Best apps for teachers

I can’t sleep so I thought I’d take advantage of the kids free time to do a search for the best apps for teachers. The first sit I came across was by Scholastic, which provides 50 Fab Apps for Teachers, and have sorted them into the different learning areas. I will definitely be trying some of these!


20 HELPFUL APPS FOR TEACHERS AND EDUCATORS is another blog by Digital Trends that recommends apps mainly for educators to assist them in organising and communicating with students and their caregivers.

I then stumbled upon this blog “Journey with an iPad” which was created by a primary French immersion teacher who is documenting her adventures of learning to use the iPad with her students. I really like this blog as it provides real learning activities that have been used in the classroom. Here she provides a ‘working’ list of the applications that she is using with her students.


After hours searching for apps to use whilst on prac I have realised how many tools are out their to support teachers in the classroom and to help transform students learning. I know that I will use some apps and that my lesson will not turn out as I expected it to go, but I do have to keep reminding myself that prac is for me to learn just as much as my students. I will learn through my mistakes!!


How to use an Apple TV in the classroom

After visiting my mentor and finding out that they use an Apple TV instead of an interactive whiteboard I have been trying to find some information on how they work. Like Raquel mentions in her blog, the idea of an Apple TV sounds exciting, however we need to know how to intergrate them into our prac class effectivley.  “Roll Them In: Why TV is Still Essential Classroom Technology” provides some general information and discusses how ‘Classroom Technology Enhances Learning’.

I continued my search and found this article, “Seeing the Big Picture with Apple TV” which explains how to hook your iPad up to your class TV and gives an example of how to use it in the classroom.

APPS 4 SCHOOLS provides a list of apps for schools and teachers that I will explore more thoroughly. However, all these sights use an iPad, however my mentor uses a laptop, and it is not a MacBook. I am not sure how it all works. I guess I will have to wait and see. My mentor is not supplying me with any information regarding my lessons until the second week of the school holidays, so I have no idea what I am supposed to be doing. I am just trying to learn about the Apple TV as much as possible this week.

If anyone could point me in the right direction for programs or apps that I could use in grade 1 I would much appreciate any feedback?

Thanks for reading!

Being cybersmart

One of week 8s learning tasks involved completing a self-paced online training program, Connect.ed, that provides teachers the knowledge, confidence and resources to help students stay safe online. The Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner developed this program with the hope to protect Australian children when they experience cyberbullying. This is achieved by managing a complaints scheme and handles complaints about prohibited online content.


The online training program has four modules that takes approximately 6 hours to complete. Rachel lists the topics for the modules in her blog:

  • the connected world
  • cybersafety and your students
  • schools and the law
  • putting it into practice

I have been putting this off because I have so many other things to do. However, it was not too bad once I got stuck into it, and it only took me 3 hours to complete. The modules included “learning activities such as issue-based simulations that replicate a student’s experience in social networking sites, video interviews with experts in the field, attitudinal surveys and interactive case studies that prompt teacher self-reflection”.

I feel there are so many things to be constantly thinking about when you are a teacher, I hope that it doesn’t take years for it to become second nature.

I received a cyber safety certificate after completing the four modules.

Why does lesson planning take me sooo long?!

Lesson planning takes me so long to complete, as there are so many elements that have to be incorporated and linked. There are quite a few different lesson plan templates, but they all generally include all the following information:

  • The learning experience and or concept students will be learning.
  • The learning objective/s.
  • What students need to know and be able to do at the end of the lesson?
  • Determining and accessing students prior knowledge.
  • Methods to monitor student understanding.
  • Assessment of their learning.
  • Resources needed.
  • Introduction, body and concluding activities.
  • Managing teaching strategies, resources, differentiation.

I hope that one day I will be able to do these things in my sleep, and if not, a whole lot faster!!


Completing the template is only part of the planning process though. It is also important to think about other factors such as:

  • What do I know about this topic?
  • What more can I learn about it?
  • How do I feel about this topic?

There are many resources online to help teacher such as the Scholastic article which provides a list of 8 questions to think about when preparing a lesson. This article “How to produce the perfect plan” also provides some helpful tips for us newbie teachers.


Denise talks about planning to plan on her blog and shares that it is important to not plan to far ahead, and that also need to be flexible and able to adjust your lessons if required.

Happy planning 🙂

Theories, Frameworks and Models

Understanding the theories, frameworks and models that will help me!

In a previous weeks learning pathway we revised some frameworks and more acronyms that can help us prepare for our professional experience. The related task was to create a HTML table discussing these frameworks, I am only now getting around to doing this and I though I’d share my response. I found a website that will create HTML tables and had a go, it is called HTML Table generator.

Theory Purpose Application to Assignment/Professional Experience
CLEM Model Help understand how to learn about a new ICT and how to use it to enhance student learning. If there are any new ICTs you need to use it might help your expectations.

