Noelene Callaghan           

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My Blog

Ngurrara - Australian Aboriginal Interactive Storybook

Posted on October 7, 2015 at 8:05 PM

This truly amazing app details a Dreamtime story about the Ngarluma people in both English and in the Ngarluma language. This free iOS app is suitable for students of any ages and is an excellent way to engage students in learning about Aboriginal education in a digital format. This app not only supports the learning of Aboriginal culture and history, but gives all users the ability to learn indigenous linguistics with the capability of creating a unique piece of work using the information in this Dreamtime Story. The app also allows students to complete interactive activity and will have your students asking for more.

 

 

How can I use Skype in my classroom?

Posted on October 7, 2015 at 8:05 PM

Skype is renowned for connecting people globally to communicate via video conferencing mainly for personal reasons. However, Skype has launched ‘Skype in the Classroom’ which is aimed at all schools (regardless of Stage) that connects classrooms from all over the world.

 

Skype in the Classroom enables students and teachers to communicate with others using various functions and tools which are all offered by Skype.

 

Collaboration Tool
Skype in the Classroom is not solely aimed at students. It also provides teachers with the opportunities to connect with other teachers to participate in professional learning activities. There are regular sessions scheduled that you can sign up for as well as nominate to provide a professional learning session to other educators.

 

A key resource here is “Mystery Skype”. Here teachers from different schools can connect and allow their students to communicate to each other and slowly build relationships over time. Great for playing initial games as to where they are located around the world to solving real world problems, this tool is recently renowned for a school in USA assisting a school in Africa on how to purify their water using the resources that they have.

 

Guest Speakers
Skype in the Classroom has many arrangements with partners that allow guest speakers to participate in calls with your students. They range from TOMS entrepreneurs to Children’s Authors to Expert Speakers from TED. These guests each have a biography on Skype in the Classroom so you can determine which guest speaker is most relevant to your teaching and learning needs. There is also contact information allowing teachers to contact them and negotiate times to meet online and what content you would like them to focus on.

 

The Children’s authors are able to read the story to your class or for older students, provide them with an insight as to how to write.

 

Virtual Excursion (Virtual Field Trips)
A key feature of Skype in the Classroom is the connection that they have with vast places of interest all around the world. By using this feature, you are able to take your class to a Museum in Germany providing them the opportunity to learn about its artefacts as though they are actually there. In some instances, a real tour guide will use their device and take it around the place of interest whilst communicating with your students. This is a great way for your students to leave Australia!

 

How to create digital resources for Aboriginal Education?

Posted on October 7, 2015 at 8:00 PM

The inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures is now a recognised part of the Australian Curriculum. As stated by ACARA;

 

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures priority provides the opportunity for all young Australians to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, deep knowledge traditions and holistic world views. This knowledge and understanding will enrich all learners’ ability to participate positively in the ongoing development of Australia through a deepening knowledge and connection with the world’s oldest continuous living cultures.

 

Although there is focus on this particular area during NAIDOC Week, the learning of indigenous cultures and histories can be learned at any time of the year. Introducing dreamtime stories and artwork are usually the most common types of lesson activities that are practiced in the classroom and they are no doubt informative and practical. However, they are typically teacher centred and don’t always give the student an ability to develop their knowledge past the objective of the lesson. So, with this in mind, how do we create student centered digital resources?

 

Create a Sway
A Sway is a new free web-based presentation tool that allows students to create outstanding presentations that are easily accessible and can be embedded into digital portfolios and other presentation tools (such as Microsoft Powerpoint). This tool uses guided technology that helps students create interactive pieces of work and is suitable for any age to use individually or collaboratively. Moreover, the teacher can create an account and have access to the sways.

 

Create an Animated Storybook
There are numerous apps that can be downloaded via iOS and Android that allow students to create storybooks. Using these apps to create an animated storybook about a dreamtime story, how indigenous cultures use numbers xxx and how this can be used in a maths unit is easy to execute. Many students have been using these apps personally which allows them to extend themselves in their overall design. Further, these animated storybooks can be used in peer mentoring projects or as part of future indigenous assemblies.

 

Create an App
Schools are creating their own App to showcase the efforts of their students in relation to aboriginal education. These apps are designed for teachers and students outside their actual school to learn about the issues at hand and encourage others to develop their own resources.

 

Create a Video
Creating a music video or short firm is a great way to encourage collaborative learning. Using apps or specific movie making software, students can create their own storyboard, record and use post production techniques to master their video. Again, this being a showcase piece, videos enable students to develop an excellent understanding of the content, a high ICT skillset as well as the ability to work with others.

How to best use Google Apps in the Classroom

Posted on August 11, 2015 at 2:05 AM

Celebrating NAIDOC Week 2015

Posted on July 15, 2015 at 10:30 PM

In 2015, the theme for NAIDOC Week is "We stand on Sacred Ground; Learn, Respect and Celebrate". NAIDOC Week is celebrated at Rooty Hill High School by all students attending a whole school assembly that includes a special guest as well as having the opportunities to work together in a specially designed NAIDOC Week Do Now Activity. Each faculty within the school also design and facilitate their own KLA based NAIDOC Week lesson.


