2010 > Nives and Daniel created a proposal in response to a set of questions that I gave them about implementing robotics into the JTWP telescope curriculum.

They also provided a presentation containing information about the specific uses of robotics with gifted and talented students.

Recent Developments as of 24th March 2011

Have spoken to Guy about a plan to attach a netbook to each of the robotics kits – this will enable teachers using the robots to automatically have the technology they need, as well as relieve the notebook booking system and free up higher powered machines for general classroom use.
The correspondence with Guy included the following requests made to Aaron:
· Please organise through AV to borrow one of the netbooks from the Top Floor Geoghegan Building trolley – put an out of order card in its place
· Chase up the Robotics software (should be on Sol Installs) and install on netbook
· Chase up a Robotics Kit from Jade’s office and maybe with her help test its functionality on the netbook
What we need to know is if the ACER netbooks are going to be a suitable machine to devote to the Robotics Equipment.

I have not heard as of yet, but will be following up with Aaron on Monday (28/3/11).

PD Session - Term 2 (5/5/11)

I have a meeting with Steve Higham next week to organize a calendared whole day in-house PD session for Nives, Damian and myself to plan our Robotics Program for terms 2 & 3.

Post-session comments:

Session went really well, Nives and Damian built a robot and tested it with their laptops. Damian could not upload the program to the robot so Aaron fixed the problem.
Together we created the task sheet and joint rubric for the year 8 task. This will be attached when finalised.

Recent Developments as of 12th May 2011

Guy and the techs have almost completed the request for netbook allocation, as per the email sent on 5/5/11:
Reallocation of 10 ACER netbooks to the Robotics program - these will come from the Geoghegan trolley.
In place of these 14 netbooks, we will be putting 20 of the newer ACER 1430 notebooks back into this trolley (5 spare from the last deployment , and 15 from the latest delivery – these haven’t been imaged)
TIM: This means you need to organise the imaging of 15 of the newbies and track down the other 5 (from AV or Lib) that were left over
The booking module will also need to be updated to reflect this change – with Notebook/Netbook details and #’s
AARON: You are responsible for getting the 9 Netbooks ready for the robotics ( install robo software ?)

Tekskins have been ordered and should arrive this week, once these are finished the laptops will be available for deployment.

Current Focus - storage and powering of kits

Communication with AV has begun, they are ordering 2 x 5 outlet powerboards to be used to charge up the laptops in a centralised area. Options for 2011 include:
Julian Tenison Woods Office - store on coloured tables, plug in on return
Science storage area - would need to liase with Jean-Claude to ensure that the laptops would be plugged in after each session
A lockable cupboard somewhere else in the school.

Storage solution as of 24th June 2011

The kits are complete, with each storage tub housing the following equipment:
  • 1 Lego Mindstorms kit with extra sensor
  • 1 ACER notebook
There is also a teacher's box containing a spare Lego kit, chargers for notebooks, mats etc.
There is one kit dedicated to housing extra Lego pieces for building

Now what??? I need to come up with a new plan for housing the robotics kits, dependent on what happens to the Julian Tenison Woods Office!

Robotics Team Day 1

IWB Research

Shane has given me an interesting book called 'The Interactive Whiteboard Revolution: Teaching with IWBs' by Chris Betcher and Mal Lee.
I have been reading it and using a lot of the stuff in there to enhance my IWB training days here at the College. When I have completed my presentation I will post some examples on here, they make some very convincing arguments for the use of the IWB as part of a contemporary classroom and challenge the industrial model of teaching and learning.

Shane also put me onto a program called Fuse Creator which is a program that enables you to create your own interactive activities. I have only had a read through the stuff on their website, watched some demo videos and downloaded some files to read through, but so far it looks quite good.

Here are the electronic guides that come with the software:

Fuse Creator Analysis

Initial demo 'play' stage:
  • It looks pretty easy to use, with a simple interface
  • Contains templates for activities
  • The activities that teachers are wanting to create using Notebook 10 are able to be made quicker and easier
  • The focus is on interactivity, rather than just presenting
  • The activities that have been created look pretty cool, student engagement with the activity would be high
  • I would love to roll it out to student computers as well, but it looks like a substantial outlay for a school-wide site licence ($9,000?)
  • Not sure what other capabilities it has other than creating text and image based interactives - can it handle video/audio?
  • I haven't figured out how to make my activities look as good as the sample activities
  • After three years I haven't been able to see a huge amount of evidence that the existing programs teachers have available now are being used, so why buy a new one?
  • It could be a way for students to build on their oral presenting skills - rather than 'talking at' a PowerPoint

We have now purchased a copy of Fuse Creator, so after playing with it more extensively:


  • Buy limited licences for teachers at the school - one licence per domain
  • 2011 - Domain leaders nominate ONE staff member in their domain that is interested in trialling the software and creating resources for the domain.
  • Training - each domain person will need to do a full day of training in order to use the software effectively. This could be run by me but would need to occur in term one. Those staff members would not be able to be released from class on the one day, so may have to run one day per week for the first 4 weeks or so to target this group.

