Digital Citizenship

Digital Citizenship is about students/teachers – both children and adults, knowing when to use technology and how to use technology appropriately.  In this blog, Jeff Dunn likens being a good digital citizen to being a girl or boy scout online.  Funny, but relevant analogy.  I located Jeff’s blog, through fellow student Jennifer Walsh’s blog on the same topic.

Jeff provides a picture of girl guide complete with the following 5 points for teachers to guide their students to achieve:

1. Protect private information

2. Respect themselves online

3. Stay safe online

4. Balance the time

5. Stand up to Cyber Bullying

Whilst this was a quick and easy overview, I felt as though I needed something more.  So I explored further and when I read Teresa Morgan, another fellow student’s blog on Digital Citizenship she provided information on the 9 Themes of Digital Citizenship which was written by Mike Ribble, this information enabled me to get a better grasp on the term itself and the meaning behind the term.

Universal Design for Learning

As part of course we have been asked to carry out a deeper investigation on a particular topic – I have chosen the Universal Design for Learning (UDL).  UDL is a framework that guides the process in which teachers create flexible learning environments that accommodate individual learning differences.

The overarching notion is relatively ‘simple’.  Simple in theory and can be simple in practice providing you endeavour to design, construct and accommodate the spectrum of learners – ALL learners through the following 3 principles.


1. Provide Multiple Means of Representation – give your learners various ways of acquiring knowledge and understanding.

2. Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression – allow your learners multiple ways of showing what they know.

3. Provide Multiple Means of Engagement – engage and enthuse your learners through the means which challenges and motivates them.

I located the above meanings and understandings by exploring different online resources, including the National Centre on Universal Design for Learning and reading other blogs about the area Kathleen McClaskey’s take on using Mobile Apps with the UDL framework and the blog which I found most informative, which was Jackie Gerstein’s take on UDL which provided much information as well as informative diagrams and video clips.  A fellow student Scott Corry also provides an excellent blog about UDL giving practical information in a very accessible way; make sure you check it out!

Reflecting back on Toolbelt theory

I referred back to the Toolbelt Theory earlier this week and a lot of what the author writes about I’m sure we can all resonate with on some kind of level, his words certainly rung true to me.  The Toolbelt Theory discusses how different learning experiences require a range of tasks for students to complete and to be able to do this successfully students need to learn what tool to use, when to use it, how to use it and judge its effectiveness in completing the required task.  This Toolbelt Theory not only has applications for educational settings, but real life experiences as well.  Socol, the author put it nicely when he explained.

“We, as humans, differ. Our tasks differ.  Our environments differ.  Our circumstances differ.  And we pick up the appropriate tool”.

In short, it is made clear that schools should be a tool shop, equipped with different tools selected to use for different learning experiences.

A great acronym to remember the principal surrounding Socol’s Toolbelt Theory is ‘TEST’ that I will share from our study desk is:

T – Task…Analyse the task and its sub-tasks.

E – Environment…Consider the environment in which the task needs to be complete.

S – Skills…Identify the skill set of the person who has to complete the task.

T – Tools…Evaluate all of the tools that are available to help complete the task and use the appropriate tool.


As a student cohort this week our lecturers have provided us all with access to a Googledocs spreadsheet where we can share problems that we have experienced thus far in the course.  Other students then access their own ‘tools’ and share how they have overcome these problems or provide alternative solutions.  It has been very beneficial for a lot of students.  Personally, I have learnt three new tools to put onto my toolbelt and only wish that I had access to these some time ago.  Or perhaps I already did?  But I just didn’t explore my surroundings enough to grab hold of them.


Socol, I. (2008). A Toolbelt and Universal Design – Education for Everyone [Web log post]. Retrieved March 5, 2013, from

Prac placement week 2

It has been a few weeks since my last blog even though it seems just like yesterday.  I am two thirds of the way through my professional experience and am loving the experience.  Year 2 is amazing! I am loving it way more than I thought I would!

I have taught almost full days this week which is a wonderful experience although today (friday) I am dead on my feet and my brain won’t function with addition to being 34 weeks pregnant.  I have tonnes of planning to get through before starting my final week and it has really started to get tiring!

