Published on March 10, 2014
March 2013 33 Cloud in the classroom Upskilling teachers 19 g hin eo c Tea vid , h wit niques , h Tecamerase c twar sof 36 ONLINE RESOURCES Top 10 sites for content + tech gear + software + security + cloud + eClassroom
Broker Education Laptop Insurance Taking the risk out of student laptop programs Laptops ü ü ü ü Covered anywhere in the world ü for the entire period of insurance. ü Choice of $100, $150 or $200 excess per unit per claim. ü 1, 2, 3 or 4 years’ cover available. ü Covered for Accidental Loss or Damage and Theft. Netbooks Tablets Covered anywhere in Australia. ü A low $50.00 excess applies per unit per claim. Covered anywhere in the world for the entire period of insurance. ü A low $100.00 excess applies per unit per claim. ü 1, 2, 3 or 4 years’ cover available. ü Covered for Accidental Loss or Damage and Theft. 1,2,3 or 4 years’ cover available. Covered for Accidental Loss or Damage and Theft. Call iBroker for a quote on 1300 389 083, email firstname.lastname@example.org or request a quote online at www.ibroker.net.au 2 ER Techguide
contents news 04 Online bullying EDITORS Antonia Maiolo (02) 9963 8618 email@example.com Cyber safety scheme unveiled 06 Adventure learning Amie Larter (02) 9936 8610 firstname.lastname@example.org Bringing outdoors into the classroom 08 Online safety JOURNALIST Aileen Macalintal email@example.com Parents and schools need to be wary production manager Cj Malgo (02) 9936 8772 firstname.lastname@example.org 04 GRAPHIC DESIGN Ryan Andrew Salcedo email@example.com tech gear 14 Future classrooms 19 Product focus: Video How-to tips for teachers software 24 Tried and tested Educators give their verdict SUBSCRIPTION INQUIRIES (02) 9936 8666 firstname.lastname@example.org 06 PUBLISHED BY APN Educational Media (ACN 010 655 446) PO Box 488 Darlinghurst, NSW 1300 ISSN 1834-7967 security 28 Protect data flow Your school’s responsibility 30 New online forum Kids speak up for kids 32 Opinion: Nigel Phair How to be responsible cloud 33 Data storage Making IT more reliable 14 eClassroom 36 Click here Top ten websites revealed 10 24 March 201 3 National program ends Teaching’s technological future CHIEF SUBEDITOR Richard Jenkins (02) 9936 8643 email@example.com PUBLISHER’S NOTE © Copyright. No part of this publication can be used or reproduced in any format without express permission in writing from APN Educational Media. The mention of a product or service, person or company in this publication, does not indicate the publisher’s endorsement. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the opinion of the publisher, its agents, company officers or employees. news report 10 Computer giveaway 33 ER Techguide 3
news New programs to tackle cyberbullying By AILEEN MACALINTAL a new program to combat online bullying will be delivered to more than 3200 schools across Australia. Life Education Australia’s bCyberwise module is designed to train primary school students to be “safe and respectful digital citizens” amid wide concerns over bullying through the internet, particularly through social media. The program, developed with online security company McAfee, was launched in Sydney earlier in the year by Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Life Education has already been sending mobile vans to schools to provide occasional lessons on health, safety and drugs. It will now expand the program to include positive digital behaviour. The lessons, made for children in middle primary school years and older, aim to promote positive communication and discourage harassment among children. A McAfee study found about a quarter of its 500 respondents had been victims of cyberbullying. Half of these Australian teenagers had seen a classmate or friend enduring cruel treatment online; the most common venue for this cyberbullying was Facebook. Dr Damian Maher, a lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney, and an 4 ER Techguide expert on cyberbullying and computers in schools, praised the program. He said discussions about online safety should start during middle primary school. “The program is a welcome addition. The Life Ed programs are all well run and organised and they provide good resources for both staff and students.” Maher said the root of bullying, both online and offline, was a bully’s urge to have power over another person. “Often, those who bully have been or are being bullied. Cyberbullying is usually a continuation of offline bullying.” Maher said programs like those of Life Education were important for getting students to talk about online bullying and for them to develop skills. He also said parents needed to be aware of what their children were doing online. Maher said the program taught children about internet etiquette and proper online behaviour, as well as strategies for dealing with conflict. Education psychologist Dr Michael Bernard, the founder of support group You Can Do It! Education, also provides coping skills and strategies. He agreed that young people needed education on dealing with bullying in all forms, and highlighted the damage it can do. “People who are being cyberbullied take it personally,” he said. “They put themselves down; they think that no-one likes them; they feel unloved, unappreciated.” But Bernard said young people could learn to change their attitude. “Young people have a tremendous capacity to deal with it,” he said. “In my own programs, we empower young people to help them think about cyberbullying in less self-destructive ways.” He said instead of taking it personally, victims should tell themselves: “Even I’m being bullied, I’m still a worthwhile person. This is not the worst thing to happen to me. I can cope with this. I have friends.” Some of his other tips include talking to friends, finding ways to relax, and having fun to distract oneself from incidences of bullying. n
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news Expedition Class goes By AILEEN MACALINTAL t asmanian Australian of the Year finalist Andrew Hughes has announced details of his 2013 Expedition Class, which connects students directly with an adventure journey into a remote part of the world. On August 1 he will set off to explore the volcanoes of New Britain in Papua New Guinea, where Mt Tavavur erupted in January. In his Expedition Class, he undertakes expeditions and shares adventure stories from the journey in real time to young students online. Hughes was inspired by the concepts of Adventure Learning (AL), a small but growing field of study pioneered in the United States. On these journeys Hughes takes a satellite phone, laptop, lots of spare batteries and/or a solar panel in order to stay connected. Every night, he uploads field reports with photos to his website (www.expeditionclass.com), and responds to student questions and comments in the forum. Students can also post their own work to the site and share it with other participants. One of his most memorable experiences was a 5000km kayak from Hobart to Cape York, but past expeditions include exploring the coast of Tasmania, surviving for four weeks on a remote PNG island, and undertaking a hunt for the Tasmanian tiger. 6 ER Techguide
