Thursday, December 8, 2011


Literacy Multiliteracy is becoming increasingly important as language, grammar and the spoken word continue to change and evolve (Winch et. al 2009; Mawer 1999). No longer does literacy pertain only to being able to read, and literacy means different things in different contexts. If a student is having problems with reading, they would require remedial reading help, not literacy instruction. I don't think that any one person could be literate in all contexts in this day and age, and neither do they need to be. We do however need to be literate in the areas that will affect the quality of our lives in society and in our careers (Mawer 1999).
I recall when I first came across text talk, I had no idea what all the abbreviations stood for. Someone enlightened me on the basic LOL and ROFL, and I was on my own from there. I had no idea if I was being sworn or laughed at! This deficiency prevented me from interacting in chat rooms as I literally could not understand what was being said. A university e-learning course soon enlightened me enough that I felt literate in this type of communication and skillful enough to participate in online chats. These days if there is something that I don't know or understand, I use my skills to find the required information. I consider this to mean that I am literate in this area.

How then do students go when they are required to read mathematical or scientific texts with wonderfully alien words like mitosis, eukaryotic and differentiation, if their basic reading and decoding skills are lacking? What literacy skills do these students need in order to be able to make sense of these texts?
Well, the required skills will depend on how that information is being disseminated to the students. Is the information linear or layered? Are animations of processes involved, or flow charts and ordered directions?
Students need to be multiliterate in order to interpret and understand information in these various forms as is delivered to them (Kalantzis et. al 2003). After all, we all know that information needs to be disseminated in a variety of ways to allow for the preferred individual learning modalities of each student (Snowman et. al 2009).

Kalantzis, M, Cope, B & Harvey, A March 2003, Assessment in Education: Assessing multiliteracies and the new basics, Vol 10, No 1. DOI 10.1080/0969594032000085721
Mawer, G 1999 Language and Literacy in Workplace Education: Learning at Work, Addison Wesley Longmand Limited, Essex.
Snowman, J, Dobozy, D, Scevak, J, Bryer, F, Bartlett, B, & Biehler 2009, Psychology applied to teaching, John Wiley & Sons Australia, Milton.
Winch, G, Ross Johnston, R, March, P, Ljungdahl, L & Holliday, M 2009, Literacy: reading, writing and children's literature, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Blog book

How timely! I was checking out Facebook today when I came across a posting by Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers on how to preserve blogs when platforms are constantly changing format, ownership, becoming fee based rather than a free platform etc.  Apart from showing how to save a back up of various blogging platforms to your computer, Richard provides this link to BlogBooker.
Blogbooker creates a PDF of your blog in book form which can them be printed out if desired.
Richard also points out how handy this is for student blogs at the end of a school year if they would like a hardcopy version of their blog, perhaps to show their family.
Of course after my recent troubles, I have now created a Blog book of this blog so I know that I will always have access to the links and other information that I have saved on my blog over the past three years.
Thanks Richard!

Malaware = Digital Immigrant

Recently I came to my blog and received a malaware warning. This warning served to show me that I am definitely a digital immigrant!
The warning directed me to a page which told me some detail of the suspected malaware and a link to information on what I should do to clean up my site. Well, after perusing the information, I found the first step was to verify the ownership of my blog. I was stuck, I could see the html code but I couldn't alter it (not that I know too much about what to do there. The most I've done with html is changed the size of something!).Verification took me the good part of a day and was only successful after some help from a digital native (Thanks Peter! I am definitely NOT above asking for help in regards to all things digital).  Even with this help, the next stage of getting the tracking code on my blog home page for Google Analytics  took another couple of hours.
Finally, success!! My blog was verified. However, I now had to remove the malaware. I removed a gadget, which it turns out had nothing to do with the malaware, and it made no change to the warning. I didn't really need the gadget anyway, so no big loss there and I kept searching for answers. By this stage I was close to giving up, and no amount of trolling through the help forum was producing any suitable answers. My feelings of inadequacy were increasing.
I finally posted a cry for help to the Google Webmaster tools help forum and received a reply to check out a previously viewed page. So naturally, I decided that my blog was lost forever and thought of a name for a new one...other people then answered my plea and one kind soul even found the code that was causing the flag. I could have tried removing the code but hey, how much quicker to just chop the entire gadget?
Now my blog roll is gone but my blog is clean.

Why this post?
1 To show that a digital immigrant can get there eventually, with a lot of help from friends.
2 So I have a quick link to the help forum (sometimes I can't remember how I found sites \o/)
3 To celebrate my clean blog :-)

Now on to the final year of my BLM. What an exciting year this will be!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Free Technology for Teachers: A Gallery of Glogs

Free Technology for Teachers: A Gallery of glogs A great resource to show students for inspiration. There is a tutorial coming to the glogster sight soon too, so no need to make own.

