Tips 2013 Professional Learning #30 Share your story

21st Century Schools

  • Share your story


      Personal stories are powerful, both for the storyteller and for the listener. The learning involved in composing  a story has many aspects, for example focussing the message, thinking of the audience, communicating clearly and creativity. I have found a compelling way for students and teachers to create animated videos which are a great way to share stories. The application Adobe Voice allows you or your students to create a multi-modal presentation with no tricky editing. You can add your own recorded voice, images, animations and a sound track. This a free app


    My Research — Adobe Voice

Tips 2013 Professional Learning#29Talking QR Codes

Talking QR codes

We are always looking for ways to encourage our  students to tell their stories or express their learning. A “talking” QR code is a fun activity to engage students young and old. This activity can be used for digital storytelling and to promote literacy as well as mathematical understanding. Use talking QR codes to encourage students to create authentic stories and share them with their peers and their families. Students in early childhood settings can tell the story about their artwork or  read a story they have written. Students who are at  pre-reading and prewriting stages can record themselves “reading”  the print written by their teacher. Older students can add a narrative to a project or make their thinking visible by explaining the process they followed to solve a maths problem. Talking QR codes can be used for learning a language or to describe a science experiment. I am sure you can`t wait to get started, the best part is that it is so easy the students can do it themselves. I have selected a very quick free way to do this in your classroom. It works with a computer or any mobile tablet or smart phone.

How to create a talking QR code

You start by creating a recording and linking to it with a quick response code or QR code.

Scan this QR code and hear how to create an audio file

Scan this QR code and hear how to create an audio file

  • You need to record an audio file and store it online which can be accessed via a QR code.
  • To do this activity  you will need access to wifi
  • Go to this site
  • Vocaroo is  easy to use.
  • It starts recording immediately you just have to press stop when you are done.
  • You can listen to your recording and redo it if needed.
  • It gives you a range of options for sharing the recording- select Qr code on the bottom right hand corner
  • You can read the QR code with any QR code application these are free for mobile devices-
  • If you are not sure go to my  previous post No # 28 which describes how to scan QR codes

Sharing options- click on the bottom right to create a QR code

Tips 2013 Professional Learning #28:Having fun with QR codes


What are QR codes?

A QR code is a quick response code. There was a lot of interest in QR Codes at a professional learning session I presented to a group early years teachers this week.

There were lots of questions about QR codes, as promised here are some great ideas on how to use QR Codes in your classroom

Load a free QR code scanning app to your iPad, tablet or phone and see if you can read this QR code then start making your own QR codes

A QR code is a quick response code . It looks like a big bar code and contains data that can be read by a camera on a phone, a computer, an iPad or any tablet device.

A QR code

Scan this QR code

How do I read a QR code

You need to download a QR code reader this allows the camera on your device to scan the code and reveal the information it contains. Many of the QR code readers are  are free.

The QR code readers that I use are i-nigma and Q-rafter. To read a QR code select the QR code reader on your device. Hold it close to the QR code. It will very quickly take you to the URL or webpage  and will reveal the information embedded in the code.

What do I need to use QR codes in my classroom?

A QR code directs you to a website. To use this successfully in your classroom you need to have a good wifi system and devices that are able to connect to the web. You can use QR codes using your mobile phone data- parents can do this- but it could be expensive for students to connect using a 3G or 4G connections

How do I make a QR code?

To make a QR code you need to pro ( paid) version of the app. This allows you to insert a URL and generate your own code.

Why would I use a QR code?

A QR code is a quick way to take you to a site on the web without you having to type in a log URL. This makes it great for students to use, even the youngest students can point a device and scan the code. You can create QR codes to use in your classroom-
print the codes and place them on posters- students scan them to get more information,
use them in a treasure hunt- scan for the next clue,
place them on students’ artwork add audio to hear them telling their story,
put them in the school newsletter to take parents to your class blog site or link to an interesting website, the list is endless.

Create a Treasure hunt with QR codes- no wifi required

This site allows you to create a free treasure hunt or quiz using QR codes.

Develop your questions and type them into the space provided on the classtools site-

QR codes are generated for each question or clue- P

Print these and put them on display or hide them in the playground- students scan them uisng a qR code scanning app- Qrafter- I-nigma- the question is revealed -no wifi is required

Use Qr codes to gather responses from a group or class

Create a QR code using the URL to an online google form or an online form in Adobe Forms Central- students fill in the form and submit the information online- all information is collated in a spreadsheet

Get your students to create their own QR codes

The fun really starts when you get your students creating their own QR codes. Try this in your classroom and post a comment back on this blog to let use know how you are using QR codes.