news volcano-hunting In preparation for the Volcano Land expedition, Hughes is making visits to schools from May to July and will be preparing student and teacher graded workbooks, containing Australian curriculum-aligned activities from science, geography and maths. Hughes said the outdoors was the best type of classroom, and giving young people a chance to explore the natural world was an important way to help them understand their place in it. “Each day, whatever age you are, is an opportunity to learn something new, help someone that needs it and understand where you live just a little better,” he said. Hughes said technology had opened students’ minds to worlds that might not have been accessible to them, and that it was a powerful tool in education. But he warned that technology users should not lose sight of the purpose of using gadgets and the internet. “If it shackles us to ways of learning that are not compatible with skills fulfilment, happiness and social good, then we need to question its use,” he said. “Technology used well is an awesome thing; used badly it’s a wasted afternoon on the net.” n March 201 3 Andrew Hughes ER Techguide 7
news Cybersafety: kids and parents need help By AILEEN MACALINTAL c hildren should be guided from the age of five or six on how to use the internet safely, according to a report from the UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). Its phone helpline service, ChildLine, carried out 3745 counselling sessions last year about online abuse, with most callers aged between 12 and 15. A further 250 contacts were from children who said they were being groomed online, and there was also a sharp rise in calls about exposure to online pornography, with some callers as young as 11 years old. Professor Debra Bateman from Deakin University School of Education said the community, governments, schools, parents and technologists had to work together on online education. “Children and adolescents need assistance with setting boundaries,” she said. “Boundaries keep people safe, and prevent harm which can occur in any setting.” Schools should develop students’ skills, knowledge and behaviours, and ensure online resources are safe. Bateman noted that interactive game site Mathletics offered young students a moderated and hence secure online space, and immersive multi-user educational environments such as Quest Atlantis provided older primary school age groups with similarly controlled sites that teachers could patrol in real time. Frank Sal, president of the Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals, said that cyberbullying had been going on for a decade but had been growing as technology advanced. “I believe parents have a huge role to play on this and they can’t expect the schools to be controlling all that is happening in the internet,” he said. On the subject of accessing online pornography, Sal said this tended to happen outside school. Research revealed that parents felt a sense of helplessness and lack of knowledge of their children’s online activities, Bateman said, and that a government committed to the Digital Educational Revolution had a role to play. “Developing digital citizenship requires greater guidance and consideration than simply publishing ‘do not’s and ‘be aware of’s,” she said. “It is about educating all people to be responsible and thoughtful in the ways that they represent themselves.” n scribe Sub Now The latest news and resources for schools and teachers • Comprehensive coverage of a diverse range of topics • VET in schools and higher education • What’s happening in public and private schools • Analysis of major issues facing the education sector Enjoy the convenience of having Education Review delivered directly to your door. Your subscription also includes 4 issues of Education Review Techguide which serves to demystify new technology and present case studies of ‘best practice’ solutions in our schools. firstname.lastname@example.org | www.educationreview.com.au 8 ER Techguide
news New bulk iPad management cart p C Locs offers a range of bulk storage, security and management products for use in classrooms. Last year, Tech Guide reviewed its iQ 32 Cart for iPads in bulk. Now there’s a smaller, more nimble version, the iQ 16 Cart. This “lean, clean syncing and charging machine”, as the maker describes it, features aluminium baskets that hold up to eight iPads each. They’re a good idea because they don’t limit storage and transportation to the cart itself. If you don’t want to wheel the whole cart to another area of a school, you can just take a basket. The iQ 16 Cart uses the same reliable technology for syncing and charging. It allows users to sync 16 iPad devices simultaneously as well as providing 2.1-amp charging, which means you can charge 16 devices in approximately the same time as you would one. The cart also retains the top-loading drawer system, which makes accessing the iPads easy and more ergonomic, while security of the cart is also straightforward – the iPad drawers are lockable and the cart itself can be locked down with a heavy-duty chain and anchoring kit. The iQ 16 Cart sells for $2299 + GST (recommended education price) and is available now. See www.pclocs.com.au for more information. n (LS-P-C1) iPad Smart Folio iPad is getting more and more popular in schools because of its portability, touch screen, lots of Apps, etc, however, iPad is also fragile and vulnerable. When it is handed to students, the teachers may worry about the scratches, broken screens. The good news is, Little Sun International has brought in a new iPad Smart Folio, which will protects your school iPads from inside out. It features the following: Your voice is Juno’s command The World’s Most Advanced Classroom Communication Tool • PU leather outer layer, which is hard wearing and easy to clean, while the soft inner lining protects the iPad screen gently; • Custom holes for cameras, speakers, control buttons and cable jacks. The perfect size of the iPad Smart Folio even allows you to charge and sync the iPad in most of the iPad trolleys, without taking the iPad folio out from the cover; • The fold up cover allows stand up display or raised typing position; • The fold up cover also turns the iPad On/Off by simply opening or closing the front cover; • There are 12 colors to choose from. With all the great features above, the iPad Smart Folio (LS-P-C1) costs $11.50 ex-GST only for schools! Even better, Little Sun is currently doing a “Free Trial Before You Buy” program for schools. If your school is going to purchase iPad covers and do not want any risk, please complete the “Free Sample Application Form” from Little Sun website and we will send a free sample to your school for evaluation. Hurry before the offer ends! Contact Little Sun 03 9833 3889 or visit www.littlesun.com.au Capturing and sharing lesson content is finally EASY! Installation Free Infrared Technology Adapto Generation II digital signal processing and feedback suppression 2.1 Stereo line array expandable with ceiling or wall speakers Microphone accepts voice commands to control the system Longer lasting lithium battery Use up to 5 mics simultaneously for smooth participation and natural discussions Voice activated, screen/audio capture recorded in MP4 format To learn more about Juno, visit www.gofrontrow.com.au or call 1800 746 642 March 201 3
news report Program terminated The National Secondary School Computer Fund looks set to end in June. Fran Molloy discovers whether it will be missed N o funds have been earmarked to continue the federal government’s National Secondary School Computer Fund when the five-year program ends in June. It will leave schools across Australia to find their own alternatives for senior students previously provided with a personal laptop. The fund, a key component of the Digital Education Revolution, was established in 2007 to provide every student enrolled in Australian schools in years 9-12 with a laptop and software. So far, almost a million computers have been distributed. In many cases, students graduating from year 12 were given the laptops to keep. But with over a quarter of the laptops due to be replaced this year and no co-ordinated response from federal or state education departments, the $2.4 billion Digital Education Revolution appears to be fizzling out. The program comprised four elements: an infrastructure fund for computers and support staff, a leadership element, a digital resources element and a teacher capability element. 10 ER Techguide
