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Noelene Callaghan

My Blog

My Blog

Indigenous Apps that can be used in Teaching and Learning

Posted on 22 July, 2014 at 4:50

Indigenous Australian: Art Gallery of NSW


Indigenous Australian: Art Gallery of NSW lets you explore a selection of artists and artworks from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art collection, on an iPad. View high-quality images in extraordinary detail, discover stories of the artists and the art, get simple explanations of art terms, and go behind the scenes with interviews and videos.


Ranging from bark paintings to photography, sculpture to shell work, weavings to watercolour, the App includes work by significant artists such as Emily Kam Ngwarray.


The Gallery’s Indigenous Australian app is available free on iOS. It works with all versions of the iPad. An internet connection is needed to view some content. Free WiFi is available at the Gallery. As new content is added, the App will automatically prompt you about updates.

FirstVoices Chat

FirstVoices Chat is a brilliant multilingual texting app with keypads serving over 100 Indigenous languages. The app was developed in response to First Nation youth who want to communicate via social media in their own languages. Most Indigenous writing systems use unique characters previously unavailable in mobile technologies.


This is a free App that is available via iOS and is definitely a resource that students and their teachers should use when learning about indigenous content.


This new piece of technology, which allows First Nations people to return to the everyday use of their heritage languages using their mobile devices,” said Peter Brand, FirstVoices manager at the First Peoples’ Cultural Council (FPCC) in B.C. Brand said there was a strong uptake of the language, particularly among youth, in the local community where the App prototype was tested.


Australia’s first Indigenous Health App created by National Aboriginal Community Controlled health organisation (NACCHO)

 “Our App promotes the sports healthy futures program that will give Aboriginal youth the opportunity to improve their overall health and wellbeing through active participation in sports.

 Research shows that if a young person is happy and healthy they will be able to get the most out of their education, build their confidence and their self-belief and hopefully one day become a well-educated “Indigenous All-star” in the sport or employment of their choosing.” Mr. Mohamed said.

 Mr. Mohamed said he is encouraging all 150 NACCHO members and stakeholders to promote the App to their 5,000 staff and over 100,000 clients so that our community members can really have Aboriginal health in Aboriginal Hands. All ready in first few days over 1,000 Apps have been downloaded from the App Store and Google Android store.

Ngurrara - Australian Aboriginal Storybook:
Ngurrara follows the journeys of three young Australian Aboriginal Ngarluma men as they fish, hunt and carve their own stories. It is set on Murujuga (Burrup Peninsula) As the landscape, the people and culture change over millennia, one thing remains the same, the Ngarluma people 'were always here.'  

This is a free App that is available via iOS and is a great Dreamtime story and activity that can be embedded into any classroom.

 This App embraces Australian Aboriginal culture that has existed continuously for more than 40 000 years. They have developed sophisticated social organisations, complex legal systems and a numerous practices and ceremonies based around their Dreamtime beliefs.

Apple TV in the Classroom

Posted on 22 July, 2014 at 4:50

Instructional technology takes so many forms. In some buildings that may mean simply having a computer lab of desktop computers. In others, you may find SMART Boards and laptops in every room. And, in some of the more advanced classrooms, you may find an Apple TV serving as a media hub for a teacher (and possibly students) with an iPad. The question, “What can I do with an Apple TV in the classroom?”.


What is Apple TV?

Before we talk about how to configure/set it up, it makes sense to get a working understanding of what the device actually does.


The Apple TV:

• lets you stream the movies and TV shows available on iTunes to the HDTV or Projector connected to the Apple TV

• stream Netflix content

• allows you to stream content from iOS devices using Airplay

• Display your iPad 2,3/iPhone 4S screen on your HDTV or projector via Airplay Mirroring


The Apple TV points of consideration:

• The Apple TV really is most beneficial if you have iTunes, an iOS device, or are a Mac based school.

