Edmodo for Digital Citizenship, Support and Professional Development

Edmodo for Digital Citizenship, Support and Professional Development


Guest post for the Edmodo Blog – describing my three favourite applications for Edmodo.


Student techies at Gilroy & VoicEd 2014

TODAY I presented at VoicEd 2014 at Davidson High School with loads of other ahhhhmazing and inspirational educators who are positively moving and shaking practice and processes in their schools and classrooms.

My presentation today was all about sharing and reflecting on the use of students as leaders, when I blogged about it last year I had an idea of WHY I wanted the program to run, and HOW It was going to look, but I REALLY underestimated the positive impact these students would have on our 1:1 program.

In todays presentation I explained HOW the Students Techies function so effectively at Gilroy, WHAT they do and WHY:

  • Students had to apply to become a class techie using a google form: applicants were chosen at the end of last year based on their ability to solve examples of tech problems like “What steps would you go through to fit a Wifi connection issue”
  • All the work they do counts as community service: all the “work” they do contributes to the community service program so they benefit for doing something they love!
  • Students assist on Edmodo: year 7/8 have a “tech-support group” that the Techies (and I) monitor, they respond to questions online, between 9 of them they manage the workload of this WONDERFULLY!
  • They do not miss out on class time: these students are academic, they want to help but not miss out on class time, so the program does not EVER impact on their learning.
  • Visit homerooms twice a week: I found that most technical problems arose overnight when they were trying to do something at home, if students don’t get the help they need on the tech-support page then they have face to face access to the techies of a morning, this is prime time to solve problems before the school day starts!
  • Young leadership role: year 8’s get forgotten as young leaders! We then expect them to step up in year 9/10?! Will eventually run well with Duke of Ed, SRC and captain program.
  • Empowers clever kids in the playground: this program gives them cred! year 7’s chat to them in the play ground (not just in the library!) and they are known as being Techies.
  • THEY LOVE TECHNOLOGY!  they like solving problems, making other students as confident as them and helping out!
  • I can’t possibly solve every technical issue! even as a singular member of a big technical staff we still teach, our allocation and volume of devices prevents us from being accessible to students all the time. Between Edmodo and homeroom visits, these guys have got it sorted!


The concept of peer coaching is a no-brainer. I know from experience that students helping students peer-peer in a classroom or school context works. It builds confidence, relationships and in a busy classroom it can ease the demand of teacher centred assistance and keep the pace of a lesson moving forward. Some students even PREFER to have peer assistance. Yeah “there are no silly questions”, however, putting a hand up and a spotlight on yourself to ask a question can feel daunting for some – so if it wasn’t for peer support questions sometimes by shy individuals may never get asked!!


The program so far is a HUGE success (because our Techies are brilliant kids of course!), I have taken a few snapshots of our Edmodo group so you can see these guys in action!

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original post found here

Using an iPad to do stuff . . . (other than to game and look cool)

This post has been sitting in my wordpress drafts for AGES!! — the IIATE conference from which this material came from was held towards the end of October, I presented a session on using iPads and devices in TAS to ACTUALLY DO CLASS WORK.

An article that I read towards the start of the year still really stuck in my mind whilst preparing for my session, in particular it was the closing line that shaped the way my session looked:

Now the next generation is here, already tech-literate. What do they want their school computer, or device, to help them achieve?

The challenges of BYOD:
So HOW can you USE a device such as an iPad to DO class work? What apps are best? Which ones are school friendly?
Bellow are my session resources, a document FULL of tried, tested and implemented apps that can be used to do HEAPS OF STUFF!


PDF FILE- doin’ stuff on an ipad — > Share this, pass it round, or drop me a line to let me know what you do!

I am presenting at the SchoolstechOz conference in September 2014, my sessions on the saturday will look at how mobile devices such as iPads can be used to capture, present and enhance assessment tasks across all subjects and stages in our curriculum (although my session will be iPad focused, it could benefit teachers using BYOT and BYOD programs).



The full program is here:

How “Integrated Learning” cross-curricular units work at Gilroy WITH 1:1 iPads


Solar powered robots - science link (power)

Solar powered robots – science link (power)

Over the past few months I have been chatting to teachers about cross-curricular projects and how they can logistically work in schools. Gilroy has been in a special position because historically there is a timetabled allocation for “Integrated Learning” in year 7.  This subject WAS started to use an “Intel” program, it later morphed into an ICT course, programmed to include the use of laptops students created movies, completed photoshop courses and learnt about different software packages.

This year was the first that students at Gilroy have had iPads, this change meant that the curriculum had to change as the technology had changed. I used this opportunity to create NEW cross-curricular units of work that used the ipad.

