Friday, 5 February 2016

Collaborative Classroom Technologies

“In order to challenge digital technologies to deliver a genuinely enhanced learning experience, it is possible to use the educational theories already developed about what it takes to learn” (Laurillard, 2009). Effectiveness of collaborative learning largely depends on the quality of student interaction (Kaendler, Wiedmann, Rummel, & Spada, 2015).

Laurillard(2009) writes about four different learning theories:

Instructionism is the most prominent theory with instruction being the main focus and using technology for assessing.  

Constructionism is building knowledge from making doing and sharing. Learners have to share and discuss the actions they take, and the products they make, in the practice environment (Laurillard, 2009). 

Socio-cultural learning is the importance of conversation in learning and making use of communications technologies (Laurillard, 2009). 

Collaborative learning combines the social and construction elements of learning and integrates technology to support both.

The best approach for my assignment and lesson planning is a combination of all learning theories as each approach focuses on a different aspect of the learning process and different uses of digital technologies. 

Kaendler, C., Wiedmann, M., Rummel, N., & Spada, H. (2015). Teacher Competencies for the Implementation of Collaborative Learning in the Classroom: a Framework and Research Review. Educational Psychology Review, 505-536.

Laurillard, D. (2009). The pedagogical challenges to collaborative technologies. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 5-20.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning as defined by Chai & Tan, 2010 (as cited in, Sing, Wei-Ying, Hyo-Jeong, & Mun, 2011) is social interactions that targets deeper knowledge. De Hei, Strijbos, Sjoer, & Admiraal (2015) states collaborative learning contributes to student education and prepares them for teamwork if planned and implemented properly. 

The key issues raised about collaborative learning for teachers and students by Sing, Wei-Ying, Hyo-Jeong, & Mun (2011) are: 

Students are engaged in off-task talking
Group members may not contribute good ideas
Students may have difficulties resolving conflicts

To overcome these difficulties teachers need to take into account the social and cognitive benefits for collaborative learning. When working in these groups students need to feel safe and supported, have a good scaffold and set learning goals to build skills, variety of assessment, feedback to promote positive independence.  Students will work productively in groups if they are provided with more choices on their topic and the people who form their group. Studies have shown they learn better, socially bond, gain ideas and complement their team’s strengths (Sing, Wei-Ying, Hyo-Jeong, & Mun, 2011).

Describe briefly (one or two sentences) what a group of your students would look like if they were using a form of ICT of your choosing and participating in each of the following:

Group interaction

Is group work is set up in advance by the teacher but is coordinated by the learners who work independently with minimal input from the teacher (Beauchamp & Kennewell, 2010). A group activity that may be set in the classroom would be for a group of students to use iMovie to create an end of year pictorial of what the class had done that year or an excursion movie to be played at a school assembly.

Authoritative interactivity

Authoritative interaction with ICT is when the teacher plans fixed questions with specific answers (Beauchamp & Kennewell, 2010). This could be used as an assessment task in the classroom.  The use of Google forms, Survey Monkey or Active Vote on the interactive whiteboards could be examples of authoritative interactivity. 

Dialectic interactivity

Dialectic interactivity with ICT is a constructive mode, where the learner is the object of probing questioning by a teacher and is planned so the student can understand the subject matter (Beauchamp & Kennewell, 2010). This could be an activity where a teacher has hyperlinked websites to a class blog for the student to access particular sites to gain knowledge on a topic or perhaps a web quest.

Dialogic interactivity

The teacher uses open ended questioning and a looser structure so the student has a greater power over the direction and nature of the learning activity using the ICT and their skills in using it (Beauchamp & Kennewell, 2010). An activity where all students could be involved at the same time could be a Google Doc for prior knowledge details before a unit starts or to voice an opinion on a topic. 

Synergistic interactivity

Synergistic interactivity is independent reflective activity carried out by students collectively in the whole-class setting (Beauchamp & Kennewell, 2010). A synergistic interactivity for the class would be to create a mind map as a whole class activity using MindMup, MindMeister or Lucodchart.

