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‘Getting the most out of your iPad’ – SASS workshop

Here are some links which will are useful reminders for what we cover in the workshop.

Apple’s iPad support page – comprehensive support for using your iPad.
iPad overview – buttons, screens and other tools
iPad 101 – covers most of the steps involved in setting up your iPad.

Getting to and from The Home screen
Multitasking – running several apps at the same time and switching between them

Creating an iCloud account – Apple’s ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ page.

Arrange your apps to suit your needs.
Making folders of apps – how to group apps together into folders
There are so many apps on the App Store – which ones are best? Here’s a great curated list off apps for all levels of education

Find out what’s available in the iBookstore

Editing text – delete text, make it bold, underline or italicised.
Keyboards – change the keyboard, add new keyboards (such as emoji)
Keyboard layouts – split the keyboard or move it to the centre of the screen
Dictation – use Siri to dictate text instead of typing it in

Search your iPad for apps, mail, notes and more

Explain Everything app

Explain Everything icon


 Explain Everything is an app for iOS and Android which helps teachers and students ‘explain everything’ about what they are teaching and learning. 

As well as the app, there is a manual available in iBooks which describes all the functions of the app.

How can Explain Everything improve teaching and learning?

Some questions to consider:

So what are the deeper implications for teaching and learning that apps like Explain Everything raise?
What does it mean for you as a teacher if your students can show you their learning with video and audio?
How can it help you give better, more targeted feedback to those students than is possible in a paper – based classroom?
If you can create video tutorials for students who need reinforcement of concepts, how does that free you up to work with other students who need your help?


The creators of Explain Everything (EE), Morris Cooke, have several tutorials showing how to use features of EE. They have also created a manual and an iTunesU course.
Newington College in Sydney have a blog devoted to their use of iPads at school, including some posts on how they use EE. In this post, Rolf Kolbe demonstrates a great way to make tutorials, combining a note taking app and EE:

More tutorials from the web:

Creating an instructional video

This link will take you to many more video tutorials on You Tube.

SAMR Model

– Ruben R. Puentedura’s blog
– Queensland Dept. of Ed Great explanation of SAMR model using persuasive writing as an example
– ‘How to use the SAMR model for classroom tasks‘ from the Edudemic site


‘Build Our PLN’ Group

This year we have a group of teachers who have planned to build their Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) by starting a blog, being an active Tweeter, and attending or presenting at a Teachmeet. Here’s the blog we’re using to record our journey:

It would be great if you follow the teachers’ blogs and add supportive comments to help them to build their PLN.

Brief notes on ISTE 2013

Getting together at ISTE
Several things I explored at ISTE 13:
There were over 53,000 tweets sent by over 10,000 different tweeters. Go direct to the source and check them all by using the hashtag #iste13

Global collaboration projects
 Flat classroom project –
Considering taking the Flat Classroom Teachers course:
Also found out that the 2014 Flat Classroom Conference will be held in Sydney:
Project based learning (PBL)
Missed out on a session with Suzie Boss because it was booked out – an indication of the level of interest in PBL. Did meet up with some fellow Australians doing PBL including @tickytecky and @biancah80
Games in education
Attended session called ‘Epic Leadership: Beyond the Hype of Gamification’
Best parts of this session for me were Marianne Malmstrom’s sharing of her work with students using Minecraft. There are some excellent resources here, thanks for sharing.
Make new connections with other educators
Met up with some people who are organising the program for next year.
Also met educators from Alaska who are interested in developing authentic global collaboration projects.
A look at some Learning Management Systems 
A look at Haiku
A look at Schoology
A look at Canvas
All I can say at this point is that there are some very good Learning Management Systems out there and choosing between them is not always easy….
Some blog posts about ISTE 13 by others who were there: 
Todd Nelsoney’s blog about how ISTE13 changed everything. 
Isaac Pineda’s blog post ‘Bringing ISTE home
Some ISTE13 related posts from isteconnects, the official blog of ISTE

Back into it

One of those times when you let things slide little by little and next thing you know there’s a 5 month gap between posts. Not that there hasn’t been anything to share of course, just that in the busyness, it was always ‘I’ll do that tomorrow’.

Well, the wake up call has come.