news report Senior executives from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) told the Senate Estimates Committee in February 2013 that the one-to-one ratio for students year 9 and above had been “overachieved”. The program has not always run smoothly. By August 2012, around $100 million was owed to state and independent schools for the replacement of school computers – an amount that DEEWR told the committee would be paid once paperwork had been resolved. However, a DEEWR executive told the committee that there was no funding commitment to continue the program “beyond the life of the national partnership”. A spokesperson for Peter Garrett, the federal Minister for School Education, had told The Australian in September 2012 that future funding was “subject to the negotiation of new agreements with state and territories and the non-government sector”. With most of education policy focused sharply on the Gonski reforms, technology funding may take a back seat. Also last year, shadow education minister Christopher Pyne told Queensland radio talkback host Gary Hardgrave that the Coalition did not support a school laptops program. “Many educators said to us: ‘If we have that kind of money we would rather [spend] it on teacher quality, on a better curriculum, on principal autonomy, on kids with disabilities. We don’t want to spend it on laptops.’ Many teachers said what we need is the teachers to have the laptops, not the students,” Pyne said in the June 2012 interview. One-to-one queried The one-student-one-laptop program has been subject to an ideological debate across the teaching profession, and a range of alternatives have been mooted. “We have a Third World that is far more digitally literate than kids in some of our own schools,” says Massiel Barros-Torning, who is a lecturer in the Education faculty at the University of New England specialising in using mobile technology in teaching. “If the laptops disappear – and it looks like they will – what’s going to replace them? It’s very frustrating for schools and principals who have geared up for this new way of teaching, with very good intentions and a big injection of funds to kick it off, but then they are left hanging.” She believes that giving students access to their own device is a critical part of digital education. “You also need the school to enable students to use these devices, by having a school culture that will evaluate, adapt and accept the way students use technology.” Barros-Torning says extensive studies show that kids who have ownership of technology and are supported in its use will thrive. “Having your own device generates unexpected learning,” she says, adding that in many cases, this is learning that happens without a teacher. “Look at the One Laptop Per Child project.” The United Nations Development Program-backed OLPC project has since 2008 delivered more than 2.4 million lowcost, solar-powered, internet-connected laptops to children in the developing world. Barros-Torning says that with no renewal of the funding, children from disadvantaged – or uninterested – families will be the ones who miss out, creating an even bigger “digital divide”. The digital divide Lester Lemke is familiar with the digital divide. The former principal of O’Loughlin College in Darwin says that in a survey last year of the 500 students in his school, he found that less than half had a computer at home. “A third of our students were from single-parent families,” he says. “The parents in many cases struggle to afford school fees and they would not have the funds to buy a computer for their kid.” But with budgets already tight, March 201 3 disadvantaged schools will struggle, he said. “Providing laptops to kids is an equity issue, and it’s an access issue. Without targeted federal funding specifically for that purpose, the money has to come from somewhere else. Principals have plenty of competing demands on their budgets, so if you fund technology, you might end up cutting back on staffing or even on property maintenance.” Daryl Hanly is the president of the Catholic Secondary Principals Australia and is also the principal of St Joseph’s Nudgee College in Brisbane. He says that the program has created an expectation in schools – among students, teachers and parents – that the one-to-one laptop ratio would continue. “It’s going to cause a significant PR problem for schools when parents are told: ‘Yes your older children had a free laptop but you have to pay for them now,’” he said. “Some schools would have predicted this and would have managed their programs commensurately,” he said, adding that his school did not expect the computer funding program to continue. St Joseph’s invested in class sets of iPads, he said, but other schools have chosen to lease computers or tablets, with parents making progressive payments over a few years. Hanly says that for nearly 50 percent of students, access to their own device is an equity issue. “There may be a computer in the home but many students don’t have equitable access if that’s a shared computer, and as we are a boarding school, obviously not having your own device would be an issue.” Expectations shift Rachael Sowden is the spokesperson for the Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of NSW and says that there’s great disappointment among parents that the program hasn’t been continued. “It just seems incredibly wasteful to have spent all this money on infrastructure – the ability to support the technology is in the schools now – and then there’s so much uncertainty about how our kids are going to have access to it,” she says. Sowden points out that the equity issue that is raised is not only across schools and communities but also within families. “I’ve got a red-laptop child and a greenlaptop child, then two younger children who will not have their own computer in school and at home.” Parents that can afford to will buy a computer for their child, she says, and children already disadvantaged will be even more disadvantaged. “You can’t fund critical technology like computers for just a couple of years and ER Techguide 11
news report then pull out,” she says. “It needs to be an ongoing commitment. If we want Australian schools to be in the world’s top five by 2025, then the government needs to provide the tools to enable schools to get there.” In Telstra’s 2012 education white paper, Personalised Learning, coauthors Professor Lindsay Wasson of the University of Western Sydney and Susi Steigler-Peters of Telstra noted that the computers-in-schools program had shifted expectations irrevocably. “The DER roll-out of laptops and devices on a one-to-one basis has shifted expectations of students, teachers and parents of how learning happens in this second decade of the 20th century. These expectations will not only prevail but be more insistent. Denial will come at great cost, educationally and probably politically,” the authors wrote. They argued that the “transformational capabilities” of the NBN would fuel these ongoing expectations that each student has a web-enabled device at school. “The enormous challenge for schools, systems and sectors, including the Commonwealth, is how the demand for one-to-one capability can be met and at whose cost. Answers are needed now.” But responses from some public school parents, surveyed by a team on behalf of the NSW Department of Education and Communities, suggest that many families who have provided their children with a computer at home have a pragmatic attitude towards government-provided computers. The team – Dr Sarah Howard, Elise Thurtell and Amanda Gigliotti of the University of Wollongong, delivered a formal report on the federal government’s Digital Education Revolution in New South Wales (DERNSW) one-to-one laptop program in June 2012. Around 85 per cent of the 525 parents or guardians surveyed had a computer in their home, and nearly 40 per cent of students had their own internet-connected computer. One parent’s comments were quoted in the report: “He uses our home computer to do assignments and other school work … I think the laptops should not be given to 12 ER Techguide
