Learning from last week’s ICT shamozzle

Throwback to last weeks post: Kahoot! What a great quiz app to use to engage your class (especially when the students in your class struggle to give you answers without options) until it doesn’t work.

In the last post by a fellow EDC3100 student, Matthew, he discussed how using powerpoints can either really engage students or make them completely disengage. I 100% agree, I remember when I was at school and my teachers didn’t know how to use powerpoint so they didn’t use any themes. BORING! Disengaged. Snore.

Now to elaborate on why I’m discussing this and last week’s tech issue… Kahoot and the internet connection may have failed me, however, I made a quiz using powerpoint that had the pictures embedded into the slides and students answered by holding up cards. While this is not answering with an iPad it got them super engaged. I have since used this as a theme to create more quizzes and have moved on to learning about tempo. The format of the powerpoint really engaged the students. In the newer quizzes, a bit of pre-teaching was required as students had to learn the names of tempos and then answer using the names of the tempos. Even with this pre-teaching, the students were still very engaged and excited to learn new things.

Powerpoint can be a very useful tool if used effectively.



The unpredictability of ICT

My professional experience has begun with a rocky start.

  • Day 1: Mentor doesn’t work Mondays and therefore was just observing another teacher and helping out around the classroom to get to know the students. Then getting moved down to the Junior school where there were meltdowns consisting of screaming, clawing, and throwing of desks by little people. Lastly my first experience of Parade – the quietest part of the day.
  • Day 2: Mentor has a throat infection. More observing and helping. I got to stay in with the students that are in my Mentor’s class this time though. While I didn’t teach any content I did guide the students through the activities that the teacher had left for the day and worked one-on-one with students to help and give prompts to be able to complete the assessment.
  • Day 3: Finally! I meet my mentor. Did more observing and helping – looking specifically at how my mentor teaches so I can try and attempt to replicate this so the students don’t get stressed when I do start teaching.
  • Day 4: Afternoon session was mine and I had free reigns – my mentor suggested that I do a music lesson as my other teaching area is music. The students in the class learn at between a Prep and Year 1 level and the lesson was adapted from the C2C P-2 Unit 1. This lesson was an absolute disaster.
  • Day 5: In discussion with my mentor we decided to try and ease them into something new after day 4’s disaster by doing a small 20-30 minute music activity. The lesson (in theory) was engaging, used ICT, and didn’t require the students to leave their seat or even move their body (this was an issue on day 4). The activity was a Kahoot quiz that required the students to recognise TV show theme songs. Well, 1 problem arose when I ran the idea past my mentor – the iPads (which I planned on using as the controllers for the quiz) did not connect to the internet. I solved this problem by having the students use my laptop, my phone, and my mentor’s phone with strict supervision. In hindsight, I should have checked this before planning a lesson that required the iPads to connect to the internet – oh well this problem was solved. Then trying to get the quiz to load on my mentor’s laptop using the school’s WiFi was 100% unsuccessful. Wooh! Two lessons down the drain. Absolutely bombed.

However, what I have learned from this is that while technology is fantastic it is super engaging for the students. It is also incredibly unreliable and therefore we need to have a plan B prepared and ready to go just in case the technology decides to not work.

Technology Discovery for Mute Students

The answer to all teachers prayers! Well, I shouldn’t hype it up that much, but I’ve stumbled upon a pretty amazing application that can help so many students. Proloquo2Go is an incredible app for iPad/iPhone that can help so many students communicate, whether they are deaf, mute, low comprehension, just about any students with a learning difficulty.

In a staff meeting today, we were trying to find a way that a student who is a selective mute to be able to better engage in class and be able to meet the criteria for her English assessment where the ICP goal stated that by the end of term 2 she would be able to speak and present her poem. This student speaks very well and clearly at home but for some reason, she won’t speak at school. So as a group all the Junior Secondary teachers were trying to find ways so that the student would be able to meet her criteria as she is choosing not to speak. PROLOQUO2GO! The idea that we came up with is that she would type what she wants to say into the app and then present her poem to the class while proloquo2go spoke for her. I also suggested in the meeting that she could have one (if there was one spare) on her desk so she could better communicate and participate in class.

While this app doesn’t add/change any content, this will 100% transform her learning and communication as she will be able to participate in class like never before.