Working with a group of teachers who want to want to build their professional learning network (PLN) and take it to where they are active bloggers, tweeters and teachmeeters. An email lobbed in my inbox the other day with a link to one of the team’s new blog. Here it is: Inspired to learn and create

It certainly inspired me to ‘get back into it’. Thanks for the kickstart, Cathy! @cathy_mc2

Oh, and here’s the link to our ‘Build Our PLN‘ blog.


Recently during what would traditionally be called a ‘Staff meeting’, students and teachers shared their learning with each other. Parents were present too when the students were sharing. Briefly, here are my notes from the Learnmeet.

Year 1 students sharing how they completed their individual research projects and what they learned in the process.

Year 2 students sharing their Numeracy learning by telling us about the book ‘One is a Snail and Ten is a Crab‘ and then posing a question to the rest of us – “How many ways can you make 24 by choosing different animals (that have different numbers of legs).

Year 5 student sharing how edmodo has helped her learning this year.

Kindergarten teachers sharing the importance of play in early years learning. I liked how they finish with the question ‘When was the last time you played?’ They also demonstrated use of iPads to help a new arrival student to practise sentence building and storytelling.

Year 1 teachers sharing how they use Moodle to set up weekly forums with a question for the children to respond to and share their responses. Also posting activity sheets that parents have requested to help their children with Numeracy and Literacy practice at home. Establishing and strengthening the home / school link.

Year 2 teachers sharing the importance of collaboration and reflection in promoting successful open plan learning spaces. Called on the work of Michael Fullan and others to emphasise the importance of using research evidence as part of the basis for planning open plan learning spaces. Some of our teachers had earlier been to a seminar run by Michael Fullan, part of which focused on the wrong and right drivers for educational change. It was good to see these terms being used by the teachers to describe how they use research findings to help guide them in their implementation of open plan learning spaces.

Year 3 teachers sharing how they organise their learning space, and the process of working together to maintain flexibility in managing a timetable that accounts for different preferences in learning styles and the ‘interruptions’ that occur.

Year 4 teachers sharing how they use Dropbox to share teaching and learning resources. Each of the Year 4 teachers is part time, so they need a way to share resources and they need to be able to upload and download them both from home and from work.

Year 5 teacher sharing how now is an exciting time to be teaching, with the many opportunities that tools such as edmodo provide for collaboration and shared learning.

Teacher shared her experience of the PLANE Festival of Learning and how she has already implemented an initiative around game based learning as a result of attending the festival.

Teacher sharing the work of John Hattie and how that has made her rethink and change her teaching to focus more on the students’ view of learning and to prioritise activities which have a higher ‘effect size‘. In the videos below John Hattie explains and describes teaching practices and their effect sizes.

‘Disasters and below average methods’

‘Effective methods’

Teacher sharing experience of ISTE 2012 Conference and implications the experience has had on promoting the way we organise Professional Learning.

Teacher Librarian sharing a new vision for the junior school library space, with of focus on making the more flexible and open to a variety of uses throughout the day.

The Learnmeet was a great way for our teachers and students to share their learning in a supportive, collaborative way. Having attended Teachmeets and a Studentmeet it seemed a good idea to blend the two. I’m glad we did and am looking forward to more next year.

PLANE Festival of learning 2012

PLANE held their Festival of Learning (FOL) at Sydney’s Seymour Centre over the 19th and 20th October. If you haven’t come across it before, PLANE = Pathways for Learning, Anywhere, anytime – a Network for Educators.

In my wrap up of FOL, I’ll just comment on some of the sessions I attended, and not try to give a picture of the whole Festival. I’ll use my tweets to remind me of the learning and connecting experiences over the two days.

Gaming and Virtual Worlds

This was the strand I was looking forward to most as it’s the strand I have the most to learn about.

Quest Atlantis has been around for 10 years but this is the first time I’ve been to a walkthrough and discussion (as I said, so much to learn here). Dr Bron Stuckey explained the rationale behind Quest Atlantis and for me the most important feature is it provides a secure environment for teachers and students (aged 9 – 16) to learn through mission based activities in an online world. I’m keen to pursue this idea with some of our students next year and have other teachers involved too.

Lucas Gillispie, online from the USA, took us through SAGA (Story and Game Academy). I’ll save this for later reading and exploration.

He also put us on to Teach with Portals.

