Disconnecting/Logging off – digital detox

Following on from my previous post Disconnecting/Logging off, it seems now that we have hit the school holidays it is back on the agenda in the media.  All day I have heard about enforcing digital detox over the holidays.  It was on the Today show, it was Studio 10, it was news on the radio and I also heard it during channel 10 news.  Please have a read of the article Victorian parents enforcing school holiday digital detoxes amid safety warnings just incase you missed the story on many forms of media today.  Experts today spoke about children of school age should only have screen time for 1-2 hours a day.  This had me thinking if they are looking at an interactive whiteboard all day does this count as screen time?  The use of computers or ipads at school is this also included in this time?  I find it conflicting that experts say lessen screen time and this course has me designing a rich ICT unit plan.

If anything parents/adults need to lead by example if we expect our children to digital detox then we need to do it as well.  After reading K.L.’s post about self regulation I agree that this is something we need to educating our children to do and this is something they also need to learn themselves.  After considering the difference between self regulation and my rules of limitation I admit I am not teaching or guiding my daughter how to self regulate her ICT use.  However over the holidays I have been observing her and I am happy to say she does it herself.  She spends time playing games or watching film clips, then colours in, then plays outside with her dog, talk to her turtle, practise her handstands and walkovers, run through her dance routines and then she goes back to playing on some form of ICT.  This is not managed by me nor do I tell her its time to have a break.  She has the maturity of deciding when she has had enough.  Do I?  Not always.  However next week I will attempt a couple of no ICT days and just see how much I achieve.  Although probably no uni work will be completed as that appears to be a lot of ICT at the moment.


Disconnecting/logging off…..


This post slightly follows two of my previous posts Why (not) use ICT in Early Childhood and Are Digital Technologies making us Anti-social?  Two days ago as I was scrolling through my facebook page I noticed a friendp1090543 had shared an article called I turned off my son’s Xbox to regain his childhood.  This article hit close to home as my daughter too plays minecraft and has done since she was 5.  Just like the little boy described in this article she too became addicted and rules had to be put in place.  These rules have been in place for six years and have worked well for the both of us.  During the school holidays she is allowed free range with screens.  It is up to me during the holidays to provide activities for her that allow her time away from the screens.  During school terms the rule is no screens Monday-Thursday, unless she needs to check something for homework – this we do together.  This makes it hard especially when her school encourages students to play Mathletics and Soundwaves at home during the week.  I believe that she can do this work over the weekend.  I have not wavered in my rules and the school needs to accept that parents have rules at home regarding screen time regardless if it has educational purposes or not.  My daughter is extremely actively she dances twice a week for up to 4 hours each week, she swims and plays the clarinet.  These activities together with practice of these activities and homework take up a lot of time.  I am very proactive in ensuring we have time together every day without a screen in our faces to reconnect and talk about the day.

This is where I am torn regarding the use of ICT.  Children are exposed and use it all day whether at school or at home.  Where is the balance, how do we balance, is there a need to balance?

Whilst deciding on how to write this blog I read a couple of blog posts by other students Sherrynjohns – Can we ever escape technology?  Elly – Is there such thing as escaping technology?Elly – Is there such thing as escaping technology?  Michelleraine – Are we too dependent on technology?  My answers, yes, yes and yes.  Sherryns blog made me ask the question could I live without the technology I use.  Yes, although it would be a struggle as I too am addicted to checking a screen for really pointless reasons.  There are many days over school holidays I unplug and put my mobile away.  An example, today my daughter and I went exploring a new park and walking path, I did not even take my phone to take photos.  We made memories today that we will need to remember by what we saw and felt and how we felt.  It felt great not to have a phone attached to my hand and I really enjoyed getting out and reconnecting with my daughter and nature.

After completing assignment one and reading these blogs I am wondering should we also teach children how to manage their ICT use/addiction?  The above article proposes that internet disorder may soon be added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders.  The writer claims that China have hospitals which have been operating units for the specific treatment of internet and gaming addiction since 2008.

No one really knows how far technology will be able to go.  We do not know the damaging effects on our children or the benefits to them.  After completing assignment one I can see how ICT can amplify and transform lessons, however I wonder just what else we are teaching them or taking away from them?

