Tag Archives: ETL523

Social media in the VET classroom

VET inclass example of a twitter back-channel.
VET in class example of a twitter back-channel.

Social media for many means catching up with what friends are doing via Facebook or following the latest celebrity on Twitter. But is can be so much more than that for an educator who is prepared to put in some extra work to effectively use to Social Media within a class environment.

It is important to consider the affordances in relation to the learning program to determine if there will be of benefit to the students (Bower, 2008). There will always be resistance from some students when social media for a variety of reasons. Due to this resistance it is important to ensure that any learning done through this mechanism is duplicated elsewhere.

One crucial issue is of course age, with many social media requiring the user to be over a certain age to agree to the terms and conditions. For use in a VET classroom, as outlined by Roblyer (2013) it is crucial that appropriate social media site are chosen that will create a professional learning avenue for students. It is also important for students to understand this is a professional site and should not be linked to their personal activities. By utilizing the affordances outlined by Bower (2008) and the taxonomy of learning, teaching and assessing created by Anderson and Krathwohl (2001) a teacher can provide supported pedagogical reasoning behind why they are choosing a specific social media platform in their classroom.

One interesting piece of research by McCorkle D.E, and McCorkle Y.L., (2012) focussed on the use of LinkedIn in a marketing class room. The article outlined the assessment program that stepped students through the very basic setting up a profile to building a professional network.

This strategy has been reflected in current practice in the 2014 Article in Training Matters which focused on the use of LinkedIn in a VET Certificate III in Pathology qualification. The lecturer used LinkedIn in a variety of ways; the initial use was a discussion forum between students and industry but then it branched out as a mentoring forum for alumni students; a employment and job placement area; industry announcement. The heavy ties with industry through LinkedIn gave currency to the course.

With any social media it is important for students to understand why they are being asked to participate. Twitter as a back channel for on topic discussion by students during a lecture or presentation can vie valuable insight into the understanding by the students. This can simply be as easy as putting together a hashtag for the class group to respond to. In Hew & Cheung (2013) article they outlined how one institution saw an increase in GPA’s in the test group using twitter which was put down to students engaging with lecturers and content discussions via this social medium. Being able to access this application through a mobile device or desktop meant that the students were able to continue to learn and reflect of critical points 24/7.

The implementation of social media in a VET classroom does warrant investigation as an avenue to support students who are often in the workplace or studying through a blended delivery approach.


Anderson, L., & Krathwohl, D., (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. New York: Longman

Bower, M. (2008). Affordance analysis – matching learning tasks with learning technologies.Educational Media International, 45(1), 3-15. doi:10.1080/09523980701847115

Herrington, J., & Parker, J. (2013). Emerging technologies as cognitive tools for authentic learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(4). doi:10.1111/bjet.12048

Hew, K., & Cheung, W. (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. doi:10.1016/j.edurev.2012.08.001

Jelfs, A., & Richardson, J. (2013). The use of digital technologies across the adult life span in distance education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(2). doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01308.x

Laurillard, D. (2009). The pedagogical challenges to collaborative technologies. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 4(1). doi:10.1007/s11412-008-9056-2

McCorkle, D., & McCorkle, Y. (2012). Using Linkedin in the Marketing Classroom: Exploratory Insights and Recommendations for Teaching Social Media/Networking. Marketing Education Review, 22(2), 157-166. doi:10.2753/mer1052-8008220205

Passion for teaching. (2014). Training Matters, (20), 17. Retrieved from http://www.dtwd.wa.gov.au/employeesandstudents/training/otherinformation/trainingmatters/previousversions/Documents/April%202014/Training%20Matters%20April%202014%2017.pdf

Roblyer, M. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

ETL523 – The final pledge

It is always difficult to reflect on a whole course of work at the end, especially one as diverse as Digital Citizenship. So much of what we covered in ETL523, I personally feel, has been embedded across the whole qualification. Without a solid understanding of Digital Citizenship it is almost impossible to work effectively and ethically within an elearning space.

For my work in the VET sector there are some aspects of this course that drive my work, such as the need for greater understanding of copyright and intellectual property. For instance the department where I work is organises the Training Providers Forum in Perth. Last week I was reviewing presentations when I came across a very visually stunning presentation. I was impressed with the quality of images used, and knowing the presenter is a graphic design lecturer others had let the material go through without any checking. I however felt the need to query the use of the images that had no acknowledgements within the presentation. It was a simple email to clear up the issue and the situation was solved, but it was a situation that could have left out department open for legal ramifications.

