EduTECH Sydney 2017

What a great event EduTECH was, seeing all the new gadgets and emerging technologies in education. But for me, the best part was connecting with like-minded educators who, like me, have a passion for the effective use of technology in education, to make a real difference in how students learn. It is not about the ‘bells and whistles’, but harnessing the potential and power of technology to change the way we teach and learn to improve engagement and outcomes and prepare students for an ever-changing world. “Teachers must be catalysts“, said Liam King.

EduTECH summary


Many speakers talked about the important of personalised learning, the paradigm of student control, “learning playlists” and using technology to allow the personalisation of student learning to cater for all learning styles and abilities.


The importance of the Growth Mindset rather than the Fixed Mindset to improve resilience, believing you can always learn and improve, praising hard work, resilience and effort rather than intelligence and results.


Abdul Chohan said “We’ve always done it this way” are the most expensive words in education! Look at the changes in education as a constant state of evolution rather than revolution, it is a process not an end result, making small changes along the way. Lee Crockett spoke of the 10 Shifts of Practice and “Learn the form, Master the Form, then Go Beyond the Form”. Innovative schools need to prepare students for the future.


Back end infrastructure, such as wifi, must be good and reliable, backup data and ‘just work’ to save frustration. Technology and LMS (Learning Management Systems) must be reliable and easy to use.


All innovations have come from trial and error and failures (some spectacular failures!), these should be embraced as learning opportunities, teachers should share their ‘one best failure’ as well as ‘one best thing’. Let students fail to build resilience. Catherine Misson said “Trial and error is the precursor to an innovative breakthrough”. Let students fail! Imagine how many failures all the best inventors and innovators have had on the road to success!


Development and training needs to be valued and should be regular not just occasional, teachers need more time to plan in school time and collaborate, “to be a good teacher, be a good learner”. Abi Woldhuis said “walk alongside, build confidence” and “invest in your teachers – build them up”. Leaders need to value training in schools and teachers need to feel they are valued.


Evidence of the power of feedback through the voice, made easy with apps such as Seesaw and Showbie, and that feedback (or as Hattie calls it – Feed Forward) is more beneficial to learning than receiving a single mark. Catherine Misson said “really good feedback is a fundamental lever for accelerated progression of learning”.

Liam King posted the conundrum:

We’re currently preparing students for jobs that don’t exist

for using technologies that haven’t been invented yet

in order to solve problems we don’t know are problems yet

As educators, we need to prepare students for an ever-changing and unknown future, so we need to teach them to be resilient, innovative, life-long learners and problem-solvers. And we, as educators, need to lead by example!

FREE Apple Teacher and Everyone Can Code Teacher Workshops

I am presenting FREE Professional Learning workshops for teachers in Coffs Harbour, Grafton, Lennox Head and Lismore for Apple Education, with more dates and venues to come soon in regional Queensland. Register soon as numbers are strictly limited.

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Apple Teacher is a free Professional Learning program designed to support educators using Apple products for teaching and learning.

This self-paced program allows you to earn badges along the way to becoming an Apple Teacher. Includes Teacher Guides.

Get started with the program in this FREE course.

Wed   14 June 9:00am – 11:30am Coffs Harbour REGISTER

Thurs 15 June 12:30pm – 3:00pm  Grafton REGISTER

Wed   6 September 9:00am – 11:30am Lennox Head REGISTER

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 11.08.22 amApple’s Everyone Can Code initiative is designed to help teach anyone how to code in the Swift programming language.

Swift Playgrounds has a fun approach to learning Swift language with blocks of syntax code. Aimed at Grades 4-9. Includes Teacher Guides.

Get started with the program in this FREE face-to-face course.

Wed   14 June 12:30pm – 3:00pm Coffs Harbour REGISTER

Thurs 15 June 9:00am – 11:30am Grafton REGISTER

Wed   6 September 12:30pm – 3:00pm Lennox Head REGISTER

Thurs 7 September  4pm – 6pm Lismore REGISTER


NESA Apple teacher and Everyone Can Code

Note: The self-paced online programs are not NESA registered. These face to face workshops are registered.

Digital Literacy Grant Announcement

Thrilled to be able to announce that in collaboration with Burke Ward Public School in Broken Hill, we are the recipients of one of the Australian Government Digital Literacy Grants!
I will travel to Broken Hill for a whole week of staff Professional Development with every teacher in Coding and Robotics to develop a school-wide approach, starting with Stage leaders and then reaching every teacher. This will also include some modelling lessons with students and has enables the school to purchase more robotics technology.
I urge schools around Australia to consider applying for the second round of grants in June, and am happy to collaborate in the application process.

‘App Smashing’ with Keynote and Seesaw

Seesaw is such a versatile app for student journals and formative and summative  assessment. Keynote works perfectly with Seesaw with its choice of themes and its easy-to-use interface.

