Monday, 14 January 2019

Week 10: Encouraging Collaboration

No longer are students sitting in rows, learning from the teacher standing out the front.

Today's classrooms are a hub of noise and activity, with flexible seating arrangements to suit a range of learners.

Not only does flexible seating suit a range of learning styles, but it is also perfect to promote collaboration amongst the students. In my own classroom, the desks are a curved triangular shape and sit in groups of three. So seating the students in rows is not an option. I have low tables students can push together to work, as well as bed trays and pillows for those students who like sitting on the floor to work. These physical classroom resources promote collaboration, but what about using technology to promote it as well?

One of the technologies I use in my classroom to promote collaboration is Microsoft OneNote Class Notebook. Using this program, students can collaborate on a project in real time, from their own devices. They can continue to collaborate after school hours as well ("OneNote Class Notebook", 2019).

I have also used Minecraft Education Edition as a technological vehicle for collaboration. There are a range of lesson plans on the Minecraft Education website, which include downloadable Minecraft worlds designed to teach students concepts within a specific content area ("Lessons | Minecraft: Education Edition", 2019).

One aspect of collaboration I have not focussed on in my Year 4 classroom is that of social networks. According to Scalise (2016) "opportunities for learning in social networks supports student experience and enhances growing capabilities for effective collaboration" (p. 62). While Year 4 might seem young for social networking, I know my students communicate with each other outside of school hours using group chats, so it would be a logical step to include these as part of their learning in school.


Lessons | Minecraft: Education Edition. (2019). Retrieved from

OneNote Class Notebook. (2019). Retrieved from

Scalise, K. (2016). Student collaboration and school educational technology: Technology integration practices in the classroom. I-Manager's Journal on School Educational Technology, 11(4), 53-63. Retrieved from

Monday, 7 January 2019

Week 9: The TPACK Framework

The TPACK framework, as outlined by Koehler and Mishra (2009), describes "how teachers’ understanding of educational technologies and PCK interact with one another to produce effective teaching with technology" (p. 62). TPACK is like a revolution for teachers everywhere struggling to incorporate technology into their planning.

Instead of becoming overwhelmed with the various types of technology available, and how these are integrated into learning for successful outcomes, TPACK breaks down the essence of learning with technology into three distinct, though separate, sections: Content, Pedagogy, and Technology (Koehler & Mishra, 2009). These three areas of learning, within individual contexts, can be represented diagrammatically:

TPACK Framework (Koehler & Mishra, 2009)

In their 2008 address, Koehler and Mishra (2013) suggested teachers take two aspects of TPACK initially and discuss how the third aspect could be applied to their situation. For instance, teachers can start with a technology and the content they want students to learn, and then decide the pedagogy they are going to use to best support the learning. Likewise, teachers might have their pedagogy and content decided, and then look for the technology.

In my teaching, I have been guilty of trying to make a technology 'fit' purely because I want to use the technology. This is not good teaching. I created this version of the TPAC framework to explain what it might look like diagrammatically:

Having a sound basis or framework to work from is important for educators so that the integrity of the learning is not sacrificed for the sake of using technology. Thankfully, I now see myself in the center of Koehler and Mishra's TPACK framework, and one of my goals as my school's STEM Coordinator is to help my colleagues get there too.


Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70. Retrieved from

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2013). Mishra & Koehler (2008) - SITE 2008 KEYNOTE ADDRESS [Video]. Retrieved from

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Week 8: Cybersafety and Privacy

Cybersafety and privacy issues have been a constant discussion point since the beginning of the Internet. Understandably, privacy is a big issue when surfing the Internet (Hipsky & Younes, 2015). Digital technologies have become normal for today's children, who are exposed to risks and dangers as well as wonderful opportunities for learning (Grey, 2011). Thankfully there are a wealth of resources available on the Internet for students, parents, teachers, and administrators to use to help students navigate this potentially dangerous resource.

The Australian Government's Office of the eSafety Commissioner has fantastic resources for students, educators, and parents ("Education resources", 2019). The site has a range of classroom resources for all year levels, including scenarios, games, and quizzes.

Open Colleges has a Cybersafety Guide for students which addresses cyberbullying, identity theft, plagiarism, computer viruses, and general internet safety ("Cyber Safety: An Interactive Guide To Staying Safe On The Internet", 2019).

