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Noelene Callaghan

My Blog

My Blog

QR Codes in Education

Posted on 25 January, 2013 at 6:05

What are QR Codes?


As I tell my students, QR Codes are 'new' bar codes that devices such as mobile phones, ipads, tablets etc can scan (once downloading an app that allows you to scan them) which either direct you to a particular website or provides with specific information.


Commercially, QR Codes are growing rapidly and are seen in many businesses. Slowly, schools are also integrating this piece of technology. In my school, QR Codes are used to support administrative duties as well as classroom teaching and learning.


QR Codes in Administration:


QR Codes have slowly become a trademark of the Computing Faculty. I began by using them to publicise our Schools Facebook page and School Website. Students (and teachers) were quick to show off their latest mobile devices to scan these. So much so, that at one point, there were queues in our administration block during recess and lunch with everyone wanting a turn.


QR Codes now play a significant role in the planning of our junior programs (Stage 4 ICT). In the year 7 ICT program, I use QR codes to assist teachers to learn more about each unit of work, with the links going to wikis or to specific areas of the school's moodle page that contains more information.


As a result, QR Codes are now appearing on our school newsletter (which is published once a term), on our school business cards and on our other promotional material as well as assisting students when selecting subjects (for Computers based subjects). In preparation for our Parent Teacher night, notes with a QR Code (linking to the booking system) was also distributed.


QR Codes in our Year 7 Program:

Learning Activity:


Since the beginning of last year, I have begun using QR Codes with my students primarily when using Tablets and ipads. This was simply due to the fact that it was so much easier for students to scan the Interactive Whiteboard and click on the link to go to a website than for me to write the URL on the board/laptop and then for students to type it in (without any errors). (I couldnt send students an email with the link as this function was disabled on the tablets/ipads). To kick off this activity, the YouTube clip (below) was shown to my students to give them a basic understanding of how to use them.


This activity began to change as I gained confidence with my students using their own mobile phones to complete work. Soon, I was able to modify work and create simple instruction sheets which allowed students to complete entire modules of work (see below). A colleauge this year also created a 'Treasure Hunt' using only QR Codes that uses the concept of students using GPS tracking to find certain things around the school. These activities are engaging our students a lot more and constantly a source for discussion.


I am now finding that students are able to create QR Codes for me (as their teacher) to scan and mark their work online. A tool that can be used for all audiences.





A great YouTube clip to show to students that explains QR Codes:

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.



Learning Activity:






This is a great site that has many ideas for using QR Codes in the classroom. Although you may not use what is uploaded, it will certainly give you inspiration to create something just as clever!



2012 in Review

Posted on 21 December, 2012 at 19:35

2012 as certainly been an exhausting year. I found myself taking a keen interest in developing my own professional learning which has resulted in myself developing some amazing ICT skills that I can actually use in the classroom as well as to support whole-school initiatives.


Although, new to a faculty, my expertise in other areas and the development of new skills has certainly put me in a very unique and strong place.


The ICT programs at our school now incorporate the National Curriculum and permit teachers who are  New Scheme to demonstrate their skills and evidence to both NSW standards and to AITSL standards. They contain a vast range of activities that are new, innovative and progressive. They will also move to begin incorporating the content of other faculties and take on a cross-KLA approach. This will be critically important to our faculty as it support the 21st century learning models our school and State want to see appearing in education.


IPad intergration is something else that I have had a keen interest in using this year. With our school new to this technology and many students not seeing/using an iPad before, many challenges and opportunities were ceased. Through my professional learning via PLANE, I have had the luxury of discovering numerous relevant and applicable apps that I can embed into my programs to support teaching and learning. Augmented Reality has been a keen interest of mine and has certainly played a key role in reengaging students in ICT. So much so, that now I have difficulties in trying to leave my classroom during recess and lunch as students want to stay and use IT resources.


I have many ideas for 2013 including an IT  tournament match between students, implementing new 21st century learning techniques as well as new apps that will support cross KLA and national curriculum initiatives. 2013 will be an exciting year with much to develop and report upon.


Learning to Teach or Teaching to Learn?

Posted on 13 December, 2012 at 2:00

I have been studying in postgraduate courses for many years now whilst teaching in a secondary school in Western Sydney and today as I reflected, I realised I learning to teach or teaching to learn?


I have integrated much of my classroom expertise into my studies and vice verse, so much so,  that the answer to this question is quite blurred. It is no secret that my passion in education is developing social media pedagogies, so is it my own learning that allows me to embrace such technologies in my own teaching and learning or is it my students and their passion of using such technological tools that has driven me to perfect teaching methodologies associated with social media?