This year in ICT, students were asked to re-create Dreamtime stories using technology. Students used Google Images, Google Slides, Google Docs and Snagit to search for a sacred Australian Indigenous site, write a script and then record a dreamtime story explaining the formation or history about that site.


The lesson began with students discussing what NAIDOC is and its symbolic meaning to Australian Indigenous people. We then watched an animated dreamtime story called Tiddalik the Frog. After watching the clip, we identified and discussed the symbolic meaning of the dreamtime story and discussed why this story is used instead of others.


You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.




We then used Google Images to find an Australian Indigenous Sacred Site that could be used as our background for our Dreamtime Story. This was inserted into Google Slides (my example below)




Students then wrote their script in Google Docs and Recorded their story using Snagit..


You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.



All work was turned in via Google Classroom. This work will be showcased via the School Website page (Indigenous Education).


This lesson not only engaged students but gave them deep understanding of the perspectives of Indigenous cultures. A lesson that I am very happy to share and re-do with many classes

Why encourage students to code?

Posted on July 2, 2015 at 8:25 AM

1. What do you think empowering kids to create the apps that they themselves or others of their age use will bring to the quality and usefulness of the app created? E.g. could it increase the adoption rate, capture workflows that only kids could think of etc?

Children and Teenagers are creating apps that adults can not. This is due to a number of factors but mainly due to the limitations that adults possess in living in a technological world. Children are increasingly finding it difficult to access the information that they need or want the overall process to be simpler. And using app-based applications is ideal for children whom rely on devices such as smart phones and ipads/tablets. As these are their primary technological resource, accessibility to ‘anything’ must be readily available.

 

Children are also much more competitive than adults. Children who continue to develop multiple apps simply do it to better their previous attempt of creating an app. As children enter high school, they realise the potential of creating apps and take it to a next level. These teenagers typically create extensions or apps that will form part of their overall portfolio of work.

 

 


2. What coding languages do you recommend kids start off with? Why?

There are a number of languages that children can begin coding with. Ultimately, children should select a software that they have unlimited access to. In most instances, this software will determine the language that children will learn and master.

 

The most common coding languages that are accessed by children are those that are associated with games. For example, children who use Minecraft typically use Java. Java is one of the most accessed coding languages available and certainly allows children to develop their coding skills throughout and after their school career.

 

 


3. What sorts of skills could coding bring in terms of abilities children of today need? E.g. creative thinking etc.

Coding provides students with many of the dimensions of 21st Century Learning. In addition to critical thinking skills of computational thinking and problem solving, coding require kids to use numeracy skills such as probability, patterns and statistics to determine the next lines of code and how that code will influence the final product. Probability of prediction is a huge consideration when coding as one needs to ascertain, for example, what the steps are for a character when walking around a field.

 

Contrary to belief, coding provides students with social skills. It provides them the ability to converse using sophisticated language (using formal words) and also gives those individuals deemed as shy or introverted with a voice that they may not necessarily have (at home or in the classroom).

 

 


4. What advice would you give a young primary school student taking up coding in terms of career advice?

My advice would be to find a software program that you can use either at school or at home and begin coding. It is best to have an adult who knows what you are doing and they don’t necessary need to know anything about coding. This is purely to help you technologically and to ensure that you will always have connectivity and accessibility.

 

As many children code whilst they are playing games, joining a group on your favourite game may link you to other players of the same age and you can begin sharing your experiences or troubleshoot any problems that you are encountering. This will help you develop your skills whilst having a lot of fun.

 

Another great thing to do is get a teacher involved. Your teacher may be able to set up a coding club that could continue throughout your years at school and perhaps lead to work experience opportunities, meeting experts and more.

 

 

 

 

How to start a Makerspace in your school

Posted on May 21, 2015 at 9:30 PM

App Review - OneNote

Posted on April 6, 2015 at 7:20 AM

If you are an avid OneNote user and also enjoy using multiple devices to do your work when you are on the go, an app that will allow you to maintain consistency and efficiency in your work is the OneNote app. This app allows its users to add Notebooks, pages and more to their OneNote account which can then be accessed in its full synced version on your own computer. Depending on the type of phone that you own, you may also include images, videos, links and hand drawn text onto the OneNote app which makes it one of the most universal note taking applications available at this time. Available on both iOS and Android at no cost, this is certainly a tool that all teachers should consider downloading and using with their students.

 

Tools of the Term

Posted on February 16, 2015 at 5:15 AM

 

It is already week 4 of the school year and I can not believe how much I have already achieved within the school and within my classroom during this very short time. I feel as though my school has successfully achieved the impossible in launching a BYOD program to a school of 100 staff and over 1100 students. The concept of introducing BYOD was only decided upon last October and since then, we have created all of the accounts necessary for this to work, established policies and procedures in addition to all of the necessary components of the back end of the project.  


Already in 4 weeks, over 50% of the school is online and teachers are feeling more and more confident using collaborative tools. What is more impressive is the response from teachers. They are all determined to make BYOD a success in our school and are all working together to create a new digital curriculum, offer blended learning and new opportunities of learning.


In amongst of all of this, I have delivered hours of professional learning and have shared resources to many.  


