Posted in Web 2.0, wellbeing

Being ESmart

Part of my current role is to coordinate our school’s journey to become an ESmart accredited school, through the Alannah & Madeline Foundation.

Today I ran a staff induction to bring them up to speed on what the program is about, what we have already accomplished and where we need to go from here.

I’ve been doing hours and hours of research to find videos and resources for students to view to make them aware of the positives and negatives of digital technology, mainly around the concept of a’digital footprint’. I thought I’d share some of the fabulous videos that I’ve come across – some are suitable to show students, others are probably not…use your discretion and common sense. If you have any other gems to share, I’d love to hear your list!

I began today’s staff session by showing Jigsaw, by Think You Know (UK).

As part of our curriculum for 2017, certain year levels will be viewing and analysing the short film, #GameOn, from the ESafety Office. Here it is below.

Posted in iPads, Technology, Web 2.0

What could make QR codes even easier?

I absolutely LOVE using QR codes in the classroom. There are times when I don’t do a trial run myself and the website or video is blocked or unresponsive, but overall they have saved me so much time and effort.
I’ve downloaded some from other sites, but usually just make my own – I’ve found that is the easiest website to use: copy link you want, paste into the blank box, click generate and voila! Then it downloads and you either print it directly, or copy and paste into a document.

What if I told you that you could make that process even easier? At the recent #EdTechSA conference I went to, I learnt about a new extension for my Google Chrome browser – url shortener.
To find it, I simply typed the name of it into my browser, followed by ‘Chrome extension’ and it was as simple as that.

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 5.11.53 pm
Once it appears in your browser, you simply click on it when you want to shorten the URL of a website.

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 5.12.36 pm

But, by clicking on the lowest option ‘QR Code’ – it automatically generates a QR code for you! No copying and pasting website details, no opening up a second tab to create a QR, no saving the QR code somewhere in order to download it…it is seriously so quick!

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 5.12.42 pm

If you’re absolutely amazed (like I was)…share it with your friends! Save them all some time!

Posted in iPads, Learning, Technology, Web 2.0

EdTechSA presentation

For all those who were at the @EdTechSA conference in Adelaide and were in my workshop, you’ll know we had some technical difficulties – ha, yes – at a technology conference.

EdTechSA 1

As we all know, flexibility is the key, so after 15 minutes of me talking with a blank screen, various cord changes, menu options, adapter swaps…we had lift off!

If you’d like the links to the resources I talked about in the presentation (ipad resources, apps and websites, please feel free to download the PDF version. You’ll notice that I’ve removed the videos and photos which had identifiable students in them – sorry, I don’t have permission to share them further than the conference.

P.S. The lovely @JessOttewell actually filmed 11 minutes of my presentation – so if you want to experience some of it…you guessed it, jump on to Twitter, search for (and follow) Jess and you can see for yourself!

Posted in iPads, Technology, Web 2.0

Making technology work for you.

I’ve just returned from the Critical Agenda’s Annual Conference “Supporting Students with Special Needs”.

One of the workshops I went to was presented by Megan Iemma (@megsamanda), focusing on using ICT in the Special Needs classroom. Megan presented us with a large range of different websites and apps that (I thought) were for students to use in the classroom. However as I listened more, I realised that a lot of these tools were for teachers to use in the planning stage of their lessons and that sometimes the students would benefit from the technology without actually using the technology themselves. I was particularly focused on the literary/dyslexia side of things.

Examples of these include:

The Readability Test Tool


AAC Ferrett App Directory

Megan’s workshop really made me think about how I use technology in the classroom and that sometimes the biggest advantage for the students is when the teacher has used technology to differentiate the learning task.

What sorts of apps/programs do you use to help differentiate tasks for students?

Posted in Technology, Web 2.0

Technology Tuesdays – QR Codes

Today’s Technology Tuesday’s topic is ‘QR Codes’.

The resource I developed for this session for staff assumes that staff already have i-Nigma (or another QR code scanning app) downloaded onto their iPad and that they know how to scan a QR code.

Staff will follow a step by step guide to create a QR code that links to a Storybird story. This is an activity that I use with my students when we have used Storybird to write narratives.  There is also the option for participants to scan a variety of other QR codes in order to see how QR codes are used in other classrooms and where to find free, ready made QR codes.

I also created a Thinglink for participants to use to gain even more information about QR codes. (Thinglink is an upcoming Technology Tuesday session, so stay tuned for more information!)

Click here to view the Thinglink.

Click here for the QR Code Step by Step Guide.


Posted in iPads, Technology, Web 2.0

‘Independent’ research

Technology is making it all too easy for us to access a multitude of information whenever we want. As teachers, it is up to us to empower students with the skills to conduct meaningful research on their own, with some scaffolding and guidance along the way.

I had firsthand experience with this the other day as I guided my students to use the iMathskids website to collect information for their maths investigation. They were to click on links to lead them to websites about famous Australian landmarks to identify their location and the population of the nearest town. Very few of my students were able to discern which information was important on the website. There were so many titles, subtitles, icons, pages, maps and words in bold that my students had no idea how to find the information they needed.

How do you conduct independent research? I know at my school, many sites are blocked. This requires teachers to create a ‘hotlist’ of suitable sites for students to conduct their research on. Great in theory, but when I am running Genius Hour and I have 25 students wanting to research 25 different topics – creating a hotlist of 10 suitable sites for each of them is not sustainable.

