of our students from Years 4,5 and 6 discussed the following questions and the following responses came from the conversation.

What are your thoughts and feelings about using Technology at school for learning.
  • Makes people want to learn.
  • Gives them motivation and determination to learn.
  • Can use technology in your future employment.
  • Helps us get ready for high school.
  • Don't have to carry as many books.
  • Our parents can see what we are learning at school.
  • It is portable.
  • Helps us to connect with and learn from others.
  • Able to present our work in creative and interesting ways.
  • We should still learn how to do handwriting.
  • We would have less anxiety about forgetting work.
  • We don't have to use technology all the time, for some things we don't need computers.
What do you think is expected from Sacred Heart when providing Technology in a way that encourages learning and digital responsibility?
  • Strict rules about social media.
  • We should be taught to use it safely and responsibly.
  • Students learn from using technology. Learning not playing!
  • The school should monitor Internet use by everyone.
  • The focus should be learning about the subject.
  • Let parents know that the learning is happening.

What do you think is expected of families and students when using Technology at home and at school?
  • Separate learning form playing.
  • Use only during school time.
  • Be careful with handling the computers.
  • Parents and the school are responsible for the safe use and the monitoring.
  • Incorporate but restrict technology use in their daily life.
  • Students should use technology purposefully.
  • Students need to be organised with charging batteries and packing laptops ready for the next day.
  • Students should have an organised hard drive.
  • Students with their own laptops should have a digital license and given to them during assembly. Inappropriate use may mean the license is taken away for a period of time.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

SHPSH Educational Technology Guidelines - Roundtable Discussion

SHPSH Educational Technology Guidelines - Community Round table Discussion
Last Friday SHPSH hosted a group of community members to take part in starting a conversation about the guidelines for the use of  Educational Technology at our school. It was important to include stakeholders from all parts of the school community. This included our Parish Priest, Principal, parents, teachers, students (at a separate forum) and the school social worker. The conversation was rich, enlightening and flavoured with a sense of excitement and momentum for the teaching and learning at Sacred Heart. The round table participants were given discussion questions in advance enabling the time to think and prepare their ideas ahead of the discussion.
Below is an inventory of the themes that came out of each discussion topic.

What are your beliefs and assumptions about Educational Technology?
What values do you think we as a community should ensure we maintain and/or develop as we take this journey in Educational technology and 21st Century learning? How does this link with our Vision Statement?
  • Our Catholic identity is a relevant part of Educational Technology.
  • Teaching and learning is about building character.
  • Technology use in the near future will be much more embedded in learning.
  • We can be engaging our students more.
  • Continual changes in technology is inevitable. Help students to understand this.
  • We cannot replace social skills and human interaction.
  • Adult role modelling is vital.
  • Technology is a medium to compliment teaching and learning strategies.
  • Parents need input and information.
  • Teach skills that provide life-long learning.
  • Assists in self-directed learning.
  • With the change there is a sense of fear.
  • A need for digital etiquette.
  • Kids react to digital equipment.
What do you think is expected from Sacred Heart when providing Educational Technology in a way that encourages learning and digital responsibility?
  • Provide parents with information for how to get help and understanding.
  • Provide the best infrastructure.
  • Vigilant supervision.
  • Parent workshops.
  • Accessibility to seeing the use of technology within the learning.
  • Role modelling responsible usage.
  • Professional development for staff.
  • Uphold our Christian values.
  • Expectations of use from the school.
  • Innovative methods that engage and allow self directed learning.
  • Teaching and learning strategies that encourage collaborative learning.
  • Educational Technology goal setting by the school.
  • SHPSH recruitment policy that encourages skilled teachers with progressive teaching and learning strategies.
  • Constant monitoring of use and effectiveness.
  • Provide a safe and respectful environment.
  • Gain student feedback.
  • Develop partnership with Cyber-Safe police unit.
  • Development of student "digital license".
What do you think is expected of families and students in regarding the use of Educational Technology at home and at school?
  • Challenge parents. "What are they modelling at home with their own computer and where is it placed in the home?"
  • School structures to support home usage.
  • Follow set expectations from the school.
  • Accommodate different parenting styles.
  • Role model responsible usage.
  • Teach understanding about care for equipment.
  • Parents seek opportunity to attend workshops at the school.
  • Students encouraged to share their learning at home.
This discussion is the first step in creating guidelines for how we as a community will engage with and use Educational Technology at SHPSH.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Physical Learning Space

Where have all the desks gone?