The following is an assessment for students to show their understanding of bar graphs, by dragging labels to their correct position, but it could also be used as a task for students to create their own bar charts from collected data.

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Click here to view in Seesaw.

  1. Create Presentation and choose a theme, I chose Standard. as this is the perfect size for iPad screens. In this example I chose Chalkboard. Give your Keynote a title by tapping on the title at the top (optional).
  2. Add a slide (+ at bottom left of page) and choose Blank (or delete the text holders) so you have a blank chalkboard.
  3. To add the Table, tap on the + in the toolbar and select the first table option and choose your style. You can format the table to any desired size, and choose font options, cell colour etc. using the paintbrush icon. Drag the finished table to the top right.Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 4.32.08 pm.png
  4. To add the Chart, tap on the + and select the bar charts (there are of course many table and graph options to choose from, but I chose top left). You can format the chart to any desired size, and choose font options, colours, style etc. using the paintbrush icon.
  5. As the default chart has 2 regions, an extra step is required to look like my example. Tap on the newly inserted table, tap Edit Data and tap on the blue tab to the left of Region 2, to highlight the entire region. Tap again and select Delete. Tap on the cog and tick Plot Columns as Series. Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 5.07.46 pm.png
  6. Input the chart data to the cells. Tap Done.
  7. I chose to have no axis labels (as it was an assessment), by tapping on the paintbrush icon and turning off Category Labels for each axis. However, if students are creating their own, you could add axis labels etc. Drag the finished chart to the desired position (leaving some room for the labels to be added).
  8. When complete, take a screenshot of the page.
  9. In Seesaw, add this with the green + and add from Camera Roll. Tap the green tick.
  10. Create labels in Seesaw for the graph labels and numbers by tapping the T and choosing Add Label. Type your label and then tap on the label to edit or change style. Drag them to the bottom. Doing it this way allows the students to move the labels around.Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 8.00.33 pm.png
  11. Tap the tick when finished with the labels.
  12. To add any instructions, tap the T again and choose Add Caption to add instructions.
  13. Tap the tick to add to your desired class.
  14. Instruct students to Copy and Edit from the 3 dot menu so they can make their own copy to submit.Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 7.18.21 pm.png

There are so many other ways to use Keynote and Seesaw together. Here are just a few:Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 7.50.59 pm.png

I put Seesaw and Keynote in my Top 10 Best Cross-Curricular apps in the classroom.

To learn more about the capabilities of Keynote, consider earning your Keynote badge in the Apple Teacher Program. I have used Keynote for many years and still learned a lot doing the program!


Seesaw – so many applications

Seesaw is a fantastic cross-curricular app that has so many uses in the classroom. The ability to use QR code logins for younger students, with no need for passwords, makes it easy to use in the classroom, but you also have the log in and password option for older students.

The ability to record your voice while you draw or move items on the screen enables you to explain your learning and understanding verbally (beneficial for some students with challenges in written literacy), provide samples of reading aloud and evidence of learning, and all from within a FREE app!

Students can take photos of their work to submit to receive feedback, collaborate with others and show evidence of development.

It can also be used for students to complete digital worksheets by drawing, adding text and labels etc to images. The additional of labels is particularly useful, as if you create your own with labels, when the students copy and edit, they can then move these labels to their correct positions.




From a teacher perspective, it reduces the need for hard copies of work, as you have student samples and can comment with feedback from within the app. Seesaw Plus also allows you to keep private notes, track skills etc.

I rate Seesaw in my TOP 10 Best Cross-Curricular Apps!


Apple Teacher

Having just earned this badge, I can say what a great program this is with excellent multimedia resources all relating to how to get the most out of iPads in the classroom for quality teaching and learning, using Apple’s core apps to ‘app smash’ with great results.

More information to come but great to see this is now available to teachers in Australia.


Keeping iPads up to date

I have had many conversations with schools about their iPad 2s and what to do with them as technology advances. It is a fact of life that with the rate that technology is being improved and upgraded, that devices of all types reach a ‘best before date’, and the iPad 2 has had a great run but is showing its age. The following are some of the reasons I recommend having newer iPads in education:

iOS 10 – iPad 2s are not compatible with iOS 10 which means that iPad 2s do not have:

  • Playgrounds – this excellent free app from Apple is great for engaging students in learning coding and learning the syntax code of Swift.
  • Accessibility – new features such as magnifier, colour filters, more options for highlighting content in Speak Selection and more
  • iOS 10.2 will have a fix for the DEC Proxy issue
  • Many apps are no longer updating for older operating systems and fewer will be available over time

Apple Classroom – allowing teachers to guide learning, easily share webpages and iBooks and control students iPads where necessary.  Shared Feature will require 32Gb minimum and is not supported for iPad 2.

