I’ve moved!



I have after all these years decided to move to a more dedicated site that will host more information and to hopefully ALSO encourage me a lot more to blog more often! Thank you to all those who have subscribed and followed this particular site! If you’re interested in continuing to follow my journey, please head to my new, yet still in development, site linked below!

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 10.52.56 am


And why we’re not selling all ours.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 2.35.09 pm

Recently I came across this article that has been floating around on social media for the past few weeks. It’s titled “Why Some Schools Are Selling Their All Their iPads” and comes from ‘TheAtlantic‘, the online version of a monthly news and entertainment magazine out of Boston in the United States.

The article amongst edtech circles has been frequently commented on and it’s been interesting to see the responses from those who have made mention of it.

The article begins by asking ‘is the iPad really the best device for interactive learning’. An interesting question. I can clearly remember when I first laid eyes on an iPad and had the opportunity to engage with one. The conversations immediately turned to the impact that such a device, and that being Mobile Tech, not specifically an ipad, would have on pedagogy and learning.

To this day I am unsure of whether or not the iPad is ‘the’ device for teaching and learning. I do not think there will ever be ‘one device to rule them all’.

Having been involved in the DEECD ‘iPads 4 Learning‘ Trial in 2010/2011, we were amazed to see that transformation of both pedagogy and learning behaviour change via teachers and students having access to this mobile technology. The results and findings from the trial gave very good insight into how the technology supported the delivery of content and students meeting learning outcomes.

Currently I am embarking on re developing a new eLearning Strategy for my college for 2015-2017. No easy task. A large component of focusing on student device allocation. Currently, we’re essentially an ‘iPad School’. 85% of our 1900 students have a 1:1 device and in saying this, in recent years, we’ve seen a shift from 1:1 to 1:many. Students engaging in multiple devices to support their learning.

The discussion as to what we do moving forward has played and weighed heavily on my mind and certainly that of other leadership staff within my setting. The debate of ‘Is the iPad the best device to support learning?’ has occurred time and time again and we can say at this stage that the general consensus to that question is a yes. Now by now means do we and I feel that, again, the iPad is our one saving grace and we can ignore all other devices. However… for OUR teaching programs, pedagogy and philosophies, the iPad is a great device.

There are several points in the article that I completely disagree with, and others that I firmly believe. At the end of the day, I believe that schools are not selling ‘all their iPads’. That schools are investing in devices which best suit their needs and the needs of their staff and students. The fact also that schools are beginning to invest more in BYOD models of integration again change the dynamics completely. Students being given choice as to what devices they use at school is great and although I do believe when schools adopt a true BYOT model, then there are a lot more variables in play that that can be detrimental to a schools eLearning practices.

To quote from the article and in particular Joel Handler, Hillsborough’s director of technology, “Our goal was [to find out] not really which device was better, per se, but which device met the learning goals,”. Great comment! 

And this is why we will not sell the iPad devices we own. Because although it (iPad), for the third time now, may not be the one devices to rule them all, it is by large a great device in assisting students to meet learning outcomes and to foster and encourage 21st century learning skills.


You can lead a horse…



We speak so often about the need to differentiate, personalise, and scaffold our teaching programs to our students to ensure that what is being taught is done so in a way that engages, enhances and gives purpose for the students at their particular point of learning need.

I am a big believer in building teacher capacity in a variety of ways which of course then has a direct flow on effect for the learners that a particular teacher is responsible for. Being in a role that oversees the effective use use of technology across 1900 students and 220 staff is, well, a large role, however one that is supported by a host of staff whose own skill sets and capabilities in using technology to support learning is outstanding. Those supportive staff have a particular drive and passion for continual self improvement that they are very willing to share with those around them and that is the difference that sets them apart.

I am a large believer that professional learning for teachers must be invested in heavily by schools if education is to progress in that particular setting. The challenge I find is that some settings do not either place a high enough focus towards this, do it in a way which is the opposite to what we should be doing, as mentioned earlier with our own students, that being said, providing a professional learning culture amongst staff that disengages, does not enhance capacity and has little to no purpose. The other issue I see is professional learning being driven based on the needs of the college or school, and not the staff, and there is a very large difference between the two.

