Shane: projects on the go ...

Online MacKillop Newsletter

ICT Edn R+D, while not a part of the publication processes and productions at MacKillop College, were asked by management to investigate the new online newsletter and make recommendations to the committee in terms of how best to solve this information problem. The attached document is a final analysis with recommendations which will be presented to Management for further action.

Digital Education Revolution Funding (DER)

Acquisitions and deployment of DER funds pertaining to hardware and on-costs.

St Mary's Campus:

In 2010 we hope to deploy approximately an extra 150 PC/notebooks throughout the college. 56 of these will be based down at SMC. 8 per room inside their own secure storage / power cage. Teachers will not have to book these notebboks as they are in the actual classrooms. These will be in addition to the 8 PC in each classroom. The deployment, via the inclass cages, will be evaluated based on SMC feedback on ease of deployment, security and reliability of re-powering. Robustness of the notebooks will also be evaluated by monitoring the amount of times these machines are down for servicing etc.


We now have a PC Lock COWs down at SMC. It was found more through circumstance than good judgement (lol) that the PC Locks are better for transporting on the SMC terrrain rather than the labcaddy. We are now of the opinion that the caddies will best suit upper and lower main campus buildings where transport is not an issue and where there are no lockable cabinets. Whereas the PC Locks would be better for Providence place where they could be stored in a purpose built cabinet in Penola then easily transported across to Penola. I have tested transporting the PC Lock COWS and they can easily be transported safely acrros the path and up the woooden ramps theninto the rooms. At the moment we are unable to store in middle coordinators office. Often is unmanned due to work commitments and also constant interruptions would be intrusive into the proper functionality of the office. The PC Lock COWS would need to have a pastic cover made for protection from weather. Perhaps McCormacks Upholsterers could help.

Ti-nspire Calculators:

DER funding has bought 50 Ti-nspire calculators for student use Yrs 9-12. Along with this hardware we are looking at acquiring 20-30 teacher licenses for the Teacher Software which will support student learning in how to use these machines. We are also looking at acquiring the Ti-nspire Navigator System. See the following video Cost could be a significant issue with the teacher software. Discussion still on-going as to whether we go with concurrent or indvidualised perpetual licensing.

Having majpor problems with software. Have acquired 30 copies (concurrent) but does not deploy correctly. Guy has been in talks with EdSoft (supplier) andit was decided to go to individual licenses. Re-negotiation of pricing is occuring with some difficulty.

Beginning 2011: Software deployment problem has been resolved with a resolution on pricing.(Guy Anderson)

Interesting talk from Conrad Wolfram


We now have 30 individual Ti-nspire teacher software. Come September we are acquiring the Navigator System. The TI-Nspire Navigator is a wireless classroom learning system that is shown by research* to engage students, encourage classroom participation and increase achievement. Through a wireless network of TI-Nspire or TI-Nspire CAS handhelds, the TI-Nspire Navigator supposeably enables a new dimension of interactive teaching and learning with:

  • Instant Assessment: With quick polls and automatic screen captures, teachers can instantly gauge understanding and adjust instruction based on student progress.
  • Increased Student Engagement: Any student can present their calculator screen from anywhere in the room. Teachers can redirect their lesson to target their students' trouble areas.
It is hoped that thits will promote stydent engagement with mathematics where the Ti-nspire us used. The Maths HODs seem to think this will be a big plus for the Specialist and Maths Methods students. We will be interested in getting feedback from the students in terms of does it support their understanding and engagement levels. It must be emphasised that these technologies only assist good pedagogy and teacher-student relationships. Its not the band-aid or panacea for bad practices.


Michael Sheedy has solved the wireless issue we have with the navigator system. He will be completing a PD preparation Day last day of Term 1, 2011. It is hoped that this will then be presented to the 6 x staff in Terms 2,3 and 4.

Tappiener Building:

The System Committee is looking at acquiring 50 netbooks for the sole use of classes in Tappiener Building. Deployment via JBC has been successful but not without extra workloads on JBC staff. The present system has delivered efficencies to deployment with reasonable fairness in sharing, however, we need to look at value-added means of deployment that do not require extra workloads on the JBC staff. Therefore we have negotiated cupboard space within Tappeiner that requires some modifications but would be suitable ofr teacher-monitored deployment. We may look into the swipe card access lock to access these netbooks.


The Systems Dept have decided on a caddy deployment option. Each building level will have access to a caddy which can be booked by teachers for classroom use. Issues of over booking have arisen but the JBC have been diligent in its monitoring. They of course can't police all actions of staff but they are doing the best they can. The mentality of providing activities that continually require a 1-to-1 ratio has to be addressed by each Domain.