Earlier this week, I submitted my first draft of my research proposal for my doctoral studies and I have been asked to refine the main research question. There are so many significant changes in education, that it is almost impossible to accomplish this. There is certainly an abundance of literature and blogs referring to 'needing such technologies in our classrooms', however, major department heads are still limiting this from occurring and refuse to unblock sites to teachers and their students. 


Another issue that I struggle with is the concept of the digital divide. I look at all of the teachers in my school, and all teachers but one, use technology and are relatively competent in it. Many have their own Facebook pages and twitter accounts. Others also have a subject specific Edmodo page thatntheynuse in realtime with their subjects. However, when in discussion with teachers at other schools, the digital divide is quite obvious. In other schools, many teachers have not embraced technology and do not even use email. I know of a teacher (yes, who is close to retiring) who still uses a handout she developed in the exaggeration!


The rollout of the National Curriculum is also a critical factor to consider. What will the National Curriculum look like in practise and how will technologies, generally, be applied in cross-KLA situations?


What do we and our students want to see in terms of social media? Is it using a variety simultaneously or to use ONE whilst completing higher order tasks?


I'm not sure if there are any easy answers to this and I'm not sure if it's a 'wait and see' situation either. I will continue reviewing what our colleagues are doing overseas and hopefully identify an educational area that is yet to be tapped. 



Peer Coaching in the Classroom

Posted on 3 December, 2012 at 22:35

I have spent this term gearing up my students by learning a huge range of technologies and platforms. We have used many types of devices when exploring technological tools and aids and now, after 8 weeks of the school term, I have put my students to the test.


Students were required to design a mini lesson. 5-6 students are grouped into friendship groups and were to use the school teaching platform (BBC) to create a 20 minute mini lesson on ANYTHING they would like to teach. Yes, I said anything. The only catch was that their lesson needed to enable students to use the computers. So, after 2 lessons, much yelling and a LOT of compromise from the weaker students, groups had created their mini lessons. Students have now 'taught' each other about various topics...some absolutely hilarious. I think my favourite was the group who taught everyone secrets to using the best weapons in minecraft and actually allowed everyone to use this game and play it. During all mini lessons, students were engaged, cooperative and willing to help each other out. A new found respect was observed peer-to-peer (I also think that students had a new respect for teachers).


This activity allowed me to identify that every single student is able to use critical thinking techniques, in all lessons, creating their mini lesson and participating in one by their peers, a higher order taxonomy skill that many lessons do not include.


Students were given the opportunity to use technologies, websites and games that I wouldn't ordinarily use and therefore was able to demonstrate their superior ICT skills that I may not have observed all year. Providing students with the opportunity to direct their own learning and the learning of their peers has not only assisted the learning of students, but my own understanding of how students use technologies in a social context.



Using Decibel Meters

Posted on 28 November, 2012 at 4:50

Ever wanted to measure the noise pollution in your class or are curious by the sounds of the nearby construction? Using a decibel meter permits students to measure and record sound waves of various noises. Used typically in Sciences, Creative and Performing Arts, TAS and ICT a decibel meter enables students to understand the concept of decibels. This is of particular importance in these KLAs for OH&S purposes as well as learning about the relationships that exist between amplitude and energy. Additionally, decibel meters encourage the use using literacy and numeracy in each of its activity. The new DER laptops have Audacity and Data Harvest EasySense Softwares preinstalled on them permitting students to record and develop their recordings. Decibel meters range in cost and begin from $35. There are also a range of Apps (free and paid) available via itunes and Google Play that work in conjunction with the decibel meter that enable students to continue with their work outside of the classroom.



Using Social Media in Schools

Posted on 27 November, 2012 at 2:55

Implementing social networking sites into the classroom is as critical as it is to implement them to support whole school initiatives. Our school is currently in the process of revamping all of its promotional material including its website, and after many years, many key members of our school have realised the importance of keeping this crucial instruments up-to-date and modernised. Many teachers who would easily be classed as a digital alien are now seeking assistance in how to use Facebook and twitter (a digital alien is someone who was not raised with technology - they are typically aged over 40 years). They see the necessity of keeping their students up to date with class movements and information that will benefit their learning. Groups within our school are now opting for their own Facebook page. Today, we have 4 Facebook pages - each which support their overall goals and purpose. This number will significantly increase in 2013. Interestingly, all of the teachers who coordinate these groups are all digital aliens.