I have tried to focus on creating resources for my students using Office 365 tools in particularly OneNote and Sway. A Sway that I created for my Year 7 TAS students can be viewed at https://sway.com/Tt2BK1tkQJNm_31p This Sway focuses on the design process that students will need to follow to complete their project. This Sway will act as a reference piece for all students throughout all stages of their task.

  

 

 

 

Students have really taken to these tools and are excited to do work. I have never seen students so engaged before. I have junior students submitting work late in the evening and asking higher order questions as they complete their task. This has led me to create even more tailored personalised learning opportunities for all of my students depending on their ICT abilities. 

 

 

 

Learning Tomorrow's Technology Today!

Posted on November 15, 2014 at 5:00 PM

  "Is your technology driving you or are you driving your technology?"


For many years now, educators have been reminded that we are preparing students for occupations and careers that don't yet exist. And now, teachers globally are making conscious efforts to ensure that all students of the future will develop those essential skills which will be deemed as necessary in years to come. 

 

Nationally, syllabi's have been developed to include opportunities of 12st century learning and work readiness capabilities. 21st century learning is form of creating authentic education that addresses the “whole child”, the “whole person”, and does not limit our professional development and curriculum design to workplace readiness.  

 

21st century skills learned through our curriculum, which is interdisciplinary, integrated, project-based, and more, include and are learned within a project-based curriculum. Tony Wagner goes further by utilizing the seven survival skills advocated in his book, The Global Achievement Gap:

 

  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Collaboration across Networks and Leading by Influence
  • Agility and Adaptability
  • Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
  • Effective Oral and Written Communication
  • Accessing and Analyzing Information
  • Curiosity and Imagination

  

These syllabus documents have been rolled out into each Australian state which is now seeing schools embed these innovative theories into practices that all students from K to 12 will learn, develop and master. 

 

A key component of such educational practices is that of technology. Technology certainly enriches teaching and learning and plays an integral role in connecting real-life examples into the classroom. However, although teachers are looking for technologies to be integrated into classrooms, it must be a tool that is driven by curriculum. That is, it must not drive curriculum. It is essential that we create blended learning environments that encompasses both technologies and traditional forms of learning. Writing using pen/pencil and paper is still a life-long skill that students - children, of our future still need to possess. Students need to know that communication outside technologies is a real and critical form of gathering and sharing information and that, although tools such as Skype, Lync or Hangouts allow us to do this with others who are geographically distanced from us, sitting down with peers in the classroom can have more of an effect on ones wellbeing that chatting to someone via Edmodo or Ning.

  

Finding the balance to create a 21st century learning classroom that embeds all of these things is not a simple task. I am certainly not saying that we should omit technologies, but use them in the correct practical way that teacher our future citizens that there is a time and a place for technologies. Students should be exposed to a range of technologies such as Surface Pros, iPad, Tablets, laptops, phones, kindles and desktops so that they can individually determine which device is best practice to complete the task at hand. We should also practice skills of how to use certain technologies rather than not use these technologies. Blocking websites will not do anyone any favours. For example, blocking Facebook only makes students more determined to access in private and make them more reluctant to share this tool with others of authority (such as teachers and parents). This tool in particular, should be open to discussion and be a tool that individuals are proud to share with individuals that they actually converse with on a regular basis. 

 

Learning Technology for Life. Or are we?

Posted on October 28, 2014 at 5:05 PM

We all go through spits and spurts of attending professional learning and in the last few months, it has certainly been a spurt. As I reflect on all of the professional learning that I have attended and what I am attempting to implement in my school in addition to what I am accessing personally, I realise one key common denominator. Never has technology played such an integral role in my life. Initially, I was feeling extremely overwhelmed and feeling that there were simply far too many email accounts to check, so many messaging/social networking sites to review and action, Apps to access and new tools to learn, but in a light bulb moment, I have realised that yes, there are quite a lot of things I now need to do on the computer as part of my normal daily practice, all of the technologies that I am accessing are actually necessary and crucial in order for anyone to be an active traditional and digital citizen.

 

I'm not simply taking about using my phone to send emails or messages or playing on my iPad, but I'm talking about using technologies in order to be an active citizen in the local community that we live in. I have been exposed to new Apps that truly simplify practices that I participate in, access Web 2.0 tools that reduce my work load and many more. I know understand how technologies are truly saving and changing lives. Which brings me to my next question - a question which makes me feel guilty as a technological educator.

 

Are we teaching the right technologies to our students and how do we speed up their learning so that they truly benefit the offerings technology can offer?

 

I feel that the new technology curriculum is definitely heading into the right direction of developing the overall skill set of students and their understanding of theoretical processes, however, are they learning the skills that we need to use today (ie, collaborative learning through web 2.0 tools) or the skills they need in the future (yet,..... what will these be?) Our students are very tech savvy and do know how to access and develop their skills in spaces that many educators are not even aware that they exist, however, are they provided with the opportunity to develop these skills and access further resources or mentors that could give them a real chance of success in life?

 

I often think about a student who is a brilliant soccer player. Unfortunately his parents are not financially able to support his dream. Through fundraising, he was able to attend a game which he was then selected to represent Australia. One person who has identified his skills in the correct setting is about to change the life of this boy. Do we do this in the technological space?

