Coach or Coach??

Coaching – Knowing what your team need of you to guide them!

Photo Credit: Chris Hunkeler via Compfight cc

A number of our staff recently attended the Africa Learning2.014 AISA conference at ICS, Addis.   Unfortunately I was unable to attend but I used the conference hashtag #learning2 to following along via TweetDeck.

L2.014 AISA

Whilst there were many good talks, two by the COETAIL co-founders, Kim Cofino Jeff Utecht, one in particular caught my attention as it linked to my new role as PYP Edtech Coach.  This talk by Colin Gallagher, a witty and entertaining Irishman, drew upon his 10 years of experience as an Edtech coach to discuss 5 Things About Being a Tech Coach.   As a person starting out in this field, I certainly took notice and reflected upon what I was doing and what I can do better to support staff and students.

Below I have listed the 5 things Colin spoke about along with what I am doing within my new role.

  1. Some teachers think you will do nothing.
    • Be visible.  I am out and about, in and out of classrooms throughout the primary school when and where possible.  Through informal observations and discussions I have gained a clearer understanding of what is happening, and hopefully what is required.  Where possible, I try to follow this up with an email to say thanks, and if needed, suggest where tech could have been integrated into the lesson.
    • Be proactive.  Instead of waiting for teachers to approach me I have been accessing planning via ManageBac and looking for opportunities to integrate technology based on the learning outcomes.  Thanks to the support from a new colleague who has helped me expand my  PLN, I am working on creating two documents that will be able to support teachers in their planning.
      • Primary Tech Curriculum Map based on UOI
      • iPad App Map for the individual year groups based on categories with description.
    • Be approachable.   By dropping in an out of classrooms and having short informal conversations I have been trying to make myself more available and “open” to being approached.
  2. We don’t know everything.
    • Like within the classroom when students ask questions that I do not know the answer to, I freely admit to it, then I go about modelling how to find the answer, or I find someone who does!  This is exactly what I have been doing within my role.
    • Making sure the everyone is aware of my role and expectations during collaborative planning, including expectations has been vital.
  3. If you don’t have empathy, you are in the wrong job.
    • Once again, getting in teacher’s classrooms allows me an insight into what they are dealing with day in, day out.  From here I can ascertain the level of confidence and competence of teachers and support them accordingly.
    • I freely admit to the fact that they know their students better than I do and listen to their feedback and/or suggestions.
    • This also relates to the role of the teacher which I tweeted about during a #pypchat.  The same goes with teachers.

  4. It is okay not to be wanted at times.
    • I have already come across this on a couple of occasions where teachers were using technology to enhance the learning and I was not aware.  For me, it would have been nice to know about it because what they did could most likely be applied somewhere else.  Like Colin mentioned, we want teachers and learners to be risk takers, to try new things and see how it goes.  Getting teachers to freely share what they did too is essential in creating a collaborative approach to integrating technology.
  5. You better present well.
    • Since joining up with COETAIL I have been exposed to the a wide range of informative and riveting presentations, from TED talks to Inbox Zero.  All successful presenters know their stuff implicitly, and tell it like a story.  They believe in what they say and know the ins and outs, and like a good sales rep, are extremely convincing.
    • I know that teachers are busy and have a lot on their plate which I seem to be adding to!  Knowing this, I need to be succinct and convincing in its worth.  For some, I will need to be on hand to lead them through it to encourage their use.  For others, a gently nudge in a specific direction.

I recently ran an iPad familiarization tech session for Teaching Assistants which I felt went rather well. I planned for a variety of activities so that the  participants could move on instead of waiting.  I roved about to identify those who needed extra support and to gauge an understanding of the flow of the session so that things didn’t become “stagnant”.   In summing up the session, I used what we were doing to demonstrate the range of expertise within the room, and how we as colleagues can be on hand to support, thus, hopefully initiating a collaborative mindset for support amongst staff.