• The Apple TV is not a computer. It really does rely on other devices to make it most functional.

• Connection possibilities are limited. HDMI is the main output. There are ways around this, however.

How to Set it up in Your Classroom

First things first. Determine what you will be connecting it to – and that will determine how you will set it up. If your classroom has an HDMI enabled device (HDTV or a projector with HDMI input) you are good to go, setup will be a breeze.


If you do not have an HDMI capable device in your classroom, consider purchasing this device to convert the signal to VGA so you can output from the Apple TV to any screen that has a VGA input. The majority of projectors and interactive whiteboards have this type of connection, making this accessory a great little product. Also, note that the accessory has an audio out port, preserving the audio from the HDMI cable, something that many devices like this do not do well (or at all).

The next step is connecting the Apple TV to your network. Obtain the wireless key from your IT coordinator and simply enter that when prompted when you first plug in your Apple TV. If the ATV has been setup before, just navigate to Settings -> Network and enter the setup for a new wireless network.


If your IT person is not interested in telling you the password, see if they will set it up for you. If this even fails, all hope is not lost. If you have a Mac, you can quickly create an AdHoc network to which you can connect your iPad and your Apple TV. Mind the fact that you will no longer be connected to the internet, but many of the uses don’t require an active connection.

Uses in the Classroom

This is when the Apple TV gets fun. Each person I talk to has a different use for their Apple TV, but the general method of use is pretty much the same. I will take you through some of the logistical methods of use that will then let you apply your own needs of use to the ATV easily.


The most common use of the Apple TV in a classroom is iPad screen mirroring. Thanks to AirPlay, the iPad 2 and above and the iPhone 4S will let you wirelessly display your device’s screen on a HDTV/Projector that is connected to your Apple TV. This is great for the classroom as sharing Apps and tutorials via the iPad are becoming more popular.


Starting up iPad Mirroring

So, you have some good uses in the classroom. Here’s how you being mirroring your iPad’s screen to the Apple TV.

1. Turn on the TV/Projector connected to the Apple TV.

2. Ensure each device is on the same network.

3. Double tap the home button on the iPad.

4. Swipe to the right until you see the options below:

5. Tap the button that is blue in the image above. This displays the available devices for use with AirPlay.

6. Tap on your Apple TV’s name and then slide Mirroring to ‘On’.

7. That’s it – your iPad should now be showing on the screen connected to your Apple TV!

Final Thoughts

For $99, you really can’t beat it. If you don’t have an interactive whiteboard, but you do happen to have an iPad, this is a really cheap way to enable whiteboard functionality. The freedom the Apple TV gives you to engage with students around the classroom (since you’re not tethered to a cable) is invaluable. For those who rely on technology in the classroom but also love moving throughout the room, this is the device you needed yesterday.



Using YouTube in the Classroom

Posted on 22 July, 2014 at 4:45


Although some teachers are hesitant to embrace YouTube in the classroom, it is proving to be a valuable educational tool. Creative teaching strategies that incorporate innovative technology actively motivate and engage learners who are technology savvy and are accustomed to the online environment.


Founded in 2005, YouTube has quickly become a leader in online media. YouTube is an Internet application in which people can upload, share, and watch videos for free. This makes it a perfect platform for students to use when presenting class work and assignments to their peers.

In the classroom, set assignments encouraging students to present their work in video format. They could be asked to investigate a news story by conducting interviews and reporting back to the class with their findings and footage. Alternatively students could film a debate or even shoot their own short film to share with the class.


In order to complete these tasks, students will need to be able to create a video and save it as a file that can be uploaded to YouTube. This will involve access to a video camera as well as some form of movie maker software. Many computers are already equipped with Microsoft Movie Maker or iMovie. Next, they will need to create an account on YouTube. Minimal information is required and the account is free on charge. Finally, students should upload their file as a private video, meaning that it can only be seen by users they select.


