Learning and Teaching at Gilson College

Learning for living, Character for life, Hope for the Future

This askatechteacher link has a comprehensive list of coding sites for teachers to use during Hour of Code! Very useful!


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Why All Teachers are teachers of ICT Skills…

The new Australian Curriculum intends that all teachers work towards embedding Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in all learning areas for which they have responsibility. ICT becomes a General Capability for all teaching and learning – for students and teachers.

It is the responsibility of all teachers, when planning for learning and teaching, to consider why, when and how technology and its tools might assist in enhancing and increasing students’ learning achievement, assist students engagement, allow students to be creative, to collaborate, to become problem solvers, and to develop their critical thinking skills, among other digital literacies. 

I believe Jeff Utecht, in his blog ‘The Thinking Stick’ supports this thinking in his writing: 

‘Really? It’s my job to teach technology? 

Read Jeff’s post here:



SAMR Model for Integrating Technology into Learning and Teaching

Lynda Cutting, Senior National Partnership Advisor with Independent Schools Victoria , has written a short post to describe in simple terms the SAMR Model.

She writes:

…Like any tool, the power in this model is how it helps us create the best possible learning opportunities for our students. That means the first question is “what do I want my students to learn?” Then we can use the SAMR model to help us decide what app we can use to support our goal…


There is also lots more on Lynda’s Appsadaisy blog to do with iPads and apps, teachers and students!

Lynda also co-presents with Craig, the  TECHexpress podcasts Episode 15 has just been released.

Here she explains the purpose of this blog:

TECHexpress is a podcast for busy teachers as they integrate ICT into their practice. We know how much teachers need to fit into a day so our podcasts will only be about 10 minutes long.

Each episode includes a discussion about a Web 2 tool to use in the classroom and a quick tip or tool that you might like to try.


1:1 iPads – Working with fewer apps can make for more success…

English: An image of an iPad 2.

English: An image of an iPad 2. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


This recent post, ‘iPads in the Classroom – Can we make it simpler.’, linked above,  from Daniel Edward’s blog, SydEd, is worth reading and noting! By both administrators and teachers. Daniel’s good advice is relevant to us at ASV, especially as our schools and teachers develop their 1:1 programs and apps lists.


eReader or Tablet Devices of iOS and Android Variety? Which do you recommend?

A colleague recently forwarded me the emailed query quoted below. It came from his colleague was seeking information about the value of introducing eReaders in his school for loading on textbooks and novels. I thought I’d share my response:

We are currently looking at the feasibility of issuing eReaders to all our students for all their required school textbooks and novels. I would like feedback from anyone how has already taken this path and maybe able to advise on any pitfalls and a reliable and cheap supplier of the eReader and the associated texts.

While eReaders have their place, I disagree with the purchase of eReaders merely as a storage for textbooks.
I also disagree with the premises stated in this gizmodo.com article that was referenced in one of the responses to the email writers query. I stand to be corrected but from the points argued in the article it is my opinion that the writer may not be an educator. I do agree however with responses given by the main ‘Comment’ writer , who I suggest writes from the point of view of an educator. The writer of the article quite unfairly I believe uses the commenters seeming preference for Apple devices to try to discredit the comments. While the commenter might prefer Apple products his/her arguments could equally apply to android as to apple devices, as such devices allow apps to be downloaded that are appropriate for pedagogical use.
To be frank, I’d never vote for the purchase of a device for education purposes such as an eReader, however cheap, if it is just being purchased to able to access textbooks or even novels in digital form. How is this different to having paper versions?  It is my opinion that this is false economy.
As well, while other devices, whether android or iOS are more expensive they allow for far more 21st century pedagogical variety and functionality, and all of those ‘smart’ devices allow access to free eReader apps such as iBooks, Kindle etc., which if absolutely necessary allows for digital textbook and novels upload.
To my mind this is much better economy, even if in the first instance fewer devices are able to be purchased.
I would argue too that the educational world is actually moving quickly towards Bring Your Own Device programs that alleviate initial and ongoing costs for multi-use devices e.g. purchase, insurance etc.
As well schools and educators often decry and ban the use of personal devices in schools, however I would argue that administrators and teachers really do need address the question of how they might work with their students to create a culture of trust to allow for the educational use of personal digital devices in schools rather than perpetuate the development of a culture of banning. I would ask, ‘Have you explored for example the value and use of twitter to connect, network and learn, messaging to survey, blogging to collaborate globally, podcasting to reflect, videoing to engage, wiki to collaboratively publish etc. etc.’ Personal digital devices ranging from smartphones of all varieties, iTouchs, iPods, Android and iOS tablets can all be utilised to carry out all of these tasks and more.
I would in fact argue that these days there is no need to use textbooks at all in a 21st century learning and teaching environment. We are entering the conceptual age, where inquiry, curiosity, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and reflective practice (by student as well as teachers) among other skills, are paramount for our students to develop for life-long learning. All of this in opposition to retaining 20th century, education-still-in-the-Industrial-Age focused pedagogy. Isn’t using an eReaders for textbooks merely transferring traditional methodology to new technology? Just transferring paper-based books into a digital form, with some interactivity added? Isn’t this just doing the same old  thing in a new way rather than a new thing in a new way?
Content, information, interactive or not, is abundant, even unlimited these days via the Internet. Better for teachers to consider, explore and implement the pedagogical changes needed for delivering 21st Century learning and teaching and then allow the students themselves to decide what tools they need to use to support their individual learning needs, than make the tool the focus of learning. The tool chosen may be the humble pencil or may indeed be a multifunctional digital device.
It is important to remember that 2012’s Year 12 students right down to our Preps have never been educated in the 20th Century; indeed those annually entering our schools now were all born in the 21st Century. Sobering thoughts I think for educators.
And here endeth my rant and rave.
What is your opinion? I’d be pleased to know.