I could use a variety of Interactivity with ICT in my assignment depending on the type of activity the students were engaging in.

Beauchamp, G., & Kennewell, S. (2010). Learning in Digital Worlds: Selected Contributions from the CAL 09 Conference. Computers & Education, 759–766.

De Hei, M. S., Strijbos, J.-W., Sjoer, E., & Admiraal, W. (2015). Collaborative learning in higher education: lecturers’ practices and beliefs. Research Papers in Education, 232-247.

Simmons, C., & Hawkins, C. (2009). Planning to teach an ICT lesson. In Teaching ICT (pp. 54-105). London: SAge Publications Ltd.

Sing, C. C., Wei-Ying, L., Hyo-Jeong, S., & Mun, C. H. (2011). Advancing Collaborative Learning With ICT: Conception, Cases and Design. Singapore: Ministry of Education, Singapore.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Classroom Behaviour Management and Technology

The five elements of classroom management identified by Lim, Pek & Chai (2005) discusses supporting activities for ICT tools for lessons, the role of the teacher, establishing expectations and procedures using ICT and the role of students and technical support. 

Supporting Activities for ICT Tools

Teachers can sometimes assume students are able to effectively complete all tasks using ICT because they are Digital Natives. Just like any other task children need to have a clear understanding of what they need to do to and the skills to successfully complete an activity.  Providing effective explicit teaching of new skills, printed instructions for regular activities as well as some peer assistance could be beneficial to students who are still developing their skills. Teachers therefore need to identify students who need extra support using ICT and model and guide them to develop their confidence and minimize behavioural issues.

Role of Teacher

The teacher's role is transformed through incorporating technology into teaching and learning (Rose & Kadvekar, 2015). Therefore teachers guide their students by becoming facilitators of learning when using ICT in the classroom. This approach is not new to most inquiry based schools but some teachers may need to adjust their management style to accommodate ICT to ensure classroom harmony and task completion. Teachers need to be aware and monitoring the classroom while students are using ICT.  Teacher’s expectations, routines and supervision need to be establish to ensure they are conscious of everything that is happening in the classroom.

Role of Student Helpers 

Student helpers give teachers and extra set of skills and the opportunity to focus on the lessons (Lim, Pek, & Chai, 2005). Assigning students the responsibilty to handle remedial tasks or peer tutor their skills ensures the teachers are able to guide struggling students and considerably improve the student’s technological knowledge.

The Role of Technical Assistants

Technical assistants are not usually found in the classroom during lessons.  The technical assistants that work in our system are behind the scenes purchasing and maintaining hardware and software. 

Establishment of Rules and Procedures

Establishing rules and procedures when using ICT should be explicitly taught before the technology is used.  In the example from Lim, Pek, & Chai (2005) it appears the example discussed was a computer lab situation. It has been more than ten years since this article so most computer labs have now been dismantled with schools opting for more hardware in individual classes. With more technology available the need for rules and procedures is essential to help the teacher manage the lesson.  Teachers using positive reinforcement will increase the student’s positive behaviours (Roblyer & Doering, 2014) during these lessons. Students need to understand there will interruptions to their screen time and the students also need to manage their time to ensure smooth transition between lessons. 
These five elements are incorporated into every lesson in classrooms to create a positive environment for learning and to effectively reach curriculum outcomes.

Interactive Computer Technology

Teaching young children is a behaviour management nightmare for some teachers.  This age group are active, egocentric and always wanting to take center stage. Incorporating interactive computer technology is a way to have all the learners focused and help maintain a productive classroom.  The interactivity has a dual purpose.  Not only does it help manage the group but it also encourages positive peer feedback with the right guidance. I use interactive activities every day in a variety of lessons and contexts. The children love to show everyone how clever they are or become the teacher when they come to the front of the class.

In conclusion I believe if your lessons are challenging and engaging classroom management issues will be minimal and everyone will have a productive experience.

