ACCE 2018 Conference – ImpaCT

Screen Shot 2018-10-12 at 11.17.07 am.pngI spent a very productive 2 days of my school holidays at the ACCE (Australian Council for Computers in Education) 2018 Conference in Sydney. The theme of the conference was ImpaCT – how to ensure we are using technology to its maximum effect on student learning. (I also made an impact with my T shirt – very popular!)

 

As at any technology conference, one of the best takeaways is the people – networking, meeting some of those amazing innovators you’ve been following on Twitter and social media for years, catching up with friends and colleagues and meeting inspirational teachers, who just quietly do amazing things every day. Here are a few of my other standout takeaways from the 2 days:

We don’t write programs for computers, we write them for people – Programs are for people to use, the User Interface is important, and programs are written ON a computer but they are FOR the use of people.

 

Screen Shot 2018-10-12 at 10.49.09 am.pngDT vs ICT – Knowing the difference between Digital Technologies and ICT Capabilities. ACA (Australian Computing Academy) have these fantastic cards to get teachers thinking about which is which. The actual cards are awesome, but you can print your own here https://aca.edu.au/teacher-resources/

Be a master of the media not a slave to the screen – Kristy Goodwin – Inspirational speaker on Teaching the iGen, learning new terms such as infobesity, techno tantrums, moral panic, digital dementia. We adults/parents/teachers need to lead by example with technology use and digital distraction https://drkristygoodwin.com

Screen Shot 2018-10-12 at 11.17.16 am.pngMicro:bits – I have been waiting for the time to explore Micro:bits more and had the opportunity with 2 workshops. I have already ordered mine and am ready to tinker!

Creativity now is as important in education as literacy – Dr Ken Robinson. Creativity has gone from the 10th to 3rd in top 10 skills to thrive in 2020.  https://cvdl.ben.edu/blog/top-skill-2020-creativity/ This ties in beautifully with Apple’s new Every Can Create Curriculum #everycancreate

 

Screen Shot 2018-10-12 at 11.28.30 am.pngUnpacking the Digital Technologies curriculum – James Curran did a fabulous unpacking of the National Curriculum and showed the great resources available on the DigiHub https://aca.edu.au/curriculum (Wishlist: It would be fantastic if we could have something similar for the new NSW Science and Technology curriculum)

Now to start putting it all into practice in the classroom …

 

Kahoot! certification

You can now get recognition and be Kahoot! certified.

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There are 3 tiers – Bronze, Silver and Gold – and when you’re ready to take the quiz, it is a Kahoot! (of course!). You need to pass one level before going onto the next and can learn more about Kahoot! in the process. It’s a great way to keep up to date with the latest updates and features.

You can then tweet your badge or print your certificate with your name. Use for your teacher identified PD hours.

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Go to  https://kahoot.com/blog/2018/08/29/kahoot-announces-free-certification-program/   for more information.

iPad Learning Experience

I have had the pleasure in the last few weeks of running two iPad Learning Experiences (ILEs) with Boambee PS and Kororo PS.  The ILE is designed to introduce schools to 1:1 learning with iPad and is a two week immersive experience, providing technical guidance and in-class teaching and learning support, assisting schools in exploring the potential of iPads in a 1:1 environment.

The programs were a huge success! As both teachers noted, 1:1 is the ‘game-changer’! Each student has their own iPad, so can edit and add to work easily. With every student with the same device, you know that every student has the required app, and are all able to work at the same time.

The overwhelming observation was the increase in student engagement. Students were more enthusiastic about their learning and were engaged in their schoolwork. Some of the tasks and activities included Numeracy work with arrays, Literacy work with spelling and reading fluency, movies with Green Screen and iMovie, iPad art work and interactive lessons with Nearpod. Teachers noted that the pedagogy remains the same, but teaching and learning with iPad adds another dimension.

Using the Apple Classroom app to monitor students and simplify workflow made classroom management easier – navigate the whole class of iPads to an app or web page instantly, lock the iPads when required, or my favourite – see what app every student is on to check they are on task, and if desired, view their screen in real time. The teacher is free to move around the classroom while still seeing what every students is doing.