Requirements for success

Teachers need to be willing/volunteer to be the domain member responsible for the program's success
Domain people need time to provide this service for their domain - something must be given up for this...any suggestions? (a yard duty per cycle?)
The software must be installed properly on each domain person's laptop, and their laptop must be in full working order
I would need to support the domain people throughout the first year of implementation


Getting multiple teachers out on one day may be difficult in term one due to calendared activities
Once it is in the hands of the domain people it may 'fizzle out'

Shane: I like your research so far Jade. It has potential. May I suggest a listing of all the requirements for a successful implementation of these recommendations as well as a listing of all the constraints in implementing your recommendations? Any implementation process needs to have a clear understanding of what it takes for a success process as well as recognise the constraints that may hinder that success.This will allow you to develop a stringent and maintainable implementation process. It will also prevent / curtail any potential problems before they happen.

Online study tool/digital resources

Term 2
The following websites are being investigated by myself, in conjunction with the Maths telescope teachers.
This could potentially be a way of integrating more digital content into our Mathematics curriculum, allowing for differentiation and accelerated learning for individual students, cutting down on the amount of paper we consume etc etc.
We are looking into purchasing a number of licences for the jacplus site via the purchase of sets of textbooks at 8,9 and 10 - we are still figuring out the best way to do this or whether it is worth the outlay.

The Maths department and JTWP are paying for half each in the investment of a number of these textbooks at each year level from 7-10. When they arrive we will see how teachers can adapt their existing practices with these new books, firstly through Simon's class and then involve other teachers.

MacKillop wiki protocols

Term 1
One of the areas I am currently working on is the development of a set of common protocols for all MacKillop wikis. Over the three years that I have been working with wikis I have learnt much through trial and error, and most progress has come about through problems I or my colleagues have encountered. It is through a problem-solving approach that we make progress in our understanding of these collaborative technologies and figure out ways to best manage their use in our school.

It is only this year that a problem occurred where I created for the first time a wiki that could be used by an entire year level rather than simply contained within my specific class group. I decided to introduce a user name protocol to assist me to keep track of my members and identify them - I chose their student ID code as the most simple and effective way to do this. It was only once students could not change their user name due to having just changed it for a wiki they are participating on in another teacher's class (using a totally different user name protocol) that I began to see that a great achievement: the 'wiki explosion' that has occurred here at our school, might need managing for it to work as seamlessly as possible. For the first time, I could see that maybe we, as the pioneers of this wiki 'trend' had perhaps not filled our responsibility to effectively teach the ethical, safety and management issues and strategies to our staff who may be 'in the dark' about them.

Some issues that started coming to mind:

Many different sets of protocols for wiki use
Teachers' lack of awareness about cybersafety
Teachers having different expectations in regards to user name protocols

Strategies being employed to address these concerns:

Snapshot session

Aims: to discuss these concerns and raise others that teachers have come across
to develop a level of consistency of approach to using wikis
Result: I will develop a set of MacKillop protocols for all staff to use on their school wikis

The following concept map shows the ideas that were discussed and the decisions that were made:

'Beginners to wikis' PLMs

4 hour sessions
Aims: to offer a large number of staff an opportunity to learn about wikis from their peers who are experienced
Results: many more staff aware of existing wikis and to join existing class wikis
many more staff capable of using wikis
awareness of ethical, management and safety issues raised

Version One - MacKillop Wiki Protocols


Shane: I'm liking it so far Jade. The idea of one's rights being associated to one's responsibilities leading to the agreed protocol has a natural flow based on agreed value statements. i.e. the protocol reflects the values/morals and ethics addressed in the Rights/Responsibilities.
  • In my opinion this is important for all stakeholders in the wiki. In terms of feeling safe perhaps an indication of appropriate imagery can only be used may be worthwhile. "A picture is worth a thousand words!" :-)
  • In terms of file naming, good wiki management would also require a consistent file naming protocol so all members would be able to find and/or update / delete older files. This strengthens the levels of securing data against accidental loss, saves on wiki storage space (delete old for new) as well as maintaining accuracy and currency.