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‘Science is for everyone, kids included’ – TED

Primary school students have their work published in a scientific journal!

From my standpoint as a Christian educator I disagree with the evolutionary presuppositions at the basis of the learnings of the students in this TED video, nevertheless it is an awesome example of what students (in this case Primary students) can achieve when they are encouraged by their teachers and facilitators to inquire into a question that they (the students) develop and want to explore.

It should be noted that their quest to be published took many more months than their inquiry! Because they were child scientists 😦

I’m sure you’ll enjoy watching the video, and will consider some more the value of Inquiry-based Learning, the value of persisting through all aspects of  any journey, and the importance of valuing our childrens’ learnings!


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Celebrating Teacher Learning: Justin Martin reflects on his 2012 PL Journey with Web 2.0

The Action Research-based (AR) whole-school teacher professional learning cycle at one of our schools – Gilson College – culminates each year in a Celebrate Teachers’ Learning day, where 12 staff members are asked to present about their current learning and its effect for their development as teachers, and the results for their students. This year the school celebrated the day on Monday, October 8.
During 2012 Year 4 teacher, Justin Martin investigated use of Web 2.0 with his students. Part of his creative AR presentation included a song. The video and words are posted here. Thanks Justin for permission to share.

Justin writes:
I wrote this song for a presentation I did as part of Action Research at my school. I was able to present in any style I wanted and so I re-wrote ‘Vincent’ by Don McLean. The COWS mentioned in the song stands for Computers On Wheels which we use at the school…not actual moo cows. Hope you enjoy.

Web 2.0

(to the tune of ‘Vincent’ by Don McLean)
Using IT right
 That’s what I set out to do
 Reading, thinking, playing too
 Learning as I go along.
 Talked with all my group
Worked out what I wanted to find,
Twitter, wordle, wikis, blogs
And other Web 2.0 tools!
Now I understand
What all these things do for me,
I know these will help my pedagogy.
The kids will learn and all is good.
They did not listen,
They did not know how!
Perhaps they’ll listen now.
Looked round at different blogs,
Found one I liked the look of:
www dot kidblog dot org
Messed around a bit.
Posted different things,
Not really knowing what to do
Mistakes there were quite a few
But I’m glad I persevered!
Now I understand
What all these things do for me,
I know these will help my pedagogy.
The kids will learn and all is good.
They did not listen,
They did not know how
I hope they’ll listen now!
Some problems that I faced:
Kids not knowing what to post,
So I let them go I gave them rope,
And really let them have a lot of fun!
COWS had minds of their own,
The internet was really slow,
Children could not get it at home,
And so I had to work with what I had!
Now they understand
Why they do these things for me
It helps with their pedagogy
They are learning and all is good.
They started listening
They are  listening still,
I hope they always will!
Thank you Gruen