This is supporting my theories that social networking sites should be used in education - whether it be for teaching and learning purposes or for promotional reasons. All schools should consider using these sites as their audience - students and parents already use these technologies, therefore disseminating information to them is quick and simple.


The facebook page that I currently manage is Please feel free to look at it and use it as a model for your school.

Using Augmented Reality in the Classroom

Posted on 25 November, 2012 at 4:50

It is common knowledge to educators that using ICTs in the classroom enhances engagement, productivity and more. However, what is not well documented is that different ICT technologies contribute the enhancement of different skills and actions of the student.


I have spent considerable time including social networking sites in the classroom and have greatly enhanced the learning of all of my students through this medium. This semester I have added including Augmented Reality to my program and have embedded this within the use of social networking sites. I have found that students are now excited to come to class, fact, many 'line-up' outside my door during recess or lunch to get into the classroom first with the perception that being 'first' gives them immediate access to Augmented Reality.


I have found that students are able to relate to the content that I am delivering much more quickly and are able to grasp concepts as they use additional mediums to explore the topic of interest. Students are highly engaged, cooporative, innovative and have significantly developed their ICT skills. Such activities has lifted the benchmark of students in our stage 4 classes. Below are some examples of our students using Augmented Reality (and 1 photograph showing a Deputy Principal joining in with the students and participating). Augmented Reality Apps that I have used so far include: Viewa, AR Xmas, Aurasma Lite, Butterflys, Dragons, Bunnies and HeartCam. To download these Apps, simply type in "Augmented Reality" in either your App Store or Google Play Store and an endless list of Apps will emerge!



The innovativeness in us

Posted on 21 November, 2012 at 5:50

As educators, we strive for excellence. We are also driven to push our students to achieve excellence. Through various forms of education, whether it be formal or informal and via a multitude of tools, we, collectively are trying to help todays generation be more successful than our own generation. 

I am currently in the process of creating a program for my school that incorporates the National Curriculum. This is not as easy as it sounds. A personalised learning folio for over 1000 students to achieve a minimum of 7 general capabilities is rather complex. There is a heavy emphasis on students being able to complete a plethora of tasks and activities whilst taking ownership for their own learning. We as educators are also completing a huge number of tasks and aim to build the profile of our school and our students. We all thrive in providing the best offerings to students, and until we decide to retire, we will all keep working just as hard, because, really, it's all about the kids! So, teachers, educators, trainers everywhere....please keep inventing and creating new pedagogies that will lead future generations into greatness.

Educating Students about Cyber Ethics

Posted on 20 November, 2012 at 5:30

Educating students, in particular year 7 students about cyber safety and the correct way to use social networking sites has been rather difficult. At the beginning of the year, only a handful had a Facebook account and all swore to never use Facebook because it is a 'bad' site. Today, close to the end of the year, all but a handful of students have at least 1 Facebook account...yes thats right, some students have more than 1 account.


Unfortunately, cyberbullying still exists to a certain extent and few students claim that they aware of this activity happening either to their mates or family. After debriefing them about what the cyberbullying is related too, it is established that a few may unintentionally create harm for themselves. Students are so consumed with taking photos of themselves and of their friends in both fortunate and unfortunate circumstances and at times, take photos of friends 'as a joke' and then when things go bad, photos become viral.


This diagram is perfect for reminding students how to use social media correctly. Prevention is the key. Lets combat cyberbullying BEFORE it happens. I encourage all teachers to employ these strategies and work together to help todays teenage generation be smarter online!



Friends or the 'Like'?

Posted on 7 November, 2012 at 6:15

I know this topic seems a little far-fetched, but I have spent a considerable amount of time analysing the social behaviours of teenage students, that I am now pondering the social behaviours of my own. I like many educators, parent or adult (who are at a Westfields anywhere) see how teenagers interact with each other in ‘person’. This is often different to how they interact ‘online’. There is much evidence that already supports this notion of teenagers acting differently online, however, research also states that teenagers are ‘awkward, friendless and have little social skills’ when out and about in the real world and therefore are forced to create a fake persona that they can live through online. Im not sure which teenager you are mentally picturing right now, but every single teenager at my school including all of my nieces and nephews do not fit this profile. In fact, they couldn’t be more ‘in’ as all they appear to do is constantly check that their hair is perfect and take photos of themselves with a mobile phone. For those who claim that they have no friends in real life, a fake persona online makes teenagers more accepted and ‘liked’ by hundreds, if not thousands of people that they generally don’t know. So, if making friends whilst being a teenager is so difficult, what do us 'over 30s' need to do to find a friend or is it all over for us?