Litigation is one copyright infringement away.
Litigation is one copyright infringement away.

To me, we as teachers hide behind the CAL license (for education use) and this is fine. However, as educators I need to set the bar high not only for my students but also for myself and not be tempted to limbo under it.

I feel that Hollandsworth, Dowdy, & Donovan (2011) encapsulated my thoughts best on the need for more understanding and solid application of good digital behaviour. Their discussions on us all forming ‘the village’ for our online youth and implementing a curriculum that upholds the need for good digital citizenship and find the middle ground between the reactionary and proactive environments rang a bell in my conscious. Now I know that in the VET sector with the many upheavals that we have been experiencing that our curriculum is strong, we just need to educate the educators.

I strongly believed coming into this course and only have had my beliefs confirmed that digital citizenship is not just something that we teach in schools and forget once a student leave a K-12 environment but must stay with the individual for the rest of their lives. It is about the lifelong skills from the ‘Enlightened digital citizenship’ model (Lindsay & Davis, 2012) such as privacy, respect, etiquette that need to be reinforced in all walks of life.

Digital citizens are aware.
Digital citizens are aware.

Our students, to be able to learn effectively ultimately need to feel secure and safe in any environment that we construct for them. It also needs to support the curriculum outcomes as well as the needs of an individual (P21, 2016).

Recently I have been training a group of students from around Australia in how to facilitate online classes, both synchronous and asynchronous; I wanted to instil the importance of digital citizenship concepts to them. In my first online class I introduced the concept of a ‘Course Code of Conduct’. Instead of my dictating how I expected the class to behave we brainstormed the idea using the whiteboard, microphone/audio and chat box tools. I drafted a version based on what the class decided. I have referred the students back to the document to remind them of their own ‘class rule set’.

The implementation of a digital learning space needs to be safe and owned by the not only faculty but by the students for their use as well as for learning. That is how strong bonds are built and strong support networks through a personal learning network are forged, just like the ETL523 twitter feed or discussion forums, where we (as students) interact and own the space (Lindsay, 2016) alongside Julie – our amazing lecturer.

In closing I would like to leave you with my version of the Digital Australian Citizenship pledge:

1912 Australian Government Commonwealth crest
1912 Australian Government Commonwealth crest.

From this time forward, I pledge my loyalty to Digital Australia and its digital citizens, whose democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect, and whose laws I will uphold and obey as a good digital citizen.

So I pledge and so shall it be.



Department of Immigration and Border Protection (2016). Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code. Retrieved from https://www.border.gov.au/Citizenship/Documents/australian-citizenship-ceremonies-code.pdf

Hollandsworth, R., Dowdy, L., Donovan, J. (2011). Digital citizenship in K-12: It takes a village. TechTrends. 55(4) 37-47

Lindsay, J., & Davis, V. (2010). Navigate the digital rapids. Learning & Leading with Technology, 37(6), 12-15.

Lindsay, J. (2016). Professional learning networks [ETL523 Module 3.4]. https://interact2.csu.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-767091-dt-content-rid-1699121_1/courses/S-ETL523_201630_W_D/module3/3_4_Professional_learning_networks.html

P21. (2016). Framework for 21st Century Learning. Retrieved 13 April 2016, from http://www.p21.org/our-work/p21-framework

Digital artefact – the debrief

It is always important when you create something to tell others not only about what you have created, but how you create it. My job in WA is all about sharing how I do things, so that I can upskill the VET sector of WA.

With the recent ETL523 assignment 1 not only did we create a group wiki, but each student were required to create an individual digital artefact that was created in Web 2.0 technology. When I read this I knew that I wanted to create something that not only would work for my assignment but could be used either in part or whole as a support to a training session that I would run later in the year.

Mindmap of all key ideas for the digital artefact are mapped out on this page.
Mindmap of all key ideas for the digital artefact are mapped out on this page.