 

As I ponder on this question, I will continue to attend and review future professional learning opportunities and seek guidance from someone who will make a life changing impact with me so I can replicate that and offer that same opportunity to my students.

 

 

 

 

Kick goals with a tech plan

Posted on October 27, 2014 at 4:55 AM

Q. What's the best way to plan for technology purchases?

With the DER over and schools looking for new technological platforms to invest in, the computer coordinator or head of technology has their work cut out for them in trying to determine which technologies and devices are best for their school and the best way to purchase new technologies.

Buying any new technology is not easy nor is it a simple process, however by following a few key steps, the overall process can be stress free and completed within a much shorter time frame than you perhaps have experienced.

 

Have a technology plan

Developing a plan for using technology to support educational goals should be the priority for the school over the simple acquisition of computers and software. To be successful, a technology plan must promote meaningful learning and collaboration, provide for the required professional development and support, and respond flexibly to change.

Schools that effectively use technology have a carefully designed technology plan that is a part of the overall school-improvement plan. As part of the school-improvement plan, technology should support the school’s curricular goals.

 

Identify the existing technological infrastructure of the school.

A school cannot progress and determine that iPads are the best device for their students if the current infrastructure is unable to adequately support them. An audit may identify that an upgrade may be necessary to ensure that a sufficient number of devices can be connected via IP addresses or to determine which technical specifications a device must meet in order to work effectively in all classrooms. This process is crucial particularly for schools who are implementing BYOD programs.


Determine who will be your technology provider.  

In many instances, particularly in circumstances where the school is purchasing a large volume of technologies on behalf of students, the school may be required to go to tender and ask for technology providers to submit a proposal to the school that demonstrates that they are able to meet the technical specifications. The school simply needs to contact a few well-known and reliable vendors who have had experience in dealing with schools.

Once the proposals are submitted, they can be culled and decisions as to who has the school’s best interest can be made. It is important to double check that nothing is left to assumption and all terms and conditions of the business arrangements are documented.

 


This article was published by The Australia Teacher Magazine and can be accessed via http://www.educationhq.com.au/news/11375/kick-goals-with-a-tech-plan/



To BYOD or not to BYOD. That is the question

Posted on October 5, 2014 at 2:30 AM

The shift in overall educational budgets and the way schools disperse their funds is creating a new dilemma for schools in terms of trying to determine their new technological direction.

Should our school use a BYOD solution and, if so, which device will work in our school? BYOD in education refers to students bringing their own device to school to use. Be it a laptop, iPad, tablet or mobile device. Using a BYOD option will enable schools to disseminate their funds to other areas accordingly and better prepare them for tertiary education, where students already use their own devices. As computer coordinators may be aware, it is not as simple as purchasing any device from the local store or supplier and walking into your school and logging onto the wireless network.


Many schools are finding that although local stores are willing to provide students and their families substantial discounts at the checkouts, few devices actually consistently work in the classroom. Another constraint is the recent Federal Government announcement that the Education Tax Refund has been scrapped. With this in mind, should our school continue to proceed with using the BYOD model and what else must we consider? Constraints of the school network: Although the device may work at a student's house it may not neccessarily connect to the school's wifi. Some schools have experienced that in the case of the Samsung Galaxy Tablet, a few tablets will connect to the school wifi whilst others do not. Computer coordinators cannot explain the random activity and say they are currently spending more time working on network connectivity issues. Other schools are concerned opening the school network may lead to security and virus threats.


Devices available: All mobile technology – laptops, tablets and mobile phones – provides students with different capabilities, resulting in very different learning outcomes. Teaching limitations: Schools must consider the necessary training teachers must undertake in order to use the device to its full capability. The device should not be a tool that is occasionally used, but a resource that supplements and facilitates learning in every lesson. Should tablets or mobile phones be the preferred BYOD, the teacher's expertise in using these tools educationally is of critical consideration. Citizens of the future: The skillset our students will need once they graduate school is no longer clear or simple to predict. The world in which they live will also determine what skills they are to learn at school. So, the question remains: Will their lives be controlled by today's mobile devices or by a product that hasn't been invented yet?

The best way to make your school tech-savvy

Posted on September 15, 2014 at 9:20 PM

With the DER over and schools looking for new technological platforms to invest in, the Computer Coordinator or the Head Teacher of Technology has their work cut out for them in trying to determine which technologies and devices is best for their school as well as determining the best way to purchase new technologies.

 

Buying any new technology is not easy nor is it a simple process, however by following a few key steps, the overall process can be stress free and completed within much shorter time frame than you perhaps have already experienced.

 

1. Have a Technology Plan

To ensure that technology is effectively integrated into the schools, educators and community members (such as parents in the P&C or School Council) must collaborate to create a formal technology plan. Developing a plan for using technology to support educational goals should be the priority for the school over the simple acquisition of computers and software. To be successful, a technology plan must promote meaningful learning and collaboration, provide for the needed professional development and support, and respond flexibly to change.