Professional Development:

The Systems Commitee have agreed that 35% of the total on-costing arrangements will be targetting teacher professional development. We will continue on with the internal MacKillop PD courses. They were very successful last year and with DER funding we can continue on with these course as well as expand them. We have added PD for teachers using the Ti-nspire Calculators. Time has been given to the presenters so that they may revise, evaluate and further develop their course in the hope that they better serve the needs of the teachers.
18/6/2010: We will not be offering Internal PD for Ti-nspire but we are expanding IWBs with LOTE and Maths specific presentations. The ARS systems will also be expanded with a specific Science component. We have also added Geometer's SketchPad to our internal PD offerings.
27/03/2011: Good news - Ti-nspire PD will be offered this year. We are alos looking at expanding our present selection to include Google Sketch Up.

Weather Stations:

We are looking into acquiring two digital weather stations. ne for the main campus and the other for SMC. Have emailed Ecolinc for advice and waitng for response. As indicated by the CLLs from SMC it would offer significant support in SMCs integrated program. We also see it as enhancing main campus resourcing and potential suppport for the new Australian Curriculum.

Appleseed GPS funding application

Mel Goodall has applied for DER Funding for 2 x Johnny Appleseed GPS Units (inc peripherals) at a cost of $1700. It was granted and the hardware was acquired. Mel is going to work on a PD for her staff and has begun to successfully implelent their use in the Year 12 Unit 3/4 course.

Geometer Sketchpad: Maths

Have been speaking with Maths HODs. We have a full site license for Geomter Sketchpad 3 (GS3) however upgrades for GS5 are not available. Simon P has been investigating its potential and will be running PD days on its use in the classroom. He has been excited with its potential for student mathematical engagement along with its use with the IWBs.

Excerpt taken from Geometer Setchpads web site: Academic research has found that Sketchpad use has positive impact on student achievement (Battista, 2002; Hollebrands, 2007), conceptual understanding (Frekering, 1994), motivation and engagement (Sinclair, 2006). A large-scale assessment of technology trends in American education, conducted by researchers at the University of California, reports that mathematics teachers across the country find Sketchpad to be "the most valuable software for students"—and they agree more on this opinion than teachers in any other discipline agree on their most valued technology tools (Becker, 1999). The National Council for Teachers of Mathematics' Standards explicitly recommends the use of Dynamic Geometry at several grade levels (NCTM, 2000).

The Research Basis for Sketchpad ... Full executive summary

Cost @ 100+ school campus license is $18.75 ex GST

13/11/2010: The school has acquired 330 licenses @ 18.00 a seat. We now have a full day PD program which will run for at least until the end of 2011. Already maths staff are very excited with its potential use in the classroom. This is a program that can offer alternative practices for learning Geometry as well as being open enough for analysis, research, and creating theorems whereby synthesis of knowledge can be proved/disproved in an visualization that is very hard to replicate. A good technology for a good teacher, an expensive baby-sitter for others.

Learning Spaces

New MacKillop Infrastrucure: Have spoken to ICT R&D team and asked for feedback. Will be speaking to ICT Domain staff asking for a list of their wants and needs. Am thinking about see our student SRC body about any suggestions. Have also considered running a snap shot for teachers and asking for feedback.

The ICT Domain were very appreciative of feedback time and came up with a significant list of requirements that would enhance the learning spaces. These have been recorded and will be discussed further to be passed onto to architect and systems designer.

Will be running general staff feedback session on Monday 22nd March @ 3:30 pm. Will report back finding from this session. Need to offer this feedback session to the CLLs and add to CLL meeting agenda. Will get in contact with Jacquie.Jan as to SRC feedback on new building.

More research on Learning Spaces

AB Tutor Classroom Management

Evaluating software for educational purposes.

Broadcast and share

  • Broadcast tutor screen to students
  • Show static, locked, screen to students
  • Show a student's screen to others
  • Annotate live demo
  • Record tutor screen and audio for lesson playback​

Very handy for student demos and peer to peer tutoring. Excellent use of IWB if students can annotate on board and screen dump. This software could be very useful for teachers who are not used to having significnt numbers of persnal notebboks in class and want to amke sure that students are keeping a focus on the educational tasks at hand.

Blogging and SMC

Have been in contact with SMC concerning Blogging. Researched and found out we cannot access as we are not a DEECD school. However have been looking at (free) and edublogs (possibly free with limitation or can organise campus deal that allows for greater flexibilty).
Here is an interesting article concerning the pros / cons of blogging .

