Enriched Learning: ICT v’s Real Life Experiences

Today I had the pleasure of joining my year 4 cohort on their incursion Living History.  This was a whole day incursion and I must say I had fun.  It was engaging, informative, hands on and entertaining.  The first session of the day consisted of a 2 hour performance and the two men dressed up and told stories from the colonial time.  Their clothes and props were amazing accurate.  They allowed students to be a part of the show and encouraged questions.  Story telling – who would have thought this would be a great way to learn about history!  They also used language from that time and even had some salted meat for the students to smell – not a fan!  It was great, all students were engaged and well behaved (even those students who normally exhibit challenging behavours).  The second session allowed for more questions from the students and this particular group of year 4’s were fixated on the rations everyone on the boat received and in particular the beer.  They wanted to know the punishment if someone got drunk on board (many different punishments would have been handed out).  This session also allowed for the students to touch the props/artifacts and try on the costumes.  I was in charge of a firearm – it was quite heavy and was approximately 208 years old.  There was food to touch and smell, swords, firearms, children’s toys, fountain pens, and much more.  The students love touching everything and enjoyed this real life experience.  During this session we also learned and danced the Heel and Toe.  Great fun!  The last session saw the two men playing games with the students which was just some fun.  Everyone had a great day!

Living History is the company dedicated to bring history alive.  They do not just bring a show and tell to your school but an interactive living history experience.  This company is able to bring history (ancient, colonial, medieval, knight school, modern) to life for Year 4 – Year 10.  I highly recommend this company and will consider them if I have the pleasure of teaching year 4 as I do believe many students enjoyed the experience and learned a lot.

Now this is where I have to be negative and express that in my opinion ICT could not do what this hands on real life experience did.  Could looking at a screen be as interactive and engaging as this real live experience?  Story telling – this is how many cultures have past on their history.  Think about the stories of the Dream Time or from people back in the colonial era (convicts, settlers, soldiers and explorers).  Yes sure you can make a power point or a short video clip or even a movie, but what about the children engaging their imagination and visualising the stories being told.  After experiencing this great interactive living history experience I do not believe that ICT could have done what these two men did.  I do not believe it would have been as engaging or enriching.  On this occasion in my opinion real life experience wins over ICT.


Living History Australia.  (n.d.).  Retrieved from http://www.livinghistory.com.au/about-us/


Couldn’t decide……

For my last blog to ensure I meet the criteria for assignment 2 I can not decide which topic I would like to discuss.  First I wanted to blog about how I was travelling with assignment 2, as I have read over the last week two really good blogs about teaching history and history resources.  Both of these blogs were written by Becsavuni2016edc3100.  For assignment 2 my unit plan is Year 4 History – the First Fleet.  Both these blogs had some great information and resources for teaching history that could be implemented in all year levels.  These two blogs are called An Amazing ICT Tool for Teaching and Learning History and Best education apps for teaching History…

Then I came across Play in Prep by Kimpooler.  This immediately grabbed my attention as this is the area I would like to teach.  I have been a prep teacher aide for the last five years and have had 4 different prep teachers.  Three of those prep teachers were very experienced, one prep teacher (male) is an experienced teacher, however his area of expertise is middle to upper primary school.  As a teacher aide I am exposed to many different styles of teaching and of course being in prep I hear the words – play based learning is best.  What does this actually mean?  I have completed the course Play and Pedagogy I and I am currently studying Play and Pedagogy II.  To date I have done very well in these courses.  I am an activist of play based learning and feel I have a strong understanding of what play based learning means.  The reason this blog post distracted from my history unit was her link to Why I don’t like play based learning by Happiness is here … learning and life, intertwined.  As I read this I felt my head nodding.  The second paragraph is powerful and in my opinion true, the whole post is true.  It stopped and I got to thinking maybe I am being lead in a different direction when it comes to understanding play based learning.  Everything I do as a prep teacher aide with the students is adult led.  The games and activities I do with the students is fun, but it is not play, the students do not have a right to stop and walk away, I am to keep them on task.  So the question I now ask myself is what is play based learning?  I believe that play based learning is different in a school setting and a daycare setting and that this particular blog relates to a daycare setting.  These are my thoughts feel free to add yours…..


