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News, updates, resources & lesson ideas ready to use today
iPad Animating with Keynote
Simple animation you can start immediately
VR - The New Reality
Your guide to starting VR at your school
Teach your students how they can be a 'Hands Off Helper'...
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Hidden Google Easter Eggs
VR - The New Reality
Your guide to starting VR at your school
Roblox: Ultimate Parent Guide
A cyber safety must for your parents
Hands Off Helper
Teach your students how they can be a 'Hands Off Helper'...
ISSUE 13 / JULY 2020
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Unprecendented...that's the word that best sums up the last few months in education (& the world!). These past school holidays every teacher across the globe has just taken a big deep breath. More than a deep breath, every single teacher should be applauded for their amazing dedication, hard work and ability to adapt!
From our 'technology in education' perspective there has definitely been a silver lining to the pandemic. As one principal described to me, "we have effectively fast tracked two years of digitech PD into two weeks". For many of you reading this magazine you may have been the one driving (or at least supporting) the rapid shift to online & remote learning.
The opportunity now exists to keep the momentum going and ensure your school continues to embrace the amazing possibilities for technology to enhance learning and teaching in the 'post pandemic' setting.
PLK (peace, love, kindness) Marty & Tser Lin
Tser Lin Hetherton
HEAD OF DESIGN
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Tech In Edu Magazine
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Tser Lin Hetherton
Technology in Education
FROM THE EDITORS
MEET & HangoUTS ADMIN
A new noise filtering feature is coming to Meet. It will eliminate (using AI) those pesky background noises including keyboard typing. It will be off by default but easily enabled in the Audio settings by individual users.
There are also some big features flagged for later in the year (changing backgrounds, built in hand raising, embedded whiteboard and greater number in a grid view). Not sure when they’ll arrive but read about them here.
G SUITE UPDATES
Google Meet can now be controlled independently of classic Hangouts Chat in the Admin console. This is great for schools as you are able to enable Meet video calls for students whilst disabling Hangouts Chat, which previously was not possible.
This separation of admin allows you to also set staff to be using Chat as opposed to Hangouts Classic. As Hangouts is on the way out, I would strongly encourage you to set staff to use "Chat preferred". Chat is effectively Google's version of Slack.
Gmail settings have been updated to make them easier to access and also preview layout changes in real time.
A quick win you can show staff, is to click the settings icon in Gmail and toggle the different views. I highly recommend the Reading Pane feature, you’ll make lots of people very happy! #smallthings
Google Plus was killed off for non G Suite accounts earlier in the year but now it has been put to bed forever. In it’s place is a very familiar looking Currents...ie. it looks like Google Plus with a different name! All you need to know is that all of your existing communities and posts have been transferred across to the new Currents.
If you are the G Suite admin, you may want to read the Current guide for Admins.
CURRENTS REPLACEs Google+
Also check out
Just like it's important to consider the look, colour and feel of a classroom and physical learning space, the same could be said of the digital world. Take this opportunity to look at alternatives to the tired old plain white background with Arial font Slides or PowerPoints for your students.
Thanks to Paula (a Uruguyuan with a passion for designing Slides!) we all have access to an amazing catalaogue of totally free Google Slides & PowerPoint templates. At Slidesmania you can search by themes, styles and colours. There is even a By Edu for Edu section where fellow teachers have contributed their own designs.
What are you waiting for? Get exploring and customising!
Hands off helper
Student A: I don’t know how to [insert any tech, digital or device related task].
Student B: I can help!
Student A then turns their laptop/tablet towards Student B who proceeds to complete the task or fix the issue. They then turn the laptop/tablet back to Student A to continue on their way.
