Friday, July 31, 2015

LOOK SKYWARDS : LEGO TOWERS - Rich Mathematics Tasks for iLearn Classroom Teachers

Recently a group of Stage 3 teachers from our iLearn schools spent a day exploring how to develop rich mathematical tasks using problem based photographs for their students.

In preparing for the day I was inspired by a trip to a Lego exhibition of Skyscrapers in Sydney with my son for his birthday ;) It was obvious from the moment we spied the splendid models that there was so much mathematics underpinning their creation. I took lots of photos and gathered some fascinating statistics about the skyscrapers and their scale Lego models I then sourced another intriguing Creative Commons image of Ryan McNaughton the Brickman who had been the designer and lead builder of the model towers.

To get us started we engaged the teachers in a collaborative brainstorm using Google Slides on the iPad to identify interesting maths questions which would  lead to opportunities for maths investigations.

Some of the tasks we explored can be accessed via the Lego Towers Look Skywards padlet.

As they worked the teachers also learnt how to create Maths Journals in Book Creator App. We also uploaded their Maths Journals to Google Drive so that they could give and receive feedback to one another using the audio feature in Book Creator. We look forward to seeing some of the other rich maths tasks which teachers will develop and use on their return to school.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Indigenous resources for the iPad school

Our NSW curriculum states that teachers, need to consider in their planning and programming, the incorporation of indigenous issues and themes across the curriculum. 'The incorporation of Aboriginal perspectives into classroom practice includes Aboriginal students through the important recognition of their identity, history and culture and also promotes reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians'.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culture is a cross curriculum priority in the Australian Curriculum: 'Engaging students in learning about our Indigenous history and culture provides opportunities for students to deepen their knowledge of Australia by engaging with the world’s oldest continuous living cultures. This knowledge and understanding will enrich their ability to participate positively in the ongoing development of Australia'.

For schools with iPads there are a range of very useful Apps and iBooks that can provide rich material for students to immerse themselves in the language, culture, art and history of indigenous Australians. Many of them are free.

Click on the image below to access the Pinterest board with links to the individual resources.

  Follow Lisa's board Indigenous iPad resources on Pinterest.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

iLearn Anywhere - reflecting on our journey so far

Our students in the iLearn Anywhere project have had iPads in their hands for just on 12 months.  It was timely that we review and reflect on the progress of the project and it's impact on student learning.

As part of our review, the following video provides a snapshot of how the learning is developing for our iLearn Anywhere students and teachers.  It was heartening to see the skills and learning in the areas of literacy, numeracy and religious education in such a short time.  It was also exciting to see the enthusiasm of all involved with the project.

The following slides then give a more detailed overview of the project.

This presentation chronicles the development of the project; the pedagogy direction, the management, administrative and technical infrastructure setup, examples of student learning, the professional learning model and the project challenges.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

10 BEST THINGS about having an iPad for learning : STUDENT VOICES from the iLearn Anywhere Program

Over the past year, we have been closely following the progress 500 (now Year 5) students in 8 primary schools from the  Diocese of Parramatta, in Western Sydney. The students have been participating in the iLearn Anywhere 1-1 iPad program for just over twelve months now.  Research surveys and interviews have revealed what the students think about having iPads in their 1-1 iPad classrooms   Essentially the students have identified the following 10 factors as the "BEST THINGS about having their own iPad for learning" to support their learning at school and at home:

1.MOTIVATION and ENGAGEMENT Not surprisingly the students (and their teachers) report that our students find having their own ipads to use for learning in the classroom to be engaging and motivating. This is evident in their increased focus and obvious enthusiasm for learning while using their iPads.

2. ACCESS and EQUITY. Students really love having their own iPad to use as and when they need them. Previously most students had limited access to ICT resources in the classroom– often only using shared devices once a week. They claim that they like not having to wait for their turn which enables them to get started immediately on classroom tasks. Students also report improved access to ICT at home as beneficial. They no longer have to compete with older siblings for access to the computer/iPad at home.

3. EASY ACCESS to INFORMATION. The availability of the iPad means that students have a tool for accessing information at point of need. As well as access to searching on the World Wide Web, they have easy access to essential tools such as online dictionaries, thesauruses, calculators and their Bible when required. This in turn has a positive impact on school resourcing of these tools for classrooms – as many of these tools are free online.

