Technology to Support Learning

Arduino Projects for Beginners.

Free topic kits to run with arduino can be found on this site

Useful App $1.49

Tools 4 Students

 Tools 4 Students offers 25 graphic organizers supporting common comprehension skills like main idea and detail, sequencing, compare and contrast etc. Each organizer can be used again and again and be emailed, drop boxed, or saved as a PDF.

Create, play and share fun learning games for any subject, for all ages, for free!


Allows you to watch YouTube videos without comments, related videos, or any other distractions. It’s great for teachers, parents, and organizations alike – or really, anybody.
Code Academy

A good website to enable students to learn how to code for free

The Unfiltered World ransomtech via Compfight

Maker Space Movement Growing but Untapped?

Chris O’Brien suggest four ways to breathe new life into Maker Spaces in his article

“Makerspaces Lead to School and Community Successes”

Fail Better 

Avoid the risk of students  negatively internalizing failure that is inevitable and necessary in problem solving by embedding mini-lessons in these tasks that will help them begin to develop the metacognitive skills needed to analyze and move beyond their temporary failures.

Bridging the Gap

Articulating how a makerspace helps students with their academic growth by creating curriculum focused lessons that offer evidence of student literacy and growth in critical thinking.

Making Motivation

Developing recurring lessons around project-based themes, will motivate students to  visit the makerspace as they make connections  and see relevance in what they are learning.

Evidence Based Success

Through planning curricula-aligned projects. Makerspace Summer!                                                                      Multnomah County Library via Compfight


AIS Teacher Librarian Conference 2016 – Charting New Horizons

“…innovation floats on a sea of inquiry and curiosity is a driver for change”

Timperly,H., Kaser,L& Halbert ,J. (2014)


Some activities hold no direct promise for improvement. We need to ask-

How do we know what is going on with our learners? What is the problem trying to be solved?

Why are we using this innovation? Why now?

The vision needs to be clearly defined to all involved.

The vision needs to be shared.

Vision holds everything together- when a team of teachers collectively believe a vision


Sustained Innovation-

Political Visionary+ Practical Visionary= Sustained Change

If we can’t explain the vision its not known


Because what we teach is not the end of learning but the beginning…..

Libraries= Connections rather than collections

Gamification -facilitates learning in a fun, self- directed play

Play= delight in learning, creativity and self improvement

Librarians need to be more active in shaping the network to provide relevant, educational resources

Some URLs recommended by Phil Minchin:

  • – links to the below, and discounted access to tabletop games, videogames, and staff training
  • gd/pmvala12 – a paper about the value and logistics of games in libraries, outlining some of the major types and how they might be used
  • gd/pmplay and – a couple of series about games and play in libraries and in general, written for International Games Day @ your library
  • gd/2waylib – Two way libraries paper that goes into more detail about the 2-way possibilities touched on here
  • gd/libsaud – Libraries and the future of the audience contract – explores in more detail the role libraries can play in supporting creators and defusing the copyright wars, but contains several practical proposals. See also Cory Doctorow’s recent Locus column, Peace in our Time.


Librarians write an annual report for



To the school community.

Inclusions may include-

  • Number of reviews/ recommendations
  • Percentage of budget spent on e-resources
  • Collection available online 24/7
  • Top searches/ Collection statistics
  • Number of library room staff bookings
  • Extended hours & usage stats.


Knox Grammar shared how they are currently organizing and arranging their senior resources by school subject – then topic -not Dewey Classification. This has been well received by senior students.

Gwanakgu_Office_20150126_06                                    Creative Commons LicenseRepublic of Korea via Compfight

STEM Resources


Students learn programming through game-like puzzles, tutorials, and projects.

UNSW- Solar Car Challenge

The Institute of Industrial Arts Technology Education

is the key body providing professional leadership in the Technology and Engineering Education area- challenges that students can take part in
Young Scientist Award

Science Teachers Association of NSW


A great website for learning computer language for building websites –Html5/JavaScript


Python is a programming language that lets you work quickly and integrate systems more effectively

Filtering water samples

FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute via Compfight

Establishing Maker Spaces

ZigZag Waag Society via Compfight


The Maker Movement is about moving students from using tools and knowledge as consumers to be being active creators.

