Noelene Callaghan           

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Learning about the latest Educational Research conducted by Teachers

Posted on September 23, 2013 at 9:10 PM

On July 22, 2013, five teachers presented current research studies that they were individually conducting within schools at the Annual Poster Presentation Lecture Evening (A.P.P.L.E.) held by The Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales. These research studies were conducted as either a part of a postgraduate research degree under the instruction of a Supervisor at an Australian University or as part of a self-interest project.

 

The Annual Poster Presentation Lecture Evening (A.P.P.L.E.) is in its fourth year and was held at Trinity Grammar at Summer Hill with the purpose of providing teachers an opportunity to present their research work to a learned audience within a school setting as well as giving the presenters the opportunity to liaise with other presenters, students, academics, staff, visitors and past students.

 

These awards were created to encourage excellence in research work and for presenters to compete for the $1000 "Guild Research Award" and $500 "Smart Teachers Research Award" which will be presented at the Teachers’ Guild of NSW Annual Dinner and Awards Evening on Saturday 7 September 2013.

 

This year, Nicolette Hilton from Uralla Central School won first place taking the Guild Research Award of $1,000 for her research which investigated “The Ideal and the Reality; Teaching Indigenous Perspectives and Catering to Gifted and Talented Students through the Science Curriculum”. This was a qualitative research study that explored the perspectives of a small group of Australian secondary school science teachers regarding resources and professional development opportunities to help them address two important cross-curriculum perspectives (CCPs); teaching gifted and talented students and addressing Indigenous perspectives. This study drew on in-depth interviews with practising science teachers to provide rich descriptions of current classroom practice, resources and professional development and to compare these to the resources that teachers are accessing and classroom practices and professional development they would prefer to be experiencing.

 

A very close second and highly commended went to Dr Kate Bertram from the University of Wollongong and Illawarra Christian School who receives the $500 Smart Teacher Award. Kate’s study into “The Cultural Architecture of Schools – A study investigating the relationship between school design, the learning environment and learning communities in new schools”. The judges were impressed with her ability to convey the systemic issues associated with school architecture and design and willingness to make recommendations related to policy and practice.

 

A commendation and the $500 Co-op book vouchers were awarded to Angela D’Angelo from the Catholic Education Office, Sydney for her ideas related to the take-up of mathematics by girls in the HSC in her study title “In search of a success equation for girls in mathematics….toward equity.

 

A commendation goes to Janson Hews from the University of Technology and the Powerhouse Museum for his research proposal “Enhancing learning through 3D Printing and digital fabrication”.

 

Facts for Learning Fun

Posted on September 23, 2013 at 9:10 PM

Finding resources that can grab a student’s attention (hooking them) is sometimes difficult and often time consuming. However, students love to hear about historical and current facts and it has actually been proven that ‘facts’ can be used to support any type of learning style regardless of a student’s ability level. Also, factual information can extend their thinking skills. So, if you are one for sharing information and facts, then this is the App for you. “5001 Amazing Facts” is a free App that can be downloaded from Google Play that contains thousands of factual descriptions that can be used in any KLA and in both primary and secondary schools.

 

 

How can I use Robotics in the classroom?

Posted on August 25, 2013 at 10:25 PM

With the Australian Curriculum to be officially taught in schools in less than six months, teachers are looking for new technologies to introduce into the classroom that can suffice its General Capabilities and Cross Curriculum Priorities. Robots play a significant role in numeracy as well as other key learning areas such as science and can be used by students of all ability level from K-12.

Overall, robots enhance creative problem solving techniques. When working with Blooms or any other cognitive taxonomy, this is regarded as a higher order thinking skill. Robots also prevent students from being passive learners as they become active learners, showing initiative, independence and ownership of their work. Additionally, robots allow collaboration and communication to occur between small groups and large groups of students.

How do I use robots in the classroom?

Schools that already use robots use either Lego or the RoboCup pack (which can be purchased through Modern Teaching Aids). These are well-known and easy to use resources that can be used for years to come. When using robots, students use hands-on activities to create their robot, that is to make them and use programming and computers (including devices such as iPads and tablets) to create movement activities such as playing soccer, dancing or rescue operations for their robots. In addition to programs that schools can purchase from reputable robotics distributors, there are numerous resources available online that have step-by-step instructions on how to use robots if you are a first time user. There are also opportunities of entering state and national based competitions if you feel that your students have the skill.

