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‘Tech Stuff’ Category

  1. DigiCon15 – What I’ve Learnt

    July 29, 2015 by Mrs Hurley

    It’s Monday morning and I’m still coming down from my 2 days at Digi Con 2015.

    Digi Con is an annual conference, hosted by the DLTV. The conference spans 2 days but you can choose either/or/both to attend. There is a mixture of workshops to attend, keynote speakers and the popular Spark Talks, a 12 minute TED style talk. More information on the sessions that were run this year is here.

    I attended a couple of workshops, all of the keynotes and a few Spark Talks. One of the good things about Digi Con is that, even though you’ve signed up for workshops, you can be in charge of your own learning and go wherever you want to.

    I’ve decided to reflect on my experiences in a different way, purely because I don’t want to bore everyone with a recount but also because I believe that the most valuable lessons I learnt over my 2 days were from my PLN (Professional Learning Network).

    So, without much further ado, I present…

    Lessons I learnt from my PLN at Digi Con 2015

    From Rick Kayler-Thomson (@rakt) I learnt that being a regular teacher is OK. We can’t do everything but that doesn’t stop us from trying! It’s OK to fail sometimes.

    From Adam Lavars (@AdamLavars) and Lee Burns (leeburns82) I learnt that the connections that you make are important. If you put in the effort (especially to group assignments!) what you get back is far better.

    From Hamish Curry (@hamishcurry) I’ve learnt (amongst many other banana related things) that feeling shit is OK – it’s part of the creative process.

    From Anthony Speranza (@anthsperanza) I learnt to never stop trying to disrupt the education system. Don’t be the ostrich with your head in the sand – be the meerkat!

    From Narissa Leung (@rissL) I learnt the importance of taking risks. I also learnt that there are some things that you can’t change but there’s no point in worrying about them – change the things that you can.

    From Michael Ha (@Nerdyphyseder) I learnt what it means to be a lifelong learner. The Sydney-sider who took many risks!

     The main take aways from DigiCon were nothing to do with technologies. The messages that I took away were;

    • Take Risks
    • Develop Curiosity and Creativity
    • Make It Happen

    There are many others in my PLN that I have learnt from – the best part about it is that I continue to learn from these wonderful people all the time. So the last thing that I will encourage you to do is to get connected, expand your PLN and learn from them every day.

    Big thanks and congratulations to Mel Cashen (@melcashen), Bec Spink (@BecSpink) and the rest of the wonderful DLTV Team for a wonderful conference.

    To the rest of my PLN whom I haven’t mentioned by name here, that certainly doesn’t mean that I haven’t learnt from you! My brain hurts thinking of everything at the moment so I need a rest.

    Stay tuned for more posts on DigiCon…

  2. Education Bucket List

    June 29, 2014 by Mrs Hurley

    Inspired by Alex Semmens (@AlexSemm) and the #EduBucketList, I’ve decided to create my own bucket list for “education stuff I want to do before I retire” So, here is a list of goals that I want to achieve before I retire. I have no doubt I will change my mind on a couple of these goals by the end of the year or next year!

    • Attend ISTE Conference – International Society for Technology in Education. These conferences are held annually in the USA and I’m always jealous of those who have attended. I follow the Twitter hashtag (#ISTE2014 or #ISTE14) which helps alleviate my envy a little because it feels like I’m there.  This is the conference that has inspired both mine and Alex Semmens’ #EduBucketList
    • Attend a Google Apps for Education Summit – I came oh-so-close to attending a Summit this year. I actually attended a Boot Camp for Google Apps with the idea of taking my exams and hopefully becoming accepted as a Google Trainer. Attending a Summit (from what I’ve heard) is an amazing experience and the exposure to the possibilities of using GAfE in schools is incomparable to anything that can be found on the internet.
    • Complete GAFE exams and become a Google Educator. Create video, get accepted as Google Trainer!
    • Attend a DLTV conference (formerly ICTEV) either as an attendee or a presenter…
    • Become a team leader
    • Become an eLearning leader and coach staff in my school (either still working in the classroom or just part-time)
    • Make my name known in Education circles
    • Present at a conference
    • Complete my Masters in Education
    • Continue blogging with students
    • Keep learning and keep changing my practice to best suit my students

    I think because I am still an Early Careers Teacher, I should have much, much more on my list!

    I guess I can’t really add any other conference opportunities or anything because I’m not entirely sure what is still out there!

    Do you have any other “must do” suggestions for me? Tell me a little about them!

  3. B is for Blogging

    April 14, 2014 by Mrs Hurley

    This blog post is part of a series of posts following an A-Z theme, as adapted from the A to Z April Challenge.

    B is for Blogging


    I have always wanted to learn how to utilise a class blog. When the opportunity arose to attend “Technify Your Teaching in 2013” as run by the team behind Tech Tools for Teachers, I jumped at it! Myself and my teaching partner attended both sessions run by Kathleen Morris and Kelly Jordan. They showed us their class blog and it was completely inspiring. I knew I had to begin immediately!

    I could sit here and re-type my journey since starting a class blog and my own personal blog but I think I covered it pretty well in this post.

    Instead, after blogging for a year and a bit with my class, I think I am ready to analyse the benefits of blogging in the classroom, as based on my own experiences.

    While there are many, many possibilities and benefits of blogging with a class, I have noticed improvements in;

    • Literacy
    • ICT Skills
    • Classroom Community
    • Home/School Partnerships
    • Internet Safety
    • Global Connections and knowledge

    Let me explain how and why.