I am pleased to say that I have attended some absolutely outstanding professional learning in my time. PL that has been engaging and had me thinking and challenging my own pedagogical practices and educational paradigms. PL that has been hands on with a focus on creativity and innovation and thinking in ways that I would perhaps normally not. I feel that these professional learning events were, and are rare. My recent trips via Apple to the ADE Institutes in Bali and San Diego, as well as attending the GTA in Sydney in 2011 certainly were (rare) examples of the above. The focus on these accounts were teachers becoming the learning and learning at points of need. Teachers knowing their own strengths and weaknesses and building their professional learning around these.

Recently I have delivered alot of professional learning to educators both within and certainly without of my college setting. This is something that I really enjoy and is a great part of my role. The fact that I can model lessons for other staff, assist them through planning processes, observe and deconstruct taught lessons as well as deliver more formal means of PL all allow me to assist in the building of teacher capacity. I think, or believe for the most part, I am very good at this. I am passionate about working with staff and it is this passion which drives me going forward. There are times that I have delivered professional learning that has not been wholly effective however and I have used these few experiences to better my own capabilities for future scenarios.

In saying all of the above I am keen to determine how I can better, or… be more effective at building teacher capacity. Does this comes down to the way in which I present and run professional learning, or am I needing to focus more upon inspiring staff before I worry about adding to their skill sets?

Regardless, I feel that I am needing to get more of a ‘buy in’ from staff to better and further improve their own practice. The image below sums it best.

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 8.26.28 am


Finding the time to run professional learning in a teacher’s, or teaching team’s hectic schedule can be very difficult. What is not difficult unfortunately is finding excuses to not run the professional learning. A personal goal from here forward is to ensure I keep working hard in supporting staff to build their own pedagogy no matter the focus, or lack of time. What will go a long in supporting this is that ‘buy-in’ from staff to want to improve. A want and desire to better their practice to ensure that they are delivering the highest quality teaching and learning programs that they can offer.

You could say that I will not force the horse to water if it is not thirsty. Teaching reluctant learners does not improve when I force content upon them. What does work however is finding ways in which to engage and hook them into wanting to learn and to improve… and this is my (exciting) challenge.

Watch. This. Space.




I first caught wind of a 20th Anniversary ADE (Apple Distinguished Educator) Institute towards the end, if not after, my initial induction in to the ADE world following my the Institute I attended in Bali in April 2013.

After having experienced Bali alongside 300 other educators from all over South East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, I was intrigued as to how another ADE Institute could top what I had experienced thus far. I had heard other ADE’s talk of their experiences in Cork, Ireland, a year beforehand and how that Institute was an experience for the ages!

Now usually my posts rant and rave and 200 words turn into 2000. I promise this will not be the case. 😉 As much difficulty as I am having in attempting to review what certainly was an amazing week, I am wanting to do that week justice but being conscience, to the point, and not ruin it through rambling lines of text.

It was this week in which I had a fellow ADE, Glenn McMahon (@mackas_ict) visit my college with several of his colleagues who were investigating eLearning and technology integration practices among other things. Whilst discussing all things teaching, learning, technology, and other, Glenn asked me what my biggest ‘take-aways’ were from San Diego. A great question, albeit a tough one. I have been thinking about my response to Glenn and additional ‘take-aways’ I had from attending #ade2014 and, briefly, these are outlined below.

1. Teachers as Learners.

There are a few ways in which I can take this however I will look at it from this angle… Being in a role which effectively is responsible for assisting staff in using technology to enhance  teaching and promote student learning outcomes has over the years thrown up a few challenges. One of these being the reluctance at times of teachers ‘stepping back’ and allowing students to lead. The need to control a class and the way it is being run is for the most part shifting as it perhaps once was the near norm. I now often see students leading their peers and also their teachers in learning new methods to create, share, collaborate, connect and innovate within the classroom. In regards to the institute a key focus was the teacher being the learner. Using our own devices to engage and interact with the institute itself via an iTunesU course and a developed app for attendees was terrific. I look forward to seeing the day when students are personalising their own learning to the point where teachers are no longer teachers, where they facilitate learning and work alongside the students and not in front them.


Teachers as Learners

2. Making it Mobile.

There’s no doubt the one of the greatest strengths of the iPad is it’s mobility. The simple fact that it can be taken anywhere and do just about anything to support teaching and or learning. This i have clearly seen evident when taking 100+ students to both Sovereign Hill and the Melbourne Aquarium where their iPad devices have been fully integrated to support the learning programs taking place. San Diego in a way was also exactly that. Having our own devices out and about and using the suggested app’s given to us, especially also from an iBeacon point of view was fantastic. The point being made is that learning does not need to be restricted to the classroom or even the school grounds. That also yes, connecting with their learning at home is also great however, when students are engaged with technology to assist them to develop specific understandings when in other rich learning environments so much more understanding can be developed. The map below shows several points of reference where I used my own iPad device ‘out in the field’ and for what reasons.