How are teachers using QR codes?

Here are some links with great examples of QR codes in educational contexts

  1. Take a look at my Pinterest board to see some great ways to use QR codes
  2. Kathy gives some great ideas for using QR codes 
  3. Seven fun ways to use QR codes
  4. Exploring the educational potential of QR Codes.

Tips 2013 Professional Learning #27:Using ICT as a prompt for writing in early years classrooms

image I want to write a story

Many children are natural story tellers, the challenge for teachers is how to transition from an oral code into a written code. In my research I am seeing some really exciting ways that early  years educators are using ICT tools to support and guide  emerging writing processes.

Writing needs to have an authentic purpose to encourage students to engage in the task. Creating a class blog to share stories with parents, friends and students in other classes can provide the authentic context needed to inspire young writers. These blogs can be password protected so that only the parents can have access or they can be open to the public. Each school and district will have its own policies on how to publish student work and some require parental permissions.

Are you a blogger?

There are some blog sites designed for teachers. I use Edublogs for my blogs. This is quick and easy to use and you don’t need any web design skills. The basic site is free for educators. To see how you can set up your own classroom blog use this link Edublogs

Here are some links to great classroom blogs Classroom blogs

This classroom blog documents how a classroom teacher is using blogging to connect her six year old students with classrooms around the world.

Ms Cassidy’s Classroom Blog

Mystery Skype

Skype is another free tool that can be used to connect classes and provide an authentic context for student writing. These two classes used a mystery Skype  project to share their stories online Mystery Skype. This gives the students the motivation to write stories to share with friends.


Students creating e-books is a great way to stimulate writing. There are a number of  e-book platforms that you can use on iPads and tablets. We have used book creator  app very successfully in  the TIPS Project.


Tips 2013 Professional Learning #26:Create and curate interactive content using iTunesU

Screen Shot 2013-10-10 at 5.53.10 PM I frequently get asked by teachers,how do I create learning experiences for my students to use the features on the iPads?

I set out to  explore how teachers who don`t have web editing skills can do this in an easy way. I saw a lot of high end complex and expensive options that would not be of interest to busy teachers. Then I found some teachers  using using free software you can download on the web.

I was impressed at the amazing interactive resources teachers are developing for their classes using iTunesU and ibooks author.

These tools allow teachers to create their own interactive digital content that students can access on an iPad or a laptop. The iTunesU site also contains a wide range of material that teachers and students can access and customise. The great thing is it is all free. Lots of the content is created and shared by teachers. This teachers-2-teacher sharing of resources is a very positive and productive movement in education that benefits everyone.

A very exciting development is that I saw the students  creating their own ibooks and sharing them with their peers and their parents. Students can work together outside the classroom and collaborate on joint projects extending their learning. These ibooks can be included in iTunesU courses allowing shared ownership of the learning materials. When students are  looking for reliable content, making connection between sources they are engaging in higher order thinking and I have noticed how excited they get about learning.

You can get the free iTunesU app for the iPad Link

To start creating your own courses you need to set up an Apple ID. Then go to this site

Courses are created on a computer (MAC) and then loaded to the iTunesU site. Once in iTunesU courses can be shared with students privately by sending them a link or open access  freely available courses can be downloaded from the site. You can open all the courses on an iPad, iPhone or an iPod touch. Here are  guidelines on how to start building a course   Creating your course

There are a series of short webcasts that show you how it all works in the classroom

To explore the courses go to iTunesU and search the catalogue by topic, curriculum area or grade most are freely available for you do download.

Australian teachers have been busy creating courses aligned to the new Australian Curriculum to view these course search iTunesU for Australian Curriculum.


Tips 2012 Professional Learning #23:iPads as a productive tool

Investigate, Communicate, Create: Using an iPad as a productive tool in the classroom. Presenter: Dr Jenny Lane

We have a great group of over 250 teachers attending our session tonight. I do apologise to all those teachers who were disappointed because they did not manage to secure a seat to this presentation. I will be repeating this session next term. Thanks to all the teachers for attending this session and a special thank you to those who volunteered to share the amazing productive work happening in their classes and in their schools.

Tips 2012 Professional Learning #20:Which app is right for you?

When selecting apps my rule is “less is more”…In my experience it is better to have a few carefully selected apps that you can use in multiple ways than an app for every topic.

