Schools and Computers

flickr photo by ✖ Daniel Rehn shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

flickr photo by ✖ Daniel Rehn shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license



Chris Bigum’s insightful chapter “Schools and Computers: tales of digital romance” brings to light trends centering on the education’s adoption of technology.  It’s the 1980s that he cites as a pivotal time in the adoption of computers in schools. Thier increased use in routine life (business and personal) caused an acknowledgement that things were going to be done differently and that institutions such as education needed to change as well (p. 19).


As a result, the schools have used a model that follows a rational that “schools with more computer activity are better than less (p. 20). What’s worst, according to Bigum, is that the schools have tended to use the computers in a familiar fashion “integrating them into existing routines, deploying them to meet existing goals and generally, failing to engage with technologies in ways consistent with the world beyond the classroom” (p.22).


Bigum concludes with a message of hope for the new mindset taking hold within education. One that “ focus[es] on change but not measurement, on the social, and not simply the technical, allows us to identify the ways technologies may help disrupt traditional relationships: between schools and knowledge; knowledge and children; children and teachers; and learners and communities”(p. 26).


I agree with much of what Bigum contends throughout his chapter. Schools’ traditional approach to technology use will never disrupt the education industry.    


In reflecting back to our first assignment, one could argue that Bigum would seem to be an advocate of BYOD. When referring to schools caught in the cycle of buying computers then being forced to upgrade within a few years when new technology emerges, Bigum asks “you’d wonder why on earth schools or teachers continue to play that game” (p. 23). A BYOD program would take the economic pressure off schools to continually purchase equipment and participate in this cycle.  



Bigum, C. (2012). Schools and Computers: Tales of a Digital Romance. Transformative Approaches to New Technologies and Student Diversity in Futures Oriented Classrooms. L. Rowan and C. Bigum, Springer Netherlands: 15-28.



flickr photo by Thomas Hawk shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

flickr photo by Thomas Hawk shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license


This blog post centers on some of the different types of hardware in my school.


Data projectors/Speakers: 

These are present in every classroom. Teachers use them for everything from scaffolding work, showcasing student work, demonstrating tech, group reading and watching videos.

MacBook Airs

We are a 1-1 school and have recently switched from MacBook Pros to the MacBook Airs. I’ve been playing with mine over the summer and have really enjoyed it! The only drawback is that it’s clear that this machine is not made for big video editing projects as it can be a little slow.

3D Printing

We recently acquired a 3D Printer! I’m very excited about this! One of my goals for next year is using it within my classes. I recently came across a website (3D Universe) that explored the opportunities of 3D printing in education. One of its suggestions was to print historical artifacts, people, and locations.


This hardware was introduced as a result of the school’s leadership trying to keep up with trends in education. To date, stakeholders have been happy with the changes. In particular, the 3D printer has been a hit with several students. After its introduction in the 4th term last year, a couple students elected to use it in their projects class. One student printed the casing for his Gameboy that he designed. 





Koehler and Mishra (2009) begin their explanation of TPACK with an acknowledgement that teachers today are dealing with new challenges because of the prevalence of technology available to them (p.61). As a result, Shulman’s (1986) model of PCK (pedagogy and content knowledge) needed to be reimaged as ‘TPACK’ and incorporate the use of technology in the classroom.


TPACK, technology pedagogical content knowledge model,  “enables them [teachers] to identify what they must learn more about in order to implement a given technology integration strategy to best effect” (Mishra & Koeholer, 2006. as cited in Roblyer and Doering, 200, p.68). When planning units, assessment and lessons, models such as these should be employed to ensure you have the desired outcome.


My History with TPACK

To be honest, I’ve had very little to do with TPACK. The acronym seemed familiar when coming across it in this week’s reading but as far as my work goes, I’ve never actually used this particular model. Going forward, I’ll definitely use it to unpack the goals and objectives I set out.


Where do I fit?