Why should I use robotics in the classroom?

Robotics provides students with the ability maximise their learning by having a key role in every stage of designing a robot. Perfect for 21st Century learning, robotics can be used in flipped classrooms, project-based learning and problem-based learning. In a science lesson, students can use robots to demonstrate an understanding of the relationships between mass, force, work, power and energy, whereas in maths, students can use logic and sequence when writing instructions for the robot to complete given tasks.

Where to next?

A number of opportunities exist when learning with robots. If your students demonstrate a natural talent in designing and building their robots, they may enter competitions such as “RoboCup Junior Australia” which are open to all Australian schools.

 

How to use a 3D Printer in schools

Posted on August 25, 2013 at 10:25 PM

The latest “Must Have” in Technology is the 3D Printer. A 3D Printer has the capability to create a three-dimensional solid object. Unlike the printers we use today, a 3D Printer will permit students to take their CAPA and TAS artworks and Engineering and Technology projects to a whole new level. It permits students to design the blueprints of their projects using sophisticated software and higher order thinking that current classroom practices are limiting in. At around $2,500, the 3D Printer unit is now an attractive option for schools to adopt. 3D Printers permit students to print in plastic and in metal. Both materials are relatively cheap to purchase as is the software to use. Starter packs for schools are also available from 3D Printer suppliers

How can my school increase its digital footprint?

Posted on June 20, 2013 at 4:20 AM

Many schools are adopting digital technologies as part of their lessons or as one-way communication means to execute information to their students and parents. However, schools are now creating teacher based committees who’s main objective is to ensure that all teachers are collaborating in the promotion of the school and its teaching and learning. Before any school adopts these technologies, it is recommended that the departmental policies and guidelines regarding the use of social media and the Internet are read and understood.

 

Schools are using standard web 2.0 tools to create informative websites that allows parents and guardians of their students to be aware of the latest school announcements. Websites and wikis are the most popular tools used by schools. Some schools incorporating e-commerce components which enable parents to pay school fees and order school uniforms online.

 

The more IT literate schools are taking their digital footprint to a whole new level and are incorporating social networking sites and various Apps into their promotions portfolio. Many schools have a dedicated Facebook page which also provides students and their parents of the latest school announcements and allow students to make contributions about events that took place at school. In these instances, school ‘promotions’ committees monitor Facebook ensuring that all material posted onto Facebook is appropriate. Schools whom have used Facebook find that there has been a significant increase in students returning permission notes and being more engaged in whole school activities. Schools have also found that parents are more engaged and more aware of all of the events that are taking place daily.

 

Schools have also begun using twitter to communicate to its students, parents and teachers. This micro blogging website has proven beneficial in reporting the successes of the school to its followers and to the general public. Many schools have also added a twitter feed on their school website so those parents whom do not have the latest mobile devices can still access the latest information.

 

Schools, such as Rooty Hill High School have embraced technology and have taken one step further and have created an App for apple and android devices. This App will provide Rooty Hill High School another means to communicate to students and their parents. The App permits its user to condensed access to information that is currently on the school website and Facebook page.

 

Schools can create a digital foot print with great ease. A committee that is responsible for its implementation is necessary as is a school population that is ready to embrace it.

Using a Healthy Eating App in PDHPE

Posted on June 20, 2013 at 4:20 AM

Are you a PDHPE teacher discussing the importance of an individual’s fitness level to your students? The latest App ‘Fitness Test for PE teachers and coaches’ allows its user, the student, to measure their own fitness levels without requiring a vast of sophisticated equipment in over 30 tests. Tests include the Beep Test and group tests, and it gives teachers the flexibility to create distance tests for their students. The Fitness Test App records all test result in a CSV file which can then be exported into an Excel Spreadsheet and data can be used to pinpoint areas of improvements of participating students throughout the school year. The Fitness Test App is available via the App Store for $0.99 and can be used with students at any age and any fitness level.

 

Go Pro Camera in Education

Posted on May 27, 2013 at 7:35 AM

Have you ever wondered how you can extend on creating digital stories or short films in your class? Why not invest in a Go Pro Camera that provides students with the ability to show life from their perspective? A Go Pro Camera is designed for fast moving real-life action video recording that captures your movements as you see them. Originally used in extreme sport, a Go Pro Camera provides students with new opportunities to record their actions, sporting events and events in a way that they have never been able to records before. Starting at $100 from most retailers, A Go Pro Camera uses a typical SD Card and permits editing via any software.