Creating content for YouTube allows students to develop a deeper understanding of the course material as students are engaging in new, innovative technology applications as well as processing content. YouTube has the potential to expose learners to new insights and skills such as technology-based resources, as well as engage students in social networking. YouTube also provides an ideal platform for high school students to learn the fundamentals of project creation and presentation which serve to better prepare learners for skills needed at university.


ICT for Students with Dyslexia

Posted on 22 July, 2014 at 4:40

Information Communication Technology can have much to offer to those who have particular difficulties in writing and/or reading which are not apparent in other areas of their abilities. Although there may be disagreement over the diagnosis and causes of these difficulties it is now commonly accepted that some people have a specific difficulty with reading and writing. ICT can be used to help people with dyslexia, both by providing support for writing and reading and to give opportunities for reinforcing and practising skills.


ICT for recording

The computer is a valuable tool for helping people to write and store work. The use of word processors is now widespread, and most commonly used systems also offer additional feature that can help users with dyslexia. Additional software and hardware can be used to provide extra features to help users.


Benefits of ICT

When choosing ICT it is important to have a clear idea of the user's needs and an understanding of how ICT might help. This will help to ensure that the equipment and software chosen is appropriate and can be used. A full word processor may not be suitable for a young child who is just learning to write. A student studying for a degree will need to have a suitable system for their work. Provision for support and training is also required, and a trial period may be needed to fully evaluate the suitability of the equipment chosen.


Structured learning activities

The computer is an excellent way of providing word finding and spelling activities. With the use of pictures and the addition of high quality speech, the learner is provided with a multi-sensory approach. The programs chosen, including the ever popular Starspell and WordShark 4, have all been carefully designed to allow the teacher to select suitable activities for the individual student.


The mechanics of writing

Many people with dyslexia find that they have problems with the mechanics of writing which can make them slow and reluctant writers. The effort required will often distract them from thinking about the content of the work and final checking will be harder if their writing is hard to read. Some people find that when using a keyboard and screen they can devote more attention to the content and spelling of their writing. They also find it much easier and less depressing to read and correct their work on the screen. Adaptations and alterations can be made to the standard computer and software to give additional support if this is required.


Keyboard - Keyboard skills are essential if anyone is to make effective use of a computer for their work. Touch Type and UltraKey 5 are excellent programs for older pupils to practice and perfect keyboard skills. For younger learners, programs such as TypeQuick for Students or Speedy Keys provide structured keyboarding activities that are fun to use too! The response of the keyboard can be adjusted if the user has any problems with repeated letters when typing. Some children may prefer to have lowercase letters, this can be done by using stickers or by buying an alternative keyboard. Attention should also be given to seating and the positioning of the equipment, including suitable lighting.


Monitor and display

The monitor can be adjusted for brightness and contrast, an anti-glare screen can also help. The quality of the monitor will also affect the picture, better quality CRT monitors have displays that are free of flicker as do all LCD screens. Adjustments to the size and colours of the display can be made using the systems control panels to help improve legibility. With programs such as word processors it is possible to select colours, fonts (shapes of letters) and sizes to suit the individuals preferences.


Collecting assignments using Google Docs

Posted on 22 July, 2014 at 4:40

Collecting assignments or school work can sometimes be difficult particularly when teachers are tailoring work to suit particular students or using pedagogical instruments such as the Multiple Intelligences Matrix. A simple and effective way to collect assignments whilst increasing the ICT skills of students (as well as sufficing the “Managing digital data” component of the ICT Continuum of the Australian Curriculum) is to use tools such as Dropbox or Google Drive. Regardless of the year group of your class, they will be able to use either file management system simply.


Both Dropbox and Google Drive operate similarly however, not each file management system s are readily available at all schools. They both enable file sharing, mobile access and a sufficient amount of file storage space. As many schools are now using BYOD, both Dropbox and Google Drive have Apps that can be downloaded on iPads and Tablets increasing opportunities for students to submit work created on particular applications that they previously were not able to hand in for marking.