 

Schools that effectively use technology have a carefully designed technology plan that is a part of the overall school-improvement plan. A technology plan that is not integral to the overall improvement plan is likely to be short-lived. As part of the school-improvement plan, technology should support the curricular goals of the school. It must ultimately support teaching and learning and be an integral part of the schools overall plan to move all students towards attaining high academic standards and personal learning goals.

 

2. Identify the existing technological infrastructure of the school

A school cannot progress and determine that iPads are the best device for their students if the current infrastructure is unable to adequately support them. An audit may identify that an upgrade may be necessary to ensure that a sufficient number of devices can be connected via IP addresses or to determine which technical specifications a device must meet in order to work effectively in all classrooms. This process is crucial particularly for schools who are implementing BYOD programs when leading students and their families to purchase particular types of devices.

 

3. Determine who will be your technology provider

In many instances, particularly in circumstances where the school is purchasing a large volume of technologies on behalf of students, the school may be required to go to tender and ask for technology providers to submit a proposal to the school that demonstrates that they are able to meet the technical specifications. The school (typically Principal) simply needs to contact a few well-known and reliable vendors who have had experience in dealing with schools and ask them to support a proposal that answers how their technologies support the school plan. Once the proposals are submitted, they can be culled and decisions as to who has the school’s best interest can be made. It is important to double check that your school leaves nothing to assumption and all terms and conditions regarding the business arrangement are documented.

 

 

Noelene Callaghan

Noelene is a Teacher of Technology and a Counsellor of The Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales

 

 

Using QR Codes in the Classroom

Posted on July 22, 2014 at 5:10 AM

What are QR Codes:

As I tell my students, QR Codes are 'new' bar codes that devices such as mobile phones, iPads, tablets etc can scan (once downloading an app that allows you to scan them) which either directs you to a particular website or provides with specific information.

 

Commercially, QR Codes are growing rapidly and are seen in many businesses. Slowly, schools are also integrating this piece of technology. In my school, QR Codes are used to support administrative duties as well as classroom teaching and learning.

 

 

IMPLEMENTATION:
Since the beginning of the year, I have begun using QR Codes with my students primarily when using tablets and iPads. This was simply due to the fact that it was so much easier for students to scan the Interactive Whiteboard and click on the link to go to a website than for me to write the URL on the board/laptop and then for students to type it in (without any errors). (I couldn’t send students an email with the link as this function was disabled on the tablets/iPads). To kick off this activity, the YouTube clip (below) was shown to my students to give them a basic understanding of how to use them.

 

This activity began to change as I gained confidence with my students using their own mobile phones to complete work. Soon, I was able to modify work and create simple instruction sheets which allowed students to complete entire modules of work (see below). A colleague this year also created a 'Treasure Hunt' using only QR Codes that uses the concept of students using GPS tracking to find certain things around the school. These activities are engaging our students a lot more and is constant a source for discussion.

 

I am now finding that students are able to create QR Codes for me (as their teacher) to scan and mark their work online. A tool that can be used for all audiences.

QR Codes have slowly become a trademark of the Computing Faculty. I began by using them to publicise our schools Facebook page and school website. Students (and teachers) were quick to show off their latest mobile devices to scan these. So much so, that at one point, there were queues in our administration block during recess and lunch with everyone wanting a turn.

 

QR Codes now play a significant role in the planning of our junior programs (Stage 4 ICT). In the year 7 ICT program, I use QR codes to assist teachers to learn more about each unit of work, with the links going to wikis or to specific areas of the school's moodle page that contains more information.

As a result, QR Codes are now appearing on our school newsletter (which is published once a term), on our school business cards and on our other promotional material as well as assisting students when selecting subjects (for Computers based subjects). In preparation for our Parent Teacher night, notes with a QR Code (linking to the booking system) was also distributed.

 

Animating the classroom

Posted on July 22, 2014 at 4:55 AM

Some teachers are contemplating how to liven up class activities or your students assignments. One easy and effective way of doing this is by embedding animations into your teaching and learning programs. There are many animation programs available that can be used by students of any age and of any ability. Moreover, there are programs out there that are suitable for any teacher, regardless of your ICT skill or time constraints to learn a new technological tool.

 

So why use animation anyway? Animation has proven to be a useful tool for engaging students and illustrating difficult concepts. Animations liven class room lessons and assignments and can even be used as a teaching and learning tool for distance education. That is, if your school uses Moodle, Edmodo or any other Learning Management Software, uploading animations to further explain concepts to students could be a great alternative to basic text on a website. But animations are not just a tool that can be used by teachers, they can be used by students to present their work innovatively.

 

Additionally animation is a great vehicle that helps students better understand storytelling and sequencing ideas, whether in words or pictures. Simple animation techniques are fun, hands-on projects that incorporate play, creativity and collaboration. Because the underlying processes are the same as for video, animation projects are a powerful way to help students understand and prepare for more sophisticated media projects

 

 


What types of animation can I use?