Re-thinking my maths investigation, I was lead to 2 technology tools that I am planning on using this week to help up-skill my students for future independent research. The first one is a website, “Into The Book“. My students have used this site before, both on PC and iPad, and I have found that they are engaged AND learning. In the Student Area, there is a section on ‘Evaluating’ which has a few activities on understanding websites – absolutely perfect for the task my students were required to do last week.

I also came across this blog – A Turn To Learn – which had a fabulous post How to Change the Reading Level of Your Google Search Results. I had no idea that this was even possible! My students are often struggling with how to research topics and questions – what words to write, what words to omit – but this looks like a simple process to teach each and every student in my class. 

How do you encourage and implement independent research? Is it truly independent? Or is it ‘independent’?

Posted in iPads, Technology, Web 2.0

App of the Week#7: Socrative Teacher

Screenshot 2014-03-24 17.56.47

What is it?

Socrative is an interactive assessment tool, where teachers can create quizzes to check for understanding. It is a web 2.0 tool, or an iOs or Android app.

Why should I download it?

Socrative allows you to create a variety of quizzes to use as formative or summative assessment. Not only can it check for understanding, but the program emails you a copy of the results in a spreadsheet format – all scored for you!

What do I use it for?

Socrative can be used as a teacher-paced quiz or student-paced, catering for students of all speeds. It can be used as a team activity with groups of students, as an ‘exit ticket’ assessment, or as feedback. Creating a quiz allows you to choose multiple choice questions, short answer questions or true/false questions, to allow for the maximum amount of feedback you require. Teachers will need to download the Socrative Teacher app, whereas students will need the Socrative Student version. All students need to know to access the quiz is the ‘Room Number’, which you as the teacher create when you sign up and create an account. For more information, click here to visit the Socrative website.

How do I get it?

Click here to be directed to Socrative Teacher in the App Store.

This post is the seventh in a series, highlighting apps which can be helpful in the education ‘game’.

Posted in iPads, Technology, Web 2.0

App of the Week#5: RRCalc

Screenshot 2014-03-09 20.01.47

What is it?

RRCalc is a calculator, programmed to work as you conduct your Running Records with readers, to help you calculate your results. The app retails at $1.99 in the App Store.

Why should I download it?

Not only does RRCalc assist you in calculating your results, but it offers an audio-recording option, so you can flag the errors at certain parts and listen back to it later. As you begin, you are able to flag the error and mark it as a self-correction if necessary. Once the reading is completed, you are asked to enter the number of words for the text, which will calculate a Words Per Minute (WPM) score based on the total time taken to read. I find this particularly helpful for those students who may not be making too many errors, but need assistance with their fluency and phrasing.

What do I use it for?

I use RRCalc to calculate my Running Records, but more importantly, the WPM. The audio recording is able to be emailed to yourself, or another person, (or your Evernote account for anecdotal records!) but must be done before you begin another Running Record. Once you hit the ‘Reset’ button, the app discards the previous recording – so emailing on the spot is the best method.  I email these to my Evernote account and organise them in the particular student’s notebook – perfect for listening back to, sharing with parents, or even with the students themselves to help discuss reading goals.

How do I get it?

Click here to be directed to RRCalc in the App Store.


This post is the fifth in a series, highlighting apps which can be helpful in the education ‘game’.

Posted in iPads, Technology, Web 2.0

App of the Week#4: Dropbox

What is it?

Dropbox is a storage program, available online or as an iOS app. 

Why should I download it?

Dropbox creates an easy link between documents on your iPad and your computer. It is essentially one big folder that you can access online, from any internet-connected device in the world, as long as you log in using your username and password.

What do I use it for?

I use Dropbox to access files that I create on my laptop on my iPad and vice versa. I have ‘drag and dropped’ my entire school folder, so that any forms or resources can be accessed at school, at home, on any device, at any time. It is easy to share files from your Dropbox by sending someone a ‘link’ to a file in your Dropbox. Alternatively you can use the ‘Public’ folder within your Dropbox, where students can upload files or submit assessments. For a basic guide, check out How to Use Dropbox on iPad by Ed Ahead on Snapguide. To transfer files to and from your iPad, have a look at iPad+Dropbox by Marlene Hielema.

How do I get it?

Click here to be directed to Dropbox in the App Store.


This post is the fourth in a series, highlighting apps which can be helpful in the education ‘game’.

Posted in iPads, Technology, Web 2.0

App of the Week #3: Evernote


What is it?

Evernote is a note-taking app, with the ability to organise notes into notebooks and add tags to make your notes searchable for keywords.

Why should I download it?

Evernote allows you to create notes using editable text, as well as inserting photos,videos and audio files. Creating notebooks for each student allows you to keep anecdotal notes, as well as audio/visual evidence, all in one easy to find place. It is also a Web 2.0 program, able to be downloaded to your desktop for easy use. Syncing notes between your PC and iPad is easy.

What do I use it for?

Evernote can be used for anecdotal student notes, meeting notes, PD experiences and more. Evernote even has it’s own email system, meaning you can email notes to and from your notebooks. Taking a photo of a presenter’s presentation is far more efficient than trying to scribble everything down in a hurry. Adding a ‘tag’, or a category to each note makes it easy to locate certain topics in your notes.

How do I get it?

Click here to be directed to Evernote in the App Store.

This post is the third in a series, highlighting apps which can be helpful in the education ‘game’.