Digital Learning News

November 20, 2013
by rcrellin
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The use of iPads to support students with learning challenges

Guest blogger –  Carly Toister, Cheltenham Primary School

All classrooms have a diversity of student abilities. In this day and age we are well aware that digital learning is evolving at a rapid rate. Our students have ample access to digital devices, so the question is – How can we use this technology to its full potential to assist these students?

The teachers at Cheltenham Primary School have been trialling and exploring ways to use this technology to support, assist and enhance learning for our students experiencing challenges when engaging with the curriculum.

We have been using the iPad in many different capacities with these students. But one particular app that we have found most beneficial for those students experiencing challenges in reading and writing is ‘iReadWrite.’

We have been particularly impressed with iReadWrite and have seen significant improvements to students’ motivation and feelings towards writing. This app has offered a way for students to save time and overcome some of the issues they have previously encountered, such as slow note taking or unreadable handwriting, allowing them to use their time for all the things in which they are gifted e.g. creating, communicating, making connections and expressing themselves.

Some fantastic features of iReadWrite:

  • Great text to speech function. Students are able to get immediate feedback and listen back to their work allowing them to check for meaning and grammatical errors. This fosters independence and reduces reliance on their teacher. It also gives students control over their learning.
  • Word prediction feature – students were able to quickly grasp how to use this feature. The program predicts what a student is typing. They are able to hold down to hear the word, to check that it is the correct one and also double click for a dictionary definition. This supports and enhances vocabulary skills.
  • The ability to configure students’ preference of coloured backgrounds and font size to relieve visual stress.

iReadWrite overview on YouTube

SAMR Model

Our teachers have also been exploring the SAMR model to plan, create and evaluate tasks set for these students (created by Dr Rueben Puentedura). It is a model used to measure the application of technology and its level of use, in order to improve student learning outcomes at any level.  The SAMR model has completely changed the way we have created technology tasks for all students at Cheltenham Primary School. The students who previously felt challenged and at times disengaged from the curriculum, are now creating movies and multimedia books on the iPad, demonstrating their knowledge in ways that have never been possible before. It is evident that students that were challenged academically are now experiencing success and students that were already successful are going places never seen before! They were not hindered by their limitations and are creating work of a higher standard. When, previously these students would have struggled to write just a small paragraph. The SAMR model is a fairly simple idea but one which has really helped us to evaluate where we are at, and what we could be achieving with our students. This model is definitely worth exploring.

The SAMR Model Explained by Ruben R. Puentedura on YouTube

November 18, 2013
by rcrellin
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2013 eLearning Excellence Awards

The sixth eLearning Excellence Awards of the eLearning Industry Association of Victoria was held last week.  The K-12 sector had a great range of finalists with the Royal Children’s Hospital winning this category with their Create, Explore, Learn App.

Create Explore Learn at The Royal Children’s Hospital (Winner K-12 sector)

The Royal Children’s Hospital is home to some amazing animals and artworks. Can you find the 5 special features hidden in the app? Slide your fingers across the app home screen to explore the exciting world of the RCH. Once you have found all 5 zones, a button for each of them will appear on the app home screen next time you open it, so you can return to your favourite activities again and again!
The Create Explore Learn app shares the art and animals of The Royal Children’s Hospital with children all around the world. The app encourages children to create their own artworks, explore the vibrant spaces of the RCH and learn about the artists, designers, zoo keepers and divers who all play a role in making the RCH a healing space and a learning place.

 

 

Fatigue and Recovery (Finalist K-12 sector)

Developed in conjunction with preeminent  PE expert Robert Malpeli, this interactive program gives students an opportunity to be involved in an engaging story that draws out the concepts behind fatigue and recovery in elite athletes. This interactive program is a clever hybrid of linear storytelling and interactive challenges that must be completed in order to proceed.  The story is exciting and engaging, told from the first person perspective (with the student as the camera’s point of view), with lots of action, intrigue and exciting plot twists. The interactive challenges relate directly to what is happening in the plot and becomes an extension of the story itself – directly involving the student in what is happening on screen.