The scenario described above is happening in classrooms across the globe and it is your job as a teacher to ensure it changes. Although the issue of ‘Student A’ was resolved and the task probably completed, the long term damage is obvious - Student A has not learned how to complete said task. I also witness this “doing” rather than “showing” occurring when teachers help students (with the best of intentions). If a teacher reaches over and takes charge of a student’s device to make a quick fix, they are missing the opportunity to teach and therefore empower that student to be independent next time. Have I ever grabbed a student’s device or reached over and just made the change or fix myself in order to save time?...yes! But when I do, I am admonished by my own students who are quick to point out that I’m not being a “hands off helper”.
Many years ago, when I was the specialist ICT teacher from grades P-6, I introduced a concept called a Hands Off Helper (full disclosure - I’m not sure if I coined this phrase or heard it somewhere and have completely ripped it off! If it is the latter, thank you and please reach out to me for due credit to be given). As a teacher trying to juggle 25+ students on devices and managing the myriad of ensuing issues, I relied heavily on students helping each other. The concept of a 'Hands Off Helper' is simple: students are encouraged to help other students but without touching the device. They are allowed to use verbal instructions as well as gestures (pointing) but strictly not allowed to touch the device. The rationale is twofold:
The student in need of support is learning by doing it themself, therefore becoming more capable to complete the task independently next time.
The student doing the helping is challenged to explain the process verbally and through gestures. This student is learning how to teach.
Free poster to download and display in your classroom
Purchasing new digital technologies can be a time consuming and challenging process. Lismore Catholic Schools Digital Technologies Consultant, JJ Purton Jones, shares her insights into the selection process when she was recently looking to invest in virtual reality (VR) hardware.
It is a fact that virtual reality (VR), amongst other emerging technologies, are impacting our world now. Not our future world, but the current world we live in.
So how do the wonders of VR sit within this new emerging world and our forward thinking approach? We needed a VR experience that just worked! Worked for teachers to use in the classroom. Worked for students to interact with easily. Worked well with curriculum links. We wanted to ensure that when introducing VR it wasn’t presented as a new shiny thing, it wasn’t chocolate covered cauliflower, but had real purpose in our classrooms. Therefore we needed VR devices that:
Had devices that where uncomplicated to manage
A kit that was quick to charge and easy to store
Had experiences that teachers could guide students with
Had access to pre existing content and the potential to add further
Was able to be restricted/managed centrally by the teacher
Was able to be used as a standalone kit, not requiring further integration into the school network
With this criteria in mind (and obviously a budget to follow) we explored potential options which included:
Supplied and managed Apple iPods and Google Cardboard
Class VR set
Student’s own devices and supplied VR headgear
A lot of other potential solutions were mostly based outside of Australia. This was going to provide difficulty with ongoing support and extra transport and freight costs.
We came across several problems with these scenarios such as the screen width, resolution, supplied material only relevant to primary, charging solution problems, short battery life, headset that were easy to break, complicated management plans and much much more. We went back to the market to explore further options and came across the “Google Expeditions Kit” from Lumination. This ticked a lot of our boxes and more. Some of the specific features I liked about this kit were:
Pre-configured Google wifi - you didn’t need to rely on the school’s wifi system!
Teachers could have an element of control in guided VR tours
Long battery life (that has the potential to last a day)
Ready made easy storage solution
Over 900 expeditions to choose from
Another bonus of the Google Expeditions Kit was the compatibility with G Suite and our existing student Google accounts.
So what to do after buying the kit? We gave teachers time. Time to explore the expeditions and awe in the experiences possible. Time to discuss curriculum links. Time to plan for VR integration into their programmes. From visiting ancient Rome to seeing the seven wonders of the world, teachers loved the immersive experiences. The added bonus was the commentary provided with each tour and questions to ask students. This also enabled a great conversation about how students could start creating this content as well, enabling our students to be creators and not just consumers. Enabling students to use their creativity and start their own conversations of how VR can help solve problems.
Start small - Get teachers to experience what students would first. How do they feel and react to VR?
Ask the questions: How does VR benefit my students? Where can VR experiences enhance the curriculum?
Involve the students! What do your students think of the VR experiences? How would they like to further build upon what is already available?
The VR kits can be purchased from Lumination, an Australian based reseller.