I’m not sure how many people can relate to my story, but I feel that I have more sincere friends now than I have ever had. And many of those are people I am still meeting. Colleagues that I once said ‘hi’ to as I passed them in the corridor are now turning into great friends and our social media interaction simply supports our friendship, not dominating it (this means, that we still ‘talk’ in case you are one to ‘inbox’ a conversation). People I am meeting at conferences, networking meetings, professional learning sessions and more and now considered to be more than an ‘acquaintance’. This is certainly the proof that I need to confirm that friendships, valuable friendships, can be made at any age, phase or stage of our lives. So, thank you to all of my new friends and thank you to social media for helping us stay in touch whilst still giving us our voices.

Creating a new future for education

Posted on 31 October, 2012 at 19:00

I was fortunate to be able to represent my school as a delegate of the ACSA 2012 Curriculum Symposium in Adelaide this week and learn of how other schools across the country are implementing the National Curriculum. I’m taken back by the dominance of the new curriculum by schools in South Australia, Melbourne and Tasmania. I have learned that it is so much more than simply modifying what we, educators are teaching and encompasses new ways of thinking and new pedagogies to form and be implemented within our classrooms. Moreover, our classrooms are no longer in the formation of a room with tables and chairs positioned to face a whiteboard of some sort, but now consisting of virtual classrooms that accommodate a generation of global citizens who are diverse and multi skilled. We are now considering the rights of Humans and how we need to provide this to our students, not just from Kindergarten to Year 12, but through life. That is, from birth til a person decides to stop learning. We are discussing a persons right to shelter, food, education, freedom, flexibility and more. Papers of Nobel Prize Winners Sen and Osborne as well as Nussbaum were discussed to justify the rationale for creating this new educational initiative.


We discussed issues of how to engage students with other cultures and the worlds major issues. Being able to do this so any student within Australia is developing the same skill at the same time is critical and well understood by all. The Melbourne Declaration appeared to be revisited by all that have already implemented the National Curriculum and each presented Case Study all discussed the flexibility of the National Curriculum and appeared to select only 1 General Capability for their school to concentrate on. All focused on the students and re-enforced that students need to be global citizens (as well as a digital citizen). This is certainly possible but there are questions that surrounds the premise of this conceptual framework. How do we successfully implement a cross KLA program that embeds all specific capabilities? How do we teach a student who is in year 10 but has the learning ability of a student in year 4? How do we report and assess on this without increasing the workload of teachers whilst providing a succinct account of a students’ progress that parents will understand? How long do we have to get this project right in our school? Do we need key personnel to run this program at a HT/HAT level? Do schools require a budget to embed this? When will the final National Curriculum be ready by and when do schools need to have this embedded in their own programs? How flexible can we be? How do we, as a school, report back to an agency of our progress and which benchmarks do we need to achieve? Can we implement whole school programs or is it limited to specific KLA’s?


Although, this conceptually is possible and necessary, there are certainly areas which require further assessment, discussion and elaboration. After all, teachers and educators all over Australia will do whatever it takes. We just require a solid platform to work from.

Too many pots on the boil!

Posted on 29 October, 2012 at 6:05

We are certainly living in an age where we over commit. And I'm the first to say that I do over commit, over and over and over again.

At this present time, I am trying to write secondary reports, mark exams, prepare a research proposal, and write a paper for publication, all whilst I am working and trying to have some sort of personal life. Why is it, that today we over commit and are happy to do it? We then have the need to broadcast everything we do via social media and then become overwhelmed when others critique or discuss our life choices?  I'm like many others and watch TV with some sort of technological device on my lap. We multitask and then we see ourselves tweeting comments to the TV program that we are watching. I am fascinated how individuals, particularly teenagers are able to do this night after night and still be able to complete most their other commitments (I say 'most' loosely). They are certainly leading the way in how we, as educators are conversing with them and structuring our lessons. I see myself, modifying my lessons to accommodate their personal needs whilst dismissing any traditional forms of teaching that I have learned and skilfully developed. I understand that this is the way of the future, but at what cost? A teacher at my school 'burned out' after 12 months of teaching and has left education all together....are we as educators going above and beyond at a risk to ourselves? I haven't yet met an educator that doesn't put their students first, but are we hurting ourselves in the process? How can we be more effective in embracing more technologies and completing our commitments without having the pressure of needing to do more? This is certainly something I will ponder upon whilst at a conference this week before preparing for a TARS review and report assemblies.