Step 1 – Setting up an account

Creating an account on either Dropbox or Google Drive is straightforward. If using Dropbox, it is recommended that you use your school email address. This will minimise any glitches in accidently sharing non-lesson files or documents unintended for students. If using Google Drive, you will need to create a gmail account.


On either file management system, it is advised that you create folders that sort your student’s files. This could be sorted by KLA or by year group, depending if you are a primary or secondary teacher.


Step 2 – Setting up File Sharing capabilities

To share a folder with you students (the space where you would like your students work to appear), simply right click on the designated folder and click on “invite to folder” (Dropbox) or “Share” (Google Drive). On both Dropbox and Google Drive, a popup will appear allowing you to import (or copy and paste) your students email addresses. This will provide your students with access to the folder. Your students will be required to create an account with Dropbox or Google in order to share files.


Step 3- Collecting assignments/classwork

Students are now able to submit their work to your Dropbox or Google Drive. Having all of their assignments electronically in one space will assist you in marking their work and providing them with immediate feedback (that they can also retrieve via the file management system).


It is advised that teachers practice this process of submitting work during class time and that a scaffold or instructional poster is created to aid and remind student of how to do submit future work.


How to use Blogs

Posted on 22 July, 2014 at 4:35

1. Preparation

• Create a Blog using Blog Ed or Google Blog (Blogspot)

• Create a question that is to be answered.


2. In class

• Explain the question to the class and have a class discussion, think tank session or think pair share on how to best answer the question

• Discuss what elements a ‘perfect’ answer should include

• Students begin answering the question

• 10 mins before the lesson ends, ask students to mark each others work using questions such as:

a. What do you think is the strongest part of the blog? This could be a certain post, the writing style, the graphic design, the use of alternative media, the images, etc. What makes this element so strong?

b. Is there a part of the blog you find confusing? A part that doesn’t seem to quite match the rest or the character for which it was designed? A link for which you don’t understand the connection? Can you give some suggestions for how to improve that part?

c. After reading the blog, what would you like to know more about? Is there a post that leaves you with questions? Write down at least two questions to help your partner further develop this blog.

d. Did you notice any major typos or grammatical issues? Please note anything glaring in this space.




Cloud Technology

Posted on 22 July, 2014 at 4:30

In the (recent) past, accessing files (word processing files, spreadsheets, etc.) on different computers needed a floppy disk or USB drive. The disk or drive had to be carried with you so that any file could be opened on other computers. This was often a nerve-wracking experience, waiting for your document to appear. Things have changed; the safety, stability, and simplicity of cloud computing has increased its popularity, massively. This has led to widespread adoption in various educational institutions.

Why use the Cloud?

What are the advantages for storing files off-site on a server that can be located anywhere? You may ask. Here are some:


• No need to carry around devices, such as USB drives or CDs.

• You don’t need to worry about losing or breaking the device, or not having your file load properly.

• Files stored in the cloud usually require a user ID and password – so it is not easily accessible, providing secure storage of your work.

• Working on a group project? Files can be shared between students through the cloud, removing the need for more than one USB drive or burning another CD.

• Student groups can be set up to work on assignments in the cloud, allowing for collaborative experiences.

• The systems are frequently backed-up, so the chances of losing files are very small.



• Easily accessible and always available, cloud storage is a limitless archive of information that can be utilized in both teaching and learning.

• The technology is now fully developed and therefore very reliable, leaving no chance for a delayed or fragmented educational experience.

• Cloud computing reduces the amount of photocopying required, significantly. This is further reduced if each student has their own smart device to access the cloud (e.g. laptop, tablet etc.)

• Exams, assignments, and assessments can be completed, graded, and shared where students and parents can review.


• The usual time teachers spend carrying out administrative duties can be used on more educationally-driven activities that are beneficial for the student’s educational progress.