 

1. Flipbooks

Flipbooks are a type of animation made with multiple sheets of paper, showing a series of pictures that change gradually from one page to the next. Flipping the pages creates the illusion of movement for the viewer because of the persistence of vision phenomenon. The way it works is that you create a series of images on paper that are almost the same as one another, but not quite. Then 'flip' the pages rapidly and you get the impression of an animation. For example, get a small blank note book with perhaps 10 or more sheets. You can use the top corner of the pages to flip rapidly through the complete set. In the top corner draw a simple stick figure with the arm changing slightly. This is a great tool to introduce the concept of animation to younger or less capable students. Additionally, there are now ‘flipbook’ websites and apps that can be used to create digital versions of flipbooks. They are extremely simple to use and allow students to take photos page by page making it an activity that can be completed in a short amount of time.

 

 

2. Phenakistoscopes

Phenakistoscopes are low-tech animation devices that are often referred to as "animation wheels." Teaching this technique early in your animation unit can provide students a valuable foundation in the perceptual and mechanical concepts underlying animation. Animation wheels also enhance student appreciation of contemporary animation techniques and introduces the concept of looping.

 

How do our eyes see movement? The human eye has sensors that retain an image for a moment, so the brain continues to perceive an image for a fraction of a second after the image has passed. If the eye sees a series of still images very quickly one picture after another, with a tiny break in between to register each image, then the images will appear to move because they “overlap” in the brain. Our eyes cannot perceive the difference between separate images, so we are tricked into thinking we have seen movement. A phenakistoscope uses ‘looping’ which is movement that repeats itself continuously without ending.

 

 

3. Stop Motion

Stop motion is a powerful animation technique that makes static objects appear to be moving. Creating stop motion draws attention to placement, framing, direction and speed of movement. There are many types of stop motion techniques, in both 2-D and 3-D media, such as hand drawings and Claymation. Students begin by brainstorming their ideas and recording their ideas and thoughts of what interactions and action will take place. Most teachers prefer to start with scripts, a storyboard that is completely textual. Writing descriptions of the action helps to determine how and in what order every shot will become animated later in the process. Storyboarding is a major component to any animation project because it ensures that ideas are well developed before production, and saves time by anticipating problems. The purpose of the storyboard is to visually plan out the entire animation. Here is where students begin to think about the “camera work” by showing every shot or important transition in the animation. Storyboards should be required for all stop motion projects.

 

Stop motion requires a camera or video device to expose single or multiple frames of images that, when run at normal speed, appear to represent continuous movement. You can set up by connecting a computer to video camcorder, digital still camera, or a webcam. When using a video recording device to compose shots, keep the camera steady by using a tripod or animation stand. Your computer needs current software that supports single frame capture

 

 

4. Pixilation

Pixilation is a specialized technique for animating people that promotes collaboration and peer group relations. A stationary camera records a posed human subject. Between captures, the subject moves to a new position. The process is slow and requires great patience and concentration. It is best to have a class set of cameras to complete a pixilation activity as students will need to take many, many photos with subtle movement. When this is put together using either Microsoft Movie Maker or stupeflix (an online animation creator).

 

Pixilation is a great task to complete using collaborative teamwork. Essentially, collaboration promotes peer group relations in the interaction between students and gives them more responsibility for their own learning. Group work helps students build on social and decision-taking skills.

 

 


Pedagogies associated with teaching animation:

 

Collaboration promotes peer group relations in the interaction between students and gives them more responsibility for their own learning. Group work helps students build on social and decision-taking skills. Teamwork helps students learn constructive ways to communicate and share ideas. Because the animation process is so very time intensive, students begin to recognise that producing longer or more complex projects requires expertise and assistance from numerous people to get the job done. A key feature of collaborative animation tasks is the assignment of roles amongst students. Allow students to select their roles within the group. Possible roles may include Director, Writer, Character Producer, Prop and Set designer, Cameraperson.

 

Multi Level Teaching allows for participants at many different levels of education to teach and learn from one another and collaborate on animation projects. All participating students co-learn and co-teach one another about animation production and pedagogy. These skills are particularly important in creating animations as it permits each student can bring a unique set of skills and interests to the process and contributes something special to the shared experience.

 

Peer tutoring is a strategy for teaching and learning that invites more experienced or knowledgeable students to teach novice students the skills and understandings they have acquired. Peer tutoring can empower and help students share expertise and reinforce what they have learned. In peer tutoring an organic process takes place where the students learn from each other. By having more experienced students tutor newer participants, this strategy helps teachers act as true coordinators!

 

Using QR Codes in the Classroom

Posted on July 22, 2014 at 4:55 AM

What are QR Codes:
As I tell my students, QR Codes are 'new' bar codes that devices such as mobile phones, iPads, tablets etc can scan (once downloading an app that allows you to scan them) which either directs you to a particular website or provides with specific information.

 

Commercially, QR Codes are growing rapidly and are seen in many businesses. Slowly, schools are also integrating this piece of technology. In my school, QR Codes are used to support administrative duties as well as classroom teaching and learning.

 

 


IMPLEMENTATION:
Since the beginning of the year, I have begun using QR Codes with my students primarily when using tablets and iPads. This was simply due to the fact that it was so much easier for students to scan the Interactive Whiteboard and click on the link to go to a website than for me to write the URL on the board/laptop and then for students to type it in (without any errors). (I couldn’t send students an email with the link as this function was disabled on the tablets/iPads). To kick off this activity, the YouTube clip (below) was shown to my students to give them a basic understanding of how to use them.