I brainstormed my initial ideas in hard copy, which is fairly common practice for me to do when I commence a design project as I am a visual person. This storyboard gave me a solid starting point to what I wanted to include in the group wiki and what I wanted to include in my digital artefact. After reviewing my ideas I knew that I wanted to create a video that would be embedded into a Nearpod activity. This meant combining two Web 2.0 tools and a huge amount of film and edit work to make it all happen. The reason behind this choice was simple; my philosophy when creating something that I will be using later for training is that whatever I produce must be done simply without too much high tech so that a VET lecturer can also do this.

This storyboard is the overview level. More in-depth shot storyboards were completed for each section of the artefact.
This storyboard is the overview level. More in-depth shot storyboards were completed for each section of the artefact.

Once I knew what I wanted to do I roughed out a very brief high level storyboard that showed the shot list, still images and screen grabs I needed for the video, rough ideas for the script and the outline for the Nearpod content and how it would all look together. I then created individual storyboard for each of the different sections of the digital artefact so that I knew I would be able to work to a plan. This was critical for me as my personal life was all about dealing with a family death.

I had to be clear what simulation software I wanted to showcase and how as another team member was doing a digital artefact on a similar topic and create a filming schedule so that I could coordinate various people to ‘appear’ in the footage as well as organise access to various businesses and school that were using the simulations. I filmed simply on my mobile phone the video footage I wanted to use incorporating many different shots and angles to give me good editable footage I could cut together. I opted not to use an external mic to capture the sound as I decided early on that I would voice over only and use footage to support the audio script. This decision meant that I would save time on having to edit audio footage and I could ensure good quality audio through the entire video.

This is a screen grad of the final edit screen prior to rendering the video for final publication file.
This is a screen grad of the final edit screen prior to rendering the video for final publication file.

For the voice audio track, and film editing I used Camtasia Studio. This is a low end video editing tool, but many VET organisations have access to this rather than Adobe Premier (which I could have used). Another alternative I could have used was Windows Movie Maker, which was installed on my laptop, but the edit would not have been quite as easy.

I recorded the audio script and saved out 25 audio tracks, which I would later import into my Camtasia Studio edit suite for bringing the final video together. I did start using Audacity for recording the voice audio, however my work computer no longer had the correct codec to save in a cross platform file and I could not get my this laptop back to our ICT department for them to load it for me so Camtasia was my fall-back position.

Once the voice audio tracks were completed and all the film footage was completed, the various screen grabs were taken and still shots were saved to my computer I commenced the film edit. As I knew exactly what shots went with which voice over it was a fairly easy edit to complete, probably only taking roughly 23 hours to complete to final production rendering stage.

I uploaded the final version into YouTube, which I had to set to ‘Public’; otherwise Nearpod would not be able to locate it when I go to link it. What I have not yet completed and it is so very important that I will go back and complete this next week is to upload a transcript for accessibility. This means that I have to create an audio transcript document (usually I do this in Notepad)

This is  an example of an audio transcript.
This is an example of an audio transcript.

It does mean that I have to sit with the YouTube open and set accurate time codes, but it is very important. YouTube now has the feature where you can do some of this in the system, which I will play around with when I am doing the audio transcript. I do have a written script, so this should be a relatively painless process, but time consuming.

After the video was complete and uploaded I could then set about constructing my Nearpod content and activities. Nearpod is brilliant if you have not used it before, so easy and quick. It allows you to upload videos, sounds, images and presentations. I created my content in Microsoft PowerPoint and uploaded, this was so simple and easy. It then meant that I could play about with the content and be able to reorganise the order around the internal Nearpod features of quiz activities and the YouTube video.

If you are interested in screen grabs for any of this process I have created a Sway that showcases this which are found here.

Any further questions about the digital artefact then please do not hesitate to ask!

Nearpod activity access  https://s.nearpod.com/j/CVEJZ

Simulation isn’t futile YouTube link.



Accessibility – it’s for everyone!


Disability ramp leading into a building
Image from: Daniel Lobo https://www.flickr.com/photos/daquellamanera/377766377/

I know that so many people do not even consider accessibility when it comes to Digital Citizenship, but really for online environments it is not just about “accessibility” but it is about “good design”.

Let’s look at an accessibility ramp for instance. A ramp is not just for the few. Everyone can benefit from it.

Accessibility is not just about a physical impairment, but also about good media design that ensures everyone benefits regardless of the technology available to them.

Images, video, audio should all have text alternatives. If a button or navigation control is an image, the alternative text should describe where the button will take the user, or what it will do. Where the image is part of the learning material, you must ensure that the same information is given in text form.