Hence might be useful as a part of the planning process for Part B.

TPACK Framework A way of thinking about the different types of knowledge (technological, pedagogical and content) required to design effective ICT-rich learning experiences. Something that I will be building as I engage in professional experience and in the future as a teacher.
Backwards Design A way to design learning experiences to achieve specific learning outcomes. Starting with what the students need to be able to know and do, and go backwards to create lessons that work towards that. My mentor has provided me with the maths assessment and allowed me to design lessons that help the students understand the concepts required to complete the task.
SAMR Model Standing for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition this model offers a method of seeing how computer technology might impact teaching and learning. This is one model that I can use the determine and justify why I use the technology I choose. I should try and aim to use ICTs as AMR
TIP Model The Technology Integration Planning (TIP) Model assists teachers to assess that the use of technology in lessons is efficient and successful in meeting students needs through five phases. This is another model that I can use when planning the use of ICTs in the lesson.
The 5Es An instructional model based on a constructivist approach to learning. Each phase builds on the previous. Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate. Typically used for science lessons but can be used to arrange lessons for all learning areas.
WALT & WILF Standing for We Are Learning To and What I’m Looking For – these provide students with an outline and expectations of the learning to occur. The thought is that if students know what they are learning and what is expected they will put more effort into their work. I use these in every lesson especially the WALT part and the extension TIB This is Because. This provides a start to an introduction to the learning experience.
Connectivism The theory of connectivism is that knowledge exists outside of the classroom and the learner makes connections between information to build knowledge. This can be used when research is required, with all of the resources available information can be obtained easily and instantly. This is not something that will be used in my current context as the school is a small one and resources are limited.
Blooms Taxonomy Blooms Taxonomy is a classification system to express the level of thinking skills. It is used to promote higher order thinking skills of analysing, evaluating and creating. It is the goal for students to not only know and understand the information being taught but be able to apply it in other situations, make judgements and put the information in a new way.
Postman’s 5 Things Technology is always changing and Neil Postman came up with five things we need to know about this. These things provide a different schema to think about technological change. Another model that I have not consciously thought about throughout my lessons or lesson planning.
Toolbelt Theory/TEST Framework This framework can be used to solve a problem or task by identifying the Task, Environment, Skills and Tools available to help with the problem. I don’t know that I will be consciously using this framework but it can be applied as every lesson is a task that I need to solve. By knowing the environment, skills and tools available I will be able to plan a more successful lesson.
PKM A set of processed that help us make sense of our world and work more efficiently. Personal Knowledge Management is a framework to develop a network of people and sources of information that we can easily draw upon. If I am having trouble understanding or completing a task or lesson I have the ability to ask those around me and use the resources at hand to figure it out allowing me to spend more time on other things.

Getting ready for professional experience

Getting ready for prac

It is finally school holidays, however that does not mean that life will be an easier or more carefree. I have 3 amazing children, so life will be a bit more chaotic and busier with all the extra play dates and taxi runs.


On Wednesday, I was able to meet with my grade 1 mentor and her class. She seems to have very high expectations of her class on many different levels. Which I believe is a good thing when encouraged positively and effectively. her classroom has behaviour management that is reinforced with consequences that reminded me of my days in school……writing out lines at lunch time!

We also discussed the characteristics of the students, a little about the school and my previous prac experiences, being only at childcare centres. We discussed how different this will be compared to my previous prac placements, and I look forward to seeing if I do want to complete the extra year at uni so I can teach in schools. My mentor explained that each grade 1 teacher is responsible for planning one area of the curriculum and providing the lesson plans for these. They do use C2C as a resource that supports them to teach and assess the students.


I found an informative and helpful blog by Stephanie who shares her 10 Tips for student teachers on placement. Tips such as building relationships with your students and that you are there to learn. Here is a another link to a website by the NSW Teachers Federation that shares more Prac Teaching Survival Tips.

I would be interested if anyone else has some tips or advice before I head out into the real world of teaching.

Good luck everyone!

Do IWBs affect student motivation?

Do IWBs affect student motivation?

Tahlia discusses the visually appealing benefits of the IWB in her blog , and how this increases motivation for visual learners. This prompted me to do a google search on the relationship between motivation and IWBs and I was surprised at the many research articles available to read. Most articles agree that when IWBs are used in the classroom, there is increased motivation in, for example:

Richardson (2002), states that “children are always enthusiastic and show heightened motivation when [an interactive whiteboard] is used in the classroom and … it causes greater attention and enthusiasm to participate and respond.”

Smith (2002) states that “students thought it was cool … [they] could take an active part in class teaching by coming up and demonstrating to the whole class, and [they] gained confidence in their skills by doing so.”