Lastly, the title of this blog post is a bit of a play on words with regards to the role of the Edtech Coach.  Some people need the extra comfort and support that a coach (British definition) can provide whilst starting out on the tech integration journey.  Some however, need the guidance and tweaking from a coach to help point them in the right direction, expose them to something new, or to refine current approaches and practises.

Coach – (British) a comfortably equipped single-decker bus used for longer journeys.

Photo Credit: iantherev via Compfight cc

YouTube Preview Image

Meet The Teacher!

Bored beyond belief

A real snooze-fest!                    Photo Credit: markhillary via Compfight cc

A Look Back At Course 3 Final Project
This post is about tying up loose ends, in particular my Final Project for COETAIL Course 3!  As my Meet the Teacher Evening had long gone, I was at a loss to think about a presentation right there and then to I deferred, until now.

As I look back at my previous Meet The Teacher presentation, it was a classic Death By PowerPoint and I knew it, but did nothing.  In my previous post I go into it in more detail!

Sorting Out Course 3 Final Project
Currently I am teaching Year 5 but will be moving up to Year 6 next year with the students. With this is mind I thought I would take advantage of the fact that I already know the students and most their parents.  So, in preparation for next year’s meeting I sent out a survey to find out what the parents wanted to be covered on the evening.

Why a survey?
Having done this evening for many years now, not once have I asked my audience what they actually wanted to be shared, discussed or explored.  Like most teachers I have specific areas which  will naturally be covered, and we often invite questions from parents, but how often have the courage to asked the ones that matter?  Hence the chance for an anonymous survey.

With the survey I wanted to gain a clearer understanding of what was important from the perspective of the parents.

NB: A total of 14 parents/carers responded to the survey out of 24, giving each response a weighting of 7% (rounded to the nearest whole number).


The first three statements were based on the acquiring the importance of basic information shared.

Statement 1
This statement was posed based on the fact that I only had a 50% attendance this year at the Meet The Teacher evening.  As a teacher, I see this as a vital opportunity to connect with parents and I would hope that they felt that way too…which means for me, 100% attendance.

Question 1

All of those who completed the survey feel that the Meet the Teacher Evening as a very important event.


Statement 2 & 3

This statement was posed as I didn’t want to assume anything in particular.

Question 2

Question 3

The Result
All of those surveyed thought agreed that have background information about the teacher was important.


Importance of topics being covered on the night
For the final part I asked the parents to rank a number of topics according to their importance.

Looking at these responses I decided to give the following weighting.  This probably should have done on the actual Google Form from the start.

  • 1- 2 Important
  • 3 – Mildly important
  • 4 – 5 Neither important or unimportant
  • 6 – Mildly Unimportant
  • 7 – 8 Unimportant

Statement 4

The Results

Importance 1 Importance 2 Importance 3 Importance 4 Importance 5 Importance 6 Importance 7 Importance 8

As I do not have enough time to cover all topics I have to prioritize.  So…

What to cover in more detail?

– Those responses that received a total combined of 75% or more for a response of 1 & 2.

  • Homework – 86 %
  • Curriculum – 78%
  • Assessment – 79 %

What to touch on?
– Responses that received a total combined score above 80% for a response of 1, 2 & 3.

  • Reporting – 87%
  • Communication – 86%
  • The Role of the Parent – 85%

What do I leave out?  (For now)
– Responses that received a total combined score below 80% for a response of 1, 2 & 3.

  • 1:1 iPad Roll Out – 78%
  • Exhibition – 71%


UPDATE: Ironically, due to my wife’s pregnancy complications  I was not on hand to follow through with this as I was unable to attend the evening.

Things that I planned to do were:

  • Include video to show what happens on a “typical” day. In particular homework, curriculum & assessment
  • Show them how we flip the classroom and the benefits.
  • Organise hands on activities using technology.

So for now…no zenning this important evening, it will have to wait until the next opportunity.

