Digital Learning News

June 26, 2014
by rcrellin
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Invent to Learn

Our guest blogger this week: Wendy Macpherson, Digital Learning Branch

Last week teachers from 30 DEECD schools participated in a day of hard fun and problem solving at Invent to Learn workshops across Victoria led by DrMakey Makey. Gary Stager. 

The workshops began with the case for project-based learning, making, tinkering, and engineering. Participants looked at examples of children engaged in complex problem solving with new game-changing technologies and then explored the breakthroughs in science education, and the global maker movement that are combining to create rich learning experiences.

Participants had a chance to take on the role of learner and tinker with a range of exciting new low- and high-tech construction materials that can be used with students. At the end of each workshop teachers shared how their experiences and learnings could be applied back in their schools.

The team from Warrnambool College decided they would like to expose all staff to the ideas of making, tinkering and engineering by setting up a ‘Maker Corner’ in their staffroom where staff could play and experiment with new materials

As a starting point, the team from Matthew Flinders Girls Secondary College are exploring how they can create a new hands-on technology subject that combines digital, materials and food technologies with science, engineering and mathematics. This will be the starting point as they explore how constructionist principles and an explicit focus on thinking can be applied to other subjects.

Silverton Primary School teachers resolved to take another look at Scratch (a programming language for students available on the EduStar image) and see how they could use it to program Lego constructions to respond to commands.

All teachers had fun with:

  • Soft Circuits, using conductive thread, sewable coin battery holders and felt to create wearable electronics projects.
  • Interactive Greeting cards using conductive paints
  • Makey Makeys which allow students to connect anything in the real world to computer software that respnds to keyboard input
  • Arduinos which allow student to build electronics projects using an arduino, breadboard, jumper wires, LEDs etc
  • Probot, a small robotic car that can be programmed to move and draw.
  • Turtle Art a computer drawing program inspired by Logo programming language

To helScratch  Legop you bring the new Digital Technologies curriculum to life explore these and many more ideas on the Invent to Learn Website  especially the Invent to Learn / Stuff page. Gary Stager will be returning to Victoria in August. Please contact Wendy Macpherson for further information <macpherson.wendy.w@edumail.vic.gov.au>

Gary Stager and Sylvia Martinez co authored the new book, Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom.invent to learn

June 11, 2014
by rcrellin
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Too Many Elephants

This week’s guest blogger: Lisa Wilson Harston Primary School

NSS-Webpage-Banner

On 21May in North-Western Victoria we had over 240 students from 14 small rural schools and heaps of elephants reading together via Polycom as part of National Simultaneous Storytime (NSS).

At Harston Primary School, we were about to have our Polycom unit installed and thought NSS would be a great way to start using the unit.   I sent the invitation out to our local cluster as well as other schools close by.

Schools registered with the NSS website and received a pdf of the book and other support resources.  We set up a google doc for contact details and organised which pages each school would read.  On the day each school read a page to the other schools.NNS Stanhope

Many of the schools extended the learning opportunity by having elephant jokes and trivia, as well as making elephant masks as an Art activity. At Harston, our senior classroom, used Google Maps to locate each of the other schools and to calculate the distance between the schools.

The great thing about the Polycom unit was that students could see and hear classes from all the other schools.  We also received support from Virtual Conference Coaches Jo Tate and Gary Schultz who showed us how to use the units and helped run the session on the day.

Feedback from the schools has been very positive. Many of them had not used the Polycom before. Some have indicated that they now have joined or organised small events for the next couple of weeks.  We all want to know what we can come up with next!!

National Simultaneous StoNullawill 1rytime is an annual campaign where a picture book, written and illustrated by an Australian author and illustrator is read simultaneously in libraries, schools, pre-schools, childcare centres, family homes, bookshops and many other places around the country.

 

 

 

Want to find out more about Virtual Conferencing in your school?

Schools who don’t have a polycom can also still do heaps of online activities via Blackboard Collaborate, Lync and Skype. You can also log into polycom meetings via Lync.   NNS polycom

Virtual Conference Coaches are available to support schools to get started all of these.

June 5, 2014
by rcrellin
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H.O.T.T. Team

IMG_0169 HOTTOur guest bloggers this week are the H.O.T.T. Team students from Horsham West and Haven Primary School (thanks to Ben Miatke)

At the end of 2011, Horsham West and Haven Primary School moved away from specialised ICT teaching, opting instead for the integration of ICT use in the classroom alongside other learning areas. To assist teachers in this change, a student leadership team, called ‘The H.O.T.T Team’ was created.

What is the H.O.T.T. Team?

The H.O.T.T. Team stands for ‘Helping Others Through Technology.’ The team is designed to help younger students from Years 1-3 further develop skills in using technology and give the teachers more experience for future classes. The members come from the Year 5-6 group and need to apply and prove that have what it takes to be part of the team.

In 2013, the team was quite small with only 10 members and focusing on Years 1-2. This year, there are 17 members and due to the bigger team, we having expanded to Years 1-3, much to the excitement of the Year Three teachers and students.

The Application Process

To get into the H.O.T.T team we have to send our teacher Mr Miatke some reasons why we think we could teach younger people and some of our technology skills and devices we use and feel we could teach. Since Mr. Miatke was the IT teacher, he also knew how good we were with technology as well.

Our Training Process

 “We have training weekly, being taught what to do when a child is being naughty, how to plan things, how to give rewards properly and fairly, how to make things fun and to be confident in front of a group of children. This has been great because some of us were a bit nervous about teaching and worried about naughty students.”

What we actually do

 The H.O.T.T. Team members work in pairs with one class. They have regular meetings with the teacher from the class, ensuring there is full understanding of what is being taught, plan the sessions, organise days and times to teach and the best way the team members can teach the students, or which students they should work with. For example, all classes have kids with different skills in ICT and the members need to understand what skill level of the students they are to work with. Once they have done this, they teach small groups of around 3-6 students in the focus program for around usually 30mins. The members have to be patient but firm with the students and all the members have different ways to control the behaviours of their students. Some strategies for the H.O.T.T. Team use to control and reward students we teach are ‘Big Bucks,’ group points, mini prizes and lollies. They work well and we haven’t really had any problems so far.

The positives and negatives of the H.O.T.T Team

In the H.O.T.T. Team there are more positives than negatives. One of the positives is that we get to help kids that do not know some things about technology, which is great. One of the things that can get in the way though is that some kids play up and don’t listen, which means that other students have to wait for them to get it right and we have less time to teach the others. Being in the H.O.T.T. Team will be great to put on our résumé and help us get a job in the future. Another positive is that we get an awesome T-Shirt that we get to wear on the days that we teach, it makes us feel special and people ask us about what it is like.

More information:  Contact Ben Miatke at Horsham West and Haven Primary School on (03) 5382 1285 or email  miatke.benjamin.p@edumail.vic.gov.au

http://hwhpshott.global2.vic.edu.au/

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