For many teachers at the start of a semester or the beginning of  a new school year you will be deciding which apps you will be using in your teaching. Selecting the right apps can be a challenge when there are so many applications on the app store. Always keep your educational objective clearly in focus, it is easy to be seduced by bright colours and cute animations. Think carefully about what the student will do… will this app allow the students to create, engage in higher order thinking and connect in new ways? There is some value in apps that allow students to consolidate their skills in an engaging manner. Apps that support the teaching  and can be used across the curriculum are good value per use as opposed to apps that will be used once or twice in a specific area.

A colleague Jan Clarke from AISWA has shared an extensive list of apps that she has complied. Classroom apps  Thanks for sharing all your hard work Jan. I look forward to hearing from you about the apps you find most useful in your teaching.

Tips 2012 Professional Learning #19: Gopro cameras and mobile learning

The simulation surfboard with wheels

I have been exploring different ways of making learning more mobiIe. We want to take learning to exciting authentic places in the real world. The gopro video cameras capture high resultion video footage of high speed activities. I recently presented at the fabulous Createworld Conference in Brisbane. At this conference the focus is on sharing how you are using  technology to stimulate creativity. A interesting use of mobile technologies was an inspirational performance by Beau entitled “Sliver surfer”. Beau set up a simulation with a silver tarp and a surfboard on wheels. The surfboard was fitted with a “Gopro”
and a small projector connected to an iPhone. On the iPhone were video Images of waves which were projected on to a silver tarp. The tarp was used to form the tube of a wave. The “surfer” then surfed through the tube on the surf board with wheels.

The Gopro captured the experience  of the surfing simulation. The video could be uploaded to an iPad for on the spot editing in iMovie and shared on Vimeo. This raises the possibility of capturing high quality video of simulation and authentic experiences an exciting combination of science, technology and visual arts.

Tips2012: Teachers’ Voices #5:A learning challenge exploring tastes and flavours

Peachy flavoursA learning challenge “Taste my world”

The yr 1 students at Rossmoyne Primary are very busy working on their learning challenge “Taste my world.” This class has students from thirteen different cultural backgrounds and they are exploring tastes and flavours from around the world. I am looking forward to working with them and their teachers next week. Watch this space for exciting updates.Gelato -a taste of Italy

Tips 2012 Professional Learning #12: Teckie Brekie

I am enjoying my visit to a new school in Perth.This  school has embraced the use of technology to transform teaching and learning from day one.  The design of the school encourages collaborative learning with glass walled classrooms and communal learning spaces.  The timetable has been designed to allow space and time for students to engage in deep learning. Students have longer blocks of time to work on cross curricular projects exploring “Big Ideas” using an inquiry based approach.

Mobile touch tablets are used as the base technology. This was introduced to the community through information sessions with parents and students.  This school has recommended that schools work with parents to set up individual iTunes accounts managed by the parents.  Students agree to a digital use policy.

Posters and e-pubs were used to distribute information on policy and use within the school. The school created resources to guide parents, and these resources contain everything parents need to know about using the device at school and at home.

The school gave instructions on how students need to set up the device to promote learning. Specific instructions were given to students on how to set their up the pages on each screen and a number of essential apps were recommended. These were arranged in folders according to learning areas and function.

Digital learning spaces have been created using Edmodo, a free online learning space which presents in format like Facebook, but is specifically designed for teaching and learning. This is safe and is password protected. The teacher has control over what is posted. All students in the class can share resources and post their work.

Students use the devices to create visual collections to display their learning in a visual way. Skype and FaceTime are used to link the class to community experts and to students in other classes. This way of learning uses technology to transform traditional learning experiences, extending the learning beyond the four walls of the classroom.

Tips2013: Teachers’ Voices #4:Miss D & the Superstars

Add your own images to create personalised puppets

Add your own images to create personalised puppets

Miss D and her class the Superstars have been taking a journey back in time this term to celebrate the 75th anniversary of their school.


“The students worked in small groups using the Puppet Pals app on the iPads kindly lent to us by Dr Jenny Lane from Edith Cowan University. Our class has been lucky enough to take part in the TPACK Project, which is researching the integration of iPads into classrooms to help teachers successfully integrate this technology in the future.

Our class has loved using the iPads,  movies made with the Puppet Pals app show how our class has been reflecting on their learning in History this term and having lots of fun at the same time.”