Lim, C. P., Meow , S. P., & Ching , S. C. (2005). Classroom management issues in information and communication technology (ICT)-mediated learning environments: back to the basics. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, p391.

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2014). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Essex: Pearson.

Rose, A., & Kadvekar, S. (2015). ICT (Information And Communication Technologies) Adoption Model For Educational Institutions. Journal of Commerce and Management Thought, 558-570.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Planning and Conducting Lessons with Technology

Deciding on the objectives and assessments is in Phase 2, Step 3 in the Technology Integration Planning Model (Roblyer & Doering, 2014). If the teachers have clear expectations and a focus on observable  outcomes, they can plan a range of assessment strategies including ICT (Board of Studies) as part of an ongoing process. These assessments should be valid and based on syllabus outcomes.

The lessons I have in my assignment are based on Kindergarten English.  To assess these lessons I would view the quiz results in the Raz Kids website to check comprehension skills of my students to cover the outcome: 

ENe4A  demonstrates developing skills and strategies to read, view and comprehend short, predictable texts on familiar topics in different media and technologies.

I could also see the improvements from working with the handwriting app from pretest samples of the child’s handwriting and post test samples to cover the outcome:

ENe3A produces most lower case and upper case letters and uses digital technologies to construct texts.

Board of Studies. (n.d.). Kindergarten - Year 6 Assessment Strategies. Retrieved February 1, 2016, from

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2014). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Essex: Pearson.

Planning Lessons with Technology

Roblyer & Doering (2014) tell us to integrate technology we need to understand what outcomes we expect from using technology as well as knowing the best way of assessing the outcomes.

When planning for lessons I use DuFour’s four critical questions

1. What do we want our students to learn?
2. How will we know they have learned it?
3. How will we respond when they don’t learn?
4. How will we respond if they already know it?

These questions help me to make sure the curriculum is my main focus. 
Lesson plans are a planning tool (Simmons & Hawkins, 2009).  Every teacher plans their lessons in their own way and in varying styles. When planning my lessons I create a day book from my Key Learning Area programs.  While creating this day book I prepare my lessons for the coming week including all resources and tools need for those lessons. It is important to go through this lesson planning process for every lesson (Simmons & Hawkins, 2009) to ensure you are organised, the lesson runs smoothly and you are focused on the learning outcomes.

At the start of each lesson we discuss prior lessons and what we are learning to do this lesson - our lesson aim.  I will then do a warm up activity which is something to capture the children’s attention encourage them to want to be involved. I will then model or explicitly teach the content before the children complete an individual task on at their level. During this independent time I will assist any children who need it and give positive feedback to all students.  At the end of the lesson we will reflect and review our learning goal.  

I am not in the habit of using set lesson plans as I like to cater all lessons to the needs of the class that I have.  I did find The Australian Curriculum (Australian Curriculum Lessons, 2012-2015) website has a range of lesson plans.  

The greatest advice I would give to a new teacher is to plan ahead and be prepared.  There is always something happening at school which takes your relief from face to face teaching time when you had planned to get something done like extra-curricular activities, Professional Learning Team meetings, meetings with other teachers or staff, meetings with parents, OT, Speech Pathologists, Special Needs planning and meetings the list is endless.

Australian Curriculum Lessons. (2012-2015). Australian Curriculum Lessons. Retrieved February 1, 2016, from

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2014). Integrating Educational Technology into
Teaching. Essex:Pearson.

Simmons, C., & Hawkins, C. (2009). Planning to teach an ICT lesson. In Teaching
ICT (pp. 54-105). London: SAge Publications Ltd.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Ethical issues

Technology is an essential tool in the 21st century classroom and society but while bringing many benefits to society, computers also bring problems, tension and disbenefits (Rosenberg, 2013).  There can be potential social, educational, cultural legal and ethical issues associated with computer use as summerised below (Roblyer & Doering, 2014). 

Educational issues associated with computer use include lack of funding, teacher and student accountability for quality progress, best practices and distance education.
Cultural & equity issues associated with computer use include the digital divide, racial and gender equity and students with special needs.