It gives individual students the opportunity to explore and create in a social and sharing context. Finding solutions in the process of designing, making and sharing. The Makerspace environment is where valuable informal learning takes place and not the result of programmed instruction.

“The Maker Movement encourages a growth mindset, which tolerates risk and failure and maybe even encourages it.”(Fleming, 2015 p9)

Individuals are able to collaborate and seek out challenges that may be beyond their comfort zone.

The idea of making is playful and “research shows that play builds social-emotional competence in many domains: language skills, empathy, imagination,self control, persistence and higher order thinking. (Fleming, 2015 p11)

Planning a Makerspace

Makerspaces should be guided by current interests in the school, relevant and meaningful – extending STEM /STEAM related concepts beyond the classroom and making them accessible to all.

Consideration needs to be taken as to how the available technologies, resources and materials can be used to best engage and encourage student learning.

The setting up of a maker space does not need to be overly complicated – but needs to be inspiring, inviting student input and set in a space that can  meets practical needs.

It may consist of fixed as well as flexible stations. To help with financing – look at grants/ donations or buying used goods.

Developing a maker culture is critical with the motivation being fun and self fulfillment through shared, informal peer – led learning where everyone of all levels are welcome to join in.

Taking part in Makerspaces can provide opportunities to develop 21st Century skills required for the future such as creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration.

“Maker culture resonates with the current interest in lifelong learning and in cross generational learning.”(Fleming, 2015 p36)

Using  “expert” community makers to demonstrate skills, foster exploration, to inspire, guide, support creativity and  demonstrate  real-life applications can be hugely valuable.

Libraries of the 21st Century need to provide not only free access to information but also free access to create from information.

The Library of today is a place where knowledge is created and not merely consumed. (Fleming, 2015 p43)

Based on the four “C’s” of 21st Century Learning – a Maker Space is a space for

  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking


Fleming, L. (2015) Worlds of making – Best practices for establishing a makerspace for your school.





AIS ICT Integration Conference 2015

A Workshop presented by Angela Thomas entitled Being a Pracademic  gave practical tips on

How to Move theory into practice.

1. Learning principles are shared

Santa Sabina College website demonstrates a great way of sharing a school’s learning principals with the wider community.

2. Learning Principles demonstrated
Teachers show how they are developing these learning principles in their lessons by producing a 3min video showing their students actively engaged / reflecting on a learning. task.
These videos are then added to the school website.

Creativity and Engagement through project Learning hosted by Maria Emmi and Louise Pigott who shared their multi-modal, interactive newspaper created by Yr 5 students through Project based learning.
Students used QR codes and Aurasma to connect the audience to media and other created information.

Jeanette Davies led a workshop which gave a variety of way to support students with inclusive technology solutions
A good way to search for apps is to search using to Google filtering for IOS apps etch

Todd Ross argues against the way in which typical education is based on the average learner .  in the following video clip hs discusses how this method little to encourage innovation and the Myth of the Average

Christopher Hills is an amazing example of how technology has opened the doors for Christopher to be a successful young innovator

Other useful technology that can assist students who find learning challenging are-

Use of text to speech applications-
Using an iPod shuffle
Proloquo2Go allows students who cannot talk to have a voice

For vision impaired-
Voice over speak screen IOS 8
Mocha VNC lite

Use text without decor (sanfrancisco)
Use left justification
Open dyslexic font

Other good apps –
Picture 2
Pixel Press
Video Scribe

Warren Buckleitner
and Chip Donohue
have a great knowledge of children’s Apps
games based learning is a good website–what-it-is-why-it-works-and-where-its-going.html
iPad tips and Tricks

Will IT Blend?