Remember this is not just for people who are sight impaired, but for those users  with issues loading the image due to poor connection speed. This  will also help to cover different learning styles.

The only exception is an image that is just there as part of the page design, for example a blue line with dots in it, might appear as part of branding and design on a webpage. The learners are not “disadvantaged” if they do not see that design element. So for the alternative text, it should be given a null value of “”.

With video/audio, your original planning material/script can form the basis for your closed caption file or text document. Be sure to describe what is “happening”, not just what is being said.

Think about it – have you ever seen a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation where you can’t make out the words because they clash with the background image/colour?

Image shows a poorly designed slide from a Microsoft PowerPoint slide deck. The background image is a a poorly lighted shot of lightning, which has patches of dark and white space over the whole background. Words have been added over the top of the image, which is extremly hard to read as it is white font, in a handwritten style over the wide colour spectrum back image.
Demonstrates poor colour and layout choices.

If you are struggling to read your own content, even in part, then others will also have the same issue.

Furthermore colour-blindness, which is common, can affect the visibility of some colours over others. You really need to make sure you use high contrasting colours to support learners.

You can test colour contrast for accessibility using some freely available tools such as this one: http://webaim.org/resources/contrastchecker/

It is important to mention that these checkers only check colours for Accessibility. They will not tell you if it is a good colour choice from a design point of view, so always ask a designer if your colours work together.

As always it is best to check your organisations branding department and ask for the corporate colour palette as this can take some of the guess work out of choosing colours that match your corporate materials.

For video and audio, ensure that the learning material can be clearly heard over any background noise or background music you have added in.

Test your online content and see if you can navigate around it easily and in a predictable fashion using nothing but the keyboard. Most learning management systems take care of this for course navigation, but any content you create yourself in it should also be navigable in this way. Look out for Keyboard traps. Items in a webpage that keep you “trapped” once inside them when using Keyboard only navigation.

Any timed events should have plenty of time for all users to complete and contain controls for the user to pause, step back and step forward.

The pages of your course/site should be navigable through several methods. Again, your organisations Learning Management System will take care of much of this by providing both main navigation links, and also bread crumbs. Make sure you use titles in your pages so that users never feel lost, and ensure that “Home” takes your user to the first page they saw.

For those navigating by Keyboard, there must be a visual indicator as to what area of the site is currently selected. Ensure that where you repeat your navigation links on sub-pages, that they are consistent throughout the site.

You should also use the section heading and heading hierarchy functions in the software that you are creating in, again talk to your organisations deign department or look at your corporate style guide as this should indicate fonts and heading styles to be used.. It is helpful to know how to set section heading and heading hierarchy up in HTML or the CSS.

Text should always be aimed at pre-secondary education reading level. Any complex terms and wording should be explained or an explanation made available via a link to a glossary of terms.

Web pages should never “auto load” new content and links should always jump to the page relevant to a title link. No random links.

Most importantly content should work on ALL devices and not be created for a proprietary device. To ensure this you should test your online course on all web browsers and mobile devices.

Remember that a user must not be disadvantaged because of their personal choice of device nor their access speed.

At the end of the day accessible web design refers to the philosophy and practice of designing web content so that it can be navigated and read by everyone, regardless of location, experience, or the type of computer technology used (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2014).


Australian Human Rights Commission. (2014). World Wide Web Access: Disability Discrimination Act Advisory Notes ver 4.1 . Retrieved, from http://www.humanrights.gov.au/world-wide-web-access-disability-discrimination-act-advisory-notes-ver-41-2014#whatis

Daniel Lobo. (2007). Ramp [Image]. Flickr. Retrieved, from https://www.flickr.com/photos/daquellamanera/377766377/

WebAIM. (2016). WebAIM: Color Contrast Checker. Retrieved, from http://webaim.org/resources/contrastchecker/




Digital Citizenship – the starting point for personal discovery

As a professional presenter for a government agency I must be extremely careful about my digital footprint or digital tattoo (Sullivan, 2013) as it is my reputation that is on the line. What surprises me is that I could be standing in front of a group of professional trainers who work in the VET sector and I ask what they are doing about digital literacy I get the blank looks.