If I was to describe how I feel about ICT and pedagogy and the use of ICT not only in early childhood but in schools the only word I have is TORN.


Elly’s Blog.  (2016).  Is there such a thing as escaping technology?  Retrieved from https://ladyofthesunblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/is-there-such-thing-as-escaping-technology/

Michelleraine’s Blog (2016).  Are we too dependent on technology?  Retrieved from https://mitchellraine.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/are-we-to-dependent-on-technology/

Picture – disconnect.  Retrieved from http://tech.co/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/disconnect.png

Picture – mobile phone.  Retrieved from https://cherishednomad.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/p1090543.jpg?w=620

Sheehan, A.  (2016).  I turned off my son’s Xbox to regain his childhood.  Retrieved from http://www.theage.com.au/comment/i-turned-off-my-sons-xbox-to-regain-his-childhood-20160323-gnpl27.html

Sherrynjohns Blog.  (2016).  Can we ever escape technology?  Retrieved from https://sherrynjohns.wordpress.com/2016/03/25/can-we-ever-escape-technology/


Why (not) ICT in Early Childhood



I am studying to become an early childhood teacher.  I am six subjects away from finishing my degree.  This subject I have put off for many reasons, the subject has a prac component which affects me financially, the workload is quite heavy and time consuming, I have heard many horror stories from students via facebook forums, the subject is about the value ICT can have in pedagogy (something I am still struggling with).

So I decided to have a look at where my passion lies, early childhood, and ask the question, why (not) ICT in early childhood?

My personal answer heavily influenced by my opinion is there is no need for ICT in early childhood, they have enough exposure and opportunities at home/out of school.  Why do they need more at school/daycare?  I am also conflicted as I am also completing EDE3101 Play and Pedagogy.  This course discusses the terms functional play, dramatic play and constructive play.  Do children in this new technology driven world have any opportunities to experience these types of play?  If we implement ICT in early childhood will ICT take over and the children not learn how to play?

After reading Sherrynjohns’s blog called Why use ICT in Early Childhood? and watching the short clip also called Why use ICT in Early Childhood?  I can see the value of some ICT in early childhood.  As I progress through this course it is also opening my eyes as to what ICT use actually is.  For a lesson to meet ICT use the student needs to be in control of the ICT.  Many teachers believe as long as they have the interactive whiteboard on and the students have watched something, they have met ICT curriculum.  This is not so, students need to be in control of the ICT.

When considering this topic blog, I read Sherrynjohns’s blog, Chloemprice’s blog and  Becsavuni2016edc3100’s blog.  Becsavuni2016edc3100 also shared a great short clip as to why ICT can be valued in early childhood.  They all discuss the ‘Big Three Framework (Kirschner & Wopereis, 2013):

  1.  Preparing the next generation for the workforce;
  2. Making schools more efficient and productive;
  3. Enhancing and transforming learning and teaching.

I can understand the importance of ICT in early childhood and the three framework also highlights the reasons why it is so important.  But …….

Isn’t play still important?  Do young children learn more through play (functional, dramatic and constructive) with face to face interaction?  Do they not need these skills to also live in this world?  Can there be a balance of both?  These questions can lead us back to the question are digital technologies making us anti-social?  Do we want to teach our children that digital technologies is the only why to communicate?

My last thought………..

What is so wrong with making mud pies and tasting them, dressing up and playing mums, dads and babies, making collage and gluing everything and anything to a cereal box while also taste testing the glue?







Becsavuni2016edc3100.  (2016).  The Anti Social Network.  Retrieved from https://becsavuni2016edc3100.wordpress.com/

Chloemprice Blog.  (2016).  Why (not) use ICT and Pedagogy?  Retrieved from https://chloemprice.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/why-not-use-ict-and-pedagogy/

Constructive Play definition.  Retrieved from http://www.playgroundprofessionals.com/encyclopedia/c/constructive-play

Dramatic Play definition.  Retrieved from http://www.playgroundprofessionals.com/encyclopedia/d/dramatic-play

Fagan, T.  (2012).  Why ICT in Early Childhood Education?  Retrieved from http://www.edtalks.org/video/tara-fagan-why-ict-early-childhood-education

Functional Play definition.  Retrieved from http://www.playgroundprofessionals.com/encyclopedia/f/functional-play

Kirschner, P., & Wopereis, I. G. J. H. (2003). Mindtools for teacher communities: a European perspective. Technology, Pedagogy and Education.