Becsavuni20163100 blog.  (2016).  An amazing ICT tool for teaching and learning history.  Retrieved from https://becsavuni2016edc3100.wordpress.com/2016/04/21/teaching-learning-history-using-icts/

Becsavuni20163100 blog.  (2016).  Best education apps for teaching history.  Retrieved from https://becsavuni2016edc3100.wordpress.com/2016/04/21/best-educational-apps-for-teaching-history/

Happiness is here.  (2016).  Why I don’t like play based learning.  Retrieved from http://happinessishereblog.com/2016/03/why-i-dont-like-play-based-learning/

Kimpooler blog.  (2016).  Play in Prep.  Retrieved from https://kimpoolerblog1.wordpress.com/2016/04/21/play-in-prep/


ICT – articles and resources

A few days ago I read Charlottemcneil’s blog – ICT resources for graduate teachers.  I found this blog interesting as I have no idea where to begin looking for appropriate ICT resources.  I have access to the learning place as I am an employee of the Education Department,  but trying to search for resources in learning place can be confusing if you do not know what you are looking for.  The link Charlottemcneil placed on her page can be seen as a starting point.  Her link lead me to ICT Resources for Graduate Teachers website.  After reading this website and bookmarking it, I was then lead to many other sites and google also took me on an excursion around the lovely web.  I am writing this post to share the articles and resources I have found that I believe will be useful to me in the future.  The New South Wales Government provides a site called BOSTES which provides great information about new NSW syllabuses, which I am sure can be modified.  I also found two great articles ICT is Worth the Time and Effort by Barbara Duckworth (which is helping persuade me to being more open minded in regards to ICT) and From Encyclopaedias to Search Engines: Technological Change and its Impact on Literacy Learning by Jann Carroll.  These are two great reads and I recommended taking a few minutes to read them.


Carroll, J.  (2011).  From encyclopaedias to search engines:  technologies change and its impact on literacy learning.  Retrieved from http://www.alea.edu.au/documents/item/180

Charlottemcneil blog.  (2016).  ICT resources for graduate teachers.  Retrieved from https://charlottemcneillblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/21/ict-resources-for-graduate-teachers/

Duckworth, B.  (n.d.).  ICT is worth the time and effort.  Retrieved from http://www.nzpf.ac.nz/sites/default/files/June04_Mag_ICT.pdf

New South Wales Government.  (n.d.).  BOSTES.  Retrieved from http://syllabus.bostes.nsw.edu.au/support-materials/integrating-ict/

University of Sydney.  (2015).  ICT for graduate teachers.  Retrieved from http://sydney.edu.au/education_social_work/learning_teaching/ict/


Professional Experience

Professional experience is the hot topic this week.  Module 3 has opened and it begins with a focus on what we need to do whilst on prac.  Nerves are starting to set it as I do not yet have a placement and I am one that likes to be organised.  I am a single parent with little support and I hate asking for help.  I have raised my daughter on my own since she was 2.  It is just the way it has always been.  Since beginning this degree I have had to ask for help when there is absolutely no way I can get her to school or dance lessons.  This year she goes on camp the same day I begin prac.  So yes I am trying to work this out whilst not knowing where or how far I will be travelling.

This week for module 3 the question asked was the biggest challenges, fears or mistakes whilst on professional experience – then and now.  My biggest one that I have faced in the past and I will face in the future is how I manage prac and everything it entails and make sure my daughter gets to school and dance lessons.  Not to mention all the other hurdles life throws at you.  Another challenge I learned after self reflection from my last prac was my transitioning from teacher aide to pre-service teacher.  I also struggled transitioning back.  This was new to me as my last prac was my first in a school setting.  At the beginning of my prac I know I acted like a teacher aide unsure of how I move into another role.  This prac now I am aware I hope to transition more quickly and be more confident in taking on the role as teacher.  Another challenge or it could be considered a fear is making sure I meet all of the requirements in order to pass professional experience (I would hate to fail and redo).  As I do not yet have a placement my thoughts wonder to what if there is little ICT resources and my mentor is inexperienced, what if the school has amazing ICT resources and my mentor is experienced and has extremely high expectations.  I am always hard on myself and have extremely high expectations, however I do not feel confident in the area of developing ICT enriched lessons, so I am a little nervous.  I do feel confident teaching and in behaviour management, however I am careful that the class is not mine and rules and expectations are already in place by the teacher.

I have read a couple of other blog posts about professional experience and I feel that I am in good company with being nervous and anxious.  Chloemprice – Challenges on Professional Experience talks about her strengths and weaknesses which is comforting.  Tturner96 has also written three blogs which relate to different aspects of professional experience, #27 Biggest challenges on professional experience: then and now#28 What do I know about professional experience? and #29 Lesson planning … what do I know?

I found all these blogs posts interesting to read and I whilst I am a little nervous and anxious about prac, I am also a little excited to see what I am capable of and build further experience and knowledge.