My only plans when creating units was to:

  • Include a digital citizenship module AND embed this into remaining course
  • Have options for extension, experimentation, play and groupwork
  • Each unit have a project outcome
  • Each unit have clear cross-curricular content that is purposefully mapped/matched to subject scopes
  • Progression in technological skills
  • Explicitly teach technological skills that could be transferred into other classrooms and contexts
  • Use feedback from staff that currently/previously taught IL

After I researched possible projects, looked closer at the Fluency Project, I created a scope and sequence based on a draft I hand wrote:

7 Scope and Sequence

7 Scope and Sequence

Then I began programming. So far students have completed 3 terms of these programs, they have run successfully with the aid of teachers who are willing to experiment and problem solve.  I have been relying on the teachers reflection on program registration to work on improving units for 2014. The hiccups along the way have mainly been concerned with the digital submission of projects, something that I am now working towards fixing.

Feel free to USE these programs, share your cross curricular units or send some feedback!





MY ROBOT IL program

MONSTERS IL program – – – thank you to the author of the book for allowing us to use his content!

Alternatives to CONFISCATION in a 1:1 environment

Yes, confiscation can be an effective method of classroom management that can temporarily remove a distraction at the teachers/year co-ordinators discretion. HOWEVER, in the instance of technological devices it does not teach appropriate use of technology, self control or social etiquette.

Over the last 2 terms we have been adopting a different approach to managing students that are distracted gaming or misusing technology  – this has been supported by our techie and welfare team because it has minimal impact on classroom function:

On Laptops:

– REMOVING all internet access

– DISABLING certain programs – itunes?  OR whatever they were using inappropriately?

– RESTRICTING ACCESS – so only word/finder/powerpoint (for example) can be used


On iPads:

– REMOVING apps/internet access

– RESTRICTING access to itunes/app store

– NEGOTIATING with parents for course of action


WHY would you do this? – So students that use devices as part of their daily learning can still complete required tasks and not work avoid. Keeping in mind that much of our work set is reliant on edmodo, student access to online servers and software packages – USB files transfer is still available on all options for laptop and bluetooth transfer is still available on iPads. The aim is to still ALLOW the devices use, but restrict it (ie: take the fun out for a negotiated period of time).

Mobile phones: 

In regards to “phone etiquette”  I have been known to mimic student behaviour – for example I will take my phone out of my pocket and “text” while a student is in conversation with me – WHY? – so I can prompt them – “is this rude? why? this is what you did 5 mins ago? how is it different from me/you?”

I also adopt a “visibly off and invisible” approach to mobile phones if they are a nuisance, turn them off – put them away, this is not a blanket rule, it is only for those that cannot execute self control to keep it away during class activities/appropriate times. I do not like a “banned” policy in my classroom as there are so many instances where they can be useful and then the rules are confusing.

We need to remember that technology is NOT GOING AWAY – it is integrated into our lives, confiscation is not always a viable means to deter miss-use as it affects their productivity in other classes, there are other options that can be used, would love to hear your opinion and how you model appropriate use to your students.

Chrome VERSUS Safari on the ipad

There has been MUCH discussion on this topic over the past week since ipads have come to school in year 7’s bags.

I know where my opinion stands, and was asked to write a newsletter article stating pros/cons from an education point of view. Here is my two cents, feel free to disagree, you know where the comment box is- I may not reply 😉


Year 7’s are getting into the swing of things with ipads- and there has been MUCH debate over which browser is best to use. This debate is much like an “apple versus android” dispute (it goes round and round in circles, pros and cons of each). But let’s look at it from an EDUCATION and CYBER SAFETY point of view, and here is what matters to OUR KIDS:


  • Works with parental controls, allows for safer browsing, blocks explicit content if controls are set as such
  • Browsing history can be stored for reflection (and deleted too)
  • Slow processing speeds when loading webpages with lots of content
  • Works REALLY well with government initiative for cybersafety (reinforces our Pastoral and Integrated Learning program)
  • Downloads PDF files as necessary- does require an extra step than Chrome to do so
  • Easily collects bookmarks and offline reading
  • Default browser on ipad, all links automatically open in Safari, there is no changing this setting
  • Syncs favourites/bookmarks across mobile devices



  • Upon download, comes with a “age restricted warning” upon download to confirm you are over 17 (is this an attempt to say “there’s explicit content on the internet, not our fault if you access it??)
  • Can easily “incognito” browse so that history is not stored
  • DOES NOT enforce parental controls applied on the ipad
  • Happily plays flash content on sites
  • Quickly loads pages and downloads files/attachments

SO . . . they are SOME of the facts that are MOST relevant for our students, overall CHROME is a better performing browser. BUT, in my opinion SAFARI is a safer experience, this is also a school endorsed recommendation. Discuss this with your children, explain what and why we want to protect them on the internet.

