iPads and Kindergarten

Key ideas from the Jones reading

  • Play based learning to enhance language development (oral and communication)- a new take on traditional play with technology (“symbolic play”)
  • Review of Play school app (free) to develop oral language and reading comprehension to assist students to tell and re-tell a story in an engaging way and increase meaning making.
  • Key to using this app is teacher scaffolding and preparation to use it to its fullest potential.
  • Using iPad technology resonated with students who had experienced touch screen technology outside of the classroom and the association with Playschool meant most kids had prior knowledge or characters and themes.
  • Interactive app, easy to navigate and provided an exciting and different way of learning
  • Engaged learners meant that students worked together and made their own decisions.
  • Teachers need to focus on pre reading, during reading and after reading experiences to ensure that students are challenged, making connections and  creating their own meaningful stories (via their own comprehension of the texts) – this will increase literacy skills.
  • Students learnt to navigate an iPad and also see their work, reflect on their learning and show other students what they had created.
  • “This tablet technology helped the teacher to scaffold literacy learning and can be a powerful medium for meaning-making” (Jones, 2012, p. 36)


Jones, M. (2012), ipads and kindergarten- students literacy development, SCAN, 31(4), 31-40.


How you might use this app or a similar one to develop an aspect of literacy ( could be understanding how texts work, viewing skills, speaking and listening etc.) in the classroom, as well as build technology skills for your students.

  • The play school art app would be a great classroom tool to help students to construct a story. Visually they could use the iPad to explore images that would help to bring the content to life (retell the story). Students would work together, speaking and listening, to create their storyboard and bring the story to life. Exploration of the construct of a story (such as needing a beginning, a middle and an end) as well as exploring characters and settings would enable students to utilise comprehension skills.
  • In our exploration of the app we constructed our own simple story, using the background and characters provided, adding our voices in order to create a fluid story with a clear beginning, middle and end. As the characters and settings are provided it would mean students could focus on story creation and grammatical features not on creating all characters and settings themselves. Their focus would be on visually and orally creating a new story not on their computer or drawing skills.


Toontastic app – and write a short review of it in terms what is does, how easy or hard it is to use and what aspects you could use it for in your classroom.

Hard or easy:

Easy to navigate but limited by the tools you have access to on the free version. Could be hard to use for younger kids as it would be creatively restrictive.

Aspects you could use in classroom:

  • Overview of story content flow simple (step by step  – setup, conflict, challenge, climax and resolution), this would help students to ensure their story flowed well and they focused on meaning making and grammatical features.
  • Being able to story with your own voice would mean students could engage more closely with their story
  • Emoticons for particular parts of the story means students will remain on task with the content they add to that section.
  • Students are able to get into the story via adding their photos or audio, which would increase engagement and peer participation.
  • A great activity to construct a pair lesson, where each could build on the work of the other student to create a fluid story at the end. We worked on a section each to build an entire story which worked together.






IWB’s – the low down!

Reflect on the reading – what seems to be the most important aspect of using an IWB that will make it a useful classroom tool for learning?

The teacher seems to be the most important aspect of using an IWB. The reading highlighted to me the need for the teacher to be able to adapt their pedagogical style and spend the time needed to plan lessons using the IWB. The teacher must ensure that the technology is being used to its full potential and that the content is relevant to all students, and their own individual learning style. There is a danger with IWBs that they become a vehicle for teacher led classroom learning, however this article, demonstrate that if the teacher is properly trained and uses the research correctly they will be able to captivate and motivate their students to ensure engaged higher level learning occurs. The article clearly demonstrates that content needs to be clear and concise, and whilst bells and whistles help to capture students attention they must not detract from the learning element of using technology.

The fact that “good teaching remains good teaching with or without the technology” (Higgins, Beachamp & Miller, 2007, p. 217) resonated strongly with me. The article shows that  we should view IWBs as “the technology (that) might enhance the pedagogy only if the teachers and pupils engaged with it and understood its potential in such a way that the technology is not seen as an end in itself but as another pedagogical means to achieve teaching and learning goals” (Higgins et al, 2007 p. 217).