Tamara Doig




Create your own animated puppet show

Create your own animated puppet show

Puppet Pals can be used for digital storytelling. Students develop a storyboard, create scripts with dialogue, design their puppets and select backdrops for the story.

This is a great tool for learning a second language because students have to narrate their story. The stories shared recorded and shared

Tips 2012 iPad App Guide: #60: Google Earth

The Google Earth app lets you hold the world in the palm of your hand – on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. It enables you to explore global satellite imagery, tours, and photo overlays on your iOS device.

There is a large education community built around the Google Earth application, and it has many classroom applications. It is so much more than a mapping application – as revealed in the links at the bottom of this post.

For: Teachers, Students (Grades 4-12)

Cost: Free (Download)

Requires WiFi?: Yes, this is a very WiFi intensive app.

Educational Applications

  • Support student inquiry in geography, social studies, history
  • Enhance student presentations – creating audio-visual Google Earth tours for projects
  • Virtually visit sites of historic / geographic significance
  • Add photos / videos / voicethreads about your local community to share with other Google Earth users worldwide
  • Use in conjunction with Google Sketchup to design and build your own virtual city (as a Google Earth overlay)
  • Take your students on a virtual “Lit Trip”, exploring places mentioned in a story
  • Solve maths problems using the Google Earth measuring tools

Further Reading & Exploration

Tips 2012 iPad App Guide #52: Sound Recorder Pro

Sound Recorder Pro is an easy-to-use voice-recorder for the iPad, useful for recording just about anything – meetings, memos, voice emails, reminders, …

It enables users to easily categorise and colour-code recordings, and will soon enable users to download recordings via their computer web browser. (It currently only supports email export).

You might also want to test the free alternatives – QuickVoice Recorder, iTalk Recorder, and Smart Recorder Lite, which we will review at a later date .

For: Teachers, Students, Administrators, Students with Diverse Needs

Cost: $0.99 (Download Link)

Requires WiFi?: Not for recording, but required to export files.

Educational Applications

  • Oral history interviews
  • Create short audio explanations of learning concepts (good for students with diverse learning needs)
  • Create audio content for presentations
  • Record responses to student assignments (anecdotal assessment)
  • Voice memos, records of meetings
  • Creating podcasts (in conjunction with the iPrompt teleprompter app) via @nathan_stevens


Tips2012: Teachers’ Voices #3: Phil`s i-Story

Using iPads to teach English as a second language

Phil Rice is a teacher of adult ESL learners in the state of Delaware, USA. He has taught English Composition and multiple levels of ESL classes. He enjoys using technology to teach and help students to teach themselves. Phil is an avid user of iPads in his ESL classes, and he has shared some of the activities he uses in his teaching
Show me

Show Me

 Phil sent in this i-Story in response to a posting we did on using the Show Me screen casting app to read that post Tips2012 App Guide: Show Me. The Show Me app was also used for ESL teaching  in Schools in India as mentioned in Jude`s i-Story.
With ShowMe, teachers can…

1) Create an online lesson for an in-class topic. Record the main ideas of your lesson and give students a link or post your creation to an online social media site.

2) Have students create a narrated visual presentation on a topic using your/their iPad and show it in class as opposed to a “stand in front of the class” type presentation.

3) Create a Vocab Map using Skitch / DoodleBuddy and ShowMe together. Pick a picture that is related to a topic you are teaching and annotate it with Skitch showing the vocabulary for the picture. Then, upload the photo and use it on ShowMe to narrate and pronounce the vocab.

4) Download the presentation and upload it to YouTube so students have instant access to your ShowMes!

These are just a few uses for ShowMe. I use it all the time, and I’m sure that you will too once you get used to it.

Thanks Phil for sharing your i-Story.

You can visit Phil`s blog, ESL Commando, to find more ideas for using ICT in ESL classes.

Tips 2012 Professional Learning #9: Apple TV+ iPad = IWB

Project and share the learning on a big screen

iPads are essentially designed for individual use, yet in classrooms we often need to show and share the learning processes.

Traditionally we use interactive whiteboards where a computer is linked via a cable to a large touch screen attached to the classroom wall. This allows the computer technology with digital content to be projected and shared. This can create a didactic situation where the teacher has to be in a position close to the front of the classroom to operate the Interactive whiteboard, and not circulating in the classroom engaging with the students and monitoring their work.

Apple TV is a small device costing approximately $100 that allows the teacher and the students to connect their iPad, iPhone or iPod touch wirelessly to a TV screen or a  data projector to show their screen and share their work with the class.