In Search of a True Definition of a Social Networking Site

Posted on 21 October, 2012 at 7:20

So, what exactly is a Social Networking Site (SNS)?

Defining Social Networking Sites is as complex as finding and agreeing on a most accepted term for this internet based technological tool. The terms ‘social networking’, ‘social media’, ‘social networking service’ and ‘social software’ are all used interchangeably in ones attempts to define these websites that many individuals are embracing in their personal, professional and educational lives. It is noted that the term ‘social networking sites’ is most commonly used by scholars and bloggers and perhaps considered to be a more respected term within scholarly documents, thus will be used as the preferred term for the purposes of this paper.


Interestingly there are differences in social networking site definitions written by scholars and bloggers. Scholars tend to define social networking sites by their technical capabilities and its benefits whereas bloggers tend to define social networking sites quite vaguely as well include a list of its characteristics. A comparison of these will be discussed in this paper. There are also vast differences in definitions of what ‘a social networking site constitutes of’ over time. This is mainly due the development of tools, widgets, add-ons and applications that are now available that may not have been available at the original time of print of that particular publication. These definitions will also be recorded. Moreover, many definitions (including those written recently) state that social networking site users are teenagers and often solely refer to this demographic when explaining its use. This is extremely interesting as there is much data that confirm that the most typical users of social networking site are female and aged between 18 and 30 years. Recent data has also noted that the elderly are also utilising this tool.


It must also be noted that there is an extensive collection of literature that discusses social networking sites within a medical context. Within each of these definitions, specific medical websites are identified in an attempt to authenticate the definition. In most instances, the definition of a social networking site is general and only consists of its ability to connect numerous people within a virtual context. Additionally these papers proceed to illustrate the full acceptance and active use of medicine based social networking sites for its professionals and patients. It has also been identified that there is an emergence of scholarly publications that discuss social networking in various professions, such as that of marketing and advertising, translation, media and nationalism, which also discuss social networking sites in context with their industry.


According to a report by Nielsen (2012): “In the U.S. alone, total minutes spent on social networking sites have increased 83 percent year-over-year. In fact, total minutes spent on Facebook increased nearly 700 percent year-over-year, growing from 1.7 billion minutes in April 2008 to 13.9 billion in April 2009, making it the No. 1 social networking site for the month.”

Rationale for finding the ideal definition

Determining the most sound definition for social networking sites is imperative as it determines which sites can be classified as a ‘social networking site’. Some scholars and bloggers include social networking sites to be a part of the Web 2.0 suite whereas, others do not. Some classify websites to be a social networking site, whereas, others do not. Additionally, some recognise social networking tools and add-ons to be a critical component of what constitutes a social networking site whereas others do not. This is quite important as it results in some identifying sites such as twitter and Google as a social networking site whereas others do not. Having a clear definition of what a social networking site is may lead to a distinctive list of which website IS a social networking site. This is actually more difficult than anticipated as even Alexa Web Company (2012), the most accepted internet traffic tracking website has multiple categories for social networking sites and each category is a stand-alone list. For example, Facebook is only in ONE of their many lists that fall under the social networking site banner.

The most accepted social networking site definition

The first considered definitions of social networking sites were those that referred to Computed Mediated Communications (CMC’s) (Lockyear) which are considered to be a communicative transaction that occurs through the use of two or more computers. Recent definitions have also extended this and include ‘computer mediated formats’ which accept tools such as instant messaging, email, chat rooms and text messaging (Thurlow, Lengel, & Tomic 2004) to be considered as a CMC.


The most common social networking definition is a definition that is repeatedly used as a point of reference in many scholarly publications is that by Boyd and Ellison (2007). Boyd & Ellison (2007) define social networking sites (SNSs) as “web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system” (para. 4). Boyd & Ellison (2007) also state that “what makes social network sites unique is not that they allow individuals to meet strangers, but rather that they enable users to articulate and make visible their social networks” (para. 6). Thus, this definition is the most recognised and accepted definition of social networking sites. It should, therefore, be used as a basis for further elaboration, simply due to the technological advancements (as stated) since 2007.


Boyd and Ellison (2007) use the term "social network site" to describe this phenomenon, the term "social networking sites" also appears in public discourse, and the two terms are often used interchangeably. We chose not to employ the term "networking" for two reasons: emphasis and scope. "Networking" emphasizes relationship initiation, often between strangers. While networking is possible on these sites, it is not the primary practice on many of them, nor is it what differentiates them from other forms of computer-mediated communication (CMC).