Monday, August 22, 2011

How to add error bars to an excel chart

I know that I'll forget how to do this by the time I need it again. I recorded the procedure for someone who missed the lecture and decided that it would be wise to keep a copy for myself :D

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Embedding using Screencast

Reading Richard Byrne's blog Free Technology for teachers I found this great post on screen cast tools and as you can see I have had a play around with and I have found it very quick and easy to use.
I will use this tool to record instructions for the students on how to access blogs, wiki's, voicethreads...whatever tools we will be using in the classroom so that the students can come back and watch the tutorial again whenever they need to.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Embedding Indigenous perspectives, ICT, literacy and numeracy into my unit

At the last tutorial, Michele showed us a unit plan from a school which had a simple single page with a table at the back that showed how the various cross-curricular priorities had been embedded into the unit. I think that a table like that one is a great tool to ensure that all of the priorities are embedded in the unit. The table also ensures that no priorities are inadvertently left out or overlooked. I found that by filling in the table before I have finished the unit plan has allowed me to consolidate my thinking around the activities I was planning rather than trying to fit the perspectives into the activities as an after thought.
Below is my draft of the table which I have altered to suit my needs.

Engaging the middle phase learner
Higher Order Thinking Skills
Presentation- identify purpose for speaking and the audience, use specialised technical language to establish expertise, and select texts and language features to position and persuade. Use nonverbal expressions, body language, gestures, intonation, pitch, volume and pace to enhance delivery and reinforce a viewpoint or stance.
Key terms and
Scientific literacy- keep a personal science dictionary.
Peer evaluation- listen to texts and monitor understanding by asking relevant questions.
Blog- identify purpose (reflection), organise thoughts and reflect on learning in an organised and cohesive manner using subject specific language. Use spell check and/or dictionary to check word spelling. Edit and proof read before publishing posts.
Self evaluation- identify and discuss own strengths as speakers; identify specific steps they can take to improve.
·         Group work
·         Collaboration
·         Curiosity
·         ICT use
·         Real world problems
·         Challenging
·         Autonomy
·         Student choice
·         Individualised scaffolding
·         High expectations
·         Community involvement-guest speaker
·         Field trip
Interpret maps to identify locations
Recognise the role that statistics plays in understanding data and potential outcomes.

·         Analysis-compare the four justifications.
·         Evaluation-Critically evaluate value of data found on internet for credibility, relevance, accuracy, currency and reliability.
·         Synthesis-Design summative presentation
·         Analysis-Compare land management practices
·         Evaluation- Self assessment
Inquiring - Google searches for appropriate sources of information
Creating- student presentation.
Communicating - wiki, voice thread, collaboration, Blog for reflection.
Ethics- reference sources of information, copyright laws, school internet use policy.
Operating- formatting of blog and presentation, use of voice thread and wiki forum.
Differentiated Learning
Support                  Gifted and Modifications               Talented
Values Framework
Indigenous Perspectives
Workforce Skills/Futures
Digital sources of information that can be enlarged or read aloud for sight impaired; change of colour, font and size of text for ASD. Group work, moving around and extensive ICT use for ADD. Peer learning through group work.
·         Individual student investigations may have various depths of knowledge to them.
·         Presentation delivery allows for individual students to show their depth of cognition.
·         Student choice and autonomy.
Moral and ethical views through moral and ecological justification with a focus on an individual species right to life.
All students have the capabilities to complete the unit.
Expecting high standards from the students.
Indigenous views on environmental management, conservation and sustainability.
Four justifications.
White settlers change the land to suit purpose.
·         Presentation skills
·         Communication skills
·         Choosing the best format for the audience
·         ICT knowledge and use
·         Research skills
·         Collaboration skills
·         Real world problem solving

Monday, July 18, 2011

How much carbon do you contribute?

This is a great tool that helps you see how much carbon your actions are contributing to the atmosphere.

 Check it out and play around with the headings at the bottom of the page.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Podcasts and blogs in the classroom

Below are some thoughts by others, that I have collected, regarding the use of podcasts and blogs in the classroom.
I had mention the Student blogs post by Chris Ludwig in a previous post and I now think that these blogs could be used as samples to show my future students until I have some work completed by my own students to use as samples.

Student blogs by Chris Ludwig to be used as exemplars? Blog post on student blogging.

How to integrate Podcasting into science and math classes by David Wetzel on Teaching Science and Math blog
 Learning: Ways Students Use Podcasts
The following are ways students use podcasts to support their learning science or math concepts.
  • Student groups create a specific potion of a unit studied in class. These podcasts provide a downloadable review for students to use when studying for a unit test. The podcasts are posted on the class web page or wiki. Each podcast should be limited to 5 - 6 minutes to promote clear and concise summary of key concepts.
  • Students create a podcast to supplement their research and findings during science or math project based learning activities.
  • Students create a virtual tour related to a science or math unit. For example - rainforests, landfills, geometry found on the playground, algebra applications in a skate park, etc.

