My reasons against…

After engaging with course materials today, I reflected back on an activity that I did as part of the course a few weeks ago.  In this activity, we had to examine some activities and consider how we could use these in the classroom.

I would like to share my answer for one of the activities with you all, but first I would like to say that while the activity had some great benefits, I felt that it was not something that I would choose to do in the classroom.  Yes, it could be modified so that students do not post their comments – but I think this takes away the excitement, don’t you?


Celeb Grammar Cops (Red Balloon, 2013)

Students examining their idols’ social media tweets to uncover instances of spelling and grammar mistakes, and tweeting back the corrections in a constructive manner.

Teachers can use this to give examples of when although a person has succeeded in one field, they do have other areas of weakness, in this case correctly using the English language.  Students can use this to develop their critical thinking and constructive criticism skills.

It highlights the necessity for students to learn and use correct grammar and spelling, something that according to Root and McKay (2014), students do not consider as important.

The part of this example that could be used would be analysing celebrity tweets.  However, I would be extremely hesitant for the students to correct the celebrities on social media, as I believe that given the large proportion of negative replies or ‘trolling’ on social media, the students are being put in a situation where they are exposed to these negative comments and this could have severe negative impacts on the students.  Of equal concern too is another cyber safety aspect – the unregulated exposure that students will face during an activity such as this MAY inadvertently connect students with online predators.



Root, T., & McKay, S.  (2014).  Student awareness of the use of social media screening by prospective employers. Journal of Education for Business, 89(4), 202 – 206.  doi: 10.1080/08832323.2013.848832.

Red Balloon.  (2013, June 7).  Celeb grammar cops [Video file].  Retrieved from


A New Challenge…

I came across this tweet on @MindShiftKQED. It links to an extract from an interesting interview with Carol Dweck, who is concerned that her ‘growth mindset’ theory is being oversimplified and becoming a “false” growth mindset (MindShift, 2016).  After reading this, I have discovered that I too am guilty in broadbrushing the growth mindset.  Instead of being more realistic and recognising that while I have a growth mindset in some things, I also have a fixed mindset in others.  The challenge that I give myself from now is to recognise when I do have a fixed mindset towards something, and try to adopt more of a growth mindset instead.

Also some food for thought…


Mindshift.  (2016).  Carol Dweck explains the ‘false’ growth mindset that worries her.  Retrieved

The themes within…

After reading about the “Decoding Learning” report (Luckin, Bligh, Manches, Ainsworth, Crook & Noss, 2012), I thought I’d take up the challenge of trying to analyse my own unit notes to see what themes I have included in my planning so far…


Teachers will create an interactive environment for learning by linking the set of iPads so that students can use iBrainstorm (2015) to record their brainstorm of unfamiliar words and their possible meanings, and share this with the other groups via the tablet-to-tablet capability of the app.  Students again use this same interactive environment using iBrainstorm (2015) to record and share their brainstorm of common abbreviations and emoticons, and their meanings with the other groups via tablet-to-tablet sharing.


  • Learning with others
  • Learning through exploring
Teachers will arrange for students to Skype (2017) schools from other countries to investigate other students’ interpretations of the unfamiliar words, and their understanding of modern abbreviations and emoticons used in communicative technology.


  • Learning with others
  • Learning through inquiry
  • Learning in and across settings


Teachers will demonstrate and teach how to highlight and make annotations as they project Skitch (2017) onto the IWB.  Students then use Skitch (2017) to mark their copies alongside the teacher.  After being given transcripts of their own, the students then progress onto highlighting and annotating these texts.




  • Learning through practising
Teachers will teach students how to effectively use their laptops/desktops to search the internet for examples of multimodal texts from which to make their evaluations of.


  • Learning through exploring

Teachers will use ICTs to support learning as students collaboratively use their laptops to analyse specific online blog posts, podcasts and multimodal texts that are accessed from a word processing document.   Teachers will further develop the students’ confidence in using the IWB as they use this to project each text type while they present their findings.


  • Learning with others
  • Learning through practising
  • Learning from assessment
Teachers will use ICTs to teach the skills of adding and embedding texts by requiring students to engage with the exemplar website which features several how-to guides.


  • Learning from experts


Teachers will also use ICTs to teach skills, such as using: Google Docs (2017) to teach how to draft blog posts and podcasts, and share documents between classmates; Google Slides (2017) to teach how to create multimodal texts, synthesise and sequence information, add scene timing, integrate audio, and how to upload and edit photos and videos; and Audacity (2017) to teach how to record podcasts, use audio equipment to record single and multi-track recordings, and how to import, edit and export files.


  • Learning from experts
  • Learning with others
  • Learning through making


Although I have managed to find evidence of all eight themes in the ways that technology will be used throughout the unit, my next step is to evaluate how effectively each activity will enhance learning to make sure that each theme is not represented at a solely superficial level.