Therefore from the reading I feel that the most important aspect that will make IWBs a useful tool for classroom learning is the teacher. The teacher must spend time in preparation, the teacher needs solid technological knowledge, the teacher must be willing to include all pupils to ensure open dialogue in the classroom, and finally the teacher must recognise that inclusion of all learners via hands-on interaction will encourage deeper understanding and promote higher thinking for all. There is potential for increasing “pupil participation and reinforce learning” (Higgins et al, 2007 p. 218) through IWB’s. Of course, IWBs are costly tools to include in all classrooms, however, if we as teachers are lucky enough to be able to utilise them in our classroom, it is imperative that we do the technology justice (to aid our new multi- modal learners) and adapt our pedagogy to use IWB’s effectively.


Higgins, S., G. Beauchamp, and D. Miller (2007), Reviewing the literature on interactive whiteboards, Learning, Media and technology, 32(3), 213-225.


Week 2: Using other Blogs to make mine more fruitful!

Create a blog post that includes THREE key ideas or activities from ONE reading that teachers would find useful.

I will focus on Pericles, K. (2008). Happily blogging @ Belmore South. SCAN, 27(2), 4-6.

1 – The most relevant aspect of this article, for my personal pedagogy, is the fact that “students have the background and cultural knowledge to be unafraid of technology, or trying something new in class” (Pericles, K, 2008 p.6). It is the teachers who are usually afraid of utilising “new” teaching methods and ways and this needs to be changed as we, the teacher, are the tools to introduce change. The practical ideas made me realise that blogging is a useful tool, which actually is not as hard as it looks (as long as it is set up properly.)

2 – I liked the personal touch idea of the students creating their own “Animated avatars”. As a class they were creating games, and scripts and then assigning their own voices and digitally designed “computer versions” of themselves. I think having this computer avatar would increase student engagement with the task, collaboration with peers and is centered on play and fun.

3 – Sharing a history of Australia with other places around the world. I loved the idea that they were linked to a class in Scotland and that they used a WIKI to collaborate with other students and to demonstrate learning. I think this is a great link to other schools, fresh ideas, other children and most of all the geographic accessibility is amazing. This to me was an incredible new age view on a traditional pen pal! A new literacy at another level!


Pericles, K. (2008). Happily blogging @ Belmore South. SCAN, 27(2), 4-6

Happily Blogging

Find 2 educational blogs you could use to model to your class as an examples of an effective blog.



Stage 2 class (this is a year 4 classroom)

  • Clear layout, but uses colours and images to make it enticing.
  • Clear links that navigate visitors around the site
  • Links to other blogs, student resources and parents too!


Stage 3 class (could be used and adapted based on teacher scaffolding for younger kids)

  • This is more for layout, and showing that the blog can be sectioned in a clear and aesthetically pleasing way
  • It demonstrates that students can use images, large font and text treatments to make points stand out. It alerts them to the need to be mindful of this when creating their posts, to ensure they are clear to their readers.
  • Students section which also is a great list of how to use a blog, rules for being involved in a blog, appropriate ways to comment and many more
  • Great starting point on how to navigate through a blog, areas you would like to replicate in class, how to leave comments appropriately and respectfully, and also links to great online resources to help create blog content.

Scoop It Task:

Quality children’s literature resources to help me be a parent and teacher who uses great stories that fulfill a quality criteria!


TASK 1: Navigating the new literacy of a blog!

“New Literacies” defined

TASK 1: solid two to three paragraph definition of the term ‘new literacies’

In today’s ever growing digital world there is a new term applied to reading and writing and much debate exists around what valid forms of literacy should be used in the classroom to enhance learning and engagement. New literacies is a complex and continually evolving topic and the debate around its definition is vast. Houtman comments that “new literacies is a term often used in the field of education, particularly in literacy studies, for various digital literacies practices. A key concept here is that literacy if no longer a stable entity, but something that is continuously transforming” (Houtman, E, 2013, p.6)

“New literacies” build on the old literacies, and factors such as sociocultural upbringing and technology are changing it. Children still need to decode and read print to make meaning from texts, whether printed or online, and we need to change the way we teach to adapt to the new ways students are learning. Technology is constantly transforming and evolving which means that the definition is always changing. However, the increasing plethora of social media platforms and new digital ways of interacting mean that a new approach must be taken by educators to ensure that students can learn in the new digital age that they are growing up in. As such as teachers we need to respond ” to the challenges of the 21st century learners by identifying skills, competencies, fluencies and literacies to be taught” (Houtman, E, 2013, p.1).