In 2013 our Year 4 and 5 classrooms will not only have a 1:1 Macbook Air laptop program but the classes physical space will transform with the removal of the traditional desks to new contemporary furniture and design.
The vision of this initiative is to further strengthen student engagement levels as well as supporting our goal of supporting our students to become responsible digital citizens.
This process has already required the framing of our thinking about teaching and learning approaches and what we know about how student learn best.
We see excited at the possibilities of fostering authentic learning approaches, educational technology as well as maintaining our School Vision of enabling all students to feel a sense of belonging, independence, competence and generosity.

CEO Contemporary Learning Hub
A visit with Louise Cimetta to the hub was hugely informing. A team from the school went along and it included teachers, the school principal and a parent who is a physiotherapist and has an interest in student posture and well being in the classrrom.

Professional Literature
To inform our strategies and processes we a drawing from the following resources:

The work of Leon Straker (2010) from Curtin University has enabled us to think proactively to support the ergonomic considerations of the furniture as well as the style of learning. A vital source has been his article about guidelines for  appropriate use of notebooks the encourage physical development. Recommendations include;

1.1 Encourage a mix of sedentary and active tasks

1.1.1. Encourage task variety through breaks and changing tasks

Mix computer tasks with non-sedentary/active tasks**

Take an active break from the computer every 30–60 min **

1.1.2. Encourage use of active input devices

Use active input devices whenever possible**

1.1.3. Encourage postural variety

Encourage children to fidget and move around whilst using computers *

1.1.4. Limit sedentary use of computers

Limit the use of sedentary electronic equipment for leisure purposes to less than 2 h per day*

1.2 Encourage reasonable postures during sedentary tasks

1.2.1 Encourage a range of suitable postures through appropriate workstation design

Select/adjust workstation size to suit the child***

Design workstations to enable a range of suitable postures**

Use standing and sitting workstations*

1.2.2 Encourage a range of suitable seated postures by selecting and adjusting chair appropriately

Set seat pan height to allow feet to be supported***

It may be appropriate to not have a backrest

If a backrest is provided the seat pan should be shorter than thigh length and the backrest

should fit the child’s lumbar spine

Avoid armrests

Select seat style to support a range of reasonable postures

1.2.3. Encourage suitable postures by selecting and adjusting an appropriate work surface

Set desk height to around elbow height*

Select large enough desk surface to permit appropriate positioning and use of keyboard, mouse and other materials

Select a single flat thin surface

Use document holders and inclined supports to position paper materials close to the display

1.2.4. Encourage appropriate postures and gaze angle by selecting and positioning computer display appropriately

Set top of display at eye height**

Position display at about arm’s length and directly in front

Position display to avoid glare

Select a good quality display

1.2.5. Encourage appropriate postures by selecting and positioning keyboard and pointing device appropriately

Select symmetrical mouse of appropriate size *

Enable mouse use on either side of keyboard

Provide thin flat keyboard to reduce wrist extension

Provide a smaller keyboard for smaller children

Provide a keyboard without numeric keypad

Select mouse and keyboard with suitable activation forces

1.3 Encourage appropriate behaviour when using and transporting notebook computers

Provide notebook of low weight

Carry notebook in dual shoulder strap backpack*

Provide external keyboard and adjust display height for larger children*

Encourage use of appropriate alternative postures for variety

1.4 Teach children computing skills

Learn to touch-type with minimum force*

Learn keyboard shortcuts to reduce mouse use

Learn to use software

1.5 Teach children to respond to discomfort*

Other resources include:
Ewan McIntosh's 7 Spaces of Learning

"The Third Teacher" recommendations.

More images and feedback to follow in 2013.
Teachers are excited about the prospects!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Parent Workshops - An Insight into Technology and Learning

The parent workshop held at the school next week received some great feedback. The parents had the opportunity to participate in a classroom-like environment with activities that incorporated educational technologies, but more importantly, involved higher-order thinking and some authentic learning experiences.

The lessons included:
  • Accessing Edmodo as a base for the learning resources.

