Learning and Teaching at Gilson College

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


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.

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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

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QR Codes – More fun!


You may already know much about QR codes, or have learnt more in my last QR Code post.

Nevertheless, to learn more about QR Codes and how they can be used in learning and teaching, use your smartphone or tablet QR reader to scan these codes Links to some simple to follow tips.

You don’t have a QR reader on your device? I’m sure you can use your favourite browser to find the most suitable app for your device! Consider downloading a suitable app and then explore here to see what QR codes are all about. Once you do you’ll see them everywhere! Happy QR coding 🙂

QR Codes - Part 1QR Codes - Part 2Audio QR Codes

And this last one is a ‘Thank you’ link to the source author’s website, which you’ve probably found by now!

Tech Tips of the Week


Interested in QR codes?

Where can QR codes take you? 

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SCOOTLE News – ICT in Everyday Learning: A Toolkit for Teachers

Just posted on the ‘ASV Teachers – Showcasing Their Students’ ICT-based Work’ blog.

To check it out follow the link to that blog above.

SCOOTLE News – ICT in Everyday Learning: A Toolkit for Teachers

…those in charge of developing SCOOTLE have done much over the last few years to align the first four learning areas of the new Australian Curriculum (English, mathematics, history and science)to the digital objects. This new release further complements this initiative to provide ICT ideas and resourcing for the new Curriculum.

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5 ways to teach kids to use technology safely’, by Lynette Owens

Lynette Owens is a parent and an advocate for child cybersafety. She writes about the partnership that should necessarily be formed between schools and their parent community to educate and protect our students, their children, as together we increasing work in the cyberworld for both educational and personal purposes.

While the legislation cited in the article does not apply to us specifically in Australia, I believe the principles outlined in the article do. It is thought provoking. What policies and practices do we already have in place? What can we further consider? What can we add?

School leaders, you might see the article as useful to share with both teachers and parents in your school community to begin a new conversation or continue an existing one.

I have reblogged this article from The Washington Post – The Answer Sheet blog by Valerie Strauss.

Lynette writes:

I challenge the assumption that the job of teaching kids to be good citizens of the Internet is solely within the purview of schools.  Parents are most often the first to introduce kids to technology.  Kids are also able to connect online both at home and at school, but increasingly in the places in between.  This is largely driven by the rise of mobile devices in more and younger hands, without adult supervision.  So a community approach to teaching kids to think critically on their own about what they are saying, doing, and sharing online is more important than ever.

Read the full article below:

Two-year-old Maggie Awad plays an app game called, Icee Maker, on her mother’s IPod Touch (Melina Mara/THE WASHINGTON POST)

The Internet has always been around as far as our children can tell.  Today, as many as half of all kids up to age 8 use Internet-connected devices,  7.5 million kids under 13 use Facebook, and 30% of apps on parents’ phones are downloaded by their kids.  They’re playing games, watching videos, or using Skype with far-off relatives.  As early as kindergarten or first grade, they are being introduced to their teacher’s website using the PC or laptop in the school library.

 This is not bad news.  Being adept at using the Internet is in an important life skill that we all have to master to be successful, productive members of society.  We should be embracing it.  We should be teaching our kids how to do it.

We are in an interesting time in history when models of teaching and learning are being enhanced in ways not previously possible without technology.  Many schools are giving each student their own device to access information, participate in courses, do research and homework, and engage their teachers and classmates. These one-to-one educational technology models are being implemented in districts across the nation.

It is safe to assume that our schools will most certainly be wired for improving learning and teaching, if not today, then soon.  We expect and should continue to expect that obtaining the tools of technology are not the end, but a means to helping our kids learn the skills that will propel them into jobs and careers that will later benefit themselves and society.

As a parent and youth online safety advocate, I do believe, however, that we cannot lose sight of the larger implications of allowing our kids access to the Internet as young as 5 and 6 years old.  We must also think beyond the educational benefits of doing so.  Like going out into the real world, we guide our kids about issues of safety, manners, and overall conduct.  We should do the same before they get online, and perhaps even before they get into a classroom.

Laws like the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which most schools must comply with, already require schools to teach our kids about using the Internet safely and responsibly.  This used to mean blocking them from accessing age-inappropriate website content and telling them not to communicate with strangers.  But the most recent updates to CIPA in late 2011 by the FCC call for the inclusion of topics such as safe social networking use and cyberbullying in such curriculum.   This is a welcome change which reflects more accurately the issues that need more attention.

But I challenge the assumption that the job of teaching kids to be good citizens of the Internet is solely within the purview of schools.  Parents are most often the first to introduce kids to technology.  Kids are also able to connect online both at home and at school, but increasingly in the places in between.  This is largely driven by the rise of mobile devices in more and younger hands, without adult supervision.  So a community approach to teaching kids to think critically on their own about what they are saying, doing, and sharing online is more important than ever.