Picture – children using ipads sitting in a circle.  Retrieved from https://media.licdn.com/mpr/mpr/AAEAAQAAAAAAAAPQAAAAJDZlYmYzNjUwLTUyMzctNGJlMy05YTA1LWU2NTBhNTVhYzVjNg.jpg

Picture – collage box.  Retrieved from http://www.parsleypie.com/wp-content/gallery/amazing-finished-masterpieces-3/feather-box-collage-parsley-pie-art-club-childrens-paintings-kids-art-classes.jpg

Picture – home corner.  Retrieved from http://www.bacup.lancs.sch.uk/images/library/home%20corner.jpg

Picture – mud pies.  Retrieved from http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/mud-pie-kitchen-sensory-play.jpg

Sherrynjohns Blog.  (2016).  Why use ICT in Early Childhood?  Retrieved from https://sherrynjohns.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/why-use-ict-in-early-childhood-education/



Education Myths


This week I picked up the March (2016) copy of Brisbane’s Child:  The Real Guide for Parents.  I was hoping to find an article relating to children and their use or over use of digital technologies/screen time.

Instead I found an interesting article by Dr Helen Street, a social psychologist with a passion for wellbeing in education.  The article was titled Dr Helen Street Busts Five Top Education Myths.  This is such a powerful title and grabbed my attention as I wanted to know what Dr Helen Street considered the top five as there are so many to consider.

Dr Helen Street believes the following are the top five education myths:

  1. Early learners have an academic head start;
  2. Absenteeism = poor academic outcomes;
  3. Rewards boost motivation to learn;
  4. Homework improves a child’s learning outcomes;
  5. High grades predict career success.  (Street, 2016)

Dr Helen Street provides a short description to these myths and I agree with the information provided and points raised in the article.  I especially agree  with number five.  There is such an importance placed on high grades and Naplan results.  Many parents chose schools based solely on Naplan results without first finding out how they meet the needs of the whole child.  Dr Helen Street states in her article, “high grades may get you the job you want, but social and emotional factors get you past go.  Adults who are socially and emotionally competent are more resilient, more popular, intrinsically motivated, connected with life and more likely to enjoy their work than their peers” (2016).  This is something schools  need to begin to consider, having high results and data is not as important as the whole wellbeing of the child.  Is this something education and teaching have moved away from, forgotten, does it need to be reconsidered?

I strongly recommend picking up a copy of Brisbane’s Child from your child’s daycare or school and have a read.  If you can not find a copy of Brisbane’s Child I found another article written by Dr Helen Street called Mythbusting Education which is also a great read.  Or you can have a look at Dr Helen Street’s website for more information and articles which highlights her passions.


Dr Street, H.  (2016).  Dr Helen Street busts five top education myths.  Brisbane’s Child Magazine March ed.

Dr Helen Street website.  (n.d.)  Retrieved from http://www.positiveschools.com.au/Life%20Overload/Helen%20Street%20Home.html

Dr Street, H.  (2015).  Mythbusting Education.  Retrieved from http://positivetimes.com.au/mythbusting-education-by-dr-helen-street/

Picture of Myth Busted.  Retrieved from http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Myth_busted_6719.jpg



Are Digital Technologies making us Anti-social?

Week 3 of EDC3100 started with a quick quiz………………………one question.

Are digital technologies making us anti-social?

There were two pictures you can find here.   The first picture is in colour, and the people are on their phones during dinner at a restaurant.  It is assumed to be taken in the present.  The second picture is black and white, a horse and carriage is clearing seen and the men are reading a paper.  It is assumed to be taken in the past. 

The answer was either true or false.  I chose true.  The correct answer was false.  After reading Chloe’s blog titled the same as mine it was clear she took a different view.  Chloe states technologies have made communication more accessible via various devices.  This I agree with.  Especially when we can make contact with family and friends all around the world.  Chloe also talks about the benefits of social networking for educational purposes and makes some great points that children today are growing up in a technology world.  Chloe provided a great clip regarding social networking sites have educational benefits which can be viewed here.