ThinkUKnow started in the United Kingdom and was developed for Australia by the Australian Federal Police ("ThinkUKnow", 2019). It has resources ranging from what we see, say, and do online; information on staying safe; how to get help if you need it; and information and resources for parents and teachers. Schools and community organisations can book a presentation for students, educators, or parents.


Cyber Safety: An Interactive Guide To Staying Safe On The Internet. (2019). Retrieved from

Education resources. (2019). Retrieved from

Grey, A. (2011). Cybersafety in early childhood education. Australasian Journal Of Early Childhood36(2), 77-81. Retrieved from;dn=052931566768432;res=IELHSS

Hipsky, S., & Younes, W. (2015). Beyond Concern. International Journal Of Information And Communication Technology Education11(4), 51-66. doi: 10.4018/ijicte.2015100104

ThinkUKnow. (2019). Retrieved from

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Week 7: Web-based resources

Web-based technologies are a fabulous resource for teachers as they are available on any digital platform that has Internet browsing software. Web-based tools have the potential to enhance learning (Roblyer & Doering, 2014). As a primary school teacher, there are a few Web 2.0 tools I use regularly.

Read Theory is "a K-12 online reading comprehension program that present assessments to students at a 'just right' level" ("Online Reading Activities | ReadTheory", 2019). The program uses algorithms to ascertain reading levels of students, therefore providing them with reading activities at their individual level. The best part? It is free.

Classroom Screen is a terrific class management resource. Projected on a screen or whiteboard, it is essentially a digital screen which contains a range of tools handy for classroom teachers. Tools include a stoplight to indicate noise level (red = no talking, orange = quiet whispering, green = inside voices), a noise monitor, clock, timer, random name generator, work symbols (silence, whisper, ask neighbour, work together), and text and drawing tools. 

One resource I have discovered is Boom Writer. I have not yet used this, however, would like to try it with my students in 2019. It is a web-based writing platform which encourages collaboration in both writing and reading. Collaboration is one of the most effective learning strategies (Iglesias Rodríguez, García Riaza & Sánchez Gómez, 2017). Some of its features include: StoryWriter, which encourages collaborative writing; WordWriter, to improve vocabulary; ProjectWriter, for group writing assignments; and Grading, which provides rubrics for teachers.


Online Reading Activities | ReadTheory. (2019). Retrieved 1 January 2019, from

Roblyer, M., & Doering, A. (2014). Pearson New International Edition. Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Harlow, England: Pearson.

Iglesias Rodríguez, A., García Riaza, B., & Sánchez Gómez, M. (2017). Collaborative learning and mobile devices: An educational experience in Primary Education. Computers In Human Behavior72, 664-677. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2016.07.019


Friday, 28 December 2018

Week 6: Three ways to use Web 2.0 tools in teaching

Using Web 2.0 tools in the classroom is a great way to generate interest in learning among students (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 260). Below are three examples of Web 2.0 tools and how they can be used in a classroom setting.

Glogster EDU is the educational version of the popular Glogster platform. Glogster is a content generator that produces interactive, online posters (Baker & Wills, 2013). Unlike a regular poster, however, Glogster allows users to incorporate more than just images and text. Audio files, videos, and links can also be added to create a more interactive poster. By signing up to Glogster EDU, teachers can manage students in classes, can set projects, and students are able to comment on each other's work.

Voicethread uses multimedia presentations to promote online collaboration. Gamage (2018) states that Voicethread enables teachers and students to "communicate and connect in a safe and interactive online environment" (p. 95). By signing up as an educator, teachers have a range of features to support moderation and tasks. Students are able to comment on images, documents and videos using text, video and audio files.

Linoit and Padlet are two websites that encourage collaboration. They both consist of simple canvases that collaborators add ideas to using virtual sticky notes. This type of technology allows multiple students to submit ideas at the same time. These sites allow for interpersonal exchanges, information collection and analysis, and problem-solving simultaneously (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 261).


Baker, C., & Wills, T. (2013). Have You Used a Glog Yet?. Teaching Children Mathematics19(5), 324-327. doi: 10.5951/teacchilmath.19.5.0324

Roblyer, M., & Doering, A. (2014). Pearson New International Edition. Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Harlow, England: Pearson.