Digital trail
Digital trail Image Y Drager

In almost a whisper I will then ask “How many of you have actually ‘Googled’ yourself to see your digital trail?” The scary part is that most of these educated people have never even considered searching themselves on the internet (Rheingold, 2010).

I guess I could be seen as being in the ‘Worried by the Wayside’ group (Madden, Fox, Smith and Vitak, 2007) mainly as my job as an elearning presenter I must be across a wide variety of technologies. Which means that this increases the potential for issues in the future with my digital footprint.

I am admitting now that whenever I go to post or respond to something I freely self-censor. The internal dialogue that I have will often cause me to stop and reflect. I will ask myself what prospective employers will think, will this reflect badly on my current workplace and will this impact on my family. If I can see I am in the clear then I will post.

Now let me be brutally honest  and say not always have my colleagues put any filter to use. As I write and rewrite this blog post I again pause and reflect on what I am writing, I just can’t help it. Let me ask if you look back on your life (and if you are of a certain age and over) how many of you might have made a telephone call and left messages on an answering machine, then tried to get the tape before the person heard the message? Well imagine that but the tapes never going away, can never be erased and you have the digital tattoo that sticks forever.

Digital Citizenship: It’s More Than a Poster! http://venspired.com/giving-back-day-6-all-about-digital-citizenship/
Digital Citizenship: It’s More Than a Poster!

I  remember at a place a I worked a colleague sent out a site wide email with an embedded joke image which was not appropriate for the workplace. Immediately the colleague recalled the email. However, the recall of Outlook does not necessarily recall the actual email from people it just sends everyone on the sender list a notification that the email has been recalled. What that recall email triggered was a point where everyone at the work site clicked on the email and were horrified en mass.

Access to many media empowers only those who know how to use them (Rheingold, 2010). This truism is important for everyone. Think about it now days if a student or peer makes a gaff it follows as a constant reminder. Being a good digital citizen will not absolve you from your folly, however, it will make you stop and think a little before hitting the post or send button, and that has to be a good thing.



Greenhow, C. (2010). New concept of citizenship for the digital age. Learning & Leading with Technology, 37(6), 24-25.

Rheingold, H. (2010). Attention and other 21st century social media literacies. Educause Review 45(5). Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/attention-and-other-21st-century-social-media-literacies

Ribble, M. (2016). Nine Elements. digitalcitizenship. Retrieved 5 March 2016, from http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/

Sullivan, A. (2013). Digital tattoo: Helping students build their digital image [Slideshow]. Retreived from http://www.slideshare.net/adinasullivan/iste-2013-d-igital-tattoo-061613-w-o-movie-24148830

Venspired. Digital Citizenship: It’s More Than a Poster! [Poster]. Retrieved 18 March 2016, from http://venspired.com/giving-back-day-6-all-about-digital-citizenship/

Affordances of Moodle – a multiplatform application


Moodle HQ home page
Moodle HQ home page

It is always difficult as an educator to locate tools that are both simple to use as well as giving a teacher solid insight into student behaviors. As part of the online learning journey or even as part of a flipped classroom experience a Learning Management System (LMS) such as Moodle ( Moodle.org, 2015) can become a critical piece of technology.

Bowen (2008) discusses the importance of identifying the affordances of a technology to assess its suitability for particular learning situations.

Moodle includes the below affordances with a short explanation as to why.

Functional affordances

Media affordances: read-ability – students have content loaded into html pages, book and lesson modules, write-ability – students can use wiki, forums, blog, journal tools, view-ability – students are able to see and interact with images and content (where applicable), listen and speak ability – students are able to use plugin integrations for voice shat, teachers are able to post up sound bites and podcasts watch-ability – students are able to watch any video content either loaded or hyperlinked into the LMS.

Spatial affordances: resize-ability –using a mobility option within the LMS configuration for theme setup you are able to set a mobile theme which will resize the LMS interface, move-ability – interactive and non-interactive (text) elements can be loaded into a Moodle course and placed according to the learning design.

Moodle page on desktop computer.
Moodle page on desktop computer.
Moodle course on mobile device
Moodle page on mobile device

Temporal affordances: accessibility – as long as the students have access to the internet then they can access the LMS anywhere/anytime, , synchronicity versus asynchronicity – this is predominately an asynchronous software, but also has the ability for some synchronous work such as through live chat or through a virtual conference software plugin.