Making Authentic Connections

For some time I have been looking at opportunities to connect my students with another class from around the world.  I had sent emails to various people who I knew but for some reason or another, things just did not happen, so I just left it at that…

For sometime I have been following  Shannon Miller, an District Librarian and a Technology Integrationist at Van Meter, Iowa, (go check her out, you will be impressed by what she gets up to and wonder how she manages the time).  One day whilst flipping through my tweets I noticed one of her tweets sharing digital books via Padlet that Kate Goodwin and Aubrey Stafford’s Grade 5 Van Meter students had created on YouBlisher which were very impressive, so I tweeted back, (see below).

During our Extra Curricula Activity (ECA) I took a photo and tweeted again thanking Shannon and the Grade 5 students and teachers for sharing.  During this ECA, the group spent an entire hour flipping through the different books and learning from the experts who had created them.

After this tweet I contacted Shannon to see if it would be possible to connect the two classrooms and not long after, we did.

Pre Google Hangout (GHO)

Prior to our online meeting with Van Meter, we gathered our two Year 5 classes together to focus on:

  • Skype/Google Hangout (GHO) etiquette.
  • Organising what we were going to say within our groups.
  • Anticipating possible questions, both about.

Both Mr Ed and I were impressed with the focus of the students and it was clear that they wanted to make a positive impression on our Van Meter friends but as this was my first class-to-class live connection, I was a tad nervous!

A big thanks to my friend Katy Vance for her recent blog post detailing helpful advice when connecting people online with Skype.

The Hangout

As 16:30 (EAT) came by, our students started to trickle in to prepare for the event.  Finally, 17:00 KICS time/09:00 Van Meter time arrived and we connected!

Here are a few tweets & photos of the events.

Screenshot 2014-05-18 13.02.11
Aziz, Malual & Michael answering a question from a Van Meter student.
Screenshot 2014-05-18 13.00.47
Merwan, Mohamed & Andrew answering a question from a Van Meter student.
Screenshot 2014-05-18 13.03.13
Amna, Bakhtia, Lalaine, Nanami & Polly sharing their “Tornado” problem with Van Meter students and staff.

Both schools were fully engaged on what was happening and the quality of the questioning certainly highlighted this.

Our students shared, learned and talked about:

  • Global Warming and possible actions which can creating change.
  • What deforestation is and the impact on the environment.
  • Different environmentally friendly cars in USA.
  • That some wind turbines can power up to 500 homes!
  • Innovations & Inventions and the Design Cycle.
  • Van Meters students are very familiar with Web 2.0 tools and the fact that they have 1:1 tablets!
  • Our common interests, e.g. someone at Van Meter likes One Direction!
  • That football is soccer, and soccer is football!
  • There is an 8 hour time difference!
  • degrees fahrenheit and centigrade

To our Van Meter Friends

We look forward to sharing our Inventions and Innovations projects links & videos with you and hopefully receiving your thoughts and feedback.

We look forward to commenting on your blogs once again and adding you to our Feedly Reader, checking out your responses to the issue of Global Warming, and using some tech tools such as FlipGrid, Twitter, Blogging & Google Docs to connect and discuss.

Does this happen by accident?

In looking back it is funny how some things just work or click. But knowing what went on behind the scenes, nothing was left to chance.  Everybody worked hard to make it a success and a huge thank you goes out to all of those who were involved.

We look forward to doing this again soon.  Thanks once again.

The Final COETAIL Journey!


The COETAIL Journey
Watch out for rabbit holes!

Photo Credit: tricky (rick harrison) via Compfight cc

The past four blogs have been a reflection of the process of implementing eportfolios with my Year 5 students.  Whilst this is my COETAIL Course 5, Final Project, it is by no means the end of my reflections and discussion on eportfolios.

In this post you will find a couple of reflective videos, links to previous blogs and a summation about eportfolios relating to the SAMR model!

Sorry about the length of this post but I needed the extra words this time!

To learn more out what we have been up to, please read the posts below.