Regarding ICTs implemented during prac, it is amazing.  I have incorporated it into Maths and Reading groups easily also.

I feel my classroom behaviour management skills have improved. I have used a behaviour ladder which requires students to move up or down with pegs according to their behaviour and it is working great.  During my maths unit (fractions), I have had a few of those ‘light bulb’ experiences with the children.  I am so grateful that a few of these occured when the Deputy was watching me.  This has given me the satisfaction of knowing that I must be doing something right. He also gave me a feedback form which he filled out and explained to me.

Prac marking system

While on Prac I have learnt heaps about self- reflection and how to get the students to show how they feel about there knowledge and understanding. The first was called the traffic light system which the students used the following


I found this fantastic! They used their thumbs to show either up meaning MASTERED, across meaning DEVELOPING or down meaning BEGINNING.

The students really liked this form of self reflection and quite often came back with either Developing or Mastering which was great!

Another way of providing a self-refection was in writing where they gave themselves a 3 star rating. It made them feel like they were the teacher and had some kind of input into their marks.

Extra thoughts on Planning for Prac

To start my first day I am asked to do an introduction of myself which I have decided I would use one of the tools I have gained from this course, Sliderocket. I believe students will find this more appealing than me showing a PowerPoint. I will discuss my favourite things and engage the students by asking them questions to learn about them too. The rest of my first week I am to plan Reading groups and Maths group activities, three writing lessons about characters and stereotypes, a lesson on listening comprehension and a Maths lesson on place value (representing numbers in different ways- to 1000).

The classroom is a complete dream for someone wanting to use ICT’s in the classroom and I believe I am going to take away lots of experience when finishing my 3 weeks placement and I can’t wait to learn using the interactive Smartboard.

Planning for Prac

The approach I am taking after visiting my year 2 class for the first time to meet the teacher and students is to keep students with the ICT’s they are used to. Each lesson starts with the Smartboard showing the students the WALT (what I am looking for), TIB’s (this is because) and the WILF (what I am looking for) which they read out or the teacher reads out showing that using the Smartboard is very interactive and allows the students to really engage in the content of the lesson. The amount of tools available to use with the Smartboard are amazing, with resources such as Ideal resources, Gordon, Envision Maths, Reading eggs, YouTube clips and many more. When starting the lesson, the teacher allows the students to engage in the content by using these resources. The teacher modelling the use of the Smartboard has made me more trusting of the use ICT’s in making the classroom a better learning space.

Preparation for Prac

The school is a state school located in a middle-class northern suburb of Brisbane. It is committed to using Information Communication Technology as a major focus which is integrated with the curriculum on a daily basis. Their aim is to produce responsible, thinking children, capable of using literacy skills that they have acquired, for their own benefit, to become active and co-operative life-long learners. Students will be provided with the opportunity to develop skills in a safe and supportive environment which caters for the needs of individuals, including the diversity in social or cultural backgrounds and individual abilities.

The school provides a holistic approach to education and values the importance of ICT Education as part of student’s development.

This program aims to develop students by-

  • Motivating  the engagement of students with      different modes of literacy
  • Helping      them to understand concepts through the use of ICT’s
  • Strengthening      the students use and awareness of ICT

Students are encouraged to use the one of two computer labs, in-class computers and the library to access information from internet and printed resources to gain knowledge and understandings of any learning area. The computers are also available during lunch breaks as an option instead of outside play. The school also has a photography lab available with cameras which can be borrowed by classrooms and each classroom has an interactive Smartboard. Each classroom shares 10 iPads with another classroom where students have access to a range of applications to inspire learning through interaction.

Interactive Smartboards

During my Prac I have been lucky to have ICT’s everywhere I look. I have found the best thing to be the Smartboard. It is amazing and makes teaching and learning fun! Having everything available for you so you can’t forget anything you want to teach and being able to provide the children with activities they can come up in front of class and complete is awesome! I’ve been using applications like envision Maths and one called Gordons which have been great fun for m and the students!