17/05/2010: Good news I think. I was able to make an account at Global Teacher which means it has been freed up from the DEECD constrictions. Have sp[oken to Troy and we are organising, along with Andrea, some research time with this tool for SMC teacher / students.

On Demand Testing

We now have over 40 staff who have successfully completed the Introduction into On Demand Testing. We are now looking at the 2nd Stage which is to take a number of these teachers further and offer them administrative rights/access. We have used the criteria of those who have extensively used the program in their classes and have an deepened experience of the classroom logistics and processes as well as practice in interpreting the results given to them. We hope to e able to give all teachers these rights. Access to rich data in a timey manner is important to professional teachers. Ease of access and mixed with immediacy are two common factors that have a significantly positive influence on teachers in using ICTs to assist in the classroom learning processes.

Have set up a session for ODT Administrators. I will be adding six teacher to the teacher level and will PD on how to create a testing session and how to search and report on results.

Have been successful in training new teacher-class users of the ODT. Will look for more as time goes by. Nice to see that some of these teachers have been creating tests for other "Intro" Level teachers. This is exactly what we want. Learning to lead sometimes means knowing when to sit at the back of the bus :-)


ODT is really starting to take off due to the encouragement of the Maths and English Domain Leaders. It is getting to the stage where I will have to qwuicken the process of offering teachers "teacher level" so that they can create and collate their own ODTs.

Mot teachers have been reporting back that they find the ODTs very helpful and supportive tin their teacher. They love hte idea of near instant correction and the format of report the findings from their class. Some are still having problems in the timing of the tests within their class. Some are still wanting to have 24 computers because the perception is that all have to do the test at once for various reasons. This is becoming an issue but I am sure the Domains will figure out an appropriate solution.

Violence and Video Games

I have been doing some reading on the uses and effects of video gaming nad have come across a significant study that, in my opinion, cannot be ignored. The American Psychological Association (APA) have found through an extensive meta-analytical review that violent videos do have an effect on people, especially children.

An excerpt from the Generation Next blog better summarises the data: "The review was extensive and involved “70 independent effects involving over 18,000 participants from multiple countries, ages, and culture types, it yielded strong evidence that playing violence video games is a significant risk factor for bother short-term and long-term increases in physically aggressive behaviour”. For further reading of the article go to the Generation Next blog.

Therefore this brings into question the computer room uses during lunchtime. While at first the use of gaming was allowed during this time; the type of gaming now comes into question. I will need to address this with my fellow ICT R&D staff, the ICT Domain and Student Welfare stakeholders.

Am reading the actual proofs of the APA meta-analysis. Just a thought ... why not acquire a couple of non-violent games for students to play? Maybe ask the SRC to recommend .. hmmm.

Think U Know

ThinkUKnow is an Internet safety program delivering interactive training to parents, carers and teachers through primary and secondary schools across Australia using a network of accredited trainers. Created by the UK Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, ThinkUKnow Australia has been developed by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Microsoft Australia.

We have faxed an expression of interst in becoming a school venue provider for Think U Know Community talks. They were asking for a school representative "champion" t present but I don't know what the commitment is ... I will have to investigate this.

ACEC 2010 Conference

Friday 9th April

Session One: Gary Stager - Keynote - Gary Stager - You Say You Want a Revolution?

This keynote will explore the notion of the digital learning revolution and its assumptions while addressing such questions as, "What happened to the last digital revolution in Australia?" Were there lessons learned? If not, why not? Who are the combatants in this latest revolution? Will children, democracy and creativity be the first casualties. Gary Stager will reflect upon his experiences of working in Australian schools for the past twenty years and insights gained from similar top-down "reform" efforts being imposed across the United States.

Have now heard Stager speak three times. He studied under Seymour Papert who in turn worked with Claude Piaget. Papert had a strong alliance to constructivism. Whereby children construct their knowledge through experimenting, problem solving and "doing nad constructing" rather than by didactic means. He was the father of LOGO. Stager, through his USA experience expressed disappointment at the nationalisation of the Australian curriculum, national testing and national goverment imposed compliance to standards on local education via budgetary means. He had worked with Australian schools (mostly indepedents) and was impressed with the initital uptake of computers. Now he sees that Australian education has fallen into the same path as the USA and no longer provides a guiding light in computers in education, much to his disappointment. He is a great believer in the 1:1 computer program but challenges its uses in the classroom. Much of what he said was a repeat over the last few talks but offered little to the general clasroom teacher. He would do better to address the designers of the Australian Curriculum because much of what he spoke about needed to be heard by those people with direct access to the eyes and ears of the polictical education scene.