A look at why I change my mind about my final project.

How I set up the eportfolio templates via Blogger and the specific settings that I needed to be aware of.

What I did to explore this important area.  Re-visiting digital citizenship is something that is never finish, as I was reminded the other day by one student!

The actual act of the students posting their thoughts, view and ideas and the criteria and process involved.

Please find below:

  • Final Project Video which features students responding to questions.
  • Student reflection video on areas that went well, they found challenging and what they are looking forward to.
  • My written reflection to aspects that may not have been inferred in the video.  These reflections relate directly to our Course 5 marking scheme
  • Reflecting upon the SAMR model.

 COETAIL Course 5 – Final Project Video

Year 5 Student Reflection Video

Music courtesy of Admiral Bob / CC BY-NC 3.0
Please check out the Year 5 eportfolios and comment if you have the time!

Personalisation of Learning

Who selected what is being learned?

  • Generally dependent upon the task.  Due to the nature of benchmarks, I have specific assessment activities allocated for tasks.

Who is selected how it is being learned (activity)

  • Recently, during PBL I have been giving greater scope on what is being learned.  I feel a good example this is the current Inventors & Innovators unit where students have been asked to work through the design cycle.  Polly’s recent Shades of Meaning post is an excellent example of the students deciding how they are going to present.

Who selects how this is being demonstrated?

  • Again, mostly up to the students.  I had one student whose recent reflection highlighted the issues that she has with using technology as she loves using the physical aspect of what is being created.

Who selects what technology is being used?

  • I offer a lot of freedom to the students in what they wish to use and how they wish to use it.  In saying this I try to expose them to different ways of using technology to do things.  They are currently enjoying Hang-Out, creating videos to share or teach.  One thing that we have been unable to do is screencast due to the fact that we have to root the device which my tech people would not be happy with this!


  • This is dependent upon the task which either the students or I have chosen to add to the eportfolio.  For example, a recount text might require a continuum or checklist, whereas our current Innovators & Inventors requires a rubric.  Self reflection occurs automatically due to the requirement that.  Where possible, assessment is shared or developed during the initial stages so that students know:

    • what they need to do in order to be successful

    • to respond to feedback to make appropriate adjustments

    • know when they have been successful.

Whenever possible, I have encouraged the students to explore each other’s blogs and make comments where relevant.  Whilst people from all around the world have viewed these blogs, very few have have actually commented.  Providing opportunities to connect with other classes is an area that I am currently developing.

Relating to SAMR

Some of the things that feature in students eportfolios features throughout the SAMR model. Here are some examples.

Substitution – The technology is a direct tool substitute, with no functional change.

  • Word processing – Homework reading records replacing homework logs.

Augmentation – The technology is a direct tool substitute, with functional improvement.

  • A lot of this has occurred through sharing and utilizing features within Google Docs & Google Forms.

Modification – The technology allows for a significant task redesign.

  • Examples of this occur with sharing, collaboration and commenting.  Within Google Docs we can co-create, discuss and confer throughout the process.  As a teacher, being able to provide meaningful ongoing feedback is essential.  The students have enjoyed collaboration on StoryBird as part of homework tasks.

Redefinition – Technology allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable

I think eportfolios in themselves are an example of Redefinition. No longer is the audience limited to those who are physically present, and the possibilities to create, communicate and share often seem limited by our imagination!  As I stated in my previous blog post, students are no longer communicating, creating and sharing to and with a narrow known audience, but rather for the global stage.

Possible Redefinition opportunities:

  • Primary Art Exhibition Walk through – Virtual Tour with interviews with artists, (currently in the process).
  • Looking ahead, the PYP Exhibition as a virtual tour for those friends and families who are unable to make it to the official evening!

Lastly, while the focus is to move towards the Transformation stage, the Enhancement stage certainly plays a vital role especially when your task is of a lower level.  Sometimes transformation tasks might be the most productive and practical way to do things.