Where can I get more help regarding the Australian Curriculum?

Posted on May 27, 2013 at 7:35 AM

The Australian Curriculum is upon us and understanding all seven General Capabilities is critical. Termed as Learning Across the Curriculum (LAC), the 7 capabilities form the basis for all new Australian Syllabuses. Teachers in New South Wales, are also required to implement 3 Cross-curriculum priorities along with 3 other learning across the curriculum areas.


NSW teachers have been given additional professional learning time to prepare for the introduction of the Australian Curriculum in 2014. Many schools will have dedicated this time for teachers to develop programs which implement the General Capabilities into the curriculum. Although schools are attempting to implement this independently, there are a number of resources that are available to all primary and secondary schools to simplify the process.

 

 


ACARA (The Australian Curriculum And Reporting Authority)

The main website with information about the Australian Curriculum is produced by ACARA. ACARA provides school leaders and teachers with an overview of the draft syllabus papers which are under development, the General Capabilities and programs regarding assessment and reporting.

 

http://www.acara.edu.au/default.asp

 

If you are an avid iPad user, the “National Curriculum” App is designed by ACARA providing you with the information directly from their website. The App can be downloaded via itunes at:

 

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/australian-curriculum-mobile/id380266604?mt=8

 

 


Australian Curriculum

There ia an Australian Curriculum website that provides teachers with information, fact sheets and online mapping for the 7 General Capabilities. This website also provides teachers with a Learning Continuum that shows how students will develop from K-10 in every KLA.

 

http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/

 

Consultation papers are available for curriculum documents in development and teachers are invited to provide feedback. Access to these papers is available on the Australian Curriculum website.

 

http://consultation.australiancurriculum.edu.au/

 

The 3 Cross-curriculum priorities are also on the Australian Curriculum website. This provides educators with further information in pdf format that can be downloaded as reference material.

 

http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/CrossCurriculumPriorities

 

 


Board of Studies New South Wales

The Board of Studies New South Wales website has information regarding the Australian Curriculum. A most valuable tool is the NSW BOS Learning Across the Curriculum (LAC) Filter that enables educators to map a syllabus by stage and by one or more LAC area. This filter will be critical in terms of programming and preparing lesson plans.

 

Board of Studies Australian Curriculum in NSW - http://boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/australian-curriculum/

Board Of Studies LAC Filter - http://syllabus.bos.nsw.edu.au/filter/

 

 


 

Teachers Connect

A relatively new website that offers to connect teachers and provide them the ability to share resources for FREE is now available. Teachers Connect allows teachers in Australia to register and network with others nationally to share and develop resources supporting capabilities of the National Curriculum.

 

http://teachersconnect.com.au

 

 

 


 

 

Concerns with Charging Laptops at School

Posted on April 25, 2013 at 9:35 PM

As the final DER laptop rollout is upon us, schools were required to select who would own the laptops; the school or the student. May schools have opted for the laptops to remain at school and be pooled by classes rather than giving them to their year 9 students for sole ownership and use. Whilst this option has its advantages such as providing the entire student body access to these devices that contain softwares that many school desktop computers may not include, a new set of concerns have emerged. The main concern surrounds charging these laptops securely and safely whilst making them readily available for the next class in the next period.

 

Some schools are purchasing laptop trolleys to secure laptops and connect them to a main power source in each classroom for charging, classroom teachers are still finding that obstacles of flat laptops or malfunctioned laptops exist when trying to execute an ICT based lesson. So, the big question in this instance is….who is responsible for charging laptops or fixing laptops? Is the Technology Support Officer (TSO), is it the Computer Coordinator, is it each and every teacher who uses the laptops or is it the Head Teacher of Technology? Depending on your school, one or many teachers may be responsible for this, however, as many teachers experience, whilst we all try to do our best with technology, many teachers are out of their depth when using laptops and its softwares or feel overwhelmed at the end of the lesson with the amount of work needed to do to pack up a technology lesson. Sometimes, it is simply not possible to be able to end a lesson, check that all of the laptops still work, shut down the laptops, pack up the laptops and connect them to the charging station (laptop trolley) whilst overseeing the actions of every student in your class.