4. LEARNING is DIFFERENT. Students identified that the iPad makes learning accessible in many ways – they can learn using different modalities. In other words they can listen or view information as well as read print. This is particularly valuable for students who have different learning styles or particular learning needs. Further to this, the iPad has a range of accessibility features which allow students to access the curriculum and also demonstrate their learning in a range of different ways.

5. CREATIVITY; Students love using a diverse range of tools for creating products of their learning (rather than “writing in their books all day”). Tools include ‘on board’ still and video cameras, apps for digital artmaking and music making tools such as Garage Band, Comic Strip apps and iMovie to name just a few. Creativity really clicks in when students work collaboratively and have choice in the apps they can use and as they gain mastery of a range of workflows.

6. AUDIENCE: Students are motivated to compose texts when they are aware that they have an authentic purpose and audience for their compositions. The iPad makes it possible to publish to diverse audiences within the school and beyond. They confidently use tools such as Apple TV and online networking tools such as Blogger and Storybird for publishing their writing.

7. COLLABORATION. Most students identify that they enjoy opportunities to work in pairs and small teams in the classroom. Students are becoming fluent in sharing digital assets when collaborating with others on a task. Tools such as Google Drive also enable easy submission of student work and  getting helpful feedback from teacher and peers.

8. HOMEWORK IS DIFFERENT. Students display regular willingness to continue to work on things they have started at school; to experiment and learn the features of new apps ; also collaborate with peers or the teachers( eg Flipped Learning). The result is a “blurring of the boundaries” between home and school.

9. SHARING THEIR LEARNING with their PARENTS. Students indicate their parents are keenly interested in seeing what they have been learning at school. Students like it too. They say it’s better than waiting until the end of the year to take their books home. They love regularly “sitting on the lounge” showing their parents their learning.  They also report that they love teaching their parents how to do new things on their iPads.

10. OWNERSHIP. Finally, students demonstrate a strong sense of ownership of their iPads. They are generally responsible in caring for their iPads. There have been very few breakages and no intentional damage. Students see learning as exciting and different to previous experiences with learning at school before having their iPads. As one student, Brodie, put it "It takes learning to another level!" Indeed our students are are unanimous in saying that they would definitely not want to return to classrooms where students do not have their own iPad to support their learning.

We look forward to continuing to share the journey of the students and their teachers  here on the Learning and Teaching with iPads blog. In addition, you can find further details of the project on the iLearn Anywhere website. For further details contact: 

Nicole Sprainger 
Lisa Nash

at The Learning Exchange , Diocese of Parramatta. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Term 1 and 2 iLearn Project 2015 at St Bernadette's!

What a huge year 2015 has been so far!
Term 1 was filled with a huge learning experience for myself as it was my first year in Stage 3 and being the only staff member to move with the iLearn project. We also gained a new staff member to our space!
As the term progressed, we were also fortunate enough to go on school camp, and was also part of the peer review process. A huge term!
The iLearn project was a major part of the students learning throughout the year. This is the first time the Year 6's were part of the project and they were very excited when they were told that they were going to be receiving their own iPads for use at school. This meant that the Year 5's were the experts and have to encourage and guide the Year 6's with the use of their iPads. This was a wonderful learning experience for our students as we all know that one of the best ways to learn is through peer teaching.
Once our Year 6's felt confident with their iPads, it was full steam ahead!

Term 1 saw the introduction of the "Flipped Classroom" concept. This was a path I wanted to lead our students on after lots of research. I produced a range of videos, some you can find on my YouTube channel, that I emailed out to students according to the learning that was occurring within the classroom.

A link to one of my videos is here:

After introducing this concept, I found that my students were becoming much more engaged with their learning, and were emailing me asking for videos explaining concepts they found tricky. Our students were becoming self-reliant and motivated learners!
I was lucky enough to be featured in the Daily Telegraph regarding this initiative within my school.

