Effective Use of Scootle – Learning Paths

Previously I have used Scootle as a great resource for finding resources and ideas to use in lesson plans an unit plans. Usually has been used as a stand alone resource. Whilst on prac I learned how to integrate this resource further and use it as a tool for students to access.

There is a function in Scootle that allows us to create learning paths. Learning paths are exclusive paths of selected resources that students can access via a password. I used these as fast finisher activities for when students have finished their work early or as a calm down activity when students have returned from a specialists lesson or just returned from break all hyped up.

Here is a learning path that I created for my year 7 maths class. The password to access this exclusive learning path is CRGSLG. Our topic was decimals; adding, subtracting, multiplying. The students loved it. As I saw and observed on prac students need planned ICT experiences. It’s a disaster waiting to happen for a teacher to give students instructions such as choose a cool maths game.


Click on the Scootle picture then enter this password CRGSLG

Instagrok – my new best friend in the classroom

Whilst being teaching year 7 history I mentioned to my supervising teacher how poorly my class coped with critical thinking even to the degree when asked to find their own research students moaned and groaned and pretty much flatly refused to co-operate. I passed comment to my supervising teacher (relief teacher for the day) that the students need a lesson on how to read a interrupted and asked if he could share a research tool called Instagrok.

Instagrok is a search engine for children that presents its content in the form of a concept map. A new phrase has been coined in the classroom. Instead of googling we are now groking. Students then choose which area they wish to explore further and click on the bubble. This will produce a summary of suitable resources for children to investigate further.

Another plus; at the top of the instagrok screen are two pictures a blackboard with ABC on it and a picture of an Einsteen man. Moving the slider between the two pictures will determine the academic levelling of information. For example if teaching year 1 to research the slider would be all the way near the blackboard, then search findings would bring up suitable resources for year 1 students to read and understand. At the other Einsteen end of the slider would be year 7-9 students who are looking for more complex understandings of research information.

Instagrok is the best tool for differentiation of research strategies when students are undertaking assessment. Try it for yourself. I’m hooked.

Instragrok Brochure


Behaviour Management with ICT???

If someone would have said to me “have you tried integrating ICT into teaching as a behaviour management tool?” the pre edc3100 me would have said sure, plonk a computer or tablet in front of students and viola instant behaviour management. However, the ICT savvy part of me has delved deeper after hearing about a program called Class Dojo.  According to classdojo.com,  ClassDojo is a classroom tool that helps teachers improve behavior in their classrooms quickly and easily. It also captures and generates data on behavior that teachers can share with parents and administrators.

Teachers can manage class dojo via a computer, iphone, ipad or other tablet via an app or by logging into a class account. Points are allocated for each positive behaviour and points are deducted for negative behaviours. At the end of the day a percentage is given showing students of their behaviour performance for the day. The following is a youtube clip of a teacher implementing class dojo.

Usually after watching videos of a new ICT tool I am instantly hooked, however after watching this video I think that for me personally carrying around my ipad or iphone constantly around the classroom would be distracting for me. The focus of my teaching would be taken away from giving appropriate feedback and observing formative assessments for my own reflections on teaching and replaced with a toy. I can see however how students would like to create their own monster avatar.

For students on an IEP or behaviour contract I can see this as a positive tool for them. Parents would be able to log into the students account at home and receive feedback from the teacher about the day or week at school.

Learning about digital citizenship

My buzz word for this week is digital citizenship. What is it? How is it taught? Is it possible to integrate digital citizenship into learning episodes?

Jeff Dunn from described in his blog that thinking of digital citizenship is like the Girl Guides and Scouts online. Being a great community participant and member in a digital environment. Just as we would teach our children not to talk to strangers, keep their house keys safe the same applies to digital environments. Craig Badura has also blogged about a fantastic idea on how to teach digital citizenship to students with props. He suggests

  • A padlock to symbolise strong passwords.
  • A toothbrush to symbolise never sharing passwords.
  • A permanent marker highlights that everything online is permanent
  • A tube of toothpaste to demonstrate that once it’s out, it cannot be pushed back in the tube.

My fellow EDC3100 course member Teresa Morgan mentioned an article by Mike Ribble. He discusses nine elements of digital citizenship:

  1. Digital Access – full electronic participation in society.
  2. Digital commerce – electronic buying and selling of goods.
  3. Digital communication – electronic exchange of information.
  4. Digital literacy – process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology.
  5. Digital Etiquette – electronic standards of conduct or procedure.
  6. Digital law – electronic responsibility for actions and deeds.
  7. Digital rights and responsibilities – those freedoms extended to everyone
  8. Digital health and wellness – physical and psychological well-being in a digital technology world.
  9. Digital security (self-protection)- electronic precautions to guarantee safety.