Going Live!

Photo Credit: Remix of MsSaraKelly via Compfight cc

Once the majority of the digital citizenship had been explored we collectively got our toes wet via the ‘About Us’ and ‘Goals’ page. For the ‘About Page’ we have explored a variety of people out there and came to the conclusion that:

  • We need to be short, sweet and succinct with the language we use.
  • Try and portray our personality through our text, images and/or video.
  • Trying to protect our identity by not divulging too much information.
  • Lastly, trying to think from the reader’s perspective, ‘What is in it for me?’  Thinking of our audience helps us hook our readers!

This will be revisited and reflected upon again over the next two weeks.

The Goals were based on the simplified SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant & Time Bound).  Adding these in was pretty straight forward as we had spent three lessons in class creating and reworking these.  The major challenge in this process for the students was trying to make them measureable.  This took a little bit longer than expected because I really pushed for the students to be certain in all areas to ensure that they knew:

1.      What they wanted to improve upon, or maintain.

  • I specified maintain as some student had made some significant progress and maintain this was the challenge.

2.      How they are going to achieve this.

  • In order to be successful, we need to be able to break tasks down into manageable steps or task.

3.      When they had achieved their goal.

  • What does success look like and how will the students know if they have achieved this?  Relating back to measurable which they initially had trouble with.

These goals were then revisited and co-create via Google Docs and then embedded in the blogs.  Below is a tweet of two students coming to our rescue.

Prior to adding artifacts to the eportfolios we decided upon the basic entry requirements which were stating:

1. The Task.

  • What was it that we were actually doing?  Whether it be the task itself or the Learning Objective, this needed to be stated.

2.  What does this should about me as a learner?

  • Along with some excellent examples (from one EAL learner, see below) I was able to show the students exactly what I was looking for.

We also used one of John Dewey’s quote (shared by my Primary Principal) to guide our reflection.

“We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.”

An EAL student’s reflection

Who chose what was added?

Initially it was all taken from their paper portfolios and simple transferred, or digitized.  After this stage (for about three weeks) I purposely put time aside so that the students could self-select and update.  This process was a lot like our paper portfolios but far more regular as I needed to make it habitual.  As we became  familiar and comfortable with tech, finding work-arounds and our blogs, I began to stand back and ask a simple question which seems to initiate

  • How are you going to share this to show your learning?

Whilst working on specific tasks or projects I regularly ask students to add artifacts so that I could comment on them later.  

Publishing, does it improve quality?

From what I have seen, yes.  With the idea of the “Digital Footprint” firmly entrenched, I felt that the majority of the students were more critical of their own work. Why?  I put it down to two factors and I am sure that there are other influences.

  1. Personal pride.  They cared about how they were presenting themselves to the public and the statement that their learning would present.
  2. Their audience had grown exponentially.  No longer were they creating tasks with their peers and teacher as the main audience, they could now connect with others.

Looking at the above factors, I remember not so long ago how long it took me to compose a blog post and the statement I was making about myself.

Something that I wish I did a lot earlier was adding a rubric to help guide adding of artifacts. This would have helped with ensuring a minimum quality.

Initially I found this e-portfolio rubric courtesy of Black Horse Pike Regional School District and reworked it so that it would suit the purposes of primary eportfolios.

Next post…Final Project video

Taking a Good Look at Digital Citizenship

Image courtesy of Dennis Skley

Some time in early December I casually mentioned to the students that I had been working on creating the templates for their personal blogs, or eportfolios.  They were super excited about having their own space on the “Web” with discussions and thoughts immediately focusing on how they may look and what they may contain!  This positive reaction and enthusiasm from the students was very pleasing and whilst I was the initial creator and director of this, it seemed that I had initial buy-in!

However, before embarking on this ongoing project, we had the matter of Digital Citizenship to deal with.  Fortunately, we had looked at most of this before and were not too far away from launching.