3. I’m not Alone.

One of the, if not the, best part of attending such an event is being situated in a location alongside 400+ like minded people, all of which have the same drive, passion, and desire that you do. People who are having similar successes and triumphs as well as hitting similar walls and barriers. The professional conversations that were mostly held informally over a beer and dinner were amazing. The connections that I was able to make was outstanding and I have every confidence that through meeting these people, and staying in contact with them I will be a better teacher and leader for it. Thanks to social media, primarily Twitter, I can converse with these wonderful people virtually anytime and anywhere.

Clearly not alone...

Clearly not alone…

4. Break the Norm.

Hearing the stories and journeys that educators had embarked on within their own settings that ‘broke the norm’ of how technology was being utilised was outstanding. Again, hearing like minded educators sharing stories about how they have transformed their teaching practices within their settings was great. This was particularly evident during the ADE showcases where ADE’s had 3 minutes to share the AWESOME things that they were doing in their settings. The common theme throughout the showcase sessions was that these were educators who were willing to trial new things and take a risk within their own practice. They were willing to step out of their comfort zone. Hopefully the  recording of these are made public soon so that other teachers the world over can be inspired as I was!


5. Celebrate the +’s

My last big take away, is that I realised that it is extremely important to celebrate the positives within our settings and with others. Everything from the big wins that we have such as rolling out 1000 iPad devices to perhaps that small win where one particular student has created a marvellous piece of work. To be within an environment that was extremely positive it encourages you to share more of what you do and to celebrate the things you and your setting do well. From this I hope to begin working on developing this positive culture not only throughout my staff but more so my students. Have them share and celebrate the awesome things that they are capable of!

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 10.53.36 am

“Now usually my posts rant and rave and 200 words turns into 2000.” – Corrie Barclay, The beginning of this post!

LASTLY… I have strung together my own 10 favourite shots from the Institute that hopefully depict the learning, collaboration, and sites that were #ADE2014.


1 iPad, 1 Task, 15 Ways

Recently my year 7 class were issued with an inquiry tasks asking them to select various pathways and answer various inquiry questions, many of which they themselves had created, relating to their current Inquiry topic of Ancient History with a focus on Ancient Rome and Ancient China.

I have embedded this task for you below.

Humanities Inquiry Task

Immediately after the task had been covered, discussed and picked apart, I set the students off to begin creating their presentations. Depending on what we are doing in class I often place a very heavy focus on ‘student voice, student choice’ (thanks @MichelleMeracis for allowing me to ‘borrow’ your phrase) as well as foster a ‘Gradual Release of Responsibility’ towards how work is presented. This essentially means that student can choose to create their work via just about any means they wish as long as they are meeting their success criteria and learning outcomes for that lesson.

After 15 mins or so I began conferencing with the students around the room what it is they had chosen to do and how they were going to go about presenting their work. The task itself involves also having students present their findings to the rest of the year seven cohort in an ‘exhibition’ style setting.

It became quickly apparent that the creativity I was hoping for was not entirely being embraced! A class conversation was quickly organised and a rushed ‘poll’ on NOT what each of the students were doing but HOW they were doing it. Their responses were mixed with a around half selecting to ditch their technology altogether. However,  those who were iPad bound were all looking to create in the same select few app’s.

So being the teacher that I am I decided to show just a few select ways that were quick, pain free and simple to take what was a very ordinary task and ‘jazz’ it up a little!

Below I have completed the same basic task; under the ‘History Pathways‘ component, and the dot point titled ‘What are your thoughts/opinions on slavery?’. To answer this I have come up with three pretty standard opinions and attempted to represent these in 15 different ways using my iPad Mini. Some are extremely basic, others a little more complicated. Some tasks took a little longer to complete while others were completed in under 3 minutes.

Here we go!

# 1.

  • App: Pages
  • Cost: $12.99 however comes free with most recent model iPad devices.
  • Time: 3 minutes

Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 8.27.08 pm

# 2.

  • App: KeyNote
  • Cost: $12.99 however comes free with most recent model iPad devices.
  • Time: 5 minutes

Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 8.33.37 pm

Slavery KeyNote Preso!