  • The advantages of using Storyline Online as a reading resource for developing readers.

  • A Million Dollar Maths Challenge  - using online tools with individual or collaborative work.

  • Using Edmodo to post responses to issues raised on our school blog. Using these responses for follow up discussion and learning.

Through the evening the Integrated Learning Planning Model (previously posted on this blog) was used to demonstrate how technology was one part of the learning but other "ingredients" were used to enrich the learning experience. These included the importance of collaborative learning and the physical space being conducive to learning and discussion.

Further workshops will be held next year as the technology and learning appetite of the school community continues to grow.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Authentic Learning

Authentic Learning 
A Vital Ingredient to a Learning Recipe that Combines well with Educational Technology.

As part of our Project Based Learning planning framework (blogged on the 27th November) we are experimenting with some authentic strategies that deepen learning. Some great examples and understanding can be gained at this Eutopia Blog as well as the wonderful work of Fred M. Newmann and Gary G.Wehlage, Five Standards of Authentic Instruction.
A terrific design guide is this PBL Online Resource

Some essential guiding questions for teacher planning area:

-How does this connect with students lived experience and the wider world beyond the school?

-What opportunities have I provided for real life or life like learning?

-Have I articulated a clear purpose and authentic audience for the culminating product students will produce?

Some examples of how we are experimenting with authentic learning in our junior grades using iPads.
  • Year One are creating interactive presentations based on the past and using the  Explain Everything app. A grandparents morning tea was held and the students took photos of items from their grandparent's childhood as well as interviewing them with three brief questions. This was then linked to learning about the past and the changes today seen in the students' lives. The Year One teacher did a great demonstration of how to use and what to include in the presentation by modelling a presentation that she had created about her own family. This was essential in the learning process.

  • Year 2 are developing visual and audio, recorded procedures, also using Explain Everything, that demonstrate how to follow instructions, eg, tie shoelaces, make french toast. Their intended audience will be a Year One student and part of the assessment process for the teacher will be whether the Year One student is able to complete the task after following the recorded instructions.

  • Year 3 is investigating the local history of Highgate. Part of this unit of work will involve them going on a heritage walk of the area and taking photos and recording interviews at local heritage sites. Along with other information about how the area has changed, the students will create an ebook using Creative Book Builder that documents their learning. This will be presented to their parents and grandparents at a special class event.

In a separate individual student project one of the Year Sixes is using Creative Book Builder to convince the Principal about the benefits of skateboarding and the advantages of a school "Wheels Day". This has integrated persuasive writing,  procedure writing, video techniques and learning how to use the app.

Besides providing huge motivation and engagement, authentic learning allows the technology to become "invisible" and the important learning to be at the forefront.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Education Technology SHPSH

Education Technology SHPSH




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


Mental Models (our beliefs and assumptions)


·         All students can learn.

·         Technology is a tool that is one part of a quality learning process.

·         Meaningful educational technology integration is an essential element to learning in the 21st century.

·         Effective teacher up skilling is important in raising competencies. For all educators, students and parents.

·         Other effective pedagogical strategies need to work in conjunction with technology.

·         2013 Roll out and effective classroom use are essential.


Systems and Structures


·         iPad program in junior program K--3

·         Adrian working with junior staff in implementing effective iPad integration. Integrated planning documents have been created.

·         iPad configuration with Apple ID volume license .

·         All parents have an Apple ID before 1:1 roll out occurs. Support parents in doing this if required.

·         Excite Logic used for leasing and purchasing program as well as parents having the choice to purchase independently. Apple Care is compulsory with all machines.

·         SHPSH to image laptops and coordinate roll out days. Apple consultant will support.

·         Communication to parents via posted letter and email to families.

·         SHPSH twitter presence.



Patterns of Behaviour


·         Digital license for year 4 and 5 students at the start of 2013.

·         Teacher integration of 21st century planning and learning strategies through further PD and opportunities and sharing of knowledge gained.

·         Parent involvement and participation in information sessions.




·         Jamie McKenzie professional development day

·         Parent information sessions in term 3

·         Parent learning workshop in term 4

·         Monday 4th February, laptops need to be at the school.

·         Monday 11th February, roll out sessions for parents and students in Term 1, weeks 1 and 2, 2013.