Gamage, T. (2018). Voicethread. English Australia Journal, 33(2), 95-97. Retrieved from;dn=560826559936024;res=IELHSS

Week 5: Hardware and Software choices and catering for students with special needs

As a primary school teacher, I have a strong focus on developing the skills of my students in the four main academic areas of English, Maths, Science, and HaSS (Humanities and Social Sciences). Students with special needs experience difficulties in developing and acquiring new knowledge (Fernández-López, Rodríguez-Fórtiz, Rodríguez-Almendros & Martínez-Segura, 2013). Technology has the ability to assist students with special needs to become more independent learners, providing more inclusivity for these students (Pitchford, Kamchedzera, Hubber & Chigeda, 2018). 

At my school, students from Kindergarten to Year 2 have access to iPads, and students in Years 3 to 6 have access to windows laptops (one-to-one from Year 4). Some hardware and software are outlined below:

Microsoft Office 365 has a range of learning tools to support students with special needs. Their Learning Tools features include: Immersive Reader, which recognises text from images and files; Read Aloud, which highlights words while reading them out aloud; Dictate, which writes words as they are said with correct punctuation ("Learning Tools to improve reading and writing skills", 2018). Microsoft Office 365 is free for educators and students.

Dragon Naturally Speaking is dictation software available on all platforms, that converts speech to text. It is specifically an assistive technology (Roblyer and Doering, 2014) that assists children with difficulty writing to get their ideas on paper (p. 437).

BBC Bitesize and are fabulous resources for educators and students alike. Both sites offer interactive games and activities that teach and/or consolidate an educational concept. Providing students with online games and activities allows all students to work at their own pace, and repeat the activities as many times as necessary to internalise the concepts (Oszdamli & Asiksoy, 2016).

Fernández-López, Á., Rodríguez-Fórtiz, M., Rodríguez-Almendros, M., & Martínez-Segura, M. (2013). Mobile learning technology based on iOS devices to support students with special education needs. Computers & Education61, 77-90. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2012.09.014

Learning Tools to improve reading and writing skills. (2018). Retrieved from

Ozdamli, F. & Asiksoy, G. (2016). Flipped Classroom Approach. World Journal on Educational Technology: Current Issues, 8(2), 98-105. Retrieved from

Pitchford, N., Kamchedzera, E., Hubber, P., & Chigeda, A. (2018). Interactive Apps Promote Learning of Basic Mathematics in Children With Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Frontiers In Psychology9. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00262

Roblyer, M., & Doering, A. (2014). Pearson New International Edition. Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Harlow, England: Pearson.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Week 4: Constructivist Learning Theory

My school is an IB (International Baccalaureate) school accredited to teach the PYP (Primary Years Program), and undergoing accreditation to teach the MYP (Middle Years Program). The philosophies behind the IB programs sit firmly within the constructivist education learning theory. It is inquiry learning from start to finish.

Roblyer and Doering (2014) define inquiry-based learning as learning "in which learners generate their own knowledge through experiences and teachers serve only as facilitators" (p. 49). This learning style has resulted in wonderfully unique learning experiences and educational moments in my classroom. It has also resulted in much worry and stress on my part.

While I agree wholeheartedly in principle with the notions of constructivist teaching methods, I have found it does not suit all learning needs. Chapter 4 of Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (Roblyer & Doering, 2014), was a refreshing read as it proposed a combination of directionism and constructivism. While I believe you can teach most concepts and contents using inquiry-based learning, it takes time, and time is often in short supply in today's crowded curriculum. My attempts to teach everything in the curriculum using a constructivist approach has resulted in both amazing successes and disastrous failures. I have settled on a combination of the two, which is working much better.

When it comes to drill and practice (directionism), I love to use websites like BBC Bitesize, as it contains hundreds of short games and simulations students can play as many times as they like to gain mastery. When it comes to inquiry-based learning (constructionism), one website I have used is a virtual tour of the HM Bark Endeavour when studying history.

BBC Bitesize

Endeavour Virtual Tour


Roblyer, M., & Doering, A. (2014). Pearson New International Edition. Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Harlow, England: Pearson.