Some of the resources that I found to be extremely helpful were thanks to:

As most people know, there is a vast amount of support out there for developing digital citizenship with in school which is fantastic.  For me, the above links have helped me implement what I would call an effective, whilst informal, digital citizenship scheme.  Again, any advice, direction, or redirection would be warmly welcomed.

Academic Honesty

Alongside our school’s push to model, promote and encourage academic honesty, accurately citing and using the likes of Comp Fight, Google Advanced Search to search for Creative Commons media tied in nicely with where we were going with our eportfolios.  By the way, a huge thank you to our Year 6 students for their fantastic modelling of this during Exhibition.  Not only were our Year 5 students impressed, but some other people within school were pleasantly surprised!

Below is an example of one student’s remix of fair use media which he found via compfight.

Merwan’s remix and use of CC media

With all of the above boxes ticked, we ventured into our school Google accounts to explore the YouTube and Blogger settings. The focus here was to empower the students with the knowledge and skills to take control over their content (visibility), commenting and moderation.

See a previous blog post about YouTube settings which was initiated by a student in my class.

Lastly, whilst we have does some significant work on ensure that we have a positive web presence, this is always ongoing, and as students slip up…like today, this is a reminder that developing digital citizenship skills is never done and dusted.

Next post…Going live with eportfolios.

Getting Started With Eportfolios

Prior to arriving at my current school I had all the good intentions over the summer in initiating a class blog.  In fact, with my GAFE course knowledge just under my ninja belt I was even going to initiate eportfolios.  But, stuff happened, my wife and I changed jobs & countries, we caught up with friends abroad and bought an apartment which needed refurbishing.  So the blog & eportfolio took a back seat to the rest of what was going on at the time.

Luckily for me upon arriving to my new school (mid-August), the Primary Principal had already created Year level blogs with Blogger so this was a huge relief and a wonderful surprise as it certainly provided me with the much needed kick in the right direction…and of course, support.

Well…fast forward a bit and a few significant things happened.

  • Our class went 1:1 with Android tablets in mid October & due to US imposed sanctions on Sudan, we (teacher & students) had to learn to problem solve pretty quickly in order to get them to do the things that we wanted them to.
  • After deliberating for a while and doing nothing rather than something, I took the initiative from my Principal and used the Year level blog template to create eportfolios for the students.  This of course tied in nicely with the first of my three personal goals which I set at the start of the year.

The Process – Setting Up The Blogs
This is a quick outline of what I did to set up the blogs.  I have no doubt that are more efficient ways to do this on Blogger, but nonetheless, this is how I went about it.

Layout – Taking into the account all of the curriculum areas that I wanted the students to share, I added the following in the Pages bar:



  • Home
  • About Me
  • Goals
  • Language
  • Maths
  • UOI
  • Specialists
  • Homework


The order in-which these pages occur can be changed when you click ‘Edit’ when in layout view.

In the Gadget section I wanted the visitors to have access to our Year 5 blog, KICSPrimary  twitter, blog archive, KICSYear5 twitter & the Creative Commons License which has been added to each blog. For most of these gadget items I had to locate, copy and paste the HTML code into each gadget.  Unfortunately, the KICSYear5 twitter is not working properly as it is only shows tweets up until last December!  At present, I haven’t found a solution for this so any ideas are warmly welcomed.

Since creating this initial layout template, the students have added pages and modified them according to their needs and personal taste.

Template – How the blog will appear Live on Blog and on a Mobile device.

  • I selected the Simple theme.
  • I had to mess/experiment around a bit with the basic customization so that the fonts stood out, the pages maximized the most of the page while not cramping up the gadget section.  I thoroughly enjoyed playing around with the aesthetics and learning what worked and what did not.


Customize Template

Again, since selecting the theme and completing a basic customization, a number of students have changed and modified them according to their needs and personal taste.