Here we go again…

Placement, it’s here. Oh my goodness, I do not feel one bit ready.

After always being one of the last to find a placement this time, I found out really early and I think it’s made me so much more nervous.

4th time lucky, right? So far I’ve had a great run with placements and had some incredible mentors, however, I was told prior to my first placement that everyone has one placement that doesn’t go 100% no not even 50% to plan, that you have a horrible mentor and dread every minute of it. I haven’t had that one yet and each time gets me nervous that this one will be it. Will it? Hopefully not. I honestly feel like I’m going on my first ever placement.

I honestly feel like I’m going on my first ever placement all over again. It’s in a special school, and they run differently to mainstream schools even in the special education programs (each of those run differently too). This time I am with the same kids ALL DAY! Just like primary teachers. I don’t even know how I’m going to use ICT, or what I’ll be teaching.

I hope everyone else is less stressed than I am. We’re on the homestretch for the semester, we can do it!

Stressed Tayla signing off for prac.

Digital Citizenship

Students that are currently attending school have more than likely grown up from day dot with technology. The parents have smartphones, iPads, or laptops and they were allowed to play with it. Many of them know how to use these better than their parents. It’s important that we try our best as the adults to know the technology, its uses, and to ensure our students have the same knowledge. This is also one of the AITSL standards, Standard 4.5 – Use ICT safely, responsibly and ethicallyStandard 4.5 – Use ICT safely, responsibly and ethically.

  • Graduate level – Demonstrate an understanding of the relevant issues and the strategies available to support the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching.
  • Proficient level – Incorporate strategies to promote the safe, ethical, and responsible use.

Technology can be amazing but it can also have a negative effect, this is why within EQ school there are restrictions in place – to ensure that students don’t accidentally stumble upon something or someone that could put them in danger. We need to make sure that students understand the appropriate and responsible behaviour when using ICT. We can do this by constantly modelling the correct behaviour and reminding students of how they need to act online in accordance with the school’s policies.


A Lecturer’s Tips on Prac

Yesterday I was in a lecture for a behaviour management subject and he was giving tips about prac as there is a fair portion of the class that start their placements this week or next. So here is the rundown of what we talked about.

  • Step away and talk: Don’t just stand up the front and “lecture”. Get in there and move around. Sure, if you stand up the front and talk you can have an imaginary wall between you and them and they can’t hurt you; but you’re hurting their learning as they are not engaging with you.
  • Try and tell stories: Telling stories to make a point draws the students in as they can relate and it can help to build a rapport with them.
  • Slow down and check for understanding: It’s really easy to speed through and then be at the end of the lesson like 20 minutes before the bell and then you’re stuck. Sometimes slowing down, not doing the slow-mo voice, but not trying to get through everything at super speed and taking a moment to check for understanding. This can consist of asking questions about what you’ve just been discussing.
  • BE WARY OF SARCASM! Usually, you’re just told point blank. Don’t use it. However, if you have the right relationship with kids you can do it and they will understand the boundaries. Having that banter can be good, but you need to be careful about what you say. Be wary of any jokes or comments about race, gender, or sexuality. Someone might take offence to it and then there’s a heap of complaints about you to the principal.
  • Dress slightly more conservatively than everyone else: As a student teacher/prac teacher/not quite a teacher whatever you want to be called, you already have a target on your back. You’re being watched, literally, there’s another teacher in the room all the time making sure you’re doing it right and others. Unfortunately, people are judgemental. Dress professionally, like you’re in a “white-collar job”; collared shirt, button up, business pants, and shoes. Oh! Shoes! Get a pair of “prac shoes”, ones that you can stand up in all day if need be. If you need orthotics, WEAR THEM! Or you’re going to have sore feet, hips, knees, back whatever they correct.
  • Move around and help students when your mentor is teaching: Moving around and helping the students while your mentor is teaching will let them get to know you before you teach and it shows that you care.
  • Teach yourself to talk to students: Sometimes it’s hard to know how to talk to students especially when you’re not interacting with them frequently. Sometimes it comes naturally when you put that teacher hat on. Think about how your teachers interacted with you. How did they talk to you?
  • Make friends with the kids: Now this is a bit of a controversial tip. You still want the students to respect you. So be nice, let them relate, don’t belittle them. You were once a student too, you wanted to relate to your teachers, wanted to know about them. Now do the same, but don’t tell them things they can hold against you or will be offended by. “They smell fear”.
  • Know the content, adapt, and move on: When the students are being painful, just be confident in your content, adapt to the situation and move on.
  • Brush off Friday Afternoon: On a Friday afternoon, it can be easy to just hold on to everything that has happened and to take it personally. Try your hardest to just leave it at work before you get in the car. Enjoy your weekend. “Brush it off”.
  • Timeout: Using time out for a student who is being disruptive can be a good strategy to not only get the class back on task but can also be used as a strategy for you as the teacher to get yourself back and recoup. However, it is important not to use this too often otherwise the students just expect it and will intentionally be disruptive just to get out of work.
  • Acknowledge late arrivers: If students arrive late, acknowledge them, let them settle, give them a quick overview of what you have covered, then when the class is working talk to them about them being late and urge them to be on time next lesson.