Navigation affordances: browse-ability – the content, once loaded by the teacher remains constant so can be browsed, search-ability –students are able to search content within the LMS, data-manipulation – the teacher is able to manipulate sort and sequence content and results.

Emphasis affordances: highlight-ability – the teacher can highlight sections of the content using inbuilt tools and course layout tools, focus-ability – similar to highlight-ability the teacher can give a focus on specific tools using the block area to focus students to a new point.

Synthesis affordances: combine-ability – multiple tools can be embedded, uploaded or created in a Moodle course to create a mixed media learning environment, integration-ability – other tools and systems can be integrated into the Moodle course.

Access-control affordances: permission-ability – a Moodle course site has many levels of permissions from the high end Moodle Administrator (effectively the owner of the site, this role can add users, content modify course site and themes) down to guest access where the site is similar to a website and interactivity does not work. Authenticated users on a Moodle site means that all activity can be tracked and reported on about that user on the whole Moodle site, share-ability –within a Moodle space more than one teacher can be added to a course site, also students have the ability to share content through forums, blogs and wiki assignments.

Non-functional affordances

Technical affordances: this software is multi-platform; depending on the level of interactive content or video links it can use relatively low bandwidth and speed required. For organisations that do not have a LAN to be accessed by all students (such as a prison) Moodle can be loaded on a stand-alone computer that does not point to the internet. Backup of a course created can be reloaded into the system by visiting teachers. The course can be backed up upon leaving which can include users, results and coursework. This can then be re-installed on a LAN enabled system for storage.

Usability: Teachers need to learn to create, manage and teach in a Moodle course. It is a fairly simple tool to use with the edit interface being the same for every resource being added. Students will have access to the resources and activities which are intuitive to use, however, it is recommended that a simple step by step screen grab guide is used for students unfamiliar with the system.

Example Moodle site design
Example Moodle site design

Aesthetics: clean and simple user interface and design. Themes within Moodle give the Administrator and possibly teachers (depending on how the system has been setup for teacher permissions) the ability to contextualize and mimic a website look and feel that will make the experience intuitive for end users.

Reliability: The software itself is robust, however, as it is a web tool internet connection via Ethernet cable, 3/4G or WiFi is critical and if dropouts are experienced this could cause issues. Firewalls of organisations could also cause issues on the initial use if ICT has not opened the port to allow this software to be accessed.

Issues and key considerations

Accessibility – the Government of Australian requires that all websites and web material meet at least level A WCAG3 requirements. The Moodle software is currently rated at a level AA. With the accessibility options enabled it also means that support software , such as screen readers can be used by end users on this site

The outlined affordances demonstrate the possibilities of Moodle in a VET or corporate setting. It allows teacher and presenters to push content out, provide avenues for synchronous sessions and enables the teacher to assess students via a wide range of assessment methods. This is then stored within the Moodle course site and can form part of the backup of the course for archival purposes..

Through the use of plugins this too can be a simple ‘vanilla’ out of the box version or a complex system that fully reports against many key performance indicators.

As this is software can be used across multi-platform, it is an ideal option to use within a VET classroom context.



Bower, M. (2008). Affordance analysis – matching learning tasks with learning technologies. Educational Media International, 45(1), 3-15. doi: 10.1080/09523980701847115

Morgan, M., Butler, M., & Power, M. (2007). Evaluating ICT in education: A comparison of the affordances of the iPod, DS and Wii. Paper presented at the ASCILITE, Singapore.

Moodle.org,. (2015). Moodle – Open-source learning platform | Moodle.org. Retrieved 12 January 2015, from https://moodle.org/

Hardware in the classroom

It is interesting to reflect on what hardware I use in my classroom. As I present professional development to the whole of the Western Australian VET sector I train both face-to-face an in an online space. I will focus on the face-to-face training room for this blog post and will cover the variety of software in another post.

Technology old and new for the classroom.
Technology old and new for the classroom.

Face to face classroom

  • Interactive White Board
  • Data projector
  • Instructor computer (networked)
  • 24 networked laptops
  • WiFi hub for authenticated external users
  • iPad
  • Smart phones
  • Apple TV
  • Samsung tablet
  • Webcam
  • Microphone hub
  • Presenter clicker

Changes in the past 12 months

In the past 12 months the WiFi for external client use has been made available. This has made the teaching environment more flexible. This offers a BYOD option for all our face-to-face sessions and was done as a result of client feedback from sessions.