 

Chinese Language Learning Space (LLS) (Finalist K-12 Sector)

The Language Learning Space supports teachers and students of Chinese language in Australian schools. It contains over 300 language resources, 15 professional learning modules and over 10 hours of videos. It brokers free access to tutoring based in China, to substantial resources like The Dragon Trilogy, to Rosetta Stone and to networks. Users can upload their own resources and create learning pathways. The student section includes links to 30 curated learning challenges that conclude with a quiz and graphic novel narrative set in China. The website is a LMS meets CMS mash-up, the first of its kind produced by ESA.

Released in July 2013, the site has already received very positive responses from language teachers. The consistent feedback is that the site is unique in collating so many resources in one place and that the LLS has provided many ways of inspiring students to continue to study Chinese.

AITSL Illustrations of Practice (Finalists Community and K-12 Sectors)

The AITSL Illustrations of Practice project brings together two key national education organisations, the Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) and Education Services Australia (ESA). Working closely together to realise a core AITSL remit, to support the ongoing professional learning needs of Australia’s teachers and school leaders, AITSL and ESA worked on a program to develop, quality assure and publish 240 Illustrations of Practice over a three year period from 2011 to 2013. An Illustration of Practice is a three to five minute video vignette showing authentic teacher practice at a particular Standard and focus area drawn from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST).

The outcome of the project is an online professional learning experience for teachers at the AITSL web site and enables various education stakeholders to gain a powerful snapshot of current, authentic teacher practice from across the nation.

 

Presidents Award: Time Lens   (Finalist Community sector)

While not in the K-12 category, this app from Museum Victoria is a great one for students use when they visit the museum. Built by a curious curator, the Time Lens takes would-be explorers on a scavenger hunt around Melbourne Museum to discover some of the treasured objects and hidden gems of the museum’s collection.

The free Time Lens app represents a targeted way to use mobile devices to help families explore the collection objects, exhibitions and themes presented throughout the museum. Incentive and reward is provided through unlockable badges and light hearted animations, but the intent of the app is not to be an experience that takes place solely on the screen of the device, instead being a mechanism to guide families to points of interest within the museum and give them launching off points for discussion around the significance of each object.

November 6, 2013
by rcrellin
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Physical Education and ICT

iPads in Physical Education

Research fromLiz Weir at the ACU looks at how iPads complements the teaching of Physical Education in the Bachelor of Education (Primary) course and develops the acquisition of movement skills, concepts and strategies that enables the pre-service teacher to confidently and competently teach children in the twenty first century.

Research highlights:

  • The inclusion of ICT in the teaching and learning of physical education can improve the quality and effectiveness of a program (Collins, 2011).
  • Physical education that challenges all physical educators to think creatively, more deeply and broadly will help shape the future direction of this important school subject (Kirk, 2010).

ACHPER Conference 27 – 29 November 2013  – guest blogger Trent Brown

“The Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) Victorian branch is the leading members-based professional teaching organisation focussing on the professional learning needs of health, physical and outdoor education teachers from Foundation to Year 12. In 2013 we have the pleasure of hosting the 28th National/International conference concurrently with the state conference that will see over 1200 delegates from overseas, interstate and Victoria attend sessions in a range of sessions

We have keynote addresses this year from renowned Professor of Physical Education, David Kirk (University of Bedfordshire, UK) and local Professor of Teacher Education, John Loughran (Monash University). Featured presentations include those on the Australian curriculum, Leadership in the School Environment and Next Generation Technology. In addition we have over 200 elective sessions for delegates to choose from including some fantastic sessions presented by practising primary and secondary teachers focussed on developing ICT skills in HPE teachers.

You can follow the conference through social media (Twitter – #ACHPER2013) or by following the @VicACHPER. Further information can be found out by contacting the ACHPER branch on 9274 8900 or by visiting the Council’s website or conference website.   We hope that you make this fantastic professional learning conference.

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