Hope these tips can help someone.

Assignment 2 Unit formulation

So it’s been a while.

Assignment 2 has had me hiding under a bit of a social rock. Trying to decipher between the constructing and transforming knowledge in my syllabus and then trying to fit everything into one unit… Ughhh. Yes, I understand I’m not supposed to try and fit all the objectives from all 3 dimensions of the senior music syllabus into one term.

Part A

Stage One was easy done. Stage 2 was kind of fun! Trying to make the assessment as fun and as engaging as possible and trying to transform their learning by using ICTs. In a discussion about assessments with Kaitlyn she came up with an assessment that has both a real world link and can be transformed using ICTs and I tweaked it to fit my teaching area. The assessment ended up being that “students will be required to watch and/or listen to a popular song. After learning how to use online software and working in groups to create “practice” reviews that analyse and evaluate, students will individually create a review for an online magazine company on the performance they watched.” In order for students to be able to do this piece of assessment, they will need to know how to use WordPress, how to write a Music Review, and the characteristics of popular music.

Many students who take music in years 11 and 12 often do it because they have a knack for performance, so I was trying to think of a way that I could incorporate performance but not have it as a summative assessment. So, for students to prove that they understand the characteristics and technologies used in popular music they are required to choose a song and perform it in 2 lessons. Sure it’s a short amount of time, but when I was in high school, my teacher would get us choose from a set repertoire at the beginning of the lesson and perform that song at the end of the lesson. So 2 lessons it pretty lenient, I thought.

Those who don’t take music in senior for the performance aspect, take it because they like to compose or write songs. So the other portion of the unit is to use all knowledge they have gained doing the quick performance and the online magazine review to write a song in the popular music genre.

So, there is 2 pieces of summative assessment and 1 piece of formative, which admittedly is a bit backwards but popular music is all around and the unit gives students the chance to look at each dimension (performance, composition and musicology).


Raz-Kids: Reading and Comprehension

Working in Special Education, I see many different applications used for enhancing reading and reading comprehension. There is one that I have seen in action in an intensive reading program, Raz-Kids.

Raz-Kids is a program available anywhere at any time on the internet and is also available on apple and android products such as iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and the Kindle Fire Tablet. The program delivers hundreds of levelled eBooks in 29 different levels. These eBooks are also interactive which make the learning more engaging for the students. Each eBook also contains an eQuiz based on the book and will provide the teacher with a report to help guide their instruction.

As well as the Reading and Comprehension aspect of the program, teachers can also create assignments for their students to complete on the program.

Overall, it looks like this application will help enhance and transform both the learning and teaching of reading and comprehension to make it a more engaging and exciting experience for all!

Music ICT tool

While trying to complete the first assignment for EDC3100 I went exploring for applications or programs that I could use in a music classroom to enhance or transform students learning.

I came across a tool called “Figure”. In this app it allows you to create a piece of music through using pre-recorded sounds and changing the tempos and pitch. As well as this it allows the user to play with multiple tracks at a time to create layers within the music so it is not just one sound playing at once.

I thought this would be a really cool tool to use in a Junior Secondary (years 7-9) when beginning to look at composition as the students would not have to record the sounds themselves but each composition would be different as there are so many different possibilities within the app.screen696x696

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