Sacred Heart Parent Workshop - Educational Technology

Educational Technology at Sacred Heart, Highgate

Year 3 and 4 Sacred Heart Parent Workshop

What does effective 21st Century learning look, sound and feel like?

November 8th 2012

6:30pm – 8:00pm

School Hall

Come along and participate in an interactive workshop designed to give parents a hands-on insight into how technology is integrated into the Australian Curriculum at Sacred Heart. The workshop will be facilitated by Adrian Torrese.

The workshop will include inquiry approaches, higher level comprehension skills, authentic learning, integration of educational technology, physical space considerations and collaborative strategies.

Please bring along a mobile devise that has wireless internet capability; iPad, Android tablet or laptop. Please let us know if you would like us to provide you with a device for the evening.

Wireless connectivity will be provided on the evening

We are looking forward to a relaxed, informative and fun evening.

Light refreshments will be provided during the workshop.

Please email the school office if you would like to attend.  Please specify the numbers attending.


Thursday, 27 September 2012

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Apple TV and iPads

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Teaching Together

Teaching Together

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Creating ebooks - Narratives

Scribble Press

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

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

Practical Details

Student Designated iPads

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 2 September 2012

AITSL  - Teacher standards ICT

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

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

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

And each domain into the following career stages:
Highly Accomplished

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

Professional Knowledge

Know students and how they learn

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

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

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

Know the content and how to teach it

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

Professional Practice

Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning

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

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

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

What a start!!!

Technically speaking..........
Well it has been an interesting journey so far. We have set up most of our iPads however given each need their own individual Aple ID accounts, made the process very time consuming. We also had a number of other technical issues to overcome. But with the help of Derek and Carol Stewart we forged on.
Despite this we have 10 iPads in each K-3 class in use (finally Pre Primary was deployed...another technical issue that needed to be resolved). The feedback has been great by staff and students. The engagement level of our students, which is our main focus for the iPad implementation, is terrific.

What the kids have done so far............
The year three students were lucky enough to be the first Sacred Heart class to utilise their iPads.
Using the APP Educreations, the students created short audio visual presentations of their magnificent "coffee-cup models".  They took photos of their models and then explained the procedure they used to create them. The year two class used the same APP to take a photograph of their favourite page of their class focus book then explain what was happening in the story and circle parts of the illustration and text to explain the reasons why it was their favourite story.

Secondly the year three class used the APP Popplet to create a mind map from their research on the game of hockey (top image). The highlight of this activity was that the students were beginning to think of other ways to use the APP such as creating family trees and planning stories.

The year ones have also had an engaging start by using specifically selected, relevant maths APPs in small group learning centres.  With teacher support, this also enhanced student motivation and learning.

School Visits and Professional Development
One of the important and energising aspects of the last few weeks has been the opportunity to visit schools who are further down the process of technology implementation. Chris Dunning and Adrian Torrese visited the Junior school of Aquinas College to meet with the Principal and ICT facilitator. Within an enlightening meeting, many terrific ideas and strategies were shared in relation to student use and parental concerns and involvement.
Holy Cross College in Ellenbrook are certainly leading the way in Educational Technology. Adrian Torrese particpated in a wonderful Open Day for educators that shared the school's approaches, beliefs about learning and strategic planning. Two highlights were the Principals presentation that reinforced the notion of quality learning being the first and foremost priority and an amazing workshop titled "Apptitude", facilitated by the students. In this session the students shared the type of APPs used on their iPads within different learning areas. The powerful and deep learning was obvious.
At the recent Catholic Curriculum Conference it was great to observe a year 6 class who did their learning for two days at the Perth Convention Centre. Armed with comfortable and progressive furniture as well as an iPad, the students were creating ebooks about their learning. They worked individually, in pairs and groups. Teachers from other schools had the opportunity to observe and ask questions. Great stuff!

We hope to continue seeking examples of good practise and share our journey with others.

Creativity - Producing or Consuming??
Our focus has been on using APPs and the iPad features that link curriculum outcomes and learning. As opposed to just finding "fun" APPs, our process is starting with the learning outcome in mind and then finding something that enhances the learning experience. We prefer APPs that allow us to put in content and data (i.e the children's thinking and learning) instead of always simply using content filled applications. Striving for more producers of creativity as opposed to consumers of creativity.