news report every child, only to those who do not have access to a computer at home.” On the subject of parents’ views on government-provided laptops, the report’s authors wrote “there was a general belief that it was a redundant home tool for students already having consistent access to a laptop or computer at home”. Some parents were also concerned that they weren’t able to monitor their child’s homework and classwork when it was done on the government-provided laptop. Cybersafety Cybersafety trainer and advocate Leonie Smith says that the uncertainty over the end of the program is “a mess” because there’s now an unmanaged transition from controlled devices to uncontrolled devices, with no clear guidelines available. “What’s going to happen now is that schools will let kids bring their own devices in, creating an absolute headache for teachers and all kinds of problems for the school network and security,” she says. Smith cites a recent example where a child brought a computer with pornographic material to school. The school responded to a parent complaint but denied any responsibility and took no action. March 201 3 “Schools are putting the onus on the parent to manage their children’s technology, and that’s unrealistic. A huge proportion of parents have only a rudimentary understanding of computers and the internet.” She advocates a policy that “bring your own” devices (BYODs) have a parentcontrolled administrator account that the child does not have the password for. She also says that schools should be prepared to run parent workshops to demonstrate basic safety measures, such as the parental control filters on Google and YouTube searches. “You can’t just drop off the twig on this one, there has to be some kind of ongoing plan. The computers-in-schools program has raised expectations without delivering a structure.” Missing the point Nicole Feledy, an English teacher who spent 15 years at an independent school in Sydney and is now a casual teacher and private coach, says that the focus on laptops is missing the point. “Although there is going to be much hype over funding replacement technology – and I realise the situation in private schools is different from the situation in government schools – the issue we need to consider is the best use of technology funding,” she says. She says that the government-provided laptops her students had were not robust enough to survive the classroom. “We need to be smarter and more innovative when comes to technology use. Rather than simply ‘digitising’ what we do now, we should be developing new approaches and using technology in a functional way – beyond Word, Onenote, Powerpoint and web searches.” Feledy says that using tablets instead of laptops makes more sense in the classroom – particularly when combined with cloud-based technology. “[Tablets offer] many ways to redefine the way learning takes place. I am hoping our school … adopts a one-to-one tablet computing model.” She says that if each child has a tablet, parents will be saved the expense of the textbooks they have to buy children each year and remove a heavy load of books from kids’ school backpacks. And in an environment beset by funding finger-pointing and disappointed teachers, parents students, tablets have another great advantage: they “bring down the wall formed between teacher and student by raised laptop screens”. n ER Techguide 13
tech gear Teaching’s technological future New devices and better connectivity could spell the end of traditional classroom-based education. By Anthony Caruana T he rise of technology has revolutionised the way teaching and learning happen in classrooms. Since the Industrial Revolution, when the foundations for modern education were laid, classrooms have scarcely changed, with a teacher at the front of the room and students at their desks. Until just a few years ago, the biggest change was the move from blackboard and chalk to overhead projectors. And one could argue that they simply made cleaning up and reusing material easier. The students of today are far more connected and engaged with the world around them. They are acutely aware that their teachers are not the font of all knowledge. However, this shift doesn’t mean that teachers are no longer required; it just means that their role in learning has to change. And technology will be the facilitator of that revolution. The greatest driver of technological change in the classroom is the availability of vast quantities of information. The school library, once the hub of the school, could never keep up with the information available on the internet. Students have access to the world’s library from a personal computing device. The danger for schools and teachers is believing each new technological marvel will fix whatever is wrong or that they don’t like in the current education system. But as the commercial world has found over and over again, applying new technologies to old ways of doing things seldom works out. The best teachers won’t abandon traditional teaching pedagogy. But they will adapt to the new opportunities they’ll be presented with. 14 ER Techguide There’s one critical consideration when thinking about the technologies of the future. Many of the most monumental shifts made in technology over the years have not happened through incremental improvements on what we have today. They have been made through leaps of imagination. As Emeritus Professor Thomas Hughes from the University of Pennsylvania recently wrote: “Today’s predictions of the future of technology-enabled education are mostly projections of contemporary developments. Yet history suggests that the future will involve computer and internet applications not anticipated by present-day inventors and developers.” Personal devices for all This step of the revolution has been underway for almost two decades but is reaching critical mass. One-to-one laptop programs have been around schools since the late 1990s, but these devices, while adequate, are not always ideal for the modern world due to start-up times, size, weight and battery life. The students of the future will want a lightweight, durable and fast device that will last days on a battery charge so there’s no need to find power when on a school camp. This is perhaps the easiest change to foresee. The popularity of tablet devices such as the iPad and myriad Androidbased devices gives us a look at the future. But other projects such as the One Laptop Per Child programs shows us another view with its ultra-low power consumption and mesh networking that makes student collaboration far easier. Today’s tablet computers have inadequate battery life and aren’t robust enough. But within the next few years, students will have faster, lighter and tougher tablets in class with them all the time. They’ll have other technology too. We are seeing the future now with Google Glass delivering data directly to small display directly in front of the wearer’s eye.