 

In order to overcome such obstacles, other schools offer teachers and students with online booking services such as School Online Booking System (www.sobs.com.au) that permit them to ‘book’ resources such as a laptop or a group of laptops. These schools are also electing to have a central charging station where all laptops are charged and stored in a safe domain (typically within the library). This provides students to complete their classwork or assessment tasks should they lack computer access at home as well as give ownership to one person or a group of people to oversee the laptops. Further, it also gives students ownership of a laptop whilst it is in their possession, regardless of which year group they are in.

 

This model is proving successful in many Western Sydney Schools as overall they have recorded fewer incidents of damaged laptops, and fewer incidents of flat laptops. It also leads to increase in school retention, student ownership and collaborative learning whilst facilitating 21st century learning such as the Flipped Classroom or Project Based Learning.

 

Prezi for iPad

Posted on April 25, 2013 at 9:35 PM

With many students desiring to take their powerpoint presentations to a whole new level, many are opting to use Prezi – a much more sophisticated presentation tool that enables them to create interactive and engaging pieces of work.

 

Prezi is now available as an App that can be downloaded onto an iPad. ‘Prezi for iPad’ contains the same functionality of the Internet based Prezi but provides students with a much easier editing capabilities as it relies on the touch screen of the iPad. This free App allows the student to save the Prezi to their iPad which can then be emailed to the teacher or uploaded onto the school Learning Management System such as Moodle.

 

Apple TV Review

Posted on February 25, 2013 at 8:30 PM

If you have ever thought about increasing the multimedia resources in your classroom, look no further than the Apple TV. The Apple TV is a convenient device that provides both teachers and students with endless opportunities to work collaboratively and efficiently. In addition to connecting the teachers ipad/icloud to a HDTV to stream curriculum specific videos from the Education Channel as well as from YouTube and their personal iCloud, it also connects students ipads/ipods to the HDTV allowing students to present their work quickly and easily. The Apple TV retails from $100 and its size permits teachers to share and use this resource in any classroom within the school.

 

Embracing digital profiles

Posted on February 1, 2013 at 5:55 AM

The iPad mini in the classroom

Posted on January 31, 2013 at 9:25 PM

The latest Apple addition – the ipad mini is creating a storm in education. This mini version of the ipad provides teachers with the opportunity to do everything that their existing DER/teacher laptop enables them to do, but in a light and more compact tool. The ipad mini is ideal for teachers who already carry a collection of resources back and forth from their faculty (and for younger students who use them for a long period of time). The ipad mini allows teachers to connect it to the projector and use it as their laptop. Additionally, it has faster internet connection that its ipad family members and has a better camera and movie making technology. The ipad mini retails from $300 and can be purchased through any Apple-approved NSW DEC institution. Compatible with the DER wireless in most schools, the ipad mini permits better use for students in group activity situations, and for for schools that have 1:1 laptops but want to also add a more mobile and flexible learning device.

 

Personal Learning Networks

Posted on January 19, 2013 at 6:25 AM

Creating a digital foot print is becoming significantly important for many individuals. It is certainly dependent upon occupation and interest groups, however, more and more individuals are adopting the need to have a personalised learning network.

 

Socially, many individuals possess accounts on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, YouTube and so forth. Professionally, individuals seek LinkedIn, twitter and Blogs. A PLN permits individuals to have a voice online. This voice provides them the opportunity to share their experiences, their findings atheories success and failures with community members off similar interest.

 

Like my personal work ethic, my digital ethic is to keep my professional and personal PLNs separate. Thus, professionally, I have developed PLNs that are education specific and are aimed to inform other teachers with an insight of my teaching experiences and research that I have found that is meaningful and relevant to todays pedagogical practices.

 

Professional PLNs thacloudscape include my blog, twitter, linkedin and PLANE.

 

Within my school, I use Moodle and the schools Facebook to communicate with my students. I have also used Edmodo, wikispaces and twitter to support particular learning activities. This is extremely important as I am able to connect with my students outside class time and provide them with sufficient support at their pace.

 

Personally, I use FourSquare and Pinterest to communicate with friends.

 

Collectively, these PLNs provide me with opportunities to communicate, engage and connect with others and to create new connections with students and colleagues in my school.

