February 26, 2014
by rcrellin

iPad Orchestra at Boneo Primary School

Our guest student bloggers this week: Liam, James, Riley, Macoy, Zali, Finn, Seth, Tom , Brigitte, Harry, Stacey, Poppie, Ella, Meg and Samantha.

Thanks to Sally Walsh for pulling it all together.

We have a fabulous school concert band with lots of excellent musicians. Many of our musicians are also very interested in technology, particularly mobile devices. One day our teacher played her iPad by blowing into the microphone using the Ocarina app. Our clarinet and flute teachers played too. It looked like a lot of fun, so- the Boneo PS iPad Orchestra was born! At present we have 20 members in our i-Orchestra. There are lots of music apps for iPad. We already had Garage Band and were looking for instrument apps that matched the instruments we play in our concert band. We researched lots of apps and came up with the following list to use.

Garage Band: Turns your iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch into a collection of Touch Instruments and a full-featured recording studio — so you can make music anywhere you go. Use Multi-Touch gestures to play pianos, organs, guitars, drums, and basses.

Real Piano: A full 88-key piano app that brings you realistic grand piano sound, smoothly moving and zooming, customizable key labels, and professional tuning & transposition functionalities.

Woodwind instrumentSS: A music application packed with 12 different woodwind instruments such as the flute and the clarinet.

Viola: Play Viola on iPhone, options are smooth performance or bowed and pizzicato sound

Ocarina 2 Blow into your phone, play the notes, feel the magic as Ocarina 2 responds to your breath, touch and movement. Turn your phone into an ancient flute-like instrument.

Drum Kit: is the fastest and most realistic drum app in the App Store. It blends in cymbal sounds like a real kit, a feature that isn’t available on any other drum app.

How it works:  Each group plays their own part together – keyboard players, then guitarists, flautists, etc using the apps we chose. Then we try to play two groups together, adding parts until we are all performing together.  When we first started we had problems because we couldn’t hear what other people were playing, but then we bought mini hamburger speakers to each iPad. That solved the problem.

Opportunity to collaborate:

Would you like your class to collaborate with ours for music lessons? Join in the fun at Boneo PS online. All you will need is a data projector or IWB and a computer. Lessons are at different times of the week, covering all primary grades and lots of different activities. No experience in either music or technology necessary!

Contact Sally Walsh:  walsh.sally.j@edumail.vic.gov.au

February 26, 2014
by marcellinus

New Pedagogies for Deep Learning – An opportunity for 80 Victorian Schools

What is New Pedagogies for Deep Learning?

Deep Learning is a term that is not new to education.  Long have educators strived to develop learning experiences that go beyond surface learning and help students to develop connections to learning at a level that demonstrates deep understanding, application and an awareness of the interconnectedness of learning concepts.  Why then is it so hard?

There are many challenges to creating learning environments and opportunities that provide deep learning experiences.  Two of the missing components are in pedagogy and assessment.  Pedagogies provide the ‘how’ of how learning is achieved.  To achieve deep learning requires New Pedagogies.  Likewise, how do we know that Deep Learning is occurring and that the New Pedagogies are working?  That is where New Measures provide evidence and information to assist schools in making decisions around constructing deep learning experiences.

 So how does the New Pedagogies initiative work?

It’s a global partnership aiming to implement deep learning goals across whole education systems that are enabled by new pedagogies and accelerated by technology.

Students across the globe will be engaged in deeper level learning and provided the skills to be life-long learners, creative, connected and collaborative problem solvers who can successfully participate and innovate in our increasingly interconnected world. Global education stakeholders and their business partners, will work together to address a key education challenge: how educators can design and practice teaching and learning that lead to more successful futures for all students.

Who is in it and what’s it about?

Countries are part of the Global Partnership will include 1,000 schools across the world. The goal is to build collective capacity to define and measure deep learning, investigate and share models of New Pedagogies, use collaborative tools to design and measure deep learning as well as learning outcomes, and leverage change leadership to foster deep learning. Central to this holistic approach to education transformation is the role that digital technologies play in enabling and accelerating learning.

All partnering schools will share consistent assessment approaches and collaborate in identifying and further innovating and scaling the most promising practices and tools that enable deep learning.  In Australia we have 100 schools participating, 80 in Victoria and 20 in Tasmania.

What are the intentions and success criteria?