They continue to add that on many of the large SNSs, participants are not necessarily "networking" or looking to meet new people; instead, they are primarily communicating with people who are already a part of their extended social network. To emphasize this articulated social network as a critical organizing feature of these sites, we label them "social network sites." While SNSs are often designed to be widely accessible, many attract homogeneous populations initially, so it is not uncommon to find groups using sites to segregate themselves by nationality, age, educational level, or other factors that typically segment society (Hargittai, 2007), even if that was not the intention of the designers.


Today, almost all definitions use Facebook as an example when defining social networking sites. Facebook is the number 1 social networking site, and has been, since its commencement into the World Wide Web regardless of being blocked (not available) in numerous countries.

PLANE Conference 2012

Posted on 19 October, 2012 at 20:50

I often attend ICT based conferences where I learn about the fact that I need to integrate new technologies and often hear stories about how so many other teachers are already successfully integrating all of this in their school. However they do not pursue and inform us of HOW they do this.


Much more happy to say that this is NOT the case this weekend. Over the last 2 days, leading educators have shared their skills in using virtual worlds, using apps, ipads and much much more. So much, that it is simply impossible to note all of the technological tools that have been exposed to me over the last 48 hours.


I encourage all teachers and pre-service teachers to become a member of PLANE. This resource really is invaluable and will really help educators, Australia-wide to lift the benchmark and start a new era of teaching. Please go to to register.

Social Media Usage Statistics for 2012 Infographic Summary:

Posted on 16 October, 2012 at 5:25

Stumbled across this and am absolutely fascinated by it



1. Facebook has 845 million active users.

2. The average Facebook user has 130 friends.

3. The average Facebook visit lasts 23 minutes.

4. 46% of Facebook users are over the age of 45.

5. 57% of Facebook users are female (43% male).

6. 57% of Facebook users report having been to “some college” (24% bachelors or graduate degree).

7. 47% of Facebook users report making between $50,000 – $99,000 annually (33% between $25,000 – $49,999).



1. Titter has 127 million active users.

2. 13% of internet users also use Twitter.

3. 54% of Twitter users use Twitter on their mobile devices.

4. 36% of Twitter users tweet at least once a day.

5. The average visit on Twitter lasts for 14 minutes.

6. 59% of Twitter users are female (41% male).



1. Google+ has had 90 million unique visitors.

2. Google+ users are 71% male.

3. The most common occupation of a Google+ user is an engineer.

4. 44% of Google+ users are “single”.



1. Pinterest has had 21 million unique visits.

2. The top locations for Pinterest users are Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee.

3. The top interests of Pinterest users are crafts, hobbies, interior design and fashion.

4. 82% of Pinterest users are female (18% male).

5. The average Pinterest visit lasts 17 minutes.



1. LinkedIn has 150 million registered users.

2. 75% of LinkedIn users use it for business purposes.

3. There are 2 million companies on LinkedIn.

4. 50% of LinkedIn users have a bachelors or graduate degree.


The Role of Principals? Beliefs in Leadership for ICT Integration

Posted on 13 October, 2012 at 6:25


I stumbled across this reading today by Otto & Albion (2009) and reflected on its truth:



Even if “technology leadership” is a characteristic of the school community rather than an individual such as the principal (Anderson & Dexter, 2000), a strong case can be made that principals’ beliefs and understandings are crucial in the development of a school culture that will support creative integration of ICTs for teaching and learning (Otto, 2001). Understanding the nature and origins of principals’ beliefs may be the first step towards assisting principals to work more effectively to develop appropriate school visions for the integration of ICTs. Prior research, including self-efficacy theory, provides a useful starting point for developing a framework to guide such research.


Bandura (1997) defines self-efficacy as the "beliefs in one's capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments" (p. 3). In the context of this paper, "beliefs in one's capabilities" refers to the confidence a principal has in his or her beliefs about teaching with ICTs, and "courses of action" refers to the effectiveness of the principal as a visionary and agent for change. Non-teaching principals have few opportunities to test their beliefs in a classroom over extended periods of time. While a principal may have read about teaching with ICTs and observed teachers teaching with ICTs, personal classroom experiences may be limited to print based pedagogy. Principals with low self-efficacy for leadership in respect of ICTs may be less willing to advise teachers, and their evaluation of teaching with ICT may be limited to comparisons with print based pedagogy. However, at some point, pedagogical principles for teaching with the new technologies depart from print-based learning, otherwise teachers will use the technologies in the same way they use print. This is one of the problems identified by educational commentators such as Luke (2001).