With the flipped classroom occurring, we also wanted there to be a big focus on digital writing within our classroom. This was a direct link to the schools implementation plan for English 2015.
As part of our writing program, we wanted our students to develop creativity when writing imaginative texts. We decided to use for our students to publish their pieces of writing.
You are able to view a range of texts written by one of our students on the following link:
Students are able to publish their work and share their writing with the public. This has given our students a passion for writing, as they are able to view each others written work easily, and those from around the World!

What a wonderful learning experience this has been for both the teachers and the students!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

St Joseph's Kingswood Term 1 - 2015

St Joseph's Kingswood Term 1

Term 1 at St Joseph's has been extremely busy. We have 1 teacher on the grade that was involved with the ilearn project last year and 1 teacher that is new to ilearn. During term 1 we have had many successes and of course many challenges. We began the year with a number of issues and thought that if we share our experiences it may help other ilearn schools. 


IOS Updates
Most of our students required the latest IOS update on their ipads. This meant that some students didn't have certain apps, couldn't download any apps, some apps would not appear in the self-service app, some apps wouldn't work without the update etc. It was a challenging time. We then discovered it took at least 3hours per ipad for our IT support person to complete just one update. After many discussions and weeks of doing 1 ipad update on the day we had IT support at school we came up with another way to complete all of the updates at once.  

All students made sure all of their work was saved onto google drive in their KLA folders. We then had to delete some apps that took alot of memory eg. imovie. The IOS update required a certain amount of memory to be done and most of our students did not have enough memory left to install the update without going through this process. When each ipad had enough memory we installed the update. When the update was complete we then re-installed the apps that had been deleted from each ipad.....It sounds easy enough i know, but it took us quite some time to realise this was the easiest and fastest way to complete all of the required updates. 


Genius Bar
We set up a Genius Bar in our shared space. Every child has their name on one or more apps as an expert. When a student has a problem or needs help with a particular app they go to the 'genius' for assistance. Our Genius Bar is modelled on the Apple Store and we even have apple t-shirts and laniards for our genius' to wear while working in the bar. 

Grade Partners
This is my first term with the I-Learn program and I must admit at the beginning I felt very overwhelmed. I didn't have a great understanding of how to effectively use technology in the classroom. Knowing that my grade partner and the grade had already had a whole year of learning experiences really made me feel anxious about the term ahead. I really had nothing to worry about. My grade partner has been so patient and supportive in explaining and demonstrating what I have needed to know along the way. It really helped that I had someone with me who had all this prior understanding to guide me through this first term. As a result of this the children have been able to continue and extend their learning with a range of new apps and I have been able to follow along learning as I go ! 

Our Year 5 Kids Are Now Used By Teachers For IT support
Technical issues arise at various times throughout the school day. Teachers at St Joseph's now call Year 5 students to come to their classes and help sort out the technical issue they are experiencing. This has been a wonderful and natural bonus that has occurred due to the implementation of the ilearn program. In addition our students use the Google Drive with confidence and ease, they are also able to assist both teachers and other students within the school with anything to do with Google Drive eg. uploading files/photos, creating files, creating files within files, changing the colour of files, sharing documents with students and teachers, organising information etc.  

Integration of Apps Into One Presentation by the Kids
This term we have noticed a significant difference in what the students are producing on their ipads. We now have students going completely out of their comfort zone and experimenting with a variety of apps eg. FMM. Last year students created a presentation about a topic they had been learning about that included pictures and information. Now the presentations they are handing in have pictures, information, popplets of their workflow, voice recordings,  reference pages, collages of pictures etc. It is truely wonderful to see their creativity!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Collegial visit between OLMC and St Michael's Blacktown

On the 5th November teachers from St Michael's  had a collegial visit to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  We saw children accessing and sharing  their work on Google Drive.  Their was some samples of iMovie trailers where students persuaded others how good the iPads are.

At St Michael's students used strip design to retell the main events of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. They used images from the internet and their own drawings.

Another class presented a freeze frame retell of the story ' I am jack'. They used the camera roll and story patch. A different class brainstormed ides about solar energy using Google Docs then they were able to represent ideas using any App.

Additionally, other students had to persuade others to read their favourite book using iMovie trailer. Firstly they had to brainstorm ideas in popplet then create every image using any app. Students used explain everything, drawing pad, pic collage and feltz.  They also draw images. They then shared their iMovie on Google Drive.