TPACK framework

TPACK image
The TPACK framework and its knowledge components from www.tpack.org

As part of my delivery I present training sessions on both designing and facilitating vie digital technologies. Thanks to this I have heard and worked with TPACK for the past few years.

Harris, Mishra & Koehler (2009) stress the importance that all three domains technological, content, pedagogical should be viewed as interconnected and not in isolation as these interactions create the ‘sweet spot’ or the TPACK zone in the center of the three domains.

The heart of TPACK is meeting students needs so every class will look different even though you as the teacher is the common denominator as the PCK needs to be considered on an individual class by class basis. By being able to integrate knowledge from all three domains an expert teacher bring TPACK into play when ever and where ever they teach.

Due to the diverse nature of my work and that I am no longer just a classroom trainer I do sit more towards the middle (or the sweet spot).

The TPACK philosophy has been of great benefit to me in the development of my skills and expanding my lesson plans to a new level to ensure that the training sessions I present .

An interesting article that delves into TPACK in relation to the VET sector is:  Pipe dreams or digital dreams:  Technology, pedagogy and content knowledge in the vocational educational and training sector O’Brien, T. and Maor, D. (2013). This paper discusses the need for professional development programmes to develop the VET practitioners knowledge across all TPACK domains.

Another interesting journal article, though not directly linked to the VET sector, but does contain many lessons to learn from is: A framework for Web 2.0 learning design Bower, M., Hedberg, J.G., and Kuswara, A.. This article talks through the conceptualization of Web 2.0 enabled learning design, which can be then applied to the VET sector.



Bower, M., Hedberg, J., & Kuswara, A. (2010). A framework for Web 2.0 learning design.Educational Media International, 47(3), 177-198. doi:10.1080/09523987.2010.518811

Harris, J. & Mishra, P. & Koehler, M. (2009). Teachers technological pedagogical content knowledge and learning activity types: Curriculum-based technology integration reframed. Journal on Research on Technology in Education, 41(4), pp. 393-416.

Mishra, P & Koehler, M. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), pp. 1017-1054.

O’Brien, T & Maor, D. (2013).  Pipe dreams or digital dreams:  Technology, pedagogy and content knowledge in the vocational educational and training sector.  Retrieved from http://www.ascilite.org/conferences/sydney13/program/papers/O’Brien.pdf

Why we should use technology in the classroom?

As educators it is always important to understand what is happening outside the classroom in the ‘real world’ in terms of being able to contextualize lessons to reflect current attitudes and utilize contemporary tools to achieve our desired outcomes. In the Australian VET sector training packages are now on a continuous upgrade cycle to reflect current industry practices which means that students expect that technology will form part of their learning.

When you review the dramatic changes over the past 5 years that the VET sector has undergone it stands to reason that information and training methodologies that we once held close to our hearts are now outmoded.

Banning mobiles in the classroom sign from RTO in Perth.
Banning mobiles in the classroom sign from RTO in Perth.

The Industry Skills Councils and industry in general demand as part of the training packages that trainers have and maintain currency in chosen fields. This includes the use of current technologies within the industry space. Therefore not only do our students expect to use technology but the curriculum documents ensure that as trainers we must.

The Waldorf philosophy of not utilizing technology within the classroom or training environment it is not practicable for a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) in Australia. For a training organisation to not to accept that they need to train students with current workplace skills using technology to fulfill some of that requirement would be a critical issue. Adult learners learn is different ways to school students and bringing in ‘life experiences’ including the use of technology is and always should be just another way to ensure that the students needs are being met.

All RTO’s do need to build skills and abilities in their staff and students with technology. Being aware of the E-Standards for Training is critical to ensure that digital literacy skills are addressed as part of the training that students receive from an RTO.

For me it is critical that we do establish solid digital literacy for our VET clients/students, with solid skills to evaluate, find use, share and create content using technologies and the internet. Without these digital literacy skills we are not equipping our VET students and practitioners with the ability to operate in the relevant industry areas.

E-standards.flexiblelearning.net.au,. (2014). E-standards for Training. Retrieved 12 January 2015, from http://e-standards.flexiblelearning.net.au/

Training.gov.au,. (2014). Skills: training.gov.au. Retrieved 12 January 2015, from http://training.gov.au/