Audacity (Version 2.1.3) [Computer software].  (2017). Retrieved from

Google Docs (Version 1.2017.28206) [Computer software].  (2017). Retrieved from

Google Slides (Version 1.2017.28207) [Computer software].  (2017). Retrieved from

iBrainstorm (Version 3.0) [Computer software].  (2015). Retrieved from

Luckin, R., Bligh, B., Manches, A., Ainsworth, S., Crook, C., & Noss, R.  (2012).  Decoding learning: The proof, promise and potential of digital education.  Retrieved from

Skitch (Version 3.4.1) [Computer software]. (2015). Retrieved from

Skype (Version 6.35.1) [Computer software].  (2017). Retrieved from

Creating Apps in the Classroom

Today I delved into an internet search with far broader parameters than I’m used to!  Normally my search is very narrow to try and retrieve very specific information, but today I used ‘activating prior knowledge “ict”’.  I found some interesting articles and vaguely followed my nose through hyperlinked menus until one took my interest – ‘The Impact of Student-Created Apps’ (Davis, 2017).

 In this article, the author details a unit in her computer science classroom where students work in groups to create an app and the benefits to students are many and varied; such as the key real-world skills of speech-making, brainstorming, project management, and ‘social entrepreneurship’ (Davis, 2017).  Her task meant that everyone in the group played an important role within the project, such as project managers, marketers, writers, graphic designers etc., and when it came to the end of the unit, one students had to present their app to a Shark Tank style panel (Davis, 2017).

I can see how this unit could be developed further to be an interdisciplinary unit and incorporate many strands of English, Maths, The Arts, Technology and even Science (depending on the focus of the app).  I can imagine Middle Years students brainstorming and choosing ideas that are of real interest to them in their lives; therefore maximising their involvement, motivation and even becoming emotionally invested in the project.


Davis, V.  (2017, August 15). Coding in the classroom: The impact of student-created apps [Web log post].  Retrieved from

Applying the RAT to a learning activity

Today I made a list of my short-listed apps and how they could be used within the lessons to enhance student learning.  After doing this, I used the RAT Framework to analyse if the technology has been used at a replacement, amplification or transforming level (Hughes, Scharber & Thomas, 2006).  This is an interesting way to analyse the potential effectiveness of the ways that we are intending to use ICTs in tasks – very helpful for the future!

App Task RAT
Google Docs (2017) Drafting podcasts, blog posts and persuasive animation. The ability for students to share their document between users amplifies their learning.
Google Slides (2017) Drafting and creating a slideshow.  This app allows multiple users to edit a text at any time. The ability for students to share their document between users amplifies their learning.
Audacity (2017) Recording, editing and publishing podcasts Students creates an informative text and modifies the text to create a podcast. Transformative.
Wordle (Feinberg, 2014) Create a wordle with names of language, audio and visual features and other key concepts learnt. This ICT doesn’t give a huge benefit to students.  I’m unsure if its amplification because it’s easier than pen and paper, but I’m thinking it’s more a replacement.
iBrainstorm (2015) Students use this app while they engage in a collaborative brainstorming activity. Learning is amplified due to the iPad to iPad sharing capability.
Twitter (Twitter Inc., 2017) Students could tweet live updates from the graduation luncheon Students are able to construct texts as event happen and send them instantly to a live feed on their website.


Kindle (2014) Students use this app to read texts Replacement
Skype (2017) Students engage with students from other countries and cultures to discuss vocabulary often used when using communicating devices Unsure if amplifying or transforming… what do you think?
Skitch (2015) Students use this app to mark-up documents Amplifying learning
PowToon (2017) Students will create a persuasive text, then create an animated cartoon to present the text. Transformative

Hughes, J., Thomas, R., & Scharber, C. (2006). Assessing technology integration: The RAT – replacement, amplification, and transformation – framework. Retrieved from

New depths of planning

Today I’ve been trying to align the content descriptors (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2017) within my unit with the standards elaborations (Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority [QCAA], 2017).  This has shown me the depth that is required for rigorous planning – not only do we need to know the curriculum, we also need to know how the standards relate back to, and direct, the learning.


There seems to be a lot of cross-over between the elaborations but this is what I’ve done so far…


Year 7
Content Descriptor

(ACARA, 2017)

Standards Elaboration

(QCAA, 2017)

Understand the way language evolves to reflect a changing world, particularly in response to the use of new technology for presenting texts and communicating (ACELA1528)



Students understand how text structures can influence the complexity of a text and are dependent on audience, purpose and context.
Understand that the coherence of more complex texts relies on devices that signal text structure and guide readers, for example overviews, initial and concluding paragraphs and topic sentences, indexes or site maps or breadcrumb trails for online texts (ACELA1763)


Students understand how the selection of a variety of language features can influence an audience. Students create structured and coherent texts for a range of purposes and audiences.
Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, selecting aspects of subject matter and particular language, visual, and audio features to convey information and ideas (ACELY1725)


They create texts showing how language features and images from other texts can be combined for effect.


Use a range of software, including word processing programs, to confidently create, edit and publish written and multimodal texts (ACELY1728)


Students create structured and coherent texts for a range of purposes and audiences. They make presentations using language features to engage the audience.