Nearpod was also a game changer – the ability to see every students’ response in real time, and to share with the class or support and correct them immediately had instant impact, with some students recording improved results within a week.

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Teachers also realised that it is not necessarily a large amount of apps that is needed, but a few core apps that can be used in many and varied ways. Book Creator and Seesaw were two such apps, which allowed for varying tasks and activities.

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IMG_0046 2.PNGIt was a pleasure working with such enthusiastic teachers and students and to watch the transformation of learning in the classroom.

Working with IDX (Indigenous Digital Excellence)

IMG_3965Last week I had the pleasure of working with the staff of Indigenous Digital Excellence (IDX) for 3 days, training them in the effective use of iPads in education and how to teach Coding and Robotics to younger students. IDX is part of the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) in Redfern,  and aims to increase digital skills amongst Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, to strengthen Indigenous participation in our digital economy. The staff are inspirational leaders and mentors and travel around Australia, to remote and regional areas, to engage Indigenous students in using digital technologies.

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Our 3 days included intensive training in apps following the Apple Teacher curriculum, concentrating on Accessibility features of the iPad, Keynote, iMovie and GarageBand – apps that are particularly useful for story-telling and communicating with rich, multimodal texts and making use of the engagement of multimedia.

We also had a day on Coding and Robotics – how to teach students from Kindergarten how to think computationally, showing how to gradually increase and scaffold the learning to develop from block-based code through to syntax code. This included Swift Playgrounds – a fun app teaching Swift syntax language that smooths the transition from block-based code to syntax code – and the Everyone Can Code curriculum resources. All staff embraced the challenge and were coding in no time!

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We also had a lot of fun coding with Sphero SPRK+. Sphero is so versatile and mobile, particularly important when IDX are going out on country and visiting regional areas, as it is easy to transport and very robust.

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IMG_4022I really enjoyed my 3 days with IDX, they were enthusiastic and willing to have a go at new strategies and ideas, and I think their work is inspirational. I particular like the premise that IDX do not want to merely increase Indigenous digital skills, but are aiming for Indigenous Digital Excellence!

 

Code Like a Girl

This week I had the privilege of being invited to Melbourne to work with the co-founders and volunteers of Code Like a Girl. Code Like a Girl is an Australian organisation, founded by Ally Watson and Vanessa Doake, to inspire more females to engage in careers in coding and technology. Volunteers, including app developers, coders, other technology-related professions and a teacher, work with younger generations of girls through workshops and Code Camps to inspire them to get into coding and careers in technology and also to encourage women in technology to take on leadership roles.

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With Ally Watson, Co-founder of Code Like a Girl

IMG_3530 2I was slightly intimidated by speaking to these professional app developers and coders about coding (which is their profession!), but had a fantastic day! While their coding skills and experience far exceed mine, they were after strategies to engage the younger learners – ways to teach coding to students as young as 5 years old in ways that will engage them in their learning. This I could do! One of my specialties is ways to engage young students in computational thinking and coding from K-6, and they all had a great time learning about new ways to teach coding, with strategies they had never thought of. When they were younger students, coding was not taught in schools, so they were very interested to see the difference in teaching coding to young students compared to learning coding as an adult. We discussed that this could be an interesting study in the future, to see what difference there is in the ability and creativity of coders in the future.

The Get Started with Code and Learn to Code multitouch books on the iPad from Apple Education were the basis of our whole day session, exploring the many resources available to teachers to engage students in learning coding, including unplugged coding and app prototyping with Keynote. The books include hands-on activities to print out and video examples that can lead you every step of the way.

They were all very impressed with Swift Playgrounds, and the back end and front end coders commented on what a great quality app it was. All could see how engaging it is to students and how it introduces the important coding aspects such as while loops, conditional code and functions in a fun format.

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Also a lot of fun was introducing coding with Sphero. I found it very interesting the different projects that professional coders were trying with Sphero – I said they have really raised the bar!

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I had a wonderful day meeting these inspirational women who are such great role models to women and girls, and inspire young girls to know that they, too, can code and make a career in technology. Thank you for having me!