    In teaching how to post good quality comments and demanding well written pieces for guest posts, these high expectations mean that students are determined to improve their literacy skills. Somehow, knowing that what they are writing will be available on the internet for everyone to see, students acknowledge that poorly punctuated and written comments are not acceptable. Nor should they be – in anything they do! I have seen dramatic improvement in writing – better use of punctuation and expanded vocabulary – and also in reading skills because there is a purpose for students.

    ICT Skills:
    Self explanatory, really.

    Classroom Community:
    Most mornings, we look at our class blog in our community circle. I can see the excitement on my students’ faces when they notice our ‘global visitors’ counter (Clustrmap widget) has increased. The students feel more connected as a class, and you can certainly tell by the amount of their own personal time that they spend on our blog leaving comments!

    Home/School Partnerships:
    Not only do the parents love having a window into the happenings of my classroom but so do siblings of my students! I know parents are extremely grateful to have the opportunity to see what we’re doing in class and participate in online conversations with us.

    Internet Safety:
    I love having the opportunity to teach my students how to be safe on the internet and create a positive digital footprint in an authentic setting!

    Global Connections:
    I have never seen my students so motivated as when they are collaborating with other classes on projects. We have worked with classes in New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia and Australia on a variety of projects. We have used Skype to help us form connections. We even had the chance to organise a day where my students met their blogging buddies in person! Not to mention the opportunities for my students to develop their knowledge of other places in the world. This is probably my favourite reason for blogging – flattening those classroom walls!

    Do you blog with your class? Why? Please leave your address in the comment section below!

  4. My Journey

    November 5, 2013 by Mrs Hurley

    Recently, I have been extremely lucky to participate in a program run by the Department of Education and Early Childhood entitled ‘Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century’

    The following is a post that I wrote, taken from the collaborative group blog.


    In less than a month, the ‘Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century’ program will come to a close. Of course, this doesn’t mean our learning will stop, nor that I will no longer communicate with my wonderful group.

    I thought I’d take the time to reflect on where I’ve come from and what I’ve changed as a result of being a participant in this program.

    I am a very impatient person, which can be a bad thing in terms of progress, but a good thing in terms of gaining knowledge. I have been teaching for 3 years now and I won’t ever be happy with my teaching skills. Which is also a good thing because it means that I am constantly striving to improve my skills and knowledge to benefit my students.

    I began this program expecting to be taught some whiz-bang exciting ways to integrate technology and make learning better for my students. Was this naive of me? Probably. Lack of confidence in my own skills possibly lead me to that expectation.

    In the beginning (or BTL21C – Before TL21C)
    Here is a list of stuff I’d “done” or trialled – successfully or not – in my own classroom or for my own professional learning:

    • 2011: Ultranet – mostly for activities found on FUSE. Couldn’t work out the calendars or anything the students were supposed to be doing.
      Vokis, Wikis (not very successful – still learning)
    • 2012: Introduction of 1:1 Netbook program at school. Introduced Edmodo, Studyladder, online interactive learning tasks. Still no way to share learning.
      Microsoft Sharepoint – for shared planning documents (Syncs between computers – still only 1 person can have document open at a time)
    • 2013: Global 2 Class Blog (
      Personal Global 2 blog (
      Joined Twitter – currently still building PLN and sharing
      Class Twitter Account
      Mystery Skypes
      Guest speakers via Skype (Teacher in Japan while we were studying Asia)
      Monster Global Project – worked with a class in New Zealand on our descriptive writing
      Sporadic use of Evernote for anecdotal evidence on students
      Attending TeachMeets – which I wouldn’t know about if not for Twitter!

    Just from looking at that list, I really like that it gets bigger each year. Not only with the activities listed but also my understanding and successful implementation.

    As a result of joining TL21C, here is what I’ve learnt:

    • Google+ Community
    • Google Hangouts – within the classroom and for personal use (Education Book Club, Planning with TL21C Group)
    • Importance of building PLN – continuing to do this every day
    • Google Docs – encouraging collaboration with students
    • Google Apps for Education – Have sought permission from leadership team and am in the process of setting up and organising for whole school implementation. I still can’t believe that they’re actually letting me be in charge of this!

    I still have many goals for technology integration in the classroom (such as Minecraft) but I’m also the type of person who bites off more than they can chew so I think I’ll focus on GAfE implementation for now.


    What have you trialled in your own classroom? Have you set up Google Apps for Education with your own school (or have some knowledge about it)? Please share your own experiences!

  5. Google Docs

    August 25, 2013 by Mrs Hurley

    Last week, I used Google Docs in the classroom for the first time. We used a template given to us at a recent PD to create a character profile and I had the students in their reading groups purely so the collaborative groups were smaller and easier to manage.

    Here are a couple of things I learnt from this experience;

    1. Collaboration needs to be explicitly taught! No matter how much I emphasised the ‘you cannot change, delete or contradict somebody else’s contribution’ rule, I had full-on arguments coming from some kids who just couldn’t agree! Negotiate was definitely not a word they knew.

    2. A lot of technology knowledge in students is assumed. In general, people tend to believe that because the students I teach have grown up with computers, that they know everything about technology. From chatting to my students, it appears that the only things they use their school netbooks or home computers and other devices for is social media. Oh, and Maths games when they’re really bored on the weekend.

    3. Nothing is explicit enough in my room. Unrelated to technology and the use of Google Docs but I’ve really noticed how helpless my students are when they need to think for themselves. Actually, this needs a whole post to itself.

    Other than providing more opportunities to practise these skills (collaboration itself and new technologies), I am unsure as to how to teach these skills to my students. Am I throwing them into the deep end? Am I introducing too much at once?


    What difficulties have you experienced when introducing new technologies/apps/websites in your classroom? How did you overcome these difficulties?

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