Session Two: Randy Orwin, Hello out there! Using Open Source Tools to Improve School Communications

An interesting session if only for the fact that Randy was in Queensland at the time and delivered his session via a room moderator, Michael and Elluminate web software. Two very interesting open source software was Mahara (blog and eportfolio software) and Elgg (Social networking software). Try here to get a summary of the session

Session Three: Michael Mules - Coping with Change: How Carey Baptist Grammar has introduced new technologies to their staff and students

Didn't really get much from this session. We had or have implemented mcuh of what he said. If anything only affirmed our own advancement with far less resources.

Session Four: Chris Betcher Keynote

Chris Betcher is an Australian educator, writer, speaker, blogger and podcaster. He blogs regularly about education, technology and ideas, and he is an active contributor within the global edtech community. His is co-author of "The Interactive Whiteboard Revolution", a book and online community focused on the effective use of interactive technology in schools. Chris is currently the ICT Integrator at PLC Sydney. His keynote was rather eclectic and disjointed. However he did touch upon an area that is of particular interest to me ... Creativity. What is it and how do you teach it? Adrian Bruce (see below did a better job of this).

Session Five: Adrian Bruce - Let’s Get Creative with Digital Art

A very enjoyable session. It looked at free available resources in terms of ICT and the Arts. He offered a very different perspective to Digital Arts. He was looking more at using technologies as a means of engagement into the articstic processes rather than the production phase. His site is worth a visit. Summary of session is here digitalartlinks.pdf however most links don't work. You can go to his site to get a better idea about what he has to offer.

Go to the following sites for more resources:

Session Six: Richard Olsen - IdeasLAB - Understanding Virtual Pedagogies
A bit disappointed in this one. I was hoping to hear more about their aims to challenge the way we think about learning and teaching, and find new ways to take technology into the classroom. However this session was ideasLAB’s Understanding Virtual Pedagogies theme specifically exploring Object Centred Sociality, Collective Knowledge and Scalable Open Online Courses. A bit dry and was pointed more towards adult learning pedagogies rather than children.

Microsoft Office VS Open Office

Need to investigate the +/- of moving the school over to Open Office (Freeware)

8/8/2010: This may be a waste of time given that our updated Intranet will require minimum MS Office 2007.

13/11/2010: Looks like we are going to MS Office 2010 for 2011. We need to because of our intranet requirements. Not happy about being dictated to by external provider whose solution to upgrade their portal is to add further costs to school. His answer is the add costs to his clients to pay for his lack of skill / knoweledge in creating a fully compatible solution with existing dependent systems. Lack of quality broad-range programming skills.

CEVN Digital Survey Skills > Atomic Learning

We have received our results from the digital survey skills and as expected we are at least equal in perceived skill sets to the rest of the Diocese and State. Variation is minimal but we do have some strengths. (See attached document)

I have been looking at Atomic Learning for a while now. In fact we have had an annual school license but stopped sunscription due to lack of use. However, never say never and we may be at a stage now where pur staff will access this resopurce more often as they have become more fluent users who are expected to promote and practice 21st Century Learning. Also Atomic Learning has matured and offers a lot more than in the past. ePortfolios, Assessment modules, personalise learning created by administrator and/or the actual teacher. This allows for evidenced work and online 24/7 PD which some of our teachers are ready. Some staff members have already participated in online PD session and have been positive in their response. The variety of software covered by Atomic os good and covers many of our software packages on our image.

15/8/2010: We have acquire an Atomic Learning license @ approx $50 per head for 112 FTE Teachers. This covers all staff including ancillary etc. As well as this all our students and parents will be able to access this resource for free through accounts that we will set up. We will evaluate close to the re-subscription time. The atomic learning admn systems will allow us to gather data on usage across two groups, hte MacKillop staff and Parent/student group (one account).. I have asked Systems to have on the bypass list for student and staff internet credit.

2/9/2010: Trouble with bypass for students at school. HTTPS and issue. Initially no solution other than opening up all HTTPS sites however after further investigation by Guy a bypass has been established.

Designing Schools for the 21st Century

Designing Schools for 21st Century Learning from New Learning Institute on Vimeo.

Jade > Hi Shane, just wanted to link to a series of videos on Teacher Tube that show different aspects of school redesign that might be interesting :)

Furnishings for New ICT Building

Have been in contact with Woods Furniture. They have come up with a concept plan for furshings in the 7 GPLAs, learning atrium as well as the break out are. Below are the concept images created by them.

Concept Drawing for GPLA 2 and 3


Concept Drawing for GPLA 1,4,5,6 and 7


Concept Drawing for Learning Atrium and Break Out Area