2017 was a very busy year

I would like to send out a huge thank you to all the schools and teachers I have worked with this year! It’s been a very busy and successful year running in-school training, courses and Apple Education events, and has seen me expand into regional Queensland. Next year is shaping up to be even busier!

This map shows the places I have visited to present Professional Development for teachers this year, and the red dots show where teachers have come from to attend my training (which doesn’t include a teacher who came from Jakarta!). I feel proud that I am making a difference, reaching metropolitan, regional and remote teachers and giving teachers the confidence to teach with ICT.

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I have had many great testimonials this year, but these ones stand out:

The first time I worked with Bev, I became overwhelmed by the thoughts of all that could go wrong – wireless connectivity isn’t always reliable, I’ll just get the kids engaged and I’d be dashing around trying to troubleshoot. Well I have eaten my words with the robotics side – all has worked smoothly. I didn’t have to be an expert to get the kids to understand – I got them to do what I do – learn by doing, trial and error – amazing that these are the skills I try to embed into their thinking when they are doing ‘ordinary’ school work – transfers straight into coding – and they are so engaged and excited when I’ve given them a task – make them do this, make them do that – “Look, look” they’ll come running to me – best courses to freshen up the way we approach learning.

The most important thing has been that Bev is a ‘real’ teacher. She constantly refers to being in the class, working with the kids – this is value learning – not a staged video of a couple of kids doing the right thing and all is wonderful. She talks of the fails, how you learn from it. The kids, no matter what they’re labelled as, find this so relevant to their interests and all the while they are learning, learning, learning.

Sharon, Burke Ward Public School

When my supervisor told me to enrol in ICT and Coding courses, my stomach filled with butterflies. I was worried and had no idea what I was in for as I previously had little experience in the technology field. After a week with Bev Babbage, my confidence with using technology and a range of resources such as Dash, Sphero and Scratch has grown immensely, with all thanks to Bev and her passion for using ICT effectively in the classroom. This training has provided me with the confidence to teach robotics, coding and general use of apps to support student learning in the classroom. I am excited to be teaching these skills to my Stage 3 students and fellow teaching colleges.

Madison, Alma Public School

I wish all teachers a safe and relaxing break and look forward to seeing many of you again next year!

Burke Ward ICT Training Week – Broken Hill

“If you can make a group of adults say, “WOW!” and “COOL!” I can’t wait to see what my kids will say! Thanks again for a valuable time away from class”

Burke Ward trainingI have just wrapped up a very productive week in Broken Hill, working with teachers from 4 Broken Hill schools over the 5 days, with the following all-day training sessions:

– ICT and iPad Teacher Training

– Coding K-6 (Dash and Sphero)

– Effective Feedback and Formative Assessment with ICT

– Workflow Solutions: G Suite, SeeSaw, Air Drop, Flipping Classrooms

– ICT Tools to Aid Learning Difficulties/Differences and Differentiation

Some teachers came to 3 sessions over the week, and I was able to deliver all of these sessions as NESA registered hours, without teachers needing to travel.

I enjoy travelling to regional and remote areas to deliver Professional Learning, and feel I make a difference by making Professional Learning accessible and instilling confidence in teachers in the use of ICT in the classroom, as evidenced with a teacher’s email:

It was real, not too far out of my comfort zone and you’ll be pleased to know I have every intention of trying many of the apps that you introduced us to. If you can make a group of adults say, “WOW!” and “COOL!” I can’t wait to see what my kids will say! Thanks again for a valuable time away from class“.

This week was a follow-up to a week in June, where I presented Teacher Training in Coding and Robotics to every teacher in Burke Ward Public School as part of the Australian Government Digital Literacy Grant we received. This recent visit was able to reach out to other schools and develop a Professional Learning Network for the area with ICT. It also allowed Burke Ward teachers to further develop their skills and build on their confidence.

Thank you to Burke Ward PS for co-ordinating and organising my visit. I am looking forward to coming back!