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tech gear Already there are applications, with skiing goggles on the market that deliver live data on speeds, slopes and weather conditions. Imagine running a science class where students are conducting an experiment. Rather than constantly looking back at paper notes or a computer screen for instructions, they are wearing a device that puts the information right in front of them. From there, it’s an easy leap to imagine the same device providing guidance – if, say, it judges too much of a particular compound is being used or a safety protocol isn’t being followed correctly. Student collaboration The spread of personal devices doesn’t mean collaborative workspaces will disappear. But they will change markedly. Before the name was recycled by Microsoft for its tablet-computer platform, the Surface was a coffee-table-style device with a touchscreen interface and the ability, using cameras under the screen, to read data such as QR codes and to scan text. It never took off in schools – the focus was on commercial rather than education applications – but it proved that it was possible to create an interactive tabletop. The next generation of student workspaces could come equipped with iPad-like desktops that students will use for online exploration and creating work on large canvases – perhaps pushing a number of these desks together to create even larger, collaborative work areas. The interactive whiteboards and video screens that are used by so many teachers now are just a sign of what is to come. Although they’re called interactive, they still require students to come to the front of the room. We’ll start to see interactive classrooms with desktops and large, frontof-classroom displays that work together seamlessly. Classroom connectivity has been slowly improving over the last few years. Most schools have wireless networks that share a school’s internet connection but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In the coming years, as the National Broadband Network comes on stream the faster connection speeds will spur a revolution in education. Even now, improvements in internet bandwidth and networks within schools are delivering easier access to online content such as video. But recent initiatives, such as TEDEd (http://ed.ted.com) are prescient of a new future. Teachers can be extremely creative in working out how to best teach and illustrate a concept. However, sharing that creativity requires a different skillset. TEDEd puts teachers together with animators to produce short lessons on specific topics. Improved connectivity will foster collaboration between teachers around the 16 ER Techguide world in sharing or co-producing short lessons. Already, Apple’s iTunesU, available though the iTunes Store, makes it easy for lecturers and teachers from some of the most respected schools in the world to share their video-recorded lessons. For schools, this could mean a time will come where teachers will effectively co-teach classes using experts on particular fields from all over the world. Students will also reap the benefits of connectivity. Many schools now have partner schools around the world. While these relationships are important, they are often underused and rely on students taking expensive overseas trips in order for meet and share ideas and to experience each other’s learning environments. Although video is an obvious part of this, systems that allow students to easily connect and collaborate regardless of geography will change. We expect to see everyday applications such as the Microsoft Office suite, tablet apps and learning management systems become increasingly open. Although it’s possible to collaborate using some of those tools today, it’s not always easy. In the future, when the apps starts, it will simply expect and facilitate connections with others. Measuring engagement We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to wearable computing devices like Google Glass and the use of biometrics. In future, teachers will be able through non-invasive tools to get live data on the cognitive state of students through the use of sophisticated cameras, to see which students are tired, inattentive, nervous or confused. That data will allow them to tune their content and delivery on the spot, based on real information about how students are performing. By studying that data over longer periods, teachers will be able to predict what activities will work best at different times. At the moment, some schools are using fingerprint scanners for recording class attendance. But devices that can see the dilation of a student’s pupils, monitor breathing rates and scan for temperature changes on the skin are close. In mid-2012 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded $1.1M for studies the use of galvanic skin response (GSR) bracelets. These determine the level of engagement the students have in class. At the moment, the projects are at the experimental stage to determine how feasible and useful the bracelet will be if regularly used in schools. There will need to be a long public discussion about the ethics and efficacy of such tools. There will be resistance until any benefits are clearly demonstrated. Perhaps one of the factors most likely to limit the introduction of new technologies into classrooms is the teachers. Patricia Hutinger, director of the Centre for Best Practices in Early Childhood in Illinois, says that teaching has remained “in the amazingly stable environment it has enjoyed for years, only adding technology to the curriculum, another bead on the necklace of knowledge”. In her view, educators need to embrace the opportunities of new technologies and move away from entrenched positions. n
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tech gear A shot of learning: video in school Video can really boost educational engagement, with students not just watching clips, but making them too. By Anthony Caruana T he influence of technology in classrooms is never more obvious than when you look at how video has been integrated successfully into learning and teaching. Only a short time ago, video in a classroom meant teachers wheeling a TV and VCR into the room to show a dull and creaky education video, but things have changed significantly. There is now a huge amount of high-quality content freely available through YouTube, Vimeo and other online video-sharing sites. The hardware required by students and teachers to capture their own footage is cheap and ubiquitous and the software to edit and present films is easy to access and use. This gives students and teachers new opportunities to express themselves, present work in exciting new ways and foster creativity in a way that was barely imaginable just a decade ago. Homework in motion In the past, when a teacher designed an assessment task, students were limited to creating static output; for instance posters, written reports or models. Today, it’s possible to have students create video reports. In science class, students can record their experiments, then add commentary before and after the experiment making predictions March 201 3 and observations. In maths, illustrations of how different theoretical or abstract concepts apply in the real world can be powerful learning aids. These techniques can apply right through from early primary to university-level students. Kobi Searle, a year 5 teacher at The Knox School in Melbourne’s south-east, has been using video extensively with her classes over the past couple of years. “I use video in a variety of ways,” she says. “Incorporating iPads, students have iMovie and they’re