In their study of the relationship between self-efficacy and willingness to act, Dimmock and Hattie (1996) concluded that high self-efficacy is not only a factor in creating conditions for change, but also reduces principals' stress levels and enables them to cope with unfamiliar situations and challenges. As well, high self-efficacy is linked to school reform because the principal has the confidence to take advantage of new opportunities. Self-efficacy is an element of empowerment, that is, 'taking charge of ones own growth and resolving ones own problems' (Ghaith & Shaaban, 1999, p. 495). Furthermore, principals with high self-efficacy are more likely to assume collaborative leadership styles and allow participative decision making, while maintaining confidence in their influence as leaders (Dimmock & Hattie, 1996).


Social Media Defined

Posted on 10 October, 2012 at 6:35

In an effort to create the most sound definition of Social Media, I came across this list. Very interesting to see what the perceptions of others are....and just how it is all based on perspective:

1. Media is an instrument on communication, like a newspaper or a radio, so social media would be a social instrument of communication

2. Social media is content created and shared by individuals on the web using freely available websites that allow users to create and post their own images, video and text information and then share that with either the entire internet or just a select group of friends

3. Social media essentially is a category of online media where people are talking, participating, sharing, networking, and bookmarking online

4. The online forms of communicating to the masses, which include blogs, microblogs, social networking sites and podcasts

5. Social media is any online media platform that provides content for users and also allows users to participate in the creation or development of the content in some way

6. Social Media is the sharing of user (human) created information and interacting on-line using Internet technology

7. Social Media is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers. It is the shift from a broadcast mechanism, one-to-many, to a many-to-many model, rooted in conversations between authors, people, and peers

8. Social media in plain English (video)

9. Social Media is the new term for socialising online. It allows people to freely interact with each other online where-ever they are and whenever they want

10. Social media are the various forms of user generated content and the collection of websites and applications that enables people to interact and share information online

11. Social media is the use of technology combined with social interaction to create or co-create value

12. Social media is people having conversations online. These conversations can take a variety of forms; for example, blogs and comments or photo sharing

13. Digital word of mouth

14. Social media is people having conversations online

15. Social Media is the meeting place between people and technology

16. Social Media is often used as another term for user-generated content

17. An umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words and pictures

18. Social media explained (video)

19. Internet-based software and interfaces that allow individuals to interact with one another, exchanging details about their lives such as biographical data, professional information, personal photos and up-to-the-minute thought

20. Social media is any media form that displays itself to an open public and encourages interaction between the host and all observers

21. Social media is the technological path of least resistance for two-way communication and distribution through a large audience who would otherwise be unconnected if it were not for the technological medium

22. Social media is a group of Internet-based applications that allow the creation and exchange of user generated content. This content is then shared through social interaction

23. Social media is content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. At its most basic sense, social media is a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content

24. What is Social Media (presentation)

25. Social media is life online

26. Social Media, by definition, is the collection of strategies, practices and tools for communicating, creating, sharing and discussing news, information and other media online

27. Social media is technically a means for social interaction through the web

28. Social media are online venues, such as social networking sites, blogs and wikis that enable people to store and share information called content, such as text, pictures, video and links

29. Social media is about interacting with and sharing information with others online

30. Social media are online communications in which individuals shift fluidly and flexibly between the role of audience and author. To do this, they use social software that enables anyone without knowledge of coding, to post, comment on, share or mash up content and to form communities around shared interests

31. Social media is game changing, not a closed system, not just another media, transparent, more than blogs, decentralized and real-time and measurable

33. Social media is communications

34. Internet media that has the ability to interact with it in some way

35. Social media itself is a catch-all term for sites that may provide radically different social actions

36. Social Media is simply people having conversations online

37. Social media is people meeting other people

38. Simply refers to communication/publication platforms which are generated and sustained by the interpersonal interaction of individuals through the specific medium or tool

39. Social media also includes social networks that insist on people to come together online that shares a common interest

40. Media is an instrument of communication, like a newspaper or a radio, so social media would be a social instrument of communication

41. Social media explained visually (presentation)

42. Social media isn’t about the media, it’s about being social

43. Social media is people talking to people online

44. Social Media is word of mouth on steroids

45. Social Media consists of media that support and encourage social interaction among user

46. Social Media is generally any website or service that uses Web 2.0 techniques and concepts

47. A term used to describe a variety of Web-based platforms, applications and technologies that enable people to socially interact with one another online

