Children’s literacy, oral and language development are enhanced through digital technology like iPad apps, allowing interactive, play-based learning. Jones (2012) terms this “collaborative multimodal dialogue.” iPads are already prevalent in popular culture, so students need no convincing to see their relevance in learning. Many students already know how to navigate iPads before entering school, despite their limited literacy skills. Picture books can be read aloud on iPads and eBooks, and using Apps students can then create meaning from these narratives through creative responses embedded in the App. This might include an oral retelling of a story with the support of a stimulus like finger puppets or the Playschool ArtMaker App. Students can be encouraged to draw on their own experiences in the retelling and connection to these stories. Students benefit from storyboard scaffolding in the App, encouraging a structure of ‘beginning’, ‘middle’ and ‘end’ in a story retelling.  This process is entirely student-centred.   Jones (2012) found that using Apps in this way greatly improved development of student’s oral language development.

We also explored the Storyboard App, allowing you to create professional storyboards with annotations, backgrounds and animations. It would encourage students to sequence narratives However, we found it hard to navigate, even as adults. It was hard to find the functions for enlarging texts and adding photographs. With some training, students in Stage 3 may be able to access the program on a limited level.


Jones, M. (2012), ipads and kindergarten- students literacy development, SCAN31(4), 31-40. 


It is dangerous to assume that Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs) infallibly enhance learning because they are interactive. Higgins, Beauchamp and Miller (2007)  make clear that teachers are still the pivotal determinant in student learning, with or without an IWB.

On reflection of my professional experience, we only used the IWB as a projector screen, with the teacher using the computer and students contributing answers orally. When I asked why it wasn’t used more interactively, she said she would need to transfer her lesson plans and programs into the software, and it always required recalibration. Reluctantly, she showed me how to use the software but I felt it was an opportunity wasted, both for myself and for the students.

While the advantages of IWBs are many, including multimodality, immediate feedback, efficiency, maintains attention and caters to different learning styles, teachers and students require training and support to fully utilise the technology in embedded, meaningful practice. Without doing so, it may lure teachers into the trap of reinforcing teacher-led pedagogy, and this is why handover to students is important.



Higgins, S., G. Beauchamp, and D. Miller (2007), Reviewing the literature on interactive whiteboards, Learning, Media and technology32(3), 213-225.

The Lost Thing IWB lesson procedure:

1. Read the Lost Thing to students
2. Bring up IWB file on Smartboard

3. Explain the purpose of the lesson: To explore how Shaun Tan uses particular images and setting to create a certain mood and feeling.

4. Show image of last page. Ask ‘how does Shaun Tan want us to feel about this image? ‘can anyone suggest what about the image makes you feel this way?’

5. Explain that we are going to change the mood and feeling of this image by adding to the setting.

6. Demonstrate how to click and drag an item into the image, modelling how to give a reason for your choice, eg. ‘I’m going to add this butterfly, because they remind me of being out in the sunshine, which makes me feel warm and content.’ Check your prediction to see if your edit alters the mood of the image.
7. Click and drag the corresponding adjective under the image.

8. Have various students come up to IWB and repeat Steps 6 and 7.

9. Hold a discussion of how images and setting change the mood and feelings of a book.


See this screen shot of our IWB workfile below:Image

I’ve created a new site with a collection of online resources for Creative and Performing Arts!

Check it out at

Creating a class blog is a useful way of showcasing the activities and topics learnt in class. But blogging needs to be done appropriately, by choosing relevant, informative content and keeping comments refined and age-appropriate.

Take a look at this blog (linked below), which is a class blog for Mr Avery’s Year 6 class in Massachusetts, USA. It is a comprehensive, well-designed blog that simultaneously teaches students how to blog with etiquette (see the class-developed guidelines) and tracks class topics, activities and field trips. Stage 3 students from all around the world can connect with this blog and tap into this international pen-pal system. Teachers can also use the blog for sharing classroom ideas and providing students with global perspectives.


By comparison, take a look at this blog (linked below), which focuses instead on a certain topic: biology. Designed to cross year levels, it is targeted at students completing AS/A2 biology units in the UK senior high school system. It features a good balance of light-hearted and more scientific posts that keep students engaged in biology, keeping up to date in world biology news, events and research. Most posts have annotations and tags. The blog is also used to remind students of administration matters and provides sample exams. I see utility of this blog in classrooms as young as Stage 3 (Year 5 and 6) in fostering interests in biology.


Kim Pericles is a Year 4, 5, and 6 teacher, aiming to instill her blogging enthusiasm into her student’s learning practices. I’ve drawn out three key ideas from her 2008 article, Happily Blogging.

Key Idea One:

Developing student responsibility and awareness for blogging etiquette and online safety.

By viewing various existing blogs as a class, carefully scaffold how to make and monitor appropriate posts and comments, keep a blog ‘on topic’ and make a blog aesthetically pleasing. The class can then develop a set of guidelines and criteria by which students can assess their own and other’s progress. These guidelines should be displayed and continually revisited.

Key Idea Two:

Students self-select topics to ensure engagement

Working individually, in pairs or small groups, students self-select their blog topic, and determine their purpose and audience. Students are then intrinsically motivated to produce authentic, quality work. Some examples of self-selected activities in Kim Pericle’s Year 4, 5 and 6 class include:

– Becoming ‘experts’ in their field of interest, curating information and replying to comment threads.

– Blogging examples of their classswork as an ‘online showcase’

– Publishing original writing online and receiving feedback from people from all over the world on comment threads.

– Creating and updating a class newsletter

– Share class activities like science experiments, debating topics and drama, music and dance performances.

Key Idea Three:

Broaden technological skills by using a variety of tools

A blog is a centralised platform where you can embed video, photographic and text slideshows and montages, create personal avatars, animations, post music, mindmap online, create hyperlinks and play games. Using all of these tools in a blog keeps it interactive and engaging.



Pericles, K. (2008). Happily blogging @ Belmore South. SCAN, 27(2), 4-6

Aside  —  Posted: March 26, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Jim Jorstad, in the TEDx talk series, illuminates the disconnected way we are communicating with each other. He teaches us how to reconnect through digital storytelling.

Video  —  Posted: March 20, 2014 in Uncategorized
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