able to use the video tool on the iPad. Last year the students did a video on the weather. They had to create their own weather report. They interviewed other students and were able to cut and paste that video and incorporate weather into their video.” Although the students were producing their own reports, they used their iPads cooperatively. In many cases, one student’s iPad was used for shooting the video while another’s was used as a teleprompter. This brings us to the first couple of considerations when it comes to using video in the classroom. How are you going to shoot the video and how will it be edited? Choosing a camera Traditionally, having students create video required expensive equipment and complex software. Today, video cameras that can capture high-definition video with great sound cost less than $350. And the software you need to edit on a computer is either bundled with the camera or available through site licensing arrangements. If your school is planning to buy video cameras, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, tape is all but dead. Cameras now record footage either to internal memory or flash memory cards, like the ones in still cameras. If your school plans to use tablet ER Techguide 19
tech gear Kobi Searle from The Knox School is working with students to assist them with editing video they have produced on their iPads or regular computers for editing, then we’d suggest making sure the camera stores its video on SD cards. Many computers now have built-in slots for these cards so there’s no need to directly connect the camera to the computer. This simplifies things for the IT department as there’s no need to install software for the camera on every computer, and it means that the camera’s battery isn’t running down while footage is being transferred to the computer. If you’re using a camera and want to put the footage on an iPad, Apple sells a digital camera connection kit so that you can transfer data from the camera’s memory card to the iPad. An alternative to single-purpose video cameras is to look at compact digital and dSLR cameras. Almost every still camera on the market can shoot video now, and at surprisingly good quality. Again, the same rules apply as for dedicated video cameras. Cameras that record to SD cards are likely to be the most convenient. Although it might seem like overkill to record in high definition in the classroom, it’s worth it as the quality of the finished product looks excellent. Another option is to use the cameras built into most tablets and other portable devices like the iPod Touch. These often have two cameras so students can see themselves as they are filming, the benefits being that they pay attention to their position and the setting of the video, making adjustments as they go. Internal and external education Of course, getting students to shoot their own videos is merely one educational 20 ER Techguide use of video. Searle also uses video while teaching. “We use videos for visual literacy, showing clips and talking about emotions, feelings and creative writing. Students might watch a video and go and write about that video. They write about how it made them feel, and then it turns into a whole creative story.” In one exercise, Searle shows students a video of a number of different images: a wet cat, two people standing with their backs to the camera and their arms around each other, and other images. “I’ll say to the students: ‘Pick one of those and then tell me what happened before that and what happened after.’ So the students … need to think for themselves – ‘How did that happen, what happened after that?’ – and then write about it.” It’s not the video specifically that enables this to be a successful activity: teachers have done similar exercises using flash cards. But video engages students more and the teacher can also use movement and transitions between the images to make things more interesting. From this sort of activity, Searle then encourages students to create their own videos. “They might make their own using their iPads just like the one I’ve shown them, and they’ll then pass them to a friend and get them to write a creative story.” What’s stunning is the quality of work that students can create. “They can create the most amazing video presentations. The school’s AV manager says he’s worried he going to lose his job they’re so good!” Student-created video also presents schools with a fantastic marketing tool: students can create high-quality clips that can be used to showcase the school and students’ talent. They can also make videos for their fellow students. As part of the year transition, The Knox School’s outgoing year 5 students from 2012 created movies for the class behind them, letting them know about what the next year was like. In this school’s case, this is an important transition as students move from its Junior School to the Lower Middle School. “With the technology that’s available to them,” says Searle, “I’ve told my students that what they’re doing in year 5, if I had handed that in when I was in year 12, the marks I would have achieved would have been unbelievable.” What’s available online? There are no hard numbers of how many videos are available on YouTube, but the company says about 72 hours of video are added every minute. That’s close to 30 feature films. Sifting through it all requires significant effort, and Searle dedicates time every day looking for material she can use in class. “I spend time each day on YouTube and TED looking to find things that will touch my children, to reach them in a way that I can’t,” she says. “If they see things, they are so much more involved in their learning.” TED – which stands for Technology, Education and Design – is a conference that has been running for several years. It commenced as a way to get leaders in different fields to present their ideas in time-limited presentations. Recently, TED added its own education channel, TED Ed (http://ed.ted.com) that teams teachers with animators and technical experts to produce
Photos: © The Knox School tech gear short videos teaching specific concepts. Searle looks out for motivational as well as educational videos. “I found a clip from [the 1971 film] Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. It was a room that they entered. I showed that to my kids and asked what did they see. Obviously it was very magical. Then, their task was to go and create their own Willy Wonka room. I could have just said: ‘Create a Willy Wonka room,’ but the video helped me set up the task.” In some schools, it may be challenging to use online video in this way, due to school security and filtering policies or limited internet connection speeds. However, there are ways to download YouTube and other online clips for offline use. Videoconferencing kids As school networks become faster, the ability to videoconference reliably will only increase. Even now, it’s possible now to use Skype effectively to interact with people all over the world. “Last year, we were doing an Antarctica unit,” says Searle. “We video-linked to an Antarctica station and my kids spoke to a scientist.” Students also prepared questions for the scientist and had an opportunity to ask him in an interactive dialog. They also thought about answers and tried to anticipate them so that they could test their own perceptions of what they thought life in Antarctica would be. These sorts of opportunities were simply impossible until recently – though it still wasn’t easy to set up. “It took months for me to find him!” says Searle. “I went through an educational site but they couldn’t help me. So then I just March 201 3 found scientists who lived in Antarctica and I figured that scientists must have families, and must have a way to contact them. Nowadays, everybody is using Skype.” The scientist even sent the school one of the suits he used on the research station and students had an opportunity to dress up in it. “Being able to Skype with a scientist made the kids go: ‘This is real.’