 

This activity began to change as I gained confidence with my students using their own mobile phones to complete work. Soon, I was able to modify work and create simple instruction sheets which allowed students to complete entire modules of work (see below). A colleague this year also created a 'Treasure Hunt' using only QR Codes that uses the concept of students using GPS tracking to find certain things around the school. These activities are engaging our students a lot more and is constant a source for discussion.

 

I am now finding that students are able to create QR Codes for me (as their teacher) to scan and mark their work online. A tool that can be used for all audiences.

QR Codes have slowly become a trademark of the Computing Faculty. I began by using them to publicise our schools Facebook page and school website. Students (and teachers) were quick to show off their latest mobile devices to scan these. So much so, that at one point, there were queues in our administration block during recess and lunch with everyone wanting a turn.

 

QR Codes now play a significant role in the planning of our junior programs (Stage 4 ICT). In the year 7 ICT program, I use QR codes to assist teachers to learn more about each unit of work, with the links going to wikis or to specific areas of the school's moodle page that contains more information.

As a result, QR Codes are now appearing on our school newsletter (which is published once a term), on our school business cards and on our other promotional material as well as assisting students when selecting subjects (for Computers based subjects). In preparation for our Parent Teacher night, notes with a QR Code (linking to the booking system) was also distributed

 

 

How BYOD Programs Can Fuel Inquiry Learning

Posted on July 22, 2014 at 4:55 AM

Launching a Bring Your Own Device program can be both exhilarating and scary. The opportunity to extend access to technology in the classroom and at home is enticing, but school districts can get hung up on important details like providing a strong network, making sure each child has a device, and questions around distraction. Of course, no one answer will work for all teachers or students, but one guiding principle that’s shown to work is for schools to focus on how mobile technology will help shift instruction to be more collaborative, learner-driven and inquiry-based.

“Kids already know how to use their devices, but they don’t know how to learn with their devices,” Clark says in an edWeb webinar. It’s the teacher’s role to help them discover how to connect to content, one another and learning with a device that they may have only used for texting and Facebook previously. “It’s about the kids being empowered in the classroom to make decisions about the ways that they are learning,” Clark said.

To achieve that level of decision making, school culture has to shift to one that encourages an on-going conversation, often filtered through devices. “Anytime I see students watching a video in the classroom I expect them to be back-channeling,” Clark said. Back-channeling is an ongoing conversation on Twitter or an app like Socrative about what students are watching. The teacher then knows how students are responding to the material and can decide how to move into the next activity.

Inquiry-based learning grounded in authentic projects go hand in hand with BYOD, Clark said. “What we are trying to do is get to transformative use of tech, where kids are doing things they wouldn’t be able to do without the tech,” Clark said. He recommends using big picture questions to frame ideas and help students identify the many smaller questions within the topic. “I expect that if I go to a student and ask them what’s the big question you are working on they’ll be able to tell me and talk about,” Clark said. “There’s not just one right answer. I want more questions to arise out of that one big question.”

Asking the right questions, developing a research approach, collaboratively deciding on a grading rubric and using all the tools available to complete a project aren’t skills that necessitate the use of technology. But having many devices in the classroom throughout the inquiry process gives educators and students more opportunities, including more authentic ways to showcase student work beyond turning an assignment into a teacher.

The most important thing is to take the focus off of the final product and place it on the process of discovery. “Find ways to ask the right questions to lead students to discover the apps they need to show what they know,” Clark said. He admitted that while the goal is to use the technology to transform learning, much of the time teachers and students are actually only adapting an old task to the new medium. Often that means work can be turned in more quickly and graded more efficiently.

Indigenous Apps that can be used in Teaching and Learning

Posted on July 22, 2014 at 4:50 AM

Indigenous Australian: Art Gallery of NSW

 

Indigenous Australian: Art Gallery of NSW lets you explore a selection of artists and artworks from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art collection, on an iPad. View high-quality images in extraordinary detail, discover stories of the artists and the art, get simple explanations of art terms, and go behind the scenes with interviews and videos.

 

Ranging from bark paintings to photography, sculpture to shell work, weavings to watercolour, the App includes work by significant artists such as Emily Kam Ngwarray.

 

The Gallery’s Indigenous Australian app is available free on iOS. It works with all versions of the iPad. An internet connection is needed to view some content. Free WiFi is available at the Gallery. As new content is added, the App will automatically prompt you about updates.


FirstVoices Chat

FirstVoices Chat is a brilliant multilingual texting app with keypads serving over 100 Indigenous languages. The app was developed in response to First Nation youth who want to communicate via social media in their own languages. Most Indigenous writing systems use unique characters previously unavailable in mobile technologies.

 

This is a free App that is available via iOS and is definitely a resource that students and their teachers should use when learning about indigenous content.

 

This new piece of technology, which allows First Nations people to return to the everyday use of their heritage languages using their mobile devices,” said Peter Brand, FirstVoices manager at the First Peoples’ Cultural Council (FPCC) in B.C. Brand said there was a strong uptake of the language, particularly among youth, in the local community where the App prototype was tested.