48. Social media are media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques

49. Social media mainly consists of user-generated Internet content

50. Social media is user generated content that is shared over the internet via technologies that promote engagement, sharing and collaboration

Augmented Reality Technology

Posted on 8 October, 2012 at 6:20

Types of AR include:

• Marker based (a particular image causes multimedia resources to be layered across it)

• Object based (an object caused mutlimedia resources to be layered across it)

• Location based (geolocation on a mobile device causes AR to appear, complete with pre-specified orientation and play settings)


The types of multimedia that can be incorporated include images (which could be text) and video. Audio can also be embedded, for instance by utilising a transparent video.


Perfectly Situated Scaffolding

Augmented Reality provides educators with previously impossible opportunities for embedding perfectly situated scaffolding into learning episodes. The ability to not only place instructional support exactly where it is required but to also layer that support across those real-world resources so that they appear as though they are really there means that the sort of scaffolding we provide need no longer be degraded by temporal or spatial disconnection (i.e. perfect contiguity).


Ways in which Augmented Reality can support different types of thinking

Anderson & Krathwohl’s (2001) revised Bloom’s Taxonomy provides a framework for considering different types of knowledge and cognitive processes involved in learning. This posits the question – how might AR might be used to support different types of knowledge and different cognitive processes related to items in our everyday world.


AR futures

A brave new world is upon us where educational service providers (and advertisers) will be competing to provide the most desirable AR layers for our world. Hopefully this will be a layer governed by principles of open access and student and teacher control rather than being entirely dominated by corporate enterprise.


Research Project Idea

We can map out the above strategies for using AR in the curriculum (to visual arts students curating a sculpture park, science students studying ecological systems, etc) and then evaluate how much each component contributed to the learning process (based on student, teacher and researcher perceptions) using post-survey instruments as well as open ended responses to group interviews. As well, pragmatic issues and potentials can be discussed with relation to providing this sort of AR-based situated scaffolding.



Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)

Posted on 7 October, 2012 at 4:30

I stumbled across this which I believe could lead to something in my own research.....Im sure that this will become a 'buzz word/phrase' in the near future:


Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) attempts to identify the nature of knowledge required by teachers for technology integration in their teaching, while addressing the complex, multifaceted and situated nature of teacher knowledge. At the heart of the TPACK framework, is the complex interplay of three primary forms of knowledge: Content (CK), Pedagogy (PK), and Technology (TK). As must be clear, the TPACK framework builds on Shulman’s idea of Pedagogical Content Knowledge.


Definitive descriptions of TPACK can be found in Mishra & Koehler, 2006, or through any of the other links in the “Learn more about tpck” box on the right margin of this page, or on the left margin of every page.

The TPACK approach goes beyond seeing these three knowledge bases in isolation. On the other hand, it emphasizes the new kinds of knowledge that lie at the intersections between them. Considering P and C together we get Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK), Shulman’s idea of knowledge of pedagogy that is applicable to the teaching of specific content. Similarly, considering T and C taken together, we get Technological Content Knowledge (TCK), the knowledge of the relationship between technology and content. At the intersection of T and P, is Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK), which emphasizes the existence, components and capabilities of various technologies as they are used in the settings of teaching and learning.

Finally, at the intersection of all three elements is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK). True technology integration is understanding and negotiating the relationships between these three components of knowledge. A teacher capable of negotiating these relationships represents a form of expertise different from, and greater than, the knowledge of a disciplinary expert (say a mathematician or a historian), a technology expert (a computer scientist) and a pedagogical expert (an experienced educator). Effective technology integration for pedagogy around specific subject matter requires developing sensitivity to the dynamic, [transactional] relationship between all three components.

The TPACK Survey can be downloaded in both word and pdf format



Social Media in Schools

Posted on 25 September, 2012 at 6:55

A plethora of research and blogs exist out there claiming to inform educators of the latest tools and technologies that are best to use in the classroom. however, the vast majority fail to explain why or how its implementation actually increases participation rates, literacy or numeracy levels.

It is recognised that girls use Social Networking SItes more than boys, however, is this simply because girls need to 'socialise' with their peers or is it because boys are simply playing onoine games with each other? And when will gaming (traditional and online) be recognised as a form of social media?

New data is emerging daily about new research techniques that educators are using to prove that these tools are essential, however, almost all is still conducted internationally and in tertiary education. My goal, is to find its use within an Australian context and within secondary schools!