As I wanted the students to be able to have full access to their blog, I had to share the co-ownership eportfolio with them.  However, before doing this I needed to ensure that the settings (Basic, Post & Comments, Language & Formatting) were configured correctly in order to provide maximum security before starting the education phase of eportfolios & blogging.

Basic Settings
Basic Settings


Lastly, once I had this all good to go, I had to set up a weekly Takeout just incase any of the students accidently deleted their eportfolio, as this is something that I did to the Year 5 blog back in October!  This of course was a valuable and timely lesson to learn!

Next post…taking a look at Digital Citizenship!

A Change of Course!

this way, that way

 Photo Credit: Lori Greig via Compfight cc

Some time ago I wrote a blog post about where I was heading for my Coetail Course 5 project which focused on either one of our two remaining Unit of Inquiries (UOI).  Well, as time went by and Student Led Conferences (SLC) loomed my thought shifted to the eportfolios that the students had been working so hard on creating and developing.

For me as a teacher, getting this off the ground and running was a big thing.  The positive attitude of the students, their ongoing enthusiasm and willingness to solve problems all aided in the success so far.

Today as I sat back and watched the SLCs unfold, I observed the many benefits associated with both traditional and electronic portfolios.

E-portfolios benefits observed today


  • Showcase student achievement and learning.  Even during the short time that the eportfolios have been up and running, the students were able to show the growth in their learning.  As Dr Helen Barrett and many other educators acknowledge, it makes learning visible.

Portable & Accessibility.

  • Due to work commitments some children could only have one parent attend  Having a digital portfolio meant that this aspect of the SLC could occur at a different time, in a different location.  The link to their blog could also be sent to relatives wherever they are in the world.

The multimedia aspects & creativity

  • Parents were genuinely amazed and impressed with the range of presentations that their child has produced.  An example being one EAL learner’s digital storybook recount about a football tournament.

Development of technological skills

  • Technological skills, knowledge and understanding.  As a process of the creation of their portfolios, the students were able to communicate what was involved.

So now with a clear outline of where I am heading in Course 5, I first have to look back at where these eportfolios began for myself and the students.

To summarise the journey for myself and my students, a quote brought to my attention by my Primary School Principal, and one that I have seen often over the past month.

“We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.”  – John Dewey

For those who are interested in venturing down the ePortfolio path, I found these resources helpful.

A Gentle Reminder…

This blog post sat hidden in its draft form for about two months now…but finally made its way out!


 Photo Credit: Rego – via Compfight cc

Within class we have had some very indepth discussions on topics such as academic honesty, sharing of ideas, privacy and of course…e-safety.  One recent conversation explored how we, as users, can be responsible and respectful users of ICT.  Just yesterday as a student uploaded his group’s CFL vs Incandescent bulb video to YouTube in order to later add it to his blog. I questioned him about his privacy settings.

The conversation with this Year 5 student went something like this.

Me: Who can view and comment on you video?
Student: Ummm, not too sure!
Me: Don’t you think that this is something that you need to think about before putting it out there?
Student: Yes
Me: So what are you going to do? I suggest that you go into your settings so that no one can comment on it, or write something inappropriate?
Student: But what about if they comment on something that I need to fix, like the volume, or they give me some helpful advice.
Me: You mean, they might give helpful feedback to make your video better?
Student: Yeah, and I can decide whether I can let that comment be seen.
Me: Are you going to moderate their comments so that only appropriate comments get posted?
Student:  Yes
Me: What about if someone puts a comment about the video which upsets you…what are you going to do then?
Student: Ummm…

At this point the bell went and some students had to catch their bus so I quickly recapped this conversation for the class and asked them think about it overnight and then be ready to explore it first thing! Today we explored the entire YouTube settings in detail and talked about the various options that we had available to us and why we might choose specific settings over others.  For this we used various these three different examples.