 

 

Power of PLNs

PLNs are networks that have no barrier to entry. They cross teaching sector and geographical divides and age is not an issue. All it takes is a commitment to engage and a willingness to share what you know.

 

Now, maybe more than ever, our profession needs to respond to change. As we sit on the cusp of the introduction of the Australian Curriculum, we need to find ways to make true what the documentation asks of us;

 

‘The commitment to develop a national curriculum reflects a willingness to work together, across geographical and school-sector boundaries, to provide a world-class education for all young Australians.’

 

‘Working nationally makes it possible to harness collective expertise an effort in the pursuit of this common goal. It also offers the potential of economies of scale and a substantial reduction in the duplication of time, effort and resources.’

 

 

Significance of PLNs

PLNs provide individuals with learning and access to leaders and experts around the world bringing together communities, resources and information impossible to access solely from within school walls.

 

It opens boundaries and creates a flat world where all individuals as leathers have equal access to information

 

The Power of PLNs

Google is revolutionising the education domain. 2013 will see a different type of PLN used by teachers and their students. Google Drive, Google + and Google Apps will enable us all to create a personal learninnetwwork that facilitates collaboration and learning a virtual context in real time. This area will certainly change and we will see many of Googles products replace the 'traditional' products of Facebook, Skype and others.

 

 

 

 

 

Using Decibel Meters

Posted on November 28, 2012 at 4:50 AM

Ever wanted to measure the noise pollution in your class or are curious by the sounds of the nearby construction? Using a decibel meter permits students to measure and record sound waves of various noises. Used typically in Sciences, Creative and Performing Arts, TAS and ICT a decibel meter enables students to understand the concept of decibels. This is of particular importance in these KLAs for OH&S purposes as well as learning about the relationships that exist between amplitude and energy. Additionally, decibel meters encourage the use using literacy and numeracy in each of its activity. The new DER laptops have Audacity and Data Harvest EasySense Softwares preinstalled on them permitting students to record and develop their recordings. Decibel meters range in cost and begin from $35. There are also a range of Apps (free and paid) available via itunes and Google Play that work in conjunction with the decibel meter that enable students to continue with their work outside of the classroom.

 

 

tweet, post & learn @ social media ;-P

Posted on September 2, 2012 at 8:05 PM

Using social media in the classroom seems like a giant leap for many teachers, however, it is a technology that is already embraced by teenage students and is extremely easy to use to support the teaching and learning of any content area.


Using edmodo, blogster, twitter and even QR Codes will not only increase the motivation, engagement and participation of students, but will lead to an increase of understanding of subject content.


It was found in a recent research study that students who used multiple types of Social Networking Sites to complete their work were more successful at completing their work and felt that they ‘learned more’ using these technologies. This study was conducted in a NSW DET school and required the teacher to ‘tweet’ her students the URL of the Social Media Site (edmodo) that was to be accessed to download the classwork. Students received the tweet via their phones/tablets and were able to use their phones or tablets to complete the class work. The study saw students upload their completed work and contribute to the blog by reflecting on their lesson.


This study also found that there was very limited Net Lingo (sms talk) used when using these mediums and that students overall communicated correctly and effectively. More importantly, there was no evidence of any cyberbullying.


If there is restricted access on these sites at your school, effective social media lessons can still be created and used. Using Maang or Blog Ed is a great gateway to train your students how to use Social Media correctly and provides you, the teacher, with full access and control over the lesson. These sites combined with Moodle or any other site that your school currently uses will help you work towards creating innovative digitalised lessons.

 

Educational Media International

Posted on August 22, 2012 at 8:15 AM

In July, I discovered that I was yet again, a published author in a highly prestigeous publication: http://emi.cardet.org/index.php/en/latest-issue

School Policy and Teaching

Posted on August 22, 2012 at 8:10 AM

My research findings were reaching people of power (in the research and publication world) and made it in School Policy and Teaching Research Edition: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/access/cyberbullying/BIG_4040-CBRC_SchoolPolicy_PRF4.pdf

 

 

Recent Research Findings Presented...

Posted on August 22, 2012 at 8:10 AM

In May, I discovered that my Research Findings were to be presented at the 2nd annual Social Media in Higher Education Conference on 26-27 June 2012 @ the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Sydney (by Keynote Speaker) . Very impressed with myself!