One problem with defining new literacies is that what is new today may not be tomorrow, the old saying of todays newspapers will become tomorrow’s chip papers still stands in a digital world. “‘New literacies’ are best understood in terms of an historical period of social, cultural, institutional, economic, and intellectual change that is likely to span many decades – some of which are already behind us” (Lankshear, C & Knobel, M, 2012, p. 45). Thus when defining we must not get too consumed by the word “new” in the term and more in the fact that there are multiple medias, frameworks, programs and possibilities that can be explored. As educators we need to accept that there is an ever expanding, changing digital world, and adapt accordingly. We are required to teach students in all forms of digital media that they use, we will need to accept “new literature”, utilise it to its fullest potential and in turn help students learn through these new methods of communication.


Houtman, E. (2013). New literacies, learning, and libraries: How can frameworks from other fields help us think about the issues? In the Library with the Lead Pipe.  Retrieved fromhttp://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2013/new-literacies-learning-and-libraries-how-can-frameworks-from-other-fields-help-us-think-about-the-issues/ Accessed March 17th, 2014

Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2012). ‘New’ literacies: technologies and values. Teknokultura. Revista de Cultura Digital y Movimientos Sociales, 9(1), 45-71.  Retrieved from http://everydayliteracies.net/files/RemixTeknokulturaEnglish.pdf Accessed March 17th, 2014

Greenwashing YouTube:

Write a brief description/ review of the show and comment on what this means for teaching kids about internet and media content at school.

“Greenwashing” the media show clip is a spoof overview on large companies and how they are deceiving us, their consumers, via clever advertising. There has been a green shift in large companies to project themselves as environmentally aware & portray that they are working to make a difference in the ever environmentally focused world. The clip demonstrates that it is relatively easy for a company to make a million dollar ad, which demonstrates  they are taking positive steps to helping the  environment, when we are in fact they are doing little or nothing. Large companies are using gimmicks, awards and campaigns to present an environmentally friendly picture, for consumers to endorse their products. Consumers see them as sustainable but the fact is they are merely “greenwashing” the facts and consumers are being taken in by their clever and enticing ad campaigns. Coming out of a ten year career in advertising where the green push was a focus for a number of my blue-chip clients it is interesting to see this broken down so simply for us to understand, that everything you see on an advert is not necessarily the truth!

This is a particularly relevant clip for a classroom study on the topics of the environment & also the powers of advertising. It shows the dangers in believing everything you see or hear, and also demonstrates the facts behind corporates need to sell more products. Using puppets, and gimmicks such as light and dark, and music and relating back to adverts we see everyday, also means students will automatically engage with the clip. Students could explore the effects of advertising, and the way media is used to encourage brand loyalty through positive messaging, which may not always been centred on the truth but a clever representation of a half truth. This will teach children that there is a danger to the internet and media, and to explore the different motivations behind clips, advertisement and digital messaging. This could be explored with some of the viral clips and campaigns, which most believe have a feel good factor, but normally when stripped down become nothing more than a marketing tool for a company, hiding behind a positive message push to gain brand recognition and awareness. In a year 6 class I taught we had an interesting advertising activity where students created a bridge, using science and maths, and once created had to create a poster with accompanying ad campaign to sell their bridge. In the end the company directors (teachers) were only to invest in one bridge based on a number of factors, and this sell helped them to see the power of the media in swaying peoples decisions. You could use this clip as a foundation for a similar “ad campaign” activity.


The beginning seems like a good place to put a face to my blog!! Time to get blogging away….