. I made the classroom come alive.” All of this was not only incredibly engaging and interesting for students: it fitted into a broader learning and curriculum plan. This is a vital point, according to Knox School principal Suzanne McChesney. “It’s important to not throw out the pedagogical baby with the technological bathwater,” she says. With the proliferation of online video, you might think television is no longer on the radar for teachers and students. However, tools such as ClickView make it relatively easy to record and store TV programs. ClickView’s range of services is extensive. On the hardware side, there are computer systems that are capable of capturing and storing up to eight channels of digital television for 15 days. That means teachers can look back through the program schedule or use footage that they recently spotted but couldn’t record themselves. For example, a segment from a news show can be easily retrieved. The teacher, using their computer in the classroom, can present the video or students can view it on their own computers or use the ClickView Player on iOS devices. There’s also a Windows 8 version. n Recording students As with any school activity, the use of video needs to be governed by a policy. Most schools have policies in place about photographing students. Typically, these include circumstances in which students might be photographed, whether students are identified by name, parental consent for students to be photographed and how images might be used. Video is no different. Good policies need to be discussed with parents, especially if the school intends to use videos for marketing purposes. ER Techguide 21
tech gear Product reviews Digital video cameras There are literally thousands of cameras to choose from. However, they’re not all the same with video cameras coming in all shapes, sizes and prices. We’ve picked out a few so you can see that it’s not all about camcorders. Kaiser Baas HD Mini Camera $50, www.kaiserbaas.com Kaiser Baas makes computer accessories and peripherals. Its HD Mini Camera shoots at 1280x720 resolution. It has a built-in rechargeable lithium battery that delivers up to 80 minutes of capture on a full charge. With the included waterproof case it can also be used to shoot video and take photos underwater. It’s small, easy to use and inexpensive, making it a good option for schools on a tight budget. Looxcie 2 $200, www.looxcie.com Shooting point-of-view videos can be a little tricky. This wearable video camera hooks over the wearer’s ear so they can shoot while keeping both hands free. If you’re already using an iPod touch or iPad, there’s a free app enabling you to instantly send what’s captured on the Looxcie 2 for viewing. The battery is rated to last an hour and video is captured at an SD resolution of 480p. Handy for students filming a science class or sport. A quick look through hardware and software choices. Sony Handycam HDR-CX190 $250, www.sony.com.au Sony’s HDR-CX190 is a traditional video camera with a 25x optical zoom. It can record 1080p fullHD video directly to either a Memory Stick Duo or SD card, which can then be inserted into a computer. Footage can be viewed either on the 2.7-inch flip-out display that acts as the camera’s viewfinder, or on a TV via an HDMI cable direct from the camera. Panasonic HC-V10 $250, www.panasonic.com.au With a massive 63x optical zoom and built-in image stabilisation, the HC-V10 is a great option for students whose hands might not be very steady. It captures footage at 720p and you can choose to do this in MP4 format, readable on just about any computer or tablet without the need for any conversion. It comes with Adobe Premiere Elements 9 for editing. Installing video projectors or classroom LCDs? You need JED controllers! JED Microprocessors, Melbourne, designs and builds low cost wired remote controllers (in Australia) for video projectors or large LCD touchscreens in classrooms, laboratories, meeting rooms, churches and lecture theatres. They can mount on a lectern, desk or wall. The JED T460R is a simple control panel pre-programmed to control projector functions from just four clearly labelled buttons. Compare this with complex, handheld remotes, which get dropped, lost or stolen. The ON and OFF buttons turn the projector on and off! (The ON button also scrolls between up to eight sources). The VOLUME UP and VOLUME DOWN do just that (or can become Mute and Freeze toggles). It comes in a number of finishes, e.g. blue, beige (shown) or a stylish metallic. The simple-to-use controller is preprogrammed with the codes for over 1800 different projectors, and can be updated with new codes. It is used identically for all projectors, and has a bright OLED display showing status: Warmup, Cooldown, or the current source (VCR, computer, camera etc), Audio Volume and Lamp Hours. The T430 and T440 are low-cost, simple controllers with 2, 4, 6 or 8 buttons labelled by function, and LEDs for status. They are simply setup with switches on the back. A new stylish controller family, the JED T450 series is packaged in a metallicfinish molded case with 4 to 10 tactile keys, which can be customised to suit any installation. It can also control TVs or DVDs. Two keyboard units can control one T452 interface from two locations. All units have built-in timers, which save power and bulb life by preventing the projector from being left on when a PIR detector finds everyone has gone home. JED Microprocessors Pty Ltd Boronia, 3155 (03) 9762 3588 www.jedmicro.com.au 22 ER Techguide
tech gear Video editing software Having shot your video, you’ll want to dress it up a bit with titles and transitions between scenes, and remove any fluffed lines or awkward pauses. The quality of editing software has grown almost exponentially over recent years while the complexity of these programs has fallen, making it possible for students – and teachers – to create professional-looking movies. iMovie Included with Macs $5.49 for iPad www.apple.com.au Apple’s take on video editing delivers a simple-looking application that can be used to create stunning output. As well as allowing students and teachers to edit movies, it includes a set of themes so that the movie can be quickly dressed up without the need for lots of manual labour. Movies can be shared via email or posted directly to YouTube. Adobe Premiere Elements $145, free with some cameras www.adobe.com.au Adobe has a strong reputation when it comes to software for creative professionals. Premiere Elements is a simplified version of Premiere Pro, Adobe’s application for professional editors. As well as being able to do the basics like rearrange clips, add a soundtrack and add transitions, Premiere Elements also includes themes that can give your clips a more professional finish. Pinnacle Studio $69 for Windows, $13.99 for iPad www.pinnaclesys.com Pinnacle has been in the video business for some time and this experience is reflected in a mature suite of products. Now at version 16, Pinnacle Studio for Windows lets you create movies with all the effects and options you’d expect, including a rich library of themes. The iPad version takes advantage of swipe gestures and the iPad’s screen to make editing easy and enjoyable. Using YouTube offline Although YouTube can be an