Bluetooth 4.0 or Bluetooth Smart – many peripheral devices such as the new SPRK+ Spheros and Dash and Dot robots do not work with iPad 2s and need the newer technologies. (I have seen schools who have purchased robotics only to find out they do not work with their iPad 2s!).

AirDrop – this handy file sharing feature is not available on iPad 2s.

As students use iPads more and more to document their learning with digital portfolios and creating multimedia presentations using movies and photos, iPads fill quickly, and the older iPad 2s, many of which are 16Gb are no longer sufficient, especially in a shared iPad environment.

Split-screen – great for multi-tasking (although I would recommend that with iPad Minis it can make the readable screen size too small for some).

NAP – NAPLAN testing will be going online with strict requirements. Currently, iOS 9.3.2 and an iPad 2 are supported, however there has been mention of iOS 10 requirement, and an older iPad 2 that is slower will not be ideal for students. Also note that iPad Minis are currently not supported due to the screen size. Click here for NAPLAN technical requirements. NAP uses a locked-down browser application which locks the iPad to NAP.

Of course, the above does not even touch on improved Retina screen display, more powerful processors, improved battery life, lightning connector adapters, Touch ID (advantageous when you have an iPad projected on a screen to students or an audience, so they do not see you type in the passcode), improved camera quality and more.

Many schools have opted to use iPad 2s with Stage 1 and younger students, where many of the features above are not used and saving the newer iPads for older students, so they can continue using their favourite apps and using iPads for photos and surfing the internet. This can work, but teachers also need to be aware that over time, some apps will no longer be updated, and others will not be available on iPad 2s, which can cause frustration when they can only be used for some things and not all.

There is currently an Apple Retail iPad Trade-Up Program, where you can get money back on working iPad 2s when trading up to newer models. This, I imagine, will not always be available and is a way of saving some money on buying new technology. Contact Apple Business for enquiries, which require you to send in serial numbers etc.

Also important to consider before buying new iPads for your school is how you will manage them. This will become more and more important as schools move from Configurator to MDM models. If you want to be able to use Apple School Manager or an MDM such as Zulu Desk as part of your Deployment solution, you need to have purchased your iPads direct through Apple or an authorised Apple Education Reseller to be enrolled in the Device Enrolment Program (DEP).


Lastly, when buying technology, the newer the technology, the longer the life span as far as compatibility. So consider getting the latest iPad models to give you a longer life.

Book Creator new read aloud feature

I am fortunate to have been able to trial the new Book Creator app update, that includes “read aloud” mode, where Siri reads the text from the book and highlights each word.

This is all done from within the app, with no need to export to iBooks. Each word is highlighted as it goes, and the page is automatically turned.

This will be great for younger students and for those with learning and reading difficulties,  not only for students with their own creations, but for teachers to create resources for students so they can use the read aloud mode to access the text.

A great feature making an excellent app even better!


Providing PD to regional teachers

I am proud to say that in 2016 I have provided Professional Development to many teachers and schools around NSW. In the last two months alone, I have worked in Ballina, Coffs Harbour, Broken Hill, Sydney, Wollongong and Tamworth, travelling over 4000km in the car in addition to flights. The appreciation from teachers in regional and remote areas has been overwhelming and I have enjoyed meeting teachers from all of these areas.

This map shows the names of the town/cities that I have presented courses in or provided in-school consultancy, and the red dots show where the teachers have come from. They have come from far and wide! One teacher even traveling 4 hours on a dirt road, knowing that she would be flooded in and not be able to return home for 2 weeks! Such dedication!


Just some of the overwhelmingly positive feedback I have received:

“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.”   

“Hi Bev, So…my enthusiasm after attending your PL day has led my school into jumping in whole hog. We have ordered more iPads, multiple Bee-bots, Dash & Dots and Sphero’s with some accessories etc. all the apps are being blueprinted onto the iPads ready for the classes to start using next week … it looks like next year we are jumping into full swing coding mode and I’m sure I will need to pick your brain, we would also love to work on getting you out here again to work with us and the students. Just thought I’d tell you the exciting news!!”  

“I can’t fault anything about this session. The host was amazing and kept us all engaged and wasn’t trying to sell us a product but show and evaluate all the educational benefits of all the apps and technology.”

I thoroughly enjoyed today and I could learn as much as you had time to teach. I would definitely attend any future courses you may offer in my region in the future. Thankyou.  

It was brilliant and we are jumping into the deep end thanks to my confidence from this session – very keen to have you come and work with our students and teachers in the future.



While Coding and Robotics are particularly popular at the moment, teachers have also appreciated Music-specific courses and the Create Your Own iBooks course has had rave reviews. And the in-school consultancy allows me to target specific school needs.

Please contact me if you would like me to visit your school or area, as planning is underway for 2017.