In most cases, I’d place myself  in the TCK area (Technological content knowledge). I feel as though I’m moving through a stage in my development where I’m trying to experiment with a variety a pedagogical approaches and figuring which one best suits my learners. So that being said, my knowledge of tech and content is a strength I possess.




What’s in a name? 

Roblyer and Doering (2014) have changed the name TPACK to Tech-Pack in order “to emphase the critical contribution of technology to teaching” (p. 67). To me, this shift doesn’t really make a difference, Technology was already emphasied. I’m not sure what it adds,



Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1). Retrieved from

Roblyer, M.D., & Doering, A.H. (2014). Integrating educational technology into teaching (Pearson new international edition). Essex: Pearson

Digital Native and Immigrants



On Digital Immigrants, Prensky (2001) writes: “My own favorite example is the “Did you get my e-mail?” phone call. Those of us who are Digital Immigrants can, and should, laugh at ourselves and our ‘accent’(p.3)”

When thinking of some staff members at my school, I can picture them saying things like this or a modern equivalent ‘did you get the file I shared with you via Google docs’. Ironically, what I can also picture is a plethora of students with confused looks on their faces. These are students born into a digital world yet deeply struggle to adapt to the changing technology.

My thoughts are more in line with Haigh’s conclusion that:

                 there’s no evidence of a clear-cut digital divide. Use of technology varies with age,                  but it does so predictably, over the whole age span. And secondly, although                            younger people are more likely to be positive about technology, there is evidence                    that a good attitude to technology, at any age, correlates with good study habits                      (para. 18).

This may be a more trendy thing to say, but I put more stock into Dweck’s ‘Growth Mindsets’. If unfamiliar with her work, check out this TED talk as an introduction.



Teachers and students with fixed mindsets alike will have difficulty picking up new concepts whereas a growth mindset will enable development through effort.  


Dweck, C. (2014). The power of believing that you can improve. Retrieved from

Haigh, G. (2011, August 15). Open University research explodes myth of “digital native.” Retrieved from

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1–6. Retrieved from

Thinking about why I use tech in my classroom…

In order to account for the need of technology within the classroom, Conole (2012) points to emerging trends that have resulted from the changes to communication and the access to information in the 21st century. They include: a “web that enables mediation and user generation of content… new practices of sharing and mechanisms for content production, communication and collaboration… new possibilities for sharing and harnessing the ‘network effects’” (p.48).

Like Conole, I find it difficult to ignore these shifts in how today’s society operates. Education should at the very least prepare students for today’s world as well as begin to consider what skills will be required five, ten and twenty years down the track. 

The University of Pheonix Research Institute for the Future’s ‘Future Work Skills 2020’ highlights the importance of teaching technology in the classroom.

Here it shows the ‘drivers’ new media ecology and globally connected world linking to Conole’s trends of networked learning and new practices for content production. These in turn, require the skills new media literacy, computational thinking, cognitive load management, and virtual collaboration.

Linking to this week’s reading, Eliza Anyangwe’s blog post “20 ways of thinking about digital literacy in higher education” brings together expert’s opinions of how digital literacy should be addressed today in schools. Among which, professor of new media at De Montfort University, Sue Thomas reiterates the importance of transliteracy. She claims that abilities of the past such as reading and writing are still important today, people need to be able to adapt to modern forms of media such as making posts on Pinterest or blog entries (para. 20). These no doubt tie into the skills required for new media literacy.

David White, also noted in the post, argues that digital literacy skills help you manage distraction. This is something showcased in the ‘Future of Work Skills 2020’ through cognitive load management skill. “Organizations and workers will only be able to turn the massive influx of data into an advantage if they can learn to effectively filter and focus on what is important” (p.12).

Without proper technology based training, students will have little hope for competing in this rapidly changing world.