The intent of the initiative is to engage education systems in collective effort to mobilize deep learning, identify deep learning work within those systems, capture and cultivate new pedagogies that advance deep learning and operationalize, refine and validate measures for deep learning

The success criteria of the initiative is defined by being able to produce measureable results of making learning more engaging and productive, produce measureable results of new pedagogies driving deeper learning and to build enough capacity so education systems start collaborating on creating their own transformation methodology.

How do I find out more or get involved?

Its not often that an opportunity to participate in a initiative which is international, and involves such great thinkers around education.  Victorian schools are fortunate to be able to participate through an open expression of interest process, which closes on the 3rd of March 2014.  To find out more, the New Pedagogies for Deep Learning website provides more.  In particular the two White Papers; Towards a New End: New Pedagogies for Deep Learning  and A Rich Seam by Michael Fullan and Maria Langworthy provide a detailed examination of the concepts explored in the initiative also the reading is great professional learning!

With teachers in schools all over the world thinking and working towards the goal of deep learning, the real beneficiary is the students – after all 21st Century learning isn’t in the future.  It’s right now!

The expression of interest form can be found below.




February 11, 2014
by marcellinus

Everyone can be an inventor with a MaKey MaKey!

Our guest blogger this week is Marc Blanks from the Digital Learning Team

Remember when using technology in the classroom was exciting, experimental and creative? The MaKey MaKey is one tool that is helping learners to think beyond predesigned, closed activities and develop skills in thinking, creativity and innovation all while learning key skills in digital technologies and other disciplines such as science.

Have you ever had a student with great ideas and imagination, but couldn’t realise them because they lacked the resources, skills or expertise?  The MaKey MaKey helps build the connection between what is imagined and possible. It truly is the ‘invention kit for everyone’.

The strength of the MaKey MaKey is that it presents a world of possibilities- banana pianos, water based dance machines? Pet photo booths? Absolutely! Home made game controllers? For sure!  Designed by two graduate students at MIT Media Lab and funded through a Kickstarter launch, MaKey MaKey is an invention kit for the 21st century. The MaKey MaKey is a great example of how invention can redefine learning through the use of technology.

The beauty of the MaKey MaKey is in its simplicity of operation and vast array of ideas you can apply it to.  The MaKey MaKey uses a USB cord to connect its circuit board to your computer. The circuit board takes over the functionality of certain key on your keyboard or mouse, like the space bar or the mouse click. By simply using alligator clips -for beginners- you can connect the space bar function of the MaKey MaKey controller to the end of a banana, or a pencil line, or a piece of Play-Doh, and make that object the keyboard or mouse input. Just touch your “home made key” and you control the functionality of the space bar and more on the computer.

Watch this clip below to see just how it all works.

MaKey MaKey – An Invention Kit for Everyone from jay silver on Vimeo.

Once you have connected the MaKey MaKey and played with some pre-made apps- the real fun is in creating your own!   Scratch and Gamemaker are apps that are on the Edustar software suite which can be used easily with the MaKey MaKey to create games and interactive digital experiences.  Interactive dioramas can made where the viewer can interact with the contact on the screen by touching real objects.  When students are thinking beyond a mouse, keyboard or tablet- its amazing the creative input solutions they invent!

MaKey MaKey outlines

  • Recommended or Ages 8 and up
  • No software necessary. Operates through USB
  • Works with any object that can conduct even a small amount of electricity.
  • Multiple MaKey MaKeys can be used together
  • Runs on Windows, Mac OSX and Linux

Find out more and take it further:

A great introduction clip to the MaKey MaKey and some possible project ideas:


Looking for the best place to start?  The MaKey MaKey website is the best spot to begin; especially useful is the MaKey MaKey quick start guide.  It also includes materials and software to get going.


Scratch and MaKey MaKey are a perfect match.  Below is a quick start link on the official MIT Scratch website explaining how to connect the MaKey MaKey to your computer and use Scratch.


A starter MaKey MaKey tutorial with some good ideas to


Matching technology to learning theory enables the development of deeper learning experiences.  Here is an informative blog post from Lauren Murray exploring Multiple Intelligences and MaKey MaKey.


At the bottom of this post, Jason Webb highlights some of the materials that are available to extend the possibilities of the MaKey MaKey- including conductive, paper, tape, thread and paint!


I wonder what ideas your students will have with the MaKey MaKey?

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