Apps and Mobile technologies

With sooo many apps around now, I enjoyed the emphasis in the ‘There’s an App for That’ sessions on content creation and even building apps. seemed popular, pushing that move from not only content creation but towards making apps to suit your needs and interests.

I liked Greg Alchin’s advice that one of the best apps on the iPad is ‘Settings’….. dig into it to see what more it can do for you.


Here’s a jumble of the good things I took away from the keynote addresses. Adam Elliot’s infectious humour and enthusiasm as he related his story of winning an Oscar in 2004 – so many good points, it was a case of ‘pick your own metaphor’ as an example of making change happen. Dean Groom’s comment around ‘schools are no more built for the internet than high street shops are built for online shopping’ (or something close to those words). And Dr Jason Fox’s great technique of getting us to practise that age-old post-conference experience: you return to work, try to spread your enthusiasm and some people are, let’s say, less than interested. It was fun and useful to role play that scenario with someone sitting nearby.

Connecting with other educators

And so on to the most important part of events like FOL – they give us all the chance to connect with other educators. I met up with teachers who had similar interests and were exploring similar initiatives. A couple of examples:

– Caught up with a teacher who is using edmodo to connect with other classes around the world. We’ll be connecting one of our Year 5 classes with one of hers. Initial suggestion is to see how the two groups can share their learning in HSIE and Science.

– Met an e-learning integrator who is doing interesting work integrating iPads into learning and found out enough about Canvas Learning Management System (more here), FilesConnect app and Media Core to want to go looking for more. We’re arranging to visit each other’s schools to share more of each other’s initiatives and adventures in e-learning integration.

Wrapping Up Gangnam Style

Topping off the Festival was the mighty Gangnam Style dancing blast. Thanks @rolfek for posting:

Thanks to all at PLANE for putting on a great two days, giving us much to go on with to help us and our students to learn today and every day.

Technology in K-12 Education – National Congress 2012

The Technology in K-12 Education – National Congress 2012 was held at the Sydney Convention Centre on 30 May and June 1 2012 (with optional workshops on 2 June).


Some of the presentations that stay in my mind are:

Stephen Heppell – his presentation style is more like a conversation than a ‘keynote speech’. His talk addressed:

– the importance of arranging the physical space so that it promotes learning and collaboration. Students having a role in building their learning spaces.

– students helping peers and teachers with their tech issues. A ‘Genius Bar’ idea staffed by students.

– gave examples of  how new devices now are encouraging collaboration (example, students gathered around an iPad – much easier to do this with an iPad than a laptop or a desktop).

Alan November – talked about the work of Dr Eric Mazur on the use of peer instruction, where students read the content outside of formal lectures and use class time to discuss questions related to the content with each other. An example of the flipping of the traditional classroom setup, with ‘kids teaching kids’ is, a site with maths tutorials created by children for their peers.

Pymble Ladies College – a Principal’s account of change in a school that was already well resourced. So the focus was on getting teams to change the way they work rather than on the provision of resources.


Alan November’s excellent keynote was shortened so that a sponsor’s (Dell) ‘keynote’ could start on time. There was a stark contrast between the two keynotes. Alan November highlighted the importance of the child at the centre of learning, where the Dell keynote focused on how their products make learning easier and more collaborative for students. Sponsors have a role in conferences like this and the trade-off for their presence is that conference fees are lower. For me, I’d rather higher conference fees if it means no presentations like this one. Educators can see through the message to the marketing exercise. I left before it finished.

Was the conference experience worthwhile?

For me, yes. Hearing leaders like Alan November and Stephen Heppell is valuable in that helps to provide a way for us to know that we are ‘on track’ with what we are doing to bring about change in our schools.

Other links:

The 2013 Congress website – EduTech Congress and Exhibition 2013


Knowing what to do…

At ISTE 2012, you’re automatically immersed in the diversity of educators and tools for learning. There is so much going in here that it becomes a challenge to find a way through to the ‘good stuff’. My plan is loose with an emphasis on taking advantage of spontaneous moments – attend sessions that sound interesting but happy to be diverted if I find something better along the way.

A bit like teaching and learning is for many of us now – an abundance of choice. Knowing what to do with those choices is a key challenge. Listen to others, trust instincts, keep an eye out for hype and stay flexible.

By chance I came across the Emerson quote above while browsing books in the ISTE Central area of the conference. Seemed to me to be a good thing to keep in mind both now and after the conference.