AIS NSW Integration Conference 2015

Presention “Rethinking Learning  in the Age of Digital Fluency” Jody O’Connell presented the challenge to connect in today’s online world
Living in a time where new knowledge is created every second in data connected and participating world.
Educators and parents face the challenge of meeting the needs of students who have grown up in a digital environment.
They face the challenge trying to work with  continual flow of technology, constantly changing world and  information resources.
Looking to the future job market – all professions require digital and information \fluency

Students need to be able to Think , Question and Reflect

In order for learning to be sustainable – students need to know how to find the information they need.
It is one of the most important skills.
How to search
How to evaluate information
How to get information to travel to them

spring 2013 hackNY student hackathonCreative Commons License via Compfight

Useful research e- resources include-
Search Research

Latest addition to search on Google

Using Google Alerts and searching using Google Scholar
help students to broaden the scope of their information seeking

Search engines other than Google such as
Kid Rex


Students need to Collaborate Create, Communicate and share effectively in different modes and formats
to use the best digital technologies to create.

Some great information sites to explore include-


A collection of photographs

Explore it all

Europeana gives access to digital resources of Europe’s museums libraries archives and audio-visual collections

Gapminder -Current issues presented with current statistics

Google public Data explorer

Reverse image search

Use of Local, State and National Libraries

National Library of Australia

LOC 12

The Q Speaks via Compfight


Trove (National Library of Australia) gives access to  thousands of quality online resources including images, books, historic newspapers, maps, music, archives and more.

State Library NSW

An invitation was extended to teacher librarians by our local Mid North Coast Library Cooperative to attend  a talk from a representative of NSW State Library who promoted the wonderful educational resources available online and other.

Albany New York ~ New York State Education Department Building

Onasill ~ Bill Badzo via Compfight

An overview of the website led to the tab “Services” and then “Learning @ the Library” where wonderful learning programs and resources can be found for students and teachers in stage 1-6. These programs include links to a variety of high interest resources including photographs from primary sources. 

Library staff are available to answer teacher and student inquiries.

“Far Out” program takes original collections to small schools.

The “Discover Collection” – is a fantastic collection of journals, logbooks, letters, paintings, drawings and books. eg Hurley collection Stg 6- Antartica
International game day

Can book through DART video conferencing

The “Manuscripts, Oral history and Pictures” tab gives collections from the Mitchell Library-
for online purposes – filter records with images to find a collection of your choice.

The E-Resource collection is accessible by entering a Library Card membership number only
Library membership is free and easily obtained through online application.
the e-resource collection hosts a number of different databases such as Inform It and
Cambridge companion -(a good resource for English)

Some very useful help,  information and online resources are available through Indigenous Services  (Under the Services Tab)

WW1 Collection at the top of page is an excellent resource to explore.

Local Libraries

Kempsey Shire Library and Hastings Shire Library

Both have a number of great online resources available through membership number.

Access to online children’s stories/ Your  Tutor / A selection of magazines and Newspapers Databases

Biripi Aboriginal Resources is a very good resource for students taking Aboriginal Studies-

(Found under the Research tab)

Many helpful resources are available for Secondary School Students and those studying the HSC under the YOUTH tab on the Hastings Library Site.

Introduction of Google Classroom to Upper Primary

The school at which I work has a Google Apps for Education account: A great selection of free tools for classroom collaboration.Classroom is one such application that I decided to try with the Yr 5 and Yr 6 students.

In using Google Classroom – I had hoped to improve-

  • Assessment task accessibility and transparency
  •  User friendly and efficient saving of work
  • Quick and personal feedback
  • Needless use of paper
  • Student individual  and independent learning

Setting up the Tasks

This was quite easy once I became familiar with the interface.

Tasks were created in Word and then uploaded – but it is much easier to create the tasks in Google Docs as this avoids the need to upload.

Students Paticipation

Most students enjoyed the challenge of this unfamiliar task which gained efficiency.

Students found the following challenges

  • Logging into Google Drive and remembering their own log in details.
  • Downloading attachments created in Word to work from and then having to upload them when finished.
  • Reading the instructions and working independently.
  • Remembering the sequence involved to submit work.