• Savings made on not purchasing, hiring, or maintaining photocopiers and printers, ink cartridges, and paper. Also reducing cost by removing the need to purchase alternative, servers, software, and related items, such as: USB drives, and CD-ROMs.

• An overall increase in efficiency accessibility of files is available for teachers and staff anytime, anywhere without needing to rely on anyone else’s approval or recognition.

• Files can be tracked using various analytical tools in the cloud. This allows for the opportunity to see the frequency of file-accessing, and at what times of the day and days of the week are frequented the most.

If your institution has a wired or wireless infrastructure (wired and/or wireless), cloud computing is easily implemented. You may ask has the cloud led the digital age into conquering paper? The future is unknown, but I would say that the advantages of cloud computing are difficult to ignore. 

Social Media By Stats

Posted on 11 January, 2014 at 20:05


As a digital marketer, you recognize that social media is a valuable resource to your digital marketing strategy. If you are going to commit to a social media marketing strategy, then you will need to know where to focus your time and budget. To help make this decision easier for you, Pew Research conducted a study to determine what platforms were most popular among varying demographics.


To start, it is important to understand just how wide spread social media use has become over the years. In 2013, 73% of those surveyed, ages 18 and over, stated that they utilize a social media platform of some sort. It is not surprising that Facebook is the most commonly used social media site (71% of adults on the internet), but what is interesting is that 43% of those surveyed noted having accounts on multiple social media sites. If only one social networking site is used, it is commonly Facebook (84%), with LinkedIn (8%), Pinterest (4%), Twitter and Instagram (2% each) trailing far behind.


Just because the latter four social media sites aren’t the go-to for a person who does not want to belong to multiple networking sites, does not mean they are not without their own niche group of dedicated members. For digital marketers it is important to understand who the audience is on each platform:




-The fan base tends to consist of females ranging from 18-49 years old.


-Those on Pinterest are more likely to fall into a higher income bracket ($75,000 +) than the bottom income bracket (> $30,000).




-The percentage of adults using Twitter in 2013 remained relatively flat compared to 2012.


-Young adults ages 18-29 are the group most likely to use Twitter.


-Unlike Pinterest, there was not a large difference in terms of number of Twitter users by household income.




-Use of Instagram amongst adults has increased 4% over the last year, but the use of Instagram amongst those 18-29 years old has increased 9% since 2012. Other platforms did not show statistically significant increases or decreases in the percentage of adults using the platforms in 2013.


-There has been an 11% increase in Instagram use among African Americans.


-It is interesting to note that Instagram usage is more common among people living in urban areas than in rural areas.




-Adults on LinkedIn generally possess a college degree and are between the ages of 30-64 years old.


-There is a higher percentage of men (24%) reporting that they have LinkedIn than woman (19%).


-Those surveyed that use LinkedIn are commonly located in urban or suburban areas.


Understanding which platform would be best to focus on your particular demographic is essential to ensure that your marketing dollars are being spent efficiently. If you are currently active on Facebook and are looking to branch out to another platform, check the demographics to see if your target population is active on that platform before you jump in with both feet.



New Years Resolution (for school)

Posted on 31 December, 2013 at 4:35

At the start of every year we, as individuals, seek to start the new year with a promise that we truly believe at the time that we will keep. I've decided that I'm going to have a few new years resolutions but in different categories. One of them, naturally being in relation to my workplace - school.

This year, in 2014, I will aim to carefully plan EVERY lesson and take into consideration the continuums of the Australian Curriculum. I will not be stressed by the tasks that I will be determined to complete, nor will I take on morw than I can physically or mentally be able to complete. 2014 will be a year where all of my students will receive the attention and support that they require, regardless of what attention they request. I will make a conscious effort of embedding writing, reading, numeracy, ict and indigenous attributes in most of my lessons.

I pledge that this year will be the best teaching year of my career thus far!