Insights from the students:
“The overall experience of virtual reality was very good and made me understand the content better. By visualising the content and doing the questions this helped me understand the topics better than I would have on pen and paper.”
“Having the VR goggles on made it much easier to understand the content. They were very helpful and made it easier to actually understand what was happening, and what has happened to landforms and landscapes over time.”
“Virtual reality was really interesting! If we did something like this every day, I would be getting a 10 in SEAAR. It really spiked my attention and was engaging.”
“I really enjoyed the virtual reality. I really liked going underwater in the Philippines and learning about the reef.”
Images used with permission: St Joseph’s School, Banora Point, NSW.
vr- the new reality
Written by Guest Writer - JJ Purton Jones
Check out this great free resource (thanks to Adelaide Uni's CSER). It's a set of slides that gives you an simple overview of VR, just download and customise for your own PL.
Photo byAustrian National LibraryonUnsplash
Written by Marty McGauran
Over the past five years I have worked with 20+ primary schools, both teachers and students, with the chief goal of enhancing learning and teaching through the use of technology. The piece of the puzzle I have discovered is missing for the majority of teachers is the ‘WHY’. I believe that until teachers (& students) understand the ‘why’, the use of technology in a school community will remain superficial, sporadic and have minimal positive impact on learning and teaching.
So let’s explore what I mean by understanding the why.
Here’s a version of a conversation I’ve had countless times when I question teachers about how they’re using technology in their own classroom:
How do you use tech in your class?
We use things like Google Slides and have students create presentations for their projects.
The kids really love it, they’re so engaged. They can insert images, change the layout, colours and fonts as well as just email me the link when they’re done. They’re better at most of this stuff than I am!
Let’s keep Google Slides (as it is such a widely used tool) as our example and this time let me answer the same question:
How do you use tech in your class?
At times students will use Google Slides.
[Choose from one or many of the following]
Slides allows feedback to be more efficient through commenting and suggesting. Teacher→Student or Student→student feedback can be delivered synchronously or asynchronously through the use of comments.
Slides allows students to embed self recorded video (screencasts or even directly using the webcam and the new Record to Slides Chrome extension) where they explain their thinking behind their learning. This provides much greater insight into learning than just a written response as well as increases accessibility for students with typing or written language deficits.
Slides allows my students to use a text to voice tool. This supports students with diverse learning needs to be more independent as they can have the written instructions on each slide read aloud.
Slides allows my students to use a text to voice tool. Students listen back to their own writing to enhance the editing process. They are more readily able to self-identify common punctuation errors such as run-on sentences when it is read back to them.
Slides allows my class to work simultaneously on a collaborative file. Each student has their own slide and is encouraged to refer to (but not click, highlight or edit) other students' work for ideas or support. This allows classmates to act as peer tutors “by example”.
Slides allows my students to publish their work to a school website and have the link published in the newsletter. Having an authentic audience beyond their teacher and classmates encourages them to not only create work of a premium standard (who isn’t going to put that little bit extra effort in knowing it’s being published to the community?!) but also consider carefully the purpose and audience.
In combination with Google Classroom, I can efficiently share out an individual copy of a template to every student. I am then able to monitor progress remotely and efficiently of every student through the Classroom dashboard. I am more readily able to identify an individual student who is finding it challenging to begin a task or perhaps going down the wrong path.
Whether you are a leader in your school or just evaluating your own technology use in your classroom, remember to ask the simple question: “Why am I using technology in this way?”. When planning a lesson or learning sequence, every time technology is utilised it should be with purpose and a very clear justification as to why. If there is no clear justification...then have students write it on paper, create posters, build with clay or discuss in a small group. Teachers should be discouraged from using technology for technology’s sake.
ISSUE 11 / FEBRUARY 2020
ROBLOX: ULTIMATE GUIDE FOR PARENTS
If you teach in a primary school (particularly younger grades), then you will no doubt have heard all about Roblox. It is the #1 game for students before they move into more adult games like Fortnite and Apex Legends.