What Worked Well?

Google Drive automatically saves work and sets up a folder in students Docs. Students just simply need to log off! This made packing up much quicker and lowered levels of anxiety.

Students who finished one learning task could easily progress to the next and help those who were struggling with the previous task.

The teacher records allowed for an easy and quick record of which students had completed which learning tasks. When submitted tasks were returned to students they were given the opportunity to improve their grade by reading and applying the teacher suggestions and instructions given in the automatic return e-mail.

The dates recorded gave a good class record of the frequency and accuracy of all tasks returned so to inform future teaching practice.

Students enjoyed the quick and personal feedback they received and the

option to ask for advice and help using the comment/forum.

Would I Use Google Classroom Again?

Yes – Google classroom use will only improve as students become familiar with using Google Drive – remembering to log off after each use

To avoid the problems of uploading and downloading Word Documents and editing  I would create learning tasks in Google Docs/ Sheets/ Forms.

I think Google Docs is a great application.

THRASS- An Introductory Course


Teaching Handwritng, Reading and Spelling Skills

-is a very logical approach to introduce the English language.
I attended a one day course led by – Kate Carroll
THRASS Involves
Hearing the sound and referring to the THRASS CHART
Choosing the phoneme box that the sound relates to select the spelling choices

First steps –

Begin with the sounds and how these can be represented by the graphemes
Phonemes (44)-are the sounds
Graphemes are the  spelling choices (placed in order of most popular choice)
Sounds -can be voiced or unvoiced
-can be nasal sounds

Grapheme – alone letter spelling choice
Digraph – two letter spelling choice
Trigraph-three letter spelling choice
Quad-graphs- four letter choice ( not included on chart)
GCA – a spelling choice not on the chart

Use Grapheme chart in conjunction with the THRASS picture chart
Progression to include-
1.Picture Chart
2.Grapheme chart
3. No chart at all – sounding out and remembering the grapheme that is

student_ipad_school - 235

Brad Flickinger via Compfight

In pairs students work through word cards-

My word is…
The phonemes are (sounds)
The key grapheme are the (letters)
Representing the phoneme (sounds)
And we spell…..(letters)

Letters do not have a sound until they are in a word
They have names when approached singularly
They are represented identified as lower and Capital letters

Learning Activities-
Sing songs-
Denise is in the dog box ….ddd…
Penny’s in the dog box panda box…. ppp

Teach the letter names
How to write letters with legible/correct starting position

Split diagraphs
t a pe
pe is added to the p phoneme box as a spelling choice

Are vowel indicators not vowels
eg.  My -the y is a consonant representing a vowel
eg Onion – the i has a consonant sound

Treat large words by dividing into syllables
Eg crustacean
A syllable is a beat in a word that contains a vowel phoneme

1. Break word into syllables
2 identify consonants (in blue). / vowels (in red)

Blends – are two or more consonants said consecutively in the same syllable set

Eg square – the u in square in this case is a consonant as it is pronounced “w”
Never make the syllable split between two letters that are the same eg bb in rabbit

eg the word “few” (can hear the sound “y” in f- y- we but there is no grapheme to represent it )
Diphones are words that have 1 graph BUT two sounds
Eg box, (x- ck, s) exit, one, emu

Triphones have 1 graph but 3 sounds
Eg X-ray (e, ck, s)

Explicit Teaching of Spelling
Follow the MASUTA Program
1. M =The meaning of the words should be discussed
2. A = Analysis – of how the word is constructed eg phonemes/ graphemes/ syllables etc
3. S = Synthesis – Use phoneme deletion / manipulation activities
4. U = Activities that help commit to memory
5. T= test to asses learning to inform teaching
6. A = Apply learning

A good sequence to follow
1. Names
2. Give each child a picture to represent their phoneme box
3. Teach names of letters
4. Hand out letters to revise names etc each day
5. Begin teaching phonemes
6. Complete overwrite chart everyday for term 1
7. Sound boxes – intro digraph, trigraph etc