Benefits of Podcasts
So what are the benefits of podcasting (audio and/or video) in science and math classes?
  • Reinforces concepts studied in class for both auditory and visual learners.
  • Reinforces writing and reading skills as students prepare their own podcast scripts.
  • Increasing parent communication, since parents have access to the class web page or wiki.
  • Provides another teaching and learning strategy for helping students in being successful in science or math.
Why Use Podcasts?
It is time to take advantage of our students’ status as digital citizens. Students use iPods, iPod Touches, MP3 players, and computers everyday; use these digital tools to create podcasts to support teaching and learning.
Excerpt taken from:
How to integrate Podcasting into science and math classes

Friday, July 8, 2011

Essential Learnings in the Middle Phase

Learning and assessment 

My interpretation of the learning and assessment focus for Year 9 Science:
  • work like a scientist 
  • being able to work both individually and collaboratively 
  • build their understanding through topics that have real world applications 
  • identify problems and issues
  • design and conduct scientific investigations
  • reflect on their learning
  • consider and respond to how humans have influenced/changed the applications/uses of science
Science is knowledge that has been developed through human observation and inferences.
Scientific knowledge is continually changing, growing and being updated as new evidence is found.
Scientific knowledge is used to make responsible and informed decisions about the world.
Science is continually evolving and has distinct fields that overlap.

Ways of working links to Bloom's


Draw food web for ecosystem
Make a model of the ecosystem, explain interactions within the ecosystem
carry out
Prepare a report about the area
Create a management plan for the ecosystem, write a poem or song about the ecosystem, make a documentary about the ecosystem
Write a persuasive speech, list criteria to judge importance of ecosystem
draw conclusions

Knowledge and Understanding
For Assignment 1 and 2 I will be focusing on:
Science as a human endeavour
  • Immediate and long-term consequences of human activity can be predicted by considering past and present events (Cause and effect, case histories)
  • Responsible, ethical and informed decisions about social priorities often require the application of scientific understanding (Four justifications: Utilitarian, ecological, moral, aesthetic)
  • People from different cultures contribute to and shape the development of science (Indigenous perspectives)
Energy and change
  • Energy is conserved when it is transferred or transformed (Food webs, food chains, energy through the biosphere)
Life and living
  • In ecosystems, organisms interact with each other and their surroundings (habitats, food webs, species interactions, keystone species)
  • Changes in ecosystems have causes and consequences that may be predicted (pollution, degradation of soil)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Middle Phase pedagogy

After reading the first chapter of Middle Years Schooling (Knipe & Johnston, 2007), I decided to do a quick survey, which can be found here, to see how students really felt. The spreadsheet with the collated responses can be found here. This survey is in the process of being completed and will hopefully find its way to a large number of students so that a good picture of student preference can be compiled.
Knipe and Johnston (2007) state that taking student opinions into consideration can really make a difference to the engagement of the students with the course material. The MACER report (2003) also states that the course material needs to be relevant, challenging, have real world connectedness and take student backgrounds into consideration if it is to have any hope of engaging the students. How better than to find out student opinions than to ask them, hence the survey.
Here is a survey, made by, that can be completed by students periodically through the school year to obtain feedback from them on how they are perceiving the material. The survey questions can be altered to provide specific feedback as required. On the other hand, students do not want to be bombarded with surveys and questionnaires and as such this method should not be overused.
In the course readings for the week it was repeatedly stated by various authors that the middle years are the most challenging for students as they simultaneously bombarded with 'physical, emotional, intellectual and social factors' (See the future, MPL State School Action Plan, 2003) and as a result of this their needs are quite different to students in both lower and higher levels. This difference has not been catered for in the past and many students have become disengaged with learning, this is the reason Queensland needs to reform the middle years of schooling.
The best examples that I have seen so far in the middle years of schooling align with the challenge for teachers listed in the action plan, and it is having teachers who care about the students, and are passionate about their profession, teaching students in the middle years.
The Middle Schooling philosophy will improve behaviour management as when students are engaged, the time spent on behaviour management is reduced.
The curriculum will be tailored to suit individual students and their current levels of achievement in such a way as to maximise student learning outcomes with deep knowledge on topics rather than a surface knowledge covering an all encompassing curriculum.
Pedagogy will be based in the 21st century and embedded with ICT use technologies as 1) this is what the students know or need to know and 2) it will prepare students for a work life in the knowledge economy. School organisation will need to change to facilitate the changes required in the Middle Phase of schooling by allowing teachers more time to collaborate with other teachers, spend more meaningful time with the students, and plan relevant learning for the students based on their needs and interests.
The attitudes and perceptions of students should change when the changes to Middle School Years are made as more students are engaged with relevant, meaningful coursework that is preparing them for their future years.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Middle Phase references

Knipe, S (2007) Middle Years Schooling: Reframing adolescence. Pearson Education Australia, Frenchs Forest NSW.

Ministerial Advisory Committee for Education Renewal (MACER) (2003) The Middle Phase of Learning. The State of Queensland, Brisbane QLD