  • Our KICS YouTube Channel (No commenting or like/dislike)
  • Bill Nye (No commenting but like/dislike enabled)
  • Math Antics who are great for flipping the classroom, (commenting & like/dislike)

We looked at the comments made by people and decided whether they were helpful or not and what information did the ratings (like/dislike) actually tell us?  Was it helpful?  How?  I was surprised that some students knew about flaming and trolling, (not the terms) and why some people did this.  What some of the student didn’t know about was befriending, and this was something that needed some discussing.

After this we used a GAFE video that I created some time ago to dive into the settings (both basic and advanced) and explored what options that we can have available to us.

Overall the lesson, which was initiated by a student, was an excellent gentle reminder that our students are far more safety conscience than we sometimes give them credit for.  While I firmly believe that it is a teachers responsibility to educate and support our students to understand and navigate the ever-changing security settings, and to keep themselves and other safe, it was nice to know, that they too are thinking critically about this and taking it seriously.

Lastly, the student who initiated this discussion decided to enable both the rating and commenting options on his video.  However, he made sure that he was able to moderate before comments were published.

The Big Move!! A Look At Course 5!

The final blog post for Course 4 is designed to help us get ready for Course 5.  Just after viewing Jeff’s Course 5 outline video and reading the comprehensive outline, I am left thinking like Scooby Doo’s courageous sidekick, Shaggy…and saying to myself…’Yikes!’


Photo Credit: Rooners Toy Photography via Compfight cc

From about October last year we have been running a 1:1 Android Tab classroom and I have leaned on my PLN and colleagues a lot for support, guidance and as a general sounding board.  As as result, I have learned a significant amount about the technical side of implementing a 1:1 classroom, in particular, how to work around problems and find solutions, and so too have my students!  I too have focused foremost on the learning and how the technology can be used to add value to the learning experience.

As part of this blog post I have been asked to sketch out three possible options for moving edtech within the classroom from ‘Enhancement’ to ‘Transformation’ on the SAMR model to the top!  

So here is two areas which I am currently considering.

Unit of Inquiry 

5th UOI – Who We Are – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

  • Transdisciplinary Theme: Who We Are, An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal,

Central Idea: Knowing our skills enables us to identify how we can lead effectively.

Lines of inquiry:

  • Self-efficacy allows us to set and achieve our goals (or to accomplish?).
  • How skills shape leadership styles.
  • Different leadership styles.

6th UOI – How we Organise Ourselves – Inventions

  • Transdisciplinary Theme: Who We Are, An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal,

Central Idea: Technological advances make the world of work and leisure easier.

Lines of inquiry:

  • The impact of technological advances.
  • Inventions as a problem solution process.
  • Properties and uses of materials.

So taking into accounts Jeff’s questions to help us (COETAILers) narrow our focus, here is my response.

  1. Concern about redesigning either of the units? I think everything needs a review, and as these units were not originally created by myself or my colleague or with these students in mind, a fresh look is always needed.
  2. What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?  Depend on how far I want to push it.  Fortunately for me, I have an enthusiastic colleague who is open to new ways or approaches to doing old stuff!  Like the title of this post suggests…it is time for a significant shift!
  3. What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?  Since implementing the 1:1 tablet in October I have found my students to be rather resilient and open to new ways of doing things…but not always.  For those who sit on the fence like many of us have and do, they will need a guided push and a lot of structure to get them through.  Again, I have been impressed with the ability of my students to solve problems when it is easy to get discouraged and go back to older ways of doing things.

Looking back over both of the units, I am planning on redesigning our Inventions unit and switching it to unit five so that it gives me, and my students the opportunity to reflect upon the unit and identify what really worked and what was a flop!

Next step…doing something  rather than talking about it!

Lastly, the ‘Yikes’ comes back to not only the shift, but also the realisation that I have to fit a number of key areas (Personalisation, Ownership/Control, Communication, Collaboration, Authenticity/Relevancy, Discipline-Specific Inquiry, Critical Thinking/Creativity/Initiative, Technology & Assessment) into a sub 10 minute reflective video…and I like to talk!!