incredibly rich source of videos to use in class, it can be frustrating to use where school internet filtering policies limit access or where there are bandwidth constraints. However, there are some tools that make it easy to download clips from YouTube for offline use. If you can install the Chrome web browser, one easy option is to use a browser plug-in. Just open the Chrome settings page from the File menu and click on Extensions. At the bottom of the screen, there’s a link to “Get more extensions”. There are a few to choose from. We’ve tried the YouTube Video Downloader that adds a Download button to the clips you watch so you can save them for offline use. There are also applications like YouTube Downloader HD, which allows you to enter the web address for a YouTube clip. The program then extracts the video and saves it to your computer for later use. EnhanceTV Direct The best in educational television, both past and present, streamed direct to you. More than 12,000 educational programs Instant access anywhere with an Internet connection New Create and store lesson plans using clips or entire programs Secure and age appropriate environment Easy to search Free study guides Find out more To view a demo, get prices and application forms, visit enhancetv.com.au/direct March 201 3 Carbon Cops, December Media ER Techguide 23
software Comic creations Eight years after its original launch, Comic Life is still an invaluable and versatile tool for educators. By Cathy Wever T he cost of education continues to rise and principals frequently cite technology as a major reason why. But in an era where high-quality software is increasingly available for free, it’s rare to find such a product that retains its popularity with teachers and students despite its affordability. Comic Life is one such product. Available for Macs since 2005 and Windows since 2007, Comic Life (now on the market as Comic Life 2) enables users to create comics using digital photographs – either their own or sourced from the internet. Pam Wright is the e-learning coach at Concord School in Victoria. As a former educator of pre-service teachers at La Trobe University, and with a master’s in IT to her name, Wright knows a thing or two about what constitutes a good piece of software. “Schools often race to use the ‘next best thing’,” she says, “but while Comic Life has been around for a while, it’s really good for our students, so we’re very happy to keep using it.” Concord School caters for children with additional learning needs, and Wright says Comic Life is perfect for students who may be struggling with literacy and language development. “We are aiming for our students to be multi-literate. This program offers an opportunity for students who find it a challenge to put their ideas into writing. “Many of our students would really struggle to write a story, but with Comic Life they can produce a fabulous story and convey their ideas in a meaningful way.” Wright says Comic Life is particularly useful for retelling and sequencing activities, which help develop both literacy and memory. “We use it a lot in integrated studies,” she says. “For example, students were recently studying fairytales as a topic, and they used Comic Life to retell the story of a particular fairytale character. Their work didn’t include a lot of text, but what they produced looked fabulous.” 24 ER Techguide Students at Concord School also use Comic Life to create storyboards for claymation projects, and also in subjects such as science, where it can be used to demonstrate understanding of an experiment. Students often search the internet to locate images to use in their Comic Life projects, says Wright. “This helps them to build up skills in searching online, although this can be problematic when lots of students are all trying to use our network at once and download speeds starts to suffer.” Concord School has been using Comic Life since 2009, and a new development has been for students to use Comic Life iOS. “The school recently introduced iPads and the Comic Life app is great on this device, particularly for really young students, who might use it to create something simple like a poster.” Using their iPads, students have also been adding QR codes into their Comic Life projects. “You can insert a QR code to link off to a short video, which adds another dimension to what the students create,” explains Wright. Wright says the app is very easy to use on the iPad, though with lots of great iPad apps out there it’s up against some pretty stiff competition. Comic Life 2 for iOS costs $5.49 (the universal app works on both iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch). For Macs and PCs the software starts at $19.99 per unit (1-9 users) and goes as low as $2.49 (more than 1000 users). At this price, Wright says Comic Life is worth paying for. Galina Overell, ICT coordinator at Ormond Primary School in Melbourne, agrees. “It’s very reasonably priced and the children absolutely love it because it’s so visual,” she says. In Ormond Primary’s computer lab, students regularly use as just many free software programs as they do those the school has purchased. “I don’t think there is any free software that compares to Comic Life,” says Overell. “There are free cartoon creators and the like, but they are very limited in their functionality.” Overell says students enjoy customising their comic creations via the software’s extensive range of tools. Images can be filtered to look painted, drawn, black and white or colour washed, or to give the effect of night vision or film negatives. “Using all the features in Comic Life is easy and students pick it up so quickly. Some of the older students are very creative and devise their own layouts; however, the software does feature numerous layout templates which are also very effective.” Tutorials in how to use Comic Life are widely available, including on the Victorian Department of Education FUSE website, as well as on Education Queensland’s Interactive Learning website. “Comic Life is particularly good for reluctant writers, and it
software encourages those who don’t want to write to have a go,” says Overell, who has used the program with students from prep to year 6. “It’s useful for helping younger students hone their procedural writing skills. This year, preps will be using Comic Life to explain how they made jelly with their classmates.” Ormond Primary year 4 students have used Comic Life to create storyboards of their camping experiences, and year 6 students have used it in a history project about Australia’s prime ministers. Overell routinely loads photo albums of images taken at school events, such as camps and excursions, into Comic Life for students to use in their projects. “It’s easy to drag and drop images in, and the students enjoy adding speech and thought balloons, captions and sound effects to narrate their images.” The maker of Comic Life, plasq, says primary school teachers and students all over the world enjoy using their program. “We here at plasq don’t claim to be educators,” says plasq spokesperson Erica Carson, “so we rely on feedback from educators about what students have learnt using Comic Life. We hear most often that Comic Life is a useful writing tool, helpful for storyboarding and narrative development. We have also heard that Comic Life is a great way for students to demonstrate comprehension. “Comic Life for iPad is a flexible app that can be used across the curriculum. We have seen examples from foreign-language vocabulary lessons to physics lab reports. Most often we see Comic Life deployed in creative w
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