The need to incorporate digital literacy skill is just one of the reasons for using technology in my classroom. Enabling student access to an authentic audience and allowing for continuous feedback is another. Alan November examines these concepts further in his blog “Clearing the Confusion between Technology Rich and Innovative Poor: Six Questions.” Technology is the vehicle by which we access these authentic modern experiences and as a result, it should be drawn upon within the classroom.

Does this mean we should always use technology? No, it does not.

One example… In a previous post, I highlighted Puentedura’s SMAR model. I don’t think the choice to use technology should be always made for the substitution levels.

Regardless, technology is shaping our interactions with the world. The classroom is definitely the right space for upskilling our students so they can confidently contribute to society.



Anyangwe, E. (2012, May 16). 20 ways of thinking about digital literacy in higher education. The Guardian. Retrieved from


Conole, G. (2012). Designing for Learning in an Open World (1st ed.). New York: Springer.

Davies, A., Fidler, D., & Gorbis. M. (2011). Future work skills 2020. Institute for the Future for the University of Phoenix Research Institute: California


November, A. (2015). Clearing the Confusion between Technology Rich and Innovative Poor: Six Questions. Retrieved from

Whitby, Funnell and the importance of teachers

On ABC’s Future Tense, Greg Whitby’s insistence that to focus on technology is a “waste of time” brings to mind the comparison of the computer as it’s used as ‘a $1000 dollar pen.’ Loads of money spent on devices that teachers and students don’t know how to effectively/purposefully utilise. Antony Funnell, who is also interviewed on the program, highlighted the importance of teacher training before the adoption of technology. Without this focus on teachers’ skill development before widespread use, programs revolving around technology can experience hardship.      

Whitby goes on to state that “if you focus on the technology, you ignore the central problem and the central issue.” But what is the central problem and issue? Roblyer and Doering (2014, p.30) list the following as the top ten issues shaping today’s technology usage in education:


  1. Accountability and the standards movement
  2. Funding for education technology
  3. The Digital Divide
  4. Fears about Technology misuses
  5. Role of distance education
  6. Privacy and Safety
  7. Malware, Viruses, spam and hacking
  8. Online plagiarism
  9. Racial and gender equity
  10. 21st century technology skills


Rather than these, I believe Whitby is focused on stressing the importance of having a sound pedagogical base as well as purpose before technology enters the equation. This is something I also agree with. Puentedura’s SMAR model helps teachers think critically about how technology is integrated into their classrooms. For those unfamiliar, this video will give you a bit more detail.   



In the ABC interview, Funnell again stresses the importance of teachers when he says “technology doesn’t educate people, people educate people”. Without teachers carefully considering how technology is used within the classroom, the results of its application will be limited.



Davies, A. (Producer). (2012, 19 August). 21st Century Education [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from

Roblyer, M.D., & Doering, A.H. (2014). Integrating educational technology into teaching (Pearson new international edition). Essex: Pearson

Catching up…

Hey folks!

It seems as though life got in the way of the initial blogs for this subject. The next series of posts will be from the first few weeks of the subject as I look to catch up!


Web Based Resources

Here’s a list of a few web-based resources that I frequently use. Be sure to check out the ones you’ve never heard of!


Google Cultural Institute: All three sections (Historic Moments, Art Project and World Wonders) house powerful collections that can be used to reach educational outcomes. Recently, I’ve used it for students to showcase the living and working conditions in Australia around the twentieth century (a Year 9 AusVels outcome). Students were able to independently sift through photos, videos and other primary sources which on the Streets of Melbourne 1837-1935.

There are other features that can also be drawn upon to meet outcomes. Students can also create their own galleries to store images on desired topics. They can also walk through particular sections of museums, art galleries or historic sites. I’m sure to give my Year 12 Revolutions students a virtual tour of the Palace of Versailles.



Is an online tool that allows teachers to facilitate a multiple choice, true or false and short answer questions to a classroom of students. In the past, I’ve used it for pretesting, exit tickets, revision and quick discussion questions. Teachers and students are provided with a range of feedback including live to a downloadable report. 