The simple things in life..

It’s easy to get side-tracked trying to find a really amazing app or piece of technology that will enhance the students learning, but sometimes it’s the simple things that have more impact.

This highlights to me that as teachers, we have to remember to consider the simple applications of ICTs too.  I love this idea of using software to create concept maps and the use of graphic organisers in the classroom is also supported by research (Bromley, 2015)!


Bromley, K.  (2015).  From drawing to digital creations: Graphic organisers in the classroom. In J. Flood, S. B. Heath & D. Lapp (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Teaching Literacy Through the Communicative and Visual Arts (pp. 423 – 428).  Retrieved from

Searching… searching… searching…

It wasn’t until I began searching the internet for apps or programs to help me achieve what I had in mind for Assignment 1 that I realised just how much technology has changed and the staggering amount of options now available!  I can understand how teachers who are apprehensive about incorporating ICT into the content descriptors find it daunting.  If you are not aware of the tech “out there” or how to find it, I’d imagine that it could be a huge barrier to overcome.

This made me reflect back on the growth mindset theory (Dweck, 2014) in week one and the thought of embracing challenges spurred me to take on Twitter.  In my haze of trying to work out hashtags, I came across this awesome resource.


What do you think about it? Do you think that the apps align with where the author put them in the taxonomy?

Dweck, C. (2014, December 17).  The power of believing that you can improve [Video file].  Retrieved from

Instability & Redundancy

While engaging with course material this week, it was mentioned that due to the changing world of technology, certain ICTs that are around now, will eventually become redundant.  As it is, the hugely exponential growth and change of direction with technologies is extremely difficult to keep abreast of.  I’m sure that we all know how frustrating it can be when we have problems trying to open older documents on a newer computer (imagine trying to open a Word document that was created using a computer running Windows 95, on a new one running Windows 10? Fun…? No.).

This unstable characteristic of ICTs (Koehler and Mishra (2009) made me reflect on my experiences as a Teacher Aide, and two memories are very relevant to the instability of ICTs and their place and use in schools:

  • When I began, I worked in a small school in a far Western Queensland town. The school didn’t have Wi-Fi, iPods, or iPads – not because they weren’t around then, but because we simply did not have the infrastructure to make them work!  The older students had laptops, but they may as well have been desktops because the good old blue cord still had to be attached for them to access the internet.  I remember when the school got their very first interactive whiteboard – although the capabilities were overwhelming, it made the lessons very enjoyable to the easily impressed Prep to Year 3 cohort!
  • After I moved to the Western Downs, I had the not-very-delightful task of doing an asset audit at my school (trust me, it was very tedious …) and what I found was that on our register, there were a LOT of computer programs that the school had purchased over the years! Well, that’s great – but they either belonged to obsolete technology, related to subjects that were no longer in the curriculum, or the teacher that had purchased them had long since moved on! Helpful to student learning? Maybe some of the programs had aspects that could be helpful…. but not in a store room.


Then I began to think about what I would normally consider the teachers “role” to be.  In my mind, as teachers, I thought that we are meant to be preparing students to become active citizens in their learning, community and careers (this was more focussed towards the actual skills and knowledge aspect).  I never actually considered the specific ICT skills that they will require to do this, or the types of ICTs that students will be using now, and in the future.


Koehler, M., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60–70. Retrieved from

Looking backwards to look forwards

After spending some time reflecting on my last post (specifically how I felt while I was trying to navigate and fine-tune WordPress and Diigo), I’ve come to the realisation that the emotional roller-coaster that I was experiencing may be similar to how my future students could feel when faced with their own challenges while using ICTs.

When faced with the challenges of using ICTs, I think that students who are new to a particular ICT, or those who have a predisposition towards a ‘fixed mindset’ (Dweck, 2014) would perhaps feel more pronounced emotional highs and lows than those students who are confident users of many types of ICTs (maybe they have other prior experiences which may act as points of reference to compare these new challenges against?) and those with a ‘growth mindset’ (Dweck, 2014).  Although of course, this is just my own thoughts and it may turn out that every student feels the frustrations and a sense of achievement to the same degree – regardless of their prior experiences, knowledge, skills and mindset!

This has emphasised to me as a future teacher that I need to be aware:

  • of the frustrations and exhilaration experienced by students as they negotiate the ICTs which they are expected to use, and how this can impact on their learning.  For example, will they rise to the challenge, or become so overwhelmed by the task at hand that they may become distracted, or give up altogether?
  • that although I may be confident in using an ICT, the student(s) may never have seen or used it before.  I must never take it for granted that students will learn a new technology quickly.
  • that there is more than one way to go about technology.  I found this tweet today and thought that it is quite meaningful in all aspects of education, but more importantly in how we approach the use of ICT in our classes for teaching and for learning.  I can’t work out how to embed it properly but if you click on the last hyperlink it will hopefully take you to the pic!


Dweck, C.  (2014, December 17).  The power of believing that you can improve [Video file].  Retrieved from