Legal and ethical associated with computer use include hacking, safety issues, plagiarism and illegal downloading.

Social issues associated with computer use include treats to personal safety, technology overuse and misuse, online distractions like social networking and inappropriate sites, cyberbullying, spam, malware, viruses and phishing. 

An issue that has had a lot of media and research attention in the past 10 years is in technology overuse. From articles about limiting screen time before bed (Hale & Guan, 2014) to improve the amount and quality of sleep, to childhood obesity with studies showing some children are spending 24 hours a week in front of a screen (Anderson & Butcher, 2006) so the overuse of technology is concerning. There is not a quick fix to this problem and as teachers and parents we need to understand everyone including children must have a balance of physical activity, sleep, socialising, food and entertainment. 

Anderson, P. M., & Butcher, K. F. (2006). Childhood obesity: trends and potential causes. The Future of Children, p 37.

Hale, L., & Guan, S. (2014). Screen time and sleep among school-aged children and adolescents: A systematic literature review. Science Review, 50–58.

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2014). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Essex: Pearson.

Rosenberg, R. S. (2013). The Social Impact of Computers. Retrieved January 31, 2016, from Google Books:

Web-based learning

Web based learning is changing all the time. Roblyer & Doering (2014) tell us that teachers have numerous web-based lessons, projects and courses in their classrooms where once it was only one online activitiy at a time. I love the idea of ‘Keypals’ for primary aged children.  What a great way to correspond with someone from another country or culture and an exciting learning tool.

The Google Apps suite is quiet amazing with some excellent free web-based learning resources that could easily be used in the classroom. I have visited all different countries of the world today as well as planets from our solar system using these apps and add ons.
Google Education is an incredible resource.  I have spent ages looking through the site and learnt so much. They have videos for a lot of the information so even the reluctant readers in our classes will have the opportunity to learn the content.

Passwords are the first line of defence against cyber criminals (Google). The ever increasing amount of passwords are hard to keep track of and I always thought my idea of limiting my passwords to a few variations was a great idea so I couldn’t forget them. It also limited the chance of me getting locked out of a site if I got the password incorrect three times.  We can become a little blasé about our passwords so easily.  I love the idea of using the first letters of a sentence with some numbers to help remember them.  Simple information that will help me and those I teach keep save online.

Google for Education (Google) offers a range of products, training and resources perfect for educational settings.

Google Street View (Google) was an interesting site. What a wonderful way to share amazing sites of the world all from the comfort of your home with your family or in the classroom as a learning activity. For young children it would be a great way for them to share an overseas holiday or their previous country with their peers without bringing in a thousand photos.

Trimble SketchUp (Google) is a 3D drawing app that helps you create 3D images. From simple lines you can push and pull the surfaces to turn them into 3D forms. You can stretch, copy, rotate and paint to make anything you like. This app would be great for all ages.
Google Scholar (Google) provides a simple way to search articles, theses, books, abstracts etc for academic purposes. 

Google Translate (Google) is a wonder resource to connect people, places and cultures across the language barrier. This app would be great for students who are learning another language and for children whose first language is not English.

STEM & CS have a lots of information for high school and higher education settings but the Custom Search for K-12 Computer Science Education and Public Data Explorer would be useful in Primary school.

Microsoft Educator Network (Microsoft) has training, networking, forums, lesson plans, live lessons and virtual field trip resources for teachers.

Google. (n.d.). Retrieved January 2016, from SketchUp:

Google. (n.d.). Google for Education. Retrieved January 2016, from

Google. (n.d.). Google Safety Center. Retrieved January 2016, from Secure your

Google. (n.d.). Google Scholar. Retrieved January 2016, from

Google. (n.d.). Google Translate. Retrieved January 2016, from

Google. (n.d.). Street View. Retrieved January 2016, from Google Street View:

Microsoft. (n.d.). Microsoft Education. Retrieved January 2016, from

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2014). Integrating Educational Technology into
Teaching. Essex: Pearson.