Do you have the CYBER-SAFETY button installed on their ipad?? – – – ->

And in the true spirit of the internet, browsing and meme’s – I created one fitting:


Reinvigorating the old? Nah, change is WAY better!!

We all have those topics/units that run year to year and dont change. We feel comfortable in teaching them- we are experts in their content. But seriously, after teaching year 8 “satin boxer-shorts” for the hundredth time, the thought of another elastic casing almost made me wanna vomit. AS a staff we discussed ways to adapt and modify the unit . . . but, in the end the WHOLE LOT got a re-write! 

So, the NEW design situation and brief reads:

Design Situation-

You are a designer working for an accessory company and have been asked to design a new range of tech-bags that hold and protect a range of technological devices and hardware.

Design Brief-

Design and produce a laptop bag that employs natural textile materials including plant

and animal fibres in its construction and decoration that could be included in this range.  


Programming this unit has been an enjoyable collaborative process with staff in the English faculty teaching TAS staff hand felting processes and experienced textiles teachers showing me BETTER ways of finishing the project and sharing resources.

The unit runs under the ANIMAL PRODUCTION context area, and uses TEXTILES TECHNOLOGIES to produce a laptop sleeve. The unit has a digital “TEXT” that will eventually run through itunesU when ipads flow through next year.

I have attached the PROGRAM, BOOKLET, TEXT and ASSESSMENT . . . would love your feedback or any other resources that you think could be added!!






Providing iPad training for staff OFF SITE using GOGGLE DOCS!!

Teachers are busy people, we work ourselves silly until the silly season and holidays are here, we usually have those final days at school reserved for professional development and learning but seriously  who’s really awake? listening? coherent? 

Gilroy had the first stage of the 1:1 2013 roll out during the last week of school- PERFECT TIMING for staff to receive an ipad  as they could spend the holidays playing and exploring- BUT the downside is that staff and myself were tired in the last week of term, and too busy winding up 2012 to even think of what’s going on in 2013.

The solution was to create a set of online tutorials – I thought about hosting these on a website, but that would mean they were static, stand alone tutorials without being dynamic and collaborative. I therefore chose to create a PUBLIC GOOGE DOC FOLDER, by changing a single folders accessibility I did not make all my Google Doc files public. I also decided that SOME TUTORIALS should be collaborative, and others should not, again, changing the share settings to suit.

tutorials sreen shot

Currently there are 15 files in the folder, some are numbered, this creates a flow of “lessons” – – – staff teaching year 7 next year have the expectation to complete the first 5 as they are detrimental to the ipads operation and work flow in our classrooms – but as I add more, it is up to them if they feel confident to go further!

The bonus of this is that staff can COMPLETE PD IN THEIR OWN TIME, WHEN THEY ARE REFRESHED AND READY, refer back to the tutorials when required either by saving them onto their computer or accessing them online.


The files that are open for collaboration are for people to help shape, please contribute and add your ideas. Thank you to those who have already contributed, but also a specific thank you to Denise Lombardo as her “twitter teacher directory” is in there and has been MOST helpful 🙂


I have enabled sharing on the files so that others may use them too! Let me know what is useful to you and your colleagues 🙂

Rolling out 1:1 iPads at Gilroy !!

Collection of files that were distributed to parents as part of the 2013 roll out:

FAQ’ s

APPS for first round purchase – year 7 2013



Stylus, case and keyboard recomendations

Post Purchase Instructions

iPAD preso for parent info night- with audio

Approved apps and games for holiday play



Link to – – -> SCOOP-it 

Link to staff – – -> TRAINING FOLDER (updated CONSTANTLY!!)

Hope these help others !!

BYOD workshop materials – apps, online tools and how you ACTUALLY DO BYOD in the classroom.

Excitably this year at the IIATE conference I ran a workshop on BYOD (bring your own device).

How can portable devices such as tablets, smart phones, laptops, iPads and iPods be integrated effectively into technology classes to enhance learning?
Online tools, apps, games and websites that are relevant to a wide variety of TAS subjects will be demonstrated. Bring your own device on the day (ALL platforms and device types are welcome).”

Here is my prezi introducing the concept/idea of BYOD- – – – > PREZI 

In the weeks prior to the workshop I employed the help of my PLN to gather additional resources, because other teachers in my PLN teach in differing subject areas AND different device types AND they are pretty clever!

Some of the responses looked like this:

I went through each app that was suggested compiling a list that worked with my workshop sections/audience (keeping in mind my workshop was for TAS teachers in a high school setting):

  1. APPS

THIS info I then put into these handouts to be used on the day.

I chose to use QR codes as they are a GREAT way of getting A LOT of info into a small space – each QR code on the handout contained WHAT the tools DOES and HOW it could be integrated into the classroom. I can also attribute the groovy layout to comic life, SO EASY!!


Apps for BYOD

Websites for students BYOD

Stuff for teachers