August 20, 2014
by rcrellin

National Literacy and Numeracy Week

National Literacy and Numeracy Week is running from 25 – 31 August in 2014. It is an Australian Government initiative that runs in partnership with state and territory governments.  During this week many schools run a range of fun activities for their students to help them explore literacy and numeracy.

At Huntly Primary School students are using technology to support their writing by publishing narratives, explaining concepts and peer assessment.

Some useful links:

Literacy Resources

  • FUSE packages for Early ChildhoodPrimary and Secondary students provides resources to learn about the future of books, writing and reading, create and share poetry mashups or tell people what you think, or find out what others have read.DigiPub maths
  • DigiPubs link to English resources, software, apps and classroom ideas.

Numeracy Resources

  • FUSE packages for Early ChildhoodPrimary and Secondary students will get them engaged with interactive and real life maths.
  • FUSE eBookBoxes contain lesson plans, interactive resources for AusVELS F-10 and VCE
  • DigiPubs link to Maths resources, software, apps and classroom ideas.
  • 8 Math talks to blow your mind. Mathematics gets down to work in these Ted talks, breathing life and logic into everyday problems. Prepare for math puzzlers both solved and unsolvable, and even some still waiting for solutions.

Conference – English, Arts and Technologies: Literacies for Lifelong Learning

The Australian Literacy Educator’s Association, Victoria and Australian Centre for the Moving Image annual one-day multiliteracies conference is on Friday 12 September 2014.  The conference will explore authentic learning and contemporary teaching strategies that draw upon multimodal resources and tools – from traditional multimodal texts such as picture books through to user generated moving image texts – along with some of the grammar, or codes and conventions needed to become proficient speakers, readers, viewers, writers and creators.  Find out more and register.

June 11, 2014
by rcrellin

Too Many Elephants

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


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.

November 20, 2013
by rcrellin

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

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