Regional Aussie Tech Chicks

I have been running many free Apple Education professional development sessions for teachers in regional NSW and Queensland – Coffs Harbour, Grafton, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Lennox Head, Lismore and Kempsey – in the past few months, with more to come.

In Kempsey yesterday, it was fantastic to have Meredith Ebbs attend. Funnily enough, this is only the second time we have met in person, but we both live in regional NSW, are teachers, and provide teachers with Professional Development in STEM, coding, robotics and ICT and specialise in regional areas. We are both so passionate about what we do and supporting teachers to know they can teach with technology, great to chat with another #techchick

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Digital Literacy Schools Grant

The 2nd round of the Australian Government Digital Literacy Schools Grant is now open at https://www.education.gov.au/digital-literacy-school-grants-dlsg

I was successful in collaboration with a school in Broken Hill in Round 1 to provide training to all staff in Coding and Robotics, and urge all schools, particularly in regional areas, to consider applying for the Grant. Below is a video showing some of our activities and two teachers talking about the experience.

 

My services and training include:

  • ICT and iPad Teacher Training
  • Workshops
  • In-school consultancy
  • In-class support
  • ICT Tools to aid learning difficulties/differences
  • Staff Meetings
  • Curriculum and Staff Development Days
  • Tailor-made Training

Coding and Robotics are very popular at the moment and I demonstrate how to teach coding with apps and web resources (many of which are free) for K-6 and then demonstrate some Robotics and give time for teachers have some fun experimenting with them to understand how it can be used in the classroom.

“Bev’s exciting hands-on training day, ‘Coding  with iPads  K – 6’, has given me both the skills and confidence to work on Coding with my students. Teaching through a Distance Education environment has its own unique challenges but Bev was able to help find ways around these and my students are now enjoying learning to code.”

Julie Lavis, School of The Air, Broken Hill

Grant Application project proposals that target underrepresented groups (such as girls and/or low SES and/or regional and remote area students etc.) are encouraged.

Through these Grants, the aim of the program is:

  • To stimulate best practice models of implementation of, and student and teacher engagement in, the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies
  • Encourage sharing of ideas and experiences in relation to the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies, within and among schools
  • Facilitate the development, implementation and sharing of demonstration projects that can be used by other schools to implement the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies
  • Facilitate effective ways that leaders can inspire their teachers and students to extend and apply their learning across other learning areas through the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies.

Some of the key features I think I can assist with, that apply to the Grant are:

  • Stimulating best practice through training and sharing of ideas, either within school or as a community of schools
  • Reflection – discussions and reflections on what has worked well, where improvements can be made, to ensure continuing best practice and keeping up with new ideas and technologies
  • Engagement of students
  • Engaging resistant teachers through extra support and training and in-class support
  • Harnessing the experience of knowledge of teachers who are confident with digital literacy and using best practice to support other teachers in a mentor capacity
  • Obvious STEM links but also creating cross-curricular modules or units of work, that can link STEM with maths and literacy, as well as the Arts (STEAM) to make learning even more relevant and connected, rather than teaching isolated ICT lessons
  • By up-skilling staff, rather than employing 3rd parties to come and teach students coding, we can improve teacher skills while also engaging students in the classroom, and build a sustainable program, that staff can continue to develop in years to come
  • Creating a scope and sequence for teaching coding and robotics that can be tried and tested in the classroom
  • Encourage Principals and school leaders to be a part of the process, so they can become ICT champions and lead the way from the top
  • Digital literacy is not just coding and robotics, but students learning how to use ICT in various ways that can build future life skills and show understanding of the capabilities of ICT

I am an Apple Learning Specialist, a member of the Apple Consultants Network specialising in Education Solutions, a Nearpod Certified Educator, Book Creator Ambassador, Seesaw Ambassador and Google Certified Educator (Level 1), so I have a great deal of knowledge and experience in teaching with ICT and iPads. I understand the needs of teachers in the classroom and emphasise the use of ICT to enhance education outcomes and improve student engagement and learning.

Certifications

There is more information at http://education.gov.au/digital-literacy-school-grants-dlsg and second round applications are due by 11 August 2017.

 

Good luck!