In my own advocacy work, I often see parents providing very expensive devices to their kids, for reasons ranging from “all the other kids have it” to “they need this so I can contact them when they are walking home from school.”  But many have not given their kids the guidance to use it safely and responsibly.  To their credit, the parents I see are eager to learn how to do this, but lack the knowledge of where to turn for help.

This is where schools come in.

Most schools already have a construct for parents to stay informed about their kids’ experiences in the classroom and engage as a community on matters that transcend the borders of a school’s walls.  This is often in the form of a PTO or PTA organization, and it is an ideal place to talk about technology and how to teach our kids to be safe and responsible with it.

In my own children’s school district, we are in the midst of a one-to-one laptop program roll-out.  This presented a great opportunity to engage parents of those students impacted by the program in an on-going conversation about digital citizenship and online safety.   We are doing this at a community level, rather than an individual school level, starting with the parents most directly impacted by the one-to-one program.  But there is no reason to wait for a massive technology undertaking to do this, and there is no one perfect way to do it either.

But it is imperative that schools and parents see this is a partnership that begins in elementary school and continues through high school, with each side reinforcing the other.

Below are some ways that can help enforce this collaboration.  Some of this I have been fortunate enough to participate in first-hand.  Others are part of an achievable wish list:

1. Encourage parent leadership, within the PTA, PTO or other parent communities at your school to begin the discussion about safe and responsible online use by students at school and at home.  Gather an advisory group to determine how to get started.  Invite an expert guest speaker to kick things off.  Thankfully, there are many free, reputable resources available to parent communities through organizations such as Common Sense Media and through PTO Today’s Internet Safety Night program (sponsored by my organization, Trend Micro). Make it clear that it is an on-going dialogue versus a one-time event, as technology is constantly changing.

2. Communicate regularly to parent communities about how you are using technology in the classrooms, at each grade level, and how you ensure kids are learning to be savvy online citizens at the same time.  Make it part of open-house and parent-teacher nights.

3. Be clear with parents on how appropriate technology use is enforced through the school’s Code of Conduct and Acceptable Use Policies (AUP), which students (or parents) typically have to review and sign at the beginning of each school year.  Parents should understand what constitutes a transgression of the policy, how it will be handled, and how/if it will be reflected on your child’s school record.  It should also be clear how personal technology can or cannot be used on school grounds.

4. Be creative with ways to help parents and their kids use technology together.  Ultimately, schools and parents should not limit the discussion to being safe and responsible with technology. We want kids to also be successful users of it.  Find ways to use technology with families or encourage them to use it together through school-driven activities, events, fund-raisers, or other projects.  Have families research their genealogy together. Establish a blog contest or raise awareness or funds for a school activity using social media.  Or encourage family engagement in programs like the ‘What’s Your Story?’ campaign (sponsored by companies like Facebook, Trend Micro, Twitter, and Yahoo!) a program specifically designed to get youth, schools, and families talking about matters concerning the safe and responsible use of technology.

5. Recognize the positive use of technology in your schools through a formal or informal but public way.  Parents can be invited to be part of such a program, or at least encourage the right behavior with their kids at home.  Awards or acknowledgement can be given to individual students or groups of students, classrooms, or even families.  You can do this through a yearly or monthly “call out” in the school newsletter, website, or at a live school event.  If possible, showcase the activity that is being acknowledged (If it’s a blog, link to it in your online communications).

Technology can be intimidating to those of us who were introduced to it later in life.  The job of teaching kids how to use it appropriately can feel daunting when often times they seem better at it than we do.  But we cannot sidestep our obligation to make technology a tool our kids use safely and responsibly.

And while we do not have years of documented best practices to help schools and parents through this yet, anything you do today can help.  Thankfully, there are simple, low investment ways to start today.  It just takes a willingness to embrace what is already here, and a little courage to take the first step.

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Prep D Boys – Their city investigation!

Led by their teacher Tanja Dennis, Prep D boys at Heritage College have been using their investigations time over the past couple of weeks to plan and build a city. Follow the link in the Blogroll on this page to see the Prep D blog and follow what the class is doing.

I have reblogged Tanja’s post here to show what our teachers could post on the linked ASV Teacher blogs.

Principals, Deputies, Learning and Teaching Coordinators, please encourage your teachers to let me know by email or comment on the blogs if they wish to be invited to contribute to one or both of our teachers’ blogs.

Prep DH

Some of the Prep D boys have been busy over the last couple of weeks working on a project during Investigation time. They built an amazing city using so many literacy & numeracy skills as well as creative, collaborative & planning skills!  They have used their observations of the world to create a realistic city with connecting roads, essential businesses, towers, bridges, signs, and traffic control in great detail. Prep D boys present – Prep City!


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