Chloemprice blog.  (2016).  Challenges on Professional Experience.  Retrieved from https://chloemprice.wordpress.com/2016/04/25/challenges-on-professional-experience/

Tturner96 blog.  (2016).  #27 Biggest challenges on professional experience:  then and now.  Retrieved from https://tturner96.wordpress.com/2016/04/24/27-biggest-challenges-on-professional-experience-then-and-now/

Tturner96 blog.  (2016).  #28 What do I know about professional experience?  Retrieved from https://tturner96.wordpress.com/2016/04/24/28-what-do-i-know-about-professional-experience/

Tturner 96 blog.  (2016).  #29 Lesson planning … what do I know?  Retrieved from https://tturner96.wordpress.com/2016/04/24/29-lesson-planning-what-do-i-know/


Lest We Forget – Anzac Day


Today is Anzac Day.  It is a day we commemorate not celebrate.  Anzac Day now goes beyond the landing on Gallipoli 1915 and we also remember those Australians who served and died in war and operational service (Australian War Memorial, 2016).

This is one area I feel challenged when teaching students the significance of this day.  Personally I do not public commemorate, I do not attend dawn services or the assembly at school.  My reasons for this are extremely personal.  Both my grandfathers served in WWII.  I am extremely grateful for their sacrifice and those of many others in all wars for the freedom and the life I now have today.

As I was reading through this weeks blog posts I came across Kimpooler’s post Lest We Forget.  It was after reading this blog that I had to look closely at myself and ask myself how would I teach students about Anzac Day?  What resources are there that are suitable for school age children?  This blog provided some useful resources to assist in teaching students about the importance and significance of today.  My favourite resources was a short video clip called Jack and Tom produced by Miranda RSL Sub-Branch and Port Hacking High School.  This video clip was very moving and a resource I have decided to keep for when I am a teacher as I feel it would be suitable for young students.  Another great story I found was Simpson and his Donkey, which I remember reading to a year one class while the teacher was completing running records.  Another great resource I thought I would share is the Anzac Day website which has many classroom activities or all ages.   I also found some other great resources with lessons and activities on the For Teachers for Students Australian Education Resources and Australians at War Primary Schools Education Resource.

As I reconsider how I would teach and approach this sensitive topic with young students I feel a little more confident after reading Kimpooler’s blog and researching a little for activities and stories I could read to students to help them understand the importance of today.



Anzac Day website.  (n.d.).  Classroom Activities.  Retrieved from http://www.anzacwebsites.com/activities/classroom.htm

Australian War Memorial.  (n.d.).  Anzac Day Monday 25 April 2016.  Retrieved from https://www.awm.gov.au/commemoration/anzac-day/

Australians at War:  Primary Schools Education Resource.  (2002).  Retrieved from http://www.australiansatwar.gov.au/pdf/aaw_primary_p1.pdf

For Teachers for Students Australian Education Resources.  (n.d.)  Anzac Centenary.  Retrieved from http://www.forteachersforstudents.com.au/site/themed-curriculum/anzac-day/lesson-ideas/

Kimpooler’s blog.  (2016).  Lest we Forget.  Retrieved from https://kimpoolerblog1.wordpress.com/2016/04/23/lest-we-forget/

Miranda RSL Sub-Branch and Port Hacking High School.  (2015).  Jack and Tom.  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wel0ZDi-pU&feature=youtu.be

Picture – Anzac Day Service.  Retrieved from http://www.centenaryofanzac.nsw.gov.au/assets/Uploads/Anzac-Day.jpg

Picture – Kalbarri Anzac Day 2015.  Retrieved from https://www.bookeasy.com.au/website/images/kalbarri/ANZAC.jpg


Interesting blogs – The use of ICT in education

Today I find myself at a loss of what to blog about.  To try and find some inspiration I decided to read some of the blogs I am following.

I came across Talithagraceking’s blog titled What if using ICT does not aid a student in their learning?  This particular topic hit home.  This is something I can relate to.  I too tend to have pieces of paper everywhere, write my assignments out by hand and then type them and occasionally find it all too hard to do certain things on the computer.  If I struggle surely there are students that will too.  The question I then find myself asking is would I notice a student who is struggling with ICT?  I currently work as a teacher aide.  One of my roles is to supervise a group of year 4 and 5 students during a before school activity where they complete tasks on Literacy Planet.  This is a literacy program.  When students first attend this activity I find myself constantly helping them turn computers and monitors on, log on to the computer, google search Literacy Planet, logging on to Literacy Planet and assisting with activities.  I sometimes wonder is this a band aide approach or a replacement approach if I was to consider the RAT model.  Would these students be better off reading and completing comprehension activities in a hands on manner.  This is where I continue to struggle if certain ICT use benefits all students.  Some students see this time as a reason to “play” on a computer.  If this is their attitude what are they actually gaining from completing the activities?  Are they just going through the motions?  Is this program actually aiding their reading, comprehension, spelling and grammar?  How can this be monitored as I have observed some students just mindlessly clicking without even reading the questions.