NACCHO App

Australia’s first Indigenous Health App created by National Aboriginal Community Controlled health organisation (NACCHO)

 “Our App promotes the sports healthy futures program that will give Aboriginal youth the opportunity to improve their overall health and wellbeing through active participation in sports.

 Research shows that if a young person is happy and healthy they will be able to get the most out of their education, build their confidence and their self-belief and hopefully one day become a well-educated “Indigenous All-star” in the sport or employment of their choosing.” Mr. Mohamed said.

 Mr. Mohamed said he is encouraging all 150 NACCHO members and stakeholders to promote the App to their 5,000 staff and over 100,000 clients so that our community members can really have Aboriginal health in Aboriginal Hands. All ready in first few days over 1,000 Apps have been downloaded from the App Store and Google Android store.


Ngurrara - Australian Aboriginal Storybook:
Ngurrara follows the journeys of three young Australian Aboriginal Ngarluma men as they fish, hunt and carve their own stories. It is set on Murujuga (Burrup Peninsula) As the landscape, the people and culture change over millennia, one thing remains the same, the Ngarluma people 'were always here.'  

This is a free App that is available via iOS and is a great Dreamtime story and activity that can be embedded into any classroom.

 This App embraces Australian Aboriginal culture that has existed continuously for more than 40 000 years. They have developed sophisticated social organisations, complex legal systems and a numerous practices and ceremonies based around their Dreamtime beliefs.

Apple TV in the Classroom

Posted on July 22, 2014 at 4:50 AM

Instructional technology takes so many forms. In some buildings that may mean simply having a computer lab of desktop computers. In others, you may find SMART Boards and laptops in every room. And, in some of the more advanced classrooms, you may find an Apple TV serving as a media hub for a teacher (and possibly students) with an iPad. The question, “What can I do with an Apple TV in the classroom?”.

 


What is Apple TV?

Before we talk about how to configure/set it up, it makes sense to get a working understanding of what the device actually does.

 


The Apple TV:

• lets you stream the movies and TV shows available on iTunes to the HDTV or Projector connected to the Apple TV

• stream Netflix content

• allows you to stream content from iOS devices using Airplay

• Display your iPad 2,3/iPhone 4S screen on your HDTV or projector via Airplay Mirroring

 


The Apple TV points of consideration:

• The Apple TV really is most beneficial if you have iTunes, an iOS device, or are a Mac based school.

• The Apple TV is not a computer. It really does rely on other devices to make it most functional.

• Connection possibilities are limited. HDMI is the main output. There are ways around this, however.


How to Set it up in Your Classroom

First things first. Determine what you will be connecting it to – and that will determine how you will set it up. If your classroom has an HDMI enabled device (HDTV or a projector with HDMI input) you are good to go, setup will be a breeze.

 

If you do not have an HDMI capable device in your classroom, consider purchasing this device to convert the signal to VGA so you can output from the Apple TV to any screen that has a VGA input. The majority of projectors and interactive whiteboards have this type of connection, making this accessory a great little product. Also, note that the accessory has an audio out port, preserving the audio from the HDMI cable, something that many devices like this do not do well (or at all).

The next step is connecting the Apple TV to your network. Obtain the wireless key from your IT coordinator and simply enter that when prompted when you first plug in your Apple TV. If the ATV has been setup before, just navigate to Settings -> Network and enter the setup for a new wireless network.

 

If your IT person is not interested in telling you the password, see if they will set it up for you. If this even fails, all hope is not lost. If you have a Mac, you can quickly create an AdHoc network to which you can connect your iPad and your Apple TV. Mind the fact that you will no longer be connected to the internet, but many of the uses don’t require an active connection.


Uses in the Classroom

This is when the Apple TV gets fun. Each person I talk to has a different use for their Apple TV, but the general method of use is pretty much the same. I will take you through some of the logistical methods of use that will then let you apply your own needs of use to the ATV easily.

 

The most common use of the Apple TV in a classroom is iPad screen mirroring. Thanks to AirPlay, the iPad 2 and above and the iPhone 4S will let you wirelessly display your device’s screen on a HDTV/Projector that is connected to your Apple TV. This is great for the classroom as sharing Apps and tutorials via the iPad are becoming more popular.

 


Starting up iPad Mirroring

So, you have some good uses in the classroom. Here’s how you being mirroring your iPad’s screen to the Apple TV.

1. Turn on the TV/Projector connected to the Apple TV.

2. Ensure each device is on the same network.

3. Double tap the home button on the iPad.

4. Swipe to the right until you see the options below:

5. Tap the button that is blue in the image above. This displays the available devices for use with AirPlay.

6. Tap on your Apple TV’s name and then slide Mirroring to ‘On’.

7. That’s it – your iPad should now be showing on the screen connected to your Apple TV!


Final Thoughts

For $99, you really can’t beat it. If you don’t have an interactive whiteboard, but you do happen to have an iPad, this is a really cheap way to enable whiteboard functionality. The freedom the Apple TV gives you to engage with students around the classroom (since you’re not tethered to a cable) is invaluable. For those who rely on technology in the classroom but also love moving throughout the room, this is the device you needed yesterday.