In both of pictures it can clearly be seen that each group of people are reading and not interacting with each other.  This is where I believe that technologies are making us anti-social as we no longer interact in meaningful ways, connect or make bonds with each other, or value relationships with others.  We are no longer communicating face to face without a device between us, which at times can distract us from the face to face interaction.  After reading Is Technology Making People Less Sociable?  I agree with many statements made in the yes article and value the face to face communication and connection with people.  While many people may hundreds of facebook friends or instagram followers, we thrive on human interaction as it is important for our emotional health.  The article refers to many studies and many different reasons as to why the author has answered with a yes.  This article is also great as it also debates the no side.  I focused on the yes side as that is currently where my opinion lies.

Call me old fashioned, I do love a good old catch up with friends face to face without a digital device in their hand.  Personally I have had many experiences where digital technologies have left a negative impact on my life.  However, as my brother and his family live in Adelaide, I love the fact he can facetime me and show me my nephews pooey nappy (yes this did happen, no idea why he felt the need to share).  So after reading this weeks anti-social and low-end fast food restaurants I am still torn with the correct answer being false.  In some ways we are anti-social and in other ways we are able to communicate more.  I think it depends on the deep level of the connection.


Chloes’ Blog.  (2016).  Are Digital Technologies making us Anti-social?  Retrieved from https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/44452261/posts/958352059

Wall Street Journal.  (2011).  Is technology making people less sociable?  Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com/articles/is-technology-making-people-less-sociable-1431093491

University of Minnesota.  (2009).  Social networking sites have educational benefits.  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxrlrbP4UNo

University of  South Queensland.  (2016).  EDC3100 ICT and Pedagogy:  anti-social and low-end fast food restaurants.  Retrieved from http://usqstudydesk.usq.edu.au/m2/mod/book/view.php?id=538638




Planning lessons during prac can be stressful and can be intimidating depending on your mentor.  Your mentor’s pedagogy may be completely different to your own and your find yourself trying to meet their requirements and staying true to your own beliefs of teaching.  I agree with Charlotte, early childhood and early years students engage with hands on activities and exploring interests through play.  I also agree with Chloe’s definition that the best lessons in terms of of designing and performing would be those that are hands-on and minds-on, engaging, interactive and supportive.  This is why I believe one of my best lessons was about how animals are affected by the change of the seasons.

During a practical experience in a prep class last year I planned and taught a lesson about our different seasons.  My mentor only gave me a sheet with six pictures of the life cycle of a turtle as she wanted to show them how the changes of seasons affect animals such as turtles.  My great idea was to bring my daughter’s pet turtle in for the children to see and pat.  I began the lesson by reading a story about Turtles by Melvin and Gilda Berger.


After reading this book I showed the students the turtle.  I explain that she was different to the ones in the book, however told them that she too is affected by the change in our seasons.  The students were engaged in the lesson and excited to have the turtle in the class.  They asked many different questions about the turtle and we talked about the differences between land and sea turtles.  The students all had the opportunity to touch the turtles shell and feet/claws.  I was very careful to keep her mouth away from the students as she has a very strong bite.

Once everyone had a turn touching the turtle.  I showed them the turtle worksheet.  There were six pictures and the students had to put them in sequence of the life cycle of a turtle.  We spoke about the each picture and as a group talked about the sequence.  The students were then sent to their desks to cut out the pictures and glue them in sequence into their science scrapbook.  The students were then able to colour in the pictures.

I was also able to do the next science lesson which was a continuation about season and once again my mentor gave me a book she wanted me to read and I had to plan around the book.  The book was called Big Rain Coming by Katrina Germein.


This was a great book to show the students not every where in Australia is affected by the change of the seasons.  I was able to find a lesson plan on Australian Curriculum Lessons which provided an idea of how to incorporate the book into a lesson and questions to ask the students about the book.  Once again the students were engaged in the lesson and enjoyed the book.  I asked the students their favourite season and why.  I then gave them a sheet to draw themselves doing that activity and the season and asked them to have a go writing what they were doing in the picture.  We then made our own book from the drawings.  The students enjoyed this and they were able to read each others work.