Cox et al. (2003) affirms, “Interactive whiteboards promote class discussions and [improve] pupils’ explanations and presentation skills.”

Bush et al. (2004). “made teaching more visual and learning more interactive, in turn encouraging greater participation from the pupils, improving their motivation and concentration.”


When I expanded my research, I found an article that explains how IWBs support intrinsically and extrinsically motivated students to promote their learning. For example:

  • Intrinsically motivated students will be keen to express their knowledge/skills on the IWB in front of their peers because they will be able to demonstrate their individual achievement.
  • Extrinsically motivated students are drawn by the “wow factor” of the IWB and will be motivated to engage with it as they will enjoy using the tool.


Thus, it is evident that when used effectively, IWBs can be an influential tool to support and transform students learning because of the positive effect they have on student engagement and motivation.

Intergrating IWBs into the classroom

How can an interactive whiteboard be used in a learning environment?


Interactive whiteboards are an effective way to engage with digital information and multimedia in a classroom environment. There is a plethora of learning activities that be used with an interactive whiteboard such as:

  • Manipulating text and images
  • Making notes in digital ink
  • Saving notes for later review by using e-mail, the Web or print
  • Viewing websites as a group
  • Demonstrating or using software at the front of a room without being tied to a computer
  • Creating digital lesson activities with templates, images and multimedia
  • Writing notes over educational video clips
  • Using presentation tools that are included with the whiteboard software to enhance learning materials
  • Showcasing student presentations

Below is a short video of how a kindergarten teacher uses the IWB to help the children learn about word families.“>

What skills can students learn from using and IWB?

Below are some examples of the many skills that students can obatin from using IWBs.

  • Promote the computer skills that students require for success in the 21st century.
  • Basic skills in word processing, graphics, multimedia, Internet and email, spreadsheets and databases.
  • Social and ethical issues can be explored and awareness raised.
  • Promotion of higher order thinking.
  • Searching skills.
  • Through the promotion of class discussions, students’ explanations and presentation skills are enhance.

In Rachel’s blog she provides a link to a very helpful website that has an extensive list of the advantages of IWB’s.

My next blog will discuss how students motivation can be affected by the positve inclusion of an IWB in the classroom.

What is an IWB?

What is an interactive whiteboard?

Week 9’s learning activities discuss interactive whiteboards (IWB) and  the way that some IWBs are being ineffectively in classrooms, for example, they can promote a teacher centric pedagogy. Before delving into the benefits of IWBs in the classroom, I thought I’d provide some information on IWB’s and the benefits of their inclusion into the classroom.

So what is an Interactive Whiteboard?

The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency provides this definition:

“An interactive whiteboard is a large, touch sensitive board which is connected to a digital projector and a computer. The projector displaying the image from the computer screen on the board. The computer can then be controlled by touching the board, either directly or with a special pen.”


Why would you want one these things in your classroom?

Here is a list of some of the reasons that I have thought of:

  • They allow all students direct access to this tool;
  • They offers opportunities for students to engage with ICT across all curriculum learning areas;
  • They provide educators a tool that can easily link ICT into class lessons, providing students with ICT skills they need to use technological tools such as classroom computers and iPads;
  • They support interaction and conversation in the classroom;
  • They help with the presentation of new cultural and linguistic elements;
  • They foster enthusiasm and engagement for learning;
  • They enable the educator to interact with the class, demonstrating, modelling and manipulating what was on the board by touch.

Shireen shares in her blog an example of how the IWB was used successfully in her prac class.

My next blog will discuss how IWBs can be incorporated into the classroom and the benefits that students will acquire from their use. For further information, this article provides an insightful view on IWBs.

Can you think of other reasons why you would like to have an IWB in your classroom?

Information Literacy Theory

During one of my many searches I found an interesting article on “Information Literacy: Information Literacy Theory” on the City University London website. The article provides extensive information about Information Literacy (IL) and emphasises why IL is important for staff & students. The diagram below gives an overview of the Information Literacy Theory.


ANCIL (A New Curriculum for Information Literacy) is a research project that stresses the importance of both information literacy and digital literacy, and how teachers, librarians and educationalists can collaborate to embed these to enhance student and researcher experience and lifelong development.

ANCIL has a blog  that provides a wealth of information and resources such as the article on Information Literacy first aid. The aims of Information Literacy first aid are:

  • “Support the studentʼs immediate learning need
  • Prevent future learning needs from becoming critical incidents by promoting ʻtransferableʼ learning beyond the specific immediate need
  • Promote the empowerment of the student in proactively developing their own information literacy to the highest levels, and fulfilling their potential”

This article goes on to discuss an information literacy model that can support educators to assess studentʼs individual learning needs to encourage the student to develop holistic information literacy, on more than one level.

Below is a short video about IL.