In my teaching I can see how digital citizenship can be used within English curriculum as a topic for writing text in various genre using ICT rich learning experiences.

Mock Weekly Spelling Test – Google Forms

After some thoughtful contemplations about Google Forms in the classroom, I have created a mock spelling test using google forms to test a suggestion about using google forms for weekly spelling tests in the classroom. The link to the mock spelling test is here http://bit.ly/YtYLvm.

When giving the test the teacher would read the words out aloud. It would have been good to add some audio to the form so that the students could work completely independently on their test. I thought about recording the words in audacity and embedding the link in a google doc although wondered if this would be too cumbersome and also contemplated saving the file as an MP4 and then could put on an ipod and play aloud to the students. Having an audio file of the words means that students doing extension words could work separately and all students could finish spelling at the same time.

Here are some negatives:  some students may only finger type and be left behind. With room chatter the audio file may not be heard. Can you think of any others to add to my list?.

Lego Robotics – MINDSTORMS NXT count me in!!

A few years ago my son received a lego MINDSTORMS NXT set from Santa. It has given us hours of fun with ICT using science and mathematics concepts to make and program robots. When we were living on the Gold Coast my children attended Pacific Pines Primary School and during our time there the lego robotics group won the QLD championships and had to travel to Perth, WA for the Australian championships. Sadly we have since moved away and the schools we’ve attended don’t have such groups.

In my current teaching context there are so many students that aren’t into football, soccer and any other physically exerting sport, however they are very interested in computers, science, ICT and spend a lot of time gaming. I only wish that more schools were able to provide a club such as lego robotics for these kids to extend and develop their minds.

My goal as a teacher is to raise funds in conjuction with the P&C committee and student council within my school community and set up a lego robotics club. I have searched around for information about lego robotic in Australian Schools and found a group called Robotics Club Australia which is based in Sydney and run weekly and holiday workshops for students in their area through roboticslearning.com.au. The website says that other locations including Brisbane in Qld will be opening up soon. I would very much also like to attend some PD to become a certified practitioner of lego robotics to let my inner child run wild with the kids.

Looking forward to finding more about this in the future.


Mind mapping Tools

Assignment 2 is a challenge although surprisingly I am thoroughly enjoying the thinking processes to achieve a great outcome. It has been great to revisit backward unit planning although dividing my unit into separate learning experiences is new to me and has been my biggest challenge so far with this course.

I am a big fan of using life road maps to visually display and record historical inquiry. However, as I am producing engaging ICT rich learning experiences why not a life road map embedded within ICT. So far I have found four ICT interactive mind-mapping tools suitable for year six students to use. I used Bubbl.us earlier in this course and found it very simple and interesting to use. Here are some new items to add to my tooklit:

  • Text 2 Mindmap I particularly like. Students can type their details and the program will convert it into a mind map. Very simple for students to use without having any prior experience. Their tech savvy nature will make it work first time.
  • Mind42
  • Mindmeister


Testing my PLN – it works!

Very much enjoying a somewhat less intense assessment for Assignment 2. Just about finished Stage 2 and began searching for some big ideas for ICT integration to fit in with a year 6 Historical Community of Inquiry. I remember seeing somewhere throughout EDC3100 a video of a teacher that posted a question/video/picture up on the screen and students were able to reply and annotate with voice, videos and pictures thus creating a collaborative learning experience that prompted higher order critical thinking. For the life of me I could not think what it was called and I couldn’t find any evidence of it in my toolbelt.

I needed to pull out the big guns and opened up to my PLN for help. First I posted on facebook hoping that someone at home studying today would read my post and recognise seeing the tool I was looking for. Within 5 minutes other course participants were sharing their ideas with me. Nicole Hargreaves shared with me a tool called popcorn maker. You can read all about it from Nicole’s blog. I remember watching the video from a link on the USQ study desk however, never really took the time to analyse its benefits and functionality until specifically looking for a particular tool. I then took to twitter and the EDC3100 Diigo group for further assistance.

Finally discovered to tool I was looking for on Study Desk which linked to a wiki called 50+ web 2.0 ways to tell a story. The tool I’m going to use for my big ideas in Assignment 2 is Voicethread. Voicethread is a cloud based web 2.0 tool that designed for tertiary online learning however has been adapted to suit collaborative classroom learning. Whist the process of searching for a lost tool took 4 hours from start to finish, it would have taken days if not for my PLN. Now I’m focused and back on track. I hope that I can repay the favour given to me today by Nicole and assist someone looking for info in the future.