The reason I believe these are one of my best lessons to date is I was able to continue the learning and have the students engaged during both lessons.  I could see the connections the students made from one week to the next.  This particular class had many diverse learners which made it hard to engage everyone.  This is why I consider these two lessons as my best it was one of the very few times I was able to engage everyone which was a great achievement and one my mentor noticed.


Australian Curriculum Lessons.  (2014).  Big Rain Coming.  Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculumlessons.com.au/2014/03/22/big-rain-coming-katrina-germein-integrated-maths-science-lesson-12/

Berger, M. & Berger, G.  (2002).  Turtles. Retrieved from http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/book/turtles-3#cart/cleanup

Chartlotte’s Blog.  (2016).  Wombat Stew.  Retrieved from https://charlottemcneillblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/wombat-stew/

Chloe’s Blog.  (2016).  The Best Lesson Ever!  Retrieved from https://chloemprice.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/the-best-lesson-ever/

Picture Big Rain Coming retrieved from http://katrinagermein.com/tag/big-rain-coming/

Picture Different Seasons retrieved from https://i.ytimg.com/vi/7UckUHeWXD0/maxresdefault.jpg


Why use ICT? Why not?

Why use ICT in your lessons?  There are many answers for this question and many benefits of using ICT in the classroom and during lessons.  One is ICT engages students.  To engage a student in this day and age teachers need to use ICT.  While researching why use ICT in the classroom I came across the Victorian State Government Education and Training website.  This particular page was information on Using Digital Technologies.  There is short clip of student leaders talking about the benefits of digital learning which I found interesting and agreed with many of the points raised.

However, I also have many personal reasons as to why not use ICT in the classroom and during lessons.  These personal reasons are purely based on my experiences as a teacher aide at a school which does not value ICT at this current stage.  Being at a school that does not value ICT makes it very hard to see the positives and have positive experiences using ICT.  At the school I work at not every child has access to an ipad (the ipads are currently not in operation due to needing to be updated, term 4 last year), the computer lab does not have enough working computers for a class to use (students double up on computers), internet access is slow, teachers do not have the skills to teach students ICT skills and many do not have the patience to teach students the basics of logging on and using emails (this could be due to many different logon issues that arise during every visit to the computer lab).

After engaging in this weeks material my personal view has changed.  The short clip from above also opened my eyes.  One of the tasks this week was to develop a digital concept map.  Well once again I went straight for pen and paper and thought I would just take a photo and upload.  Well that doesn’t meet the requirements so I signed up to Gliffy and developed a concept map.  Since reading a number of blogs, like K.L, Mitchellraine, Becteacher2b and Learning in a Digital World, I could have thought about my  blog a little further.  I only superficially thought about why use or not use ICT in my concept map.  I found another interesting read during my research and found 13 Reasons to use Educational Technology in Lessons by Terry Freedman.  I recommend having a read if, like me, you were leaning more to the why not use ICT in your lessons.  The Learning Place also had a great teaching and learning with ICT placemats.  I have not linked the page as it requires a login access.  If you do have access to the Learning Place it is another great resources to add to your collection.

I am looking forward to my practical experience and I am hoping that I am placed in a school which values the use of ICT.


Becteacher2B’s Blog.  (2016).  Why use ICT in your pedagogy?  Why Not!!.  Retrieved from https://becteacher2b.wordpress.com/2016/03/09/why-use-ict-in-your-pedagogy-why-not/

Freedman, T.  (2011).  13 Reasons to use Education Technology in Lessons.  Retrieved from http://www.ictineducation.org/home-page/2011/3/3/13-reasons-to-use-educational-technology-in-lessons.html

K.L.’s Blog.  (2016).  Week 2 Reflections.  Retrieved from https://kerrylees.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/week-2-reflections/

Learning in a Digital World Blog.  (2016).  Using a Concpet Mapping Tool  Retrieved from https://learninginadigitalworldsite.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/using-a-concept-mapping-tool/

Mitchellraine’s Blog.  (2016).  Concept Map.  Retrieved from https://mitchellraine.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/concept-map/

Victorian State Government Education and Training.  (2015).  Using Digital Technologies.  Retrieved from http://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/profdev/Pages/usingict.aspx