YouTube: Not only is this a fantastic resource for education videos, it also allows users to create playlists which for teachers, can be used to collate a selection of videos for your students.

Its ‘Creator Studio’ is also underused. The video editor allows users the ability to edit videos all within YouTube. Here, students are also able to access both creative commons audio and video that can be applied to their own work.    


This web application allows teachers to give voice and text feedback on students’ work. It also allows teachers to link to videos or other online references that may assist students. I used this frequently last year, and I definitely recommend you giving it a go!

A Google A Day

I often find myself teaching students how to search effectively. This game allows students to refine their searching skills. It’s a good one for a warm up activity or to finish off a lesson.


This site helps students design professional looking presentations, posters, and social media graphics including infographics.



Web 2.0 and My Classroom

flickr photo by dgray_xplane shared under a Creative Commons (BY-ND) license


Recent data suggests that 13.2 million people in Australia have active social media accounts (We are Social, 2015, p. 66). With this in mind, educators will continue to look for ways to harness this power within their classrooms. Hew and Cheung’s (2013) analysis of the impact of Web 2.0 tools reveals that the “technologies appear to have a general positive impact on student achievement”(p. 57)  

Over the past few years, I’ve experimented with using Google+ Communities within my classroom and can confirm some of the trends that have been presented in their findings. It should be noted that I’ve found varying degrees of success within each group. Each class has been a different entity. It’s clear that while it can bring students out of their shell, others become less vocal. The challenge is to maintain motivation for it and ensure that its use is effective and meaningful. It was reassuring that Roblyer and Doering highlighted Henry and Medows’ (2009) research that also noted this emphasis on engaging content (p.246).  

A focus for my Year 12 Revolutions class this year will be to convert my students, many of whom are what David White terms ‘visitors’ (those that use the web for a set purpose and do not leave a social trace online), into what he calls ‘residents’ (one that is socially visible, information seeking, and involved in the non-traditional production of sources). These ‘residents’ will produce blogs that will be shared with other Revolutions’ students throughout the state.



Hew, K. F., & Cheung, W. S. (2013). Use of Web 2.0 technologies in K-12 and higher education: The search for evidence-based practice. Educational Research Review, 9, 47–64.

Roblyer, M.D., & Doering, A.H. (2014). Integrating educational technology into teaching (Pearson new international edition). Essex: Pearson

We Are Social. (2015). Digital, Social & Mobile in 2015. Retrieved from

White, D. (n.d.). Visitors & Residents. Retrieved from


Problems Online

This blog post calls for us to discuss one of the five potential problems listed within Roblyer and Doering (2014, p. 234) that highlight areas of concern around internet safety. They include:

  1. Accessing sites with inappropriate content
  2. Safety and privacy issues for students
  3. Fraud on the Internet
  4. Computer viruses and hacking
  5. Copyright and plagiarism issues

Students at my school have come live with the firewalls that surround inappropriate material, have a growing understanding of internet safety, and rarely look to use the internet for fraud or hacking purposes. What seems to be the growing issue is the students’ lack of knowledge around copyright and plagiarism. Students are found submitting others’ work as well as using images, video and audio clips (that they are not permitted to) across all year levels within this secondary setting. What compounds this issue is the teaching staff’s lack of knowledge around these issues as well.

In the future, cross marking should continue to play a major role in order to catch students who plagiarise. Unfortunately, this will never be enough to ensure that students’ work remain authentic and the integrity of assessment pieces is intact. In order to combat this, there needs to be a tech based solution. Using things like PaperRater is a step in the right direction, but it needs to be more comprehensive. Programs and software such as these would not prevent or identify file sharing from students across year levels. When work is submitted digitally, it needs to be uploaded to a database that can be checked. I’m not sure if this exists at a level aimed for secondary or primary, but it definitely should be!


Roblyer, M.D., & Doering, A.H. (2014). Integrating educational technology into teaching (Pearson new international edition). Essex: Pearson.


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