After reading this blog I went to further research and stumbled across two interesting articles:  What is ICT and why is it important? and Queensland College of Teachers Readers Digest Number 4 April 2009.  The Readers Digest refers to research that has been undertaken in regards to ICT and education.  I particularly relate the following statement:

More substantial gains in pupil attainment are achievable where the use of ICT is planned, structured and integrated effectively.  Computers should be used to enhance aspects of teaching through the presentation of information in different ways and in different forms.  Effective use of ICT can support the development of understand across the curriculum (Higgins, 2003).

I am beginning to understand the importance of this course and the importance of enriched ICT developed lessons.  It is just not enough for teachers to use ICT in front of students.  Students need to be in control of the ICT.  I will continue to refer to these two articles and course information as I develop my unit plan for assignment 2.


Mid-Pacific ICT Centre.  (u.d.)  What is ICT and why is it important?  Retrieved from http://www.mpict.org/ict_education_defined_importance.html

Queensland College of Teachers.  (2009).  Readers Digest Number 4 April 2009.  Retrieved from https://www.qct.edu.au/publications/Periodical/QCTResearchDigest2009-4.pdf

Talithagraceking blog.  (2016).  What if using ICT does not aid a student in their learning?  Retrieved from https://everlastinglydiscovering.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/what-if-using-ict-does-not-aid-a-student-in-their-learning/



Unpacking Assignment 2


It is now week 8 and I am still trying to get back into my studies.  This is taking some time after a very personal health experience.  I am also finding going to work challenging even though I love being a teacher aide.  Why…. no idea as more than anything I have the motivation to finish my degree, I mean after all I have only six subjects left including the two I am studying this semester.  I also received marks today for my other course and I have to say I didn’t do too badly.  I am still waiting for my results for EDC3100.  I am feeling just a little anxious as I wait.  So I am trying to focus on EDC3100 and catch up on reading and blogging.  While deciding to share my plan for assignment 2 I read K.L.’S blog, Sherrynjohns blog and Tturner96 blog.  All these blogs reinforced I am on the right track.  They also gave some good advice on the main points to focus on while completing assignment 2.  However I will also be following the advice from Week 7’s learning path to ensure I develop an enriched ICT learning experience.  K.L.’S ends her blog sharing unit tips that she found on the internet, which I’m sure I will be taking advantage of.

So before break I shared my constructing and transforming knowledge.  My plan for assignment 2 is as follows:

Unit:  History

Year:  4

Construction:  Historical knowledge and understanding.

  • Stories of the First Fleet including reasons for the journey, who travelled to Australia, and their experiences following their arrival.  (ACHHK079)

Transform:  Historical skills.

  • Pose a range of questions about the past.  (ACHHS083)
  • Develop texts, particularly narratives.  (ACHHS086)
  • Use a range of communication forms (oral, graphic, written) and digital technologies.  (ACHHS087)

This was as far as I got until last week.  I continued assignment 2 by completing the context and stage 1.  I have some ideas for formative and summative assessment and I am developing my learning experiences to ensure the students are able to complete these. 

Fingers crossed I am on the right track.smiley-crossing-fingers


Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority V7.5.  (2014).  History.  Retrieved from http://v7-5.australiancurriculum.edu.au/humanities-and-social-sciences/history/curriculum/f-10?layout=1#cdcode=ACHHK079&level=4

K.L.’S Blog.  (2016).  Unit Plan Construction.  Retrieved from https://kerrylees.wordpress.com/2016/04/14/unit-plan-construction/

Picture – Assignment.  Retrieved from https://isedphistory.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/thumbtack_note_assignment.png?w=384&h=270

Picture – Smiley face fingers crossed.  Retrieved from http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-16eYuuapMr0/U5oVUSrGHPI/AAAAAAAAJBM/Tsbzv-HVgXU/s1600/smiley-crossing-fingers.png

Sherrynjohns Blog.  (2016).  Assignment 2 draft.  Retrieved from https://sherrynjohns.wordpress.com/2016/04/04/assignment-2-draft/

Tturner96 Blog.  (2016).  #17 How to create ICT – enriched learning experiences.  Retrieved from https://tturner96.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/17-how-to-create-ict-enriched-learning-experiences/