Like any online game, Roblox presents a number of risks and challenges for families. From inappropriate content to grooming risks, it is essential your school community is informed in order to keep children safe. Download & share our Roblox fact sheet with your school's parents and carers to help support a safe and informed community.
CONTENT TO SHARE WITH PARENTS PARENT
Tic Tac Toe
We know it's well past Easter, but these "Easter Eggs" (hidden features) exist all year round. While admittedly having no pedagogical rigour, we all love to have a little fun online. You can blame our student guest writer, Mohan, for sharing these potentially time wasting gems!
Do a Barrel Roll
S C R E E N A L T E R I N G
G A M E S
G GLE SEARCH EASTER EGGS!
C H A N G E T H E L A N G U A G E
ISSUE 12 / MAY 2020
U S E F U L
The Little Possum who Looked Up, by Kim Maslin, is a children’s book written to demonstrate the importance of taking breaks from devices and spending time with our loved ones.
Pebbles the Possum decides that she no longer wants to look up destinations online but actually venture to these places on her own. She decides to ask her family members for help on this task but everybody is too busy on their devices. Set in the Australian bush, the possums are also demonstrating the different uses that technology can have in our lives. Benefits of technology include allowing us to order food online to helping us complete our homework and even communicating with others.
The theme within the story is applicable to all primary aged children and makes links with the Digital Technology curriculum in regards to managing interactions online. The story sparked deep conversation about how Pebbles was feeling when nobody would stop to help her, as well as the importance of taking breaks for our minds and bodies.
In the Foundation and Year 1/2 classes I teach the students listened to the story, engaged in a class discussion about the topic and then followed up with an activity. The follow up activity involved logging onto Seesaw and completing a drawing and explanation of a device they use at home and what they do on it. The students also described what they like to do when they’re taking a ‘Tech Break’.
Kim Maslin has also very kindly shared some different ideas on what teachers can do with students as follow up activities in the classroom. These can be found at the back of the storybook and on her website.
Read our review of Kim's first two books in this cyber safety series.
Written by Guest Writer - Amanda
Level: Prep to Adult
Experience Required: Nil
Purpose of App: Showcase student understandings
Put your animation hat on this term and get creative with Keynote. Keynote is a FREE app available to use on the iPad. It’s an Apple app so it works oh-so nicely with the iPad. It has had some serious function upgrades lately with the ability to draw, animate and add a recording. So… what can you do with it?
Draw your assets
Get drawing in Keynote or you can use Sketches School (free app).
GET ANIMATING WITH KEYNOTE
Click the object you would like to animate. Watch it come to life! “It’s alive!”
Plan what you are going to create
Plan a storyboard or write some text to support your animation
Creating a camouflage piece that hides an animal or insect.
Creating a simple story with animation
Animate a character moving. This bee is moving across the screen in two stages.
Using the 'Add Build' in tool allows you to create a spot the difference (makes things jiggle, pop, etc).
IDEAS TO GET YOU ANIMATING
Congratulations to Issue #12 competition winner:
Denise Hall from Yea, VIC
GET YOUR PD CERTIFICATE HOURS
WIN an ipad mic for your school (& you!)
RECEIVE YOUR PD CERTIFICATE
OUT IN OCTOBER 2020
If you've got this far you've clearly taken the time to read this amazing publication and filled your head with boundless professional learning. To reward yourself and satisfy those teacher PD hours, click below to receive your very own certificate for the hours spent learning.
We're giving away a Rhode VideoMic. VideoMic™ Me-L is a high-quality microphone for your iPhone® or iPad® (with Lightning connector) designed to give you incredible audio when shooting video.
How to Enter
Simply share one tech tool, app or website that you're loving using in 2020. You'll also have to briefly describe your "WHY".
Every submission gets you an entry in the draw! Enter as many times as you like.
Entries close August 15th.
CLICK HERE TO ENTER