# 3.

  • App: iMovie
  • Cost: $5.49 however comes free with most recent model iPad devices.
  • Time: 11 minutes (including export to YouTube)

# 4.

  • App: Haiku Deck
  • Cost: Free with in app purchases.
  • Time: 7 minutes (including upload time)

HISTORY PATHWAYS – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

# 5.

  • App: Adobe Voice
  • Cost: Free (An Adobe ID is needed, which is free.)
  • Time: 5 minutes (including upload time)

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 8.26.14 pm


Click on the image above to view the video…

# 6.

  • App: Pic Collage
  • Cost: Free with in app purchases.
  • Time: 5 minutes


# 7.

  • App: Popplet LITE
  • Cost: Free, although a Pro Version is available.
  • Time: 4 minutes


# 8.

  • App: Tellagami
  • Cost: Free with in app purchases.
  • Time: 3 minutes

# 9.

  • App: Video Scribe
  • Cost: $7.49
  • Time: 6 minutes (47min to export to camera roll!!!)

# 10.

  • App: Prezi
  • Cost: Free
  • Time: 7 minutes

# 11.

  • App: Google Doc
  • Cost: Free
  • Time: 3 minutes

Link to the EDITABLE document here: Slavery – History Pathway

# 12.

  • App: Survey Monkey
  • Cost: Free
  • Time: 6 minutes

Access the link to my created survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/M9GQ2SS

# 13.

  • App: Strip Design
  • Cost: $3.79
  • Time: 8 minutes

IMG_0862 IMG_0861

# 14.

  • App: iFunFace
  • Cost: Free with in app purchases
  • Time: 5 minutes

# 15.

  • App: Trading Cards
  • Cost: Free
  • Time: 5 minutes



And…. One more for good measure…

# 16.

  • App: Quick Voice Pro (embedded in to an iMovie and exported from an .MP3 to a .Mov)
  • Cost: $3.79
  • Time: 10 minutes

So there you have it… I do actually have ideas for another several however we’ll leave it at that! If you, the readers, have any ideas, I have embedded the Google Doc below so you can add your own ideas, apps, etc…

Your Ideas… 🙂



A Sample of Awesomeness!



In my last post I mentioned that I would share several great examples of work that my year seven students had created. Work they have developed and constructed through being creative and innovative.

Now not to pick favourites at all, but I have selected 5 pieces that I am proud to share that give a great snapshot of what my students are capable of and being that these pieces were created early on in the year, I am positive that what continues to be created and shared only improves.

1. Digital Stories

The concept of Digital Stories was very new to my students and therefore I undertook (well, I had all our year 7 classes undertake) the creation of digital stories. This was a great way for students to show us what they were capable of in terms of using their devices yet also, and more importantly, give us as teachers a greater insight into the personal lives of these great young people! The Digital Story below is just one outstanding example of the many I received!

2. Genius Hour Project

Unlike the digital stories, which were just more slightly known to the students, the concept of Genius Hour was COMPLETELY foreign and both the students and I were breaking new ground! Overall, I think that I’d give our overall score out of ten a… 6… for doing this effectively. Perhaps next time I may need to be more explicit in what I am wanting from the students however for our first attempt… not bad! Below is a presentation made by Anthony who enjoys DubStep Music (it gives me a headache, but that’s showing my age), although who had little idea in how to ‘mix his own beats’… (I am not sure what that even means!). So as part of this project he learnt how to do exactly that and this video explains what he learnt well!

3. Ancient Civilisations

As part of our Inquiry Topic students in small groups were to collect information about an Ancient Civilisation, as part of a web quest, and present basic information on that civilisation. What I love about the video below is that the students involved were using note taking strategies, in this instance ‘skinny notes’, to summarise and rewrite information as they understood it. Then found the images to add as a backdrop to support their text and bam! Presentation completed!

4. Reading Homework.

As part of a homework Task Board, students were asked to record themselves reading with a major focus being placed upon ‘reading with expression’. I’ve found that just about all of my students, and myself included, dislike hearing the sound of their own voices, especially when reading aloud. This task asked student to read a short text and focus on being expressive when reading to engage the audience and below is just one of the great examples that were submitted.

5. ‘Laws and Rule’s at Manor Lakes!’

After investigating some of the more… let be honest and say ridiculous laws that exist throughout the world, students were asked to come up with 5 of their own laws that they felt would be just and fair at our College. I have to say there were a few that were quite… very inventful, and far fetched! :), however what one student developed below I feel are quite good! 🙂 Might have speak with the boss about implementing these!

My Laws